Monthly Archives: June 2011

A good high…a visit to the hardware store…hurray!!!

I remember when Ron used to get all excited because he was going to his favorite place in the whole world.  The hardware store.  I could never comprehend how he would go in there and spend a long time just going through the aisles and then coming out with just a few items.

Now I know the feeling.  I went there for a few boxes to continue my packing and as soon as I went in, this is what I encounter.  A sight to behold.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have had this experience before.  Ron trained me really good.  Lightbulbs anyone?

I know what questions to ask to the forever good-looking guys in those places and know my way around the aisles.  I feel more excited when I go to the hardware store than even going to the very nice malls.  Women’s clothing and accessories are just that.  At the hardware store, your imagination goes wild.  I could do this, I could do that.  But unfortunately, after a few rounds, I decided that really, all I needed were just the boxes, and oh yes, some AA batteries.  I postponed my other shopping experience for when I get to my other destination.  Then, I can let my imagination go wild.

Now they even have self-service check-out registers.  Why not to try anything to challenge my aging neurons.  The cashier had to come to my assistance, because the technology is not that advanced yet.  I wanted to scan just one of the boxes and multiply it the number of boxes I had without having to do that one by one.  She said they are not up to that yet.  So the aging neurons beat high-tech for a change.

You should see my walls.  You cannot tell where my art was hanging.  Thank you very much, Ron.  Painted and everything.  Feel good right now.

So it was today…29 June, 2011…a day of termite inspection…and a exciting visit to the hardware store.  Yes, I also filled up the tank with gas at $3.37 a gallon.  A real deal.

Your Happy Contessa

“I regret nothing.”  Edith Piaf, French singer and cultural icon.  Among her songs, “La Vie en Rose.”  19 December, 1915 – 11 October, 1963.

And the verdict is…

Sorry.  Not a pretty picture to start with.  But this will help to illustrate my experience of early today.  One of the tasks I wanted to accomplish before closing on the house was to have the air conditioner unit serviced.  I dreaded doing this and kept on postponing it until almost the last moment.  Why?  For the same reason all of us do procrastinate.  We think it is going to be harder, almost impossible,  and who knows what problems the subject of our procrastination will introduce into our lives.

I called the company.  So today this very nice older fellow, isn’t that something.  Most of the people around me or in my life are “older fellows or older chicks.”  Let’s continue.  Why is that.  I guess I am not a young chick any longer.

All right. To the point.  So there he is working very early to avoid the heat wave we are confronting in these days.  I asked him to be extra careful not to make too much noise.  It was before 8 am and one of my unwritten rules is to try to be kind to others.  So there he goes, Mr. Fix-it guy.  He turned on the faucet on the side of the house that has never been used, and there I hear a very strange noise.  I thought, what the heck is going on.  Now I may have a new problem.  I went out to check on this newly acquired melody and he told me he was cleaning the coils.  Not a big deal.  I am thinking…yeah, right!

Then he comes inside, goes upstairs to check on the furnace department and I am praying to the Heavens that the man doesn’t come through the ceiling of my living room.  Here I am, Miss Positivity herself in person.  It is easier said than done.

Then…he goes into his truck, stays there for a while, and I am thinking…how much is going to be the hit.  He comes inside…surprise!  Just the charge for checking/servicing the unit.  Everything is pretty “cool” with the unit.  Another thing to be grateful for.  One thing off my list and I am a bit relieved about having met an honest Mr. Fix-it guy.

The wheels of progress continue with their movement…down they come and then into a box.  Little by little.  It’s a zinch by the inch.  Ron’s favorite.  Don’t have a confirmed place to move to yet, but the moving truck is scheduled and so is everything else.  I am rolling down I-95 South even if my next residence will be the Atlantic Ocean.  I am not stopping now.  Look out Key West, you may have a surprise visitor.  Hope not.

So it was today, 28 June, 2011…a day of a pleasant surprise…motivating me not to procrastinate too much…and packing my stuff.

Your Happy Contessa

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  Lewis Carroll, English author, mathematician, logician, photographer.  Best known for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”  27 January, 1832 – 14 January, 1898.

The business of gratitute…

Thank you...

5,012, last count of views and 179 postings.  Merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, thank you very much.

Now to the business of the title of the posting.  Probably you are thinking, what does a garbage truck has to do with gratitude?  A lot may I say so.  Let me explain.

I am in the process of moving to another place looking for what I have not lost, looking for a better looking greener grass, but all of you already know all of that stuff.  So as a result of my searching for my Mara Mara (I just made this one up, I think it means to me the ultimate experience), I have a lot of cardboard and old boxes that I needed to discard.  On Sunday afternoon, my container for the recyclables was full, so I prepared a box full of cardboard very nicely trimmed and stuffed in the box.  I was hoping the mechanic arm of the truck will get low enough to reach for the box.  Talk about turning and turning in my bed, guessing how that was going to pan out.  Even guessing if they were going to take the additional material.  So the moment of truth came.  I started watching from my very well protected window, so they could not see me.  The man came out of the truck, and placed the box with all the discards in the truck.  Alleluia!!  Talking about beginning the day with a very grateful attitude.

My concern today was cardboard pick up, somebody else’s concern may be a cure for an illness, another one for a job, another one…just use your imagination.  It doesn’t matter what the issue is that I am seeking help or an answer to, I like to start my day on my knees, being grateful I can even get down on my knees and get up again.

The important thing is to be grateful that we are able to breathe, able to walk, if we can, there’s a quintillion reasons to be grateful about every second of our lives.  Even hearing my daughter’s voice on the phone when we talk, I am so ever thankful about.

So I take this opportunity to render gratitude to my Creator and to all of you for being part of what I call, my life and its ramifications.  I have still so much growing to do, but it is with those around me that I am able to get the inspiration and motivation to go on and be my best self, keep on my quest for expanding my horizons and continuing to be forever grateful.  For everything, including the-pain-in the derriere challenges.

C’est la vie!

So it was today…27 June, 2011…a day to remember to be grateful for everyone and everything.

Your Happy Contessa

“Thank you.”  The best prayer ever!

Eating good in the neighborhood…

The good thing about going out to eat is that you don’t know what to expect.  Some people’s or expert’s judgement about good food is not necessarily one you may think you are going to agree with them 100%.

I was invited by good friends in my neighborhood to a North Carolina landmark and one of the best-rated restaurants in the United States.  They, my neighbors, are a very lovely couple and because I supposedly will be moving back south next month they asked me to dinner.  So I really did not know how my opinion about the place, service and food was going to fare.

This was the dessert offering.  I know, I am starting at almost the end of the experience.  But sometimes life is like that, you get the results before you understand what hit you.  Going back to the delicious-food-evening.  Place is a big red barn, style kind of homey or very Cracker Barrel, but on a more grandiose scale.  They have a room that one of the walls is a display of old guns, rifles, etc.  Weapons enough to start some sort of small-country- revolution.  No kidding.  But in the name of decor, it does not appear or looks menacing.  Then they have the “Turkey” room/bar.  Lots and lots of figurines of turkeys, and more turkey galore stuff.  It is a place to really go there and spend a whole day just looking at the decor, and oh yes, we went there to eat.

The spinach salad is so grand.  Lots of fresh organic spinach, with lots of also good for you bacon, boiled egg, and croutons worth your salivating.  They will not share the recipe for the dressing.  Hard to explain the flavor, some sort of sweet, sour, that made the salad unconsciously tasteful.  I would have been just fine with the salad and the bread.  Butter, I believe also made from organic cows (is there such a thing?), was dripping from the toasted bread.  Who’s thinking about fat when you could die right there and not even realize you are being taken out.

That’s not even the beginning.  Carmen, our server, was just plain pleasant and very willing to make this a very unforgettable experience.  Excellent training!  She brings some type of square home-made (in this case, restaurant-made) crackers, with aged cucumbers, pickled celery, two small containers of aged cheese, cheddar and a sharper type of cheddar and an assorted type of olives.  I love olives.  I am still recovering from the so good strong-tasting cheese, washed down with the house red wine, that who cares if the gazillion of calories are just being added to your soon to pass out into a heavenly body experience.

Then, finally the steak, also very good for you, from very happy,  well-grass-fed- cows. Not an ounce of hormones or anything insulting to the beef population.  I made a mistake, as I requested the steak  “well done.”  No blood running on my account.  I should have asked for next to well done, because steak was a bit too dried.  My mistake.  Just had the leftover with my Sunday lunch salad.  Melting in my mouth.  Add rice pilaf and a baked seasoned with all herbs tomato.

Dessert?  Where?  I really wanted some key lime pie, but my eyes were bulging out.

L’addition, s’il vus plait.  The check?  I was just there to eat and generate and join in the conversation.  I was one happy and grateful camper, I mean, eater.  But I gather that I would have to save some of my personal allowance a few months to go back and enjoy again the experience.  Looking forward to that one.

So it was today, 26 June, 2011, a day to play back in my mind having had such a wonderful eating experience with fascinating people to share it with.

Your Happy Contessa

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer and aviator.  29 June, 1900-31 July, 1944.  He wrote “The Little Prince.”

Only the natural and best ingredients…

Have you noticed that fruits and vegetables do not need a label with ingredients, % of this or % of that?  The only ingredients are, oxygen, water, and sunlight.  A magic brew and voila, the miracle of nature and our Creator.  The best color coordination and best tasting nature has to offer.

Cutting this cantaloupe and pear made me think of this.  Don’t even have to look at any label when you buy them.  Very simple.  Why couldn’t we just consume more of these goodies, instead of those you know what, those things.   I really could not come up with a name to describe “le garbage” we are bringing home when we go shopping for groceries.  I think I already did a posting on this issue.  But just looking around us we can see we are going down baby, we don’t need anyone from outside our frontiers to come and do us in.  We are happily eating ourselves to the road of no return.  And the curious thing, no one likes to talk about it.  We just go on happily eating and drinking and buying larger sizes.  Super size me!

Color, texture and flavor...

Have you noticed how sizes are getting bigger?  What about the furniture?  One thing I noticed in Paris is that the chairs in the restaurants are very petite.  Even to get in and out of your seat, you have to pull the table, so you can maneuver out.  Spaces are very small and you are very close to each other.  The French paradox.  They eat a lot of creams and  butter.   This butter is just heavenly. I remember I was eating the butter by itself thinking it was cheese and Milagros told me it was butter.  That’s how good it is.  Going back, they, the French people do very happily eat and accompany their meals with plenty wine and good conversation.  There’s a grace to do that.  Here, most of the time we just get drunk and the faster we eat, the better.  Not such a good thing.

Going back to the paradox, maybe alcohol burns the fat on the way out of our systems.  Who knows.  I am not recommending use of alcohol.  Remember, alcohol burns your brain cells.  Not too many neurons to go around for me.  But that’s where the paradox resides.

One thing is for sure, and my friends, I am including myself in this constant and eternal battle, natural ingredients are so much better than those names we cannot pronounce.  They should create a country for just those little names.   Conspiracy theory working full-time here.  They give the garbage we are ingesting those names, so we don’t feel we really know what the hell we are sending down our pipes.

Only natural ingredients are better than those monos, saturated, artificial anything and you know what I mean.  Every time we are contemplating putting something in our petite mouths, let’s think–look for other alternatives.  If none is available, water is a good filler upper.

When I was working on this posting I heard a tweet from a bird and it sounded as if the bird was inside the house.  I looked to the upper glass part of my door, and there was this tiny bird serenading me with a beautiful melody.  This was my best attempt to capture this memorable moment.  Nature at its best.  It never fails.

So it was today…23 June, 2011…a day of contemplating how we should become more of one with nature.  Have the loveliest of weekends.  See you Monday!

Your Happy Contessa

“Can we ever have too much of a good thing?”  Miguel De Cervantes, Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright.  Don Quijote de la Mancha.  9 October, 1547 – 23 April, 1616.

The chicken…and or the hormones…

I bought this fried (yes, I know…not so good for my precious arteries) piece of chicken breast, to shred it and insert it in my delicious soon to be lunch salad.  But, surprise!  the piece of meat looked so diminutive that I was kind of disappointed.  I even surprised myself at my reaction.  You know how greedy we humanoids have become.  Bigger everything, including the problems and stress.  Bigger is better and give it to me as fast as you can.

After a few seconds of surprising myself, I thought…always thinking.  Sometimes I even get tired to thinking so much.  But I don’t have anybody else to talk with about my little brain waves of thinking, so thinking in complete silence is.  Now, going back to my forever thinking…maybe this “smart” chicken knew what was being fed to the rest of the population and she decided she was not having any of it and decided to pass the hormone du jour.  As a result, I got the only chicken piece in the whole lot that was leaving very few carbon footprints.  That thought made me kind of content.  Notice I said content, not happy.  Usually a chicken breast lasts me for two meals.  This one is already gone with lunch.  Hormones or no hormones…that was my question.  Hopefully that “smart” chick had a very happy life.  I bet there was not a shred of bad fat in her trim body.

Big salad...small chicken breast...

I amaze myself at how I can take a piece of chicken and do a whole posting.  There’s so much in the universe to talk about, look about and nonsense about.  But no one can complain about the muses being totally MIA, I can suffice by myself.  That’s very empowering.  294 words.  That’s a decent posting.

Oh yes, look at my daily salad.  When I read about the issue with veggies that was going on in Europe the past few weeks, you don’t want to know how panicked I was.  I thought…there goes my intent on being healthy and keeping somewhat fit to get into my skinny jeans.  Even thought it is too hot now for jeans.  Do they make skinny shorts.  Oops!  Legs are not that great looking at 62 seasons and the 63rd approaching pretty soon.

Yes, I do take the skin out, with all that good tasting greasy layers of skin.  Only God knows how old is the oil they use to fry that stuff.  You can smell the grease miles away.  Sooo good!  It is better not to think too much when trying to eat anything.  It takes your appetite away.

Bon apetit!

So it was today…22 June, 2011…a day of ingesting my monthly dose of recycled old lard…and pretending I don’t know anything about how good it is for me.

Your Happy Contessa

“Honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor.”  Paula Deen when asked if all that fat she cooks with is good for you.

Que sera, sera…Whatever will be, will be…

Sometimes even the best planned events or occasions in our lives can be met with one challenge or another.  I am in the initial stages of moving to another place, where I think…remember this…I think the grass will be greener.  But  also realize that greener grass takes a lot of fertilizer, lots of water, even more now that we are in the middle of this blazing summer.

There is a lot of smoke outside right now, but the local tv station, which  I think originates in another planet, is saying nada about it.  I think they even pre-record the weather forecast.  Here I go again…side tracking…

Yes, a lot of water, fertilizer, and a lot of effort to have that Nirvana looking grass.  I have made a deal with my ego self.  I am not contemplating this move to be my answer to find happiness,  there’s that word again, but an opportunity to make meaning and write some different experiences in the book of what I call my life.  No too high expectations, no big disappointments.  Life is better when we open up to the possibilities of what the days, what the people that surround us, may decide to gift us with.  What we do with whatever is handed to us is what really matters.  And as Miss Raylene and I decided this morning, we are going to get some pink shaded sunglasses and use them to see everything that touches our lives.  Pink, light, and pretty.  No ugliness, no problems.

As my lovely and brilliant daughter would  say, life is like an equation, all you have to worry about is finding that missing factor.  And that’s where the excitement and fun begins.  Always look at challenges as an adventure to find out where this thing is taking us.  Whatever that is.  It will show us how resilient and persistent we really are.

So it was today…21 June, 2011…the day of the year with the longest hours of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, and the day of the year with the shortest hours of sunlight in the Southern Hemisphere.  Opposites.   So that means, that tomorrow the countdown starts second by second of eliminating sunlight from our days.  What a conundrum of a mind I have.  I love the hot weather, and how can I even be thinking about cold weather.  Better stop it right now.

Your Happy Contessa

“Make everything about you and your life elegant and special.”  Me

“…has always been able to take nothing and make something out of it.”

This was a quote from an article in this morning’s paper describing this generous-to- humanity woman who has gone on to her next journey.

Just like that bumble bee I captured this morning on a Rose of Sharon.  There she was, Miss cute bumble bee going about her business of doing her part in the very elaborate and complex development of what we call the food chain.  Nothing is unimportant in life.  She did not mind that I was trying to capture the moment, she just went on because today was probably a very busy and hot day.

Before Miss Bumble Bee's visit...

There are so many things going on all around us and most of the time are so oblivious of the importance of some of these happenings.  I am training myself to be more alert and listen to the birds’ singing their beautiful tunes in the morning, to the sights of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny this morning, first noticed by Miss Raylene, and I tried to take a few photos, to later realized I had my fantastic cheap camera on the close-up default, so the visit of these precious creatures was captured very fuzzy.  But at least they are in the vault of our nice memories.

Let’s not underestimate the preciousness of the moment, the inhabitants of our surroundings that work so hard to make life beautiful and worth the presence of our existence on our beautiful planet Earth.

So it was today…20 June, 2011, a day visiting with Miss Bumble Bee and the Bunnies family, and pondering on the making of something out of nothing.

Your Happy Contessa

“Time is a sort of river of passing events.”  Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, philosopher.  26 April, 121 – 17 March, 180.

Me and my beautiful life…

In my last posting I came across as being a tad depressed.  We must remember about the Harvard “expert” in happiness that stated that if you don’t have any lows in life, you are either a psychopath or you are dead.  So I decided in my last posting to take my dose of low for the month.  I am still breathing and being a psychopath is not a choice for happiness.  Those people are plain scary.  I remember in my soap “India” there was one, Yvonne, she was heartless, and even at the end of the story, she came out smelling real good.  Where were we?

Ahhhhhhh, the title of the posting.  I was feeling groovy and grateful this morning, and thought that I do have a beautiful life.  I have chosen to remember only the goodness of everything that has happened to me in my 62 seasons (there is a wasp trying to get in my house right now), and I am very appreciative of everyone that decided to show up in my life and even though the circumstances sometimes were not of my approval, looking back, they have become part of the great person I am today.  The tapestry of my beautiful life.  There are so many stories, characters, episodes, chapters, sentences, beautiful pictures, beautiful scenes, challenging moments, very frustrating and angry paragraphs in the pages of the whole book of my life, but that’s what they are, only paragraphs or sentences.

I have to remember to be kind and gentle to myself, not to live up to anyone’s expectation, because after all, we are all going through one thing or another, and also, not to be constantly comparing myself to anybody else.  I do not recall anyone having met God yet.  So if we live trying to meet anyone, and I mean anyone’s expectation,  that’s the best set up for failure one can have.

I feel good, grateful and I am looking forward to whatever is in storage in the next page of my life.  One thing for sure, I am going to make my darndest best to make it beautiful.

Life is too short not to make it pretty and beautiful.

So it was today…19th June, 2011…a day of remembering how beautiful we can make our lives to be.

Your Happy Contessa

“…And I hope to make meaning… with what I have left of my life”  A 64-year-old woman with early stages of Alzheimer disease.

Thought I had it…but now I don’t…life saga continues…

A Mary Cassatt in the making?...really...

Ok.  This is an update to let y’all know that I am not depressed right now.  The post below was the drama queen in me that came out to express herself.  Read with lots of sugar and honey in your intelligent minds.  Thank you!

Life is like a box of chocolate, someone said in a movie.  I would say, life is like playing a peek-a-boo game.  Now you see it, whatever that is, and now you don’t.

And I think it is better that way.  There’s only so much we are capable of handling before getting upset, stressed out, or plain with “la depre,” (depression in Spanish).  It sounds better, not so heavy.

The wells where my tears are produced are so dried, that even if I tried, only air will come out.  That’s funny.  Even I am laughing about it.  It is either laugh, or cry, and remember, no tear production on this face.  So, laughing is going to be.

But laugh about what.  That my brain is so fried right now, that I cannot think of anything to post about and this is something pretty laughable.  I am going to see up to where my imagination takes me and I am curious to see how many words I can type, saying much, much about really nothing.  Hang in there with me.  This is one of these days where anything goes and the light bulb refuses to light up my path.  One hundred ninety-seven words, oops, now two hundred.  It is getting much better.  Not for you, dear reader, but for me this is great.  Words are being produced in abundance.

From Miss Raylene's garden..this morning...

This post is so important.  Hopefully it will make us realize that it is better to keep our mouths shut sometimes than open it and just let baloney out.  This is the case, my dear Watson.  Wow!  Two hundred and seventy words.  I think I am going to quit while I am ahead and still in a good mood.

Sorry I don’t have anything bright, witty, or earth-shaking to discuss today.  And to think that this is going to be my weekend posting.  My new-found readers are going to think that I am full of air.  Right now that is the case.  Hopefully the weekend will re-energize my neurons and some new muses may feel I deserve a chance for redemption.

So it was today…16 June, 2011…a day I wrote much about fluffy air just before turning the computer off.  Three hundred seventy-seven words.  More or less.

May you have a very happy and fulfilling weekend.  See you next Monday!

Your Happy Contessa

“When you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”  Joseph Campbell, American mythologist, writer and lecturer.  26 March, 1904 – 30 October, 1987.