Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Allison Wonderland

Allison sang tonight at church with a group from Nairobi...
How cute is my daughter?

Happy Birthday Trisa!

Welcome to the best decade of your life! I swear, it just gets better and better!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Can you be more Pacific?

New York City February 26, 2010
Laguna Beach February 26, 2010
(Any questions?)

Girl Scout Cookies

I can honestly tell you that I would not touch--much less EAT--a Girl Scout cookie if you paid me to. I can't even remember the last time I had one--YEARS ago, for sure.
I know for a fact that no matter how sweet sounding the name ('Do si do', 'tag-a-long', 'THIN mint') Girl Scout cookies are nothing but freaking DANGER! Each innocent-sounding little cookie packs a 10 and 12 gram of fat punch. No way! Not gonna do it.

Despite all that, I buy a lot of Girl Scout cookies...cause there's NOTHING better than making a little Girl Scout's day!
The last three afternoons I have been thrilled once again to see the Girl Scouts out peddling their wares in front of the grocery stores, Blockbuster, Target and even outside of the bank today!
It's my chance to make someone happy.
I love when a tiny little Girl Scout approaches me--a total stranger walking into Ralph's--and says, "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?"
I stop and get really excited and say, "WOULD I?? WHY OF COURSE! I HAVE BEEN ALL OVER TOWN TRYING TO FIND A PLACE TO BUY YOUR COOKIES!" (It's the same line every time.) The little girl gets all excited and runs over to the table to show me her vast selection of (calorie-laden, fat-saturated) delights. I buy a box or two from every little girl who has, nerve, to stand out there and be ignored and dismissed and said "no" to all afternoon. And, seriously, there is nothing better than a 6-year-old attempting to explain the assorted flavors and names to me while using a calculator to add up the cost of the two boxes and score the sale.
I carefully pick my poison and thank her profusely for being in the right place at the right time!!
I throw the cookies in the front seat of my car--along with the other four or five boxes from my errand-running afternoon--and smile.
$25 worth of cookies that I will never even eat.
...and a million bucks worth of smiles on those little faces that I will never forget.
Totally worth it...buying Girl Scout Cookies is actually one of the best things I can do for my heart.
And you never know. One of these days I might even break down and eat a cookie.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little things that make my day...

1. Someone saying, “Good Morning Beautiful!” to me.
2. The smell of fresh coffee brewing as I wake up!
3. Finding a sweet little note left for me…
4. People who say, “There’s NO WAY you have a 27 year old daughter!!”
5. A personal, hand-written card in my US Mail box!
6. A text message that says, “I’m thinking about you…”
7. Pancakes. French toast. Bacon with scrambled eggs and hash browns. Lox and bagels and capers. Waffles with strawberries and whip cream. The Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House.
8. An afternoon nap.
9. A Facebook request from a long-lost friend.
10. Someone who says, "I read your blog everyday!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

The D word

I refuse to say the "D" word. I can't stand when someone asks if I am divorced. I don't believe I've actually ever said those words--and I promise you, I never will. I just don't care for the term--and all that it implies. Most people think failure when those words are uttered. And I am no failure.
And, neither was my marriage.
When asked if I am married, I simply reply, "No." When asked if I ever was, I say, "Yes, I was married for 23 years and I've been single for the last five." Doesn't that sound calmer and nicer and less harsh than "I am divorced"? Ugh. Gosh, I hate that term. On top of sounding negative and depressing, it's a term based on the past. And I don't live that way. "I am single" is the present. And it's softer, kinder and positive!
Then, of course, they ask, "TWENTY THREE YEARS?!" Yes. And here's the point I want to make: I assure you that each of those 23 years was filled with love, happiness, incredible experiences and amazing memories. OK, maybe not all coming from the marriage itself, but there were very few days that were not full of laughter and love, no matter what. I had great jobs, enjoyed 17 years of going to college, and thrived with an incredible number of wonderful friendships! Above all, let me proudly add that throughout those years--more than anything else--I enjoyed every second of raising two amazing children who are now independent, fun-loving adults--both college grads with great hearts!
I am convinced that EVERY marriage gleans good and bad--whether or not you stay married. And those years are FULL of good memories--whether or not they even have to do with your spouse!
For me, there was SO much good. The vast majority of my joyful experiences and priceless memories (at this point anyway) are from the oh so many years that I was married. I don't get through a day without recalling an adventure from one of our many trips to New York City or a story from when my kids were little or a lesson I learned from the times we were struggling financially in the early days...or, well you get it. The majority of MY LIFE was during those years.
You know the line from the song, "The Way We Were"--So it's the laughter, we remember...honestly, that's exactly how I think back on those 23 years now. For the most part, only the good stuff remains and I consider those years very well spent and with very few regrets. I am still reaping amazing benefits from that investment.
This is also why I will never use the term "ex-husband", instead, always referring to him as my "former husband" or simply refer to him by his name. Again, this is just so much kinder and softer...after all, he is part of nearly all of my memories. I am proud of him for the good father he is to our kids and have always admired his intelligence, business sense and perseverance. He also has great taste in music and loves the Dodgers. (What can I say?)
It can get a bit tricky sometimes though, when I tell a story. For example, a friend at work is training to run a marathon. The other day I said to her, "My husband is a marathon runner." Which, of course is not correct. Then I said, "I mean my husband WAS a marathon runner." Which, again, is totally incorrect. I had to stop, and think, and word it correctly: "My former husband IS a marathon runner." Bingo.
This happened again yesterday, which spawned this post today. I was talking with another friend who is dating a man who is a bit older than she is. I said to her, "My former husband was seven years older than me."
She stopped and laughed a little and said, "And he probably still is."
The good ol' days were good. And the future looks bright.
It's all good.
It really is.

THIS makes my heart beat!!

Gagne is back!

Life Fours

Four places I have lived
El Toro (which became Lake Forest in 1991)
Laguna Hills
Rancho Santa Margarita
Aliso Viejo

Four places I have worked
Elmer's Restaurant
Coco's Restaurant
Saddleback Church

Four of my favorite places in the world
New York City
My home

Four movies I can watch over and over again
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
You've Got Mail
Love Actually
It's A Wonderful Life

Four things that have improved as I've gotten older
my eyesight
my ability to balance a checkbook
my cars
my life!

Four things I have changed my mind about lately
My tattoo
Climbing the corporate ladder
Getting married again

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Life and Bunco

Last night I joined a bunch of very fun people for Bunco. It's basically a dice game but quite honestly, it's a reason to get together, talk, eat, laugh a lot and just have a good time with friends.

The general instructions for Bunco are:
  1. Come happy
  2. Bring food
  3. Play the game--sometimes you win, sometimes you don't.
  4. Laugh and have fun no matter what!
Some friends came by my house this weekend to help me clean out my garage. They brought home made oatmeal cookies and a big bottle of red wine. (My favorite combination!) As we moved boxes and swept and organized the garage, we talked about our jobs and about men and even a little bit about baseball. We cried a little and laughed a lot. We ate the rest of the cookies and finished off the wine and marveled at the progress we had made along the way.
Damn, I have some good friends.

I was thinking that Life is basically a dice game too. And, really, the instructions for living life are pretty much the same as for Bunco:
  1. Come happy
  2. Bring food
  3. Play the game--sometimes you win, sometimes you don't
  4. Laugh and have fun and enjoy yourself no matter what.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Happy Valentine's Day!

Since it has now become our annual tradition, I met my friend Sharel to celebrate Valentine's Day together! We sit at the big 'community table' at Opah and enjoy great food, good wine and amazing conversation. This year our friend Kelly had sent gifts for us to open once we arrived at the restaurant!
Oh how delighted we were to open our Valentine's present and find a 'build your own boyfriend' kit. We toyed with the thought of moving to a table for four, but these guys just squeezed in next to us and actually let Sharel and I do most of the talking. Very interesting, too, that I couldn't get clothes to stay on mine.
Each year while saying goodbye at the end of the night, Sharel and I both say, "Thank you for the lovely Valentine's dinner. I hope I'm not with you next year..."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

You belong in the zoo...

It had been a very long time since I had packed crackers and crayons and sun block and wet wipes into my bag before I left the house in the morning...but yesterday I did just that. Then, as I picked up Sunny and Elijah, I realized how very small my new car really is once you add two kids, a car seat, a stroller, jackets, hats...and Miley Cyrus.
But, dang, was it worth it.
I hadn't told them where we were going and they were BOTH so excited when we drove up at the Santa Ana Zoo! Between a ride on the train, big puddles from the rains, and the African Cranes--we saw monkeys and played on monkey bars. We admired tarantulas and touched a hissing cockroach. We petted sheep and goats and admired sleeping owls and the hugest bald eagle next to Sam from America Sings.
We climbed on huge turtles, big lizards, cracked dinosaur eggs and various gigantic tractor tires.
I would say that the zoo is perfect for kids from about age 2 to about 8 or so. Sunny was slightly bored, but was quite a trooper for the sake of her highly-entertained little brother.
I'd also admit that the zoo is also just the right size for slightly older aunts who have forgotten the fine art of chasing a toddler while carrying a diaper bag full of necessities.

Thank God Mylie was waiting for us back in the car. Sunny and I belted it out on the way home and Elijah was snoring in the back seat before we hit the freeway.
Party in the USA.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Time to be HAPPY!

By Julie Hibbard (a very happy person)

1. Don't own anything you wouldn't give away. Seriously, if someone comes to my house and likes something I have, nothing makes me happier than giving it to them.
2. Be honest about who you are. Don't try to be what you THINK someone else wants you to be. And, when you mess up, admit it.
3. Be forgiving. Always. It will not only make you happy, it will add years to your life. Be sure to forgive yourself too.
4. Keep your room clean. Messy bed, messy head. Try to keep your car and your desk clean too. Make a trip to Goodwill!
5. Don't obsess over things. Seriously, there is a solution for just about every situation you will ever be in. Just find it.
6. Stay out of debt. If you don't need anything, don't even GO to Target. Pay cash for things. Debt free is so sweet.
7. Get over it. Get over THAT person. Grieve it and let go. Don't ever cry over ANYONE who doesn't want to be with you. THEIR loss. Really.
8. Read. Novels, Biographies, Self-help, The Bible, mysteries, the comics, the newspaper! Read! Read anything and everything!
9. Change what you don't like. Your living situation, your weight, your job, your relationships, etc. You CAN do what you want! Be your own knight in shining armor. Rescue yourself.
10. Be nice. Be friendly. SMILE! Remember people's names and birthdays. Say kind things. Make other people happy! It will make you SO happy.
That's my 2cents for the day.
I am just SO happy right now. Today, and is good.
And I wanted to share...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To the good life...

My day
My night
It's all good.

If I could change two things in my life...

I would be sitting here right now with a friendly, happy, funny and beautiful man who loves life, thinks I am pretty and wants to kiss me a lot.

I would be able to eat and enjoy all of these WONDERFUL and DELICIOUS foods--all my favorites!--and not ever gain any weight.

If I could only choose ONE thing to change in my life...
I'll take the man
who's gonna kiss me a lot.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"When I get a little money I buy books;
and if any is left I buy food and clothes..."


Sunday, February 7, 2010

De niece and de nephew

Spent a little time with my niece, Sunny today...a delicious lunch and a fun time swimming! After that, I taught her a little bit about football (and the JOY of Super Bowl commercials...) and she returned the favor by teaching me the sign language dance to "Party in the USA!"
Elijah was along for the lunch. He drew pictures and ate corn dogs and ice cream and ate (lots of) butter off (lots of) bread and put a candle in his french fries and sang "Happy Birthday" 312 times! (Um, no, it's not anybody's birthday...)
Gosh, I love being Aunt Juju

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Soul mate

Someday, someone will come into your life and
you will realize why it didn't work out with any of the others...


The cracks in your heart let the sun shine through...
-Diane Sawyer

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who are you?

I am an energetic, happy woman who is full of life! I am ready for adventure at all times and love a night at the ballgame, hosting a party in my home, reading a good book or a sweating it out yoga class! I have traveled much of the world and can't wait to see more. I am full of love and life and laughter and can accomplish anything I set out to do. Watch me…I will make it happen!

THAT'S how I describe myself...that's who I am!

How do you describe yourself?

There was a study that found that MEN describe themselves with their job and favorite hobby. “I am an architect and an avid golfer...”

Women, on the other hand tend to say, "I am a 35 year old divorced mother of two.”

Ugh…how depressing is that? That’s not who you ARE!!

Don't tell me your age and don’t identify yourself by your relationships to others (I am a mom, a wife)…

Tell me who YOU are!
I can't wait to hear!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The world is full of cactus,
but you don't have to sit on it.