Happy Right Now

As I write this final blog of 2017, I’m feeling like Piper. Not quite ready to turn my back on this current year nor ready to face 2018 straight on. This is always an odd time, the week between the two holidays, recovering from the first while waiting for the promise and excitement of the next. Even if you’re not a resolutioner, the undercurrent of a fresh start exists.

Hopefully, you are spending the last few days of 2017 relaxing and recharging. A healthy balance of looking back and moving forward is never a bad thing, no matter what time of year. But Piper teaches me every day that right now, this moment, is paramount and in between work and play, you’ve got to find a spot to fluff your feathers and rest awhile.

No matter if you will be celebrating the outgoing or incoming year when midnight strikes on Sunday night, I wish for you your best year ever. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you back, take care of your health and pursue happiness, fulfillment and your passion. And don’t forget to fluff those feathers.


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File This Under “Perfect”

Two best friends walk into The Container Store. One has never been. Three hours and two carts full later, a flatbed is wheeled out to their parking spot with a file cabinet on it packed in a large box. It doesn’t fit in the car. It is left behind for pickup at another time.

The two women go to their favorite Mexican restaurant where they proclaim the margaritas, for the hundredth time, the best in the world. They seem to know what they’re talking about. The chips and salsa arrive. Toasts occur.

To a successful shopping trip. 

To having survived another Christmas.

To us.

A birthday is celebrated. Gifts are opened. The crab burritos arrive. The dinner lasts as long as the shopping did. A holiday week has passed since they last saw each other. A lifetime in best friend years.

To us.


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Spending most of my days at home, I am sans makeup, hair in a bun, wearing slippers and yoga pants. When I head out to lunch with a friend or an appointment, I rig up all the ropes and pulleys necessary to make me palatable for public consumption.

These outings usually last a few hours and before I know it I am back in my house, all dressed up with no place to go. My friends have to return to work and are probably envious watching me walk up the steps of my residence. I would have felt the same way when I was in the daily grind. But now the jealousy is completely mutual in reverse. Putting my key in its hole, no matter how much fun I have had, I feel like Cinderella after the ball. I may not be making the fire at the hands of my evil stepmother, but I am transported back to a solitary world, dramatically different than the life I once led outside the walls of my own castle. I am never so lonely as when I close the front door behind me. The ball is over and it’s time to change back into, if not a pumpkin, a squashed version of myself, living a smaller life than I ever could have imagined before I woke up one morning to darkness.

Although the time at home since that day has been necessary to heal and discover what’s next for me, it is not how my story ends. As I undress and dress into my comfy clothes again I find them less comfortable. It’s time for me to change not only my clothes but my life. There is no fairy godmother, no magic, no prince arriving on a white horse with a glass slipper. My Charming rode in over twenty-five years ago in a red 1990 Beretta and he was definitely not carrying shoes. It’s up to me. And that’s not a fairy tale. That’s a terrifying thriller.


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In Concord I Find My Own Liberty Trail

After stumbling upon Louisa May Alcott’s family home, Orchard House, while in Concord, Massachusetts this summer, I have wanted to see the movie Little Women again. I was finally able to record it on Christmas Eve and watched it early Christmas morning before husband and bird woke up.

The Civil War timeframe, the closeness of this family and the strong narrative that women can do anything all tied together beautifully for me yesterday with not one of these themes overpowering the other. And then Marnee, mother of the March women and, the perfect role for Susan Sarandon, says the following to her second born, writer Jo:

“Go. And embrace your liberty and see what wonderful things come of it.”

I have been known to think about our freedom. Often. And I have spoken of our great fortune to live in a country where we have the ability to be anything. But do I think of it as such an entitled right that I fail to wear it like the American flag I imagine is wrapped around my heart?

As I put gifts away today, hanging up clothes, setting up technology, finding a place for the new sign from my nephew, entering Uber gift cards into my account, I think about my personal philosophy of using and displaying things and not waiting for a rainy day to get out the good china. If I feel this way about things why don’t I treat my liberty in kind?

As we wrap up 2017 this week, I look ahead to a year in which I intend to be who I am meant to be. No more clean slate as we ring in the New Year but instead an accumulation of the life I have lived so far. Our liberty is so much more than the right to vote, the ability to speak freely without punishment as I do here on this blog, the quest for a happy life. It’s also the responsibility we all have to explore every option and opportunity, to use our good china every day. It’s hard work and terrifying to put yourself out there. But we’ve been given liberty. We need to use it to death.


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Cheesey But Great Idea For Office White Elephant

‘Twas the day before the office Christmas party . . .

While having breakfast this morning, I flipped through the channels of Sirius XM and found a talk show I was not familiar with. The host was taking questions and a caller asked for ideas for an office White Elephant gift exchange. The answer the host gave was at first funny to me but she was dead serious. And after a few seconds I realized it was dead genius.

Little Drummer Boy, drum roll please!


Of course she wasn’t referring to the powdered version most of us grew up with and still consider a staple but a block or wedge of the real stuff. It’s expensive and most people love it. And if your recipient doesn’t, its regift value remains as high as the moment you wheeled it out of the lot.

I don’t know if elephants like cheese but I am Santa sure yours will.


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Cursed With A Guardian Agent

You know how “Rose and Thorn” is now a thing, where you say the best (the rose) and the worst (the thorn) thing that happened during your day or a trip. While in the Hamburg, Germany airport for the beginning leg of our journey home, my best friend and I experienced both the beauty and the prick within minutes of each other.

As we checked in at the British Airways counter, a lovely woman assisted us. We had let the airline know in advance of the trip that I am legally blind. This was my first air travel since I lost most of my vision and we wanted it to be documented in their system just in case any of the just in case situations occurred. On this early Monday morning, as the British Airways agent checked us in we asked her about our connecting flight in London’s Heathrow as we had had a very difficult experience when we came through there a week earlier. If you’ve never been to the U.K. airport, it is, in our opinion, huge, poorly marked and a real pain in the seat cushion despite the both of us having seen a lot of airports in our day. We wanted to avoid the stress and struggle we had gone through seven days before and the airline rep gave us information and tips on how to better handle the logistics of the city masquerading as an airport.

She also stamped both our boarding passes with a Fast Track symbol, and pointed us toward a special lane to get through security quicker. After thanking her profusely for her help, we headed to security. We got in the lane the agent had indicated but there were no signs and my friend asked an airport employee if this was the correct place for us to be. He replied in a very thick German accent something I didn’t understand, followed by “Don’t you speak English? F***.” We had continued walking as he spoke and with his guttural delivery I assumed the “eff” I had heard was just his pronunciation of an innocuous word. that is until I saw my friend’s face when we arrived at the end of the line and she turned to me. In that instant it registered exactly what he had said and obviously she was way ahead of me in the realization. She asked, “Did you hear what he said?” and I shook my head yes in response. By now other passengers had filed in behind us and we moved through the cattle shoots in stunned silence and shared looks of disbelief.

We got through security and found a place to get coffee and a quick bite. Right across from our gate, with plenty of time for a breather and caffeine, we discussed what had just happened. The surprise of the encounter wore off of her more quickly than it did me; I still couldn’t believe what I had heard. It had been delivered with a smirk and, ironically, words that barely sounded English. We both agreed that had we not been caught so off guard, things would have gone very differently, and we would have gotten to our gate with his name and he would have spent the rest of his day with the very clear words of two Americans in his nasty head. Yes, we do speak English. Here is some just for you, you <insert creative English word>.

We finished our breakfast, used the restroom and reached our gate as they had begun general boarding. We began to merge into the line when a British Airways agent walked up to me and said, “You don’t have to wait” and gently took my arm. I glanced back to make sure my girl was with us. I didn’t understand how this airline rep knew I had the special stamp on my boarding pass or how she knew I am visually challenged. The agent lifted the belt on the stantion to let us through and we began the descent of the ramp leading to the jetway, thanking her. I didn’t look back after that, concentrating as always on my steps. My friend took her unspoken place on my right and I tucked my right arm in her left as we navigated over connection strips to the entrance of the plane. As we waited for the passengers in front of us to cross the threshold, I turned to her and said,“How did that woman know?” She replied, very seriously, “That was the same agent that checked us in.” I could tell by the way she said it she didn’t understand how that had just happened either. Had the agent been looking for me? Was it an incredible coincidence? Whatever the reason it left us as speechless as The Cursor had.

Settled in our seats, we began to review what the hell just happened. In the span of an hour we had encountered an awful man and a wonderful woman . . . twice. We had an incredible week in this new country to both of us and thank the Travel Gods this Guardian Agent found us at the gate. In doing so, she ended our time in Germany on a high note of kindness. A rose between two thorns is great, but two roses around a thorn is better.


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