7 Random Things About Me!

Who doesn’t like awards and the recognition from their peers that they are deserving of such awards?! My fellow Bloggers seem to believe I am a versatile blogger since in recent months I have been nominated a few times by various bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

How the Versatile Blogger Award works is that once nominated one has to share 7 things about yourself with your readers. Since I started my Blog in July, 2018 I have shared quite a lot about myself Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One) and Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part 2) and yet I am still concerned about oversharing BLOGGING FEARS so I am not entirely sure what else, if anything, I’d like you all to know about me but I’ll have a go at the nomination anyway.

So without further ado, here are 7 totally random bits of information about me:

1. I recently lost 18 pounds! It’s surprising to me that my 18 lb weight loss doesn’t really show that much. I think 18 lbs is a lot so I figured everyone would have noticed that I am shrinking but not really. A few people have noticed and commented but in the grand scheme of things not as many as I had hoped. In any event, I am extremely proud of myself for having the discipline to have lost some weight and I am super excited about getting to my desired weight goal. When I first started my weight loss program I told myself that I would write a blog post about it once I lost the first 20 pounds; so who knows there might be a weight loss blog post coming next week.

2. I blog about my husband and my son a lot, but there are 2 other important people in my World who are among my favorites – my mother and my brother. Both my Mom and my brother think I overshare on my blog so despite my admiration for and the fact that I would love to write about them, I am fearful of doing so because I don’t want to inadvertently trample on their privacy.

3. I sometimes feel burdened being the matriarch in the household. Why should I be responsible for what everyone eats on a daily basis? I get so annoyed at the beginning of the week when I have to meal plan or figure out what dinner is going to be for the next few days. The flip side of that, however, is I recently discovered that I actually enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes (psst; don’t tell my husband πŸ˜ƒ). Three weeks ago I made Lasagna for the first time and it was to die for. I am so excited to make it again, among trying other new dishes.

4. I am not impressed by how much money you have, the size of your house or what you do for a living. In fact, I get turned off by people who believe that such things define an individual. I am impressed by character. Are you loyal? Do you have integrity? Are you personable? Are you a pleasure to be around? Those are the things that impress me. The size of your wallet or bank account does not make a difference to me if your personality is lacking.

5. I like watching pimple popping YouTube videos. There, I said it! It’s so gross and disgusting but I inexplicably and weirdly derive some satisfaction from watching all that “stuff” ooze out of the pimple or cyst once it pops. I can’t explain why I enjoy these videos so much, I just do. I find them oddly relaxing and apparently 4,999,999 other people do too since Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper has 5 million subscribers to her YouTube channel alone, this doesn’t even include her Instagram and Facebook pages.

6. People who tell me they have no friends scare me. I am of the view that in order to have a friend you have to at least be a friend so if you don’t have even one friend then there has to be something amiss about your personality. When it comes to friends and friendships quality trumps quantity; so for someone to say they don’t have any friends, not even one, makes me wonder about them, and all I can do is raise my eyebrows and think to myself what the hell is wrong with that person that s/he doesn’t have even one friend.

7. I have a brand new niece. I haven’t met her yet but I love her. When I saw her pictures I immediately fell in love. She is only a few weeks old, and looking at her pictures makes me wish I, myself, could have a daughter. Meet Sonia Christina…..

The Art of Conversation – Part 2

Have you ever met someone and knew for sure you wouldn’t like them? The first time I came across a blog post by http://bottomlesscoffee007.com I was so sure the post was written by someone I could never like. His views didn’t align with mine at all and he was harsh in his criticism of “the other side”; and since I am here (on WordPress) for some lighthearted conversation and humor, I stopped myself from leaving a commentary with my opposing views and just moved along to someone else’s blog post.

It was only a couple of days later when BottomlessCoffee007 showed up again. This time he was in the comment section of my blog post. I rolled my eyes when I first got the notification that he had left a comment on one of my posts. What did he have to say about what I had written? As luck would have it he had left a humorous comment. I chuckled as I read it and then I replied. A few minutes later I got a notification that he was now “following” my Blog and since I am a big advocate of reciprocity I followed him back and that was how 007 and I started.

He would show up in my Inbox daily, sometimes twice or thrice with his controversial opinions, arguments, and rants. Admittedly, his pieces were thought-provoking and gave rise to discourse, even though they were views I didn’t readily share. I eventually started commenting on some of his posts and lo and behold he wasn’t miffed whenever I didn’t agree with him, which happens frequently.πŸ˜ƒ We would oftentimes go back and forth several times on just one of his post and in the end, we would always agree to disagree.

I came to admire the manner in which he wrote his pieces and invited dialogue. He addresses every issue you put forth before him and he is never obnoxious in his response to your comments even when you have opposing views. It’s surprising to me that 007 has become one of my favorites on WordPress, despite his controversy, and I am learning to embrace our differences.

007’s blog has taken on a life of its own and now he even has his very own Podcast, which has risen in popularity in only a few months. I am honored to have been the first Blogger he interviewed on his Podcast back in December. You can listen to that interview here: The Art of Conversation. We recently switched seats and he allowed me to interview him, in an effort to have his readers learn more about him. It was truly an interesting and fun conversation that lasted over an hour and forty-five minutes. If you’re interested in listening the link appears below. I promise you won’t be bored.

What 007 has taught me in this extremely divisive climate that we live in is that we don’t have to see eye to eye to get along. If we would only pause and listen, I mean really listen, to others who do not share the same perspectives and views as us we could possibly learn something; and not because we are not on similar sides of the coin it doesn’t mean we can’t have a decent conversation punctuated with a few deep down, genuine, belly laughs.

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/2019/02/05/the-voice-behind-the-keyboard-racquel-interviews-bc007-tidepodcast-episode-52/

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io (This is how I imagine 007 as a kid screaming his rants into the microphone πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ).

WordPress – The Experience!

Wait! What?! Why am I in your inbox again when I was here only 2 days ago. My readers know me as a weekly Blogger so why am I showing up again??!!

I admire those who make the time to blog daily, sometimes even several times a day, but I always thought I just don’t have the time or enough topics of interest to blog with such frequency. However, I have laid down the gauntlet and issued a personal challenge for myself. I have decided to end the year with a bang by completing 30 blog posts by December 31st, this is blog post # 24.

My first blog post was on July 14, 2018, and so far I have posted an average of once per week. Considering that I get bored with things easily I think there is something to be said about the fact that I have been able to maintain my Blog with some amount of consistency. I am rather proud of myself and I hope to continue the pace well into 2019.

WordPress has been a wonderful yet daunting place. I like to reciprocate so I read posts by other Bloggers who take the time to read my own. I follow those who follow me and I always “like” and “comment” on those posts I find fun and or interesting. All of this reciprocity does take time though and sometimes I find myself on WordPress for hours, which can be daunting when you have a ton of work to do, the type of work you get paid for, and let’s face it with only 24 hours in the day, and since I’m a girl who needs to get her beauty sleep, finding the time to search out new bloggers and read their well-written, interesting posts can be formidable when considering time constraints.

WordPress, however, has brought with it new “friends”. The anonymity on the site is real so half the people I don’t even know by their real names or what they look like, but what we do share is a desire to write and share our personal thoughts. We also like the validation of being “read” and for the most part the interaction with others, especially those who share our opinions, makes WordPress a fun place to escape to.

From the very beginning, there have been people I just clicked with and connected with, some even have differing views and opinions from mine but they are open to discussion and it is always good gaining another perspective, especially when it’s done in a non-confrontational manner.

I would never have thought when I created my Blog that I would have had this decent a connection with other WordPress users, when you think about it, I really didn’t even know what to expect. I mean there are people on here who actually look forward to my posts, that just blows my mind; and if I am late with posting I get an email inquiring about my whereabouts. Do you know how good that feels?! It’s awesome! Similarly, if a few of my “peeps” are off the grid for a couple of days, especially if they are daily bloggers I actually miss them and I wonder about them.

Recently I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting in real life someone I connected with on WordPress. Yes, this actually happened. Heather and I first connected not on her Blog or even my own, but on someone else’s in the comment section when we both shared a similar opinion that one can, in fact, write a successful Blog about one own’s life, with general stories and anecdotes without a running theme. The writer of that particular Blog didn’t agree and Heather and I bonded over the fact that we “disagreed” with Mr. KnowItAll. Soon we had subscribed to each other’s Blogs and the rest as they say is history.

Heather has become an avid reader of mine and I don’t think she has missed even one of my posts. I try to do the same but I am pretty sure I have missed a couple of hers. Heather is a beauty blogger and self-proclaimed Avon Lady. Her posts are interesting and chock full of beauty tips that actually work. Like, who knew we were using hairpins incorrectly all along.πŸ˜ƒ I have learned a lot from Heather and just last night I learned that eyelash curlers are not a thing of the past and that one can actually perm one’s eyelashes. Who knew?!

Heather and I took our communication off of WordPress only a couple of weeks after “meeting” and started doing regular email exchanges. She is funny and sweet, even though she doesn’t seem to think so. She is an excellent writer and can hold my interest even when writing about the most mundane subjects such as hairpins and what kind of rags to bring while traveling.😁

Heather is also a technical whiz and I have often called on her to assist me with WordPress technical stuff. I am a writer, not a techie, even though I am quickly learning that these days both things go hand in hand, especially around here.

Heather lives in Oregon and recently visited New York City with her husband. We planned a double date (with our spouses) months in advance of her trip and by golly we actually made it happen. We dined at the trendy Tao restaurant and it was a fun, festive evening filled with good conversation and laughter. My husband, who is the complete opposite of me, and frowns upon social media and meeting strangers therefrom actually enjoyed meeting Heather and her husband.

WordPress has turned out to be a pretty interesting place. I never really considered it a social media platform, but I guess it is. I have discovered a whole new world of adventurous, mysterious, entertaining cohorts, which, in my opinion, is so very cool.

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Heather and I.

Birthday Shenanigans

It was a stabbing pain to the left side of my forehead, my temple throbbed, as I opened my eyes and blinked and tried to focus on my husband, who was standing at the side of our bed with a tray in his hand.

“Wake up…It’s your birthday breakfast, Sweetie.” He said as he smiled and handed me the tray with the plate of bacon and eggs. “It’s your favorite.”

The left side of my head was throbbing unmercilessly. “My head hurts…Noooooo…Not today…Babe…Motrin, now, please.” I rubbed the left side of my forehead as I sat up in bed.

I couldn’t figure out why today of all days, on my birthday, I woke up with a headache. I was not amused as I looked up at the ceiling and issued a warning to the imaginary Gods of the Universe. “Today is my day and you’re not going to screw with it. I will enjoy MY day!”

Damn, I’m Determined

My husband suggested that it might be the “wine from last night” that was causing my headache. My thoughts went back to the night before; we certainly started the birthday celebrations off with a bang. Greg, my husband, took me to see the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway, which was excellent. I was singing and dancing with the rest of the audience, especially with the gay couple who sat directly in front of us and who were having the time of their lives. By the end of the night, one half of the gay couple and I found ourselves in the aisle of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater dancing up a storm to Hot Stuff and Last Dance. Oh, what a fun time it was!

After we left the show we walked the 6 blocks to Gallagher’s Steakhouse, me in my high heels strutting my stuff pretending not to feel the start of the inevitable high heel ache that comes on after a few hours of wearing stilettos. Oh, how I miss my youth! I used to be able to rock those babies all night long; but not anymore. I made a mental note to slip into my sandals as soon as we sat down in the restaurant, but for now, the birthday girl in her birthday outfit needed to keep moving along gracefully in those 5-inch heels. Yes, people, I walked 6 NYC blocks in 5-inch heels! My Mom always said, “Beauty feels no pain.” Someone should have added to that saying “until the next day.”

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The high heel wearing ache was nothing compared to the migraine that was trying to force me to spend my birthday in bed. I wasn’t having it though, I swallowed some Motrin and hopped out of bed and started getting ready for the gym. Greg thought I was crazy. I tried explaining that for the past decade I have been going to the gym on my birthday every year and I wasn’t about to break the tradition. Besides, my gym gave away a free protein shake to everyone on their birthday. I had waited 365 days for my free shake and I was going to get it.

Greg looked at me like I was insane!

“It’s my birthday, Babe. I have to go to the gym. How else am I gonna see my gym buddies so I can get my well-wishes and birthday hugs? Greg just stared at me in disbelief and walked out of the room. He was clearly fighting a losing battle trying to convince me to stay in bed until the headache subsided.

So I donned my birthday button and left for the gym. πŸ˜ƒ

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I have been wearing my button every year for longer than I can remember. It’s so much easier than telling everyone I run into that “today is my birthday.”

By the time I arrived at the gym, the Motrin was taking effect and I was feeling good.

At the start of the Aerobics Step class, the instructor had the class sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I loooooved it!!! It was a scene right out of grade school, the only thing missing were the cupcakes. I couldn’t be happier. The day was headed in the right direction.

As I walked out of the gym sipping on my free protein shake I noticed the morning clouds had cleared, the sky was a gorgeous blue and the temperature was a lovely 75 degrees. Afternoon showers had been predicted but the Universe knew it was my birthday and gave me the best day weather-wise.

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The Crash!

Greg and I had planned lunch and the movies – since going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes, what better way to spend the afternoon. (Check out my blog piece on the movies here Let’s Go to the Movies!)

As we sat having lunch at the restaurant across the street from the Cinema, I felt the migraine coming back. Truth be told I felt the headache trying to make a comeback while I was getting ready to go out to lunch, but I refused to stay indoors, I refused to take more painkillers and go back to bed. I was fighting the good fight, I wanted to be out and about on my birthday. I tried helplessly to ignore the throbbing pain on the left side of my temple. Then it happened – A cough followed by a sneeze and that’s when I knew I had no more fight left in me.

“Take me home,” I whispered to my husband.

The poor man look worried. He could not believe his ears. No, I did not want to go to the movies anymore. No, I did not want the “birthday” chocolate mousse dessert I was offered by our nice waitress. Yes, I was sure I wanted to go home. Then I sneezed again and I almost cried. I was getting sick…On my goddamn birthday!!!! What kind of cruel joke was this?

I had dinner plans that night with my best friends, another birthday tradition. I couldn’t afford to be sick. When I arrived home I got under the covers swallowed some flu medication and dozed off to Kavanaugh’s voice vehemently denying the allegations levied against him. Yes, my birthday was the most historical day of the Senate Judiciary Hearings.

Never underestimate the power of a nap! I woke up a whole new woman, got dressed and headed out to meet my girls for my birthday dinner. It was a fun evening of great conversation and loads of laugh but I dare not touch a drop of alcohol because I could feel the migraine waiting in the wings to make a nasty comeback.

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The Birthday Party

I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that I have a birthday party every year. This year the party was planned for the Saturday night, 2 days after my birthday.

The day after my birthday, that is the eve of my birthday party, I spent most of the day in bed. I was miserable. The day should have been spent delightfully running around doing last minute prepping for my party, which thankfully was a small party, a very intimate affair, this year; but instead, the flu-like symptoms came on full force and I spent the day in bed cursing at the untimely onset of my illness and trying to decide whether or not I should cancel my party.

I was sneezing and coughing and headachy for most of Friday but woke up on Saturday morning, the day of the party, feeling like I could conquer the World (thank you God for Tylenol Flu and Cold tablets). The party was on, and when Greg came home with my birthday cake the party vibe hit me even more.

I spent the better part of Saturday busying myself with party preparations, I thoroughly enjoy doing stuff like that, and was content with hanging balloons and strategically moving around stuff in my house to facilitate my guests until the endless coughing and sneezing came back just 4 hours before my party was supposed to begin. I was livid! What made it worse was every time I coughed or sneezed, the cough or sneeze triggered a ruthless headache that lasted at least 10 minutes.

I even tried to bargain with God, I promised him that if he would keep me in good spirits for the rest of the evening he could make me bed-ridden all of next week. God wasn’t having it though and at 3:30 I had to crawl back into bed even though the party was scheduled to start at 7 pm.

Again, never underestimate the power of a nap. I still wasn’t a hundred percent when I woke up but I took a look at my cake and my dress (one must draw inspiration from wherever one canπŸ˜‰), turned on some Donna Summer music while I was getting ready and willed myself to feel better; and oh yeah took some more of that magical Tylenol Cold and Flu tablets.

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In the end, the party turned out to be a success, I remained “fierce and fabulous” in true Racquel form for the entire night. However, this birthday taught me that I can’t do it like I used to, now I need to take naps in between in order to keep going. πŸ˜ƒ After all, I am a year older; but I won’t give up though, I will never settle into being old, I will never readily concede. I am never ever going down without a fight.

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One love, Racquel!!!!

Breaking the Friendship Rules

“Who is your best friend?” The question was directed at me.

“Er…ah…” I stumbled for a bit trying to answer the question, as I thought about it. “Well, I have a bunch of really good friends, I guess I have 5 best friends.”

“Five! How can anyone have five best friends?” she said incredulously. “There ought to be that one friend out of your five that you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to…Who is that?”

What’s with the deepest, darkest criteria for a friendship anyway? Can’t we just connect with people without sharing the so-called “deepest, darkest”? And can’t that connection grow and still be an “honest to God”, real, true friendship without the deepest, darkest stuff? This line of interrogation was beginning to annoy me; I felt I was being forced to choose who I like the most and the truth is these 5 chicks, yeah I said chicks, are all special to me on different levels and for different reasons. Why is it that we are always forced to pick just one?

Longevity = True Friendships

Here’s the thing – I don’t want to be confined to any friendship rules. Like the one that says you have to know someone for x period of time before you can call that person your friend. Really? Nah! I don’t think so. I have people who I have just recently met, that I consider friends. Why do you have to be the kid from Elementary School, who I use to kick rocks with, or the girl from High School, who I use to gossip with or even the friends from College, who I use to party with for you to be considered a friend? Why can’t you just be someone I recently met that I share a really cool connection with? I don’t understand the longevity criteria requirement. I don’t have to know you inside out, nor do you have to know me inside out for us to connect on an “I really dig you” level because let’s face it how much do we really know the people we call our friends?

We Have to Have A lot in Common

You and I don’t have to have to share similar interests or like to go to the same places for us to be friends, we just need to have shared values. I have a really good friend, who is nothing like me. She is incredibly quiet and shy and super intellectual and may never have been to a real party in her life. She analyses everything and never just goes with the flow. Yep, she is the total opposite of me but she is my friend. Why? Because we have these really deep, interesting conversations. She admires me, as much as I admire her despite our differences; and in the short time since we met, we have learned so much from each other. That might be part of the reason we get along so well, because of our differences, we each bring something unfamiliar and new into the friendship. I am forever amazed by the way this girl mind works. We aren’t kindred spirits but there is still a connection.

Perfection

I’m still waiting on one of my 5 to return my phone call from two days ago. This friend is moody as hell, if she’s not in the mood to talk, which is often, she will not pick up her phone, doesn’t matter who is calling. She responds to text messages and calls back when she feels like it, or she may respond to your phone call with a text. (I have a rule that a phone call should be returned with a phone call and not a text, but this friend doesn’t care about my rules.) Yet, she is still one of my go-to 5, because I know if I really need her she is there. I might have to text her 911, but she’ll be thereπŸ˜€. She and I have history, she is fun, she is smart and I like her I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude, because you know I have a bit of that I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude myself. Our friends don’t have to be perfect for our friendships to be real nor do they have to conform to our idiosyncratic rules. My friends sometimes annoy me and I am 100% sure I annoy them. Friendships are not all rainbows and butterflies, sometimes your friends will behave less than perfect and as long as a weird situation doesn’t develop that leaves you wondering if that person is actually your true friend then their imperfections are perfectly okay.

Age Differences

Who says we can’t be friends if we weren’t born in the same decade? There is this notion that a real connection can’t be made if the person is not within your age group. False!

Last Summer, my son, who was then 13 years old announced that his new best friend was his summer employer, who is 20 years his senior. He really liked hanging out with her and looked forward to going to his Summer job every day simply because to his surprise “she is a geek” like him. He was intrigued by the fact that an adult could be into LEGO, video-games and Science experiments like he was. He had made a connection, a real one.

Similarly, one of my go-to 5 is 12 years my junior. It’s a real relaxed friendship, she is one of my favorite people, but she does have an old soul and I am young at heart so we get to meet somewhere in the middle as our friendship blossomed over the years and it couldn’t be more authentic.

Distance and Time

Distance and time have been known to create a void in many friendships, so much so that people believe the misconception that they are no longer “real friends” with someone they don’t talk to on a daily / weekly basis. That is another rule I don’t subscribe to. Not because our connections are few and far between doesn’t mean that our bond isn’t as tight as when we were hanging on a regular basis.

Thankfully, social media has made the World a much smaller place and has facilitated greater, sometimes even meaningful connections. However, we all have that one friend who is just not into social media. Conversations with that friend only take place once or twice a year on your respective birthdays; you’re not in on the day-to-day happenings of your friend’s life and vice versa but believe me when I tell you it doesn’t make the friendship any less than it used to be. Gone are the days when you both use to sit in your dorm room and watch “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” and have lengthy discussions about each show afterward. Those were really great times sprinkled with laugh out loud memories but when you both get the opportunity to connect you realize that what you built years ago still has a solid foundation and that bond is irreplaceable.

There are too many rules and guidelines surrounding the definition of a true friend and what friendships really means. It’s unfortunate that society has created a kind of hierarchy, if you will, of friends in an effort to get people to rank their relationships with each other, but the reality is that when you meet a friend you know, whether or not you’ve spent years or days getting to know them, instinctively you’ll know when you’ve made a worthwhile connection.