Thursday, December 29, 2011

Only in Texas

This is a follow-up to previous posts on Things You Gotta Love About Texas and It Would ONLY Happen in Texas. Texas has its own brand of strange signage. Most recently there was a billboard which said
MAY THE PORK BE WITH YOU. 'nuff said about that. I don't plan on frequenting that pork establishment.

I often see gun stores advertising that they buy used firearms. Does this mean that they buy them after they've been used to kill someone/something? I mean why else would they be used exactly? Excuse me sir, I'd like to buy the gun that killed the 7 people in Walmart last week.  

this came up when i googled missing elderly alert

none of the dallas signs have posted rewards. maybe more
elderly would return if they got $$

My fav sign is the elderly amber alert. On all the highways, large LED screens notify drivers of missing old folks. Honey--grandma's gone missing, called the police! MISSING ELDERLY--1975 GREEN OLDSMOBILE PLATE #2OLD2DRIVE. Apparently this is a major epidemic, since I see different signs everyday. I would expect to see this in Florida, but not Dallas. I mean it's not a major hotbed of senior dating activity.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mussel Nurturing

This is what came up when I googled imaged mussel nurturer.
 My son has been asking me for months to cook mussels for him. I always give the canned mom spiel--maybe next time. I was finally guilted into it. I rarely eat mussels and have never cooked them before, but figured HOW HARD COULD IT BE? After finding a recipe which involved white wine, garlic and butter, I figured I was set. The directions were a bit confusing...DE-BEARD THE MUSSELS. I didn't realize mussels had beards or that I was supposed to perform surgery to remove them.
I decided I would ask the mussel guru at Whole
Foods. Within five minutes, the guy had me in a panic. Whatever you do, don't DROWN or SUFFOCATE the mussels. WHAT????? I recall that mussels can taste gritty, so it's important to WASH them. However the mussel guru told  me that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should I submerge my mussels in a tub of water or they will drown. I need to gently rinse them with running water, ensuring that they do not swallow/ingest too much. Next he tells me that they like to be cold and need to be NESTLED in the ice. Again--he warned, do NOT let them sit in melted ice water or they will drown. Apparently I have to frequently drain the melted ice and re-nestle them in new ice. Also I have to ensure that they have enough air--no closed bags for them. NO MATTER THAT MY ENTIRE CAR AND REFRIGERATOR SMELL LIKE EAU DE MUSSEL. At least they are still breathing.

Next on the list is caressing them gently before putting them in a vat of boiling wine. Drunken caressed mussels apparently taste the best. AND what happens if I fail and my mussels die? THEY EMIT A TOXIC BACTERIA THAT POISONS ALL OF US.

GEEZ LOUISE--this is more effort than caring for a small child. In fact the mussel guru said it best. It's like caring for pet, except that you kill it and eat it. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Being Married to a 47 Year-Old Teenager


Warning Signs:
1. Do you come home to a various assortment of empty snack packages, which resemble a site-specific art installation surrounding the TV?

2. Is the TV constantly blaring either a sports event or a so-called comedy--one that appeals to those who think fart jokes are funny?

3. Is your DVR filled with thousands of episodes of 2.5 Men and Family Guy?

4. When you open the refrigerator, is beer the main food staple?

5. Does your partner exhibit an inability to move off the couch, especially if domestic chores are involved?


I've spent the last few months lamenting my dire situation. I mean I have one teenaged son already. Who wants to live with more than 1?

One night I came home to both young and old teenagers lying on the couch laughing uproariously. Sink full of dirty dishes. Snack wrappers and empty cans, bottles and glasses strewn across the small square that pretends to be a coffee table. Whining hungry dog.

Honey--why are ou letting the boy watch TV on a school night? It's your rule about no-tv during the week. Well, I came home and he was already watching TV, so I joined him.

Honey--do you really think 2.5 Men is an appropriate show for a 13 yr-old? But it's so funny. I want to watch it too. Honey--it's Charlie Sheen playing himself--a womanizing a...hole. What is so creative and funny about that? But it's very well written.

Did anyone eat dinner? In unison--YEAH, WE ATE CHIPS.
Homework? Dishes? Dog? 

At this point, they've both tuned me out--just mom nagging...AGAIN.

Sometimes they want to know why I'm so angry. Well, maybe I wouldn't turn into an EVILWITCHSHREWWOMAN if I didn't have to be the master disciplinarian all the time.

In an effort to BREATHE more and avoid the toxic cancer-causing emotions from metasticizing into stage 5, I've decided to look at the ADVANTAGES of being married to a 47yearoldteenager.

1. I will never go thirsty again. Beer is always free-flowing in my household.

2. I will never lack for a TV watching partner.

3. I will always be up-to-date on the latest sexist comedies.

4. My son will grow up knowing all the right moves.

5. I can have sex with a teenager and not go to JAIL.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It Could ONLY Happen in Texas

This is a follow-up post to Things You Gotta Love About Texas. I've been here for six weeks and I've encountered some strange things. I mean TwilightZoneStrange.
Twilight Zone theme

A friend recently asked me if I was writing all of this done. Of course I am!

1. Most Interesting Student Excuse EVER
A student arrives two hours late to class. Professor, I'm sorry I'm late. When I opened my front door, there was a big black snake on my front stoop. I had to wait until it slithered away. Me--that must have been some SLOW snake. What about the back door?

I have to tell you that this excuse would never fly in Philly. In Philly a student would say--I got mugged and the mugger stole my homework.   Or  I was late because a huge rat held me hostage. 

Girl faints as a huge black snake suckles her breast

When I google imaged big black snakes, this bizarre story came up on a Zimbabwe news site. 
Clearly weird things happen in Zimbabwe as well as Texas

2. 2nd Most Interesting Student Excuse--Disaster Averted
A girl walks into class barefoot. Professor, I'm sorry I can't attend class today. I forgot my shoes and the secretary won't allow me to stay in class. Me--I just so happen to have an extra pair in my car. Let me go get them.

I concede to forgetting lots of things--keys, phone, money, where I live...but I'm pretty sure I would never forget to wear shoes on the way to work. Not to mention it is ILLEGAL to drive barefoot. There's also the skeevefactor. Who knows what you could step on.

Devotion in Motion: Grocery Store Feet

A person with “grocery store feet” has feet that look like he spent the day walking barefoot A person with “grocery store feet” has feet that look like he spent the day walking barefoot 
This image was found on a "Country Preacher Dad" blog  whose name is John Cash. No kidding. He defines grocery store feet as a person who looks like they spent the day walking barefoot in Winn Dixie. No kidding. People really did this????

3. Cowboy Chef
I have heard of gourmet chefs, vegetarian chefs, Rachel Ray, Chef Emeril, but have never heard of a cowboy chef. I actually got to meet one in person! He lives on my cousin's ranch in Aledo, Texas. He is the real deal--I haven't seen him without his cowboy hat, boots or belt-buckle yet. My cousin said that he has cooked for the White House. The only problem with cowboy chef cuisine is that it's rather meat dominant. Not so good for a vegetarian. My cousin was very insistent that I put aside my silly vegetarian tendencies and eat a burger forgoodnesssake. So I did--my first one in over 30+ years. It was good--tasted very smoky, which I'm told is an important component to cowboy chef cuisine. 

4. Cowboy Church
This one ties into #3 and #5. I didn't realize that there were enough cowboys to warrant a cowboy church. Who knew?? I asked mr. cowboy chef what the difference between a regular church and cowboy church. He said that you don't have to take your hat off (which he vehemently disagrees with). I guess I have to go to cowboy church if I want to see him hatless. Also you can ride your horse to church. It was unclear to me whether one sings cowboy campfire songs praising Jesus or one sings regular hymns played on a harmonica. 

5. Church Worship at the Southfork Ranch, filmset of the old TV show DALLAS
This is weird on SOOO many levels.  First we got lost and were late. I mean we didn't expect to drive to a ranch for church. When we pulled in the parking lot, the attendent asked my husband to roll down the window. Are you lost sir?? Are you taking a tour of the ranch? No, we are going to church. Oh--you looked like a tourist on vacation with the palm trees on your shirt.  That and the fact that we were the only caucasian people there. 2000 people with maybe 5 other caucasians besides us. Oh and a white female minister, who preached EXACTLY like a charismatic southern black preacher. Services were held in JR EWING'S ballroom. The service was 3 hours long. We tried to sneak out towards the end and they LOCKED the doors and wouldn't let us leave until it was over. I"m soo not kidding. I'm not sure people understood the irony of worshipping on the film set where the prime character was a white Texas rancher.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Things You Gotta Love about Texas

I was initially reticent about my move. Besides a brief stint in Florida (which is full of New Yorkers), I have lived in the northeast for most of my life. I was reluctant to give up my fabulous full-time teaching position WITH MEDICAL BENEFITS at an IVY LEAGUE institution to become a gypsy adjunct making less money than I did at age 16 working as an appetizer waitress at Chi Chi's Mexican Restaurant. (NOT EVEN A REAL WAITRESS---A HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS WHO SERVED GUAC DIP AND NACHOS)

In an effort to stay positive about my cross-country/cross-cultural move, (it's not just the time zone that's different), I decided to make a list about all the GREAT things about the Lone Star state. (at least the Dallas area--I would HATE to make rash generalizations about the entire state)

1. Creative Fashion Attire

Where else can I wear gold-python boots, belt buckles and faux-zebra cowboy hats for occasions other than Halloween?

2. Highways
Dallas has more highways, parkways, interstates and turnpikes of any place I've been. In case I happen to FORGET I'm in Texas, there are big red stars on every concrete pillar. ADDED BONUS--Everyone drives superfast and there are many daily accidents. When feeling homesick, I can pretend that my fellow road warriors are former NYC cab drivers.

The highway near me has red stars. I found this image on google on site about public art. I'm open-minded, but this surely doesn't count as PUBLIC ART

3. Mega-churches
A mega-church is defined as a church having 2000 or more members. There are 195 of these churches in Texas. I think most of them are in my neighborhood. I went to one last weekend where the pastor said that there were 760,000 people living within a 10 mile radius of the church. His goal is to get them all in his church. Needless to say, building plans are underway to sit 2000 people/service. Right now there 1000 seats---he's only reaching a measly 3000 people/weekend. He also videotapes his message and broadcasts it to satellite locations. This way people can go to church and never have see the pastor face to face.

4. Lawn Maintenance

There are huge benefits to lawn care in this great state. For one, it is so FREAKIN hot, that all the grass is scorched. With 60+ days of 100+ degrees, I don't have to worry about keeping up with the Jones in the landscaping maintenance department. You can't mow dead grass. The drought is another added bennie. No water--it's illegal to water your grass more than 1x/week. The last benefit is living on a zero lot line. (.1 acre actually). Not much grass fits on .1 acre. I get a lovely view of the neighbor's fence. The only disadvantage is that the backyard feels like a dog kennel run--even the dog doesn't want to go out there. Incarcerated prisoners have bigger recreational areas.

5. Cookie Cutter Communities
I was initially concerned about having to become a stepford wife. However I haven't actually met any of my neighbors, so maybe stepford wives are passe. The great thing about a cookie-cutter neighborhood is that every house looks the same. No one needs to worry about individualism. I don't have to worry about overly friendly neighbors, since no one ever goes outside. TOO FREAKIN HOT--The temp reaches 95 by 7am and stays in the 100's past 9pm.
This is the view from my alley, which accesses the garages. I don't actually ever SEE my front yard, unless I'm getting the mail.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Overheard Conversation:

2 women were talking about the benefits of low-rise jeans. One woman expressed concern that her "muffin-top" would show. The other woman explained that muffin-tops were kind-of an IN thing and that muffin-tops, tramp stamps and whale tales were all the rage. The first woman's partner was sitting nearby, clearly clueless to the conversation, yet feeling the need to voice his opinion. "I want to see your MUFFIN!" Woman responds--"You've seen enough of my muffin recently BUSTER!"

At which point, the second woman's adolescent son (also rather clueless) jumps in--WHO'S MUFFIN? WHAT KIND OF MUFFIN?

Both women are laughing hysterically, while the boy and man remain clueless

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

50/50--No this is NOT a bucket list

46. Traffick911

45.  Flaming Arrows

42-44 Paris
Le Grand Vefour
The most expensive meal, but worth it in the name of artistic research. 630 Euros or about $800 for two.

Dali Montmartre
A gem of a collection of Dali's sculptures and prints. I had no idea that he was so prolific in so many different mediums.

42. Crypts
Paris Crypts are miles of underground tunnels filled with bones. Amazing and creepy.

41. Tagging at Cadillac Ranch

40. Capulin Volcano, New Mexico
view from the top rim

39. Edibles, Colorado Springs
Special Legal Candy

38. Pike's Peak, Colorado Springs
Rode the cog railway all the way to the top. Lack of oxygen at the top!


37. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

36. Rock Climbing, Colorado Springs
(for real--not just a rock climbing wall!)

35. Cuba
I was invited to screen my work as part of an International Video Festival in Camaguey, Cuba. I was very excited to get to see some of the country before the embargo was lifted and the country completely changed. Camaguey was the 3rd largest city, but still felt like a small colonial town. Great food and great new friends/artists.

34. Hoop Dancing
I failed hulu hoop 101 in elementary school, so it took a lot of courage--haha to try this class.  I was an immediate expert--expert in having my hoop fly out of my hands and hit people in the head.
Neither is me, but you get the idea.

33. Certified Laughter Yoga Trainer
I was curious about this and after a one-weekend training, I am now certified to lead groups in laughter yoga sessions. While laughter is certainly contagious, it is much harder than it seems to laugh continuously for 1 hour. As Cole would say--mom you are certified--certifiably crazy.

32. Rock Climbing Wall, Syracuse, New York

So it isn't actually rock climbing, but super fun anyway. As usual, I underestimated the difficulty involved. Probably not a good idea to work out for 2.5 hours before going to the wall. Besides having a lot of upper body strength, the key is to have spidey man sticky feet, so you can grip the tiny protrusions from the wall. I was able to scale 3 walls. The best part is falling and letting the harness lower me to the floor.

31. Aerial Silks, Vertical Fitness, Dallas, Texas

Pink makes it look so easy

After seeing Pink rock it at her Dallas concert, I decided that I too wanted six pack abs and how fun it would be to learn how to do acrobatic tricks in the air. Taking an aerial silks class was a very humbling experience. I clung to the bottom of my rope and couldn't get to the top. I did manage to do the mermaid pose, but that was it. Having the aerial rope bound around your body does not feel good. In fact it hurts like h.... So I failed aerial silks 101. And the only 6 pack I have is in my fridge at home.

30. Flying a Plane, Addison, Texas

Technically my alter ego The Victorian Woman flew the plane, not me. However I am counting it as a new thing. I did the one-hour flight simulation on the ground training and then SHE flew. Only in Texas could you get to fly after only 1 hour of ground training. It was scary and exhilarating. My take-off was great, but landing was a bit rough. To my flight instructor's credit, he did not laugh once at the ridiculous flying costume. 

29. Riding a Mechanical Bull, Mesquite Rodeo, Mesquite, Texas

The bull didn't look too daunting. It resembled a kid-sized buffalo. At first I thought having the inflatable raft underneath was a bit like cheating. But after my 100th fall, I realized it was necessary. The next day EVERYTHING hurt, especially the chafed inner thighs.

28. Performance Workshop with Tony Orrico, Dallas, Texas

This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience in channeling creativity and play. Tony is a gifted artist and teacher. He was so warm and encouraging.

27. Aerial Yoga, New Hope, PA and Dewitt, NY

aerial yoga in Dallas!
 Aerial yoga was amazing. Being upside-down is such a mood elevator. It's like eating dark chocolate without all the calories. I felt a bit like a cirque-du-soleil performer. Using the silk harnesses to flow from pose to pose. The reverse gravity reverses aging and I felt my neck and spine release and lengthen. The teacher swore that her crow's feet went away from her daily inversions. I'm a convert.

26.  Paddleboarding, Southold, Long Island
no, this isn't me. but i took this fab photo 

of my friend Lynne

Since I didn't get to surf last summer in Hawaii due to the Portuguese Man-O-War
warnings, I was happy to have a chance to paddleboard. My friend Lynne told me that no one gets up their first time. Not only did I get up my first time, but I stayed up. No falling for me. I'm sure it helped that there weren't any waves to speak of or speeding boat wakes.


21-24. AFRICA
Unlike Hawaii, Africa was never part of my travel dreams. Not even in my top 20 destinations. This is part of the project where I say YES to opportunities. My son's best friend and his family moved to Mozambique at the same time we moved to Texas. His friend's mom and I had become close over the years. I know how hard it is to move away from friends and family. My promise to her when she left is that I would visit. I knew that if I didn't visit within the first year, it might not ever happen. So within 4 months of her leaving, I booked our flights. My purpose was two-fold. To honor my promise to my friend and to give my teenaged son a broader experience outside of his world.

Unlike Hawaii, I boarded the plane with no expectations, ready to welcome whatever happened. My friends' favorite saying is TIA--this is Africa (used to cover a variety of mishaps, delays, etc...) 32 hours of travel will dampen anyone's travel excitement, but my son and I did surprisingly well. He slept and I slept (teenagers can sleep anytime or place. for me--my friend Ambien is my travel companion)

Potholes Park--amazing rock formations
Destination--South Africa and Mozambique

When we arrived in Johannesburg, it was night. We took a CityBug van 4 hours north to Nelspruit where our hosts picked us up. We stayed for two nights in a lovely lodge called Mercy Air (a respite for weary missionaries). Terri took us sightseeing the next day visiting Potholes Park, God's Window, a few waterfalls and the death-defying rope swing jump that the boys did. I refrained, despite my pledge to say YES to new opportunities. I did not want to spend the entire trip with aching neck, back, etc...
Mercy Air Lodge, South Africa
God's Window, South Africa

The Rope Swing--just before they freefall 200 feet

one of the 3 waterfalls we saw
Kruger National Park
South Africa

This was one of the highlights of the trip. I've never seen animals outside of a zoo. I could have sat for days watching the elephants, monkeys, giraffes and warthogs. We spent the entire day driving through the park. We didn't see any cats, but I'm told they primarily come out at night. We did hear of a Japanese tourist who saw a pride of lions, stopped his car, got out and asked his friends to take a photo of him standing in front of the lions. As one might suspect, he was immediately eaten.

couldn't resist this shot. 


Again, not something that would be on my radar as a must-do experience. Unlike my host in Mozambique, I am not a baby or kid person. God kind of skipped over the maternal instinct when I was made. So I never get the urge to hold babies and love on them. While we were there, we visited two children's centers. In one center, almost all the kids had HIV. Another center was for the kids of girls who had been prostituted or trafficked. In both cases, the kids (despite their circumstances) exuded such joy for life. They sang, danced and played. They were so excited to have visitors--they crawled all over me, wanting to be held and played with. They won my heart over and taught me what it means to be joyful in all circumstances.


on the outskirts of the Bocaria. i couldn't take my
camera inside, because i was told it would be stolen
This was the toughest part of the trip. I'm glad it was towards the end of the visit. It wrecked me--both physically and emotionally. I saw a lot of poverty in Mozambique, but this was the most extreme. At the garbage dump, there were literally mountains of garbage, extending for miles. People burned the garbage (including non-burnable items like plastic), so the entire place was filled with toxic, thick smoke. Both my son and I got sick after our visit of a few hours. I imagine what it does to the people who live there. We saw many people including children sifting through the piles of garbage, salvaging anything that could be sold or used. After walking through the garbage mountain and praying for people, we visited a small church where a pastor led a worship service and gave out bread. Again the people who had so little came together and were joyful in their praise and worship. It was very humbling.

17-20. HAWAII

view from the Marriott resort in Wailkea, Maui
I've wanted to go to Hawaii my entire life. When I got married, my hubby promised to take me on our 10 year anniversary. Twenty-one years later, some friends offered us tickets to go with them to Maui. This represented a few new things. Not only did I get to go to paradise for a few days, I had some new experiences--cultural, culinary and adventure-wise.

Haleakalā National Park

The view from the top of the crater was spectacular. We had a 2 hour windy bus ride to the top of the crater and then a 23 mile ride downhill. Besides walking around in the clouds, it was cool to see a NASA station up there. Biking down, I rode through a eucalyptus forest. My only disappointment is that they marketed the ride as riding into the crater, not riding along a busy road on a narrow shoulder, narrowly avoiding the speeding cars and trucks. 

white sand beach about 15 minutes from our hotel where I
ate the barracuda taco

I like seafood and knew that Hawaii would have some different delicacies. At the beach, I had a barracuda taco from a food cart in the beach parking lot. (I know--it sounds like an upset waiting to happen, but it was delicious). And while barracuda is not native to Hawaii, I've never seen it served before. My friend is a big foodie and methodically researched all the great restaurants in Maui. On our 2nd night, we had sushi and I tried 2 new fishes--both outstanding! Fresh & light. I also had Hawaiian butterfish another night. (known as escolar). I've had it in PA, but never as fresh as in Maui.
`O`io [oh' ee yoh] known as ladyfish. I love the name!
Opah [oh' pah] moonfish. This was light and creamy. 

20. LUAU

I always thought that a luau was a tourist trap, but it was definitely a highlight of the trip. Not for the roast pig, which I don't ever have to eat again. But for the dancing. The fire dancers were magnificent and while the event catered to tourists, the talent and spectacle was worth the price (despite the bad drinks). 

Aledo, TX
click to view video trailer

I'm not a big fan of guns. In fact, most people would describe me as anti-guns. The only gun I've ever shot was the ALMOSTDIVORCEGUN--my hubby's Glock 9mm. Gun culture is a major part of Texas. So in my effort to embrace Texas in all its wonder, I decided to shoot. My former student is a military-trained sniper and he supplied the guns and gun training. He oversaw the production to ensure that I didn't shoot myself or someone else (either intentionally or by accident). The AR 15 was fun in a sick kind of way. I found I was much more accurate than with the shotgun. Until I began rapid fire, then my accuracy went downhill fast. The shotgun was heavy and hard to manage.  As with the archery, I had battle wounds that lasted for about a week.

bruise 1 day after shooting

Peace Pipe Lounge
Richardson, TX

I went to a Hookah bar once in Philadelphia and lasted about 10 minutes, until the smoke drove me out. I hate smoke of all kinds--cigs, cigars, pot. I can't breathe and get an instant headache. I went to the Peace Pipe in Richardson to see gal-pal SAR belly dance. She is the same friend who convinced me to take belly dance lessons. There was a hookah menu, so I convinced SAR's husband to smoke Hookah with me. Nothing on the menu looked familiar, so I asked the waitress what she recommended. Anything with tangerine. There was a 2/1 special, so we ordered tangerine and SEX PANTHER. You may be wondering what sex panther tastes like. It tasted like chicken. Ok--so not really. It was kind of fruity like smoking a jolly rancher.

I had high hopes for sex panther. I expected to feel...well different. Like maybe I would want to go home and jump my hubby's bones. Very disappointing. Not even slightly aroused. It was fun blowing smoke in my friend's face and after about 5 minutes, I was over it.

Technically this could have counted as a few newbies since it was the first time I've seen any of these bands in concert. However I have been to a concert before, so I thought that was cheating. However, I've never been to an ALL DAY music fest--listening to 16 bands in 10 hours. It was fabulous. I did not feel old in the slightest. However I did not feel the need to jump into the moshpit and let the crowd carry me to the stage and dump me in security's arms. Nor did I feel the need to show my breasts on camera. Some things are best undone. 

 So perhaps this can count as more than 1 new thing. Not only am I shooting a bow and arrow, but I'm dressed in a ridiculous Victorian costume/wig AND being filmed.

Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly for those who know me, dressing up and performing in Victorian attire is not a new activity. I did this in 2007 when I paid homage to a 1901 Thomas Edison film and performed as one of the Gordon Sisters--the first female boxers in the U.S..

When in Texas....Of course I had to shoot. One of my fabulous former video students also happens to be a champion archer, so he brought me in after hours to shoot and film me. It was really fun, except for the bad bruise I got on my forearm. Whoever said artists don't suffer is wrong.

Hope to do the gun shoot NEXT!

12. PURPLE HAIR--Frisco, Texas

It was a rather impulsive decision. I was at the hair salon and saw a woman with a cherry red large streak in her hair. I told my stylist that I always secretly wished I had the courage to do such a thing. And she said--let's do it. I asked for pink, but was told that pink would bleed into the blond, so I got purple. My daughter calls me Prof. Plum. My husband asked me why I would do such a thing (like I robbed a bank or something). My son said--Mom that is only ok if you lived in the 70's and went to the disco every night. Maybe I did it to just piss them off. My mom has a sign in the downstairs bathroom that says, When I Get Old, I Will Wear Purple. Purple was my FAVORITE color as a punk teen. Maybe I am just revisiting my roots.

The purple inspired me to be a bit bolder. I really wanted hot pink (fuschia) hair, so when I went into the salon in February, I got pinked. Bang and side. Pictures forthcoming. Kids/Hubby hate it, although they admitted that it matches much of my clothes. When I went to San Francisco for a conference, it was a big hit. 

11. RODEO--Allen, Texas
I was super-excited about getting a two-for-one. Going to a rodeo AND a country and western concert. The Tom Thumb Texas Stampede was in town and Joe Nichols, famous singer of Tequila Makes Your Clothes Fall Off was on the bill. If you haven't seen his youtube video, check it out. I thought for sure it was made in irony, but a native Texan told me that country and western singers don't DO irony in their music. The video is sooo bad, that it is kind of funny in an eye-rolling way. ANYWAY back to the rodeo--we saw bull riding, saddle-bronc riding and barrel racing. The younger bull riders all wore helmets, while the older guys preferred to have their brains smashed in. NONE of the bull riders walked normally. The women barrel riders kept knocking over all the barrels. The women didn't compete in bull riding or bronc riding--either because they are too smart to subject themselves to goring, stomping and brain bashing or because there's still gender discrimination amongst cowboys. It smelled like horse poop, but all in all was a rather entertaining evening. My son's favorite event was when they strapped small kids to sheep and let the sheep run. Who knew sheep could run that fast? The kids stayed on an average of a second or two then fell off. ALL KIDS WERE BAWLING THEIR EYES OUT, WHILE THE PARENTS AND AUDIENCE WAS LAUGHING AND CHEERING. There is something very messed up about that. (check out the video if you doubt me) We left before Joe Nichols, so I missed out on my 2/1 deal, but am pretty proud that I did ELEVEN NEW things this year!!!

This is inspired by a friend and former colleague who turned 50 this year. She and her twin sister vowed to do 50 new things together before they turned 51. That's almost 1 a week--no small feat. She did some incredible stuff like travel to Bali and go to circus school. Since I turned 45 this year, I decided to fashion my own bucket list of sorts--50 NEW THINGS BEFORE I'M 50. 10 things/year or 1/month. That seems feasible.

I immediately began second-guessing and self-censoring my list. For example, does going to a new place count as a new thing? Or does the new thing have to bring about some sort of change? Do I have to do the new thing by myself or with someone? Does the new thing have to involve risk, fear or resistance? Such as skydiving--which bytheway seems to be the thing that all 50yearoldmen do for their midlife crisis birthdays. Do I want to be lumped in that category? I read a new book every week, but that doesn't seem like it should make the list.

Helpful/notsohelpful suggestions for my list:
Perform at amateur night at Kitten's Strip Tease Joint (that did not make the cut for obvious reasons)
Skydiving (it was at the top of the list, but all you 50yearoldmen kind of ruined it for me. kind of like getting a tattoo before it became popular. now it just seems passe)

50/50 LIST

1. LYCHEE MARTINI--JUNE, SOUTHOLD, LONG ISLAND (unsure whether a drink should count, but it was unusual, prepared in love by a friend) Since a new drink seems kind of superficial-- a-lame-new-thing, I thought I'd also include WATERMELON SANGRIA--JULY NEWBERRY PORT, MASSACHUSETTS (a 2 for 1 kind of deal)

2. QI GONG CLASS--JUNE, SPRINGFIELD, PA This was momentous for a few reasons. For one, I can't imagine my 20-30 year old TYPE A, RESULT-DRIVEN PERSONALITY being able to just BE and let go in a moving meditation. In addition, I would have been skeptical that all that breathing stuff actually worked. IT DOES.

3. SWIMMING IN A POND--JULY, CENTER POND, NELSON, NH So this may not sound like much, but swimming in a pond is much different that swimming in a creek, lake, river or ocean. Ponds conjure up ideas of stagnant water, algae and snapping turtles. BACTERIA. I swam to end and back--about an hour's worth. I didn't freak when the pond lily threads wrapped around my legs dragging me down.

4. FLYING A KITE AT THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN--JULY, MT. MONADNOCK, NEW HAMPSHIRE First I had to CLIMB the mountain, but since I had climbed it in an ice storm last fall, that was a NEW thing per say. So watching the kite soar hundreds of feet in the air and awe/joy/glee of others as they watched the kite. Childhood memories of kites not flying, getting stuck in trees. The freedom of looking out with a bird's-eye-view.

Again a beach is not a new thing, but this place was special. pristine, deserted and while I've been bitten by lots of insects, the vicious greenheads were definitely a new experience and not one I care to repeat.

When I was a kid, my mom drove my sister and I EVERY summer from Pittsburgh, PA to Dallas. We always passed by signs for Ruby Falls and Rock City. Mommm!! Can we Pleeeaase stop and see ruby falls and rock city??? She always said that we didn't have time. Fast forward 30 something years and I'm driving from Philly to Dallas. And I stop!!! It was SOOO worth it.

It was sooo worth the $30 admission. I thought it might be a tourist trap and while there were more gift shops that were MANDATORY to visit, the house and grounds were fabulous.

Only 1 Elvis impersonator on our tour. He had a British accent. Elvis week started the day we went. If I had more time, I would have stayed for all the Elvis impersonator events. My favorite room was the peacock music room. No, we didn't get to see the Elvis' bathroom where he died on the crapper.

Some of the elvis memorials on the grounds.

Lisa Marie's airplane had a blue suede queen-sized bed!


This stick drawing was found on a fabulously funny yoga blog called
Shanti Town

This was another tricky pose (I mean POST--freudian slip). It's an arm balance that is really all about the core. I've been teaching yoga for almost ten years. Practicing it since I was in college. Practicing faithfully for the past 15 years. So can I REALLY count a yoga pose as a new thing. WELLYESICAN! I've been trying to do this pose for 5 years. I've been teaching it for at least that long and faking the demo every time we do it in class. FINALLY I DID IT? Not in an ashram or fancydancy yoga studio, but in the Y! That must have some profound spiritual significance. I'm just not sure what that is yet.

9. Belly Dancing Lesson--September, Frisco, TX

I told the teacher who has been performing for 26 years, that the only time I had ever belly-danced was after I had a few at a Middle-Eastern restaurant and was coerced. My first lesson went well. I did fine with the shoulder, ribcage, belly and hip isolations. Then when I had to walk and do them at the same time--not so good. But it is an awesome core workout and I loved it!

10. Potter's Church, Parker, Texas
So you may be thinking--THAT'S NOT A NEW THING! I know Colette and she goes to church every week. That's kind of like putting down every new book she reads. Well, this really was a one-of-a-kind experience. A first on many levels. It started when Ian, Cole and I drove into the parking lot. A parking attendant asked us if we were lost. "Did you want to take a tour of the ranch?" Uh--no, we are here for church. "Oh--I thought you were tourists, because your shirt has palm trees on it." We happened to be on South Fork Ranch--home to J.R. Ewing and the infamous Dallas TV show. How ironic that one of the region's largest African-American congregations worships in J.R.'s ballroom? I didn't realize that we were going to an all- black church. When I looked it up online, the pastor was white and female. I've always wanted to attend a charismatic African-American church service. I was not prepared to the length of it--3 hours!! And they lock the doors at the end and don't let you sneak out early! Technically this could count as 3 new things--church at JR's ranch, African-American service and sitting through 3 hours of church.