Sunday, February 22, 2009

Simple Pleasures

I am blessed with the things I have in my life. I have my health, home, great friends, family and a dog that loves me. I am fortunate that I can do just about anything I want to do. Sometimes I forget how much I love living by the water. Today was a day to get out, ride my bike and enjoy the surroundings. Funny thing is...everyone was in a great mood! How could you not be? Being by the water does wonders for me. It was a perfect day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Part of the Family

I grew up with animals. I had a dog (Taz in picture, Barkley, Ruffles), two cats (Colors and Sunshine), several Koi fish, turtles (pokey, speedy) and my Guinea pig, squeaky. No, I didn't live on a farm.

I can't imagine my life without a pet. Before I took Maggie with me across the country, my dog, Sushi was my companion for 12 years. I even took her to college with me. She would tolerate the chickens I also adopted in college, parties, long road trips, several moves, and my basketball schedule. She was my baby.

One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do was to make the decision to put Sushi down. She had GDV and was in the hospital for 3 days before she made a turn for the worst. I went alone. I said goodbye. I had NO IDEA how hard it would be on me.

Here we are on one of many trips to the coast in my college years.

I have known Andrea and Daisy for 11 years. This picture was one of the first after I adopted Maggie.

Andrea was with me when I finally came to terms with the loss of Sushi and decided that another dog was in my future. Every morning I would stop by the Santa Monica Animal Shelter to look at the dogs. I did this for about a month and one day, there was this small yellow dog leaning up against the chain to greet me. All of the other dogs in the cages were barking and making a scene, but not this one. She just sat there, welcoming my pets through the gate. I decided to take her out of the cage to see how we got along. As the pit bulls and larger dogs yelled at her as she passed, she didn't pay any attention. Wow, perfect! I think this is the one!

I went to work that day and told Andrea about the new dog I saw. We decided to go back at lunch to see if she was still available. She was. I adopted her. Meanwhile, Andrea was taken back by a black lab puppy in another cage. As an attendant came to her to help, she burst in tears. She was thinking of her dog Daisy at home. It's emotional to go to the pound and look at all of the animals asking you to take them home. But this time I did. As we were leaving and filling out all of the paperwork, the woman across the counter slided a piece of paper that said, "Thank you for adopting me. I Love you" Ok, we lost it. Both of us started crying... this needed to stop. We left and composed ourselves.

2 Days ago, Andrea had to say good bye to Daisy. I spent the day with her yesterday. As usual, it's a cry chain reaction with us. Daisy was her baby for 16 years of her life. Sometimes losing a pet can be the hardest to take.

I have come to realize that Maggie was a faker the day I adopted her.

She seemed to get along so well with others. Ummm, not so much. Daisy is about the only dog that puts up with Maggie's bossiness.

Here are pictures of her visit with us last year. Maggie let her sleep in her bed and lie on her chaise.

Rest in peace, Daisy.

We love you and miss you always.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Saying Yes

Sunday was a good day. I rested. Walked Maggie. Took a long bath. Connected with friends. Easy.

In September, I wrote a blog about saying yes to opportunities. I love it when people say yes. Sometimes it's so much easier to say no. No is safe. There isn't risk involved. There is no opportunity, either.

My friends Dian and Erin said yes to meet me later in the day for an adult beverage and a chat. I am so glad they did. We had a nice talk by the fire in the backyard about life and all of its subjects. The big yes in their life right now is home ownership and all of the delightful things that come out of that.

Congratulations Dian and Erin!

What if you said yes to an invitation or an opportunity instead of no?
What would be different in your life today, if anything? I think it’s amazing what the universe brings you, once you are open to what happens and you release the fear of the unknown by saying yes.

I would challenge you to say yes to something that you would normally say no to. I would love to hear how “yes” has changed your life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beach Walk

Valentine's Day with me.

It was a beautiful day in So Cal.
Since most of my friends are coupled up, I decided to do something I enjoy. I live walking distance from the beach, but I have to say that I don't appreciate it as much as I should.

This past week, I have a new affinity towards walks on the beach. So, there I went. It was nice.

I am still healing. Of course, it's not healing as quickly as I had hoped it would.
I always think things will be different. Perhaps I am not the only one in this thinking. It's why we play the lottery I guess. Even when I read about "what to expect" after the surgery, I think..."naaa..., not possible!" I will be fine...will recover fast. Maybe it's because I am afraid I will miss something if I lay around and heal. There are a lot of things I am missing right now.

So as of now, I am walking. Waiting. Trying to stay positive. Dreaming of an end to this.

Friday, February 13, 2009

You Like It, You Really Like it!

Thank you for your kind words about American Life Today. It's a bonus for me because I am really enjoying it! I read about you when you send in your answers, then I read again each day as they post. I would like to give special kudos to the folks that told their friends about it...

Rachel met me online through another blogger and wrote a little blog on her site about American life today. If you are not a subscriber to her blog, I would recommend it. She's hilarious, interesting, and makes killer hair pins.

When I was on my journey last year, I reconnected with my friend Jim in Northampton for a few days. He let me and Maggs invade his apartment for days of music, bbq, sushi, drinks, touring, music and more music. Everywhere we walked, I heard "hey jim! Over here." If he is not now, he should be given some sort of award for being a town icon. I now have a new appreciation for Sam Phillips and Southern Culture on the Skids. I am looking forward to my return. I encourage you to read his blog.

About a year ago, I became online friends with John. He didn't say much...was a quiet friend. I started to read his blogs. What a treat! Someone who is not afraid to speak their mind? Tells the world that he might have a slight problem with drinking and/or marijuana use? How refreshing. Beyond that, he lives his life as I want to live mine. Doesn't care much about possessions or time. He enjoys the things life brings him. At least, that is what I take away. Here is one of my favorite blogs of his, his recap of 2008.

I started to write about my life a year ago. I opened up to you. I shared my fears, thoughts, hopes, etc. It's was scary...vulnerable. But I did it, nevertheless. Something good became of it. I wrote about my myomectomy and I met a new friend, Dian. She had a friend going through the same thing so I was able to share my story to perhaps ease their mind. It all turned out well. She is writing a book about her life. I would encourage you to read her blog. She also has a blog about coming out stories. If you have one to share, she would love to hear from you.

My new friend, Ernie. What a riot he is. He found me through my love of Elvis Costello and Star Wars figures. He has a great blog with many followers around the world. I have to say that his profile was one of the funniest. Taller? Really?

So, thanks to all of you! I am so grateful that you are spreading the word about American Life Today. I look forward to learning more about you and sharing more stories about the human experience.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Frankenstein Gums

The day of surgery is the worst. The anticipation of what is going to happen to you always ensures that you won't sleep the night before. I didn't.

I arrived on time. They were quick to collect my full payment in cash upfront. Of course my nervous energy responded with, "yes, of course you need your money before I were to die in the chair..." Just a smile and an "you'll be fine" response from the woman behind the counter.

I was escorted to a room by a man coughing up a storm in his face mask. Great. My mouth is going to be wide open for that. I need to stop thinking like will be fine. So, he pulls up my dental xrays and prepares the room for the doctor. Of course I have to observe every single detail, those aren't the xrays of my teeth.... Good thing I know what my teeth look in an xray. I immediately said something, "um, those aren't my teeth and my name isn't alicia." Nice start to the day.

As he said something like, oh, um tension level began to peak. The doctor came in...heard me and tried to break the ice by saying, "of course those weren't your teeth. If they were, you wouldn't need to be here!" Was that supposed to be funny? Comforting? Um, I think neither.

They didn't mess around. Right away it was time to lean back...time to get busy on this! Even though I had an ipod in my ears, he wanted to chit chat with me. First it was..."what do you do?" Well, he knows I don't have insurance so...duh... Next was, "what did you do?" So, I said, "advertising sales." Which really sounded like.. "mafetttipphin mmaelsss" with all of the crap inserted in my mouth. Really, I have no idea why he decided to chat with was all so frustrating.

He admitted that he wanted to calm me down by talking to me so he thought it would be best to talk about the economy next. Really? Seriously? He asked me if I thought it was on purpose...the fall of the economy. First of all, I have no insurance and no income. Second of all..shut the hell up!

I turned the ipod up. My hands are white from gripping them.

Drills, pressure, coughing from assistant, pain, shots, more shots, taste of blood, seeing blood on his hands, more drilling, pain, assistant coughing, more shots...ah, strike gold..he found a cyst. Going to get it checked. He was pretty vague about it, but said the infection was larger than he thought.

So, I have been sleeping all day. My gums look like Frankenstein. I took pics but way too graphic to Of course I looked in my mouth...pushing my cheek around looking at the damage and after picked up my one sheet to read the "what not to do" directions for me.

(1. Don't look in your mouth and move things around.


Recovery time now with Maggie.

Happy Birthday Mom. I'm sorry we couldn't play today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Birthday Surgery

Tomorrow is my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! It's also the fun day I get to go to the dentist to have my gums ripped open, hoping that this "D.D.S., MMSc., etc." played a mean game of operation as a kid. I know I did. But, don't try to get me to play after my morning coffee.

Come to think of it...the operation is in the morning and he MAY be a coffee drinker. Didn't think about that. Ugh. I am trying not to think about it.

So, after telling you to look at the utube video of my surgery (which I didn't watch, by the way), I had my friend Dan watch it as I was sitting next to him. I couldn't get myself to look at it so I told him to narrate what they were doing..."Then what? What's next? Now what's about now?" All I had to do was look at his face. Oh yeah, and the several "Holy Shit's" coming out of his mouth with the look of panic.

So, Happy Birthday Mom!

I have been thinking of why I have a hard time asking for help. I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends that offer to take care of me if I needed it. I hate to put people out. I have always been independent and never wanted to depend on anyone for anything. My mom came to help me with my myomectomy last year, but my first thought was.."it's ok, I will be fine..." I know she wanted to help, and I am glad that she did. Thanks Mom!

I am sure that it will go well tomorrow. I hope it will go better go well tomorrow. OK...I need to stop thinking of it. I wonder if the dental assistant would mind documenting the surgery for a blog. Maybe too creepy.

So, thank you all for your kind words and offers to help. I think I will be ok. Maybe it will be good luck because it's on mom's birthday. Yeah...that's it!

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!

Check out her beautiful sculptures on

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Facts About Me

This pic is me at age 4.

Yes, this 25 list has been going around the internet so I caved in. If you have nothing better to do, here are 25 random facts about my life...

1. I used to be a synchronized swimmer
2. I had stitches between my toes
3. Was an assistant college basketball coach
4. Sold a tennis racket to Chevy Chase
5. I grew up Mormon
6. I’ve never been to Europe
7. My dad died at age 55
8. I’ve been laid off twice
9. I won a coloring contest (no, not last year)
10. I slept as my neighbors house burned down
11. I have the complete Star Wars action figure collection
12. I have all albums from Elvis Costello and see him in concert every year
13. I have guns and am not afraid to use them
14. I have an original signed cabbage patch kid, beau
15. I’ve never broken a bone
16. I don’t have tonsils
17. Sat next to Arnold Schwarzenegger on an airplane
18. I would rather text than talk on a phone
19. I am NOT a morning person
20. I love to be spontaneous…I don’t plan, I do
21. I was a fencer
22. I love to make people laugh
23. I drink coffee every day (cream only)
24. I LOVE the open road and nature
25. I want YOU to answer 5 questions on

Me today...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back On The Road

The sun is out, it's a beautiful day here in Southern California. I am feeling the urge to get back on the road. This picture is from the very first day I took trailie camping for a "trial run." What a great time I had with Maggie, Karen and Heather. So, I am writing this blog inside of "trailie" in my driveway...with Maggie, of course. Some of the toughest days I had on the road were in the first 6 weeks. It's interesting being alone, not really having a schedule and exploring America. As "difficult" as it was, I miss it so much! I am ready to go again. This time, I want to explore the Southern route.
This map is what I did last summer so I am hoping to explore all of the areas I didn't see on my 120 days on the road. Also, I am going to do things a little different this time. I want to write more. I want to meet more people and listen to who they are. Besides seeing some amazing places, I especially enjoyed meeting people and learning more about their life. As I meet them, I look forward to introducing them to you on American Life Today.

For now, she sits in my driveway. It's my glamorous writing cubbie hole/guest house. However, nobody has taken me up on staying in it so far. Maggie enjoys hanging out with me inside. The only difference between now and when we are traveling (well, there are several) is there isn't anyone coming up to us asking:

What is that?
Do you sleep in it?
Is it for your dog?
Can you stand up in it?
How much does it cost?
Is there a bathroom in it?
How big does it pop up to?
Does it have air conditioning?
Where do you get one?
What's it called?
Just you and your dog?

Seriously....look at it. Of course I am friendly and happy to answer (most of the time), but it's just a hard tent in a sense...a really cool one at that! :) So, we are beginning our plans for the next outing. Perhaps I will be in a town near you. If I am...remember these answers:

It's a teardrop trailer
Depends on who's standing
Define "bathroom"
What you see is what you get
2 Doors that open
Where they make 'em
Yes...and misc. items

Anything I'm missing?


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