Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Every year this day, February 14th, ladies around the country are sitting at home patiently waiting for their man/significant other to bring a *smile* to their face. I say, *smile* on your own terms and love yourself. SMILE because you are an empowered women; smile because you have self-worth; smile because life is how you want to make it. If your significant other does something special for you... GREAT... if not, no big deal. He should have celebrated Valentine's Day 365 days a year. And if you are single (like me), here are some profound words that I live by... and so can you:

After a While - Poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every good bye you learn.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I looked the other way. Do you?

"Homeless, will work for food.  War vet, unable to work, please help."  Are we looking the other way?  Do we feel compassion, anger, or guilt?

"How am I suppose to help him when I can barely help myself?"

"Shooot.... her shoes look better than mine?"

I was shopping one holiday weekend in downtown San Diego and it was pouring rain.  Instead of being excited about the things I needed to purchase for family and friends, I could not help but notice the people we choose to look away from, ignore.  Maybe if I didn't look in their direction, they wouldn't ask.  I had never seen so many homeless people out - huddled underneath doorways, sleeping in trash bags and going about their day.  Most of us think of downtown as the hot nightlife, a time to get dressed up and be amongst friends.  Often we turn the other way when we walk past them, approached by someone begging for money.  I know, realistically, we can’t help them all.  I just believe we should show some compassion.   Easily, an outfit purchased for a night out can cost $50.  Easily, a night ends with a $100 tab.  Easily, we spend $5 to $20 on a box of pepperoni pizza or the greasy but so juicy California burrito.  Easily, we can spare a dollar to someone on the street, to eat, buy a beer or a pack of smokes.  How about a can of Fancy Feast?

I wanted to come back and find out how they got there.  It took 2 months…

I was watching The View about a family who had millions, decided to cut their wants in half to help others*.  It dawned on me, I am one of those people.  We think it but we do nothing about it.  Thinking is only half the battle.

How do we picture most of these people?  Decent shoes does not do it for us.  Decent clothes does not do it for us either.  Tattered clothes.  No shoes.  Unkempt hair.  A smell that will keep us a mile away.   Is that our definition of homeless?  Hell, even I smelled after walking around for two and a half hours.  Ask my sister, she’ll tell you I need deodorant, stay away from her clothes.  Now imagine not being able to shower for days, months and/or years.  A home lost, a job lost, and in a large city lost.  Homeless.  These people look like your everyday people with or without the shopping carts full of clothes, cans, and/or bottles. They are families with or without the signs for help.

I grabbed my camera, purchased some food and I was off.  It was so much harder than I thought. I walked away from the tourist scene, away from the luxurious hotels and restaurants and into pathways and crowds people often avoided.   They were sleeping in corners, doorways, laid across the sidewalks and on the grass of Petco Park.  I was actually scared.  Scared to approach them.  Scared of what others might think.  Scared I would be invading their privacy.  Scared because they might throw back the McDouble I hand over.  Funny how we hear something on the radio or on the news; they only want money to support their alcohol or drug habit, so they must not want food.  Baby steps, baby steps.  First step, look around and stop looking the other way.  

A gentleman I approached came to San Diego about a week ago from Colorado in hopes to get his job back.  A war vet, a former marine he said.  He said he hadn’t showered in 2 weeks and is hopeful that something good will come along.  Estella, a 53-year old beautiful woman, diagnosed with stenosis and fibromyalgia, came to San Diego in 2007, lost everything she had in a bitter divorce in 2003.  I sat there talking to her for awhile, mostly listening.  I gave her all I had left in my bag, told she had the choice to share it with the people around her or keep it for herself.  "Nah, I don't mean to be selfish but I'll keep all of it, I'll have it for dinner.  How'd ya know McDonald's is my favorite?" Estella was kind of enough to allow me 1 photograph.  I asked her to smile for me.  "Nah girl, I told you about my teeth." She was missing her front two.

Estella thanked me for the food and asked god to bless me.  But I thought, please god, bless her.

While some of us think this is the life they chose for themselves, I don’t believe it’s a life any of us would choose for ourselves.  Most of them just lost their ways.  Looking for work.  No family support.  Mental illness that brought them here.  Most of these people lack insight to what they have and do not have.  Hopeful that their life will change and hopeful God will help guide them.

I’m not saying we have to give everyone that walks by money but to show some compassion, understand that this is not the life they asked for, not to assume the worst if we have not walked a day in their shoes.

* More about The Power of Half

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Online dating. A control freak's best friend and worst nightmare

Online dating. Every single girl (and guy) has contemplated it. Well, Celeste and I decided to bite the bullet and do it. Honestly, we didn't know why we've held back so long! Almost instantly, we were able to put forth our best features, list the qualities we want from guys, and filter out all them bad apples from the good . Gone are the days of having to painfully reject guys who approach you (that uncomfortable, sympathetic face you give to a not-so-attractive guy who taps you on the shoulder to dance). Gone are the days you ask that question: does he like me? Well, he gives me a look every time we pass through the hallways...when is going to approach me already? Online, you don't have to wait: wink at him for god's sake! And since he's on there, you know he's looking for a relationship.

All of a sudden you have CONTROL. Control over what types of guys you want to date, how you want to present yourself, how you want to approach him, and how you want to meet (meeting a guy you've met online- stay tuned). It was exhilarating. I have never dated so often and so many. Oh and ladies, they were all good on paper!

Yes, good on paper. Now the nightmare that comes with online dating. By date 3 (first is awash, you're too nervous to say you'll never see that person again or say he's the one; second is determining whether you stick it out or ditch him), you start to get this annoying feeling that there is something missing. Hello...can you say chemistry?!

All of a sudden you're asking why the hell does he talk like that? Is his neck too short for his head? Why is conversation so damn dull? Why do I feel like a crown jester trying to entertain him...heck, trying to entertain myself? Then, you think: omigosh, does he feel the same way? Am I boring him? Why isn't he calling me?

Why is this so damn hard when I controlled all the variables?!

For a control freak, having what you think is total control and then have it be taken away is much worse than never having it all.

And yet...I'm still online. Hey I'm a control freak and control is, well, my drug.

Apparently now I know the topic of my next post: Control freaks- that's why you're still single.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trial and error

My sister and I are always complaining about meeting Mr. Right/Mr.Big/Mr. Aiden, is there even such a thing? We had been contemplating online dating for a long time but too embarrassed to do so. I finally tried it. I was so excited about it; the questions that meant something to me, the % to determine your love match and enemy, plus so many choices (people, its like shopping). To make a long story short, I thought I met my match. Yes I said 'I thought'. It came pretty close though. It ended before it even began.  She too has tried this. She met someone - it was going well, then it became complicated, then uncomplicated and then love interest gone. Online dating can also be too easy for us to be so darn picky. Are you dating 2 or 3 people at a time? Sucks for the ones we left hanging. If this one didn't work, move on to the next. What happened to trying?

So here is a chance to get out there and work up the nerves to try a different scene.  Once a week, we will try approaching someone without our liquid courage.

We do welcome comments, advice, solutions, and your own stories of talking to someone in a coffee shop, bookstore and/or grocery stores.  Does this approach work?

"Things that makes me wanna go.... (obnoxious laugh)"

2:26 PM Dee: Let's change it to samantha
2:27 PM me: No
 Dee: Ok then I want to be caramel
2:28 PM Or vixen

Dee: Oh how about miss understood
2:35 PM Hello??!
  I don't like dee. It sounds like a fat girl
  I want to be diamond
 me: .pornstar name?
 Dee: Ok then I want to be rose
 me: hahaha
2:36 PM If I had a choice to picky my name - it would be rose
 me: youre not a rose
 Dee: Can u change it?
 me: youre nothing close to be rose..
 me: youre too obnoxious
 Dee: Well I don't want to be dee
2:37 PM Hahahah
  Fine then I'm cloud---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lanoche:  No, he didn't call.  It was great date, I just don't I'm sorry.Lanoche:  Its alright.  His funeral was last week and I missed  Good one.  Who did you hear that one from?Lanoche:  I made that one up, you like it?(basically he died in her book.. on to the next)


Now is now. Live it.

A friend of mine and I got together for our usual one night a week for drinks at a local pub (we like to pretend we are Lewis and Clark, Explorers of locals pubs and bars in San Diego).

We came across an irish pub called Conways Irish Pub in Carmel Mountain Ranch.  It was an interesting scene.  Renee use to live in Little Italy and has become accustomed to the downtown scene on a Friday and Saturday night where people show up in their snazziest outfit, looking good, and smelling good.  Here, there is a 8:2 ratio of guys and gals, where the men come after a long week of their 9-5er and the women are letting loose.  A good mix of ages ranging from mid 20's to mid 50's.  I'd like to say it was a good crowd.  We were approached by a middle age man that had been there for a few hours.  He was quite amusing, asked how we were, complimented us, told us he would leave us alone and then stood there staring at us for what felt like 10 minutes. We were amused.  The bartender* was amused. 

We typically have our usual talks about our life, relationships, the struggles and what we would like to accomplish for the future.  Lately, it feels like our chats have been about the men in our lives.  For instance, Dee is dealing with her dad and why he picked up and left her mom after 30 years of marriage.  Renee, on the other hand is dealing with a new issue - trust and whether someone you have been with for years can really change.  And I, cannot seem to grasp or hold onto a relationship, dismiss men who are interested and want what I can't have.  We'll save these topics for another time.  But this time, it quickly changed to why can't we just enjoy the present time.  Why do we constantly worry about the future, the changes we need to make and dwell on our unhappiness.  And when the future comes, we'll look back and wonder why we did not enjoy our youth.  We really are okay.  We all have the needs we want and we should appreciate what we do have before its too late.

Here we are, 2 good friends without botox injections, still considered young and fresh, sitting at a bar and enjoying a couple of beers on a Friday night. Life is great.

This is just a reminder when we have our days, because we do and we will dwell, over-think, and worry...
 we need to Live in the Present, Enjoy the Moment and take advantage of our Damn Good Looks!  :)

*How come bartenders, bouncers, and the busboys at the bars start to look so darn attractive?  Its like we want them to save us but they just smile their sweet smile like they understand our pain and that does it for us.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Names have been changed to protect The Dreamer, Hollywood, The Obnoxious, and The Closet Ghetto.

First let me start by introducing my circle of friends.

I am a 30 year Punky Brewster and when asked "So at what age should we stop shopping in the junior section?"  My response is, "I do not know, you are asking someone who is wearing turquoise and black striped tights and a home-made maroon gerber daisy in her hair."  I come up with random ideas, a new invention and a business concept that changes each day.   To be honest, each time I come up with an idea, I actually picture myelf making millions and invited by talk show hosts, like Oprah and Tyra, discussing the secrets of my success.  

La Noche
She is my sister, best friend, and also my editor.  She has been living in LA for almost 4 years now and is loving the city life.  She has transformed from awkward young girl with teeth my father could not stand looking at and hair that we tried to iron (a hand iron for clothes) ourselves because it looked like a lion's mane to Ms. Hollywood in skinny jeans, ankle boots, and new tops she purchases on a weekly basis.

The more to love, rambunctious, over the top and sometimes obnoxious, queen of all queens, princess of all princesses, is my friend Dee, whom I have been friends with for over 10 years.  She has the confidence of Naomi Campbell and the heart, once she feels bad, of gold.  A serial dater, a new flavor for each week, and has no problem asking a guy "So what do you think of me?"  "I know we've only had one date but where do you see us in a few months, am I marriage material?"  and sends text messages asking "if you see us only as friends?  Does that mean friends with benefits because I don't mind."

She is the "does this look good with tights, I could wear this with tights, and I know I should donate this black cheerleader skirt that I bought back in 1997 but I could pair this up with tights right?" type of girl.  We met in corporate America and became instant friends.  Well in our mind and each time we passed, we just knew we would be instant friends, it just took 2 years for it to happen.   In fact, we were in a club called Aubergine in downtown San Diego, dressed to impress and waiting to use the washroom.  Someone had dropped their blackeyeliner on the floor and Renee picks up the eyeliner and said "Ooh a mac eyeliner.  Nice."  and puts it in her purse.  She looks over at me and says, "Oh, do you think I'm ghetto because it is Mac and all you have to do is sharpen it and it'll be as good as new."  At that moment I knew we would great friends.  She is the closet ghetto but if she see her, she dresses and speaks with such sophistication.