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Adventures in Travel

When you are a clumsy girl, you have many adventures while traveling. Not just normal, fun, coll adventures that often come with traveling. The kind of adventures that make you laugh later, because they are “sitcom moments,” those moments you know cannot really be happening in your own life, because they only happen on TV sitcoms.

Traveling to one of my best friends weddings was no exception. Getting to the plane was not a problem, getting ont he plane however, proved to be a little more difficult.  It all started when I got to the Atlanta airport and the security line was stretched out way past the normal security area into the atrium. Those who are familiar with the airport here no it is huge, so for the line to be stretched out that far is quite significant. Over an hour to get through security because TSA was short staffed.

Meanwhile, another of my best friends who was already at the gate was frantically texting em – where are ? They are boarding the plane, how much longer?

After the 75 minutes it took to get through security, I ran to the tram that takes you to the concourse. Just a tip: When you take your shoes off in the airport tram, you get a lot of strange looks. But I was on a mission. The doors to the flight were closing at 1:50. It was 1:46. I have 4 minutes to make it to the gate and on the flight.

When the door to the tram opened, I was an Olympic runner ready to win the gold. My shoes were off, my roller bag behind me in my right hand, my purse firmly in my left. I shot out of the tram with the speed only Superman could comprehend. I ran as fast as I could down the long hallway leading to the concourse gate. Then I looked up only to realize that I was going the wrong way, away from the gate I needed.

Frantically I turned around. If the story ended there, it would be funny enough, but what followed is truly a sitcom moment for the ages.

I ran as fast as I could the other way, toward the gate. I had quite a bit of distance to make up, and only 2 minutes to get there to the plane for take off. So I ran, just life Flock of Seagulls (80’s song reference) as fast as I could. And I realized just how out of shape I am.

Have you ever been running and had your legs start moving faster than the rest of you? Well that is what happened to me. It happened in slow motion, as most of my falls do. I could feel my legs moving faster, feel my body start pitching forward as I desperately tried to correct it. It was no use. Down I went, flailing limbs going everywhere.

But it was not just a fall, no, it was a slide. I was going so fast, that the fall did not stop when I was down. I could have slid right into home base. My knees hit first, then my stomach, then my hands. As I slid, my bracelet dug into the palm of my hand. A huge bruise was already starting to form on my knees. Thank goodness the dress for the wedding was a long one.

When I finally stopped sliding, my bag was about 7 feet behind me, my watch that had been slung off, was 3 feet in front of me. I got up, looked around to see if anyone saw me, and to my great relief, there was no one around. Again, this is substantial, because for the first time in my life, there was not a super hot, body from the Greek gods man around seeing my display of clumsiness.

Once up the sprint continued. Finally at the gate counter, I just about collapsed and was trying to speak when the gentleman looked at me and said very matter of factly – “You’re too late. They already closed to door.”

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My jaw dropped and had I been able to speak instead of panting for breath, I would have said something charming to make him open the door. 5 minutes later, when I caught my breath and could speak, the moment had passed. During that time, the man who was there in front of me was yelling that they closed to door to the plane in his face, and about 23 other people who had been stuck in security were now at the counter, yelling and very upset because the door was closed and they would not open it for them either.

The relief that washed over me when I realized at least I was not the only one who was missing the flight, quickly disappeared when the airport staff told all of us that no, they still would not open the doors. it was not a good moment.

The situation continued for about 30 minutes, with more calls to customer service being called each minute. The things that was the most infuriating was that the plane was supposed to take off at 2pm…it was 2:20, and the flight had not left. the plane was right there, at the gate, not moving, not leaving, and they still would not open the door to let 25 passengers on. Many were screaming at ucstopmer service from their phones. I walked away, and got on the phone to customer service my self.

This is where a Southern Accent comes in handy. I calmly explained what happened and that they were going to get a lot of angry calls because so many were left off the plane, that had not left yet. My particular situation was that my best friend was getting married on the morning and could they PLEASE help me get on any flight that could get me there. – Oh and BTW, I overheard someone say that they worked for CNN and were calling this into the news. So just FYI, they might want to inform someone before it was on the national news. The lady asked if she could put me on hold while she talked to her supervisor.

A few minutes later they opened the door and let us all on the flight.

I had a nice stiff drink on the flight. Sitcom moments and adventures in travel. Somehow, I never to seem to leave home without them.

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The Belly Dance of Life

Tonight my sister and I went to belly dance classes. It’s a great, fun and sexy way to exercise and it is a very hard workout. Sweat pours off of you while you are barely moving because it is such extreme muscle isolation. You must drink a lot of water before, during and after the lesson. Now, put two women over the age of 40, who are not very coordinated to begin with…and you have quite an adventure. And as we bent down in our belly dance stance position, looking straight ahead in the mirrors to see what our bodies were doing, I noticed a trend. A trend not only with my body, but with others in the class as well.

I noticed the subtleties of what the instructor was doing with her hips, her arms, her legs, her chest as we danced. And I  noticed what we were all doing. And the two did not look the same at all. While the instructor’s movements were very contained, controlled and subtle, most students, including myself, had jerky overdone movements. Our movements were so very exaggerated from what they should have been, what the instructor’s were. But we are all learning in this class, getting the hang of the positions and movements. We have tired arms and burning legs. We need to rest sometimes, catch our breathe before the next movement.

And isn’t it the same in life? Sometimes, when we are first learning a new skill, our movements are unsure and uncoordinated, jerky. And while learning, we sometimes over do things to make sure we actually have the movement down. And then, in time and practice, we slowly become more sure of ourselves, our movements more fluid and our thoughts take over other areas, as it becomes natural. But in the meantime, we may overcompensate and miss the subtleties of certain situation which we are trying to master.

Indeed that is the case in my life. I try to handle things with Grace, and while my movements have become a bit more fluid, I still do have a bit more coordination to work on. It is easy to have grace when all is going well in life. It is harder when things do not go as planned, or when you are exceptionally angry at someone. And then I overcompensate, and go to the other direction of not having a spine in an attempt to have Grace. Having Grace still means having a spine. And somewhere, there is that balance.

When we over compensate and miss the subtleties in dance class, we miss the small beautiful movements that truly make it an art. We get off balance, our arms and legs flail around (or maybe that’s just me?), we loose our rhythm, we loose count, and we have to stop, take a breath and start back at square one. The we try again, and again, and again.

The same is true in life.

Sometimes, I over do things. Sometimes, out of insecurity, I go overboard. I am afraid that I will not be understood, so I say the same things over and over, to stress what is important. The result is driving people away, instead of drawing them closer. Or because I am so very hurt by someone, I lash out at them, hurting them worse, when all I wanted was for them to just understand.

And somewhere, there is my balance where I don’t fall when trying to do a hip shimmie.

Why do we over compensate in life? Why do we go overboard in our reactions or intentions sometimes? Why is that balance so hard to find, between where we are and were we want to be? Sometimes it seems as if we are wars apart from our goals. Maybe the secret is to just relax and stop trying so hard. Keep at it, as practice makes perfect, and know that with enough repetition and perseverance, we will indeed find our rhythm and Grace.

I guess I should pray for physical grace as well. And maybe, one day, with enough practice, I’ll get them both right.

How to Respect Yourself in a Relationship

Madonna sang about it and made it famous. Respect Yourself. Go for what you want and need in a relationship and don’t settle. Pop songs can rarely be applied to real life, but maybe the singer was onto something. When you are in a relationship, how do you respect yourself enough to not loose yourself? How do you know where that line is that should not be crossed?

Aside from the obvious – no physical abuse, no criminal activity – sometimes defining just how to do this can be a bit tricky, even for a feisty red-head like me. And when you really care about someone, it can be easier said than done. But basically it comes down to this: Respect yourself.

If you don;t respect yourself, then why would anyone else. No one will respect you any more than you respect yourself. Have standards. Love should not hurt and someone who loves you will not do anything to hurt you intentionally. Have pride in yourself and walk away from anyone who tears you down, makes you feel bad for wanting to be treated well, or makes you think that you do not deserve to be respected. A person who loves you will not disrespect you.

If you are in a relationship, you are going to hurt each other at some point, that is par for the course and part of the deal. Respecting yourself though is not about the occasional spat or even cross word. It is not about who left whose dirty socks on the floor or squeezed the toothpaste tube in the middle. It has to do with being treated at a certain level – as a human being. Girls, if the man you are with lies about something (like when his divorce is final), he will lie to you about other things.Respect yourself enough to not allow him to lie to you this way. Hold him accountable for not only his actions but his words, and walk.  

Forget about second and third, and 100th chances. and ut’s not your job to try to understand them or why they are mistreating you. It’s not your place to make excuses for them. You are not the jerk whisperer. Nor would you ever want to be.

If he says he loves you, then you find out that he is seeing other women, he doesn’t love you. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better. Don’t settle. Walk out the door and know that nice people, normal people, do not treat others in such a cruel and damaging way. If he balks at the fact that you have called him out on his bad behavior, if he doesn’t like you knocking on the door when you catch him cheating when another car is in his driveway or you find messages on his phone or such, then walk. You deserve better and there are too many wonderful, kind and amazing men out there to settle for someone who is so uncaring that he would let others suffer.

And some people think that if you care about or love someone, that that gives them the right to mistreat you. No it does not. No matter how much I love someone, I will not let them mistreat me. Period. And if they try to mistreat me, they will quickly see this little red-headed girl put down the law in a matter of seconds.

So chin up, and respect yourself to know that you deserve someone who treats you with kindness and caring, someone who means it when they say I love you, someone who doesn’t cherishes you and makes you feel like you are the only girl in the room. And know that, just like Calvin says, normal people do not destroy other human beings.

So what does Madonna have in common with Calvin and Hobbs? Now you know.

Celebration of Love – The State of My Union

It’s that time if year again – where love is in the air. It’s Valentines Day, the day to celebrate love and everything that goes along with it. And for many singletons, and those who are attached in relationships as well, it is a time for shear panic. I have never understood the panic associated with this couples day celebrating love. Maybe that is because how I have always viewed Valentines Day.

Most of the time I am single for Valentines, because honestly I avoid dating men during the holidays like the plaque. If I am not already in a relationship when Halloween rolls around, I don’t even think about dating until after February 14th. This year I am seeing a wonderful man, but my view on the day has stayed the same.

For me, Valentines has not been about roses, chocolates and expensive dinners. And honestly I really hate going out on Valentines because every place is crowded, menu prices are jacked up for “couples deals” and it is just a big hassle. I would rather stay in, watch a movie, snuggle on the couch under a blanket, have a glass of wine and go to bed early. That sounds much better than getting dressed up, fighting traffic, trying to arrive on time for the reservations, going to a crowded place.

To me the day has been about a celebration of love, all the different kinds of love you have in your life. And when I look around, my life has an abundance of love whether I am seeing someone or not.

I have the best family in the world. We are super close, we are truly there for each other, support each other and love each other no matter what. Truly unconditional. And I am so lucky to have that because so many do not. I am very aware of how mucky and blessed I am in that area.

Next there are my friends. I have a very small group of close friends, though I know many, many people and have thousands of contacts. But my core group of friends are amazing. They are honest, loyal, have honor and integrity. Some I have known for 30 years, the newest for 3 years. And I could call anyone of them, and they me, no matter what, and we would be there for each other. And have been.

So when I look around at the amount of love in my life, a partner is the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. And that is how it should be, because having a full life means recognizing how rich are already are with what you already have.

So don’t worry if you are single this Valentines, because if you look around, you \have more love than you think you do. So celebrate it and be thankful.