Monthly Archives: March 2011

“Dying is messy…”

This picture I chose because what kind of picture do you use related to your own death?  Get it?  I love this painting!  It is probably the way it is going to be in whatever place it is that I’ll be going…whenever…

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011…Raining, didn’t get the newspaper…some good news on the phone, some not so good news on the phone…Duke Women’s BB team lost last night, but… still there is heat in my castle, I am breathing through the two little holes on my face (my nose), and had a good laugh with Miss Raylene, because…

I was telling her about my worries that when I die I don’t want to leave a mess for my daughter to clean up.  I meant, my papers in order, you know, all financials taken care of, and so on and so on.  Then she said “it doesn’t matter what you do, when you die, you always leave a mess.”  “Dying is messy.”  I cracked with the best laughter I have had in a long, long time.  She is absolutely right!  Dying is messy.  Just thinking about it makes me laugh in spite of some other crapola that crept into my life around midmorning.

What am I to do with stuff that shows up at my door uninvited.  Well, I decided to watch  the Paris movie that I bought yesterday and ignore everything else floating around me,  because I thought that watching pretty Paris will make me forget the issues.  Oh my!  The movie is about ten love stories, but all of them are depressing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Had to put the control on Stop.  Couldn’t deal with my issues, and the issues of the depressing Parisians at the same time.  Time to go to sleep already?

Sorry closet is a bit…messy…

Had my lunch (salad).  Depression affects me up to a certain point.  Skinny jeans are more important than any depression that may contemplate to attack my psych.  That’s the way it is around here.  Only one square of chocolate today.  Have gained two pounds recently because the weather have not allowed Miss Raylene and this schlepping body of mine to do any walk.  Life gets so complicated sometimes. 

But as I have some other times said  “Bring it on, baby”  Me and my skinny jeans can take it, even if the zipper doesn’t close at the moment.  Oh, yes, can close it by laying down on the bed, then I become totally flat and zipper goes up.

As you can tell, even in my somewhat darker moments, there is always something to laugh about…even when I think about dying and the mess I may leave behind.  Let somebody else do the cleaning.  Sorry Milagros, I’ll try not to be too messy.

So it was today…hoping for a brighter and sunny day tomorrow.   Need to get out of this house!

Your Happy Contessa

Living with some fantasies…

When we were babies, we lived our fantasies pronto, at the moment we scream, there is someone changing the diaper, providing some food, or picking us up to make us happy, thereby, realizing our fantasies.  Of course, our fantasies when we were that young were limited to our limited imagination.

Last night I was watching “Bridget Jones Diary” for the, 20th? oh, I don’t know how many times I have watched that movie.  I even came upstairs right after the movie was finished to go to iTunes and get the song at the end of the movie, “Someone like you.”  Somehow, when I played the song again, it didn’t have the same effect as when I was watching the movie.  Bingo!  This morning I realized that I was not looking at Colin Firth when I was listening to the song on iTunes.  I have to admit it, I have a crush on Colin.  Or is it that the scene at the end of the movie reminds me of how wonderful it feels to be so in love…like I was when I met Ron.

So later this morning I had to go to my rectangular box-looking-store.   Sometimes I go twice a week, or more, to get some supplies and stuff.  On the way to the store, there is a movie store that is going out of business.  I thought, maybe they may have something I may be interested in.  Really, I was thinking Colin Firth, Colin Firth….

Lucky me.  They didn’t have the first Bridget Jones movie, but they had the second one, with of course, my wonder boy.  Only $3.99!

All of this brings me to an interesting observation.  I think that it doesn’t matter if you are married, single, widow(er), or whatever, all of us have lots and lots of fantasies.  Some are about food, drinking, having fun, and sometimes, as such is my case, someone just to sigh!  Wouldn’t it have been lovely if I could have had a dinner date with this Colin when I was in my late twenties.  Not now, mind you.  He wouldn’t be interested in having a date with his grandmother.  Think not.

This girlfriend of mine (my other parallel universe twin) has fantasies, to become a singer, dancer, entrepreneur, live part-time in Florida and Paris and visit India, of course.  She has accomplished some of those, but has quite a few to go.  Such as having a date with Colin…in the afterlife, maybe…what a mess.  Previous husbands there, and other admirers, after thinking about it, no meeting with anyone in the thereafter…

I think our lives become the size of our fantasies.  Big fantasies, big goals and an exciting life, no fantasies, are you still among the living?

This business of fantasies is not exclusive to women, because I have asked a few men about whom they have a crush on and they always mention someone, usually an entertainer.  It is healthy, good and exciting to have fantasies.  Without dreams, the humdrum of life is just that…another day.

Of course, needless to say, as with everything else in life…moderation, my friends…moderation.  Otherwise it becomes a disease or an obssession.  Not good.

You can tell I am missing my muses.  Maybe they are residing in their fantasy land.  Tough for me.

So it was today, March 29th, 2011…another dreamy cold day, but very sunny…

Your Happy Contessa

P.S.  Remember Mr. Einstein…Imagination is so much better than knowledge.

Being happy or content just because…

I have come to the conclusion that happiness is a state of mind.  Now you have it, now you don’t.  It is better if you have more of “now you have it” moments than the alternative.

Just now while thinking about what I should write for my next posting, I had a surge of happy energy.  Just felt it.  Don’t even remember what was behind the surge.  Not a hot flash.  Way over that, except when I am sleeping and my brain gets a sudden message that there are too many covers on top of me and I am next to being suffocated.  Then this heat wave wakes me up and the cool down mode is on.  Then…back to the saddle again with all my covers.  On and off and so on.  The fringe benefits of having had too many happy birthdays.

Back to the title of the posting.  Just being able to have virtual friends that I have never met, and those that I personally know, gives me a sense of feeling as an accomplished human being.  It is funny, that the things that don’t have any materialistic value or are intangible, can give you such a happy feeling.  It is true.  That’s a good thing because we are not, I repeat, we are not taking any of it with us in our final journey.  You know I am talking about stuff.

I am always grateful for the incredible goodness and blessings I have had, have right now, and will have in my future.

I also think that the feeling of sudden joy I had is due in part because I just printed my taxes, even though I have to pay, at least I am grateful that the printer was working, because some days it gets very temperamental, just like the owner, that I had enough paper to print on, that I had electricity to make it all work, and because in spite of being cold and rainy outside, I am able to be content and warm in my little castle.  Now I need to move on to cleaning the bathroom.  Oh, oh, that happy feeling just left the building.  Maybe the bathroom can wait another day, week?  I’ll ponder on that one.  The bathroom, come to think of it, looks decent enough.

To wrap it up, I am going to do something else that will be good for me and will make me happy.  I am going to practice my Indian dancing.  I just love their music.  Arebaba!

So it was today, Monday, March 28th, 2011, a content and happy day…

Your Happy Contessa

P.S.  My Indian soap is almost coming to its end.  I am searching to buy its dvd that is being made.  Love the intrigue, knaveries, suspense, wisdom, comedy, drama, dancing, romance and the music, all mixed together for great entertainment.  Thanks God for        iTunes because I have been able to download their music.

My New Reality…My New Norm…

Today, March 27th, 2011…rainy day and a day to welcome more pondering than usual.

The phrase “My New Reality” was introduced into my life six months after Ron had gone to Heaven, in a book called Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards.  There she was talking about the different situations in her life, ie., having lost a son, having cancer, very publicly known infidelity by her husband, etc., etc.  I was going through at that moment a situation bigger than myself.  Losing both my husband and my closest sister one month after the other.  At first I was on automated pilot, just surviving and taking care of all the details you have to take care after your spouse dies, and then dealing with the absence of these two dearest to me persons.  It was overwhelming.  So the title of the book appealed to me because I needed to be resilient, I thought.  This phrase, “My New Reality” stood out as I was reading the book, and it has been part of my life ever since, especially when I have a tendency to feel sorry for myself.

The other one…”My New Norm” I have heard and read about it for a while now, but it wasn’t until this morning, reading about the golfer Phil Mickelson’s challenges in his personal life that the phrase stood out more prominently than ever.

We human beings have an issue with accepting life’s challenges and situations with a lot of resistance, when the issues and situations are not what we call “the way things should be” according to us.  I am including myself in the bunch.  It is an eternal struggle.

But then…I stop to see or think about my blessings.  While I was getting ready to go out in the soft rain to take the first photo shown above, I brushed against one of the plants that was given to me for Ron’s Memorial Service, two years ago.  And there it was!  A beautiful flower!  I think it is called jack-in-the-pulpit.  Isn’t it gorgeous! 

I have to make sure that I notice that even within my “New Norm” or “New Reality” there are new and beautiful blessings all around me.  Not only the challenges and disappointments.  Look around just a bit, and I am sure you will definitely find “New Beauty or Goodness” all around you.  Look at my beautiful flower.

I have determined that if I only focus on the problems or challenges, that’s all I will see around me.  So why don’t I adopt a new phrase “If it is to be, it is up to me.”   Probably you may be thinking, how does that relates when you find out that you have an incredible challenge, ie., family, financial, or illness. Well, the challenge’s still going to be there, but that doesn’t stop other goodness from showing up,  or thinking about the possibilities that may be on the horizon of our lives..  You can find another word or phrase that may work better for you.  Misery is not my favorite cup of soup.  Come to think of it, when I say “My new reality, or my new norm” it does not leave a joyful note in my mind.  It sounds very heavy.  It is not being on denial, I just don’t like the image it leaves in my mind.

Life’s short, let’s make it happy and pretty.  Where do you think the “Happy Contessa” idea came from?  My happy mind, of course.  Let me make it clear, my mind is not happy 100% of the time.  Most of the time.

So it was today, a beautiful soft rainy day in my neighborhood.

Your Happy Contessa

“A friend is a present which you give yourself.”  Robert Louis Stevenson…I am going to adopt “If it is to be, it is up to me” phrase as my new-found-friend.

Jardin des Paris…and a nice surprise…

The day we decided to go to the Musee du Louvre in Paris, we had our route designed by Google and went happily on the way…but after walking on one of the most famous avenues in the world, Av. des Champs Elysees, and passing by some other Paris’ known monuments, Milagros decided to take another route.  Here are some pictures of our adventure…

Left is Arc de Triomphe, and right is Milagros posing with a modern sculpture being displayed on the Jardin de Tuleries.  The Jardin is the size of two football fields and is between the Obelisque, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre.  It is the Louvre’s stately gardens and is a place that is very welcoming to admire exhibits, to seat and watch people, it has fountains, and most of all just to admire the surrounding areas.  There is a quaint little bookstore there.  You know I had to go in.  Bought Peter Rabbit in french!

There I am in front of one of my favorite places wherever I may go.  A bookstore. 

But the main objective of this posting is to show you the nice surprise that was in storage for me at the Jardin.

Let me explain.  Ron used to believe that in one of his other lives, he used to be a pirate with a parrot on his shoulder.  So parrots, and turtles were symbols of Ron’s past lives.  So at the Jardin, I could not believe my eyes when I glanced briefly to the side, when talking with Milagros on the way back to the hotel, and there I saw this sculpture.  A humongous parrot, very colorful may I say, on top of a heart.   Maybe saying I love you.  Very out of place, but there it was.  It was as if Ron was telling me that he was there with us also.  There is a lot of things in our lives that we cannot explain, or maybe that we want to ignore the connections that join all and each one of us, even after we have departed from this world, as we know it.  If we don’t understand it, it doesn’t exist.  Right?

Just wanted to share this very special moment in Paris…Fall of 2009…unforgettable.

So it was today, March 25th, 2011… 25 months after…Hi Ron.

Your Happy Contessa

P.S.  As always, make it a very happy weekend.  See you Monday.

Cockamamie story of Eve, Adam and the…Snake…

I know I am going to rock some boats with this posting, but if boats are not rocking, they are not moving, so I am helping to make progress in the waters of fantasy land.  

This morning during my walk with Miss Raylene, yes,  she’s back again walking with me, we saw this baby snake.  It was still alive and looking to test her baby teeth.  We made sure the testing was not done with any one of us.  Distance, please.

But by now you know how my mind works.  I pondered right away.  Do you really believe the little story of Eve, that she was tempted by a snake (symbolism here helps) and then the she-evil Eve tempted the forever weakling Adam.  This story never ends.  Throughout history, we women are made to be leaders when it is convenient, and evil when it is convenient also, and so on.  We have come a long way, baby, and have a long way to go.

Historians, let me get on your faces and tell you very loudly, YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.  Either we are the strong being that had the audacity and intelligence to convince Adam (the poor thing) to eat an apple to screw up all of humanity, or we are the mean little creatures that have been taking the blame for something called sin since the beginning of time.  What’s the definition of sin, anyways.  And then, according to whom. 

Could it be the possibility that Eve was going to take a bite of an apple, and you know how we women are, saw Adam’s face showing that he was hungry too, let him have some of the apple out of compassion, and then BAM!  Sin was born.  Was someone watching really close to what was going on and listening to the conversation during this incredible significant for all of humanity moment.  Only the snake.  How convenient.

Look at this innocent fruit.  It is good for you, has a lot of fiber, Vitamin C and other benefits, but, noooo, “they” had to take something good and make it evil.  The figure of Eve is a conundrum for all of us.  Was she so dumb to believe that a snake could talk to her, or was she so brilliant to make her dumb husband Adam take a bite and change the whole course of the history of humankind.  It is mind-blowing.  Conspiracy theories working full-time here and now.

I better stop, because I realized I opened the Pandora box.  Too much stuff in there.  Have to drag some out at some other time.

What the sight of an innocent baby snake brought out in the way I interpret things.

Let’s go now, to change the subject, and take a look at some of the sights (pretty ones) of this morning’s walk.

These are some amazing wisteria.  One on the left was used as a vine on top of a trellis to welcome you to a secret garden, and one on the right was planted as a stand alone tree.  Both beautiful!

Left, another beautiful North Carolina sky this afternoon, and on the right, a robin trying to talk to me this morning.  He/she just wouldn’t leave, until I took a few shots.

It is a beautiful life…

So it was today, March 24, 2011, another day in paradise, wherever you may be…

Your Happy Contessa

“If what you believe works for you, perfect!”  “Diversity in the mindset is a beautiful thing.”  Both quotes by moi.

It felt like it was Christmas this morning…

This is the main reason why.  Finally, I was able to take various photographs of one of my very elusive cardinals.  Still looking for the blue birds, but this one made me so excited.  I had two sights.  One close to my house and the other one in my own backyard!

Here are Thelma and Mabel talking to each other about their plans for the day.  Fresh worms anyone?  What’s the best place to get them, but they have to be organic, you know, and cheap.  With the economy the way it is, we have to buckle up.  Besides, you look a bit on the overweight size.  Too many feathers?  Do you think these birds communicate they way we do, or they don’t mind those superfluous things?  I hope they do not worry about the things we do.  The last thing I need to see is a stressed-out bird.  How do stressed-out birds look like?  Maybe too much flying or jumping from tree to tree.  I have to stop it now.  Too much imagination, but then Einstein said it was more important to have imagination than knowledge.  I always knew I was special.

This is what I opened my eyes to this morning.  The moon!  From my bed.  Now you know one of the reasons why it felt like Christmas this morning.  So much happiness and pretty things to share with all of you.  I would have had a better image, but laziness kept me in bed longer and this is what I was able to come up with.  Not that bad.  Time?  7:13 am.

These are sights from my neighborhood.  The one on the left must be related to the rose family, but it is not a rose-bush.  Stunningly beautiful!  One on the right looks like a weeping willow, but it must be a weeping cherry tree.  It is beautiful.  Soft pink color to delight us all.

In case you may be wondering, the taxes must be paid, so I am just getting over it and dealing with it with grace.  I don’t know how much the shaking is going to be when I sign that check.  I just finished adjusting my withholding;  didn’t like this type of surprise.  It is better to hurt little by little every month, than a smack on my face (many smacks may I say) come April 2012.  Do you think we’ll still be here?  The Mayans didn’t think so.  Theme for another posting.

So it was today, March 23, 2011 a beautiful full of different kinds-of-polen day.  Achuuu!  Is it that how it sounds when we sneeze?  You get the idea.

Your Happy Contessa

Ohhh happy days…ohhh happy days…

Happy as a clam…and then 1040’s came into my life…

How do I know clams are happy?  I don’t know, but they look like they are always smiling.  Now let me start with the posting.

I was one happy being this morning when I set out for my walk.  Miss Raylene had a commitment.  So there I go taking my time, admiring nature and its gifts.  On the way back to my house, I saw this little pretty creature on a tall pine tree.  Guessing my shot, because I only had my sunglasses on, I was nicely surprised when I got home and reviewed my pictures.  Nice, very nice.  I think this beautiful Robin (I think it is) was just there posing for me and my ccc.  One of the snowbirds coming back North.  Hi Lindsay.  Maybe the muses will ignore my having fired them and will contemplate returning to their job.  Everything was nice and dandy, until I decided it was about time to start my…

dreaded taxes.  This year, for the first time in over 30 years, I will have to pay “them” instead of “them” sending me a nice surprise.  I kind of had an idea.  The deduction for federal taxes from my income was slimy low, but I thought, well, probably it won’t be that much at the end of the year when I will have to send my contribution.  Surprise of surprises!  It is double the amount I was budgeting for.

I remember Ron used to change his personality when he used to work on our taxes.  He wouldn’t shave for a few days, had the dining room table full of papers, on the floor, more papers, lots of sharpened pencils, and a tiny calculator.  I bought him a larger one, but he felt pleasure using the tiny one.  Maybe he thought the numbers in a smaller scale were not that threatening.  Where’s my small calculator, again?  I need that thing right now.  Then after Ron used to finish the taxes, he said he needed to give them time to cool off.  I never understood that one.  Numbers don’t change by themselves.  Well, I need to put my numbers in the freezer.  I need those numbers to shrink immensely.  It’s funny how now I get a lot of the things Ron used to do or say.  Hi Ron.  Divine intervention, please.  These numbers are humongous.

Not only are the taxes giving me palpitations, so are the allergies.  Drip, drip and sneeze, sneeze, itch, itch.  It’s all part of being human.

I will pay Uncle Sam.  I like the highways in good condition, and we need to pay those what you can call them, you know, those …. in Congress, and then I love my country.  Need to give my fair share.

So it was today, a tax preparing day…March 22, 2011, compounded with the allergies.

Your Happy Contessa

“Three things you can be sure of:  paying taxes, having problems and dying.”  It is a good life.

Only in the land of plenty…USA…

This is not one of my pretty pictures.  Some of those later.  During my walk with Miss Raylene this morning, we came up to this sight.  A Queen Anne chair.  The sign said “Free.”  I must admit, it needs some caring, nails, cleaning and some glue.  After some time invested in the improvement of this piece, it should go back to be as nice and appealing as it was when the owners originally bought it.

But here in our beloved land of plenty, we are somehow what I call, the disposable society.  If we the “elderly” don’t watch it, our “ready to dispose of everything” family will make us a soon to be disposed of item.  Just like that chair.  Nursing homes anyone?  I am not passing judgement here.  I rather be in a nursing home, hopefully it will have lovely paintings, and a staff that is mostly in a good mood, than put my family through stress.  Just make sure there is cable tv, for my Spanish soaps.  Cannot live without those.

Going back to the chair, I think, again, that the discards we see often on the road are a reflection of our restlessness with the need to have more, newer, and always be on the go society.  People don’t like to stay at home and enjoy their kingdom.  That’s why shopping malls are so attractive.  They drain your brain and your wallet.  But, different strokes for different folks.  I know some of you, or one of you must be thinking why I didn’t take the chair and worked on it.  Well, hoarding is not one of my hobbies.  Remember my garage?

A description of Utopia or Nirvana for me is a place that human relationships and stimulating conversations are the centerpiece of life, rather than this need that we all have to acquire the latest whatever it is.  Bigger is better, and being broke beats a good savings account.  I am sounding a bit not on the sunny side up today, but remember, my reflections are my reflections.  Life is about joy, sadness, pondering, being compassionate, being assertive and most of all expressing our observations, without any fear of retaliation.

Let’s go back to pretty things.  This is a section of Miss Raylene and the very temperamental artist, Mr. Richard’s backyard.  It is like a little park.  There is a laughing Buddha in there always smiling at you.  Do you know why the Buddha is always laughing?  Because he thinks is funny that we believe that life should be without any problems.  That’s very laughable to him.  I think he has a very good point.

These two tulips in all their splendor were waving at us this morning.  The color just takes your breath away.

So it was today, Monday, March 21st, the second day of Spring, 2011.

Your Happy Contessa

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  Albert Einstein

First day of Spring…2011


Beautiful sign of the new season...

Finally, it has arrived!  I have been waiting with such an excited anticipation.  The calendar says “First Day of Spring.”  Cannot believe it,  I am able to see another first day of Spring.

What does it mean?  It is just as any other Sunday?  No way!  This is a special Sunday.  While preparing to make coffee, I opened my curtains and saw a cardinal!!!!!  Tried to get my cheap chic camera with its weak powerful lense, but by the time I made it back to the sliding door, the beautiful red spot had moved.  Ron told me once that the red cardinal is the male and the brown is the female.  Nature has arranged this so the mami can blend with nature without attracting attention, so she can take care of her children without them being hurt.  The perfection of nature.


Then I saw a tiny bluebird!  It was really tiny, with fresh feathers.  How could I tell it had fresh feathers?  It was a baby bird.

The trees still look the same, well, not all of them.  I have been sharing sights of my neighborhood with you, so the pear, cherry and others are in full swing, but the ones on my backyard still look dormant.  Some of them are waking up, but they are taking their time.  No hurry.  Before we know it, it will be Fall again.  What a spoiler thought.

All and all I feel energized.  I am looking around for things to do during spring cleaning, starting with the “black hole” (my garage).  But today, I am just pretending it is still Winter and taking it very easy.  I have such a big bag of excuses and they are classified.  Divided and sub-divided.  Neat.

What are you up to for this fabulous grand time of the year.  New thoughts, new clothes, new projects and maybe new attitude.  Need a lot of adjustment on mine.  Anyone up to buying a house in a quite nice town.  Buy my house, save a desperate soul.  Need to move closer to the Equator.   Need a new latitude address.

Cherry tree in all its glory...from my walk last Saturday

So it was today, Sunday, March 20th, first day of Spring…

Your Happy Contessa

P.S.  Both illustrations of birds are courtesy of my “Complete Field Guide to American Wildlife.”

P.S. #2 -I feel great!  Duke is going to the Sweet Sixteen!