Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Look…that never materialized…the teller of the truth…

Back in the Summer of 2009, when I was getting my wardrobe ready for my dream trip of 46 years to Paris, France, I was in a store, and passing by this dress, it called my attention.  It was on the sale rack, so that made it more appealing.  I went quickly to try it on in the you know by now, the chamber of horrors (Fitting Room).  Lights, mirrors, and action…arms, flabby, tummy with some rolls that were not there before I left the house and cellulitis galore.  But I pretended I wasn’t looking, and with my 20% additional discount, the dress was almost given to me for free.

In my mind this is what I envisioned; full-blown sun tanned arms and legs, 15 additional pounds needed to be shed, cool sunglasses, and hair flowing freely with the wind.  Maybe the French Riviera?  You know how creative my imagination is.  I was going all the way full speed.

Found the high-heeled sandals, that when I tried them in the store, my legs cramped up, but I told them to shut up and not to complain.  Bought them anyway.  I would need assistance to walk on these, but I would figure those details later.  I was going to be one hot mama in that dress, pearls, sandals, sunglasses and maybe a hat a-la-Garbo.  Did she ever wear a hat?  She was cool.  Oh yes, also,  hot red lipstick.  In my mind I was a total good-looking-diva.

Fast forward two years…I am cleaning my closet and the dress again was whispering my name.  It did it before but I pretended I couldn’t understand English or Spanish.  I wasn’t ready for the “look.”    But today, I tried the dress again, with the accessories, including the high-heeled sandals.  Oh man, cramps galore.  I thought that was only an illusion when I bought them.  I almost had to crawl out of them.

Then…mirror, mirror on the wall, the bathroom, the living room and all elsewhere.  The moment of truth arrived.  Merciless,  I looked as if I had gained 30 pounds, instead of losing 15, where is that push-up bra when you need one,  the legs looked pitiful, and shaking from the cramping, and also in a total disbelief, I couldn’t continue to watch the image being reflected back to me from this woman who I didn’t recognize at all.  Does she live here?  What’s her name.  Almost nauseated I took off that outfit, went to the garage to get a nice shopping bag, tissue paper and gently placed the dress and the shoes that were never meant to be in the bag and very ceremoniously took it away from my sight.

What went wrong?  Was my imagination so far off?  But, one thing for sure, I will not stop trying again to chase that image I envisioned that day.  There’s always hope.  Maybe if I exercise a bit more, do more dancing and lose a few extras you know what, I can get an even sexier little black dress.  Yes, I can.  Everybody else does, why not me.

Let me in a secret.  This is my second writing of this posting.  The first one disappeared totally.  This is the second time it has happened.  The first version was funnier, but…I cannot cry over a gone with the crapola first posting.  This is the best I was able to reconstruct.  Hope you enjoy another day in my pretend world.

So it was today, 30 May, 2011, a day of disappearing postings, facing reality checks, and contemplating buying kinder and gentler mirrors.  There’s only so much one can take.

Your Happy Contessa

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”  I am the only beholder..so…

Who is a Patriot?…Memorial Day…2011

Who is a Patriot?

Someone who is unselfish.

Someone who puts his or her life at risk for the sake of others, it doesn’t matter who they may be.

Someone who looks out for the welfare of the others in his or her unit.

Someone who gives strength to others even when he or she is facing weak moments themselves.

Someone who lives the principles of the foundation of our beloved country.

Someone to whom we owe an endless debt of gratitude.

Someone that will keep our red, white and blue flying on top of our Capitol Building, the White House, our homes and all throughout our land.

Someone who protects our freedoms, our rights, and our Constitution.

Someone who is my brother, my sister, and appreciates more than any of us our freedom.

Someone that will make the ultimate sacrifice for us to live at peace in our country.

And that, my fellow countrymen and women, is my patriot and my hero.

God bless us all and God bless the United States of America.

This is my essay to honor our beloved departed veterans and our beloved active and retired service men and women of our national defense.

So it is today, 30 May, 2011…Memorial Day…to honor and salute…

Your Happy Contessa

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident:  That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  From The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

If you think education is expensive…try ignorance…To go to college or not…

One day this week I was watching the news and there was a segment about the cost of education.  This particular father had attended an Ivy League school and he was stating that he didn’t think it was worth it for his daughter to attend college, because the high cost of education.  The saddest part was when the interviewer asked the young girl, around 10 or 12, if she agreed with her father,  she said, yes, she didn’t see the point in incurring this high amount of debt, because after all, it was not worth it.

It saddened me to see what a good job this man had done with his daughter brainwashing her, to the point that she probably would not even consider furthering her education.  What a selfish human being.  I am referring to her father.  How dared he take away the privilege of his daughter having the opportunity to being exposed to the world of higher education.  I am talking for myself here.  I did not have an opportunity to attend college because I was raised in a family that their motto was that women are only good to get married, raise children and take care of the husband.  Most of the time the man would have the mentality of a macho type that thought that he was doing this woman a favor by marrying her.  I cannot up to a point blame the guy, because the culture was ingrained with that kind of thinking.  Thanks God poco a poco that trend is being discontinued.

When I came to the mainland in 1978, I was in awe at all the opportunities people of all kinds have in this country.  But, being the type of person that I am, I saw that education is the only way to better oneself and I was continuously reading and taking any opportunity I was given to become more knowledgeable and I exposed myself to all kinds of avenues that would lead me to become a better person.

Then, there came my daughter Milagros.  From day number one, I knew I would do everything within my reach and power to give her an opportunity to attend one of the best schools this country has to offer.  You see, education for your child has to be given the same consideration and planning as to anything that has top priority in your life.  I started doing research, and more research.  I believe your input equals your output in efforts and actions.  Cost of her education was not even remotely in my plans.  I thought, first she has to get there, and when she gets accepted to the school of her choice, then even if I had to work 24/7/365 holding whatever number of jobs I had to do, I would do it.

A good education is the best legacy any parent can give their child.  Right in there also, is the opportunity to lead them into a good solid spiritual life.  Because when that time comes that I cease to exist, I can take that last breath so much easier.  I have done my job for my child, and for my country.  It is interesting to point out how we rate as a country in education compared to other leading nations.  Much improvement needed.

So it was today…26 May, 2011…a day to establish priorities in relation to give our children an opportunity to start their adult life with the tools needed to succeed.  When you have higher education the doors to opportunities open faster than if you don’t.

I take this opportunity to honor and show appreciation to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for world peace and our country.  Happy Memorial Day.

Make this a happy weekend.  I will be back on Tuesday.

Your Happy Contessa

“I find that I have painted my life…things happening in my life…without knowing.”  Georgia O’Keeffe, American artist, 15 November 1887 – 6 March, 1986

“Each one of you have your own platform…” Oprah Winfrey

And there she was…today was the last episode of the Oprah Winfrey show as we knew it.  I am looking forward to see what she may have in storage to keep us enlightened.

“Each one of you have your own platform…”   That phrase she used at the beginning,  and it stock with me for the remaining part of the show.  Almost every word that she said was precious to me.  She is absolutely right.  We may have a platform with an audience of one, two, three, or millions, as she did.   The important thing is to be careful how we use this platform of power we inadvertently have.

I am grateful to all my readers.  Even though I have a petite platform,  I am very appreciative of having each one of you to share my thoughts with five days a week.  If you watched Oprah’s last show, you will see where from I get a lot of my life’s beliefs and my way of thinking.  I have learned so much from this woman as to how not to be judgemental, how to be more compassionate and how to be more giving, even when the gift I give is very small.  She also taught me how to be a better listener, to watch the power of my words, and most of all, to acknowledge others’ need to be listened to and to be  understood.

She is so gifted and she knows it.  She allowed others to enlighten us with their wisdom, without minding who was getting the credit.  Her main intention was to give us the privilege of getting acess to others’ way of thinking and knowledge.  I think the secret to her success is that she is not afraid to be herself.  Sometimes when she acknowledged some of her weaknesses, we felt that it is ok not to be perfect.  She also transmitted her strength to us all when we needed a friend to look up to.

I am now contemplating as to how I can enrich those around my platform to help each one of us to become a happier and peaceful people.  That’s the least I can do.

Miss Oprah, thank you for your devotion to your viewers and may God continue to guide you as to how you will be still enlightening us all with your wisdom and spiritual gifts.

And as your last words were,  “To God be the Glory.”

So it was today, 25 May, 2011, Miss Oprah Winfrey’s new beginning in her search to continue to teach us what she knows for sure.

Your Happy Contessa

“To know when one’s self is interested, is the first condition of interesting other people.”  Walter Pater, English essayist, critic of art and literature, and fiction writer.

Photos taken from Oprah’s last show.  Thanks to Harpo Productions.

Flowers…Flores…Fleurs…

Isn’t it just the perfect color, the perfect contrast, the perfect size, in conclusion, just perfect to remind me during my walk this morning about the gratuitous gifts of nature, if we just take the time to observe all around us.  It was just there by a mail box in all its splendor waiting to be admired, which I did.  Mission accomplished.  At least I noticed a fabulous display in all its perfection.

These hydrangeas are from Miss Raylene’s garden, now gracing my eyes and my table.  I believe you can transmit appreciation and admiration to flowers, animals and most important, to other human beings.  No questions about it.  Look at the balance in the different shades of colors on these flowers.  No one or anything can create such harmonious display of color and fragrance, when it’s possible.  It makes me ponder about the abundance of gifts bestowed upon us by our Creator.

Oops!  Someone lost a feather.  Big one you may notice.  Do you think it was during a fight, or struggling to survive?  I wonder where its owner is right now.  Hopefully this creature has or had incredible beautiful memories to keep on carrying on.  I need to remind myself that the goodness of life so outweighs the misfortunes we sometimes are faced with.  Balance, need to keep everything in balance and perspective.

I am closing this brief post with this collection of flowers I admired a few weeks ago.

It is my intention with each posting I do to transmit to my readers the abundance of beauty, goodness, and excellence all of us are constantly surrounded with.  Sometimes I add humor, because even our Creator has a sense of humor.  Must have one to have to deal with all of us.

So it was today…24 May, 2011…a day with a bouquet of flowers from me to all of you.  Be happy!!!!

Your Happy Contessa

“A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.”  Michel De Montaigne, French, one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance.  28 February, 1533 – 13 September, 1592.

“Everything else can be replaced…”

This morning I went for my solo walk, because my walking partner is out-of-town.  This bird was making the rounds for  breakfast.  After my necessary walk, full of warmth, sun, and lots of birds singing their tunes, I came home and turned on the tele to catch up with the news of the tornado in Joplin, Missouri.  One hundred and sixteen people have ceased to exist.  That’s the latest count.

While the information was being presented, one of the survivors, was giving a description of the experience he and his family went through.  He was being very descriptive.  I felt, listening to him, that I was going through the experience myself.  Then, the interviewer asked him how he felt now that he had lost everything.  He answered:  “I have my family with me, everything else can be replaced.”

I turned off the tele and started pondering on that phrase.  “Everything else can be replaced.”  I need to make sure that the memories I store in my heart and soul are always reflecting the goodness of us all, because I never know when everything I will have left will be my memories.  I need to choose the goodness of any bad situation I am confronted with.  Need also to be compassionate enough to forgive anyone that I may interpret is being hurtful to me.  I need to put myself in their situation or pretend to analyze the why of their behavior.  All and each one of us have been exposed to trauma, drama and lots of crapola in life.  What’s going to be?  I will make sure from now on that I will only choose the goodness over anything else.  It leaves a sweet taste in your mouth also.  Even the darkness of night has its own beauty.  It also makes us appreciate the brightness of a sunny day.  How’s all of this tied to the title of the post?  Because anything can be replaced, except for the memories and the love of those around you.  Sometimes my thinking is a bit complicated, but I hope you get my train of thought.

Changing for a moment the topic, here’s Mr. Cardinal, having a close encounter this morning.   This is the closest I have ever been to one of these colorful and beautiful creatures.  He was there on that wooden post for a while.  He was taking care of his bathroom duties.  Maybe a bit constipated, because he really took his time.  What?  You don’t think they get under the weather also?  It depends on what he had for dinner.  Always take things a step further.  Nature is just another image of our own self.  Lighten up!  Life is short…use your imagination.

You may be thinking, how can this woman be writing about such a tragedy and then out of nowhere jumps into something so totally unrelated.  Because that’s life.  Totally unrelated.

Going back to the victims of the tornado in Joplin, I am praying that our Creator may bless all of the victims and their families with patience, peace and the motivation to carry on.  As one of the victims expressed it very eloquently…”Everything else can be replaced.”

Remember the Red Cross.  They are the first ones to arrive.

So it was today…23rd May, 2011…a day to mentally support victims of any disaster…it could be anyone of us any given day.

Your Happy Contessa

“I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now.”  Anonymous

The trip that wasn’t…or was it?…

This past Saturday morning, a relative of mine invited me to go to an art exposition in Raleigh, North Carolina.  There we went, enjoying the beautiful sunny day, lots of clouds for my collection, but nice non-threatening clouds, light blue skies, and a mini convertible to add to all and make it a perfect ride.  Took some pictures, you know I never leave behind my cheap chic camera (ccc).

This is a small sampling of some of the roads.  North Carolina does a beautiful job planting wild flowers along some of its highways.  It makes your journey more enjoyable.  There was a field of poppies but I was too late getting my ccc.

So…finally we made it into Raleigh.  Old Southern with its own charm city.  It has some of the old buildings with their distinguished architecture.  Lots of new architecture styled buildings also.  The old making space for the new.  Is that good or….Same thing with our population.  We the senior chicks and the other old gender still rule.  I think so!  Let’s go back to the field trip.  So…we go around…and around…and more around.  No parking space to be found.  It was warm, sun shining full blast, and my dose of warmth for the full year was being delivered right there and then.  Looking for a parking space.  So…my brother-in-law says “well, we’ll go around a few more times, and if there’s not a space, we just go back home.”  I said, “fine with me.”  So the merry went around a few more times, and of course, no space available.  Plenty of Vitamin D.  The happy vitamin, thanks God!

Life is full of surprises…we headed back east and I continued snapping pictures.  Here is one with a tower to continue to try to make contact with ET, and also to continue to zap all of us with its microwaves.  Believe it or not, the zapping is eternal.  And no ET response yet.  So I analyzed the situation.  First, we were headed west to witness some art and maybe get some inspiration.  I am thinking about pursuing some painting.  Have to dig into anything I can get my hands into.  But…the witnessing of others’ art did not materialize.  The goodness of this situation is that I have learned to accept whatever situation is delivered to me unexpectedly, with a new perspective.  It was not meant to be.  It was meant for me to get some sunshine on my ever pale arms, and sweat like a horse because the seats are leather and my shirt was not 100% cotton.  Cotton, my friends, is your friend when going on an expedition controlled by the sunny sun.

And this is Richard, the temperamental artist, waving goodbye after delivering me back to my yellow and navy blue cutest home.  He said he was inspired to go home and paint, maybe because we were talking about the beauty and glory of nature, and I was very glad to come back home and have a salad attack.  I didn’t realize how hungry I was.  So…everybody was happy.  Raylene, his lovely wife and my walking partner is somewhere in the North East attending some graduations.  I truly appreciate them both for their total support during my journey of being left behind.  Hi Ron.

My ever refreshing salad...

Life is a beautiful thing…we need to be flexible…accepting of what it is…and mostly resist arguing with reality.  The result of that is what creates stress.  Cannot argue with reality.

So it was 21 May 2011…a day of going and returning from an unexpected trip to nowhere.  Or…it was a trip to enjoy the sun, wind, clouds and just being exposed to our magnificent Mother Nature, and its Creator.

Your Happy Contessa

“Every man must find his own philosophy…his attitude toward life.”  Lin Yutang, Chinese writer and inventor.  14 March 1879-18 April, 1955.

My interpretation of the “Butterfly Effect”…

This morning while drying my breakfast dishes, I looked outside to my beautiful landscape, and there she was, a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio Glaucas) Butterfly.  Immediately I searched for my camera and took a few pictures.  Had to go out to capture this image.

Then, as you know by now how my neurons work, I thought about the phrase “butterfly effect.”  I had an idea of the concept, but I did some research and this is my very simplistic conclusion.  It means that the presence or absence of a butterfly flapping its wings could lead to the creation or absence of a hurricane.  There it is.  Of course, you know I always take things a step further.  That’s what gets me into trouble sometimes.

So that means that if I sneeze or clap my hands I have the power to (oops, just sneezed) create a destructive force that is going to affect humankind as a whole.  Need to think further about this.  In part, I do believe that everything that we do has consequences.  I can see how the innocent and beautiful flapping of a gorgeous butterfly can have residual effect somewhere in the ether of things.  Even my thinking has consequences.  Am I going to decide if today is going to be a good day, or a mediocre kind of day.  I have the power to choose.  So all in all, yes, the theory of the butterfly effect has some validity points with me.  I am all for embracing and accepting things that from a surface point of view seem to be very logical.  This one is.  One of the muses, the philosophical one must be in the neighborhood.

This is a view from inside the screen.  Totally a different effect.  Either way it is so stunningly beautiful.  Color, designs and balance of all of these elements make you ponder about the Creator of such a breathtaking image.  Oh yes, God wasn’t throwing dice when He created the Universe, according to Einstein.

In the Dominican Republic, where I was born and raised, it is believed that if a butterfly comes into your house, you are to expect visitors.  Maybe my house will sell this weekend.  I forgot, it depends the color of the butterfly.  Dark brown is not good news.  But as I have grown older, for me a butterfly is a sign of a beautiful sight, in spite of the color.  I make and determine my own beliefs.

So it was today…19th May, 2011…a day full of beautiful butterflies flapping and taking me on a journey of pondering.

Make this an unforgettable weekend.  I’ll be in touch on Monday.  Thanks for reading.

Your Happy Contessa

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”  Albert Einstein, German theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity.  14 March 1879-18 April 1955.

“And…how old are you?”…

This morning I went to purchase some lottery tickets.  Have to keep the hope alive to have condos in every city I love.  Paris, Sarasota, Washington, D.C., La Romana, Puerto Plata, and any other place that will suit my pleasure.  Without those tickets, only hope is to keep living my very happy, peaceful, and contented life in North Carolina.  Not that bad.  But…it could be better.

Now…I go inside and ask the lady for the tickets.  She mumbled something and I just ignored it thinking she was just talking with her other self.  Then again a noise came out of her mouth and then I said “Pardon me?”  She then said very slowly and looking at me like if I was from another planet.  This is what she said:  “And…how old are you?”  I looked at her, took my sunglasses off and with my fingers showed her the big bags under my eyes and said to her “You are kidding, aren’t you?”  She said no, and repeated the question, “how old are you”  I started laughing out of control.  I said, “I am 62!!!”  She then said: “you don’t look like it.”  I almost went around the counter and started hugging her.  But I restrained myself and continued laughing.  I am still laughing.  What a sweet young lady.  Maybe she has not been exposed to too many older women in her life.  But for whatever reason she had, she made my day.  And it works for me.

As you can tell, either this young woman needs glasses or she is a very compassionate woman.  Probably she is supposed to ask age when anyone is buying a tickets, but come on, I surely don’t look like a young chick.  Neither I want to go back to that stage in my life.  I don’t think I would survive a second going back.  Too much drama, stress and besides, I would have to go through menopause again.  Yikes!  Just the thought of that brought a chill down my back.  Let’s leave it at 62.  I am chillin, wrinkles, bags and absence of intelligence sometimes, but I manage.

So it was today…18 May, 2011…a day of finding out how old I really am.  Thank you young lady from the lottery ticket counter.  Oh yes, went to my dental spa, and had my therapy session.  Thank you Dr. Zombek and lovely staff.

Your Happy Contessa

“Life is half spent before we know what it is.”  George Herbert, Welsh-born-English poet, orator and Anglican priest.  3 April 1593-1 March 1633.

One hundred and fifty posts…150!!!!!!

 

An unforgettable day in Paris...my background picture

Yesterday I celebrated my 150th post!!.  Also, I am celebrating another milestone in viewership total.  It could be the same person reading the posts twice or three times, but little bits do add up.  The blog has been translated to French, Chinese or Japanese and Spanish.  Even though my readers like to keep a very low profile when it comes to opining, I know you are there reading very quietly.  Thank you very much for that.  I would like to publicly express my appreciation for all of you and may the posting, and reading continue until that time, don’t know when, that the circle completes. 

Even though the muses decided to definitely stay somewhere in the South or the Caribbean,  I feel motivated and inspired to write something five days a week.   Sometimes it is easier than others, but I know someone is going to be reading. 

The whole thing about this blog started because of my daughter.  She started a blog, a very good one may I add,  and one day, out of boredom and restlessness, because the house had not sold,  my plans were up in limbo land, and Milagros already had introduced me to Facebook, I felt I needed to see how far I could take the technological challenge I imposed on myself.  And ta ta, here we are today.  Then the issue of my cheap, chic camera (ccc)waltzed into my life, and now I have learned so much on how to take better pictures or edit the ones I have taken, that when you add all the ingredients together, I have become a better and more knowledgeable person because I chose to challenge myself and thanks to the motivation of my daughter.  Merci beaucoup, mon cherie.

Let me share the experience of my first posting.  I wrote the whole posting on the title section because I didn’t know what I was doing.  Then on the second one, I started to look at the screen and started clicking and tabbing on things, then added my first picture the day after Thanksgiving with a picture of some biscuits, and as they say…the rest is history.

Thank y’all, as they say on this neck of the woods, and may we continue the virtual relationship for many more postings into infinity and beyond.  I must acknowledge my appreciation to WordPress for allowing me to become a better writer and for having given me this tremendous opportunity to communicate with all of you.

So it was today…17 May, 2011…a day of looking back at the birth of this blog.

Your Happy Contessa

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.”  St. Isidore de Seville, born in Cartagena, Spain, Christian philosopher.  560-4 April, 636.