If You Like Pina Coladas...

My husband doesn't usually get excited for vacation until a day or two before we leave (he's very reserved in that manner). This year he's been extremely giddy though, and I think it's because of who we're traveling with. He keeps talking about how great it's going to be to relax with friends, have a few drinks, and hang out without worrying about running out of time to just sit and talk like we all do when we're together.

I tend to start dreaming about vacation when it's still two months away... and this year has been no exception. I've been having an awesome time planning this year because my girlfriend and I have been sending e-mails back & forth, discussing packing, sending links to fancy new dresses, booking flights and hotels - a partner in planning makes everything more fun!

The house & pet-sitter is scheduled, my business associates have been notified, everything is packed and by the front door - I think I'm mentally on vaca already.

All I can think about is that first round of Pina Coladas and sailing into the sunset.


Spa Time

One of my favorite things to to do for myself is spa treatments. Last night I went to have a pedicure in preparation for vacation. My feet really needed the attention - and it was worth every penny. A hot foot bath, then a deep tissue massage from my knees down to my toes, a menthol wrap, hot paraffin wax moisturizer, and candy pink nail polish.

I love being a girl!!!



I turned on the TV yesterday afternoon for some background noise while I was working... and Montel was on with "psychic" Sylvia Brown. This woman had the dirty smoker voice, like you would hear dialing a 1-900 number. She's as good a psychic as I am an astronaut.

The people in the audience were standing up asking deep questions - and she was shooting off answers like she was holding a machine gun.

Q: I've been involved in a legal battle. Will I win my lawsuit?
A: Yes, because 3 people will stand on your side. (Well, then there's that whole issue of the counter suit - so with legal fess you'll actually be out several thousand)

Q: There's been a lot going on in my life financially. Should I buy a house I'm looking at?
A: Yes, you can never go wrong with buying a house. (That $300,000 home that will be swept out from under you in a year because you can't afford it because you listened to a wacko)

Q: My father has a brain tumor - will his condition affect my life?
A: No, he doesn't think so. (Except the whole chemotherapy thing, incontinence, hospital bills and stuff)

WTFO? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I could have given the same vague answers. She's pretending to be Nostradamus - but NO ONE CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE. You make it happen yourself.

I think there are forces at work in this world that affect us all. Life is energy - plants with photosynthesis, animals with digestion, our planet with the undulating of oceans, wind, fire, lightening. It's all energy, and it is everywhere. The ability to feel it to me is intuition.

I only really notice the sensations when I'm around people. It's like being energized by someone's essence when they get near me.

With deceitful, dark souls - I get a cold feeling, and a strange smell enters my nose, and almost like feeling a bit nauseated... I stay away.

With honest, light souls - I feel tingling like being excited for a holiday, and I see light (like a halo around the moon effect)... I seek them out.

Going shopping at the mall or grocery store drives me crazy because I get it from everywhere. Almost like a sensory overload at the holidays. When I need to go shopping I either go first thing in the morning, or late at night when crowds are down. I think I am sensitive to energy, but that's all.

It's not a superhuman power, I can't sense spirits or tell you winning lottery numbers, I just trust my intuition.


The Best of February - Horror Stories From Advertising

Life is full of irony. Sometimes it's the fun Irony that you look back on and have a good hearty laugh. Sometimes it's the Irony that wakes a great revelation in your life's path and leads you on to better things. Then there's Irony like I experienced this month - the kind that's awkward - like a burning rash... on your ass.

I "went out" with a lot of nice boys in High School. I'm still friends with many of them. It would seem my sense for picking deep-down good people to have in my life has been up and running for years! We keep in touch via the web - and I've ended up making custom jewelry for their now girlfriends / wives.

Phoenix was the city where I actually "dated". If someone asked me out (and they weren't creepy), I'd go out. I dated all types - - A heart surgeon, a cop, a finance manager, a car salesman, a firefighter, a radio DJ - I can't even remember names anymore. It was just casual dating, where you meet up for dinner and talk awhile, maybe go to a movie, and if you had a nice time you'd go out again. They never found out where I lived because I was paranoid (thanks to my psycho stalker in college). Most weren't interesting or unique - so I didn't keep in touch - with one exception.

I dated a guy off and on for 2 years. While things didn't work for us as a couple, we have enough in common to be pretty good friends. His company offered to help him transfer to Colorado (to a town we liked after passing through on a road trip a year earlier) - and knowing that the desert was killing me, he asked if I'd want to get my stuff moved out of Arizona (he would keep things in order until I could find a job and apartment in the new city). I got new job, sold my home in Arizona, was reunited with my belongings in Colorado, my mom passed away, I went back to Montana to help my dad for awhile - - my ex took care of my cat and my stuff. I returned to Colorado to move ahead with life. My new job payed well, I moved into a nice little apartment, but I drank a *LOT* in my off time. Looking back, I know I was the weakest I had ever been, but it was easier to drink until I fell asleep than to reach out to anyone. After about 4 months of the drunken cycle - I knew it was time for a change. I called a shrink. I was able to talk about the pain. I quit drinking. I got better.

I met my husband as soon as my life took a mental upturn. We're just shy of our 5 year anniversary - and I am thankful everyday for the life we share. What we've created together is more amazing than I could have ever hoped for from a marriage... It sounds cliche, but he's my soul-mate, and every time I look in his eyes I see our lives just getting better together. Over the years we've had time to embrace and appreciate our past, and while he's not one for keeping in touch with many people outside of family and our close-knit group of friends, he's very sweet about the friendships I still have from before we met.

How does all of this relate to Advertising? My regular readers know about my old company and the nightmare that is the evil cloven-foot midget troll... and I think everyone can agree that the company is ass backwards. I still have friends there, so I get the updates from my minions every couple of weeks either by meeting up for lunch or by having ex-coworker friends over to the house. Early this month I met up with my Boyz from art. It's become my routine to pick them up to go to lunch... We hang out and have a good laugh at the expense of the incompetent idiots that are constantly swarming (like flies to horse shit) into the company. Good times.

Most recently I dropped the art Boyz off after lunch, and was driving out of the parking lot when I almost hit my ex from Arizona. Irony - like a bad rash. I would contribute the feeling to surprise overall... but ugh! Yes, we're still friends - we've known each other almost 8 years. Heck - if not for my ex I would have never moved here. If I hadn't moved I would have never met the love of my life. So not bad... but ugh again!!! Seeing him at that company was the bad rash. After having a quick chat - and knowing that's he's joined the insanity is just f-ing hilarious - and the irony evolved.

I now see Irony of the Obscene Hilarity sort - the kind that makes you snort from laughing too hard.


Memories of Movie Stars

As I've mentioned before, I grew up in a small town in Montana. It's a place off the beaten path that most people have never even heard of, and it's great that way. The people who live in the area are generations of families that have passed down the farm, or horse ranch, or piece of mountain land with a cabin - well that's mostly who lives there. The other people are rock stars and movie icons. To name a few - Tom Cruise, Andie MacDowell, Huey Lewis, Ted Turner. I believe the A-listers who move there do so because everyone else in town doesn't give a crap who you are as long as you don't cause any trouble.

I always thought highly of Andie MacDowell due to her philanthropic ventures and thoughtful choice of acting roles. Once she moved to my hometown, she had the desire to just be at home there and got involved in the community. We began to cross paths - as volunteer performers at a Halloween haunted house, at a fund raiser for a small university located out-of-state, and eventually her daughter was taking dance classes at a studio where I was an assistant instructor.

It cracked me up how whenever I'd see Andie and her husband - he was running around in overalls and flannel shirts, no matter the occasion. We had time to talk more between dance classes, and to my surprise I learned that she owned a house in the mountains which shared a property line with a close friend of mine. I ended up making a quick stop by her house a couple times, and she visited me for coffee. She was just like any other acquaintance I had back home. Say hello, have some coffee, catch up on life's happenings. Not a surprise that she was once quoted as saying, "My life in Montana is so diverse from my Hollywood life that it even feels odd for me to go from one to the other." She was just another face in Montana.

Since we knew each other casually, I didn't keep in touch once I left the state. My father still lives in the area, and over the years I've traveled back as much as I can. Dad being a retired farm-boy always keeps up on the small-town news, and has had a few choice things to say about his neighbors that like to stir the pot. I get an update every time I talk to him, and had nearly forgotten one of his rantings until I was watching a Discovery Channel special about the beloved wolves of my hometown. The show talked about a revolutionary program that has been put in place for a pack of wolves to return to the wild, and what a difference it has made in assisting in the recovery of an endangered species.

So back to not giving a crap who you are as long as you don't cause any trouble... Andie MacDowell's property was located within the zone of the wolf rehabilitation program. Whenever a property is bought or sold, the Forest Service requires you to acknowledge that you understand the dangers of living in the area, including the importance of not creating any enticements for the rehabilitating wolves - so they discourage having outdoor pets, small livestock (sheep/goats), or any type of birds (chickens/ducks), and they REQUIRE that you have lock-top garbage cans. All basic knowledge, but if you're from a city you might not think of the simple precautions.

My father's big hubub a few years back was that the wolf rehab project may be shut down because of attacks on pets in the area. His biggest beef was that Andie MacDowell was the front running voice for the shutdown. There was talk that because of attacks on area dogs, the wolves would be tracked and destroyed - before there was an attack on humans (particularly kids walking home from the school bus stop). Over the course of many heated debates - it was eventually revealed that on a particularly cold night, Andie had seen the wolves on her property and felt sorry for them, so she cooked up some hamburgers and threw the meat off her back porch. A few nights later the wolves were back, so she repeated the feeding process, and continued to do so every time she saw the wolves thereafter. It had seemed like a good arrangement because she believed was preventing the local wildlife from starving, and could watch them from the safety of her home.

The wolves became a "threatening and deadly nuisance" the day her family came home to find their pet dogs slaughtered - with wolf prints all around in the snow. A few more pets in the area were attacked in the weeks that followed, but the disturbances eventually died down.

All pending debates were canceled, fliers were sent remind property owners in the area of the best ways to protect themselves, their pets, and property from wolf attacks, and local papers printed a few short articles that relayed the same general messages.

Andie and her husband eventually divorced and she moved back to North Carolina.

The wolves returned to being a sight rarely seen... and the rehabilitation project continues to this day.

You know, small town people may seem like simple folks, but take their words to heart. They don't say much because they say what needs to be said up front without all the bullshit. If you are told you're living in a wildlife area - just believe it and let the wildlife live as they will... You are the visitor.

Business Growth

Between December & January, I picked up 3 new clients for my faceting business. All of them were looking for someone to repair tiny gemstones (less than .5 carats). Most gem cutters won't work on small stones because they are troublesome, in many ways. Small stones tend to take flight during repair - ricocheting off the faceting machine, hitting the wall, ultimately landing on the floor (which is a BIG pain if you have carpet). Small stones are also difficult to make precision repairs to because the facets are so tiny. Additionally, many faceters are aging and can't see as well as they once did - so those tiny facets and flying stones pose a big problem.

I get more new clients because their primary faceter refuses to do a repair on a small stone, or wants to charge an outrageous amount for that repair - so they start looking. Thanks to business relationships building over the past 5 years, my goldsmiths refer their friends to me. I have clients across the country simply because of word-of-mouth.

You know that cheesy saying? "Our highest compliment is your references." It's true. I feel such pride when someone I've done work for recommends their friends to call me. It's reassurance that I do quality work, that has good value, and that my customer service goes above and beyond.

So my tiny references grow into repairs on rare and valuable gems - and my business grows. It's taken 5 years to reach a steady pace, but this triumph is mine.


Sea Shells By The Sea Shore

Ah! Vacation time again - and GOD am I ready. We're visiting the Caribbean with our friends Kathy & Chad. It will be great because we're going away without worries about work, money, or stress - and we'll be with some of the best friends anyone could ask for.

In 2007, my husband and I went on a cruise in early May... and while a cruise should be a time to relax and enjoy just being away, we had more on our minds. I had a miscarriage last year in April - likely brought on by stress according to my doctor. After that event, we decided that The Boss was pushing too much bad moojoo into our lives and the stress was not worth the sacrafices we were making.

Thanks to our trip to Washington DC (to visit above said friends), the plan to leave the company went into action. My husband got his resume out there, and started doing phone interviews every day at lunch, he had 3 offers before we ever left on vacation. Once we were on the ship - we were checking his voice mails every time we came into port for updates. There was a cloud hanging over our heads, lingering just over our shoulder because we knew what was coming next... The trip was amazing, and we got to see and do things many people can only imagine - but the time of returning to home to tell The Boss, "Take this job and shove it," was just around the corner. It wasn't leaving the company that we were dreading, but the bitch-out that was coming from the evil office troll who was our manager.

We honestly believed that when we put all of our eggs into the basket that was the advertising agency - we would be investing in the future of something great. The Boss has a way of ruining lives, though. Goodness forbid anyone be happy in her presence. Goodness forbid anyone has a life - since she can't have one herself.

We sat down the afternoon that we returned from vacation and gave The Boss the news. She blew up, like she always does when she's on the losing side of anything. My husband completed his two weeks of work... and the rest is history.

So here we are - in a new chapter of our lives. This year vacation is a celebration. We are rid of the POISON in our lives, we are better off emotionally, financially, physically, and best of all - we're able to enjoy being HAPPY!!!