Saturday, March 2, 2019

Happy Independence Day, Texas!

I have been in love with Texas for as long as I can remember.
Whether it was visiting family or driving through on our way to somewhere else, I ALWAYS envisioned myself living here.

Five and a half years ago while living in the Washington DC metro area, I got up one morning, threw some clothes in the front seat of my car, loaded up my black lab Sally, slipped in a Merle Haggard CD and ran off to Texas.

( Hensley photo credit)

When I crossed that State Line I cried.
Home at last.
Happy Independence Day, Texas.
The love affair continues.....

Friday, February 1, 2019

Today is a VERY special day....

Husband: Where are YOU goin' all dressed up?

Me: To work

Husband: Did you get a job at Medievel Times?
(Good thing he's cute!)

Me: NO!! But today IS a very special day!

Husband: Why is today so special?

Me:  EVERY day is special.....

I woke up! 
I'm healthy!

 You are 
 if you wait for a special occasion to 

use the china
use the silver
wear the sparkly shoes, earrings, dress

EVERY single day you are breathing is 

Now get out there and have a great one!

Til next time....

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Wear the freakin' tutu

My wish.....

one of you is to 
live your life with absolute 
WILD abandon
 - free of what anyone thinks.

when you truly STOP caring about what anyone thinks of you,
you have reached a DANGEROUSLY 
level of 

What are you not doing, seeing, going and BEING because you're so afraid of what people might think?

Palliative Care worker Bronnie Ware did a years long study on patients on their death bed. 100% of them said their main regret in life was that they wish they'd lived their life the way THEY wanted to - not the way society expected them to.

So, what are you waitin' for?
Well, here I am and I'm giving each of you permission to:

write that book
buy that dress
pursue your dreams 
or to
 WEAR the freakin' tutu!

You're beautiful, talented and wonderfully unique!

til next time...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Whew - 
after my last escapade 
(see below) 
I am more than ready to move on!

So, without further adieu -

Drum roll, please....

Ms Senior Texas United States

It's been quite a while since I've done pageants and held a 
state title. 
23 years (and more pounds than that) to be exact -

As you can see, quite a bit has changed since I was Mrs. Missouri 1996.

Number one - I no longer have 'pageant hair'!

Which begs the question - 

How in the HECK am I going to fit a crown on top of this spiky mess?

Stay tuned!

Til next time -

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The J. Crew Adventure

This year my plan to take on a big adventure took a back seat to the publication of both my novels.  Real Estate also kept me hopping, so there was very little time for adventure until....

I decided to apply for a seasonal job at one of my very favorite stores...

J. Crew

The job was only supposed to last from the first of November until January 2nd, which was perfect for my schedule.

Not only was this a bucket list adventure, I was also very excited about the discount (60% for 6 items per month, then 40% thereafter) and knew that it would work great with my Fashion Instagram and Facebook. 
(When I first moved to Texas I worked at a popular boutique and I always did a flatlay of a new outfit each day and would post on social media) 
However, I quickly found out my very first day there would be no time for such things. 

As soon as I arrived I was put on the floor - no training, no pep talk, no nothing - which was no problem for me as I've worked retail before and knew practically everything there was to know about the merchandise since I owned most of it.  
Had I not had the experience, though, it would have been very awkward.  

Before you start thinking "It's only retail, how hard can it be?", let me assure you that this place is VERY corporate.
And extremely fast-paced.  
There was never a slow time let a lone a 'down' time. The store was always packed. 
Even though the managers were very good to keep us fully staffed we all still ended up waiting on 3-4 customers at once. 

Because of that I was always running to the stockroom to find an item, climbing up/down ladders, carrying merchandise back to the fitting room then back to the floor and constantly cleaning up after people. Talk about great exercise - (I  was so sore I jokingly accused the scheduling manager of trying to kill me) - I went down a whole size!!

Needless to say there was never time to pick an outfit to showcase on my blog/Instagram, and honestly, I don't think it would have been looked highly on to begin with. 
I was there to sell and ONLY sell (which I loved, by the way).
As I said earlier - very corporate.
They did not expect nor did they want anything 'creative' from their employees.
Everything by the book.

Day 3 I was called in by the manager who so graciously offer me the 'holiday managers' position. 
At first I said yes, but after the second day I declined. 
 While they promised to take 2 weeks to train me, no one ever took the initiative. No training videos. No one standing beside me to go through things step by step. 
And of course every time a customer came to the check-out with some dilemma there was never a manager to be seen.
It was a recipe for disaster.
No, thank you.

So back to the sales floor I (happily) went. 

For the most part customers were so nice and I loved interacting with everyone. 

A few really stood out for me - 
One woman I'd guess to be in her 70's and 80's - a very beautiful redhead - was trying on a beautiful shiny gold jacket and matching boots. 
I kid you not, she looked DIVINE. 
The gold was perfect with her hair and complexion. 
She ROCKED those boots. 
Just as suddenly as her enthusiasm had blossomed it just as quickly waned and her smile faded.
"I have nowhere to wear this," she said quietly as she handed both back to me.
"You have EVERYWHERE to wear it," I replied. "You came here."
I could see the wheels whirring in her mind.
"You go the grocery store. You run errands. Honey - you get out of bed and go the kitchen, don't you? DON'T let that be an excuse for NOT looking and feeling fabulous."
She wasn't budging.
"Look," I said, backing off a bit. "I don't work on commission. I'm just wanting  you to have something that makes you feel great, and I never accept the excuse from women that they don't have anyplace special to wear something. Every day and every place is special. So, I'll put them back until the end of the day and give you a chance to think about it."
The next morning I checked the 'hold' closet and the coat and boots were in the exact same place I'd left them.
How sad.

A few days later another woman - a young woman (and her 5 friends) comes in and walks straight to these mules on display:
Her eyes lit up like the 4th of July and she kicked her shoes off at lightning speed to try them on. 

"I LOVE these," she exclaimed, admiring her feet.
"NO!" boomed two of her friends in unison. "Get them off NOW!"
Her whole countenance deflated.
"But they're beautiful. I noticed them online and they're even prettier in person."
"Sure they're beautiful," sneered the other friend -"for my GRANDMOTHER."
After more chastising from the girls she removed the shoes and placed them neatly back on the display and walked away.
As one of the girls was paying for her purchases she came back and gazed longingly at the shoes.
"Honey, if you love them get them - don't let anyone dictate to you what you can or cannot wear.'
Just as she was asking me to get her size the friends walked by again and belted out 
"GRANDMA shoes."
It broke my heart to watch her whole demeanor slump at their commanding words.
"Never mind," she said quietly, trailing behind them.
 I'm guessing these shoes were not the first time - and wouldn't be the last time she gave in to peer pressure.

Moving right along....
Let's talk about my co-workers.
I freaking LOVED them!!
Every single one of those people were a joy to be around.
They made work fun and I couldn't wait to see them every day.
There was never a problem except for the time I caught one of the men working the fitting room.
Without thinking and probably letting my age speak I gasped, "You can't be in here! It's inappropriate!"
The manager set me straight real quick and I never brought it up again - not even when women complained that it was 'weird' or 'creepy'  and not even when one of my twenty-something young co-workers expressed her concern with it.  
Not even when the young man himself confided in me that he was very uncomfortable with it.

All in all I loved the experience and I was even hoping that maybe I could stay on for a few days a week after the holiday.

But alas that hope abruptly ended when THIS happened:

A few days before Christmas Eve a young man and woman (mid-20's) entered the store wearing matching shirts. I don't exactly remember what the shirts said other than a line that read
'young couples retreat' - that's kinda important for you to know, so keep that in the back of your mind.

Anyway, they asked me a question about what all was on sale and after answering them I noticed the young man was carrying about 5 heavy bags.
Upon noticing said heavy bags I offered him something that I'd offered at least a hundred other people that ever graced our threshold.

"Sir, you are more than welcome to put your bags down, have a seat on the couch and just relax. A lot of husbands and boyfriends do that, and you're welcome to do the same."

A few minutes later he marched up to me and asked to speak to the manager.

Before I could walk away to get the manager he got very close to me and leaned down close to my face-

"I want to talk to the manager about you! YOU tried to assign me a gender role. How dare you!"

 I'm frantically thinking 'gender role, gender role. What the heck is that?'

"You think JUST because I'm a man that I want to - or I SHOULD sit here on this couch. Well, WHAT if I wanted to shop??"

Then it hit me what he meant and I gathered my senses.

"Sir, I am so sorry. Of course you are most welcome to shop. We welcome anyone who wants to shop in our store."

"I want to talk to the manger NOW."

I try to sidestep around him to fulfill his request 
(at this point I want the manager) but he won't let me pass.

"And how DARE you assume that just because I'm the man that I'm a husband or boyfriend. You should never try to assign someone a gender role! Get me the manager NOW!"

Believe me - I was trying like crazy to get the manager, and still he stepped back in front of me, face red with anger and cheeks shaking as he continued to berate me 'for assigning him a gender role'.

By the way, have I have mentioned that I have PTSD? 
I'm very high-functioning and not much fazes me.  
 I pretty much have it under control - unless I feel threatened, as probably a lot of people might if a big, muscular guy was mad as Hades and blocking your way.

(His behavior also scared the young lady that was working with me that evening.)

"Just let me get the manager. I think you're a snowflake, but I'll get the manager."

Of course after talking to my manager she walks up and asks if I called him a snowflake and of course I admitted that I had.

I walk up to him, extend my hand and apologize.
"Look, I'm sorry I called you a 'snowflake'. I shouldn't have done that. Are we cool?"

He accepts my handshake and goes,


My manager nudges me.

"I am not going to apologize for being hospitable. I'm just not. This whole 'trying to assign a gender role' is a political movement and I refuse to give in to it."

I walked away as he angrily had words with my manager.

Everything was fine the next few days but I knew it wasn't over.
Sure enough, the on-duty manager and my main manager called me in to the office at the end of my shift.

They were both angry at me that I had refused to apologize to this young man. 

In all honesty I don't think either one of them had a clue as to what really transpired. 
 This man was making a political statement and I refused to play along. Should I have called him a 'snowflake?' 
Of course not -even though that's the term for the way he was behaving.

But I digress.
The manager wanted me to sign a document in which I refused, not even giving her a  chance to explain exactly what exactly the document was.
I'm guessing it was something to admit my 'guilt', or to say that I had been 'reprimanded', - something about the incident to put in my HR file. 

Reminding myself that they have know clue that I'm a writer, and that my husband is a political insider, I start 
picturing all kinds of ways this could go badly in a very, very public way I say,

"I think it's best that I just end my time here today."

One manager almost cries and tries to talk me out of it.
The main manager says matter of factly,
"If you can't take constructive criticism then that's probably best."

Honey, I've taken constructive criticism from people that have graced the cover of Time magazine...
is what I'm saying on the inside.

But of course on the outside I simply say,
"Thank you so much for taking a chance on me. I've had a really great time and I appreciate everything."

And just like that, this adventure comes to an abrupt end. 
Not exactly the way I planned it, but an end nonetheless.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed my time and I'd do it all over again given the chance.

In summary, the people were wonderful, I loved moving around - it was exercise without hanging out at a gym and the best part was it was a paid adventure -
not to mention the discount.

So...I would rate this experience a B Minus.

Now, off to plan my adventure for 2019!
Stay tuned.