Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Phone Flirtations Never Get Old

My cell phone vibrated while I was chatting with students from my history class.  Seeing it was from my husband I took the time to read the message.  Glad I did but I'm sure when I looked up to participate in the conversation going on around me I was blushing. 

My husband sent me a flirtatious invitation.  I was smiling that smile that lets others know you have a secret and are not sharing.

John and I will have been married 25 years in February.  I have been saying I want us to go off to a remote island somewhere to mark the occasion.  We've never done that and although I don't have the body I had when we first married, we have the same drive (ifyouknowwhatimean) and would have a wonderful time, just the two of us. 

But the other day he suggested we take a week and head up to the place where we are looking to spend the rest of our lives.  We could check out towns to settle in, land to consider purchasing, and businesses that maybe we might buy or open.  Not romantic, I know, but not a bad idea, either.

So if we don't head off to that desert island we always have our cell phones and sext (blushing again!), I mean text messaging.  Not a bad way to keep a long-time love affair alive, I'd say.

What do you do to keep the romance alive in your relationship?

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's the Destination, but the Journey, too

As this blog was created as a way for me to chronicle my life’s journey past and present, I guess it’s time to share the beginning of a new adventure so readers are brought along with me.  For this is a new journey I am about to embark on and for me, the anticipation of what is to come and watching the adventure unfold is just as enjoyable as the arrival at my next destination. 

I love it when friends call or write to check in with me.  Recently, I’ve had several such communications and most of them ask, “So how is everything going?”  I realize with pleasure that my response is much more positive then it has been in the last year.  I’m doing great; not as busy as I’ve been and making some exciting plans for the future.”

The last year or so I had been having a rough time; I was feeling overwhelmed, panicky, depressed, and anxious all at once.  It all stemmed from my typical behavior of saying “yes” to everything.  In my defense I did so because I was seeing my career - that of an historian, begin to really take off.  Opportunities were coming at me from many outlets and I didn’t want to miss a one.  But, of course, I spread myself too thin and did too much and none of it well.  I began to wish I’d get sick just so I had an excuse to not do something, a sure sign that I needed to take stock of my situation. 

What had me so busy?  See my post Do I have a head big enough for all those hats? 

In addition, I took on my biggest project of all - Showgirls of Las Vegas, a pictorial history of that Las Vegas icon.  It took six months of research and writing. 

Now that’s it is fall, my favorite time of the year, I’m a little less stressed.  The book is now in the hands of the publisher and is scheduled to be available February 2013 from Arcadia Publishing.  My classes are running smoothly.  I waited until the last week to get a new class up and running, which caused me panic that I wouldn’t get it done, but it turned out better than expected.  So, I’ve lightened my work project load a little, although I feel a bit guilty that I have relegated some of my obligations to the back burner. 

What’s next is what really has me excited.  This spring I’m headed to the part of the country that John and I hope to settle in soon.  It’s not so easy to find jobs or a place to live sitting in front of a computer.  Maybe it works for some but for me I have the best luck with opportunity when I am where I want to be.  So, I’m heading north in a few months to check out places to live and work. 

That’s all I’ll share for now; don’t want to give it all away at once.  I will, however, keep posting about the steps taken to realize a dream I’ve long held – that of getting out of the desert and to a place where I am more content: where the seasons change four times a year, where the soil is rich and yielding, and where my soul finally feels at home.

And another journey begins………………….


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Remembering Sharon

There is a little less laughter in my world when one of the funniest people I have ever known left it on August 4, 2006.  My sister-in-law, Sharon Mitchell Gioia died of breast cancer that day.  There was no laughter, only tears and a profound sense of great loss as we stood at her bedside and said goodbye.  Although it’s been six years, I can still hear that raucous laugh, hear that unique voice, and feel the love she had for the only thing that mattered to Sharon, her family.
I remember our first meeting, when my brother introduced Sharon to me in the little town of East Aurora, New York.  When my brother gets excited about something, his happiness cannot be contained.  Anyone in the presence of this couple could tell that there was something magical brewing.  Michael could not take his eyes off of her, and who could?  She had a pixie face framed by the most gorgeous long straight hair.  She was shy, but seemed to bask in the love enveloping her.  It was no surprise to me that the two would eventually marry.

I didn’t get a chance to attend the wedding.  In fact, living 3,000 miles away I missed a lot of the wonderful events that took place with my family, especially the birth of my nieces.  Maple came first, named in honor of the beautiful and magnificent tree; then Patricia, named for our late mother.  My brother is the first to tell anyone that it was this family unit that he was so fortunate to secure that saved his life and sanity many times over.  And it was Sharon that was the rock.
When I first met Sharon, I found her to have a timid voice.  My brother has an overwhelming personality but over the course of their 25-year-marriage, Sharon emerged as a strong, stoic woman and a force to be reckoned with.  When my brother’s health became an issue, Sharon knew just what was needed to keep him safe.  When she perceived a threat to her family or those she loved, she would assert her authority.  Once at a family gathering my husband and brother Jim tried to throw Michael in the pool, clothes, wallet and all.  Sharon singlehandedly rescued her husband before the he hit water.  Afterward, we laughed because Sharon said matter-of-factly that she wasn’t worried about Michael getting wet, it was the wallet she was protecting.
I have postcards, letters, and cards written to me by Sharon.  She was a most talented artist and would often put illustrations on her correspondence and then tell me about her day, share with me her feelings, express her gladness at being alive.  I treasure those mementos of someone so dear that is no longer here.
The 3 sisters-in-law: Sharon, Lisa, Kathy
(that's Patricia hugging Mom's leg)
Breast cancer took away my friend and cherished family member.  But it can’t take away the memories I have of her.  I find comfort in knowing that with her husband and daughters we can remember our Sharon and once again, thanks to her, bring some laughter into our world. 


Here is a message from Sharon in one of the letters she sent.  It is a message that helps me to remember the times we shared, rather than dwell on what I am missing:



Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm Back............................

Happy Anniversary to Me and Las Vegas
This month makes twenty-five years that I will have lived in Las Vegas.  For someone who has a hard time settling down, I find it almost inconceivable that I have lived in one place for so long.  Granted, practically ever since I got here I have been trying to leave.  Twice I packed up and left, both times heading to my home in western New York, only to come back to Las Vegas.  In my head I’ve been far away from this desert I have called home for so long, but why is it that I have never, ever felt like I belong here?  
Heading to New York in 1992.  We stayed 6 months this time
What brought me here in the first place?  Like many others it was an opportunity. 
In 1987 I heard about a little zoo in Las Vegas that was looking to hire.  I sent my resume, which by that time was limited as I had not worked much in the animal field since I’d graduated from the EATM program in 1979.  I didn’t expect much but kept my fingers crossed.  Surprisingly, a phone call came and I was invited for an interview.  I was hired and my job was to be assistant director and zookeeper.  The promises made by the director of the zoo were grandiose and exciting.  However, they never came to fruition.  In fact, after one year I had to leave that job; for so many reasons it was not right for me and I gave notice.

We had already purchased our first home so it looked like we were here for a while.  Las Vegas in all of these years has been very good to John and I; we opened a business, John has moved up the ranks in the casino business, and I fulfilled many a dream: two college degrees, work as an archaeologist and finally, as a successful and busy historian who is doing a lot of local history. Career-wise, we have given a lot of ourselves to Las Vegas and she has rewarded us well. Even better than that, I have met so many amazing whose friendships have been my lifeline.

Our first business: Acres of Animals Pet Store, 1989

View of the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon
during one of an archeological surveys 
It’s been tough for me to live without certain things that I miss: rain, lush green vegetation, friendly neighbors, and family close by.But I see some great adventures in the near future; John and I are making plans and I feel invigorated about the prospect of change. Now that I’ve put some projects to rest and promised myself not to take on more than I can handle, I am back to writing my blog posts.

Stay tuned as I write the new chapters of my life. I think it’s going to be an interesting!

Bridge to Somewhere.........................