Minette Lauren

Published: 89 articles

Tour de Cure

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In the interest in finding a cure for diabetes, I have ridden the Houston Tour de Cure seven years in a row. My sister recently died of multiple health issues caused by diabetes, at the young age of forty-eight. My mom has type 2 diabetes, as do many other friends and relatives. Riding along this year, they asked us to cheer, “Go Red rider,” every time we passed someone wearing a red jersey that said, I ride with diabetes. It was a nice token, and I tried to say it whenever I noticed a red shirt. Every year before, I was happy to ride and felt like I was doing my bit to help a favored charity, but this year I was a little sad. My sister lived with diabetes for almost forty years, there is still no cure, and she is gone. I wonder if they found a cure, would they share it. There is so much money to be made in pharmaceuticals, it would be like putting a tire on the market that lasted forever….who would buy new tires? So many people suffer from diabetes. I have heard conspiracy theories before and thought hmm… but it is my wishful thinking that there actually could be a cure. The day was hot and sunny, we finished our goal for the year, and that was a positive end to my day. Go Red Riders near and far, and I’ll keep hoping they find a cure!

Self-serve and technology for the future…

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On my way to Greece, Scotland, and New York, I noticed a trend in American Airports. Order-yourself restaurants are popping up all through the terminals. Tables are lined with i pads for each guest. I sat and order everything I liked, selected a gratuity–before ever seeing a server– and had the option to pay by credit card or use airline miles! This sounds cool, but I wondered about our older generation. They still travel but are not always up on advancing technology. Who will help them to turn on the menu?

My experience was that you order, there is a one time beverage drop off, followed shortly by food. I did get a refill on my drink when flagging someone down, but no one ever asked how the meal was or checked on our table. Why should they…they already have their tip! These cafes look cool, chic, fast, but if I want to wait on myself, I would rather eat at Mc Donald’s.

Chili’s has been doing the i pad order and check out for years, but still has attentive, friendly staff to assist. Groceries offer self-checkout in most stores, and I fear it may be the wave of the future to select our food before even seeing a table.

New York city is full of bustling cafes and diners that you hustle in, place your order at a bar,then slide down to pick it up at the end of the counter.  You take a table and hope you have everything you need without having to return to the counter ten times. The amazing thing is we still tip! I’m a generous tipper, but the time may come, where I expect to be waited on for the gratuity to continue. It was a novel experience, but I will look for an i pad-less table in the future.

New York, New York

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I am visiting New York for the memorial of my sister. It’s been almost two months, and I have been dreading the trip. I am not keen on the Big Apple because there are too many people. I feel a little claustrophobic when I am here. My sister loved the city! My mom loves being a tourist, but I have this fear she will be ran over by a bus, as she stops in random places to take pictures of flowers. Lucky for me, it is a short trip and I will be sleeping in my own bed again soon.

We had lunch in Bryant Park, with the lovely white Birch trees canopied against the clear blue sky. Temps are eighty degrees here, and you might just sizzle if you sit too long in the sun. The pavement is hot, and the metal benches searing. The pictures above are from my window overlooking Times Square, the Bryant Park Grill, architecture in front of the library, and the famous lions that guard it. Having dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in ten or more years. I’m looking forward to a nice meal, catching up over a bottle of Salon champagne and then flying home to my furry family. Missing them to pieces.

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Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven

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Zoe Tasia has been to this particular castle many times, so when I asked where I should go in Aberdeen, she immediately said Dunnottar Castle. It was every bit the castle ruins I imagined I would see and more. Beautiful, majestic and towering above the cliffs of Stonehaven, it is a magnificent view of the North Sea and a great example of a medieval castle. Many Royals have visited Dunnottar, creating great history and stories of intrigue. The best part is that you can explore all the rooms and climb the stairs. Most of Dunnottar is open for tourist to roam free and let their imaginations fly. A true treat for my visit, even better than Sticky Toffee Pudding. It is a MUST see in Scotland.

Castles in Scotland

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Touring Aberdeen and Edinburgh, Scotland is turning out to be an amazing trip. There are so many things to light the imagination. The castles are wonderfully entertaining and full of history. I will upload more pictures at a later date, but alas this is an entirely different vacation than Greece and I am exhausted! Two castles a day, with all the driving, and stops for pictures, food or treats has worn me out. The land is lush and green, with beautiful gardens everywhere you look. There are rolling hills of wheat and forest full of ferns and towering tree canopies that shadow the earth floor on the sunniest of days. The weather was sunny and sixty-five degrees most days. The people here are beyond friendly and of course, I love the accent! I miss my furry babies at home very much about now, but I can’t wait to see Dunnotter Castle tomorrow and the village of Stone Haven. Off to bed I go! My time-clock is finally on schedule. More research  means more imagination fuel for future stories.

A little art and culture for the day….

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I visited the Houston Museum of Fine Arts today. There is a wonderful exhibit called Habsburg Splendor on display until Sept. 13th 2015. A beautiful collection of art and artifacts. Wonderful way to spend the day and let your imagination roam.

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Titan, Danae, 1554-65

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Guldo Cagnacci, The Death of Cleopatra, 1661-62

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Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto), Susanna and the Elders, 1555-56

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Antonio Allegri (Correggio), Jupiter and lo, 1530

 

 

 

Dog Days of Summer:)

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Yes, it is that time….the dog days of summer are upon us, and I am too lazy to do anything but a little laundry and lounge by the pool. There are a thousand things I meant to do, and I have a running list of errands to check off on my phone, but the pool and sun beckoned. School’s back in session, football season is upon us, and soon the leaves will fall. Swimming and lazy days in the sun will be a vague memory of the summer of 2015.

People say that owners look like their pets. I have a variety of pets, but if I had to say I looked like one, it would be my little dapple dachshund. Leo is freckled like me and loves to lounge in the sun. The pool cleaner is often referred to as the pool monster and Leo’s job is to watch for it every day to come on so he can swim around it for two hours. I have had a lot of pups in my lifetime, mostly Labradors, but I have never had a dog quite so obsessed about swimming! He takes his job seriously. So do I, so it’s back to writing, but the break was nice, the day was hot, and the water- cool beads of liquid on my soul.

Love thyself….

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Zoe was cutting herself some slack yesterday over tresses, and today I was having my tresses pampered. I really like my hairdresser. She is a down to earth lady with lots of character, spunk and a big heart. We discuss lots of topics when I am there for 90-120 minutes…I know, crazy for a hair appointment, but she is good. The topic tonight was about settling…She is mid-forties and tired of dating. She is convinced that there are no decent men left, and she has returned to a man, who most definitely is not good for her….or any woman. I mentioned a book she should read awhile back called, Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist. This book should be read by every woman who feels trapped in an unhappy, dysfunctional relationship and afraid to get out. Chances are the partner is a NP or BP.

My stylist decided that after being separated from her x for a time and dating, that she felt more comfortable with someone she knew and understood what to expect. After listening for a time, it wasn’t clear that she loved her x, so much as she wasn’t sure she could find anyone else who understood her. NP’s and BP’s are not good in relationships, but when their partner is about to give up they turn on the charm or give the partner just the thing they desire most.

I told her she deserved better, life was too short, and what’s wrong with being alone for a while. In the end, you can’t change other people, so for me to harp on her about the questionable choice to return to comfort and risk further heartache is senseless. The only thing you can change is yourself. I wish for her to find a special man who will treat her right and appreciate her inner beauty, but more than that, I wish for her the ability to love herself.

 

Are we losing our humanity?

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If you ever question whether society is losing its humanity, the answer is yes and no. I was driving on one of the crazy busy highways I warn my mother about for its’ short entrance ramps. I saw a car stopped on the side of the road, and my first thought is that they probably broke down. My inhumanity was that I didn’t even tap my breaks or think about stopping. In any major metropolis, people have cell phones and AAA insurance, so more than likely they were fine. Also, there are scams and bad people out there, so you have to be alert. Then from my rear view mirror, I see a young man crawl out of his car, stumble to the median and fall down. I immediately circle back while dialing 911, and direct the agent to the location of the wrecked car. The guy had hit one of the barriers leading onto the highway. It hadn’t been visible to me at first, since I approached from the rear of the car, and I didn’t see the actual accident. Several civilians stopped to report the matter and assist until the EMS arrived on site.

Here is where my story changes. The EMS arrived but didn’t seem very urgent about attending the victim. The three mull around looking for the best way to get the stretcher close to the young man- my guess is he is eighteen. One of the EMS gives the victim a shake and says “Stop playing, we haven’t got time for this bullshit…It’s too hot out here, now stop playing.” I may be wrong in the order of those exact words, but he definitely said all of that to the victim. I was shocked, and I told the EMS that the young man had not opened his eyes, and could barely respond. I didn’t think he was playing. The EMS said to me that he had been doing his job for twenty years and that the guy was more drama than hurt. He referred to the victim’s eyes moving rapidly under the closed lids… Maybe this is accurate, or maybe it was a symptom of a seizure? I am not a nurse, so I will not presume I was right or wrong, but the lack of humanity or urgency the EMS seemed to show was shocking. Another civilian sided up to me and whispered he thought the victim was really hurt. We both agreed it seemed highly irregular behavior for the EMS guy. The EMS continued to randomly put his hand in the middle of the guy’s chest and shake him, repeating for the victim to quit playing with them. I never saw him once take vital signs.

When a police officer arrived on the scene, she told us we could all go home. I didn’t know what else to do, so I went home. It bothered me so much that I called the EMS headquarters in Houston and reported the matter, stating I didn’t want to report someone, if the EMS’s were right in their assessment, but that it seemed odd and should at least be mentioned. I have firefighter and EMS friends. I know their job is hard. They see horrific things and probably have a lot of calls they feel are a waste of time. When my sister died a few weeks ago, the EMS came to the house, and tried to save her life. I have all the respect in the world for amazing people who do this very important job, but if it were me laying on the ground, after hitting a median head on, I would hope they wouldn’t have treated me that way. No matter what the circumstance, doesn’t everyone deserve help? The victim was just a kid.

To answer the earlier question of humanity…I think it is a matter of statistics. The larger a population grows, the more good and bad you will see. Six people stopped to help a stranger on the side of the highway. I still have hope.

Back to school….

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I am accompanying a friend to a college campus today for moral support. She is brave enough to go back to college mid-life, and like many of us, she has had a change of heart about what career she would like to persue. I received a degree in social work long ago, but never became a social worker. Life has designs on all of us, and unfortunately we don’t always know what we want to be when we grow up…. Until we grow up. Lots of non traditional students are back on campus giving life a second whirl. I think it’s great that so many have risen to the challenge to reinvent themselves for economic or self fulfillment’s sake. Move over iPad toting, backpack carrying, Nike wearing, young whippersnappers! Forties are the new twenties and we we are nowhere near giving up!