Day 4: Ear Ache

•June 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

With Beau working across the street- I am loving these new mornings. We always spend a good two hours together in the early hours, but now it is a little different: wake up later, make some coffee together, get ready, kiss him goodbye…city life. After heading to yoga, my darn ear started to hurt. Darn it, today started off lovely. It could’ve been my ear cuff that squeezes my ear too tight…the things you do for fashion…or I slept on my ear strangely…who knows- but it is a little red and has a dull pain along my outer ear. Hey! I have health insurance now! I can get this looked at! These are things that excite me now…

An unfortunate mid-afternoon nap from not feeling well, my day paused briefly until it was time for the fun job at night. People must get confused- ok, so I am a musician, performer, teacher, and…personal stylist? Yep. Let me help you with those ill-fitting pants you have on. Meeting new people, helping customers find their perfect dress no matter what it takes, and doing photo shoots is only part of it. And it lets my creative side come out- like sporting a forward snake braid tonight. lol…oh, so dweeby. And I love it. I believe everyone has to do something fun to keep them happy and healthy.

Ear was a still a jerk at night…lemon water habit is on day 4 and it’s feeling good…every morning has been a full plate of fruit…I am in ‘serious mode’ to start better eating habits and get back to a former sexy self. (did I just type ‘sexy’? lol) And it may be random, but today (like many) had me thanking technology: group texts with my girlfriends make me laugh, get facts, and keep in touch. Distance does not matter- we have everyone at the touch of a button.

Ok, now to sleep on the couch…go away, ear ache, go away…

***Watch a great tutorial on the snake braid here:

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Day 3: Life Is Short

•June 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Today can be summed up in two statements: driving around town and life is short. Running work errand in the morning and afternoon with Beau had us from East Amherst to Kaisertown and everywhere in between. By the end of the day, work had me tied up in research and writing but there was another trip occurring…a drive to Newfane. My best friend’s Grandmother, a lady I known my whole life, had passed unexpectedly. Us girls always show support for one another no matter what- and it was without question that I would head up there to give my love in person.

It is another circumstance where you find yourself saying that age-old phrase that life is too short. It is. It flies by and suddenly, someone can leave the physical world in the blink of an eye. Maybe there was a puzzle to be worked on- my friend and her family was up north for a celebratory wedding the week before and she got to spend time with her Grandma and bring her son over as well. How lovely it is they can have those last moments together…

When in Newfane, do as locals do- order from one of three cuisines: pizza, pizza, or Chinese. With a minor snafu of ‘cash only’ (wait, seriously? why?), we devoured our Chinese food on the back deck of Westwood where we chatted about work and the future with my parents while the mosquitoes ate us alive. Where’s the citronella? 20 minutes before close, we got in a couple fat kid sundaes at Tasty Treat (a childhood must-stop) and headed back to the city, crashing.

We recalled how recently we have had a string of a wedding one week and a funeral the next. Let’s break that cycle, shall we? See your friends, see your family. Life is short.

Day 2: Lemon Water & Lunch Break

•June 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment
lemons in water

lemons in water

June 2nd is a big deal for Beau & I: it meant he began his new promoted position downtown and my health insurance kicked in. Do I sound old? Mature? Zzzz…

The morning meant taking winter coats and boots to storage and the typical vacuuming and dusting. (*whistle while I work) I need more closet space- I am getting grumpy. The best part of the day was Beau walking in to the loft on his lunch break: he literally walks across the street to work now! It was fun to make coffee and chit chat for a bit- any time we spend together seems to fly and we just enjoy hanging out. Timing his trip back to work, he text: ‘3 minutes, 19 seconds’. That’s when I called all sorts of doctors to set up appointments (cause now I can!) and pulled a load of strings to book a bus for an upcoming wine tour (why I love connections!) and wrote a long article for a local blog (oh, to edit).

Today began the morning routine of drinking a ton of ice water with lemon slices. Yea yea, this doesn’t impress you, right? That’s ok. I’m over here detoxing and ready to take on all sorts of benefits from this centuries-old method: purify your liver and kidneys, reset your ph balance, clear your skin, kick start your metabolism in the morning, and flush out the toxins. All benefits from lemons in water! Methods say either warm water or cold- either way is excellent for you. As of now, three fresh slices (not lemon juice!) float in my passport glass with filtered water from the moment I wake until about 4pm. Chug chug chug!!!

The best part of my evenings contain flute lessons to which I feel accomplished and happy. There is nothing more exhilarating than teaching others how to perform a musical instrument. This is my 14th year conducting private lessons and I have no intention of ever ending this.

A late night recap of life with my beau and him convincing me he could sleep in bed this time (he has been banished to the couch due to his busted shoulder) ended the busy day- with him snuggling right up on me (gross, I know) and then my arm fell asleep. Life is perfect.

30 Days Of Thirty: Lazy Sunday

•June 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Good grief. What a hiatus it has been on the globetrotter. My original plan was to begin ’30 Days of 30′ on my ’25th’ birthday last month- but we can see that went over well. Between life, traveling, working on our local Buffalo blog (Buffalovebirds), weddings, and jobs- I am finding it impossible to find a moment to sit down alone for a good chunk of time. (insert my Dad on gifting me an iPad: ‘Yea, well you told me this would allow you to blog 24/7 with ease.’ Ok, Dad- whatever. I’m busy) So with a new determination, let’s start my 30 Days In To Thirty…

It’s more for fun (and also because I have this vision that, as a grandma, my grandkids can read all these posts and think I was so cool back in the early 2000s) and a good goal for me to keep on track- this whole ‘writing everyday’ challenge. Maybe something will be interesting to friends (whom are always asking about things I am doing and beauty tricks- I love to help!)…or maybe it will just be for my Mom to be nosey about. Who knows. We’re about to find out…

Sunday 6/1: Day One

June has always meant ‘summer’. End of school, warmer weather, allergies…and something about the first of a month entices all of us to start anew and get re-organized. Well Beau and I failed. We napped all day. No, seriously. All day. Having a medical scare in the morning (due to Beau’s AC separation from a road bike fall), we settled on maybe a little catnap and then head to the Pride Parade downtown. Every year, we like to pick a new destination to watch our fellow gays twirl down Elmwood and cheer our friends on as we wave. So at about 4pm, we rolled over and looked at the clock and ultimately decided to go back to sleep since the parade was at 1. Ugh, we are such horrible ally’s.

At about 6:30, we zombied out of bed. It reminded us of the first summer we were dating where we slept all day at the pool and partied at night. Good Lord, what a long way we have come. From there on out, it was groceries and errands- plus fulfilling a Ted’s Hot Dogs craving and ice cream at Anderson’s. This is the last day of fat kids, I swear. The best part of hanging out with Beau is that he is funny and laid back- the guy is down for anything and makes me laugh like I used to at the middle school lunch table.

Ted's. Don't hate.

Ted’s. Don’t hate.

Still not fully functioning, we watched a couple horrible movies (his pick) where I will never get those two hours back and cleaned up the loft in preps for the new week. Sunday night is always that refreshed feeling. After walking from the Hotel Lafayette down to the Greek Festival, then back and down to Canalside and then home- maybe that is why we needed that lazy Sunday. So far, boring.

On my birthday...*sigh

On my birthday…*sigh

5 Grumpy Quotes From My Parents That I Didn’t ‘Get’ Until Later

•November 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

‘When I was your age, I walked 10 miles uphill in the snow to school and 10 miles uphill back home!’…What? That doesn’t make sense. Parents. Their dorky, annoying ‘life advice’ quotes. How many eye rolls do you think we had as teenagers? Is it a natural defiance of ‘those who yell at us’? We think we have to prove them wrong? Good grief, hormones and lack of frontal lobe. We do ourselves no justice…that is until we hit the latter part of our twenties. (at least, the majority, one would hope) Suddenly, we go through things that change us- or prove us wrong and naive…we start saying the exact words as our parents did because we are trying to make some other kids’ brain work…life gets hard and a *click* happens. Dammit, my parents were right.

1.’We’re not made of money, you know.’ What? What do you mean? You buy my clothes, feed me, I know you’re Santa, and you just bought a new couch. Lies. Perhaps I won’t get to say these exact words until I have a whiny teen, but it definitely made sense after the age of 18. You start to realize all the other payments involved- mortgage, cars, broken water tank, new tires, vet bills…Oh, so I’m not the only thing that costs a lot. You begin to grow up and observe the real life circumstances that happen- many times pertaining to monetary stress. Then you really get wise and realize that the hard-workers of our world do not get paid enough to feel safe 24/7. There will always be moments of frugality (another hated word from my child & adulthood), transferring money, and paying off debt. It’s life and, no, unfortunately we are not made of money. But Mom- I really want those shoes.

2. ‘You’ll live.’

No I won’t! My 9th grade boyfriend just dumped me and I am crying so badly that my eyes are puffy and I can’t breathe and it’s the end of the world and you don’t understand! How did my parents even live through that? Or any other massive complaint against having to do something I didn’t want to or not getting what I wanted. There is always some sort of scenario that ends with this statement. Well, guess what? I am here! I survived! And I just keep going- even if sometimes it feels like it is the end. And all those grave-like situations ended up teaching me a lesson, even if it took several years to really grasp it. The moral of the story is: you’ll live. Through anything. Keep waking up each day and force yourself to get moving- one day you will awake and not even remember what you were so downtrodden about to begin with.

3. ‘People only care about themselves.’

Oh, now now- don’t turn up your nose at this negative-about-humanity quote. It is often one I continue to struggle with myself. Literally a demon and angel on my shoulders. I have had faith restored and taken away from many circumstances stemming from this advice. I am trying to accept it as: sometimes people only care about themselves. Having met some selfless people in my life, I cannot imagine this statement to be true on their behalf. Sure, we have all experienced someone stabbing that hypothetical knife in to our backs…a friend that never makes an effort to stay in touch and you continue to have a one-way relationship…someone that has thrown you under the bus in order to get ahead. Alright, well- here is where that quote goes in. But take it with a spin: those people that do not think of you? Run. The other way. Lesson learned.

4. ‘Who cares what they think? If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?’

What! No! That is a totally off the wall thought! I’m not that dumb. Ok- then why do we get wrapped up in what others think? What is so important about so & so that makes you want to do, or not do, certain things? This quote was used mainly in negative situations (like, ‘But [insert name] has one!’) and was effortless in handling reverse psychology. If I had cared about what others thought, I would’ve dropped out of music (band geek), never worn leather pants (the only one) in the 11th grade, and would’ve erased all the Haiti funeral music off my iPod (weird). Luckily with this advice, I did my own thing and ignored all the other dweebs. And after a while, people catch up and realize…hey, that is pretty cool.

5. ‘One day you’ll wish they were around- now go over there and give them a kiss and tell them about your day.’

Wow. You really don’t get this until you’re older. I never did not want to give my grandparents kisses nor did I never not want to tell them about my day- but you know how snarky kids are- oh boo hoo, that one day you’re tired and you’re bored. Because, you know, you have somewhere to be apparently. There is not a day that goes by that I wish I had my grandparents longer. To give more kisses, to tell them about my days now. I think of all the things I learned from them and what I still (try) to keep alive. If only they were still around. Goes hand in hand with the ‘Life is too short’ saying…I think parents and grandparents understand that all of the teen pout is normal and, wisely, they ignore it. I always would give a kiss and tell a story- but it just isn’t the same when you do not have them around…I grew up and my life is starting now- I’d like to talk about that…

Ughhhh, my parents had smart things to say. Whatever, so they were right. Thank goodness. Because without harsh, confusing, and ‘totally wrong’ life lessons, I wouldn’t have grown up to be a super music nerd who still wears leather pants (hey, they’re back in) and blares Bhangra music out of my car. I wouldn’t have realized that sometimes we come across not-so-nice people but we should just avoid them. I wouldn’t be memorizing these quotes so I can use them on my irritable teen. I’m just lucky I had parents who made sure that I didn’t get away with lack of manners, common sense, and sense of self-worth. Now I just gotta make sure I give them a kiss and tell them about my day.

 

Life Is Short. Connect.

•November 6, 2013 • 1 Comment

I have always loved talking with and listening to strangers. What a weird thing to say, right? Let me explain. It’s funny how as you get older, you reflect on people who have inspired you and how characteristics of them have left lasting impressions on how you live out your life. My father and maternal grandparents make up this idea of ‘doing your best to understand people’. Looking back, I recall many memories of them striking up conversations with people they were surrounded by in any given situation…sometimes listening to others before saying a word. It became an important aspect in my life to understand people as best I could. Trying my hardest to do this on a daily basis, these are two brief instances I tried to make a personal connection and evoke that same feeling in another human spirit:

The Man and His Model Airplane:

My bad habit is Starbucks. It has been a love of mine since college and has served not only as a caffeine hub but also a social experience. At one particular store last spring, my schedule landed me at Starbucks at 8am three times a week. The beauty of a schedule is that you see the same employees and customers. One older gentleman, who was a retired teacher, always was in line the same time as me- or at least sitting at a two top nearby with a how-to model airplane book. We made small talk every occasion. He was always a slightly grumpy man and the employees always seemed shocked I could get him to smile.

That’s Gary- I don’t know how you get him to crack a smile. And he only talks about this airplane he is designing. Weird.’

Odd coming from a worker, but I took it with a grain of salt. I began to observe how Gary was always on his Blackberry when ordering and would give the same attitude back to the barista who was cold with him. It was as if he knew they whispered about him. Toward the end of summer, Gary wasn’t as chatty and complained about lack of sleep due to building a model airplane late at night. I didn’t grasp what was up until the end of September. For two weeks I didn’t run into Gary and the same scurrilous employee seemed relieved he wasn’t in there everyday sitting with one coffee for three hours, going on about his airplane. On the third week, Gary was seated at his usual spot- this time only with his coffee. I greeted him happily and asked where he had been. At first reluctant to speak, he explained that he had sold his patio home and would be moving to Maine that weekend- then he scratched his head and said, ‘

My wife passed away a week ago.’

Stunned by this statement, I sat at the edge of a chair and gave condolences on his loss. He went on to say that she had been battling ovarian cancer for over a year and he turned his time in to taking care of her and learning how to build model airplanes. I had thought perhaps he created this hobby to help his mind clear, but he then explained how his wife was a pilot for the Air Force and he built a model Lancer aircraft- which is what she loved the best- so she could have one near her bed while she was sick. My throat tightened and I could only express my sincere apologies…I had to leave for work… The next morning, I popped in for my morning wakeup venti ten minutes early on purpose. I asked that same gossipy guy if Gary had been in yet. He hadn’t. Knowing this would be the last time I would run in to him before his move, I had the barista make Gary’s regular coffee order. Taking my pen, I wrote to Gary- reminding him that his guardian angel would forever be with him and I drew airplane as best I could. Leaving for work, I thought all day about if he received his coffee. That next week- I got my answer: the same barista girl told me Gary came in not long after I had left, was handed his coffee, read his message…and smiled.

A First Date All Over Again

Today as I was researching in Barnes & Noble, a couple sat down diagonally from me. The man appeared to be early 40s, the woman about a decade older. It was hard to not observe them, mostly due to an increased vocal volume. The conversations reminded me of some awkward date situations I had been in- one vocalizing over the top show off skills, even some chest puffing. I could tell the woman felt a little funny and her uneasy laugh showed it. Worst part was, while seated behind the gentleman- he answered a non-existent phone call in which he held a ‘conversation’ about moving a meeting back for sales revenue. The angle he held his phone showed a blank wallpaper screen toward me. I chuckled to myself. This was wild! Then I stopped and thought…yes, this is funny…but I don’t know the story here…perhaps this guy is a ball of nerves. Getting ready to leave, I headed to the loo and no sooner did I begin a soapy lather but the woman from the table walked in. I smiled at her and she began the random ladies-room-vent-session.

Oh my Lord, I am on the worst first date ever!’ She laughed. I raised an eyebrow and exclaimed an ‘Uh oh!’ This is where I love connecting with people- some are more open to discuss life with you….and you never know where that conversation will lead.

‘How do I get out of this!’

I wasn’t sure if that was rhetorical on her part. So, going with it, I asked if it was a blind date. ‘I mean, not really! We met online and have text mostly but this is our first face to face. Not at all what I expected! He didn’t see like this at all.’ Thinking briefly for a moment, I tried to remember all the times my fellow guy friends had beaten themselves up over trying too hard. I wanted to make sure to think about both parties in this connection. Perhaps this gentleman was a kind soul but was too wired…

‘I did notice it sounded a little intense! I admit, I was chuckling a bit inside!’ I smiled. ‘I know, right?! Terrible!’ Then I did my best to use past observations into this current one,

Maybe he is just nervous! Give him another chance- maybe he will relax and be himself. A lot of my friends have kicked themselves for letting nerves get the best of them- he could turn around?’ She paused and nodded, understanding where I was going with this. ‘That does make sense…he recently broke up with his longtime girlfriend…he may honestly be nervous…’

Pieces started to come together as two strangers were in passing. The connection of laughter and the insight of perspective led to the woman proclaiming she would hold out a bit longer, in light of his nerves. In under five minutes, we had made a glimmer of light on a funny outsider perspective…and re-evaluated it as a natural human response. Maybe he just needed another shot at it.

In these flitting life moments, I continue to learn that with just a bit of observation, creating small talk, and connecting with others- maybe we can make someone smile…maybe we can steer them to positivity. You never know a persons backstory you less you try. Never assume. We do not necessarily know the outcomes of these conversations with strangers, but perhaps others will get a second chance at dating…or even a model airplane created with love.

The History of Orangemous

•August 27, 2013 • 1 Comment
THE original orange mouse. Where it all began.

THE original orange mouse. Where it all began.

Orange-moose? Orange-mus? Nope. Orangemous. But with no ‘e’ on the ‘mouse’.

There isn’t a week that has gone by over the past two decades where my email name doesn’t get a chuckle. And quite often, I end up explaining it because people think a visual of an orange mouse is hilarious. So here is the story of Orangemous, in case you have missed out on the story of last century.

Computers. A common household, now handheld, contraption which wasn’t so big back in the early 90s. Not 1890s, kids…1990s. *gasp!* In 1994, I remember shopping with my parents for a computer for our office. Every summer we had a green screen comp which they would rent out from their schools for a few months- where I would type up non-finished stories galore. So I was pretty excited that we would have one in our house 24/7. Once it was home, I don’t remember anything up until the point we turned it on (with dial-up!), saw the flash of colorful Windows 3.1 (what!?!), and fell in love with Minesweeper (huh?). Enclosed came information on how to access ‘America Online: AOL’ through our dial-up server which accessed the Internet (oooo!). Having the blind lead the blind, my parents and I gathered around the grainy screen, staring at this startup which asked for a ‘username’ and ‘password’. What does that even mean?!

Following the suggestions listed by the computer on how to choose a username, we knew we ‘shouldn’t’ have our names, last name, address, or anything inappropriate’ (who would do such a thing?). Scrambling to think of something…we felt lost and frustrated. We collectively decided to just pick anything because we were so antsy to see how the Internet worked and what AOL looked like- thinking we could just change it later…Sitting on the desk edge was a new cat toy for Madison- my bad-ass Tabby who was more like a dog than a cat. It was a neon orange catnip mouse which would wheel across the floor after you wound his wheels backwards. Drove the cat nuts. So we decided to just use that as the username because we couldn’t think of anything else on the spot.

O-r-a-n-g-e-m-o-u-s-

Dammit. AOL wouldn’t allow more than 10 characters. My Dad kept trying to trick it and hit the ‘e’. No luck. We gave up and just left it as ‘Orangemouse with no ‘e’ on the mouse.’ We kinda laughed at it, anyway. Come to find out, that username was our AOL email, screen name, chat room name, and we couldn’t change it for a certain number of days. By the time Windows95 rolled out the following year, we forgot about renaming it and already had told numerous people our email and screen name. Why change it?

Eventually, the length of characters and use of special keys came in to place- but we kept our ‘orangemous’ name. When they released the capability to have TWO screen names, my parents created an account for their business and I sorta just took over ‘orangemous’. After a while, everyone knew the name and it would’ve been silly to change it. The cutesy little toy had become well-known and unforgettable.

So through intermediate school all the way in to adult life, ‘orangemous’ has stayed true for 19 years. Unintentional spontaneity. And it still gets a chuckle outta people. And how do ya pronounce it? ‘Orange mouse’. Without the ‘e’.