Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Mom, you are a truly exceptional business woman. You are to be admired for demonstrating those qualities that define a consummate professional.
More than anything, and most importantly you are:
1a : free from fraud or deception : legitimate, truthful
2a : reputable, respectable
3: creditable, praiseworthy
4a : marked by integrity b : marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression : frank
You're integrity is beyond reproach. I have never known you to cheat a client, not for a dollar, not for a minute.
You give everything you have and take less than you are due.
You have never not paid that which was owed.
You genuinely care about your clients. You don't stop at just making sure your clients are happy and satisfied, you try to out due their highest expectations.
You offer your clients more than just professional services, you offer support and compassion. You are quick to lend a sympathetic ear, a helping hand, and the warmth of your heart.
You aim for perfection and when you fall short, as humans do, you make it up by a mile. Mom, you go above and beyond.
You are reliable. Your clients can count on you to show up and deliver on what you promised. You loose sleep at night over a mistake, own up to your errors and do whatever is needed to make it right.
Mom you are not only skilled at your profession but truly talented. You create beauty. You do a great job.
You have a tremendous amount of try. You work hard. You work long hours. You don't quit.
The quality of your work is always evident in the finished product. You do beautiful work
You give credit where credit is due and show respect for your contractors, and coworkers.
What more can you ask for in a professional? Your work, services and products are exemplary. You are honest in your services and in billing. You fix your mistakes. You are a pleasure to work with. You are reliable and trustworthy.
I love you. I am proud of you. I admire you.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
What does all of this have to do with "Songs of my Youth"? Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. But yesterday I spent the day working at a job site where I shared a space with a middle aged carpenter with a serious love of old rock. I would kill to get my hands on his songlist! Oh man! It was just classic after classic. We listened to a Tom Petty, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Bob Seger and more Bob Seger. It was awesome!
When Queen's "Under Pressure" came on I commented to my Mom that never in our ten year relationship has the generational gap (18 years) between DB and I been apparent than when he first played me that classic ol' Queen (and David Bowie) song and all I could hear was Ice Ice Baby.
However yesterday, when those first trademark riffs of Under Pressure began, and I found myself humming "Um boom ba bay, Um boom ba bay, Ba ba boom ba be be... Pressure! Pushing down on me, pushing down on you..." ... I knew that some part of my youth had died, I had officially lost touch with that young girl I once was, the one who, on hearing a beat like that, would cock her head to the side, purse her lips, point her finger gun in the sky and let loose some gangsta' swaggar Vanilla Ice style "Yo VIP! Let's kick it!"
Queen and David Bowie
Vanilla Ice- Ice Ice Baby
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I did a whole post about how my favorite movie of all time (Out of Africa) inspired me to accept that her name was Princess, remember? I wrote some psycho babble about how, like Karen, I had learned that there is power in accepting that some are beyond our control. I accepted her name... but thought I could call her Cessa, or Pea or some variant of Princess. But plain ol' Princess stuck hard and fast. I couldnt call her anything but.
For a while it didn't seem to matter as we mainly stuck around home. But then we started hauling out in to that big bad world and I realized that I'd be forced to introduce my mare, like, to other people *gasp* Last week L. and I hauled out to an indoor arena. Inevitably I had to introduce my mare to the other riders. On Saturday, my mare and I did a clinic. Naturally the clinic began with everyone introducing themselves and their horses to the instructor. I was forced to say, "My name is Chelsi and this is my mare Princess." That made for an interesting first impression. The week before we had a new boarder come to our barn and I was forced to let him in on my dirty little secret too. Finally I decided that I have enough social anxiety as it is... I'd had enough. When L., (the lady who boards my pony, who is also a friend) set out for a ride Monday morning I told her that Saturday's clinic had been the last straw... The name Princess had to go.
She just roller her eyes and said, "Sure. Sure."
I didn't blame her. She'd heard this enough times before. Everyone had.
"No, I'm serious." I said, "Saturday was the last time I am going to introduce my horse as Princess. I refuse to do it one more *#&$ing time."
L. thought about it for a minute and then laid down the rules. I need rules. I like rules. Rules make me feel all safe and secure. Not really. Usually rules do nothing but inspire my rebellious tendencies... but this time I knew they were needed.
The rules were:
1. This was my last kick at the can. This time when I picked a name, that was it. Final answer. There would be no going back. L. would continue calling her that name whether I like it or not.
2. I had to decide on this name by the end of the ride. She said that I've known the horse for a year and I've tried on every name under the sun. If I couldn't come up a name in one hour I wasnt going to, ever.
I looked at the long stretch of trail before me. I thought about it for a minute. Then I accepted her terms. I barely spoke a word for the rest of the ride. I had a lot of thinkin' to do.
The first thing I decided was that the name had to start with a Ma sound as I most commonly call her Mare (I call most mares "Mare".) If I picked a "Ma" sounding word I would already be ahead of the game. Macy, Marcy, Marci, Matilda, Madaline, Madison, Maggie, Makie, Mamme... I went through the letters of the alphabet and stuck them all behind Ma. I kept coming back to May. I liked May. May is the middle name of my dear friend Barb. I couldnt go wrong. The only problem was that I dont like one syllable names. I have to have a name that I can coo. A name that sings. So then I stuck letters on the end of May... Maylee, Maycee, Mayla, Mayra, Mayfa, Mayda. May-bee. May-bee... I just immediately loved Maybee. The sound felt right for my horse. But Maybe is no kind of name.
By this time I was running out of trail. I had just a few minutes left. I tried everything I could and nothing was sticking besides May-be. I was starting to panic. I though I could always just go back to Lilly (one of the previous winners). Lilly's a good solid name. May. May-bee...
I had run out of time. We'd hit the end of the trail. L. looked at me. I gave her a sheepish grin and looked away. We started down the road to home. I thought, "Oh! She's going to give me more time! Thank God!" But no. A minute later L. asks,"Well?"
"Okay!" I said.
"Yeeesssss?!?" She says with a big smile.
"I have half of a name." I paused. Twisted my lips. Thought hard. May-be.... May-be. May-boley (bow-lee). Maybolee! "One sec!" I said to L. and pulled out my iphone. I looked up "The Help", clicked open wikipedia and read the plot summery. There it was! Mae Mobley Leeflot! Aibileen's last white baby.
Now, I LOOOOOOVED the book "The Help". I also liked the movie. But the book was really something special. A beautifully written story set in the early 1960s in Jackson Mississipi, The Help is narrated by three different women- Aibileen and Mini, two black woman who spent their adult lives working as maids raising white people's babies and Skeeter, a young white woman who asks Aibileen and Mini to let her write their stories. In that book there is a little girl named Mae Mobley who is cared for by Aibileen. Mae Mobley is not a pretty child and unfortunately her Momma, a pretty society woman, knows it. That mother just couldnt seem to love her child. Aibileen, Mae Mobely's caregiver is the only person in the world who knows what is going to happen if that baby doesnt learn that she has something to offer the world. So every morning Aibileen sits Mae Mobely on her lap and together they say, "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." I love those words.
"Mae Mobley" I said aloud.
"What?!?" Laurie looks at me like I'm smokin' something.
"Mae Mobley" The name didnt quite sound right. I thought of it as May-bow-lee not May Mobley but I just LOVED idea of naming her after that cute little girl. It just FIT. It fit because I had struggled to love this mare. I hate to admit it, but I really struggled to get over the way she looked. I didnt find her pretty. Worse, I thought she was a little ugly. I also didnt appreciate all she had to offer. This Saturday we did a clinic with a lady who is a reining and cowhorse trainer (as well as natural horsemanship.) I am going to write more about this clinic later but for now will just say that I found out that Mae has a HELL OF A LOT more atheltism than I thought and she can even use that big old butt too (I didnt think she knew it was back there!) The mare I thought would neeeever make a reiner, might become a competitive amateur reiner with a really nice stop and snappy rollbacks to boot! I underestimated her. I underestimated her because I didnt value her, right from the start. Mae Mobley is a weird name. But it fits. So that afternoon I told L. that Princess' new name was, "Mae. Mae Mobley." And if someone thinks it is a stupid name then so be it. At least it would be a stupid name that I gave her... a name that I cant hear without thinking, "You is kind. You is Smart. You is important." Mae needs to hear those words. And some days, so do I.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
So there I am sitting on the bus, right at the front because that's the way I roll and I have a sweeping view of the road ahead. Mistake numero uno! In Rome the rules of the road are more like casual suggestions. This I expected. I expected to see skinny men on little scooters talking on their cell phones, madly gesturing with both hands, correcting the set of the handle bars only at the last possible moment, not a second before he would be sent careening in to the semi-sized bus just inches away. Cars dashing in and out of traffic with no consideration for their relativity to other vehicles; Some cars going twenty miles and hour, some doing a hundred and twenty. I think I could have handled seeing it all... if only... Oh, if only!.... my bus driver were to actually look at the road, on occasion. Instead he looked left (for a few minutes), then right (for a few minutes), only catching sight of the road as his head turned from one side to the other. Sometimes he drove in the left lane, sometimes in the right, mostly somewhere in between. At one point he became so preoccupied with a lady in the car beside us I was able to count to sixty without seeing him so much as glance at the road in front of him. I didn't see much of the long stretching fields and farms of the Italian countryside on the way in to Rome. I had my eyes closed.
Note: On my drive in to Rome and actually on the flight in to Fumicino I was shocked to see that the area was almost all rural. Even just outside of the city limits of Rome the land turns to agricultural farms with no buffer of suburbs in between.
When I next dared to look we were traveling through the sprawl of the working man's Rome: tired and worn with sagging apartment buildings, crammed together cheek for jowl, their terracotta walls, tall and narrow shuttered windows and cute little balconies stripped of beauty by artless graffiti, air conditioning units and stacks of random junk. Car dealerships, gas stations, small neighborhood grocers- familiar businesses in a foreign landscape- stray dogs and cats lounging in the shadows, garbage in the gutters and not so much as a shrub for landscaping. Mid morning and there were men gathered outside their little shops, gossiping; Dark haired woman, sternly dressed, regally smoking on cafe patios. Unlike London, this city felt far from home. I loved it.
As we drove on, the city rose up around us. The buildings became taller, sturdier, wearing their age like a beautiful patina. I became so enamored with the changing landscape I almost didn't notice at first that the bus had come to a stop where there was no light or stop sign (which is not to say that the driver had actually stopped at such previous signs). The bus driver picked up the intercom handset. I am pretty sure he said"Santa initiliani lebititalian... Mario Botali". At least that is what I got. To my horror about 6 of the 20 people on the bus stood up. They picked up their luggage. They got off the bus. Amongst them, the American couple. My heart immediately started pounding and I looked frantically to the streets on either side of me for some familiar landmark. Is this my stop? Should I get off? No one mentioned a stop! When is my stop? What the hell did that bus driver just say? I stand up. Panicked. I intend to ask someone what the HELL is going on!!! but just then the bus lunges forward and I'm thrown back in to my seat. My mind races. I convince myself that when the time comes to get off I will recognize the Termini... after all it is a huge busy building and I've seen it on Google dammit!
The bus seems to grow in size as the streets become narrower and narrower. I hold my breath every time we squeeze between a parked car and a person who has laid themselves flat against it to avoid being squashed; Every time we whiz by a pedestrian just a split second after they step clear of our path; Everytime we squeek by... okay you get the point. The good news is that my bus driver is now actively driving. The bad news is that he's getting cranky. His window came down. He begins to yell and madly gesture at the cars in front of him, at the people that we've passed. They are uneffected by his anger. They yell back. Somehow the streets become even narrower. Next we passed a rally or protest of some kind. People fill the street. I am convinced we're going to run over them all. We turned a corner and I notice that the bus driver is reaching for his intercom again. My heart begins to pick up that lerching pounding beat. I search the street for anything familiar. He says, "Sanitinirinalinibadina" in the time it takes me to say, "Bo!". People get off. This time I stay seated. My new strategy is that I'm gonna sit right there in my seat until he drags me off the bus kicking and screaming. We drive on. Two stops later I need a Prozac and a bottle of wine. Stat. There are only four people left besides me and the driver.
I look down at my map and try to find some familiar landmark. When I look up again we are rounding the corner next to a tall brick colored wall. This wall stretches on and on, winding with the street. It is twice as high as the bus, it's surface is smooth and solid. No windows. No doors. Finally we turn a corner and ahead a line of people stand before a gate. I see a sign. It's the Vatican.
Now I know where I am but I cant take my eyes off of the window long enough to look at the map. With every block there is another gorgeous fountain, ancient church or statue. This time, when my heart begins to pound, it's because I cant believe I'm finally here, in Rome. I dont think I will ever forget the moment I looked from my side window to the road ahead and saw the Colosseum standing right there in front of us. I couldn't even breath. You always think these things will be less than you imagined. But it wasn't. It was pink and crumbling and fantastically immense, right there on the side of the road.
We drove on. When we next came to a stop the four remaining people get off. I sit still. I look left. I like right. I look ahead. This... This is not the termini. Not one thing is recognizable. Not a street, a building. Not a sign saying "Termini". Nothing. I dont have a clue where I am. The bus driver gets up and off the bus. I am forced to follow. My heart isn't pounding. It has stopped altogether.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Mid morning, a clear and hot day, the first of October- I meet Rome for the first time.
London, Athens, Messina, Rhodes, Istanbul, Chania, Bolognia... these were places, cities, towns.
Rome is a woman.
Meeting Rome was like coming face to face with a movie star I had long loved and admired. She is everything I expected- glamorous, vain, distinctly Italian, beautiful...her star quality evident and in tact. Rome wears big Elizabeth Taylor jewels: The Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, the Arch of Constantine, The Vatican. The beauty of these gems fade little for being set against age spotted skin. But the gems, the designer clothes and heavy makeup could not hide her imperfections, the reality of age, heavy drinking and a hard life. The illusion of the silver screen goddess fades. She has yellow teeth and coffee stains. The hem of her vintage Armani dress is torn and dangling. She smells a little.
I landed at Fiumichino airport and made my way through customs, which is to say that I was swept forward by the crush of a crowd along a narrow corridor and through the slim opening between two custom's officers desks, the officers themselves disinterested, half asleep, not even bothering to glance up as I passed amongst a flood of multinational people. We poured out into the Italian sunshine. There is no "Welcome to Rome" sign.
First things first. I must catch a bus or a train to take me in to Rome (the airport is a half hour west of the centre of the city). I walk confidently out of the airport and turn right. I feel confident, cool, a world traveler. I walk a few minutes to the designated bus area. I pull out a sheet from the tab beneath "Bus Rome" in my file folder and glace at it briefly. I know it by heart. I look for the white bus with Terravision on the side. There is no such bus. There are two blue buses. Neither have Terravision on the side. I dont panic. I settle in to wait. I'm confident that one will arrive shortly. A man approaches me. He is wearing a apron with pockets in the front. He looks very official which is to say stern, unfriendly, annoyed, rushed, impatient... his expression says it all. He asks, in broken English, "What you waiting for?"
I say, "Terravision bus".
He seems to roll his eyes, "Yes, Where you want to go?"
I go to say the word on my sheet but falter... I cant remember. So I hold up my page and point at the word "Termini" I dont dare try to pronounce it.
"Ci! Ci!" He cries, "This bus! This bus!" He gestures emphatically at the blue bus and motions for me to get up. "Seven euro!" He holds out his hand.
My false bravado crumbles. In an instant I have become the bewildered tourist: lost, scared and alone in a foreign country.
"No!" I say. "I wait for white bus." I realize that for some reason my English has become as broken as his. This makes no sense.
The man gestures wildly, without even a single word his gesture screams, "Geeze, these tourists! What am I to do! They are such idiots!" I stare at him with wide blank eyes. So he changes tactic. This time he speaks to slowly, pronouncing each world precisely like I'm a dim witted child, "The blue bus is same. Same as white bus. You go to Termini. This bus goes to Termini. Seven euro."
"To here?" I ask, pointing again at my sheet.
He rolls his eyes. "Yes, yes!"
"Alright I say!" Why didnt he just say so? I pay for my ticket and get on the bus. My imagination runs wild, what if he misunderstood? What if he is conning me? What if I end up in Naples?! Venice! A bad neighborhood?! I'll be kidnapped! Raped! Sold in to the sex trade! But wait! I'm fat. It's all good... surely they dont kidnap fat girls! But wait! What if there is a specialized market for fat girls? Oh my God, I'm going to be sold in to a niche fat girl market!
An American couple sit down in the seats across from me. "Excuse me, does this bus go here?" I ask, pointing at my now sweaty crumpled sheet.
"Yes." She says, confidently.
I settle in for the bus ride to Rome.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
A recommendation for future travellers: Look in to buying a London Pass. I had no idea how expensive the admission prices were going to be for the different sites (not just in London but in Rome and other cities as well). For example: Westminster Abby 16 pounds ($25) St. Pauls 14.50 pounds ($23) Buckingham Palace (where Kate's dress is displayed) 17.50 pounds ($29)
St. Pauls (the upper facade) sorry I got a little carried away editing this one, I didnt like the originals as there were many buses, sign posts and people below.
-"Unveiled 10 November 1937. The statue aroused great controversy, comparable even with the reaction to Epstein's early works. The depiction of the horse was deemed to be unnatural; Country Life noted that its legs were in the position for urinating. Haig's widow did not attend the unveiling."
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Lo Sono a Casa! (I am home!)
And there depletes my entire repertoire of Italian phrases!
Not really, but it's a near thing.
How could I possibly put down in words just how amazing my trip was?
"The trip of a lifetime!", I could say if I were unimaginative...
"The best trip ever!", I might say, if I were still a teenager....
"An spiritual and emotional cornucopia!"... I could say, if I were pretentious (and lame).
"A wonderfully rich and spiritually nourishing journey filled with adventure, laughter, and memories that will last a lifetime." .... Yup, I think that about sums it up.
I could write a hundred posts about our adventures and still be no closer to describing the whole of our experiences. I am going to run through our itinerary and share a little about each of the places we visited but the CliffsNotes version will have to suffice.
Where to start... Hmm... I best take Louis Carrol's advice and "Begin at the beginning and go on until you come to the end: then stop."
In the beginning: There was a bittersweet farewell.
Sitting at my gate waiting to board the plane from Vancouver to London I wrote in my journal:
"I hate leaving home. I love where leaving home takes me."
Driving away from my home, my babies, my bed (:D) was bad enough, saying goodbye to my man at the gate was infinitely worse. But as much as I hated to leave him behind, I was so incredibly excited about taking my first real step towards a trip I've dreamed of taking for the better half of my life.
In my dreams I've always envisioned that when the time came I would make that long journey abroad alone. And I did, to a certain extent. I flew out all by my lonesome on the afternoon of 29th and landed in London at sunrise on the 30th of September. From Gatwick I walked five minutes down the road to my hotel where two weeks previously my Mom and sister had stayed when they began their journey towards a cruise out of Amsterdam heading to Portugal and Spain and finishing in Rome on the 1st of October.
Our plan was that I would fly to London on the 30th, stay the night and fly out the next morning to Rome (the 1st) where we would all meet up at the Beehive Hotel within a few hours of each other (they disembarked early in the morning an hours train ride North of Rome in Civitavecchia (and no, after two weeks I still cant that town's name perfectly.) So while I was alone in London that day I had the comfort of knowing that my Mom and sister were just a short plane ride away and that soon we would have a grand reunion in the heart of Europe, Rome! I was so excited about this plan that when my Mom and Fel left, and for the two weeks thereafter, I would finish every text and e-mail to them with a nearly giddy, "See you in Rome!!!"
Here I've already rambled on and I have only gotten so far as my hotel at Gatwick! Before I go on I must say that there was a moment when we first touched down on English soil that I will never forget. When I want something as bad as I wanted this trip I have a hard time letting myself believe it is really going to happen, until it does. It wasn't until I took my first step off the plane that it really sunk in that I had arrived. I cried for joy inside (I had to keep up the I'm-an-international-traveler-and-this-is-no-big-deal-facade on the outside...but inside I was just bursting out of my skin with excitement.) Adrenaline filled me with a desire to jump right in, feet first, to sink in to that old English dirt and soak up every sound, scent and sight around me... *ehem* sorry... got a little carried away there. So, I landed and checked in. I had been awake for 16 hours and knew that my day had just begun. I had all of London to explore and until sunset to make it happen. I dropped my bags and headed out to catch a train to London...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I am a little disappointed because the title of my post was going to be "How I try to make my horse
Anyways, so the reason why I am not going to get that post finished is because...
*drum roll please*
I am leaving for Europe in 2 days!!!
*super geeky happy dance*
This trip is one that I've been dreaming of for basically my entire life and this week it is finally happening!!!
*resisting the temptation to insert another happy dance*
I will be going to:
back to Rome...
Traveling up through Italy from Rome to Bogonia
back to London
Aww to hell with it...
Arrivederci! My friends!