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Monday, October 24, 2011

What’s your favorite perfume?

Today, I was walking through a parking lot behind a woman. The wind hit just right, and I was able to detect she was wearing my favorite perfume, Giorgio of Beverly Hills. The sparkling scent hit my olfactory and I smiled to myself, remembering my first encounter with this perfume.
Years ago, I was reading Los Angeles magazine. This magazine held everything trendy and elite of this city. Tucked away in the glossy pages was a sample of Giorgio, accompanied with its advertisement.  As I tore open the flap that held the strip of perfume, I was fascinated with picture the work-of-art bottle. The color scheme was sharp and clean—snowy white and sunny yellow stripes.  Even the handwritten font of Giorgio was classy. I rubbed the perfumed strip on my wrist and sniffed. Immediately, I was smitten—the wonderful blend of floral, spice and musk was perfect. It embodied everything ritzy and glamorous—after all its complete name is Giorgio of Beverly Hills!
Suddenly, I asked myself, “Self, how can you say Giorgio is your favorite perfume, but you’ve never owned it?” Sad fact, but true—the only time I ever wore this perfume was on samples in magazines or shopping malls. Why was that? I came to a painful conclusion.  I had built up this perfume so much that I couldn’t wear it daily unless I was shopping on Rodeo Drive. How silly is that! Obviously, the woman in front of me didn’t get this memo—we were certainly not in Beverly Hills hob-knobbing with the rich and famous!
If I like something, I don’t need to be compartmentalized and wait for a certain time in my life to enjoy it. I decided to stop denying myself and as a start, I would treat myself and buy a bottle of Giorgio. Would you believe, Giorgio of Beverly Hills is no longer on Rodeo Drive! How ironic is that! I’m taking this as a sign. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

August 29, 2011

It seemed surreal to have August 29 marked on my calendar as going to Channel 7 Midday News, Boise’s NBC affiliate. As the days dwindled down to that fateful Monday, I grew more and more nervous. I couldn’t believe that I was about to do my first television interview about my book!!
At 11:30 am my husband, who was responsible for getting me this interview, drove me to the studio.  The day was warm and sunny, wispy clouds against a powder blue sky, my favorite type of weather.  Traffic was moving smoothly and we were well on track to arrive at the designated time for my live interview.
I noticed the closer we were getting to our destination, my mouth muscles were tightening. Even as I chit-chatted with Chris, I found it an effort to speak.  This was a bad thing, considering I was on my way to do an interview—and it wasn’t going to be done by hand written notes!
I was a little surprised that I was having this harsh nervous reaction. I am a member of Toastmasters International and have done many speeches.  I’ve even achieved my Competent Communicator award. Butterflies in the pit of my stomach I’m used to, in fact I use them to my advantage. Why then was I reacting differently to this interview?   
I figured out the answer the minute we pulled up to the station—this was going to be my first TELEVISION interview. I was letting the thought of speaking in front of half of the Treasure Valley weigh too heavily on my mind. I needed to find a way to relax, to shift my focus.
Well, sitting in the waiting lobby was not going to help. Evidence of the live broadcast was all over the place.  Sitting on the couch was a gentleman who was going to be interviewed before me.  After a few minutes, the cameraman came out to the lobby and escorted him back to the studio. In a few minutes, there he was, live on channel 7 on the 62 inch flat screen TV.
Chris continued giving me a pep talk, encouraging me that I was going to do a fantastic job. After all, he is my #1 fan!  He was so sweet, and I so appreciated his efforts, but I had to admit, I was still nervous.
After a few minutes, the cameraman walked through the door and called my name.  I took a deep breath and rose to my feet. As we walked through the door and through the cubicles of the newsroom bullpen, I was very proud that my knees weren’t knocking.
Then, the moment of truth arrived—he opened the door and we walked through to the studio. They were on commercial break.
 The moment I arrived, the news anchor, Carolyn Holly, sitting at the anchor desk, graciously called over to me “Good afternoon! Welcome!”  The cameraman set me up at the interview desk and hooked up the microphone to me. For the next couple of minutes, Carolyn went over the questions she was going to ask me. This gave me time to prepare what I was going to say.
I was starting to get used to my surroundings—I counted there were only 5 people in the studio: Carolyn, Larry Gebert the meteorologist, the two cameramen and a chef who was getting ready for her set.   I watched as Carolyn read another news story and Larry gave the weather report. Then there was another commercial break.
Suddenly, the illusion of being in a room with only 5 people watching was shattered.  The two cameramen brought three cameras, spotlights and monitors in front of me. I had to remind myself to breathe.
Carolyn took her position across from me at the interview table. As if she could sense my tension, she asked a friendly question about my middle name. I found her extremely easy to talk to-- she is a professional through and through.
Another tactic formulated in my head—think of the interview as a conversation--forget there were television cameras and blazing lights. All I had to do was to look Carolyn in the eye and speak about my book from the heart.
And that’s what I did.

Monday, October 10, 2011

International Blanket Thief

Yesterday morning as I got out of bed, I gave a little shiver. October was here and the mornings are getting chilly. I noticed my husband quickly grabbing the blankets and pulling them up to his chin. To add to the effect, he let out a huff of contentment. I paused, looking at him in puzzlement—usually I’m the one who’s always complaining of the cold.
“I’ve never seen you like this, all bundled up,” I observed only his eyes and forehead were visible under the quilt. “Why are you doing that?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Because I sleep with an international blanket thief!” he announced petulantly. “I was cold all night! You cocooned yourself in all the blankets!” he continued. “I had to go get my old Army poncho liner to cover up!”
I thought he was exaggerating, but sure enough, at the foot of the bed was the camouflage poncho liner.
How could I possibly be able to wrestle blankets away from him? I thought to myself as I brushed my teeth. He is at least twice my size.  Maybe I get super strength during my slumber, ripping the blankets from him with no mercy?  
Nope, that can’t be right!
I thought back to what he called me—an international blanket thief. I had to admit I liked his turn of phrase; it had a James Bond-ish flare to it.
Maybe that’s how I get the blankets—as my husband is drifting off to sleep, I spring into action. I clandestinely shift the blankets away from him. Ever so gingerly, I wrap myself up in them, enjoying their warmth throughout the night. (Mind you, I’m asleep during all this, so I’m just guessing here!)
 I feel bad for my husband, really I do. I don’t want him to freeze during this winter. Before Interpol comes after me, I figure we’ll need to invest in another quilt!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

More than a bargain

It's amazing how something as mundane as standing in line at the grocery store can offer a life lesson.
It happened to me a few weeks ago. I was the fourth person in line at the store and my hands were full. I only went to the store for one thing, peanut butter, so I saw no reason to get a cart. How short sighted of me!
 As I shopped, I was reminded that we needed bread to go with the peanut butter. Also, in the same aisle there were tea bags, and I remembered we were getting low on them.  For some reason, tea reminded me of beverages, and I recalled we were almost out of milk. On the way to the back of the store, I saw there was a sale on 12 rolls of bathroom tissue. That was a great buy, so I had to get that. Wow, stores must LOVE customers like me!
That’s how I ended up the fourth person in line with 5 items precariously balanced in my arms. The bathroom tissue served as a tray, with the bread, peanut butter and tea bag box sitting on top. The milk I held by the handle. The line was at a standstill. This fact wasn’t lost on the two people ahead of me. I overheard their complaining that there was only one cashier open at this end of the store.  I looked ahead and saw the cashier was having trouble ringing up one of the items. A panicked look was on her face as she scanned and rescanned the uncooperative product. Finally, she called for help, to the chorus of these two people’s grumblings.
Suddenly, my balancing act faltered. The tea box plummeted to the ground, a loud thump echoing throughout the quiet store. However, the two people ahead of me didn’t turn around. For a second, I stared at them in disbelief. I noticed the woman ahead of me had her hands free, she had pumpkins in a cart and the man ahead of her had only a pair of pants in his hands. Surely, one of them will turn around and help pick up my wayward item! It’s not like they didn’t hear it fall! Alas, no one was coming to my aid. I was on my own.
Carefully, I squatted down, placed the milk container on the ground to free up my right hand. Holding the “tray” with my left hand, the peanut butter and bread under my chin, I retrieved the escaped tea bags. I figured I would leave the milk on the ground and push it with my foot.  When I straightened up, I was feeling angry at their lack of assistance. What was wrong with them!
The cashier got the help she needed and was able to finish the transaction.  The line began to move. I was able to finally put my items on the counter. I observed that the cashier greeted the man purchasing the pair of pants, but he completely ignored her.   Next in line was the women with the pumpkins. Again the cashier said good morning, but was only greeted by an icy stare.
I saw after each of these unfriendly exchanges the cashier’s expression get darker and darker. She was really affected by these people’s attitudes. I could relate! I decided instead of letting their rudeness get to me, I would do the exact opposite of them.
I noticed the people behind me was a mother and her little girl, who was holding the large packet of bathroom tissue (I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a good buy!) The packet was almost as big as the little girl, and she was trying to lift it to the counter. Mom couldn’t help, since her arms were full--a woman after my own heart! I reached out and placed the packet on the counter. Her cherub face lit up with a thankful smile.
Now I was the cashier’s next customer. After her last encounters, she didn’t even look up at me, just went along her business scanning my items.  I smiled at her and said, “Good morning, how’s it going?”
Her head snapped up, a relieved, sunny look on her face, “Fine, how are you?”
Just with friendly words, the cashier’s attitude changed. As I gathered my bags, she was back to her friendly self, chatting with the next customers.
I also noticed that my disposition was soaring—by doing these random acts of kindness, I wasn’t feeling down in the dumps any more.  I didn’t let unkindness get to me and that made all the difference.