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Vegas Baby!

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Something must be wrong with me because my husband has asked me if I wanted to go to Vegas for my birthday, and I said, “I don’t know!!!” I think I might be plain spoiled, but after LA, Greece, Scotland, New York, and soon traveling to Kentucky for a wedding……I think I’m just tired of running for the plane. I also admit I am a white knuckle flier and hate to be in the air. Missing a current trip to North Carolina this weekend because of the hurricane, and there is a California trip still in the wings.

I love Vegas. I have been there many times and it is never lacking fun. If I go, I will have a ball and possibly come up with more to a romance story I started eons ago, about a VIP host, who worked at a big casino/hotel. Sometimes I keep waiting for my life to slow down, but when it does, I just fill it up with more things to do.

Vegas, no-Vegas… I’ll enjoy my birthday either way and the memories made will be everlasting.

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!

The games people play…

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Football season is upon us. Shake those pom-poms and show your team spirit! I don’t ‘do’ sports. I am not a team player. I was the last one picked for the kick ball game and the first person tagged during dodgeball. I, the quiet, obedient girl, skipped one class as often as possible – P.E. Yet, I do keep up on sports for one reason. They are important to people I love. My dad was an avid football fan. I grew up watching pro and college games. We viewed anything and everything physically competitive that was televised. Golf to figure skating, professional wrestling to tennis, we debated the outcomes during commercials. Cheering the Sooners to victory with my dad is a cherished memory. This weekend, I watched the Texans play and as I clapped, I remembered my father. Win or lose, he favored me with this big grin because, bottom line, the most important part was that I was with him. Whatever I do, whereever I go, if I am with those I love, I am happy.

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.