The Scarlet Letter

15 Jun

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Let’s talk about vitamin A, sunscreens for our face and body, high SPF factors, and our health. With summer just around the corner, we can be prepared.

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Easy, like a Sunday morning…

1 Jun

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I’d been feeling stuck this week. Sad. Resistant. Frustrated. And had even gone so far as to question my long-held belief about wanting to live a gypsy life.

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Wide Awake

18 May

Like a Dali painting, things are surreal around here… we’ve made plans to move in (gulp) six weeks. I tell the story of this decision here: bit.ly/2r9vlAz  at 1010ParkPlace in, “It Feels Like Freedom to Me.”

I think I have been handling everything well, I’m excited and even eager for the freedom this next phase will bring. But, I am not sleeping. I keep waking up around 3:30 a.m. Then my brain turns on… and that’s it, I’m wide awake!
I make bargains with “the obsessive part of me,” promising I will pay attention to it later if it lets me go back to sleep now. I try breathing and meditation. After an hour, I get up and go lie on the couch and read another Carl Hiaasen novel. At 6:00, when my sweetie gets up, I just get on with my day.

During the day I am doing the work that needs to be done. But at night my brain is going into overdrive, trying to manage the entire Universe. Serenity Prayer, my ass. My subconscious has it’s own ideas; “Help me change what I cannot accept. And control, well, basically… everything. Amen.”  Has this ever happened to you over a big change? How do you handle obsessing over things?

IMG_1438The other evening I had some alone-time, and I was going through a box of fabric that I couldn’t let go of during our last two moves.  In it is an Indian bedspread given to me years ago by a dear friend. He died of AIDS in ’96 or ’97… and I can’t bear to part with it. Being over-tired, and consequently too hyper-active to read, (we don’t outgrow this stuff) I decided to whip up a summer dress like the ones I’ve been seeing on Pinterest. Yep, I know how to sew. My Mom was great at it – she always made us matching dresses when we were children. Later, she made our skirts and blouses, some maxi-dresses, and even my favorite prom gown in 1968.  A simple, pale pink satin with a vee-neck and ruffle. I spent hours straightening my hair and thanks to Mom making that gown, I felt as chic as Cher. IMG_1434

I used to love sitting beside her sewing machine, talking and watching what she did. She chain-smoked and cursed the whole time, but she managed to made it look effortless. The sewing, I mean!

I really enjoyed how focused I became, how relaxed I felt for the first time in days. I was surprised that I remembered how to fill and thread the bobbin. I was surprised I  got my seams so straight without a guide. I wasn’t surprised by my cursing, or the fact that my math calculations were as bad as ever. While my dress turned out beautifully, it is a good TWO SIZES too large! Rather than looking lithe and of-the-moment in my Boho sundress, I look as if I borrowed a muumuu from Mama Cass!

IMG_1425This weekend, since it’s going to rain, I’m certain I will remember how to take a dress apart and fix my mistakes. I’m going to look lithe, dammit!  Tearing out all of those seams and re-cutting my pattern will make a great escape from packing.

As a waiter recently said to me when I pointed out that he had brought me the wrong order,  “Hey… you can’t win ’em all, right?” I guess not .

XO Donna

Hello, Dali!

5 May

IMG_5336I’ve missed you!  It wasn’t my intention to be offline for a whole month, but we found that there was no wi-fi connection in almost all of the places we went. In case you don’t know where I’ve been, we drove from Austin, TX to Key West, FL and back!

It was a multi-purpose trip: a dream vacation to celebrate our semi-retirement. Our first long-distance “shake-down” cruise to see if the coach was up to snuff. And, more to the point, to see if we were up to snuff since we have been considering living full-time in our RV to travel for a year.

How would we do together for 30 days, going 3,000+ miles, in under 300 sq.ft. of living space? Would we have fun, or would claustrophobia set in, quickly followed by snarkiness ?  The jury is in – we did really well together!

I know I can speak for both of us when I say we didn’t feel claustrophobic. Since the weather was great for most of the trip, we spent the majority of our time outdoors. We stayed in some stunning RV parks, and some not so stunning ones.  We made the best of every  situation, let go of things needing to be a certain way… and things turned out even better than we’d planned!IMG_5335

For example, in Key Largo we didn’t go to  a restaurant we’d planned on, because a neighbor in the RV park told us another was even better. He was wrong… their service and their food were awful. But because of it’s location, on our way back to the RV park we found the absolutely best Key Lime Pie in Florida! Returning a week later, I met the owner and had a nice chat with her as I bought a whole pie to take up to Boca Raton with us! It’s called Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory. It’s in Tavernier, just south of Key Largo.

Another happy accident occurred when on the spur of the moment we decided to go to the Salvadore Dali museum in St. Petersburg. As it turns out, there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit that was in it’s final week, and I just had to go!IMG_0959

Re-entering the main hall, a docent told me to get in line quickly and we could experience a Virtual Reality Tour of a Dali painting. They only take a small group of people to do this a few times a day, so we hurried over to the door she’d pointed out, and in a few minutes we were lead to a private room. Huge goggles were placed on our heads, the process explained, and once started, we were INSIDE a Dali painting! I could move from place to place just by looking at small white dots, and I’d instantly be there, able to see 360 degrees in all directions. At one point, I watched as elephants on stilts approached, and I looked up at their bellies as they stepped above me, and walked on past! This was way better than the 60’s!

After the museum, we stopped to eat lunch at The Columbia in Ybor City, a historic neighborhood in Tampa founded in the 1880’s. It was a bustling cigar manufacturing city up until the depression of 1930. The Columbia is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Florida, and with it’s Spanish architecture, debonair waiters, and delicious food, I can see why. As much as we liked the Rodeo Drive glitz of downtown St. Petersburg, we loved the vibe in Ybor City even more. After eating, we went for a walk to buy some good cigars, then headed back to Tampa.

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To get caught up on everything I have to share, I invite you to visit: 1010ParkPlace.com  and under the Life tab look for my story: “Something’s Changed.”
I also posted “Just Us Chickens,” yesterday on my travel website, Damned Gypsy.  You’ll find that right here: wp.me/p4FfqG-x2

As always, I thank you for reading. I have lots more to share with you in the next few weeks. P.S. –  I love your questions and comments!

XO Donna

Gumbo; it’s what’s for dinner

23 Mar

I am flattered that quite a few of you asked for the recipe… so I made another pot to be sure of everything, and here it is. It is truly a meditation. I do all of my prep work first, then everything comes together as easy as one – two – three, in under an hour!  Continue reading

Gumbo Meditation

18 Mar

Looking back 3 years to see what was happening then. Oh, my. May have to make gumbo for dinner tonight! It’s been along time.

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I have never been able to sit on a cushion and stare at the wall. I’ve tried, trust me…over and over again. I thought it “would be good for me.” Finally a teacher told me that there are many ways to meditate, many ways to practice mindfulness. Perhaps I would do better with a moving meditation?

I haven’t sat still since!

I used to bake fresh bread as a form of relaxation and meditation…kneading the dough until it was as supple, smooth and soft as a newborn baby’s ass. The whole kitchen smelled of yeast, honey and love! I’d set aside a whole afternoon, it was like a vacation day for me. Then I developed a wheat allergy, and all of that was out the window. (deflated sigh)

Last Tuesday I was at my friend Gina’s house for lunch and a confab, and while we talked, she made Gumbo. I have never…

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Puzzled

3 Mar

Just like a jigsaw puzzle, our plans hinge on putting all of the pieces together, and creating a finished product – which in this case is a big trip to Florida this month!  Continue reading