Friday, September 23, 2016

Waiting for tomorrow

I have written about the concept of now before.  In a nutshell, it's the principle that the past is past and does not exist anymore.  The future does not exist either.  It only exists when we get to it.  The now is all we have and all we will ever have.  If I wait for something, I will miss out on a whole bunch of important somethings.

So, I understand this and I try to live by it but sometimes it's hard.  Especially when one is stressed.  Am I stressed?  Yes and no.  I'm just in a state of static disillusionment.  What do I mean by that?  Just that my life is what it is and it's not necessarily what I want.  It's not good, it's not bad.  Just that I'm restless for more.  I don't know what "more" means.  Does it mean more money?  Not really.  By God's grace, I'm fine.  Then again, if I had more money, I would retire and not have to work.  So, I think about retirement.  I'm working everyday to make money so I will have enough money someday to stop working.  That's the goal.  I dream of that day.  I calculate how I will get there and what it will be like.  I think to myself.  If I could skip the next several years and just get there, wouldn't it be great?  Would it?  I would have skipped out on a bunch of fun vacations, so I don't want to do that!  So, my mind thinks about it.  What about waiting and living for the next vacation for I cannot skip out on several years of something fun?

Then, I would skip out on everyday things.  I would skip out on writing this ridiculous blog.  Or skip out on hanging out with friends and laughing at our silliness.  Pokemon Go!  Yes, I think it's important to me.  I would skip out on reading books and coloring and finishing my ship.  I would skip out on watching 30 minutes of Sex in the City every night.  I would skip out on my new iPhone 7.  I would skip out on several birthdays and wedding anniversaries.  I would skip out on amazing meals cooked by my mom and I would skip out on watching my flowers bloom every spring.  Do I really want to skip out on those things?  I think about what I really want to skip?  Work!  What about work do I want to skip?  The mean patients?  Dealing with "issues".  I don't know.  I know I'm supposed to be humble, but I know that I'm amazing at what I do.  I know this.  I know what I'm doing and some parents may not agree with me, but it is effective.  The stress of it, sometimes is killing me slowly.  The stress that people don't see it from my point of view and I'm constantly dealing with helicopter parents who suffocate their child and blame me when they cannot breathe!

I have considered changing my profession.  I think to myself.  What would I like to be?  I think I would like to be a speaker.  Or would I?  I don't know.  I keep mumbling to myself.  I keep searching for who I am and what I'm meant to be.  I know one thing.  Skipping days or months or years, is not going to help.  It's only going to leave me with regrets.  So, for now, I'm dealing with the now.  My now is the weekend.  I had a great day.  It's been quiet and that's enough for now.  I don't want tomorrow yet.  I have dinner to do and a show to watch and maybe some reading to do.  Now.  Now is what I need.  Now is what I'll ever need.

I guess that's it for this post,
Catcha guys later,


The Muslim in me

HI everyone,  I was going through my drafts.  Posts that have been written but not edited.  Or maybe there was more to write.  I don't know.  I found this one from a few months ago.  Sad part.  Nothing in our lives have changed, so this post is just as relevant today as it was before.  On re-reading, I noticed a lot of redundancies in "The Muslim in me" paragraph.  Sorry about that.  I want to post this because it's fine as is.  It's not perfect, but for now, it'll have to do.  Happy reading.  TTR

I was supposed to post this last week with all the bombing in Turkey and Iraq and then Medina, Jeddah and some other place in Saudi Arabia.  I wanted to post about what it meant to be a Muslim.  At least what I feel it means to be a Muslim.  To give you all a time frame, that was during Ramadan.  Then was Eid and I was quite busy.  While I was processing this post, our country submerged back into deep racism and prejudice with the shooting of the black men and the whole anti-black, anti-cop rhetoric and while a part of me is relieved that as a Muslim, I get a break (from being accused of terrorism or be at the receiving end for a few days), as a human being, I'm heart broken for our world.
Funny thing is that being a Muslim makes me also feel deeply for the injustices that surround us today.  I wonder if I feel so strongly because I'm a Muslim and those are the teachings and tenants of Islam - to respect and treat equally all races and religions, or is it my natural humanity.  I don't know.  I would love to think it's my humanity, but how do I have it and some others don't.  When I'm talking about others who don't, I'm thinking of the psychotic cops or the terrorists (white or of a different race).  Being a Muslim I feel has everything to do with humanity.  Because being a Muslim means you respect humanity and treat all with utmost kindness and dignity.  I don't think the average American populous knows what it means to be Muslim.  They think of the "T" word.  When I think of a Muslim I think of the "P" word - PEACE.  An American reading this might think I'm a Muslim gone wrong, but the truth is that I'm like the billions of other Muslims who understand and strive to be better Muslims.  And what does it mean to be a Muslim?  Shun violence is part of the equation.

I have to talk about something else about Islam and being a Muslim.  This has nothing to do with political agendas.  This has to do with human behavior.  As a Muslim, I'm required to not be wasteful.  It is a sin to waste food because there are so many people in this world who do not have any and wasting food is a sign that you have disrespect for the blessings provided to you.  In America, I struggle with this.  I'm not the best of Muslims because I have wasted food before.  Sadly, so we get 3 times a meal at a restaurant and taking home left overs are not as tasty and sometimes it ends up in the trash.  If the restaurants provided just enough so we didn't have to waste the food, I would feel like a much better Muslim.  The thing is that I am consciencencoius about these things.  That's being a Muslim.

I have talked about being a Muslim before and I feel things have gone south since.  If someone with a "Muslim" name commits any crime, it's automatically labelled as terrorism.  It's an immediate label and it's one of those, "guilty until proven innocent" kinda things.

The Muslim in me shuns violence. The Muslim in me wants to accept all human beings. The Muslim in me wants to connect to a greater good.  The Muslim in me wants to be shrouded by nothing more than good deeds.  The Muslim in me wants to encourage acceptance.  The Muslim in me is angered when I'm only human and judgmental. The Muslim in me wants others to be a good person, for the Muslim in me equates being a good person with being Muslim. The Muslim in me wants you to keep your word and as it wants me to keep mine. The Muslim in me wants to peacefully surrender to my spirituality and my faith.  The Muslim in me forbids hate. The Muslim in me keeps me honest. The Muslim in me helps me grow to be better than I was yesterday. The Muslim in me wants me to disconnect from this world and give my mind and body some meditative rest in prayer.  The Muslim in me loves you and invites you to my home. The Muslim in me trusts you respect me as much as the Muslim in me respects you. The Muslim in me has no room but to respect.  The Muslim in me wants you to understand that I pray for you, even though you hurt me or want to hurt me.  The Muslim in me wishes peace and blessings for you.

The numbers of our time

I remember a time when I was young.  Young is a relative term.  I mean, when I was a child.  When cell phones were not invented and the telephone had one line for the whole family to use.  Heck, I remember dialing with the old phone where you have to put your finger in the slot and rotate for each number.  Then technology improved.  No more "dialing".  I could click the button in the order of the number and voila!  There was no such thing as autodial then.  Most of my teen years, when I fell in love with the phone, is when I used to call often.  Dial often.  The same number.  Over and over again.  Guess what happens when you dial the same number everyday, several times a day.  Yes, I was one of those teens!
Anyway, apart from trying to explain to your friend's mom why you need to call again or explain to your parents why you live on the phone, something else happens.  You memorize the number without trying to.  Funny thing.  You didn't just memorize the number, you memorized the pattern to dial that number.  What do you call that?  Muscle memory? It's like typing really but it's the muscle memory of a sequence.  How long does that last?  Well, here I am, over 30 years later setting up the new iPhone 7.  Well, the number pass code has been extended to 6 digits.  I could revert back to the 4 I had before, but 6 is good.  Better security, right?  What six digits am I going to use?
I could be prosaic and do my birthdate and have any Tom, Dick or Harry unlock my phone in an instant.  I went through all the "significant" dates of my life and thought about them in reverse as well.  I thought to myself.  No!  It's got to be a number that has no significance to my current life and one I can remember.  So, as I scan through my number deck on my mind, I come across friend's phone numbers that I had dialed when I was younger.  I still remember them.  I also remember the dialing pattern.  Funny thing.  I remember the dialing pattern more than the number on one of the numbers.  I have to visualize the number pad and go through the pattern to access the number.
Today, I'm thinking as I write this blog about all the numbers that I remember.  I know my cell number.  That's a start.  I know my parent's home telephone number.  I actually, strangely, remember the cell number of one of my cousins.  Just one!  I don't know how.  I think I know my husband's cell number.  The numbers I used to dial often in my 30s by memory, like my brother's home number or my nephew's cell in India, are no longer present in my memory banks.  How is it that my memory maintains a number from 30 years ago, but can't from one, 10 years ago?  I don't know how these things work.  They just do and I find it all fascinating.
While I was musing on the numbers of our time, I thought I would muse with you.  So, thank you for sitting with me on this journey of numbers, and I hope you all are having a fabulous day.  Talk soon,


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dear friend, Maria J!

Dear Maria J,

First off, I want to say thank you.  I mean it.  This post is dedicated to you.  I have never met you.  I didn't even know about you until yesterday, but then I got the email notification.  It said Maria J has left a new comment on your post.  My thoughts?  Which post?  What was the comment? and Who is Maria J?  The post was about the Grand Center Theatre Crawl.  I automatically assumed that you were from St. Louis.  It did start off as a St. Louis type post (haha, I re-read it).  Next, the comment:  "Ur an amazing writer...Love to read you".  For real?  Wow!  Those comments touched me deeply and blew me away.  Who wrote them?  You did, Maria J.  You did!

See, when I first started blogging, I secretly imagined I would be famous.  People would read my blogs and it would go viral.  If I had to peel the layers into my soul, I have to think that fame is nothing more than acceptance.  We all want acceptance as human beings.  Acceptance for who we are and what we do.  I guess it makes us whole.  I have read a lot of self-improvement books and have heard the concepts of self acceptance and self love.  It's all fine and dandy.  I started my blog and somewhere in there I learned to accept my reality.  I wasn't special.  I was just another person, trying to make it in this world.  My words were written.  A lot of it became directed inward.  It was for me.  I forgot about my audience.  The fame was not coming and I had to look at the mirror and decide why I was blogging?  Was it for fame?  Not completely.  Sure.  I would have been ecstatic with that happy by-product, but I silently accepted my reality.  Maybe I have even blogged about it.

Then, yesterday happened.  You commented.  That proved to me a couple of things.  1.  Someone did read my blogs.  2.  Someone likes it.  Bam!  That was it.  That was all the fame I needed.  I had made a difference and you became my hero.  You became the angel that gave me wings.  I don't know how you found my blog, but I'm grateful that you did, from all the way in Mumbai.  I looked at your profile.  That was all I could surmise.

We look up to our super stars and sports stars as our heroes, but they are not.  The true heroes are people like you, who light up someone's life from across the ocean, with a compliment.  You made a difference.  I'm so glad you took the time to connect.  I hope you find innumerable heroes scattered on your landscape, ready to help you and as you have helped me.  Thank you for making me feel super special.


Friday, September 9, 2016

More Sandals Royal Caribbean

I know that picture is a repeat from the last blog, but today I felt I got a much better picture of the view outside our room.  In a distance on the left of the picture is the private island where the Thai restaurant is.  There is a smallish beach on the island.  If you go to the far side of the island they even have a clothing optional swimming area!  Most of the island is under construction because of the over water bungalows that they are building at this resort.  Speaking of the over water bungalows, the current price for a week stay at one of those is $20K.  Sure it's an all inclusive resort, but still.  $20K?  No thank you.  Another interesting fact about those bungalows, is that they are sold out.  Yep.  Sold out 'til end of next year.  I think they are building smaller over water bungalows also, to have a total of 17 when they are done completion, but that's Sandals for you.  The picture below has the bungalows in construction.  If you'll look at the left of the private island, you can see some bungalows have roofs on them and some have half and so on and so forth, but back to this blog and the rest of the pictures.  I particularly love the shadow of the coconut tree.  Yes, it's the coconut tree who's shadow shows in the picture above.  So, you all have some reference for the skies.  Speaking of coconuts, well, I have gotten coconut water here a few times.  Just had to make friends with the gardener.  Tonight, our last night here and our first night here, is the Friday night party.  I had more coconut water, jelly and a whole plate of sugar cane.  Devroy, the gentleman who cut up the sugar cane for me said that I was the only one who had a whole plate.  The guests don't even look at it.
I think their eyes just skip over or they try it not quite knowing what to do.  Not me.  When I saw it there last week, Devroy got me a fresh plate full of sugar cane for me to go to town with.  The last time I had sugar cane and coconut at a resort was at Negril.  Hmmm.  Another reason to gravitate towards the Jamaican resorts?  More to come about my decisions to stay or not to stay with the Sandals chain.  Before I delve into that, I have to mention that we said our good byes to Devroy today and got into easy conversation about the Jamaican fruits, especially jackfruit and he said, "Maaan.  If you told me, I would have brought you some!"  Too late.  This was our last night on property and Devroy won't make it on till tomorrow evening, long after we have left.  He told us to return to this property as do all the folks at all the Sandals properties we've been to.  Sometimes I wonder if there's a secret competition between the properties for return guests.  I just wonder.
Our trip here so far has been wonderful.  When I first walked on property, my sixth time on a Sandals, I was a bit disappointed.  The resort is considerably smaller than the ones we have been used to.  The pool was a third the size of the main pool at Emerald Bay or Grande Antigua.  Our room felt cramped and the beach was exceedingly small.  We are used to the long walking beaches of Negril (7 mile stretch), Emerald Bay (a mile long) and even Antigua.
There are some properties where they lack in beach size.  St. Lucia grande for instance doesn't have the longest beach, but St. Lucia Grande's beach would be considered large compared to Royal Caribbean's.  Anyway, we started off looking around and wondering if choosing this resort was the best idea.  There were several others in the Sandals chain we could have gone with, but then we realized that we had a great deal for 8 nights as opposed to our usual 7 that we do at the resorts here.  I remember remarking to my husband that we got a great deal because the resort is smaller.  Well, that was day one, when we got here.
Day 2, we started walking around the property.  Of course, there's cozy nooks like this scattered around the resort.  The walk ways are pretty much lush and garden like.  They offer all the water sports - kayaking, paddle boarding, hobie cats.  We didn't snorkel or do the glass bottom boat tour.  We did manage to hobie cat and kayak.  Sailing a hobie cat in the high winds was tough but the Sandal's rescue boat came out and guided us step by step to help us return.  Very impressed with customer service at this resort.  When you do run into someone who works here they would ask if we were OK and if they could do something for us.
Everywhere on the property.  Anyone who worked there.  Anyone.  Customer service was right off the bat different.  I recalled our honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica.  Another resort with fabulous customer service.
The beach started calling our names when the temperature at midday rose.  I thought, small beach, but what the heck.  There's water so why not?  We took the plunge and the moment my feet hit the warm waters of the caribbean, I knew I was in the right place.  We had to go in further to get cooler waters.  The beach outside our room was mostly deserted, so while it was small, it felt private.  Most of the time, it was just us in that part of the beach.  There is a slightly longer stretch of beach, the main stretch if you will, but it's crowded most of the time, so we decided to stick to our side of the water.  The pool.  Well, we found a smaller quieter pool and through our stay even got used to the main pool.  The main pool is the picture below.  Ya.  You can tell it's not very big!!  But it works.  Met a bartender wearing a beaches uniform.  I joked with him about mixing drinks for the younger crowd.  He laughed and said he was fired from Beaches after one day.  We just made pleasant conversation as we were sitting at the bar drinking our virgin Pina Colada's and eating pizza.  Of course, Rod (I can't remember his name) our bartender was also mixing drinks for the other guests.  In the process of mixing those drinks, he just mixed up two more virgin pina colada's and put it in front of us and said, "when you are done with yours, you'll have this to keep you going!"  Did I already mention that the people here were super friendly!

Next topic.  Last night entertainment was "name that tune" and they had songs from the 60s through today.  It was fun because we had to run to sit in the hot seat if you knew the name of the song.  My first two tries at the chair, I was wrong.  Well, first time, I was fully wrong.  I said Billy Idol, instead of Billy Ocean.  Go figure.  The second time around, I got the singer, Whitney Houston, but I named the wrong song.  Third time around when I got in the hot seat, I was super excited to get both name and artist right, everyone applauded and cheered.  It was a blast.  Even Brad got into the action and ran and tried to make the hot seat a few times.  Today, some of the guests came up to me and said that they wished I had won the "name that tune" contest.  They said they were rooting for me!  How small is this resort?  Who cares?  We are having the time of our lives.
Oh, I must say we had a few bug bites our first few nights here and then we got the Club level concierge to get us some bug spray.  I think our future Sandal's packing will involve bug spray.  It's like we had to go to the concierge every time we wanted to spray ourselves down - everyday.  The bugs were not as bad as Emerald Bay though.  Quick note.  Next picture is the main beach.  It's not too large either and can get a tad crowded, even in this off season but you can see it to get a feel for the size of the beach.
I know I was going to talk about our trip to Kingston, but I must talk a bit more about Sandals.  I often wonder if we are making a mistake with staying with Sandals and what we are missing out on with the other resorts.  I just ran into a couple who have been to this same resort 15 times and other Sandals several times - total over 20 times.  They have also been to the Iberostars and the bigger resorts.  They said that the customer service is better at Sandals and they keep coming back here.  They said that Sandals as a resort respects the guests a lot and also you get to know about the workers and their lives and the culture through this resort.  I agreed with them about getting to know the people who worked there to make our stay great.  There is something about Sandals that draws us in.  For now, for us, the big hold is the free week stay.  When you hit 70 nights at a Sandals resort, you get the next stay for 7 nights fully paid for.  At 6 stays already, 2 more booked, we are only 2 more stays from a free week.  Why not?  If I were to use a week of my vacation at another resort, it would take away from making my 70 nights and I would still be paying for a vacation and essentially falling behind on the Sandals perks!
On a totally different note about my stay here, I have to talk about Pokemon Go.  They have one Poke gym here and the buggy cart at the entrance is a Poke stop.  It is not even close to maintain one's Poke addiction.  I had my Pokemon at the gym here for the first few days and then he got kicked out by a 2600CP Dragonite.  I'm not going after that.  I know when to stop.  The sad part is that I'm up to 190 coins now and if I had one more day, I would have made 200 coins and could have upgraded my bag.  Oh well.  What are you going to do?  I will say that I got a few Magikarp here.  I'm told they are common at Kirkwood park, but since I hardly go there, being here is the next best thing.
All in all, my trip so far has been fabulous.  Everytime I'm at a Sandals, I feel like I don't want to leave.
 They have an expression here.  You have to leave, so you can return.  True.  Very true.  We will God willing leave tomorrow and our return... well... it's been planned already.  I have work to do before that.  Yes.  That thing called making a living and being able to pay for vacations.  For now.  I'm going to sign off.  The last picture is the entrance to the French restaurant.  They did not have escargot, but the mussels were great.  Toasted with panko crumbs and buttered to make it delectable.  Hopefully next blog, I'll get to the our trip to Kingston.  Yes, yes, yes, I know I have several trips I need to blog about.

My trip to LA and my trip to Arizona.  I figure they were more than several months back so might as well blog while my memory serves me fresh on my current trip.  OK folks.  More to come soon.  I'm leaving this resort tomorrow.  **sniff**  **sniff**  See you all back in my usual habitat.
Best to you all,


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sandals Royal Caribbean and trip to Margaritaville

This is the view outside our room.  I know what you are thinking.  It's so hazy!  There's so much fog!  You would be wrong.  I only posted this picture to explain a couple of things about our room at this resort and my photographic prowess.  First thing about the room, is the AC.  It works.  It works a bit too well.  I'm constantly turning the temperature up and yet, when I go outside I get fog blindness from the temperature difference.  It's marked.  Regarding my photographic prowess.  I wasn't paying attention to the fog blindness and didn't really look at the picture or the lens before I shot the picture.  So, here's a picture taken on a foggy lens.
No.  I'm not quitting my day job.
The reality is that it's been bright, sunny and beautiful.  Yes, it's been warm and we need our sun block, but the waters are warm as well and it's just perfect.  I am just going over the pictures I've taken at this resort (not too many) so I will try to get more pictures tomorrow.  Perhaps, I will have a another blog with more pictures.
This is more like the actual colors your see here in Jamaica at the resort.  At least I have one good picture of this resort.  I think that speaks volumes in itself.  I used to be a photo type person.  Constantly clicking away somehow to save the memory and then I never really went back to it.  So, here I am, going back, and creating this blog while I have time and while I remember.  I am very behind on my blogging.  I apologize.  I thought that I would have time to do it here on vacation as I'm not vacation but the time I've spent on the beach and just chilling and sleeping in, eats up blogging/writing/reading time.  I'm still hopeful for finishing reading the book I'm working on "Flirting with Felicity", but we'll see.
I have one more day here and then we head home on Saturday.  One would think that 8 days of vacation is plenty to just relax.  It is but my idea of relaxation is also writing and getting caught up on the things I can't at home as life gets in the way.  So, as part of our vacation package we had a free catamaran cruise.  Well, it's basically getting on a big catamaran and sailing off for a couple of hours. This ride, however, involved a stop.  Margaritaville.  Yes, it's the branch from the original Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Key West.  I've been to the original, but it's always fun to see what Jamaica has done to make this a tourist attraction.
The classic line that "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" is of course displayed prominently.  I guess it wouldn't be Margaritaville without the sign.  We did have a virgin Mango smoothy type drink.  It was very good.  I have to admit that we don't get that drink in our resort.  Am I complaining?  Well, I can't complain for being at Sandals.  It's just that sometimes one gets used to too much and gets so spoiled that enough is not enough.

This picture below is my hubby outside the entrance to the gift shop.  There is a stage to the left of him in the picture.  I don't know what one sees there, but I'm guessing they have shows with Jimmy Buffet's music?  Don't ask me.  I didn't ask them.  I'm just posting pictures here and looking back at the questions I didn't ask.  Oh well.
OK, so I wanted to talk a bit more about this particular destination.  They have a water slide and a trampoline on the water.  Our cruise halted here for one hour.  Apparently the slides were free and so was the trampoline.  I did have my swim wear but just wasn't so interested in doing it.  I don't know.
I guess the slide didn't look as inviting and neither did the water off that pier.
Since Margaritaville is a restaurant/bar, they had tables and chairs.  As you can see in the picture on the right, the interesting part of this is the color scheme.  For those of you who know me and my expertise with color, you will know that I really have no right to comment on any color scheme, except this one seemed to be decorated like I would.  When I put colors together, I find it impossible and I come up with a messed up scheme and can't seem to fix things.  This was a mix and match of colors like I was paid to do this job.  It felt like a mess.

Each chair at a table was a different color.  I wish I was a better photographer, but you can see in the picture that one chair is blue and another is orange and I think the other one is green.

The picture on the left is the end of the slide.  I should have taken the picture of the whole slide but oh well.  Also, due to the back light, everything appears dark.  The boat off the dock was ours.  The sails were pulled in.  I don't think I have one of the catamaran with the sails and all.  The last picture of Margaritaville is also very much back lit and in shadows.  The sun and it's reflection looks beautiful but for a color picture, there is much to be desired.

So you can see the shadow of the trampoline in the distance.  The giant yellow cut out of the picture on the bottom left is the slide that turns to dump you into the water.  You can actual see the turn in the slide in the above picture with the boat.
What else can I tell you about Margaritaville and our excursion there?  Nothing about my experience but it was a great people watching site.  I saw some people being spit out of that slide and some having a fun time on the trampoline.  On the boat, some of the women were drunk off their asses.  I mean, the boat got on some rocky waters and these women were not able to hold their balance.
At one point, this woman was trying to hold her balance and keep her drink in hand.  She kept swaying back and forth and all of us were watching this potential soon to be disaster.  Well, she swayed so far almost crashing into someone, but instead she was able to transfer her drink to him before she swayed the other way to crash her bottom into her seat.  That's something I wish I had a video of.  I could never describe it as bad as it was.  My brain was like, "What the *&^?" but sometimes you just watch and blog about later.  Such is life right?
Last picture for now that I'll leave you all with is the first one, but a little less foggy version of the view outside our room.  Hopefully more to come...  One more day tomorrow.  If I pack tonight, you guys might get more blogs tomorrow.  We'll see...