Happy New Year 2013!

Happy New Year 2013!

May 2013 bring your heart’s desire.

Champagne in my glass & chillled bottle in my kitchen
Champagne in my glass & chillled bottle in my kitchen

It’s a few hours before midnight, Dec 31, 2012, and I’m home in Los Angeles.  For the first time in 18 years, I’m not in Paris.   Do I wish I was there?  Absolutely!  My soul sighs contentedly the moment I reach the top of the RER B – Saint Michel exit.  I inhale the scents, my ears welcome the sound of French and I. AM. HOME.

Oddly enough, I am calm.  I chose to cancel my annual trip for several reasons and they feel right.  Paris waits for me and I can re-start my tradition in Dec 2013.

No crazy new year resolutions for me.  Why?  I don’t keep them and come February/March I feel like a failure.   If I make none, no guilt.  Instead I’m focusing on 2 “houses” — financial and health.   Without health and some level of wealth, midlife (and beyond) will have little pleasure and joy.

My wish for you in 2013

May you have love that never ends, lots of money, and lots of friends.  Health be yours, whatever you do, and may God send many blessings to you! – Irish Blessing

Do you have resolutions for 2013? 

Midlife Musing – Crickets …..wow I’ve been quiet!

My Midlife Musing has been so quiet lately that I can hear crickets!   Lots of little reasons as to why — trying to get my many ‘Midlife houses’ in order — financial, relationship, work, health, fun/travel.   Phew!  I’ve been traveling quite a bit the past 2 months.  Thankfully, December is quiet except my annual New Year’s trip to Paris.

Financial house is getting in order.  Living in Los Angeles when I retire is not an option.  As young as I feel, retirement will upon me sooner than I think.   Matter-of-fact, most of my traveling has been to check out different cities in the Midwest and West.

But it will be hard to retire anywhere if I haven’t fully prepared, meaning if my retirement savings are insufficient.  No bueno.  My plan (this week) is 1) to have rental property in the city where I’ll retire, 2) to move into one of the properties at retirement and 3) to live in a small apartment in south of France during the winter.

With that in mind, I’m implementing the plan.

Relationship house is in order.  Pretend relationship went belly up.

Work house is a work in progress.  Not sure what to do about it and I’m not spending time thinking about it.   Still figuring out my blog and how to “get myself out” to the masses.

Health house (would that be a gym?).  meh.  Need to get my focus back.

Oh the fun house — travel!   I have quite a few upcoming trips but most of them are either blog conferences or rental property hunting trips.

Lots to blog about on the varying ‘houses’, especially as progress happens.  Don’t expect much progress in the relationship house — that will probably remain a 1-room outhouse! 🙂

Thanksgiving in the Sacred Valley – Monument Valley UT

For Thanksgiving, I journeyed to Monument Valley — sacred center of the Navajo culture.  The desire to go to Monument Valley started easy enough — fans of BBCAmerica’s show Doctor Who will remember “The Impossible Astronaut” episode was shot in/around Monument Valley.  IN!

Did you know John Ford filmed many of his most famous Westerns in Monument Valley?  Yup!    DOUBLE IN.  All I had to do was book the ticket and go …. except that was 2011.  I didn’t make it because of work obligations.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2012.  Air fare – check; Hotel – check; rental car … oops.  When I checked into Hertz, I had 2 reservations according to the chatty woman behind the counter.  My choices?  A SUV or a Mustang.  Neither sounded appealing.  For those who know me, you know I’m not a fan of SUV (never mind the trip to Wyoming in May) nor do I like going fast.  Give me one of those ‘super-economy compact’ cars with roll-down windows.  As long as there’s a slot for my phone charger, I’m happy.

On impulse, I changed my mind and went with a Mustang.  I was heading to Navajo country.  It seemed right.

White Mustang

 

The drive to Monument Valley was uneventful.  Except for some of the mountain driving and the big rig that almost ran a SUV into the side of the mountain.

As the endless road stretched on (and on and on), suddenly in the distance, Monument Valley appeared!

Nonument Valley from a distance
Nonument Valley from a distance

It’s hard to describe the feeling of achieving a bucket list item.  A sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride and a sense of awe at the geography.  It is more breathtaking than I imagined and my photos are woefully inadequate.

Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Monument Valley - more
Monument Valley – more

 

The road on the valley floor is traveled by the Navajo people who live there.  They choose to live in this sacred place without electricity or running water, as their ancestors did.  It’s also a 17-mile drive around most of the monuments.  NOT recommended for cars low to the ground — I went for it!   The mustang is a rental, after all!

One of the “must do” items in Monument Valley is watching the sunrise or sunset.  My hotel, The View Hotel, sits in the park and is built to give every room a view of the Valley.

044 043 041 037Monument Valley — a spiritual center for the Navajo, a spiritual center for those of us who visit.

It was a special way to spend Thanksgiving.

Just don’t get me started about the drive back to Phoenix at 4a!  What was I thinking?  Well, I changed my flight in order to make it home in time for a friend’s wedding.  Without realizing the drive is 4.5 – 5 hours.   I needed to be at rental counter by 9:30.  Ugh.

As I checked out, the desk clerk suggested I drive 40-45 mph because cows might be on the highway.  Uh, ok.  Cows?   I didn’t know that Navajo land is free grazing which means cattle freely roam all hours of the day and night.   I sat in my car as it warmed up and said a prayer to Mother Earth and Father Sky.   Mother Earth, look out for me and the cows until Father Sky woke up.  With that said, I started out.   Whatever happened I was thankful and at peace.

The first glimmer of day light appeared at 6:14a and I was never so happy as that moment.  I don’t know which was worse — desolate night driving or mountain driving.   Thank you Mother Earth and Father Sky.

However, my Mustang was outstanding!  I’m not a fan of fast or driving; however, I enjoyed driving that Mustang at 85-95 mph!  (not sure which guiding spirit to thank for the safe delivery to Phoeniz Airport but THANK YOU).

 

 

RIP Lucy

A friend’s dog died today.  She was hit by a car while chasing the family’s cat.  Lucy wasn’t my dog but she was my favorite office dog.

She was a pug, an alpha diva pug.  Any new dog in the office had to accept her rank and position or there was hell to pay. Very quickly, employees learned that Lucy went psychotic when another dog was picked up in her presence.

Nothing personal mind you; she just tried to kill the other dog.  She kew our office was her domain.  After all, she was the Original Dog in the Office.

She was sweet and smart and in all her quirkiness, I liked her.

And she’ll never come into our offices again.

In a split second, her life — and her owner’s life — changed.

Life’s like that, isn’t it? Going along at its usual pace and then BOOM! Something is forever changed.  There’s no rhyme nor reason — some of the changes are positive; some are negative.

Lucy was loved, cherished and adored.  It is this knowledge that her owner finds comfort in.

For me, I think about the BOOM — on an ordinary Monday, on an ordinary start of the work day, an extraordinary event happened and now there’s a hole in our office, in our hearts, where Lucy once roamed.