I can still hear him loud and clear.
My father was well known for using this expression, “El hubiera no existe.” Basically, it translates to more or less: forget about the “what-ifs” or the “should’ves” because they don’t exist. He used to get aggravated if any of us seven kids would whine saying “I should’ve done THIS” or “I should have done THAT!!”
This year, on the night of the 24th during the Farrolito Walk on Canyon Road, I had a moment I keep going back to with the “I should’ve…”. Everyone was in the holiday spirit. The weather was beautiful - not too cold but with enough of a chilly bite in the air so that it felt like Christmas. The merry spirit of Noel with the “I love you’s, you love me’s, let’s be cheery was in the air floating through the sculptures of Canyon Rd. While we were strolling with a group of friends, I saw out of the corner of my eye a stalled couple. It was hard to discern what was happening but it appeared that she was fainting. Like the Good Samaritan I think I am, I rushed over to see how I could help them. The man had managed to get her to sit on the cold sidewalk and was hovering over her. I asked him what was wrong and how I could help. He was curt with me and answered back that there were too many people and that she was confused. I immediately felt this need to leave them alone and give them some privacy. Strangely enough I turned around and walked away from the couple.
I re-joined my friends who were enjoying the evening so that we could continue walking through Canyon Road. We were quickly submerged into the crowd and I no longer could see the couple.
My reaction has been haunting me since then! What was I thinking? What happened to the woman? Was she okay? Did they really need help but were too shy to ask for it? Why did I leave?! I SHOULD have stayed. I SHOULD have tried to help him. I SHOULD have found someone else to help if they didn’t want my help. I SHOULD’VE, I SHOULD’VE , I SHOULD’VE! But it’s too late. Like my father used to say, “El hubiera no existe.” Although it makes sense - I shouldn’t dwell. It’s over. It’s past. I still feel guilty. My father would not have been proud of me. In my head I explain to my dad, “I’m sorry. I’m generally more assertive!” Something did lead me to believe that the woman needed privacy.
This year I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions. No diets. No exotic trips. No “re”designing myself. However, after my encounter on Canyon Road, I do have one focus for the year 2018: I AM GOING TO TRY TO LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT ANY “I SHOULD’VES.” This year will be about action and no regret. Let’s do it!
I would love to hear from you…. write me at email@example.com
I can still hear him loud and clear.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do some traveling in Spain!
Besides eating tapas, drinking wine and shopping, I spent most of my time visiting the museums, churches, cathedrals, cute old towns as well as El Escorial. The structures I visited are so old - from medieval times. The weight of history they carry is so impressive. These amazing pieces of architecture are made with luxury woods, marbles and ornamentation with gold leaf finish. Even the ceilings are elaborate and grand. I would walk through these buildings in total awe!
The walls are also extravagantly decorated with paintings by the great Spanish, Flemish and Italian Masters. Many are images of Christ on the cross. The artists worked magic by making the Christ look so tragic. The work triggered sensations of sorrow and pain in me. Well, that is what the artwork was supposed to do: move us through emotion toward religion! It is a paradox to me that the images in the paintings often reflect a life of modesty and frugality, a Mendicant lifestyle. The characters in the paintings are looking toward the sky asking for forgiveness and compassion. I have to say it was confusing - the opulence of the Catholic Church in contrast to the dramatic, strong images of the passion of Christ. I definitely felt moved to get on my knees and pray. Let me tell you . . . the artwork was convincing.
I found that the artwork was often so intense that I had to create some play in my head in to make light of the heavy Christ-died-for-our-sins feelings that I would fall into. As I walked and enjoyed the work, I would try to envision myself in the 1600’s, in one of these impressive churches. I wondered what my life would be like back then. What if I was one of the women from a Velazquez painting? Believe it or not, I did not like the picture of me!
First of all, as a woman of the 21st Century, I absolutely cannot imagine NOT having the freedoms that I enjoy on a daily basis. Geez, it would be so boring to spend the day in a cold room playing the harpsichord, ting-ting-ting, or sewing and most likely promised as a wife to some fat big-bellied German prince with skinny legs. Yuck! The image of him in his skin tight and revealing tights showing off his masculinity is not what I call sexy! I can picture myself also with those dresses that strangle your waist, laced up so high and tight that your boobs are smashed into your tonsils! Then, not being able to show off my legs with my pretty shoes because that was soooo immoral. That’s crazy!
I also cannot imagine asking my German husband in the middle of the night, “Honey, can you bring me a glass of water?” What did they DO if they had to get up in the middle of the night to get water anyways!? Everything was dark and cold . . . . and the kitchen was faaaar away. What if you needed to go to the restroom? What if you did not feel well after eating and drinking all night at the infamous feasts? Duck, jamon, vino . . . What did the women do??? Thank God the walls were thick! At least they could not hear you.
They also did not have a lot of dresses nor a lot of shoes. It was very expensive to have clothes and shoes made, so even the very wealthy did not have big wardrobes. I kept thinking to myself that this must have been torture! I know for the people back then it was not as I am describing it but that is what my imagination and logic invents for me! And this, mind you, was the wealthy lifestyle! I am not even talking about how the peasants lived. Probably the whole town worked to build the luxurious but inhospitable grand buildings.
If there was one thing unusual that I took from this trip it is how much I appreciate my comfortable lifestyle and my FREEDOM. I am so grateful I can speak my mind and do whatever I feel like doing. There are no social norms keeping me behind closed doors, praying and sewing away. Also, I gotta say how much I appreciate those good looking Spanish men!
Write me. Have you been traveling lately?! Guada755@outlook.com
It is 5:45pm and it is time for me to meet one of my good friends. We are going to have a cocktail, catch up on our lives and talk about politics, fashion, men, fashion, men, politics, men, fashion, men, men and men. We are meeting at one of my favorite places. I have a few. I apply my lipstick, brush my pony tail, click my shoes and get in my car. As I get to the place, I notice the street is empty. The town is empty like a ghost town from a Western movie. There are no people or cars around and it feels chilly out. I hesitate a minute and then park my car in a Loading Zone but I figure it is not being used since it is almost 6pm. I go in to meet my friend.
After a couple of hours, we kiss goodbye and I walk back to my car. And there it is!!!!! It is on the windshield of my car bright yellow and shining like Christmas lights . . . a F&$@%# parking ticket! When I see the $42 Loading Zone parking ticket, I think I literally screamed in my mind like Tarzan in the Jungle!! I thought what the #%$&!!! I wish I could have seen the person who wrote the ticket. I could have made Sushi out of him!
I do not know what it is about parking tickets but I hate them! I know, I know . . . I was too lazy to drive half a block more to avoid parking in a Loading Zone but I felt like nobody was around. It was late. It was 5:45pm for Christ’s sake! Where do these creatures come from that they suddenly come out of the shadows to write parking tickets? Are they skinny things hiding behind light poles and street signs? I did not see anyone but then boom. They come out of nowhere and write parking tickets.
If I ever have time in my busy schedule, I would like to write the Mayor and City Council to ask, “What are you guys doing to us!? Why are you making it so difficult and expensive in this place to find parking?” I know the city gets revenue from the parking meters. If I am correct, it is $1 million. (Do not quote me!!) I think if they made parking easier, people would come downtown more. The retail stores and restaurants would do more business if people did not have to go to so much trouble and expense to park. You do not have to be Einstein to know the tax revenue generated from more business would exceed the money from the parking meters!
There is something psychological about paying for parking that we do not like. Here we are going to a restaurant not wanting to pay $2/hr. for parking when our restaurant bill will be $50 or $60. Why do we dislike it so much? It is not exactly dislike. We hate so much to pay for parking?!!
I do not know why but I know I am not alone in this. We know you hate to pay for parking, too. So here at Goler when you come to shop with us, WE will PAY for your parking in the La Casa Sena lot behind the store.
Larry, the owner of Design Warehouse, on his own time goes around collecting money from the local stores so that for the two weeks before Christmas, parking is free for you. (Thank you, Larry, for all your hard work!)
I think I am going to therapy about this. In the meanwhile, Happy Holidays and come to Goler! We will pay for your parking with a purchase . . . anytime of the year.
If you live in this country, you have probably noticed the latest scandal about the movie producer Harvey Weinstein. A slew of actresses have stood up to him and now he’s involved in a whirl of sexual misconduct allegations. Finally, right?!! I have been asking myself, why now though?! Everyone is reacting differently than other times- paying attention now. But men using their power over women, in a sexual way, has been happening since the beginning of mankind.
When I was a young teenager I was going to school at night. In order to pay for my schooling, I worked as a receptionist at a local car dealership. I was quite proud to be paying for my own schooling. My boss at the time, was a very powerful man in the car industry. He would often make passes at me while I was simply doing my job as a receptionist- with no pressing aspirations to be the top receptionist (!!). I didn’t particularly humor his attention- I neither engaged in it, nor did I get overly offended about it. One thing that is not talked about is that women are SO OFTEN exposed to being objectified that it blurs into normality. We often just shrug it off.
But men who behave this way _ it should be noted that NOT all men do this- don’t realize how we women see them. I was sooooo young and he looked like a very old and decrepit man to me. I didn’t find him the least bit attractive but I’m sure he thought his money made him look like Brad Pitt! After several passes I did start to get creeped out to the point that one day I decided not to go back to work.
I have to confess something however. This was back in the 70’s when mini skirts were all the rage and part of every woman’s wardrobe. I wonder if I was too exposed? Did I offer opportunity to be oogled, touched, and spoken to with “intention.” This bothers me and yet I am judgmental about it myself. Why can we not be sexualized… or on the other hand, why can we not enjoy our physicality without drawing negative sexual attention? The 70’s was before the concept of “slut shamming” had even been brought to light. For years I lived wondering if I set myself up for these unprofessional advances. But really, should we women dress like nuns in order to be taken seriously or to protect ourselves from unwanted attention? Come on.
If you truly got to know me you would see that I often make light of serious matters. I think humor is a great way for us to get ideas across to ourselves or to others. So let’s turn the tables here for a second! Imagine that the fashion now for men was similar to the 1700’s when men would wear snug fitting tights that exposed all their jewels. Am I allowed to say that?! As a woman, would you not be able to help yourself from staring at them? Would you whistle, or say something playful about their looks? Imagine my customers calling my sales guys “darling” or “babe”! Or maybe I have a male customer walk in wearing a Roman outfit, legs exposed, donning gladiator sandals and my sales girls would lasciviously try to sell him some shoes while her eyes traveled to every inch of his muscles.
That’s what it’s like!!!
Or alternately- women get pressured into sexual situations in order to gain favor for a job or a position, but then there are the women who are not “attractive” or “older” and are given NO opportunity based on their looks. This is infuriating.
But I like to think that today is different from yesterday since women, we can speak out against this kind of behavior. This doesn’t mean that anything changes or that anything will be done about it. At the very least, we can stand our ground. If it has to be a recognized, accomplished actress to speak out to make people take notice- so be it. At least the media has found it interesting enough (for their ratings) that the attention gives us some combined power, #MeToo!
I also think that times have changed because I know many men who do not fall into objectifying women. I know men that take women seriously- in all ways. They honor their femininity and they honor their intellectual equality and capacity. I’m sure you know some of these men too.
I know this is a touchy subject, but I am sure everyone- men and women, are taking a moment to reassess certain behavior thanks to Harvey Weinsteins’s transgressions.
I’ll close this Pandora box for now and go open some shoe boxes!!
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Do you remember watching the movie Rocky? It is the movie that made Sylvester Stallone famous! I can’t even imagine you have not seen it but in case you are not familiar with it, it is an epic film about a determined boxer who has all odds against him. Believe it or not, I watched it when it was released on the big screen in 1976!
In the movie Rocky gets brutally beaten up by his opponent. The film goes into slow motion during these clips so you can really experience his suffering at each blow. For every punch the entire theatre would gasp! We would hold our breath until after a struggle, he would rise to his feet determined to stay in the fight. They would show him with puffy black eyes and blood and sweat trickling down the side of his jaw. Actually, Rocky would look a lot like Jesus Christ during the Passion beaten by the Romans exxcept Rocky’s lips would be so swollen that they looked like Kardashian lips!
The world today is like Rocky. We are being punched with hurricanes, shootings, earthquakes, fires and the threat of a nuclear war! With every punch the whole world gasps in unison. We are being beaten up with a whirlwind of natural disaster and human decision making punches! We feel like we are never going to get up again. Are we going into an apocalypse?!! My mind will go there if I allow it.
A few weeks ago, I went to visit Marfa, TX. This art pilgrimage has been on my bucket list. I decided not to wait around and see if someone would read my mind and take me so I made the plan to go with my honey myself. I love road trips. Road trips serve at least to remind us how vast this country really is. We are tricked through our connection lines, cell phones, the internet, etc. . . . to believe we are all near one another but there is vastness between us, too.
As we got closer to Marfa we were taken by surprise by a heavy rain storm. Visibility was ZERO!!!!!! The rain was hitting our car so hard plus it was pitch black outside. We . . . ok . . . I was very scared. I thought about the recent hurricanes and images of the people experiencing them rushed through my mind. Here I was comfortable in my car but still scared. Yet, I did not have to worry about real flooding, whether my house was going to be lost, the loss of all my belongings, being in danger. We held our breath through the rainstorm. There was no option to turn around but as fast as it dropped, it stopped.
We arrived to famous Marfa and it was dark and calm. I don’t know what surprised me more: that the town was so small or that our room did not have a shower or a bathroom! Without realizing it I chose a hotel that was built of Air Streams (Oh My God!)!! I chose the hotel because the name was appealing to me (presentation is everything). The Air Stream we stayed in was not what I would call roughing it but it did not have a bathroom or a shower!! Showering outside felt like being in the army. I could not complain though. The bathroom was a luxurious outhouse! Believe me, this experience was not cheap! My luggage that contained my clothes and shoes (Hello!! What do you expect!?) took up half of the air stream!
I was feeling guilty about taking this little trip while such terrible things were happening around us but I was a good sport. I clicked my heels and said to myself, “Let’s enjoy this adventure and we forget all of the tragedy in the world, including Las Vegas.
Marfa is pretty quiet Monday through Thursday and then it comes alive on the weekends. They have good restaurants (three!). Something that surprised me was that there were no televisions. To my surprise I was completely fine without TV. We were very isolated from the news about the world. I did not realize how good it could feel to be unplugged from the world. We did not make a difference to the world and the world did not make a difference to us. Life goes on despite being hit hard like Rocky with Apocalypse type punches…..
Life goes on with or without us and struggles and hardships happen. So, from now on, I will keep traveling and fulfilling my bucket list and counting my blessings.