Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Dad ... Forever in my heart

At 3:10 am this morning, surrounded by family, embraced by love and laughter, my father passed away.

It has been a year of many ups and downs highs and lows. There were so many times that the doctors had little hope that my dad would pull through yet somehow he always managed. This year was a "bonus" round, a blessing in every sense of the word.

We learned to work together as a family, four generations under one roof. Not an easy task, but it was such a privilege to have my dad at home with us. Our common goal of his well being and comfort far outweighed any of our personal differences.

He was a man of courage and extraordinary will. He reminded me of the Incredible Oz. Only until you looked behind the curtain, did you realize truly how frail he truly was.

Kenneth David McKenna was a husband to my mom Betty for 59 years. He was a dad, grandfather and great-grandfather. He lit up a room and had a sense of humor that was larger than life. As a family we laughed a lot and he was the conductor. Good times and bad we always managed to see a silver lining.

So in his last hours we remembered the good times. As we sat at his bedside we all shared funny memories and the laughs we had throughout the years. He smiled. We smiled through our tears, laughter and love filled the room as we said our good-byes.

Losing someone you love is never easy. Today, my heart is heavy, and I'm overwhelmed by sadness and an endless stream of tears. This isn't the end of my father. He shall live on in our hearts, our memories and in the stories I will continue to share.

His favorite time of year was Christmas. He always did it up big. So we couldn't pass up the Santa Snuggie we found last week. It only seemed fitting. It was his last photo taken just days ago, with a smile that could light up a city block.

I love you dad.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dodging Bullets

I lost a wonderful and very dear friend to breast cancer this year. She never once said "Why Me?" I have several other friends who are fighting valiant battles now. No complaints from them, all amazing incredibly brave ladies doing what they have to do with dignity and grace. I'm no different, not special, so every year when I get the results back from my annual mammogram and it's good, I feel as though I've dodged a bullet.

My dad has had pneumonia four times in the past year and a half. He almost died twice. He has been in and out of hospitals, he has a traich, a catheter and is on oxygen 24/7. He has amazed doctors with his resilience and sheer will to live. We brought him home to my house a year ago this month. Doctors were not optimistic and we counted everyday with him as a blessing There have been tears but mostly laughter. That's what we do in our family. Face anything and everything head on with a joke and a belly laugh and pie.

Today, I write this from Room 3115 where my dad is battling his 5th go round of pneumonia. When he arrived by ambulance a few days ago doctors thought he might be in for just a couple days, a "Tune-Up" if you will. Last night, was a bad night. He couldn't catch his breath. He's scared. The treatment has gotten more aggressive, his oxygen need is increasing and his breathing more labored. He's not eating. He's been here before and always come out of it. I never try to count him out, after all he has amazed us all so many times before. Yet, somehow this time feels different. So we wait, and hope and continue to pray. Does he have the strength to dodge another bullet?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad

This is my dad’s 53rd father’s day, my 53rd year as his daughter. No Norman Rockwell painting here, but more than five decades peppered with magical moments and plethora of belly laughs.

Growing up, my dad was always larger than life to me. He would walk into a room and everyone knew who he was. We never waited for a table. He engaged everyone in conversation causing me to shrink with embarrassment. At the time I wondered how could he just talk with everyone, selfishly knowing we would be there for a good while.

While my friend’s dinner tables were quiet and uneventful, ours was filled with the tales of the day and laughter. Sometimes we laughed so hard there was more giggling than eating.

My dad taught us everything from basic survival skills like how to deflect attention when passing gas in public to more important things like chasing your dreams and doing what’s right when nobody is looking.

Dad wasn’t perfect. He fell short on many an occasion. But, he was real. He was who he was, no apologies. The good memories have far outweighed the others.

My father planned the most wonderful vacations, like the summers we spent on Fire Island. We had to get there by boat. No cars on the island, we pulled red wagons along the boardwalk from the dock to the summerhouse where we stayed loaded with our necessities and our imaginations for what was sure to be an awesome week. It always was and even after 50 years I can still recall the tiniest details.

My father instilled in me his work ethic for which I will be forever grateful. He showed me how to stick it out, even when it isn’t always the fashionable or popular choice.

This past year has been the most profound of all my 53 years with my dad. He almost died, he was told there was no hope, has been in and out of a coma, in and out of the hospital so many times I’ve lost count. This once independent, larger than life figure now relies on others for just about everything. The most remarkable thing though, while his body may be compromised, his spirit and sense of humor remain unscathed.

It has taught me that life isn’t always pretty, sometimes it’s downright ugly but never let it get the best of you. A sense of humor and a soaring spirit will shine light on the darkest times.

It has taught me that my house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean with everything in its place. The chips and dents from my father’s wheelchair have become precious reminders of how lucky I am to have these months with him living in my home.

It has taught me to step outside myself. Realize it’s not all about me. That helping others, sharing what I have is far more important and gratifying.

It has taught me forgiveness.

It has taught me who my friends are, the ones who have been here to stand with me in dark hours, the ones who call just because and the ones who encourage when I just don’t think I can do it another minute and they never judge.

Most of all, it has taught me that my father is facing his mortality, much how he lived his life, with courage and grace. His smile is still a beacon, his spirit still larger than life.

So this Father’s Day, I am especially grateful for the time I have with my father. Our conversations are more meaningful. The “I Love You’s” are much more frequent. That just sitting in a room with him has significance. That every day I have from here on out with my dad is an extra special gift.

While our family portrait may be more of a Mad Magazine cover than a Norman Rockwell, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Your thoughts don't have words every day

Your thoughts don't have words every day

They come a single time

Like signal esoteric sips

Of the communion Wine

Which while you taste so native seems

So easy so to be

You cannot comprehend its price

Nor its infrequency

by Emily Dickinson

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Sometimes things in my life don't go as I had hoped or planned. Today was one of those days. Nick Vujicic again reminds me how blessed I am.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"People" from Funny Girl

I admit .. I lLIKE people~I NEED people
All shapes, all sizes.
Friends, family, strangers alike
The butcher, the baker the candlestick maker.
I've learned lessons from all

One of my favorite movie scenes .....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


If - a poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Friday, April 9, 2010

She Drives Me Crazy

Guest Blogger: Vicky Akins

I hate to admit it, but there are things I've done I'm not proud of. Some, I still continue to do, even though I know they're wrong. I don't know why I don't stop these behaviors but sometimes it seems the more I try to restrain myself, the worse I actually get. Sometimes, they're just annoying habits, like tearing at my fingernails because they tear so easily. Another one was smoking, which I finally quit doing in 2008. But others involve people.

I'm a very easygoing, down-to-earth woman. Ok, I'm a little compulsive about certain things, overly emotional and quick-tempered, but for the most part, not much bothers me. I consider myself a good judge of character and have a track record of near perfect accuracy when it comes to analyzing someone's intentions/ulterior motives. I'm also pretty tolerant of idiosyncrasies, having quite the collection of my own. But for some reason, some people just make me crazy and turn me into someone I don't like very much.

There's a woman I see every day who absolutely drives me up the wall. I don't know why, but she brings out the worst in me. Her voice, mannerisms, habits and even her physical apprearance annoy the hell out of me. She's never done anything to deserve this exceptionally horrid treatment but I can't seem to help myself. She's a great worker. When she puts her mind to accomplishing something, nothing can stop her. She's not bad to look at. I've heard others tell her she's attractive, yet I cannot bring myself to look her in the eyes and not feel anger just seething inside me. I can't explain it. I'm definitely not jealous.

I know she has a medical condition that has caused her to gain weight and I know she's very sensitive about it, but I insist on bringing it to everyone's attention and making her feel ugly. I know she's trying to fix it, but I have no patience with her and when I look at her body, I'm repulsed.

She's not a bad person. Most of the time she's very kind. Often times I've seen her put her own needs last so others' could proceed where they wanted or do things they wanted. I know she's experienced some outrageously difficult times throughout her life. But who hasn't? She doesn't seem to have much self-esteem. I've noticed she goes through stages when she seems more assertive and sure of herself but they are always short-lived. Her inconsistancy drives me insane. "

One day I found myself unable to control my anger. I stared her down and began to yell.
Pick a mood, woman!! Stop whining and feeling sorry for yourself. Stop bitching and moaning that you can't do this or that. Get off your ass and just do it!" She tried to explain that she really, really wanted to do just that, but she felt like she was struggling every day against an inner voice that fought her every effort and told her she would never be good enough.
For anyone else, I would've tried to understand, but I couldn't understand her. I would've forgiven a complete stranger for making mistakes, but I couldn't forgive her.
I've always tried to assist other people in eliminating what they consider to be their weaknesses. But I couldn't help her.

She's really no different than anyone else. She has the same emotions, experiences and the right to make mistakes as everyone. But for some unknown reason I always held her to a higher standard and expected more from her than others. For some reason I could forgive anyone's imperfections but hers. I wasn't proud of my actions. I wanted to like this woman, so I developed a plan. I made a point every day to look her in the eyes and tell her she was a beautiful person. I vowed to put all her mistakes in the past and remind myself that mistakes are lessons in disguise. They shape who we are and who we are to become. Oh, it felt like a big lie at first, I'll be honest. But with each day that passed it got easier. I'm think I'm actually starting to like her a little more. She's really not as bad as I thought she was. My anger has subsided for the most part and I've started keeping a list of things she's done that I'm proud of. Sometimes I even read it to her.

I've learned these issues don't have to be permanent. For some of us they are more work than for others but it is possible to work through them. I don't hate her like I used to. I can see her looking back at me in the mirror and see, not mistakes, but potential. I've got a way to go yet, but I think we're going to be okay.

*Just some thoughts. We're harder on ourselves than anyone else. Why is it we can forgive the mistakes of others' but not our own. Is this something only women do or are men guilty of this too? Drop me a note, give me your opinion. As always, to the 4 people who actually read this blog...thank you for your continued loyalty. You're the best!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tranquillity at Rancho La Puerta

Not one to relax, I couldn't imagine being able to find tranquillity anywhere. Not only did I find it at Ranch La Puerta, I relished in every minute of it!

Mykonos Authentic Greek Cookery

Truly my favorite restaurant,  owned by the Salivaras family, Mykonos is a place where you are not merely a customer but you are part of the family. Everything is fresh, cooked from scratch and authentic to Chef Andreas' native Greece.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How a Valley surgeon found his soulmate -- using Twitter?

How a Valley surgeon found his soulmate -- using Twitter?

ABC15 PHOENIX - People across the globe are connecting in 140 characters or less.

But social networking sites like Twitter,Facebook and MySpace aren't just for friendship; now they are becoming popular places for folks looking for love. 

"It's certainly not a dating service," said Twitter user Terry Simpson. "And you don't do it for that." 

"And you wouldn't go out saying I want to find a boyfriend on Twitter," said social networking user April Wilson. 

But last summer, Wilson and Simpson met while tweeting with a group of friends. Their twitter names are producergirl and terrysimpson.

"I wasn't looking for love," said Simpson. "I knew she existed I wasn't thinking about her other then it would be nice to know her and that's it.

Simpson said he mainly began using Twitter to gather opinions and thoughts for a new book he was writing called Cigar Talk

"The first 100 people or so that I followed on Twitter were all about cigars and that was my interest in Twitter."

Simpson, a leading surgeon and author in Phoenix, has written several books about how to succeed using Laparoscopic band (Lap-band) surgery.  

He said he's often a "smart aleck" on Twitter. It's something Wilson, a senior entertainment producer in Florida, found intriguing. That's when they starting "tweeting" to one another.

All their tweets about scrumptious food, wine and cigars led to a dinner invitation by Simpson's new group of friends.  He was in Alaska at the time.

"So I left from Anchorage flew down to Tampa about 4,000 miles overnight and this is the young lady who picks me up," Simpson smiled, looking at Wilson.

She also giggled and said, "And it was over at that moment.  We just went uh oh we're in trouble."

The two spent the rest of the weekend talking and getting to know each.  

Dozens of flights, hundreds of phone calls and thousands of frequent flyer miles later they decided to get married. 

Less than one year after first connecting on Twitter, the couple tied the knot. 

Their wedding ceremony on February 19th at the Phoenix Country Club was just the way they wanted it, low key with a small group of family members and friends. 

"What was really amazing was I think about half our guests were actually from Twitter," said Wilson.

And you can only imagine how the nuptials ended. Right after the officiate announced Simpson could 'kiss the bride,' they both grabbed their cell phones and Wilson shouted, "We'll tweet it out."

Simpson and Wilson say they can't wait to tweet about their next big surprise. It's so big, Simpson even changed the ending of his 4th book. 

"There will be a new little fella coming into our life," read Simpson. "A dog named Balto and a little boy named Jimmy, yep after my brother, when he is born you can bet I will pass out cigars."

From the http://MidLife Road Trip

@ocdchick  performed the ceremony
@gungagalunga played guitar and sang
@dudecavanaugh and @rickgriffin shot and provided the wedding video for ABC15

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bloggers put the "Social" in Social Media

Every once in a full moon an opportunity presents itself that is life changing. Recently, I had the privilege to travel to Tecate, Mexico and spend a week at Rancho La Puerta with a group of inspiring and empowering women. They shared amazing stories of their successes, triumphs over adversity and just plain true grit.It is with great pride and admiration that I introduce to you, "The Bloggers of Rancho La Puerta"

Gina Andrews 
Gina is a passionate young mother focused on expanding the awareness and education about breast cancer to “young” woman. A breast cancer survivor AND thriver, Gina’s a real spitfire who created where she champions early detection and shares her story of diagnosis in her 20’s with other young women. 

Melanie Berezan
 The first thing that struck me about Melanie was her outer beauty. She's tall, incredibly fit with legs that went on for days. Imagine my surprise when she told me she gave birth to four children in as many years. Not only does this mom talk the talk, but she walks the walk. A rare combination, Melanie is a great role model moms everywhere.

Diane says she's a fool for good conversation, green gardening and travel. A modern day "mother nature" Diane springs to life, even just talking about her garden. I was touched by Diane's kindness as I watched her photograph a little boy in Mexico, how she interacted with him and his family. She brought out the best in him, she found and captured such beauty in poverty. It was at that moment, I knew what a gift she had.

Heather Dawson
A veteran news anchor/reporter Heather is the creator of  California Life, an entertaining, informative news magazine show. Her on air presence is captivating and I found her to be so IRL (in real life). Soft spoken and engaging it is no surprise that Heather and California Life have found success. She has a winning formula of  positive energy and a genuineness that is a rare find in the entertainment industry.

I don't know what I can tell you about Sarah Evans that you don't already know. This young lady is a PR Powerhouse. Her "Twitter Savvy" got her  featured in both Vanity Fair and Forbe's Magazine and as recent as today she's on CNN.  She truly is "transparent" and was happy to teach this old gal some new tricks. 

11 time Rancho La Puerta guest, Julie Gallaher was the catalyst  behind the Rancho La Puerta bloggers group. It was her idea and tenacity that sparked the magic! Julie is all about the good, as you'll find on her website, Things You Should Do, which celebrated it's one millionth visitor in January 2010. Something you might not know, is that she has a beautiful voice and received a standing ovation at the Ranch when she sang before a packed house. 

Gail is the founder of Inspire Me Today and inspire she does! Gail led our group in a brilliant mastermind session that carried over to the following day. She's motivating and encouraging, creating a bonding experience that none of us will soon forget. I think of her as the unofficial God Mother of our group,  the tie that binds. 

She's building an empire one dish at a time and she has her hand in many. She's a food writer,  cookbook author, television personality, food photographer and she's Steamy, Steamy Kitchen! Jaden has intense focus She's able to juggle and balance her career with motherhood seamlessly. And did I mention, she has great ideas!

Alice is charm and class, and is as lovely as the gardens she writes about.  She blogs about historic landscapes, Modernist gardens and undiscovered green spaces in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. She has a gentleness and a calm that easily coexist with the gardens she exposes. She is a lilly in the valley of garden bloggers!

Joan Krimstein
New to blogging, Joan speaks to the empty nester crowd with grown children and grand children. She's been around the world and then some. Affectionately known to our group as "Joanie from Chicago" she embodies the spirit that it's never to late to start something new and no matter how bad your hip hurts get up and dance. And, Joan is quite a dancer!

Stacey McKinley
In a league of her own, Stacey advises businesses with federal land use permits, emphasizing environmental and agricultural sustainability areas.  She divides her time between California and Washington, D.C. doing good things and making positive changes. Stacey is no wallflower. She participated in just about every class and activity at the Ranch. Her schedule exhausted me!

Andrea Metcalf
With more than 25 years under her belt as a personal trainer Andrea has an amazing fitness legacy helping hundreds of people get in shape. You can see her on the TODAY SHOW, GMA Health monthly, NBC Chicago weekly, BETTERTV weekly, a contributor to More Magazine or read her blog posts on  All that aside, Andrea is truly such a nice person, a great conversationalist. It's no wonder why she is in such high demand!

Babette Pepaj 
Babette is a light, a shining star! Her smile lights up a room.  She has a terrific sense of humor and an amazing sense of self. Her wheels are always turning and her mind is on overdrive. No shortage of ideas, Babette is the brains and the braun behind the incredibly successful BakeSpace Community. A truly extraordinary woman.

 Jennifer Quinonez  www.californialifehd.comJennifer is an award winning, Emmy nominated journalist with more than 10 years experience who is currently a writer and producer for "California Life." Jennifer is so understated, that unless you read her bio you would never even realize her laundry list of television credits, accomplishments and accolades. Beth Rosen
If she didn't tell you, you'd have no idea that Beth Rosen has been creating media for over 20 years and is the mother of four children that include a set of twins. She looks like a kid herself. Don't let her youthful looks fool you. Beth Rosen is a dynamo. Ever evolving, Beth produces commercials, podcasts, and videos in the Chicago market and runs BKR Media.

Melissa Jun Rowley
Melissa is far from ordinary as is evident by her start in life, when she was found on the police station steps in Soul, Korea. She has had an illustrious career to date from covering the likes of the Oscars and Golden Globes to interviewing President Barack Obama. Today, Melissa's passion and focus are on social change and cause reporting. A force to be reckoned with Melissa has enough talent and drive to make a huge difference!

Jackie Silver 
Defying her genetics Jackie is Aging Backwards. She talks about it on TV, radio, in her book of the same name and in the columns she pens.  But, what I love most about Jackie is that she's young at heart. If you are lucky to meet her IRL you'll be her BFF for life, because Jackie knows no strangers. She's sweet, generous and has a heart of gold. She was also a great roommate at Rancho La Puerta, opting for ear plugs to drown out my snoring versus throwing me outside with the wildlife!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Morning

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the Salutation to the Dawn.
- Kalidasa, Indian Poet

Monday, January 18, 2010

Renee Salivaras Epitome of Grace & Courage

Renee Salivaras has been sidetracked. Inconvenienced. Not the type of interruption where the phone ringing in the middle of a great movie or your child tugging on you while your talking to your best friend. Renee has been sidetracked by cancer. It hasn't stopped her, it's barely slowed her down.

Nearly three years ago, Renee was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's had surgeries and chemo and a variety of other treatments. She's lost her hair not once but twice. 

She still looks after her family, is active in the community and goes to work everyday in Mykonos, the restaurant she owns with her husband Andreas.
She never complains and always has a huge smile as she greets her guests in the restaurant. Nothing has changed only now she does it sans hair.
Renee says she's not sick, she's just been sidetracked. I say she's remarkable.

Her daughter Sofia Zaronias is determined to see that a cure is found. She'll walk in the Susan Komen 3 day in honor of her mother's courage to fight and the grace and dignity with which she has done it.
Sofia has trained for the past year, with her team of 3 they call... The Miracle Milers. They will be cheered on by Renee herself, who will be there at the start of the race to see them off and meet them again at the finish. Sofia Zaronias says her mom is more than a mom, she's her best friend. Renee Salivaras says Sofia is more than a daughter, she is her strength and her courage. I say they are an inspiration.

I wrote that in October 2008. This morning, my incredibly brave friend Renee, "our angel" as Sofia calls her, left us.

Memories of our friendship flow today in a river of tears. I won't get to sit with her over coffee anymore but with every cup I ever drink, she will be here in my heart. While cancer took her life it never got the best of her. Chemo took her hair, but never her spirit.

Renee was beautiful, in every sense of beautiful. Her eyes were an intense, insightful blue. They were indeed mirrors to her soul.

It gives me enormous comfort to know what a faithful, spiritual person Renee was. We never passed a church without her respectfully doing the sign of the cross.
Her family was everything to her and she was devoted to them. We never had a conversation that didn't include her sharing their latest accomplishments.

I'll never forget our first meeting. I felt like I had always known her. Renee had that way about her. She made everyone feel as though they were part of her inner circle. I remember years later sitting around the table at dinner and everyone speaking Greek and I was of course clueless. They always forgot I wasn't Greek, to the Salivaras', to Renee, I was family.

Everyone who walked into her life whether through the restaurant door as a customer or a friend of twenty years was greeted with an enormous smile, a hug, a warm welcome. Renee was probably the most generous person I knew. She always gave to her church, to worthy causes, to her community, to friends and family. She had a heart of gold.

Renee didn't judge. She always forgave. I loved the way she always wanted my opinion. I can hear her now "So what do YOU think Sand". She really wanted to know. What I thought mattered to her.

There were no pretenses with Renee. She was as honest and genuine as they get.

We used to take "day trips" spending the day doing everything and nothing. We would talk for hours about anything. Nothing was off limits. We never had a cross word, well except when we would stop for lunch and fight over the bill.

I remember going the the Komen 3 Day with Renee to cheer on Sofia. She thanked every walker she saw. Cheered everyone on. She was filled with gratitude. She was amazing, a pillar of strength. I remember Sofia crossing the finish line and her and Renee embracing. I sobbed. It was a bond like no other.

Sofia is pregnant now and Renee will never get to meet her grandchild, but I know Renee will be there every moment of everyday of that babies life. Every time I hold Sofias baby I will think of Renee and the joy and love she brought to so many. And when the baby grows older, I will share my memories with him or her of my dear friend, their yaya.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Changing Landscape

You heard it here first! After a six-year relationship I am calling it quits with my landscaper. He did a great job for the first five years but he has gradually become too comfortable and complacent. Our yard, once the envy of the neighborhood is now barely holding its own at “status quo”. This might be acceptable if we were paying for status quo, but we’re paying “green with envy” monthly maintenance fees. The coconut that broke the Royal Palm Frond, came by way of a $300.00 unapproved up charge for additional palm tree trimming he said was not covered in the monthly fee. This may have been all well and good had he not been so presumptuous in assuming we were willing and able to pay the additional charges. He never gave us the courtesy of telling us in advance. It’s not so much about the $300.00 as it about the fact that he took away our freedom of choice!

The landscape is changed in many ways, mostly as a metaphor for my life.

Six years ago, I would have never had the courage to confront my landscaper. He had all the power, I would have paid the up charge, I would have settled for status quo. But, the landscape HAS changed. Mid Life happened.

So, I tell the landscaper, the economy has changed. {As if he hadn’t noticed.} The “landscape” of the way we do business has changed. It is unacceptable to us that he would just charge us for something we didn’t request. To which he said he would split the difference with us, letting us know that he felt that was a very generous offer on his part.

I don’t know what struck me more, the fact that he charged us or that he had the audacity to let us know he was doing us a favor by splitting the cost. To that I confidently said “at the end of the month your services will no longer be required.”

It was liberating! No longer bound by the insecurities of my youth there is something so incredibly profound about realizing the landscape has changed in more than one way. Mid Life is here dammit and lots of good will come of it!

It’s the time to see your childhood dreams come to fruition, throw caution to the wind and challenge yourself. Getting out of your “comfort zone” had become your comfort zone!

The status quo just doesn’t cut it anymore. Time used to be measured by how expensive my watch was. Today, time is more about “how I spend it” and “who I spend it with” …

Mid Life is about luxury. The “luxury” of knowing who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re headed. It’s not the beginning of the end, but the beginning of the beginning.

New Beginnings … Second Chances

In the amount of time it took me to write this post, my landscaper had a change of heart. Not only did he wave the additional charges, he lowered our maintenance fee by $25.00 a month with a promise to bring back his A game.

Mid Life is about taking a stand, backing it up with fact and purpose. It’s about giving and getting second chances. It’s about moving forward, going places and enjoying the ride, no matter what the vehicle!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is there "Truth" in Numbers

Scott Stratton a.k.a. @unmarketing wrote a blog "Saran Wrap Series ~ My Transparency On Twitter." It's about automating your Twitter account. It really caught my interest because for some time I had been vacillating about whether or not I should start automating my Twitter account to "beef up my numbers."

For some reason credibility comes along with tens of thousands of followers. As much as I would love to see my "reach" grow swiftly and in record numbers, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The beauty of Twitter is the sincerity of its users and the ability to really connect with people I otherwise would never have met. Managing my Twitter account is no different than the way I conduct business or the way I make friends IRL. It's all personal. It all has purpose and meaning. In doing so, Twitter has changed my life in so many ways. Opportunity has come tweeting more than once. Had there only been spammers & porn stars in my tweet stream I might have missed some of the remarkable people that have come into my life.

Twitter has taken me around the world, virtually and IRL. Somehow that far outweighs "beefing up my numbers."