Friday, December 30, 2005

Nights Of Lights

St. Augustine during this time of year is so beautiful at night. The lights are everywhere throughout the city...It's serene and festive at the same time.

such a cute photo of the j's in st. auggie

we had a great time playing in the town's all about the facial expressions...matt is by far the most creative...craig and tori look so cute.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

now that's chinese food and sushi too

so much food, so little time

shari and ted EATING OUT THERE with Candice Coleman

at IMPERIAL DYNASTY (now that's great chinese and super great sushi)

seasons 52

ted and cathy by the fire at seasons

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

china girl on ice

ice skating with jenny during her visit with ted and i. she's heading back to shanghai next week so we wanted to make sure she did something very non-chinese.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

merry christmas everyone

Auntie Belinda, Michelle and Uncle Mike ready for good tidings of joy!

Josie, Baby Theo (inside tummy) and Auntie Mila having fun, fun, fun!

my uncle Bob and his new bacon band-aids

Elaine and her KFC...Michelle too!

what teddy got me

3 T's - Christmas Day

"Leo", Mommy Glow and Me - Christmas Eve
All words to describe my Christmas Eve and Christmas with Ted and I's family. We arrived at the J's on Friday night...late. I think we went to bed after 1 o'clock in the morning. On Christmas Eve, we got up around 8 a.m. to begin helping in the kitchen. Okay...Ted got up to help in the kitchen. I went ahead and assigned myself a member of the clean up crew. I TOOK TIME FOR ME AND WENT SHOPPING! What a great gift -- taking time for YOURSELF. It felt normal since I haven't exactly been normal for the last few months. I stopped in all of the stores I wanted to and had lunch outside on a perfect day. I meditated on how much I have to be thankful and how God continues to reveal so much to me through others and what happens in my life. When I got back to the J's, I was fully revived and washed every dish in the sink, put them away, helped with laundry, wrapped gifts for both families, blew Trish's hair dry and got myself ready for dinner at Todd and Cindy's. As always, the food was fabulous! The company was great too! Around 11 p.m. we headed over to my Aunt and Uncle's house for the second celebration on Christmas Eve. It was very special...Josie was there with Theo and little Theo. She is a month away from delivery...Can't wait to see the little baby. Presents were everywhere and so were people. Ted and I sat next to each other along with Neil and Mom. I received many nice things including clothes, journals, two copies of Gilmore Girls, Season 4 so I am going to trade one in for season 3 and just overall a great big warm heart from all of the smiles and reactions while everyone was opening their gifts. Bob and Mila had a gazillion desserts as usual. They also made chicken -- adobo and bourbon. YUMMMMMmmmm! There was lots to eat and lots to enjoy. We got back to the J's after 3 a.m. It was a good exhaustion. Christmas morning was busy with all of the preparations for dinner and gifts. I helped by attempting to be available for clean up but Mr. J. kept doing it himself. I would probably be the same way too. Once again, many things were given. Ted got me SIRIUS radio for the car. Todd and Cindy got me a gift certificate to JJill. Trish looked well and very happy. I was blessed by that over and over again throughout the day. We sat down for lunch and prayer was given by Ted, Sr. We all found ourselves a bit emotional...Well, okay, a lot emotional! It's all very intense but everyone has been such great help. It's really out of our control. After enjoying a delicious meal that was very similar to Thanksgiving (THANKS TODD), Ted and I left for Mike and Belin's home. Somehow I drove right to it even though I had no idea where I was going. Everyone was there. The table was set. There was a lot of macaroni. Elaine brought a friend -- Brian. I believe he plays guitar and she jokes around like she doesn't like him at all. Josie was allergic to something in the air. The dog was as cute as ever. Uncle Mike seemed upset...Not sure why. I gave the blessing which was the only moment that the television was muted. The rest of the meal was with Pulp Fiction in the background. It was turned up very loud with surround sound. I've never eaten to so many gun shots or "F" bombs. Regardless, I enjoyed talking with everyone and catching up. Mom seems healthy and happy. Josie and I got to know each other better. They were the first to leave after dinner and dessert. She was so kind to ask me to witness the birth along with her mom, cousin and Theo. I just may do that...Never have before but I figure this is a great time to be there to see a miracle. I have to say that it was a meaningful time all the way around. So much has changed in a year...I know things continue to change. Uncertainty, fear, community, creation and hope is also a part of this year's celebration too.

Merry Christmas to all who are in celebration!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas is here!

So, I am getting ready to go home after a very exciting and very busy holiday season. I am having a moment of sadness because it went by so fast and now, I can hardly remember when it all started. I do, however, remember the kindness and the love that I have felt throughout the last two months from people who are willing to step in and do the impossible not because they have to but because they want to...GOOD STUFF!

Ted and I are off tomorrow morning for family time at the Johnson's and Lay's in Jacksonville. Can't wait to see everyone to celebrate Christmas and the idea of coming together from all different places to share the holiday as families.

Monday, December 12, 2005

brown bag lunch

Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.
Tom Peters

One of my favorite memories of my mom is when I was in the 3rd grade. I was in a combination class of both 3rd and 4th graders so it was already an interesting year. Secretly, I was attached to Mrs. Bragg still who was my teacher the first part of the school year but the combo class was something new they were trying...Some kind of experiment that was predicted to help advance learning. At the end of the school year we had testing going on. Instead of getting lunch from the cafeteria that day, we had to bring our own lunch to school -- it was a brown bag day. Well, my mom was not familiar with the "brown bag" concept. She didn't grow up in this country and typically provided money for hot lunch every day. So, I went home and told her that we needed to have a lunch the next day. She made one for me that morning. It was the best lunch ever in a regular size grocery bag. In it was a hamburger the size of a whopper. I had a full bag of chips that you would bring for a group of friends. I had half a poundcake that was homemade. I don't remember the drink. We didn't grow up with soda so the only thing I could think of was she may have packed some fruit juices for me. The reason I feel I remember this is because that day everyone couldn't help but notice my lunch. It wasn't your typical PB&J with a snack pack of chips. It was a picnic for 5. What I love is that my mom wasn't like everyone else which made me different. Strange enough, I was okay with being different when I was young. I have many stories about other ways I volunteered to be different. I loved that my mom didn't know what a brown bag lunch looked like and I am so glad that I had someone who gave it her best effort even when she really didn't know.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

my friend Joe

I live for those who love me,
for those who know me true.
George Linnaeus Banks
So the other day I was remembering a very good friend of mine from the days I lived in Columbus, Ohio. Yes, I lived in Ohio. Hard to believe. Most people ask me when I mention it "why did you do that?" My first response is the most honest...I did it because I was in love BUT that story is for another time. Anyway, while living in overcast Ohio, I met a guy named Joe who ended up being in several classes with me. I enjoyed his company even though he was anti-Clinton, a smoker and on the rebound from a four year relationship with a girl that left him for another guy. We connected. I was the optimist and he was the pessimist. We hardly agreed on any level but somehow we formed a friendship that made attending Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, not so bad after all. It was the first time I lived in the snow or anywhere that you couldn't get to the beach in less than an hour. I had an apartment downtown with a view of the public library parking garage. Joe and I would grab coffee and a snack at a little coffee house two blocks from campus between classes. He was always talking about his family...Lots of brothers and sisters all raised Catholic. His parents were great and still married after so many years. He would talk about his ideas of what he would do after he graduated. Of course, I talked to him for several years after leaving Ohio and he was still in school...Something about the University not counting his credits or classes. He was a bartender, a server, a construction worker, a "joe" of all trades. I returned to Ohio for other reasons a few times after I moved back to Florida and we'd always get together. One night, I was distraught so Joe and I went out downtown. There was confusion with the ATM, then I had to pay but not to worry because he was always there for me whether it was a good or bad day...We both were. On the phone a couple years later, he and I talked of going to Vegas together. He even made me hang up and bought me a ticket. As the week of the trip drew near, Joe had to cancel. We never went to Vegas. I don't know where Joe is today. Everything I've sent has come back and the number is no longer in service. I miss Joe because our friendship was based on a mutual respect and being okay with who we were as individuals and as friends. There were no expectations, no rights or wrongs, just two people who had a connection that in hindsight was such a breath of fresh air...even in non-sunshine Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

bells will be ringing

'Tis the season to give!

Oh the sounds of the bells...Still ringing with me. I have spent the day at the kettle enjoying the company of the ch. 6 news team and the station management. I can say it was one of those days where all of my energy was involved in making sure everything went well and that everyone was happy and thanked and given an opportunity to come back again to help others whether it was for a donation or for those who were volunteering.

Mr. Wonderful and catsitter showed up at the end of the evening and shopped for Santa hats for the kids who will be caroling at the Toy Shop opening. Ahhhh...the help of good people, friends, fellow humans with big hearts. Just lovin' the love!

So exhausted in a good way...So much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about...18 days until Christmas!

I am on for tomorrow with Candice at Aldo's. I've never been there so it should be quite the adventure.

Here's to new adventures! Go people go and give people give!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Being Perfect

Check out kathy who inspires and challenges me every single time...

Thanks Kathy for sharing your life with me at the diner on Monday.

You'll find the following excerpt and other things to know when you visit her beautiful site.

MAY 23, 1999

I look at all of you today and I cannot help but see myself twenty-five years ago, at my own Barnard commencement. I sometimes seem, in my mind, to have as much in common with that girl as I do with any stranger I might pass in the doorway of a Starbucks or in the aisle of an airplane. I cannot remember what she wore or how she felt that day. But I can tell you this about her without question: she was perfect.

Let me be very clear what I mean by that. I mean that I got up every day and tried to be perfect in every possible way. If there was a test to be had, I had studied for it; if there was a paper to be written, it was done. I smiled at everyone in the dorm hallways, because it was important to be friendly, and I made fun of them behind their backs because it was important to be witty. And I worked as a residence counselor and sat on housing council. If anyone had ever stopped and asked me why I did those things--well, I'm not sure what I would have said. But I can tell you, today, that I did them to be perfect, in every possible way.

Being perfect was hard work, and the hell of it was, the rules of it changed. So that while I arrived at college in 1970 with a trunk full of perfect pleated kilts and perfect monogrammed sweaters, by Christmas vacation I had another perfect uniform: overalls, turtlenecks, Doc Martens, and the perfect New York City Barnard College affect--part hyperintellectual, part ennui. This was very hard work indeed. I had read neither Sartre nor Sappho, and the closest I ever came to being bored and above it all was falling asleep. Finally, it was harder to become perfect because I realized, at Barnard, that I was not the smartest girl in the world.

Eventually being perfect day after day, year after year, became like always carrying a backpack filled with bricks on my back. And oh, how I secretly longed to lay my burden down.

So what I want to say to you today is this: if this sounds, in any way, familiar to you, if you have been trying to be perfect in one way or another, too, then make today, when for a moment there are no more grades to be gotten, classmates to be met, terrain to be scouted, positioning to be arranged--make today the day to put down the backpack. Trying to be perfect may be sort of inevitable for people like us, who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and in its good opinion. But at one level it's too hard, and at another, it's too cheap and easy. Because it really requires you mainly to read the zeitgeist of wherever and whenever you happen to be, and to assume the masks necessary to be the best of whatever the zeitgeist dictates or requires.

Those requirements shapeshift, sure, but when you're clever you can read them and do the imitation required. But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

This is more difficult, because there is no zeitgeist to read, no template to follow, no mask to wear. Set aside what your friends expect, what your parents demand, what your acquaintances require. Set aside the messages this culture sends, through its advertising, its entertainment, its disdain and its disapproval, about how you should behave. Set aside the old traditional notion of female as nurturer and male as leader; set aside, too, the new traditional notions of female as superwoman and male as oppressor. Begin with that most terrifying of all things, a clean slate. Then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: for me, for me. Because they are who and what I am, and mean to be.

This is the hard work of your life in the world, to make it all up as you go along, to acknowledge the introvert, the clown, the artist, the reserved, the distraught, the goofball, the thinker. You will have to bend all your will not to march to the music that all of those great "theys" out there pipe on their flutes. They want you to go to professional school, to wear khakis, to pierce your navel, to bare your soul. These are the fashionable ways. The music is tinny, if you listen close enough. Look inside. That way lies dancing to the melodies spun out by your own heart. This is a symphony. All the rest are jingles.

This will always be your struggle whether you are twenty-one or fifty-one. I know this from experience. When I quit the New York Timesto be a full-time mother, the voices of the world said that I was nuts. When I quit it again to be a full-time novelist, they said I was nuts again. But I am not nuts. I am happy. I am successful on my own terms. Because if your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all. Remember the words of Lily Tomlin: If you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

Look at your fingers. Hold them in front of your face. Each one is crowned by an abstract design that is completely different than those of anyone in this crowd, in this country, in this world. They are a metaphor for you. Each of you is as different as your fingerprints. Why in the world should you march to any lockstep?

The lockstep is easier, but here is why you cannot march to it. Because nothing great or even good ever came of it. When young writers write to me about following in the footsteps of those of us who string together nouns and verbs for a living, I tell them this: every story has already been told. Once you've read Anna Karenina, Bleak House, The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbirdand A Wrinkle in Time,you understand that there is really no reason to ever write another novel. Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time has ever had. And that is herself, her own personality, her own voice. If she is doing Faulkner imitations, she can stay home. If she is giving readers what she thinks they want instead of what she is, she should stop typing.

But if her books reflect her character, who she really is, then she is giving them a new and wonderful gift. Giving it to herself, too.

And that is true of music and art and teaching and medicine. Someone sent me a T-shirt not long ago that read "Well-Behaved Women Don't Make History." They don't make good lawyers, either, or doctors or businesswomen. Imitations are redundant. Yourself is what is wanted.

You already know this. I just need to remind you. Think back. Think back to first or second grade, when you could still hear the sound of your own voice in your head, when you were too young, too unformed, too fantastic to understand that you were supposed to take on the protective coloration of the expectations of those around you. Think of what the writer Catherine Drinker Bowen once wrote, more than half a century ago: "Many a man who has known himself at ten forgets himself utterly between ten and thirty." Many a woman, too.

You are not alone in this. We parents have forgotten our way sometimes, too. I say this as the deeply committed, often flawed mother of three. When you were first born, each of you, our great glory was in thinking you absolutely distinct from every baby who had ever been born before. You were a miracle of singularity, and we knew it in every fiber of our being.

But we are only human, and being a parent is a very difficult job, more difficult than any other, because it requires the shaping of other people, which is an act of extraordinary hubris. Over the years we learned to want for you things that you did not want for yourself. We learned to want the lead in the play, the acceptance to our own college, the straight and narrow path that often leads absolutely nowhere. Sometimes we wanted those things because we were convinced it would make life better, or at least easier for you. Sometimes we had a hard time distinguishing between where you ended and we began.

So that another reason that you must give up on being perfect and take hold of being yourself is because sometime, in the distant future, you may want to be parents, too. If you can bring to your children the self that you truly are, as opposed to some amalgam of manners and mannerisms, expectations and fears that you have acquired as a carapace along the way, you will give them, too, a great gift. You will teach them by example not to be terrorized by the narrow and parsimonious expectations of the world, a world that often likes to color within the lines when a spray of paint, a scrawl of crayon, is what is truly wanted.

Remember yourself, from the days when you were younger and rougher and wilder, more scrawl than straight line. Remember all of yourself, the flaws and faults as well as the many strengths. Carl Jung once said, "If people can be educated to see the lowly side of their own natures, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and to love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy and a little more tolerance toward oneself can only have good results in respect for our neighbors, for we are all too prone to transfer to our fellows the injustice and violence we inflict upon our own natures."

Most commencement speeches suggest you take up something or other: the challenge of the future, a vision of the twenty-first century. Instead I'd like you to give up. Give up the backpack. Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through too much of our lives. It is a quest that causes us to doubt and denigrate ourselves, our true selves, our quirks and foibles and great leaps into the unknown, and that is bad enough. But this is worse: that someday, sometime, you will be somewhere, maybe on a day like today--a berm overlooking a pond in Vermont, the lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Maybe something bad will have happened: you will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life, and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be.Don't take that chance. Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of bricks far behind. Every day feels light as a feather.

One Thing I Know for Sure: The greatest gift you can give to the world is the gift of being yourself.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Weekend Warrior

Treasure the one who lightens the burden of anyone else.
Charles Dickens

Friday with My My...Dinner at home. For the record, I cooked! Yes, it was mac and cheese -- 2 different kinds. She likes the sprinkles. How do they know about sprinkles? She took a huge bubble bath and watched a Disney show. Mr. Wonderful got home and they played for awhile. Bedtime had passed so I read her a nice little story from O Magazine to help her fall asleep.

Saturday morning at First Watch...Always good. Stopped by Alex D.'s Birthday party. Ted's Christmas Party with 2100 other employees. Lynn and Steve were great! The Mummy with both the guys was too much fun!!

Sunday was great...Shopping with at MAM. A quick stop at home and then off to Jax for curry chicken with Trish. I talked to Doris, little brother, Timmy and DBM while heading north for a brief visit with everyone.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Christmas!

There are those whose lives affect all others around them. Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another. Reaching out to ends further than they would ever know.
William Bradfield
Bill Schaefer from WESH who actually came to DragonFLY's school during lunchtime when I was in 3rd grade. I let him know that I never forgot that...He said that was my first debut as a television star. Bill is super cool and brings great news every week to Central Florida.

Love the crunch - meet Mr. Wonderful's fab. father

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

service with a smile

May your greatest pleasure be that which rebounds from hearts that you have made glad.
Henry Ward Beecher

Caring Candice and DragonFLY at Shakers in College Park...To be seen on WKMG 6 at 5:45 p.m. So much fun and so much great food!

Ho ho ho...Merry Christmas everyone! In the midst of the holiday craze and loving every minute of it. What's up with shopping at the last minute. I'm pretty much finished unless I decide that I want to add to my Christmas list. If only there weren't so many birthdays during this time of the year. Making a mental note...Hahaha!

Started this post yesterday which was a totally in office day -- ate lunch at Chipotle with Hurley, Genius, Janiceeta and KG. We talked about the newlywed game and dating Simon Peter. So much fun, they are! Last night, Mrs. J. Brown came over and we had a beautiful conversation about life, relationships and how important it is to take responsibility. Love her so much!! My My and Mr. Wonderful were playing Zombie. It's a hot new game that includes wrapping My My in a huge quilt just like a mummy/zombie. I guess they played so well that he fell asleep on the chair watching Rudolph on the Disney channel. So cute!

Today started a bit late...could not get out of bed. I had a case of Ginger-vitus. Went to get coffee and a power bagel and stood in line with Orlando's finest police and firemen. Hello! I am awake!

Lunch with Caring Candice and Mr. Photog. at Shakers for the Eating Out There segment. The food was fabulous and we laughed so hard, I know we worked off our lunch. Even though he didn't like our idea of putting all of the salt and pepper shakers together like a gang for the tease, I know he loved our Marilyn Monroe impressions. Too crazy!!

So, the possibility of starting the show continues to ripen and I just know there's a way. God is opening some amazing doors for me and I am loving Him and all his blessings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

as requested

Wish List for B.

-- trip to London (oh yeah, got that already!)

-- watch
-- Jennifer Weiner's new book - i've read good in bed, in her shoes and little earthquakes
-- Gilmore Girls - season 3 and 4
-- anything with dragonflies -- journals, pins, etc.
-- Six Feet Under - any season
-- yoga mat bag
-- Frosted Cranberry from Bath and Body (holiday fragrance only)
-- Ficus Tree
-- new running shoes (size 10)
-- soundtracks from Felicity, Dawson's Creek, Alias

Monday, November 28, 2005

hanging in there

Through the difficult times there have been those who were always there for me, and they have helped me to understand how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way.
Margot Barrett

I believe in so many things...the God who gives love unconditional and grace beyond any human, having purpose, embracing...the sky above and the earth below and the way it cares for each of us even when we're not looking...the way that life is full of surprises and all you have to do is be there, to really be available to what is real...the truth, the reality of what is and what isn't...Seeing beyond our own eyes.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

so thankful

...if everyone in the world were like you guys, the world would be a better place...
thanksgiving 2005 guest at Helpings from the Heart

Today I am thankful for people who go beyond themselves to show others love. We have been here since 4 a.m. and have seen a day of gratitude, a day of giving, a day of incredible generosity.

Thank you for another Thanksgiving full of everything that every day in life should have...hope, courage, love and appreciation.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

My little China girl

It's not what we have in our life, but who we have in our life that counts.
J.M. Laurence

China Girl and I talked this morning...So great to hear about her China Times. She is incredibly wonderful for taking that step and making that move to go and live in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT country where no redheads live and they certainly don't ride their bikes around town and get lost.

I am still up and working on things that need to be done before tomorrow. What a day! Well, now it's more like what a tomorrow. So, I need to go to bed and have a whole 4 hours of sleep so I can start the madness all over again.

I wonder who was sure. Hopefully it wasn't the trash dweller. Sorry...everything from here on out is not true.

Back to goodness...Angel Tree Kickoff went very well. I am so incredibly excited about this holiday season and the program. I know there are a lot of great things to come.

Lunch at CPK by my lonesome. Tim and I shopped and talked. He's my soul brother and someone I just care so much about...Sometimes that just happens and I am so glad in Tim and I's case, that it did.

Bed will be arriving early tonight for me. SOOOoooooOOOooooooo Tired and must have sleep for tomorrow's craziness -- Jill, furniture moving, cleaning, kettle kick off and captain kettle.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

In Celebration -- Gramma

Make use of your faculties while you are going toward your golden years because you want to be of service. To give of yourself, to LOVE---this is why we are on earth.
Lola Santos

Over the summer I lost my gramma (my dad's mom). When it happened, I was working in Pensacola during Hurricane Dennis. It was my first day on the job as PIO so I never quite had a chance to process anything...In a lot of ways, I still haven't. My gramma was someone I did not see a lot but I knew thought of me often. Her letters and cards were beautiful, kind and well written. She kept me in touch with what was happening with my dad's side of the family -- Uncle Pilot and Auntie School Teacher and all of their children. Because of her, I feel like that part of my family is familiar even though it's been over 15 years since I've seen any of them. She was quite the Yogi. She enjoyed attending soccer and basketball games to cheer her grandchildren on as they played. She lived in Montana pretty much her entire life and would often write to me about the weather. Her husband, my grandfather, died when I was very young. She never married again. When I first heard of her death, I was extremely sad and immediately a feeling of regret took over because I so wish I would've been able to see her before she passed away. I wish that we had the chance to have a one-on-one conversation about her life, her history, her hopes for her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren. I wish I could've held her hand and told her that I loved her and after all the years she was the one keeping me closer to my father and his heritage more than anyone else. I wish I could've just said thank you. I wish, I wish...

Because, I know that's that is not possible now. I celebrate her today and every day. I celebrate the way she brought life to her letters through words and expressions of love. I celebrate her choice to raise a family. I celebrate her thoughtfulness and her way of letting me know, that he was always thinking of me. She herself struggled with that I believe...I celebrate her hope, her journey, her truth even through difficult circumstances. I celebrate her life because it was and is so much a part of mine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Paul Anka


I really wanted to talk with the be frie last night. GG was fabulous and I can't get over the persistence of Rory and the cherub bedroom set that Loralei just could not be okay with...They're back and it's going to be great!
How 'bout Luke's daughter? I like her.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Applause without prompting

There is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.
J. Robert Moskin

The pace of life can make us blur what's important. We are all very busy, that's for sure. But somehow we must always make time for gratitude and new beginnings. There are moments in life when you appreciate someone so much that you just want to stop and applaud them. "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it," said William Ward, "is like wrapping a present and not expressing it." Is there a teacher, leader or mentor whose wisdom or guidance may have changed the trajectory of your life? Is there a customer who believed in you, a colleague who stood with you, a volunteer who served with you, an employee who moved mountains for you, or a friend who laughed or cried with you? Sometimes we can't express exactly how we feel about them, but there's one thing we can do: we can stop and let them know we are grateful.
Dave Zadra, author of the book Gratitude
Today has been very productive and a complete collaboration with people who I work with every day and people in the community who I enjoy working with to make things happen. So appreciative for so many things!!

Off to the mall and to Geri's for a catch up session. I want to be home in time for Gilmore Girls so I can call the be frie. Now, that's a person I appreciate and love soooo much!!!

Be Frie and Eli - July 2004 with me at my wonderful bridal shower that they hosted.

Eli is super cool! A woman who can make quilts and loves green as much as I do.

Monday, November 14, 2005

embrace change

Growth means change, and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.
George Shinn

So busy today...That's why I'm late in getting my thoughts out here. All I did was work. Lunch was work. My errands were work. Even dinner tonight with Mr. Wonderful was work. There were work calls during dinner and our conversation revolved around his work. So, no more work in this outpour. There's got to be more to my day...

I can rewind to yesterday where I heard the funny saying, "I stepped out of the fire, into the poo." What do you do? Throw away the shoes, maybe? Try something new on, a new approach and a new way to deal with it all. Being responsible, being mature, being bigger than your circumstances.

I talked to KT tonight who is holding her first Soul Collage class this Saturday. I remember when this was a mere idea...A possibility for her. So, this weekend she is sharing her idea with 20 other women who will no doubt be inspired by just the follow through of an idea, of an expression and the action taken to create something special to nurture and encourage their spirits.

I discovered Salon Ciseaux's website today...That's a great place for people to take on something new...A new look, a change for the better. Check it out Step into the life you were intended to live.

...sample change embracing...

a photo of my brother, cousin E, my childhood bestfriend TD and I in pyramid formation.

my brother with my engagement ring

China Girl's birthday and the barbershop quartet..."five string quartet"

DragonFLY and Mr. Wonderful -- just married!

The following today inspired my spirit:

The element of genius. Indeed does genius have a shape or a form? If we cannot spot it by size or shape than how do we know we're in its presence? Might we have been privileged to witness moments of genius in Oprah Winfrey's vision these past 20 years. During which genius or something akin to it inspired millions of her fellow Americans to stand tall in their personal lives and reach beyond their limits. That genius is echoing still in the hearts and minds of the many who were encouraged to nurture the goodness in themselves and ready themselves to take the reigns of their lives into their own hands and hold them firmly and have a say in what direction their journey through life should take. In these past 20 years, America's media industry as extraordinary as it was would have been considerably less vibrant without the genius of Oprah Winfrey or something akin to it. As an audience, you have seen her vision on your screen. As a friend, I have seen it in action. For 20 years, it has remained something to behold. Congratulations Oprah from all of us for those past 20 years and for the light you've brought that shines so brightly on those who need it most.

Sydney Portier, Oprah's Best and Worst Show, 20 years

Wow! What an amazing surprise on her show today.

What about something from WISE WOMEN?

Sister Mary Christabel, 80


Off to dreamland where we may run into each other...Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bright lights

The person we all love and appreciate is the one who's coming in the door when everyone else is going out.
Mason Canon

Today, I begin with the bright TV lights...They were so bright, I had to close my eyes...

It is I, DragonFLY with Keith Landry doing a taping of Orlando Matters.

A total BONUS morning in so many regards...It was great to see JS from the Orlando Science Center. He gave me free tickets for the upcoming new James Cameron movie that is showing in their IMAX theatre. While I was there, I got free concert tickets from the hottest weather guy in all of Central Florida -- Jim Van Fleet. He is in a band called Sandstone that will be performing at the Hard Rock Live on Dec. 16. So going! I don't even like country music but it would be fun to try. He spent Thanksgiving with us last year and we ended up getting on the FOX 35 promo about being "out in the community." Jim ROCKS even though he's from Oklahoma. After cleaning up the drool, I headed out to Chipotle for a quick bite. Yumalicious! Love that place. I asked if they had many people dress up on Halloween for their free burrito promotion and they said yes! Everyone came as Chipotle Burritos wrapped in tin foil. I so wish I would've remembered that!!

Festival of Trees with Candice and TR -- what a great time!! My hair looked so Eva Longoria...Of course, she wears a double zero in clothing...

It's good to be home wearing no shoes and just relaxing.

Weekend here I come!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why dragonFLY?

Dragonfly symbolism crosses and combines with that of the butterfly and change. The dragonfly symbolizes going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing. Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity.

They are fantastic flyers, darting like light, twisting, turning, changing direction, even going backwards as the need arises. They are inhabitants of two realms - starting with water, and moving to the air with maturity, but staying close to water. Some people who have the dragonfly as their totem have had emotional and passionate early years, but as they get older they achieve balance with mental clarity and control. They gain an expression of the emotional and mental together.

Dragonflies are old and adaptive insects, and are most powerful in the summer under the effects of warmth and sunlight. Their colors are a result of reflecting and refracting the power of light. As a result, they are associated with color magic, illusion in causing others only to see what you wish, and other mysticism. The are often represented in Japanese paintings, representing new light and joy. To some Native Americans they are the souls of the dead. Faerie stories say that they used to be real dragons.

Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. "Let there be light" is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life. They help you to see through your illusions and allow your own light to shine in a new vision.

Big hearts

People who deal with life generously and large-heartedly go on multiplying relationships to the end.
A.C. Benson

So this morning my favorite establishment was out of my favorite bagel. I eat there almost every day. They couldn't save one for me. Am I going to have to call ahead for one lousy bagel. Okay, I hear ya...At least you can go and get a bagel. Stop complaining! Yes, I agree. I am very blessed in so many ways...In fact, today I want to dedicate this blog to my wonderful husband...He truly is a blessing.

Dedicated to the one DragonFLY loves

Mr. Wonderful with a Sea Biscuit this summer in the Keys...So adorable!

How to describe him...According to the Fortune telling birthday book, he is...

...when you can forget yourself, you are very entertaining. You are intellectual but inclined to be oversensitive and should cultivate self-confidence. You are careful and considerate, and although slow in drawing conclusions, you are unusually accurate in your judgement. You are affectionate and loving...

Mr. Wonderful is my bestfriend, someone I trust wholeheartedly. I believe in his abilities, his talents, his dreams. I love him for his strengths and for his weaknesses. We were friends first which helped each of us really see each other...What I mean by that, is when you are consumed by being "in love" you don't always see someone as they are. You see the wonderful only, not the imperfections which is really, in my opinion, the glue to a relationship. It's the little good and bad things that keep the relationship balanced and healthy. I enjoy being with him and I really like him as a person, as a friend and as someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. When we got married last year, I thought that I loved him so much BUT then, I realized that every day the love I have for him grows greater and deeper. It never ends...It is a wonderful place to be...a place of sharing, being in sync with another person and loving them where they are at that moment in their life. It's amazing!

I'm off to the Dynasty...I can't wait to give my big-hearted husband a big hug!

random happy picture

Beautiful Candice and DragonFLY in June. Candice has the nickname "Crazy Candice" but if I had to give her one it would be "Caring Candice." She is the kind of person who brings light in a room and can make things happen that creates joy in the lives of others.

I am looking forward to this Friday with Candice and TR...Festival of Trees! Should be a great night!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

JEM is truly outrageous!

These are the Days that must happen to you. You shall scatter with a lavish hand all that you learn or achieve, and those who love you shall rise to your example and be inspired.
Walt Whitman

Synergy...Rio...Whatever happened to my pink-haired friend, Jem? I had the earrings and would proudly wear them to school. Not only were they pink stars but they would light up just like hers. I think I finally let them go in high school. The pink had faded and the batteries were dead. Oh the 80's! So much fun and we didn't even know it.

So, today is a very busy day in work land. Hundreds of people are trying to get assistance with the upcoming holidays and I have been helping get the info into the computer. Qutie fulfilling and eye opening. After Brian and I worked together to catch the system up, we took a break and watched C and N make Raggedy Ann dolls...No, not really. They were prepping yarn for the angels.

After work, I got a chance to sneak a quick bite with Sue and Jan. Great salad and pumpkins! We are going dancing and maybe entering a bikini contest! Haha! Okay, we can shop for swimsuits. No worries! I dropped off the girlsies and headed to class. Tonight was all about Crisis Communication and Media Relations. Super interesting when we shared war stories. It really is amazing what some professionals have to subject themselves to. Cell phones have really changed the industry and our privacy!

Dinner at the M's -- April 13 and Dec. 30 -- Always a good time. They are just beautiful people. The kids were running around playing football with squirrel and raccoon masks. LE was on the swing. She is growing up -- so are the others. Food was great! Conversation always great! A quick trip to CF was fabulous! Eli is and will continue to be the type of person you can be real with and feel comfortable being around no matter what the situation. Ya gotta love a girl like that! Never will forgot the strawberry jam and jelly! Mr. Wonderful didn't make it so he missed out.

Here's to dancing and being REAL! Here's to another day of really moving through the world as ME!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

happy pics - dedicated to my-my and jenny

MyMy and I -- we were frowning together
The rest of the photos are from Linda's wedding. Miss ya China Girl! Hope you're doing okay Linda Lou! Chris...Can't wait to see you!

Clean Teeth

Yours was only a sunny smile, but it scattered the night and little it cost in the giving; like morning light, and made the day worth living.


Dentist appointment at 8 a.m. WOW! What a difference. Thanks to the Great Dentists and Hygienists...I am ready for a Crest whitestrip commercial. I started thinking about what it would be like to be a dental hygienist. Of course, this all happened while I was sitting in the chair under the influence of the "gas." Do they really look at the inside of people's mouths all day? Seems kind of gross but I suppose you could get use to it. I just don't get how people decide they would like to do that for a living. Don't get me wrong...I have the utmost respect for them. They are great at what they do and are very friendly to my choppers...or is it chompers?

So, last night Mr. Wonderful and I had an amazing dinner at Bonefish where the most delicious mussels in the world are served. GO THERE AND TRY THEM! The bread is what kills you because ya gotta soak up the delicious sauce. While we were eating, I heard a voice come from another table that sounded familiar. I looked over and there was a girl I went to high school with years ago. I believe she was in my brother's graduating class. Her voice, more than her look, is so memorable. It's one of those high pitched sounds that pierces the drums. I noticed she was celebrating her husband's birthday and possibly her mother's. They had desserts served to them with candles and sang the birthday song. Then, I observed the manager exchanging words about a "miscommunication" and before they knew it, he snootily suggested that he'd pay for the desserts and walked away. Her face was full of shock. This whole thing went on as we were finishing up. As we were leaving, the husband was explaining to the server, who I'm sure was doing whatever he could to protect his tip, that he just couldn't believe how "unprofessional" the manager was. Not sure what ended up happening...I think they got two free desserts! Ain't nothing wrong with that BUT ya just hate to have it potentially spoil a nice evening with your loved ones. I always learned in the restaurant business to take care of your people. It's Bonefish so I am sure the number of disgruntled guests is very small.

Education is key. I found myself in a very ackward situation because I didn't know any better...professionally speaking, of course. It was funny how the parties involved reacted but I certainly don't like to not know who I am talking to and what it's all about. It's been handled and hopefully won't create a problem.

Tonight is GILMORE GIRLS! Jesse is back...Should be interesting for Rory and Loralei. My be-frie, will be missing the beginning. We usually talk during the commericals. We literally hang up on each other at the end of each break and then call back during the next one.

Amy is the girl that does my nails...She's pregnant -- 3 months now. YAY for Amy! The only challenge is her schedule is super erratic now. Never know when she's going to be here. Those of you who don't know how hard it is to find the perfect nail tech, you wouldn't really understand. I am sure it will all work out...I just need to process. Oh, I am such a girl sometimes!!

For now, I must go...Tonight, I am really getting my nails and toes done. It's time baby, it's time!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Down Doggie

George Colman

ToJo is45! Happy Birthday!

According to the Fortune-Telling Birthday Book, To is... will love with strength and ardor and demand the same from your mate. You love travel and change of scene and can readily adapt yourself to any environment. You are generous and kind. It gives you a great deal of pleasure to help others...

Check out ABOUT ME for my birthday book summary.

Went out of town to spend some time with family...Had dinner with Mr. Wonderful's parents on Friday night. Mr. Wonderful's dad grilled up some delicious salmon in the egg. Those of you who don't know about the egg are really missing out. Ooooooweeee....It was yummy! Trish and Ted are the master entertainers. Their home is welcoming and so inviting, you almost don't want to leave. It's become a home away from home for us. After dinner and putting Fab Father in law to sleep, we stayed up talking with Trish. Time to express, to digest, to feel what you're thinking is so important. I found myself revealing what I know in my heart and head, but not what I can express to another person. Saying it out loud, giving a thought life through breathing it, can change the effect. Sometimes you can heal it and sometimes you can see it more clearly.

In the a.m., we got up early for a Saturday and went over to the Awesome Aunt and Uncle for some coffee...Of course, they don't just make coffee! Uncle Awesome filled us up with a delicious french toast dish made of challah bread and strawberry sauce and my all time favorite -- whipped cream! Coffee at their house is always a tastey treat not just 'cuz of the food but the company too. We are trying to talk Auntie Wonderful into opening her own wedding planning business. She's always coordinating something. Then there's Uncle Wonderful AKA the BEST BAKER...He needs to open a place called Uncle Awesome's Kitchen. It could just be an online biz. They'd both make millions!

On Sunday, To and I went to a YOGA class. The best place to do Yoga according to Folio Weekly. No mirrors, wood floors...Just To and about 12 other people and their mats. The heat was on and I was sporting a new Yoga shirt that breathes as well as plastic. We rocked the studio considering we were the newbies! I really love the relaxation and the awareness that Yoga creates...Just taking the time to breathe and to stretch feels so incredibly calming. At one point, the instructor asked everyone to "let everything go." I felt a weight lift off of me and one tear fall down my face. During the final pose, I pictured the tops of trees with leaves rustling and a clear blue sky in the background...It's such a beautiful sight and one that I have actually experienced.

I am currently partnering with a couple other ladies who shall remain nameless -- let's just nickname them Sue and Jan -- on trying to rev up our Health Awareness. I can't complain so far since I am making a conscious effort to eat better and exercise more. To the women I love and am strengthened by, don't let me go and I won't let you go either.

Cuzzy E has hooked me up! I have the soundtrack to Grey's Anatomy. Even though I've never watched the show, I am totally loving the music. Here's what's on it:

1. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
2. Ruby Blue - Roisin Murphy
3. Song Beneath The Song - Maria Taylor
4. Where Does The Good Go - Tegan & Sara
5. Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well - Mike Doughty (Of Soul Coughing)
6. Wait - Get Set Go
7. Could Be Anything - The Eames Era
8. Portions For Foxes - Rilo Kiley
9. The City - Joe Purdy
10. End Of The World Party - Medeski, Martin & Wood
11. Catch My Disease (Live Version) - Ben Lee
12. There's A Girl - The Ditty Bops
13. Whatever Gets You Through Today - The Radio
14. Fools In Love - Inara George
15. Cosy In The Rocket - Psapp

Last thought for this moment...Love to my little brother, who always makes me laugh and who I know will make an amazing father. We talked on the phone for almost an hour last night. Of course, he was totally distracted by the "babies" in the room. Oh yea, what's his birthday fortune?

You are very courageous and have keen perception and an analytical mind. You like society, travel popularity and you are led by your ambitions. You do not let unpleasant surroundings disturb you. You are an ardent lover.

Except for the "ardent lover" part and the "like society" bit, I feel it's pretty close. Wouldn't know about either of those myself. HE IS MY BROTHER!! If I had to write one myself, it would say the following:

You are very strong and have a sense of humor that cushions any difficulty you or anyone around you experiences. You are realistic, intelligent and fastidious with your work. You love your big sister even though you still haven't taken her to Halloween Horror Nights.

Pretty close...What d'ya think?

My brother, dragonFLY and our mommy-glow in October '04.

Buy my brother's baby stuff at the following (we aren't shy): (Baby Depot)

Peace today. Eat something green and nutritious for me! Not scallions, anything but scallions.