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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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A taste for the macabre…

imageI like skeletons…and spiders, zombies, vampires, the moon, the color black, goth music.  Darkness fascinates me. I am a Whedon fan. I watch Blade and Underword movies.  I don’t like horror flicks that rely on surprise and blood and guts to scare. I am a sucker for a well-crafted noir urban fantasy. Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman…two of my idols. However, I would not call myself a pessimist. I am a realist and a fighter. Am I fearless? No. Do I try to be brave in the face of adversity? Yes…and I like to think I am smart enough to recognize when a strategic retreat is necessary. Halloween approaches. My favorite holiday because for that brief time, others are okay with me sharing some of my favorite things. (Imagining new lyrics to Julie Andrews’s song. ;))

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.

The theatre, the theatre…

image“What has happened to the theatre?” The quote is from White Christmas, but certainly applies now, if you are over 35 anyway. My hometown had two movie theaters, the small, downtown one and the drive in on the south side. Our theatre showed one movie at a time. There was a small concession stand which sold popcorn, soft drinks and candy. By the time a movie made its way there, probably 75% of the rest of the U.S. had already seen it…twice. I saw a movie this afternoon. I had numerous choices to make. What film to watch? What time to see it? Which theatre to visit? Once there, (no line to wait in, hello ordering tix and printing them out online!), I could find anything from sushi to gyros to nosh on. Fancy a margarita? No prob! The seats were roomy and comfy like Dad’s old Lazyboy. No fighting for the armrest. The screen, ginormous and curved. This was one amazingly high tech multi complex. I enjoyed the movie, (Jurassic World). It brought to mind one of the first movies I ever saw,  one of the Sinbad flicks. I remember the old, velvet curtains parting, the fanciful molding and sconces on the walls, the clickety noise of the projector…the intimacy and sharing of that experience with the rest of the audience. Hearing others gasp when the Cyclops appeared. Noticing when the watcher on one side moved to cover her eyes still peeking between her fingers. I don’t miss the sticky floors or the crap sound system. I don’t miss running for the bathroom and stumbling blindly back to my seat while the rest of the moviegoers in my row cursed me. I don’t miss the cranky ticket lady who was so slow that you had to figure in extra time for her fumbling.  But I do miss the awe and amazement of people who very much still felt the magic of the cinema.

Turning over a not so new leaf…

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For years I was a member of a book discussion group. In fact, I ran one for awhile. Then things got busy, as they do and I stopped attending meetings. This month, I will join the local library book group. I miss the camaraderie, but also, analyzing other books will help make me a better writer and I will read some books that I never would have chosen on my own.

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.