Thursday, April 29, 2004

Whose life is this anyway?

Well, I survived the hike.  Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  That was the greatest time of my day - my seven hour day!  I can hardly sit up.  I may take a shower and just go to bed.  I'm sure I won't be able to sleep but I do need to chill.  I've been gone since 8:30 this morning.

Suddenly, my part-time job has taken a full-time swing!  Some of the work is temporary.  But much of it is ongoing.  And I got another new daily client today.  Plus a once-in-a-while client wants me two days a week ongoing.  This is insane.  And I still say, keep it coming!  I'm laughing like a giddy child.  I feel like I've hit the lottery.  The work is so rewarding - on many levels.

I imagine a month of being on my feet and in my car for seven or eight hours a day might wear on me.  But today, I don't even care that my legs are throbbing.  I know I'm building strength.  This is the most important time for me to be taking care of myself.  So I'm eating well, drinking lots of water and getting as much rest as my body will allow.

I feel as though something has clicked.  As if all parts of me are aligned and working together - mind, body and spirit.  I couldn't be more grateful or more humbled as I am in this moment.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Busy Girl

I keep trying to write but I'm so tired from all this work.  As I type that, I have a big smile across my tired face.  So I'm not complaining.  I'm just dropping in to say business is booming and I need to run with it while it's here.  Let it keep rolling in.

One good thing about my work - It should whip me into great physical shape in no time.  Tomorrow I have an hour hike, two individual 30-minute walks and a dogpark run.  I also have a meeting with another potential new client.

Oh yeah...bring it on while I have the energy!  I'm getting caught up [financially] and feeling great.  I'll tell you all about it after I've gotten some rest.

Hope you're all well.  If there's something of great importance happening and you want to fill me in, feel free to send me a link.  I'm more apt to read a quick email than go through my overwhelming bloglines list.  Every one of my faves has updated at least twice since I last visited.  So, I'm way behind.  Keep me posted.

Peace All ~ Goodnight.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Monday

I am completely distracted.  With all this new work, my days have suddenly become much longer.  I'm not complaining.  It's very exciting.  Bring on the work!

It was over 90 degrees here today - on the westside [beach side] - that means it must've been about a hundred in the valleys.  And I don't even want to think about the deserts.  If this is an indication of what kind of summer we're going to have, I'm in for it!  I couldn't possibly have worn any less amount of clothing today - and still I was dripping.  Everyone was moving slow - including the dogs.

Because of the blazing heat, I decided to leave Hunny at home.  In addition to the dogpark run, I had two separate individual walks and it would have been too hot to leave her in the car.  So she had her own private walk with her mama this morning.  It was tough leaving her, but once I got in the car, I realized I'd made the best decision.  So she spent the day with our roommate.  He even took her for a nice walk later in the day.

When I got to the yoga studio [to work] it was about as hot as inside my car.  But way more peaceful.  I had gone to Trader Joe's to pick up a salad for lunch.  I've really been focusing on eating healthier. Trying to keep things exciting, I picked out a salad I'd never eaten before.  After a few small bites it was clear this wasn't the salad for me.  It was too spicy and bitter.  And because of that, I began to read the ingredients.  I should know by now to do that before I put something in my mouth.

Wouldn't you know it: sulfites Now, I don't know if sulfa, sulfates or sulfites are related, but anything that sounds remotely like those three words makes my throat begin to close up.

Unlike last time, I knew there was no need to panic: I only had those tiny bites. I was a block away from the nearest hospital.  And my hair looked smashing.  I began to swig my orange water [relative of the yellow water], hoping that would flush the sulfites through my system.

Students began to arrive for class and I hardly noticed my own labored breathing and coughing.  I'm just now remembering it.  Amazing what a little distraction will do.

It's almost 11pm and still very warm. Reminiscent of an east coast summer night [minus the mosquitoes].  I have my big box fan on high.  It's about as loud as a plane.  I love it.  If Sharper Image would make a Sound Soother with "fan" as a selection, I'd be all over it!  I keep my fan on all night [even in winter] just for the noise.  It's all I need to fall asleep.

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be a repeat of today.  I'm not looking forward to it.  But I'm prepared.  I just have to get in the habit of remembering my hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!  With two cases of bottled water in my trunk, I should be set for a couple of weeks.


In other Freeepeace news:  While the black widow still sits lifeless in a sacred space, a new spider has made himself known to me.  He's living in the top corner of my closet.  I can't get close enough to identify his markings.  But he's stunning.

Sidenote: 
It's been nine days since I've had a cookie or chocolate!


UPDATE:  Mr. Spider is no longer in the top corner of my closet.  Somehow he made his way into my bathroom.  He seemed a little new to the spider-world.  Having trouble gripping the wall, swinging and falling, frantically starting over.  With no apparent goal or direction.  Like a hyper-active child, or me on a bad day.  He was a little too active for my comfort level [seeing as I couldn't identify him as being non-poisonous].  So I set him free, to live life on the outside.  Now hopefully we'll all sleep better tonight.  That is, if he was indeed the same spider...

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Weekend Recap

I've had an eventful weekend.  I love that - when I don't make plans, but things just happen spontaneously.  Saturday flew by and I didn't get half the stuff done that I needed to do.  But I did a lot that I wanted to do!   I somehow managed to get three [out of seven] loads of laundry done by noon.  For me, that's something!

I went to the beach for a couple of hours to find surfers, swimmers, vacationers and sand castle makers everywhere.  The water was freezing cold.  I certainly didn't attempt to go in.  But that didn't stop the 10-year-old fishboy I brought with me!  Eventually even he found it to be too cold so we joined the efforts of the sand castle crowds.  I took a few surfer pics but there's no telling when they'll get developed for posting.

After that, I took a hard yoga class.  ::flexing my sore muscles::  I really enjoyed the new instructor at Goda Yoga.  She gave great detailed instruction and came from the heart, reminded us to smile and have fun while I was dripping and sliding on my sticky-mat from my own sweat.  Strong vinyasa flow class.  I was very happy.  I'm a little slow-moving today but still, happy nonetheless.

After yoga I joined Cheryl and Jen for an impromptu bonfire and salad in Cheryl's yard.  Most of my time was spent shooing Hunny from the litterbox but it was nice to be with them.  It wasn't till this morning that I felt the effects of the smoke from the fire.  My throat is a little dry and sore.  And my voice is pretty raspy.  That's another reason I'm a little slow-moving today.

It's a beautiful day again today.  I got a call from another potential doggie-client.  I'll be meeting with her in just a little bit to possibly start walking her dog tomorrow on a weekly basis.  ::fingers crossed::

Power of positive thought.  If I have things my way, this little baby will be coming home with me within the next month.  But first, shoes!

Hunny and I walked to one of my favorite juice/smoothie stands.  I always get the same juice - The Carrot Patch [carrot, banana and non-fat yogurt with vita-boost].  I love that it's a mix of veggie and fruit - full of vitamins and potassium.  I drank it way too fast so I'm feeling a tiny bit sluggish.  But...yum!

Sunday evening already. Lots to do. Lots to catch up on.  I am way behind in journals.  Even my own!  But that's just the way it is.  Thanks to all who have visited and left links in the last couple of weeks.  I'm slow getting to you but I will get there!

I asked fishboy if he noticed I got my hair cut.  His response, "Oh, no. I just thought it was messy."

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Second Favorites

Weekend Assignment #2 - Second favorites.

Here's my list of First Runner Ups...

MOVIE - This is the toughest one.  Let's say A League Of Their Own. I wanted to be a pro baseball player - but I wasn't allowed to play with the boys in high school.  This movie was my dream.

BOOK - I'm not much of a book reader but I'd have to say, Many Lives, Many Masters. It's the first book I read that spoke to the truth of my soul.

ALBUM - Fortune Cookies - by Alana Davis.  Go back to the first few months of my journal and you'll see she was pretty much all I could listen to.  I still have her on heavy rotation.

SCHOOL TEACHER - Mrs. Carey. She was my English teacher and our class advisor in high school. She and I shared the same interests [music, theater].  She graduated from that high school too.  And as far as I know, she's still teaching there.

ICE CREAM FLAVOR - Cookies-n-cream!  Need I explain?

SPORTS TEAM - L.A. Dodgers, for the sole reason that I now live in L.A.  [just like my fave will always be my previous-home team]

Let it be known that my second favorite sport is Skateboarding [any X-treme sport!]

COMFORT FOOD - chocolate chip cookies! [we all know which one is first]

CELEBRITY CRUSH - Angelina Jolie. Yes, a woman. And yes, she's first runner up.

CARTOON CHARACTER - I'm not big on cartoons but from my childhood - Foghorn Leghorn. I say, I say boy...

WAY TO RELAX - Hot bath with essential oils and lots of salt.  [It's been too long!]

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

True Inspiration


This is Cheryl.  Yes, the Cheryl.  My my best friend Cheryl.

I remember when Cheryl first started doing yoga on a daily basis.  She's always been super-flexible but strengthening her core was her challenge.  I took my first class alongside her, with her favorite instructor.  It was her style to wear baggy sweatpants in class.

When her favorite instructor retired from teaching yoga [sad day for many], we ventured out to other studios.  And she just couldn't find that same quality of heart and spirit that brought her that love of yoga to begin with.

Finally, she came upon Ana Forrest.  Cheryl could tell you about her better than me because she took her teacher's training with Ana.  I couldn't keep up.  Ana gets to the heart of the issue and the meat of the tissue.  From my perspective, Cheryl's training with Ana Forrest changed her life dramatically.  Out went the sweatpants and in came the bikinis!

Cheryl already had a full psychotherapy private practice.  But of course, that wasn't enough for this over-achiever.  I remember her tossing around the idea of opening a yoga studio.  She and our friend Corine collaborated and, seemingly overnight - but through a lot of hard work - they are now co-owners of GODA Yoga in Culver City, CA. 

It's hard to believe they're in their third year already.  And I'm not kidding when I say it's the best studio in town.  A peaceful sanctuary in the middle of the city.  There's a boutique with clothing, candles, books, yoga mats, bags, cards, CDs and more. In the asana room, Corine painted the mural you see in these pictures.  Everybody who walks in - students, shoppers, solicitors - all say the same thing, "It feels so nice in here."  I know I feel that way, but I just thought it was because I love them and work there.

Today, Cheryl still has her psychotherapy practice.  She teaches yoga at least six times a week [sometimes more].  She has private yoga students.  And currently she's working on her second screenplay with a writing partner.  She still finds time to cultivate all the relationships she's had since junior high.  And she's very close with her family.

Cheryl taught me everything I know about self-love, compassion and tolerance.  Now if she can spread some of that goal-driven energy my way, we'd all be set!  She's my greatest reflection [whether I like it or not].

And I have to mention, this is the body of a 41-year-old.  If this is what I have to look forward to, I say bring it on!


photo taken by Freeepeace. edited by SloMo.

Keeping it Real

I have quite a few things to say but this one is most important.

Of all the journals I read on a daily basis, Musenla is at the top of my list.  She has provided me with more than just the truth in any situation - a reminder that there are three sides to every story: mine, yours and theirs.  Each side is just as valid as the other.  She is informative on all levels.  The real news, without the hype of sweeps week!

Musenla has a writing style that always leaves me in awe.  We should all wish we could write like her.  No one creates reviews - movies, art, news, restaurants or otherwise - like Musenla.  Whenever there's a controversial issue in the news that I just can't keep up with, she finds a way to put it in terms that I can understand.  She helps empower me, us, this community.

She welcomes all shapes and sizes of opinions and offers a chance for us to see we have the opportunity and power to bring balance to our world.

I found her journal when she was the number one editor's pick - the first time - last fall, and I haven't left since [well, except to walk dogs and stuff].  She's bright, brilliant, beautiful - and a great friend with an enormous heart.

If you haven't been there before, stop whatever you are doing and go there (link below).  She deserves your readership.  Make your own informed decision - be sure to leave her a comment [she will respond].   If you know her and you haven't been there in a while, I encourage you to go now and see what all this hype is about.  If she's already your daily read, then I don't have to tell you how invaluable she is to this community!

MUSENLA - Always in my Top 5.

* * * * *
Update:
  After you leave Musenla your comment, be sure to come back and GO HERE to see what AOL-J Pal Wessolo has to say.  Another brilliant entry by another brilliant writer in our community.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Photo Friday Challenge

Photo Friday ChallengeSelf Portrait.
It's not quite the picture I wanted to post.  But it's me.

No digital camera [yet].  I know when I finally get one I'll wonder how I ever did without it.  But rest assured, when I do get one, there will be more photos with each entry. [notice I said when].  I can hardly wait to get my hands on the world through a digi-lens!

I've been a blogging machine.  Between Journey to Peace, my personal journaling, commenting on comments and reading/commenting on other journals, I barely have time to do things I need to get done.  But somehow, everything is getting done.

I once heard the more you have to do, the more you get done.  And I didn't really learn that first-hand till the one day when my schedule lightened up.  I had little on my list and none of it got accomplished.  But I'll tell you, when I worked on a movie lot for ten hours a day, had meetings almost every night after work and had social plans on weekends, I was still able to cook for myself [vegan meals even] and get all my personal work done with plenty of time to spare.  That's not even mentioning the hours I spent writing.

So, I guess it's safe to say, if anyone needs something done, give me the task today, because I've got a lot on my plate!

More journaling to come...

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Goddesses of AOL-J

We all have our favorite blogs and journals that we visit every week.  And there are some we consistently visit every day.  Over the past few weeks, in addition to my top faves, I've found myself visiting a different slew of journals on a regular basis.  Though their journals are not new to AOL-J, some are new to me.  Others are renewed with me.  And I don't know how I ever lost track to begin with. [gotta talk to my doctor about that].

The following are just a few of my new obsessions.  I strongly recommend you add these to the top of your daily reads!  You're missing out otherwise.



Lotus Martinis
I can't remember how I found her [Andrea perhaps?] but I am in awe of her creativity.  She's a writer and an artist.  She creates these cute comics of herself and the people in her life, to go along with her wonderfully witty stories.  Like an adult's children's book. She's a cross between the comic strip Kathy [but way better] and the TV character Maude [but way cuter].  Fun, dry, witty, likable, easy to read [for people like me].  I can't get enough of her.



The Peach Pages
By now everyone must know Peachy.  She's a star in her own right. And she was a recent Editor's pick [#1 baby].  But still, I feel compelled to praise her here.  She's a mom. A wife. A mentor. A superhero. A child advocate. A speaker of truth.  And she's some kind of funny. She takes no prisoners when it comes to scorpions.  She'll turn on her southern charm in a jam. And according to an Arizona Little League crowd, she looks hot in a pair of low cut jeans.  The Peach Pages always get me laughing, crying, cheering and wanting more.  She's an excellent storyteller.  And just a wonderful person.



Single Woman's Guide to the Universe
I "discovered" Nutty-Nikki way back when the Editor's Picks were daily andshe made the top 5 - that was the first time.  Somehow I drifted from her Journal.  She resurfaced in my AOL-J life in the last few weeks and I couldn't be happier. Last week she made the Weekly Top 5.  [that's twice!]  Anything we need to know about dating in any city; anything men want to know about how not to woo a woman in any town; This is the place to be!  There's a sweetness and vulnerability to her writing.  And her humor is right on the money.  There's also something intriguing about a person who has never revealed her real name or what part of the country she lives in [if in fact, she lives in this country at all]. Yet she's able to write about real life stories.  Inspiring!

The list doesn't stop here... we're just beginning!  Now go, praise these Goddesses!

Hunny's Weekend Assignment

Carly's cat, Elvis put a little bug in my dog, Hunny's ear this morning.  And it's not a flea [thanks to her recent grooming and flea control].  It seems I've been taking most of the credit for our life over here - and Hunny wants in!

Here are Hunny's 25 Things for this Weekend's Assignment.

1.   I was pregnant when my mom adopted me. But she didn't know it. Neither did the vet when I went to get spayed. They aborted my puppies without consulting my mama. I've searched for them ever since.

2.   I raised my baby kitty brother, Pepper, from when he was 10 weeks old.

3.   I love un-neutered big boy doggies - and they love me!

4.   When I was a puppy I'm proud to say I destroyed two couches, every pillow we owned, CD jewel cases, books, boxes, mama's baby pictures and handmade gifts by chewing them to bits.  And I only weigh 24 lbs. Hear me roar.

5.   Of all mama's songs, my favorite is Walls of Pain.  My least favorite is Obsession.

6.   I understand English better than any dog I know.  I secretly know how to speak it too, but don't tell anyone.  It's fun watching everyone try to guess what I need.

7.   I was adopted from the pound so we don't know when I was born.  We say my birthday is January 5, 1995.  I'm nine years old.  But I still look like a puppy. Ha! Eat your heart out kids.

8.   I may appear to be precious, sweet and feminine, but don't let that fool you. I can run like a mighty dog and take down the big boys!  If you're a stranger, never turn away from me.  If you're a puppy, stay clear if you know what's good for you.  I'm the boss of you!

9.   Cuddling is to be done on my time, at my pace, when I'm available...usually first thing in the morning, when I'm half-asleep and not thinking. Even then, do not put your arm around me. You want me near? Leave me alone.

10.  My favorite thing to do is to fake-pee so I can hear mama say "find it" in all different tones.

11.  I can dance, sing and pur.

12.  I love my cousins, Opie and Roshi so much I'll give up my bones for them.

13.  I'm always up for a challenge.  I could've taken that rattlesnake with one paw tied behind my back.

14.  I'm on a high-fiber diet because of my colitis.  On a walk is where I get my revenge.  God help her if she forgot the baggies.

15.  OK, honestly, I have mixed emotions about mama's dogwalking.  I get lots of exercise, sun, dirt, water and play time - but I have to share her with others.  She often forgets that I'm top dog.  But I don't let them forget. No way!

16.  I was a stand-in for a brand-name dog food photo shoot.  And frankly, I was cuter and funner to photograph.

17.  I traveled on a plane, all by myself and I hated every moment of it. But I was so good in the crate, the airline people gave me lots of loving.  Still, cargo travel sucks!

18.  I've moved 10 times in the last 8 years.

19.  I'm an excellent watch dog. Don't mess with me.

20.  I remember when I didn't trust anyone.  Sorry about nipping the heals of that passerby.  Oh and sorry about that one guy's jeans - but we all know he deserved it.

21.  People stop us all the time and try to put their hands all over me. Mama's good - she tells them how I like to be introduced.  Geez you guys, I don't ruffle your hair when we meet!  And I certainly don't smack you on the ass!  Most of you are idiots anyway. Tailless freaks. I mean, how do you read each other without a tail?

22.  In my next life, I'm going to be human. [Don't try to sway me. It's already been arranged.]

23.  I traveled cross country in a car with a cat, a kid and two tired adults. [and they had the nerve to blame the smell on me!]

24.  I hate men in uniform.  Except for the brown ones.  They give me treats.  I'll chase a big brown truck down the street anytime... that is, if I weren't constantly on this damn leash!

25.  I'm the best daughter in the world - and the smartest.  I'm also a great mama, sister, niece, cousin and friend. I rock!  I'm the real superstar around here.  I'm ready for my close-up now.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Weekend Assignment #1

I spent days and hours writing the AOL-J Rocks entry.  I was concerned that I missed some significant people and began listing every single person I wanted to thank.  But that became even more tedious. 

There is one very significant person I neglected to mention John Scalzi, AOL-J-Guy And it didn't go unnoticed.  John was the first person to tell me how to post a simple link, how to add images and even how to resize them.  He's been quick to answer questions and jumps on posting AOL-J Community news-bits.  But he's also been very clear about being a separate entity from the community.  Last fall, he graciously declined an AOL-J Award of Excellence nomination [voted by his peers].  He reads us, writes about us, but doesn't comment in our journals.  He rotates his Other Journals list.

John works for AOL, so he must remain impartial.  I respect that.  At the same time, he deserves recognition for all he's contributed to this community.  Without him, we'd all have been lost at one time.  The other thing is, I genuinely like him and really enjoy his journal.  He's a published writer.  He's a musician.  He's a dad and a husband.  He's a good guy.

With that, I'm participating in his very first Weekend Assignment.

Your Weekend Assignment #1: Share 25 totally random facts about yourself. Include at least one you've never shared before with anyone.

1.   I read John Scalzi's journal daily - sometimes twice a day!

 2.   I'm predominantly left-handed but I was taught to play guitar and most sports right-handed.

 3.   I can throw a frisbee with both hands - either way, I suck.

 4.   I was a Little League All-Star in 6th Grade.

 5.   In 4th grade, my mom banned me from ever playing with a Chinese yo-yo because I stole one from a classmate and got caught lying about where I got it.  I touched one for the first time two years ago - andfelt guilty.

 6.   I was hospitalized when I was four years old with what doctors thought was meningitis.  I don't remember the spinal tap - I only remember my non-stop screams.

 7.   Eight years later, my brother was in the hospital for the same reason.  I worried about him.  But I was secretly glad it wasn't me.

 8.   In high school I got an eviction notice from my parents.

 9.   I found out how much I'm capable of loving when Hunny almost died.

10.  Hunny is the reason I became a dogwalker.

11.  I used to be terrified of dogs.  I was more terrified of cats.

12.  I was in love the first time I made love.

13.  I've moved 13 times in the last 11 years.

14.  I love blueberry buckle baby food.

15.  I've been a non-smoker for ten years. I smoked for ten years before that. You do the math.

16.  I wrote my first song in 4th Grade to the tune of "Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll"

17.  I've never been in a car accident.  ::knock wood::

18.  I went to a Catholic school till fourth grade and insisted we were being brainwashed in church.

19.  I'm obsessive, possessive, competitive and controlling.

20.  I have two tattoos and I'm ready for my third and fourth.

21.  I drove cross country from Massachusetts and moved to California with $300 in my pocket.

22.  I played Hans Christian Anderson in a 6th Grade play because I was the only one who could sing.

23.  I'm afraid of the dark.

24.  I grind my teeth and I bite the inside of my mouth.

25.  Something I've never told anyone:  There's not one thing about me that someone doesn't know.  If you put all the people that know me in one room, together they will know everything about me.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Wax On

Days are zooming by now that I'm a little more busy with dog-work.  I'm not complaining.  I welcome more business.  Bring it on!  It's just gonna take me that much longer to update, comment and respond to comments.  Ah well, such is Spring!

I haven't been able to afford the luxury of leg waxing on a regular basis - and I need it.  So that was my first treat to myself today.  I called ahead of time to make sure my favorite waxer was available.  "I'm sorry, Minu no longer works here."  ::gasp::  I nearly drove off the side of the road.  She's been there for like twenty years.  I don't even like other waxers.  She knows me.  I trust her.  She knows what to do, where to wax, where not to wax. 

It's been two months since I last got my legs waxed.  Remember, the morning of the MRI?  If you recall, I was so anxious that I over-tipped Minu.  I thought I gave her three one-dollar bills.  When in fact I gave her two ones and a ten!  Apparently enough to set her free.

That means I had to start with someone new today.  Not only was she new to me, but she's new to the salon.  She was very sweet but she talked me into getting my eyebrows done, promising me she wouldn't burn my skin [the reason I don't get my brows waxed].  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for manipulation.  I was half naked, on my back, with one leg in the air.  She stood over me with a butter knife and hot wax.  "Sure, my eyebrows? Anything you say!"

All these years going to this place and I've always left Hunny in the car [or at home].  But it was too hot today.  I almost skipped out on the waxing when the owner told me to bring Hunny inside.  I can't even tell you how that felt - having peace of mind, knowing Hunny was inside, safe, and resting on the floor below me, exhausted from the dogpark.

Tomorrow's her day at the groomers.  It's not her favorite place.  But her summer cut is something I look forward to.  It's flea season already.  Time to get out the Advantage and Frontline.  If I don't get a jump on fleas, they get a jump on me.  They don't like all people but they sure love me.  I don't know what's worse; the bite of a flea or the automatic-trigger slap I give myself when I feel thebite... or when I think I feel the bite.

Off to watch Survivor, now that I'm a fan.  I'll try to catch up on comments later.  Have a beautiful evening.  Peace.

AOL-J Rocks

I've been working on this entry for a while.  I believe everything is perfectly timed - and this seems to be the perfect time.  I've been an AOL member since July 2000.  In all honesty, the only reason I chose AOL was because they made it easy for a new computer owner to get set up ... and sucked in!

When I bought my computer (almost four years ago) I planned on signing a 4-year contract with another service because they were offering $400 off the price of my computer [hello!].  But fortunately for me, I didn't have a credit card at the time and that was the only way that other service would do business with anyone. I suffered a brief moment of grief until it became vividly clear, it was their loss - not mine.  Remember, everything happens for a reason.

I knew nothing about AOL - except that it was everywhere.  The software came with my computer.  And it was the only internet service who would give this girl a chance: easy month-to-month payment methods; friendly, patient and informative customer service; step-by-step tutorials.  Plus, as I recall, the first month was free.  I couldn't go wrong.

Once I discovered the world of AOL, I was nowhere to be found in the world of non-AOL. Soon, my online life became a huge part of my offline life.  Eventually I found a nice balance between both worlds.  Until...

I was introduced to AOL Journals - and there was no turning back.  Aside from the addictive qualities of daily blogging and journaling (so much for that balance), not enough can be said about the incredibly fun, supportive and creative AOL-Journals Community.  High-quality people.  High-quality friends. 

Let's take a look back and count my blessings, shall we?

Vivian taught me how to do an AOLbyPhone entry for my first music post.  Isabel actually talked me through steps to help me with my video feed.  My very first AOL-J pal, ChefGraceGeorge went AWOL for a few weeks.  I was about to give up on her when she suddenly reappeared - full of tenderhearted wisecracks.  Steven  inspired me to see life through a different lens. Mia & Stephen always bring me to my knees in gratitude.

Last Fall, you nominated Journey to Peace for Best New Journal in the member-created AOL-J Awards.  That inspired me to continue writing.

What about tangible gifts and creations that just can't be emailed?  My first gift to myself in a long time was made by Nadine.  I was stunned - and still am every time I light a candle in my favorite votive.  I received beautiful handmade cards by Aunt Nub and Phinney.  Both are unique and extraordinary.  One of my dearest treasures is this creation by CarlyBridgett sent me a package full of sweet reminders with a timely message.  And her candle sits on my nightstand.  Christmas gifts, cards and Easter greetings from all across the country have blessed my snail mailbox.

Where would I be without DiAnne and her TiVo?  She was kind enough to rush a videotape of the first half of the Survivor season all the way across the country so I could get caught up.  If it weren't for her, I'd be one lost newbie Survivor fan.

Musenla and Robbie, two AOL Journalers, have come to see me perform live.  Seeing each of them [both at different times] feltlike a reunion with family members [the good kind].  I adore them. Musenla took some great pictures [available for viewing on my website]. Which reminds me, I owe her an autograph.  Robbie's written some deeply heartwarming entries about my music that I will cherish forever.   Babyshark and Irun spent a few days fighting over who's my "Number One Groupie.Andrea put dibs in for Number Five.  I've lost count of how many CDs I've sold to AOL-J members - but that doesn't even compare to the many who have listened to tracks and read lyrics on the website.

And none of that would have been possible if it weren't for the friend I found in one AOL Journaler.  My life is forever changed.  All graphics and websites linked in my All About Me sidebar were created by none other than SloMo. Thanks to her, people all over the world are getting a chance to hear my music! [whoa. do you get how deep this is?]

Now, let's talk tumor I'm positive, without the love and support of this community, I would still be sitting on my hands in terror, putting off the MRIJourney to Peace gave me a safe place to explore my fears and hopes when I couldn't speak the words.

The list of gratitude is endless.  It's impossible to name every single person who's touched my spirit in AOL-J.  Whether you are a regular or a first time reader, I am grateful.  Thank you.  And thank you AOL for always providing quality service.  [I might complain about glitches here and there but that just makes me human.]  Thanks to the enhanced features of AOL-J, I get to express my true gratitude all in one entry!

Wednesday Night Check-In

Hello fellow AOL-J'ers.  Forgive my silence.  I've been incredibly busy. And every time I try to update my journal, I get [pleasantly] interrupted by a phone call or an IM or an email or Hunny or my own random thoughts.

I'm having a great week so far.  I don't want to spoil anything but there seems to be a positive shift in my dogwalking business.  Being self-employed can be unpredictable so please keep the candles and prayers coming.  But it does look like I might be able to buy a new pair of shoes soon.  ::fingers crossed::

Music Mondays have been put on hold.  I'm taking a few weeks to get the last bunch of songs well-rehearsed. Keith [drummer-boy] and I are scoping out bass payers. The goal is for all of us to go into the studio one Saturday in May and play all songs - start to finish.  I'll keep you posted.

I saw my doctor this week.  You know how I feel about western medicine [and worse, insurance companies] but I left there feeling really good.  I love my doctor.  I chose her as my primary physician because she was on-call when I first got my ear checked two years ago.  I liked her then and still like her now.  And she remembers me.  She's respectful of my beliefs - in fact, she honors the holistic approach.  The best of both worlds.

Since I saw my doctor, I had to get weighed.  Not too bad but it's a few pounds more than I'm comfortable with.  So, with this new bit of information, I've decided to be a little more strict about my health.  I eat fairly well, but I need to learn more about healthy vegetarian meals.  I'm still young but my body is changing, right before my eyes.  I want to keep up with it.  What I need is someone to say, "This is your meal plan. This is your exercise routine. This is your daily schedule. Take these vitamins. Go to bed at this time.  Read this book. Use these products."  

There are just some things I never learned growing up.  For instance, I washed my face and shaved my legs with Dial soap till just a few years ago.  I thought green beans were born in a can.  And I don't even own a single shade of eye shadow because I don't know how to use it.  So I'm calling on friends who are experts in each area.  Sort of like Queer Eye - but for ME.  I'm open to suggestions!

There's earthquake talk around here lately.  I don't want to give it any more power than it deserves but it's a good reminder to have a bag packed.  I'm so disorganized.  Nothing is in the same place.  Keys, shoes and phone are all in three different areas of the apartment.  I keep forgetting an earthquake is something we just can't predict - like weather or tides.  Strangely, as I was writing about this, I heard a bang and felt the apartment shake...a pre-quake perhaps?

Reminds me of ten years ago.  I was at the kitchen table with a roommate.  I had never felt an earthquake before.  I thought I felt the table move but couldn't be sure.  I asked her if I would know when an earthquake hits.  The next morning, 4:31AM, the Northridge earthquake knocked us senseless!  I believe the kitchen table shake was a pre-quake.  Maybe I should pack that bag tonight.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Goodbye My Hero

For the past couple of weeks, I've checked in on the black widow spider at the studio.  She's been in the same spot for a while.  But these last few times I've seen her, she hasn't looked well.  Seeing her gave me a sad, sickly feeling of worry.  I found myself wondering if she was even the same spider I had fallen in love with. Not because I didn't love her - but she just didn't seem so strong and powerful as she once was.  Remember when E.T. started getting sick, needing to be home and Elliot could feel his pain?  That's how I felt.  That's how I feel.  There's a big part of me in her.  And vice versa. 

I work at the studio only two half-days a week and I always see her.  Cheryl is co-owner of the studio and never sees her.  Cheryl always sounds surprised [and a little disappointed] when I report a sighting and give her updates.  One time I came by while Cheryl was working and tried to point her out.  But when Cheryl walked over, the spider scurried.  I guess it's just not meant to be that others see her.  You know, like Big Bird's friend Snuffy.  For the longest time, no one could see him.

On my way home from the mountaintop this afternoon, I decided to pick up photos I left for developing about a month ago.  I remembered I had taken a far shot of the black widow and today, for some reason, I just had to see the picture.

I arrived at the studio and looked at the pictures.  The above photo is not the clearest image - but it's the only picture I have of her.  I wish you could've seen her the night I first met her.  She was big, bright and bold - with her red hourglass out and proud.  Beautiful.

After seeing this picture, I went to her corner to check on her.  And before I even got over there, I saw her - but I hoped it wasn't her.  There. On the floor. Curled up. Dead.

I dropped to my knees and begged to God, "Please don't let it be her."  I turned her over, looking for that distinguishable marking on her underbelly.  She seemed so frail, so small, so powerless. Her hourglass was hardly noticeable.  I wept.  And wept.

I scooped her up and put her someplace safe.  She deserves a ceremony.  I'm still secretly praying this is a decoy and my totem is still alive and well somewhere watching over me.  I'm not fully convinced she's gone.

But there are many lessons in this.  The black widow spider has been a powerful presence in my creative world.  There have been some shifts in my life, my creativity, my writing in the last few months.  Perhaps now that she's home, I will start this next phase of my journey with a bigger heart, a clearer mind and a stronger spirit.

Goodbye my hero.  You may have left your shell, but your spirit lives on.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Scary Easter

When I was four years old [going on five], I was already afraid of things like the dark, burglars and the boogie man [and I'm not talking about scary images of a disco-dancing dude].  But I was also old enough to be excited with anticipation the night before Christmas and Easter.

This one Easter Eve, we left a carrot and some milk for the Easter Bunny.  We read some kind of Hallmark Easter story and I reluctantly went to bed, thinking I wouldn't be able to fall asleep.  More than likely, I zonked out immediately.  It's just what kids do [oh how I long for those days].

I woke up bright and early that Easter morning, presumably around sunrise.  It was light enough to see images in my room but not quite bright enough to identify them... especially the enormous dark shadowy monster hovering over me at the foot of my bed.

I let out a scream of terror and zoomed past the creature.  I ran to my parents' room and never looked back.  I kept screaming.

My mom shot out of bed, "What is it? What is it?"

Teary and obviously freaked out, I insisted, "There's something in my room."

My dad flung himself out his bedroom door, to inspect my room.

Cautiously, I warned him, "Careful daddy."

My mom held me in front of her, both of us facing her bedroom door, waiting for my dad to capture the intruder.  "Hon, I don't see anything."

I called out to him, "Right there daddy.  On my bed!"

With that, my mom chuckled and let out a sigh of relief.  She took my hand and tried dragging me to my room.

Confused, I tried to resist, "No mama, no!"

She picked me up in her arms [her 40-lb prisoner] and brought me to my room.  I resumed screaming and crying. I buried my face in her shoulder.

She got to the foot of my bed, shifted me into one arm, used the other to reach for something and said, "Is this the monster?" 

The sounds of cellophane got louder and louder.  Still crying, I refused to look.  She compassionately insisted, "Honey, it's your Easter Basket."

* * * * *

When I finally was able to look at it, with the help and support of my parents, it was still scary!  An abundance of dark red cellophane covered the biggest Easter basket I'd ever seen.  With the basket on my bed, it towered over me!  I don't even remember what was in it.  I was traumatized for quite a while.  After that I was afraid of the Easter Bunny [the meanie!].

Thus began the traditional Easter Basket Hunt in our family.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Weekend Retreat

Hunny and I are housesitting for a friend this weekend.  It's supposed to be our "weekend retreat" in nature.  Even though it's beautiful and serene and full of plant-life and smog-free air, I was a little concerned that I'd be uncomfortable.  I usually get really wigged-out at night, in a "strange" place.  But  ::knock wood::  so far so good.  Not quite wigged yet.

I stopped at the local community video store on my way up.  It's been so long since I've visited a place like this.  You know the kind.  They have only one or two copies of each new release.  Everything inside is made of natural wood - log cabin-like. I had to sign my name in a notebook, showing I rented movies and paid for them.  Very quaint.  I love it.

I have everything I need - well, almost everything.  I remembered to pack my toothbrush but neglected to pack a tube of toothpaste.  Ironically, my friend has extra toothburushes, but no toothpaste.

So I brushed without toothpaste last night and doubled-up on my CoolMint Listerine PocketPaks.  This morning I had my choice of minty green mouthwash or mediciney orange mouthwash.  Without a thought, I went for the mint and swished a mouthful for a while.  There was some left in the cup so I repeated the swishing, only this time, I decided to read the ingredients.  Sort of like reading the breakfast cereal box at the table.

I don't know if you remember but I found out last year that I'm deathly allergic to sulfa.  I also have intense allergic reactions to the sulfates in wine [and the hops in beer].  Well, right there, in my hand, third in the list of ingredients: SULFATE.

There I stood, bug-eyed and frozen, staring at myself in the mirror - still with a mouthful.  I spewed and spit all possible liquid from my mouth till my tongue was dry.  I hadn't swallowed any of the mouthwash - but still, it was the second rinse, clearly penetrating my mucus membranes.

Random thoughts ran through my head:  My cell phone doesn't get reception up here. The land phone battery-life is basically lifeless.  I'm miles away from a hospital. My hair looks atrocious. 

DON'T PANIC!

I just knew I had to keep an eye on the events of the next few hours.  My mouth swelled up a bit, my tongue began to prickle with tiny welts and my skin [especially my scalp] began to itch with warm tinglies.  Uh-oh.

More swarms of random thoughts:  I didn't pack my benedryl.   I have to tell the video store that one of the tapes I rented last night is broken.  I don't know how to counteract sulfate.

I suddenly realized it was up to me to just be okay.  It wasn't going to do me any good to panic up on the mountaintop.  So I made some tea, fed Hunny and then we drove down the hill.  By the time I reached Santa Monica I had forgotten all about the incident.  I stopped at a health-food store and bought toothpaste after I walked a couple of dogs [yes, work on a Saturday. yay, for the work. boo, for the Saturday]

When I got back to the mountaintop, I watered the lush garden, took some pictures of incredibly beautiful lizards, marveled at Hunny barking and growling at "big doggies" [horses] grazing on the hillside, and critter-watched out of the corners of my eyes while reading in the sun overlooking the hills and valleys.

I made some dinner and here I sit, sun-soaked, posting this entry.  My throat is a little tight and my head and ears are still a bit tingly.  But for the most part, I'm just fine.  Life is grand.  I love it up here.  [::thud:: I forgot to pick up my Benedryl.  DON'T PANIC]

* * * * *

Email and journaling are a bit tedious here.  I love my friend dearly but I can see why she doesn't spend a lot of time online.  Aside from the slow dial-up modem and very low RAM on this computer, the screen is teeny tiny and the setup just isn't comfortable enough to spend more than a few minutes here.  Posting links, pictures or graphics is just out of the question.

So, this may be my last post until Monday.  And if you've sent me email, please forgive the delay.  I'll be sure to get to email and responding to comments by Monday as well.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. 

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Reality TV?

I'm thoroughly disgusted.  Has anyone seen the new Fox Reality TV show The Swan?  The premise: A group of "average women" undergo a 3-month transformation with hopes to earn a spot in a beauty pageant, to then compete against eachother for the title of The Swan.  The hook: It takes a team of twelve professionals and reconstructive surgery to get them there.  Oh sure, there's a workout program and psychotherapy - which they'll need from the trauma of surgery!  This show is grossly American!

One woman last night had to speak - to hear her own voice - in order to recognize herself in the mirror.  Today, on the radio I heard things like, "Way to go. You look beautiful now."  Gag! Spit! Puke!  The sickest part about it is, these women looked beautiful before the surgeries.  Mostly, their issues revolve around self-esteem and self-worth.

No no, the truly sickest part is, they take us on this 3-month journey with two women at a time [each week] and show the transformation at the end of the show.  But only one of the two will get to go to The Pageant for a chance to become dubbed The Swan

How about that huh?  Hey, 3 months of reconstructive surgery, away from your family and friends, on a strict diet, workout program and intensive therapy [with no mirrors whatsoever], and "sorry, you're still not good enough to qualify for a beauty pageant."

Ick!  I'm ashamed to say, I somehow got sucked in.  I watched the entire episode - and weeped at the end.  Perhaps grieving over our sick, sad American culture.

Anyone else?  Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Spring Cleaning

WhoooBoy!  I feel good.

I figure I'd better update before some people start to think I up-and-left this planet.  Isn't life grand after you've walked through fire?

I went to the gathering and celebrated Roshimomma the other night, nursing a filthy-dirty vodka martini, flinging my new "Jaclyn Smith hair" and lifting my sweater proving I was actually wearing a bra. [Love-shout to my girls in the kitchen - and that one boy, whoever you are!]

If you think Roshimomma looks good in the collage below, you should've seen her the other night.  I'm not kidding.  We should all be so blessed to be that gorgeous at fifty.  Hey, I'm counting my blessings at 35!

It was a unanimous love affair between my friends and my new hair.  I'm still not completely sold on the 'do but with their screams of joy and total approval, I think I can suffer through the newness.

* * *

I'd like to thank Robbie for the amazing review about my gig [ish] last week.  I have to say, she's been a great supporter of my music from the moment we met [here in AOL-J].  And she's the genius with the great idea to buy two of my Teaser CDs.  One for yourself.  One for a friend.  The idea is that you give the gift with one condition - that they in turn buy one for a friend with the same condition...and so on!

Robbie's right.  It is tough to break into any creative industry.  There are many talented people who go their whole lives "undiscovered" because of the bubblegum factories.  By today's industry standards, 25 is too old to start a music career.  That means I should be dead and buried by now.  But those who do well over 25 are true artists with a great deal of luck and blessings on their side.

So, the more Teaser CDs you buy, the more we can spread the word and the faster I can get the full-length CD produced and spread more of the word.  Sounds like a plan.

* * *

I'd also like to say thank you to those who sent email, cards and left comments this week.  My life is richer because of all of you.  I continue to ask the same questions about life - and I imagine I'll do so, forever.  But thelag time between downs and ups is getting shorter each time.  For that, I'm grateful.

More to come... May love and laughter fill our hearts always.

* * *

P.S.  I'm sorry I didn't update sooner.  I spent all afternoon trying to post this entry.  Thanks to the [not so] marvelous upgrades, AOL Journals has been "temporarily unavailable" the entire time.  So this entry has been sitting in a holding bin since the light of day.

I've been having freakish computer problems for a few days though, so it's quite possible that my computer is the culprit.  Either way, if you've read this entry, then apparently all is well.  Just sorry it took so long to get here.


God bless 25,000 characters!

Saturday, April 3, 2004

Saturday

I am not well today.  I've been keeping myself busy so I wouldn't slow down enough to feel.  I'm not busy enough today I guess, because I'm taking a nose-dive into despair.  Distractions only prolong the agony.

There's a mega-celebration tonight for my dear friend Roshimomma. I've spent the last three weeks trying to put into words just how much she means to me. Some things are just too deep for words, you know?  She penetrates my walls with her compassion - her insightful wisdom - her vibrant spirit - and her own life experiences.  I honor all that she is.  I look to her as a parental figure, I cradle her like a child and I love & laugh with her like a sister. 

We don't see each other every day - sometimes we go weeks.  But when we do, there's a knowing - an understanding.  She knows exactly what's going on in my life because she's my only non-online-friend who has read my journal regularly - from day one.  She hears me.  She supports me.  She gets me.

Today is all about her.  Half a century on this planet, in this skin, is a milestone.  There's a lot to celebrate and reflect upon.  I've been looking forward to celebrating this moment for her since last year.

Yet, this morning I woke up in a panic attack.  I don't know how I'm going to get myself to her gathering.  So much emotion.  So much celebration.  So much love.  It's just so much.  My friends insist they will "take care of me" no matter what mood I'm in. That's what we all say.  That's what we do for each other.  But that's not how I want to spend this evening.

[continues below]

Saturday [continued]

There's been talk of suicide in pockets of AOL-J. [oooh, the word itself seems so taboo].  While I'm not suicidal, I can't deny that I completely understand the desire to stop living.  I get to a place where I don't want to kill myself, but I don't want to live either.  This feeling always passes. But while I'm in it, it's almost impossible for me to remember that - and it feels permanent.  You know, what about that one time it doesn't pass?  But I know nothing is permanent - not even death.

Sometimes I really don't know what I'm living for.  I know I have friends. I have Hunny. I write and sing and laugh and love.  But so what?  Seriously, what are we living for?  I know the obligatory answers, To serve God. To know love. To learn about human existence.

Okay then, next question - How?  By rising and falling?  Through pain and suffering?  And the next question - Why?  Is it worth it?  When I finally know love - what then? What's next?

I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I know I am blessed to have breath. I know that nothing is next.  I know all we have is this moment. And the choice for love is always available.

Writing is my reflective tool - without it, I might not be here today. And for that, even in despair, I am grateful.

Friday, April 2, 2004

Performance Update

Wednesday night, I performed in a benefit show at the M Bar in Hollywood.  Fellow AOL-Journaler, Robbie was there when I arrived.  And my friends Cheryl and Lori also came to support me. Let's hear it for my girls!

All day yesterday I was freakishly nervous. I really thought I might throw up at some point before my performance.  It usually takes a song or two to warm up and get comfortable onstage.  But last night, that's all I had...an opening and closing song.  When I arrived to the stage I was subtly relaxed.

Drummer-boy joined me on the box-drum [I don't know the actual term for that instrument].  I introduced him as "my good friend Keith Benton."  And then asked him if I had his name right.  I heard laughter.  So I joked, "Yeah, we're such good friends...what's your name again?"  Something about the lights on stage makes me dumb.

We opened with a song that's next up in the recording queue.  Keith was grooving.  He's got great energy and I'm looking forward to recording with him.  Later, I met his beautiful friend Billy - the lead singer of Bushwalla, a band that Keith plays with regularly.

I received praises for both songs, from different people, for different reasons.  That felt nice.  I touched the hearts of some by singing a part of the Black Eyed Peas song, Where's The Love, as an opening to Walls Of Pain.  That also felt nice. There's something for everyone.

The highlight of the night:  Two streakers! Yes, that's right folks, full-on nudity!  One man. One woman. And I'll tell you, the woman was breathtakingly beautiful. Full-bodied, silky smooth skin - with the cutest heart-shaped...uhh...shaved area.  But honestly, I feel like a pig for what I'm about to say ...but... I wouldn't recognize her with clothes on.  I might even have said goodbye to her last night. Not a clue.  The man. Also beautiful. Pierced. Oh yes, right there in his manhood.

It was a fun two hours of music, comedy, magic and nudity!  I saw some old friends and made some new friends. Thanks to my friends who came and stuck around for the whole show.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Nanny Interview

I had that Nanny interview this afternoon. The sign on the office door read "All Pets Welcome."  But I left Hunny in the car - because, well, I can never be sure of my little dominatrix.  I knew Sandy [the interviewer] had a dog.

I was greeted by a sweet but nervous assistant and Jake the dog.  When Sandy came out she thought maybe we had met at a Santa Monica Dogpark years ago. Could be. She and Jake looked vaguely familiar.

When I think of a lawyer's office, I imagine dark solid wood, cold stiff seats and 60-degree temps. Nothing like this half-home / half-work place.  Very relaxed, laid back and comfortable.

The interview was just as relaxed.  We found out we have a lot of common interests - animals obviously being one of them. 

I was a little surprised when she reached toward a file holder on the corner of her desk and casually announced, "This is one of my rats."  She placed him on the desk in between us.  I studied the rat for a moment and with that, I met two others, all very intrigued by the smell of my arms that were resting on her desk.

I'm assuming it was a test of some sort. I'm surprised I didn't flinch. Not that I was scared. I just wasn't expecting rats in the interview. They are beautiful creatures. Really interesting, with their human-like hands and fingernails. Intelligent too - trainable, like dogs.

She seemed pretty knowledgeable, but she didn't have answers to my questions like, "If they're common household rats, and they haven't been immunized, how can we be sure they're not rabid?"  She replied, "Oh, I guess we can't."  She continued, "But it's not rabies they were thought to carry. It's the plague."  Nice thing to spring on me while they were crawling in my hands, sniffing up my sleeves.

Anyway, I didn't get the job. I'm pretty sure it's not just because I called her The Crazy Rat Lady.  She's looking for an experienced professional Nanny who speaks more than one language. Pre-school-teacher-wannabes and Child Psych students.

We're going to keep in touch. There's the possibility of some music collaboration. She took my dogwalking information. And we genuinely liked each other. So it was worth meeting.

Burn Baby Burn

My roommate doesn't have a keen sense of smell.  It's the strangest thing.  He can't smell the sweet things in life, like vanilla or flowers or fresh cut grass.  But there's an upside.  He can't smell the stench from the kitchen trash.  He can't smell previous Hunny-markings on the livingroom rug.  And he can't smell his own cologne.

This morning he couldn't smell the piles of sage he left burning in his bathroom.  This I can understand.  However, I don't understand how he couldn't see the thick smoke filling our apartment.  I can hardly speak right now from smoke inhalation.  He had fallen asleep with sage burning.  Time to check the smoke detectors.

It took me three hard knocks on his bedroom door and a few loud calls to wake him up.  It took another three explanations urging him to rush to his bathroom and extinguish the burning sage.

His bedroom is on the opposite side of the apartment.  His bathroom window can't be viewed from inside the building.  But I could smell the sage from my bathroom window.  That means it made its way to the outside of the apartment - and back in again!

The lame thing about this is, he doesn't even have a reason to burn sage.  He's not clearing the energy.  He's not chanting or saying prayers.  He just likes the smell.  And since we've already established his sense of smell, that also means sage has to be burning like wildfire for him to get a good whiff of it.  But again, how could he not see the smoke?

Now I know why I woke up feeling so groggy and 'heady'.  Aside from the splitting headache I went to bed with last night, today my throat is dry and scratchy.  And the stale-smoke smell is still in my nose - even after a hot shower!  But at least I don't have to sing today.  And I sound a teeny-tiny bit like Demi Moore.  Oh sure, there's always a silver lining.