Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Ultra Conservative

This is not a political post, it’s about my body.

I am ever grateful for this container I am symbiotic with, but we’ve learned a few things about each other as we’ve traversed our time around the sun.

She’s ultra conservative and I’m well, not so much. I like to go, go, go. She wants to sleep. I want to eat, she’s afraid of famine and holds on to all the fuel she can, for as long as she can. I want to use my muscles, she disagrees.

My thoughts are fast… she moves slow. Even her heartbeat is around 54 beats.

I love my body. She’s grudgingly taken us on many adventures and we’ve seen quite a bit together. We’ve walked thousands of miles and are even in harmony now and then, but generally, I want more than she’s willing to give, and if I push her, she lets me know just how displeased she is.

My body is a picky eater. There are things I’d love to try and flavors I can imagine, but she’s a thoroughbred and lets me know when she’s unhappy with what I’ve been giving her.

Sometimes I’m annoyed with this opposition, but then I think of the babies she’s made. The feelings she gives and the things we’ve been through together and I try to soften my expectations and make peace with her. In most of my life, I’ve pushed for perfection…. or what feels like the best…. in just about everything. I realize that I have very high expectations. I should realize that millions would LOVE to have my body. They’d be grateful for my health and strength and ability. But I stubbornly push and expect more at times and for that I probably should take a step back and rethink.

I can race through life, or I can listen to my body and take it all a little slower. The bigger issue is the battle with time. Yep, that third factor in life. What you get done, what you don’t and how much time you have. I fully expect to be 113, and I want to be sure I get there happy and healthy and able to take care of myself. Maybe that’s why she’s so conservative. She’s playing the long game. Smart body. ;0)

Posted in Musings and Mutterings


I got up and worked on a budget that I promptly ignored and bought a room on a cruise that my son has been begging me to go on for the holidays with him. Now, was that irresponsible financially, or did I see the larger picture about money affording me experiences with my son…?

Does it change you opinion if I tell you that I’m going to Miami for a few days before I leave on a back to back cruise with my husband for the two weeks prior to the cruise with my son, meaning that I’m essentially floating around the Caribbean for 3 weeks?

How about if I tell you that earlier this evening I went to the store and got out of my car. When I tried to lock my vehicle it gave me an alarm tone. Occasionally, the car will give alarms for nothing, such as when the little brain has been confused and I’ve had to basically “reboot” the car. This time, though, it knew what it was talking about because somehow I hadn’t TURNED IT OFF. So essentially it was sitting there, RUNNING, the entire time I was in the store shopping for SOCKS. WTF is wrong with me? I hadn’t realized it was still ON….. to be fair, it is a quiet little car. Sheesh!!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Speedy Delivery

They say you should write what you know. What if you don’t know anything?

Life has been flying by at an alarming rate and I’ve had every intention of getting back in here and writing blogs…. mostly because I *like* doing so. Sure it’s a bit of effort, and finding things to chatter about can be difficult, but I do like to stretch my vocabulary now and then.

For the most part, life has been about figuring out who I am, how I feel, and where I fit these days.

When I left my job, the goal was to spend time taking care of me. That meant that I’d eat a diet that avoided my myriad of food issues, but still was fun to cook and inventive. I can’t say that I’ve done that entirely, but I think I’m getting that more in line recently. It’s hard when you are bouncing around the country to get a routine going for much of anything. Sounds like an excuse, I know, but I think it’s more about creating a plan to cope with changes, which I didn’t set up for myself.

Anyway, back to my initial thought… what do you write if you don’t “know” anything? Boring shit like this, lol!

Recently, I went to my physician and lamented the loss of caffeine since that little bugger and I don’t seem to get along. She suggested I try a prescribed stimulant that might not have the pesky side effects I was experiencing with caffeine. So, bam, zoom… off I went to the pharmacy and voila! I started taking the new med last week and noticed that I had a bad dream that night. Hubby had purchased a house in the neighborhood I grew up in (and would rather not live in again). It was a hideous yellow house and while it was different from the one I grew up in, I was distraught that he’d purchased the place. Far worse was the man who had electronic equipment set up out front and pronounced to me that the place was haunted. When I went into the home it was evident that it needed to be renovated (that’s a whole other nightmare for another blog). One corner of the basement had a bar and items that had belonged to the former owner. I don’t remember how it was accomplished, but eventually we excised the very angry spirit that was living there and while still incredibly unhappy about this house, at least I wasn’t hyperventilating about going inside it any more.

The next night I dreamed I was being chased through the woods by dinosaurs. I appreciate that marketing to small children represent dinosaurs as being cute or friendly, but nothing that big that could possibly eat me or eviscerate me is going to be printed on my PJ’s. Dinos and Godzilla are not on my friends list.

The next night I dreamed a person I knew about 13 years ago contacted me and taunted me about my continued struggle with weight loss. They’ve lost an extraordinary amount of weight and I’m very happy and supportive of that achievement, but having them contact me repeatedly (after literally not talking to them for over a dozen years) just to call me names and make fun of me didn’t create a relaxing restful slumber.

The following night I dreamed I was attending a chorus concert for the first time since I retired. I showed up to find pandemonium and chaos. Parents were wandering about unsure of what to do with their kids. Children were not being supervised and were running willy-nilly around a room. People were getting angry and asking me if I knew what to do and where to go. I jumped right in, making some sort of order from the chaos (feeling exceedingly stressed and distressed by the shambles) and set off to find the person in charge. This concert was at a new venue with multiple buildings on a sprawling campus. I finally found the person in charge in a stone building, far from the venue where the children were. She was with every adult chaperone/volunteer and they were all lounging about or lazing in a chair, sipping wine. When I asked them why they weren’t taking care of things, they said they were told not to and that parents could fend for themselves. Eek! Ok, I know that this one doesn’t seem like a nightmare to YOU, but trust me when I say I woke up breathing hard and sweating from this one!

By this time I decided to look up interactions and side effects of my new prescription and there it was… the answer to my dreams, ha! Vivid nightmares. Tell me about it!

My doctor told me to stop the meds every weekend to give my body a break, so I did. Yesterday was Monday, so I started taking my meds again… guess what…. I had odd dreams again, though I don’t remember them as well as the others.

If you’ve ever read some of my dream posts, you’ll know that I have been having odd dreams for years, so while some people might be freaking out about all the dreaming, it just feels kinda normal to me. I’m hoping tonight’s episode of dreaming is about fluffy kittens or snuggling or eating something delicious.

The next morning…….

It was not. I dreamed about breaking up with my husband after he threw me a party, but didn’t interact with me at all. While I was pleasantly surprised at the party, most of the people, food, music, and activities weren’t the things that I like. So I sat to the side and he had a great time. Near the end I’d finally had enough and told everyone to go home and that I wanted him to leave. Then he kept showing up to things we were both invited to and my heart ached because I knew I missed him, but didn’t want to feel like it didn’t even register to him what I do and don’t like. This dream hits a little too close to home.

I think I’ve now gone through the majority of things that scare/upset/worry me, so maybe tonight will be those fuzzy kittens. I’m just hoping they aren’t rabid or something.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Letter to my dad

Dear Dad,

            They asked me if I had anything to say, anything to recount about our time together. I had to think about that. I don’t remember too many specific times that we spent together, maybe that was because you were working long hours and double shifts to make sure I was safe and warm and had plenty to eat. At the time I didn’t really understand that, but I had just about everything I wanted, except maybe time with you.

Then there was Heather. That’s when I got to see the real you, Dad. Not the disciplinarian, the “rule maker”, the “wait until your father gets home..” but the man who would get up and get a fussy baby out of my arms and send me to bed while you cooed and cuddled her up and down the hallway all night, calling her your “Natasha”. Instead of the man I felt I was always at odds with, I saw the man who would play tea party or the man who would allow Heather to crawl all over him during one of her medical exams, only to announce that “you have bugs.” I got to see where my warped sense of humor came from and my creativity ( thank you for those, by the way) when I watched you put Heather in an old cardboard diaper box and drag her around the yard for rides, or send her squealing with delight in her cardboard sled up and down the hallway carpet. And when she was grown, I came to understand your generosity when she was in trouble.

Thanks for the memories, (shall I burst into song? Nah). Even though you weren’t the most openly demonstrative person, these are the kinds of memories that let me know how much you loved us, and helped me to understand just who you were and to love you, too. Fish.

Number 3


Posted in Musings and Mutterings

An Ode to Travel Professionals

So far I’m not a big fan of Priceline.

And after being on my most recent travels, I’m not sure I like Viator either.

I’ve worked with many travel professionals over the years. And while convenient, Priceline and Viator are making life a little more difficult for travel professionals to earn a living while not always providing the same level of service.

Case in point, I just got back from a multi-city, multi -transportation, multi-excursion trip. I was in Venice Florence, Rome, Mykonos, Santorini, Kusadasi, Montecatini, Stresa and Crete. Within 2 weeks I traveled by plane, train, automobile, bus boat and ship. Everything worked perfectly. My connecting flight through international terminals was seamless, my excursions were perfectly timed, my bus rides and high speed train rides were all well coordinated and I owe that all to very dedicated travel professionals.

So when I come home and venturedl off to go see my granddaughter in Texas. I felt confident that the plans that I had made via Priceline, and followed up with the properties and the car rental after making the original reservations, would go equally as smoothly. Not so much.

I flew Southwest Airlines, which has been having some issues lately but had never let me down in the past. My plane was an hour and a half late getting into Baltimore, but the flight was fine and we got into Houston by 1:30 a.m. We headed to the baggage carousel, and watched and waited as most of the plane collected their baggage. We stood there. Waiting for another 10 minutes until finally our bags came out on a different carousel. Okay, we have our bags and we’re in Houston so time to find my son.

The pickup area at Hobby airport was very busy, so my son had parked his car and after finding one another we headed off towards my hotel. The hotel I’d booked through Priceline. The hotel I had called to let them know that my flight was coming in after midnight and that I would be arriving late. The hotel that told me that would be fine and that they’d make a note in my folio.

When I arrived, hubby and I got out our goods and went into the foyer where we made a huge mistake. We said bye to our son with the thought that of course our room would be waiting for us. When we walked in there was a young couple with two small children who were pacing the foyer peering behind the registration counter where everything was ominously dark. They told us that the registration desk was closed and the woman had just left telling them that all rooms were booked and that their reservations that they had made through Priceline as well, had been canceled. Now I don’t know if this young couple had called the Wyndham Gardens, Houston, to let them know they were going to be late, but I felt I was safe because I had done so.

We waited for 30 minutes and no employee showed up anywhere. Even if they didn’t have any rooms, how can a hotel leave its front doors open and the lobby accessible without a key card and just have their front desk personnel up and disappear? So I called the property and the phone rang and rang and rang and rang and no one ever answered. Next I called Wyndham itself, where I got the main registration personnel. I explained that I was sitting in the lobby and that I had called the hotel and that I was stranded. The reservation offices had seen my reservation and they told me that it had been canceled as a no-show. Considering I had taken steps specifically to avoid this situation, I was frustrated.

The Wyndham reservation desk looked around and found a property within walking distance. Called and made sure that there was a room available for us and set up a reservation. We gathered our belongings, walked across parking lots and fields and got to the super 8 motel. There the gentleman checked me in, charged the wrong person’s card and then charged mine and gave me my keys to my room at 4:30 a.m. I had to pay an entire night’s fee for what will end up being a seven hour rental.

Currently, my husband is waiting at the airport to pick up our rental car, whose reservation expires at 10:00 a.m., and he’s been there for over an hour. We had to pay for this rental car starting yesterday at 10:00 a.m., but the car agency is closed at night so we couldn’t get our car until this morning.

One thing I will say, I did call Priceline and explain about the hotel, and thankfully my non-refundable hotel was refunded to me. The car reservation was still valid so I’m confident we’ll get the car, and then spend our morning moving to another hotel facility where I made reservations for the remainder of my trip directly with the hotel.

This is not how I wanted to spend one of my few days with my brand new granddaughter that I haven’t met yet.

Oh and why am I not happy with Viator? Because at multiple turns while I was on my grand adventure last week, I heard tales from travelers about the tours and cars and transfers they had reserved through Viator which had either not shown up or were subpar. And just like Priceline, Viator is essentially a clearinghouse of providers. I’m not saying that Priceline and Viator are not providing a service of sorts, but they don’t really follow up or follow through with the people they partner with. So you never quite know whether you ‘ve gotten a provider that is a professional, or someone who doesn’t really care if they leave you stranded in the middle of the night. That’s my ultimate issue with these clearing house travel providers. A travel professional cares, and will go to great lengths, to make sure you, their customer, are well taken care of. Because that’s the industry they’re in; hospitality. Not a clearinghouse for booking.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings


Definitely a place that makes you want to return.

Yesterday started off with a rainy gray bleak morning that was beautiful on the lake. My guide Carlotta and I were driven in our sleek Mercedes-Benz into Milan, where we took a high speed train to Venice. From there we were met by another swoopy Mercedes and our driver Fabian who was definitely a polite, helpful and kind Italian driver. I never felt unsafe, but I did raise an eyebrow here and there.

We drove out to see the shadow tour hotel which was lovely and had an exceptional staff, but was out in the countryside and didn’t quite fit what I felt the parents expectations would be. So we pushed on to Padua and looked at a hotel there along with a church for a possible performance, the name of which is currently escaping my memory.

From there we drove to Este to the duomo of Saint Tecla. Carlotta was talking to me about Italian painters and different styles and it made me realize that I would really like to take an art appreciation class as I know so very little about fine artwork.

The duomo is beautiful and I think would make a wonderful performance space. The town of Este is quintessentially, a walkable Italian town. I wish there was a way my families could stay there, but I think the budget allows for them to be in Padua and Padua is a walking city that will allow them to do some additional things if they choose to.

After leaving the town of Este, we drove back to Venice and caught our vaporetto over to the island. During my ride I got numerous beautiful photos because the sun was just setting and dusk lit the canals in a wonderful way. We checked into our hotel, Fenice de la Artistes, which is historically significant to the Fenise teatro and was the place that performers and audiences would gather for drinks as is just around the corner from the theater.

We had a lovely glass of wine and comfy chairs while we waited for our table to be ready and then had a leisurely dinner with wonderful conversations about growing up.

This morning we will meet for breakfast and head off to San Rocco to see the performance space there. I’ve been told that it is quite an honor to perform at San Rocco, so I’m excited to see it.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Stresa, May 2-3

Yesterday was a very long day.

On Monday the 2nd I woke up, completed my packing , dressed and finally left for the airport at 12:45 p.m. for a 5:25 flight.

Because I don’t like large roads, my navigation system had me avoid all tolls, which meant our journey was probably a little longer than it needed to be, but we made it on time and everything was fine.

I boarded my plane, got my window seat (thank goodness I paid for that in advance) and settled in for a seven and a half hour flight with my noise-canceling headphones and music. Upon reflection, this doesn’t really present myself as a person who would be willing to chat on a flight, and I’m not sure if I’m always that person anyways. Be that as it may. I know I’m comfortable with my headphones, music and occasional dozing.

The first leg of my journey was to Frankfurt, Germany where I needed to change planes during my 2-hour layover. I disembarked the plane and looked for the pier that I would be transferring to. The gate I was in was z and I wanted to be at b. Through  a very long maze of hallways, elevators and steps I finally came to immigration which while it moved fairly well did take up a bit of time. Once cleared I again tracked through stairs, elevators and hallways to get to the b gate. I did make it with about 15 minutes to spare before boarding, but considering we’re leading a hundred students through that maze in a month, I have a small reason for concern. Anyway, this was one of the first tarmac boardings I’ve had in quite a few years. When we began the boarding process. We all went through the gate down more steps out to an articulated bus which drove around many curves and across a large distance of tarmac to get to our plane. Once the bus door  opened, we all spilled out onto the tarmac (because we were packed like sardines) and had the option of either boarding the plane on the front or the back by ascending the stairs. I couldn’t help thinking about famous political dignitaries on similar steps, either entering or exiting planes and had an urge to turn around and wave to the masses, but that just would have annoyed the guy behind me. I found my seat and immediately fell back to sleep for my second take off. About an hour later I landed in Milan. There I collected my luggage with no hassle and met my tour guide Carlotta.

We got into a swanky Mercedes and were off through the countryside to Lake Maggiore and the town of Stresa. On the way the region became a bit more mountainous and at one point the trees cleared so that I could get a glimpse of Lake Maggiore. The car began a series of switchback turns through an adorable and idyllic Italian town. With each turn, the quaint charm was more and more palpable and the view of the lake became more expansive, it was gorgeous.

We checked into my hotel, which is the Regina Palace hotel, and dropped my luggage off in my room. Then began the whirlwind tour. Carlotta and I rented a private transfer over to Isola Bella, where we discussed the plans for the chorus tour and the options for what we could do on the island. We wandered a bit and then returned to the shores so that we could do a tour of hotel Dino, hotel Bristol, hotel Solima, the church of St. Ambrosia and Theodore and then hotel Regina Palace. Afterwards we sat at a small cafe and had some water and a few snacks while adorable little birds hopped up onto our table, begging us for a small chip. Quite a few dogs and their owners were wandering around the lakeside Cafe and it was beautiful to hear the church bells. We finally decided it was time to walk around the town a bit and then find a restaurant where I had steak and vegetables. Who isn’t surprised?

Isola Bella

I really wanted to start exploring the town and shops but I was on my 25th hour since I had left and needed to go to sleep.

We returned to the hotel but The view was so lovely I immediately left to go walk along the lakeside and take a few photographs.

I woke up early and began packing my things but took some time to stand at my window and look out at the lake. It’s a little gray and misty here today, but I noticed a small boat on the lake with birds swarming around looking for some tidbit to nibble. I got out the big camera and took a couple shots with the fantastic zoom before sitting down to write this. I can’t share those with you because I don’t have the mechanism to download the photographs until I get home, so I’ll probably come back and insert some photos into this post.

Today, I’m to meet Carlotta at 8:30 in the lobby where we will get another wonderfully sleek Mercedes, or similar, and head off to Milan to catch a high speed train to the Venice region. From there we will catch a motorboat to Venice downtown, check into our hotel and begin investigating hotels and venues for the chorus. Ciao!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Italy and Odyssey

So! I’m off on a grand adventure. Today I leave for Italy and a whirlwind itinerary to help confirm preparations for the Chorus tour that happens in July (which I’m going on as well). I’m headed off to Milan this evening where I’ll be picked up and taken to Stresa, which is a city on Lake Maggiore, to take a gander at possible hotels there. Then we travel to Venice and surrounding area to check out hotels and performance venues in that area and then off to Florence/Lucca for more of the same, and finally end up in Rome.

After I look at many beautiful spaces in Italy, I’m travelling to the port of Civitavecchia to board the Odyssey of the Seas. My itinerary for this cruise is Naples (I’m going to Pompeii and Herculaneum), Santorini, Turkey, Mykonos, Rhodes and Crete and then back to port in Civitavecchia and home from Rome.

Hoping to update my blog while I’m gone. Let’s see how that goal goes, shall we? In the meantime, arrivederci!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Elton John on a plane

I dream a lot.

I tend to get to bed between 10 pm and 12am and often wake up at least once during the wee hours. Often the best sleep I get is just before I’m supposed to wake up. Supposed to? I don’t often have a set schedule these days, but my body responds to the light in the room, so I wake up at a reasonable hour.

Two nights ago, I dreamed I had gone to a playground looking for something. Someone I was with (I think a young boy with a striped shirt) said they “knew where they were” and went off. Later in my dream, I wasn’t in the same place. My dream changed and I was frantic about having left a young child (that boy) at the playground. It was dark and cold and of course everything I did to try and get back to the kid didn’t work. Car wouldn’t start, traffic, icy roads… you name it. I woke up anxious and worried.

Last night I dreamed I was on an airplane. I like to sit near the back of the plane. As I was sitting there (on the wrong side of the plane because I like the RIGHT side) Elton John showed up and made his way to a seat nearby. I’m not sure what we said, but I vaguely remember that we joked about something and laughed. I thought it was great that I’d just chatted casually with Elton John and resumed whatever I had been doing. My dream continues and I am again just getting settled in my plane seat. I guess I was coming home from somewhere? Anyway, in saunters Elton John again, and again he comes to the back of the plane and slouches in the seat just behind me. I turn to look at him and his face lights up as though he recognizes me.

I mentioned that we’d been on the flight together a few days ago and he says, “Yes, you made me laugh. I quite enjoyed talking to you.” He then got up and came to sit across from me which was odd, because my airline seat had become a seat with a table between he and I. We talked about what was going on in our lives and he let me take a photo. I remember hearing a snippet of music and thinking I should turn off the phone.

When I woke up, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have a photo of Elton John on my camera since my dream was so real.

Between the two, I think I’d much rather visit with Elton John on a plane than to angst about leaving a child in a playground by accident on a dark and icy night. Maybe tonight I’ll have tea and crumpets with the Queen.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

(RE)Construction Zone

In an effort to finally finish moving into our townhouse and figuring out what to keep and pitch, we decided to put up some custom-made shelving in a room. Long story short, after looking for a stud to drill into, we instead found one of the fire sprinkler pipes. Whoopsie!

Now, 3 months later, I’m still trying to get the damage repaired. I’ve almost grown used to seeing the joists of the floor above me, torn drywall, insulation and peeling paint. Not good, Sharon.

I’ve got a few people coming to give me estimates to repair the walls and ceilings, but since I need new pipes in the house and the best way to get to them in the main bath is to pull out the tub, we are now looking into all three jobs at one time…. because… you know.. that’s how I roll!?

Trying to find a contractor who will take on your job is harder than I thought it might be. It might actually be necessary to combine these jobs to make a project BIG enough to get someone to commit. Heck, even the company the insurance company sent us ended up ghosting on us because drywall repair and repainting didn’t really pay enough for them to be interested. It’s a weird world.

In other news, #3 will have some ‘reconstruction’ of his own going on. He’s going in for surgery to remove the cancerous lymph nodes in his groin area and the birthmark that turned into a melanoma. Because of his age and the area his cancer is in, he’s a candidate to try using a minimally invasive technique with robotic surgery which could lead to shorter recovery time. He’s opted to go this route as there will be a ‘regular’ surgeon there as well in case they aren’t getting the results they expected to.