19. IF YOU HAD TO MOVE TO A STATE OR COUNTRY BESIDES THE ONE YOU CURRENTLY LIVE IN, WHERE WOULD YOU MOVE AND WHY?

This question fits well into the conversations being held about the results of tomorrow’s United States Presidential election. While everyone else who threatened to move to Canada packs their bags, I’ll be heading to a different region. Right now it’s a two-way tie between 2 locations where it’s a gift to be able to take up residence in either town.

PROVENCE, FRANCE

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Click on photo to book a room to stay here. I don’t earn commission but I might beat you to it!

To me, this charming yet sturdy medieval area offers a romantic lifestyle filled with rolling lavender fields, weekend mornings spent walking through narrow streets to wide-open markets only to return with a basket filled with fresh flowers, produce and meat. One’s country home truly may be a castle, as sturdy as the medieval ones sprinkled throughout the valleys.  Walking into the ruins of any castle sends you back in time in history.  

Life feels simpler, yet more luxurious when starting the day rising slowly from your cloud of down beds and comforters. Vibrant purple lavender covers the countryside, bright yellow sunflowers populate the fields, and lemon yellow, blue, green and red cover many tables in town.  At the same time, one may wander from their farmhouse into a Michelin starred restaurant that serves the region’s best vintage wines and unforgettable food.

SANTORINI, GREECE

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Rent this spot through airbnb by clicking on the photo. Save our spot in the chairs, I’ll grab wine!

A certain confidence comes from living on top of a volcanic eruption, separate from other parts of the world on this island in the Aegean Sea.  One feels closer to God (or the Gods, based on Greek Mythology) based on the altitude and the frequency of beautifully domed churches.  In other parts of the world the layout of the island, with literally so many people living on top of each other, could test even people’s strongest nerves. In Santorini, the proximity means you have others to appreciate nature’s gifts with – as witnessed by how the whole island seems to take a break during the transition from day to night celebrating each sunset.

One feasts like the Gods with fresh Greek salads, feta cheese, phyllo dough drizzled in honey, fresh meats and sea foods nourishing our bodies. Suddenly the sculptures of the Greek Gods seem accurate in their portrayal of health and strength and totally achievable… until the ouzo and baklava comes out.  

Both of these places slow life down unapologetically and remind us that we are fortunate to inhabit this Earth. They’ve both been around for ages so stop and sit, listen and learn a while.

So VOTE in the comments! Where should I go? Where would you go?
Would you stay in your country, but just visit another state/province/territory?
Where have you visited that was the strongest departure from where you live?

 

#Greece #Santorini #Provence #France #SouthofFrance #MedievalFarms #MarcandAngel #HackLife #Vote #Election2016

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47. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU NOTICED THE SOUND OF YOUR OWN BREATHING?

From the second I opened the office door late last week, the din of heavy traffic welcomed me as my boss headed directly towards me with a smile. I ducked out of his way waving pleasantries as he passed through. I’d deposited my purse in the drawer, unlocked the computer, when suddenly he reappeared.  Quickly, I jumped into the traffic flow to get some answers. Finally, upon returning to my desk, parking myself in the seat, a large cleansing breath escaped my lips startling me! I joked to my co-pilot, that it was far too early for that.

...and repeat.

…and repeat.

Apparently the distress and detox yoga dvd that my daughter and I did the night before couldn’t hold back the combination of work, life and finals. During the video, careful care was taken to feature the gal’s diaphragm demonstrating correct inhaling and exhaling form.  Apparently we weren’t focused enough on breathing because my daughter noticed, before I commented, that the video focused a majority of the time on the girl’s boobies – from every angle.

Finally, for my make-believe half-marathon training – which will come to life when my class work ends next Tuesday – I’ve started climbing the stairs at work when possible.  Even when I trained 6 days a week for a ½ ironman, stairs still always winded me.  So to counter this, I started my marathon breathing to climb the stairs.  Two quick breaths in, two quick breaths out and this results in me restoring the ability to speak faster than usual.

No, I get it, the point is, when did I just sit alone with myself and focus on my breathing? I also am aware that things will leap off the page to you when you need them the most. The tricky part is that one receives and applies the advice in a timely manner.  So today, you have my word, after finishing voiceover for one finals project and before diving into my draft of my finals paper for my other class, I will drop off my kids, retreat to my favorite corner of the world, let the sunshine hit my face, the caffeine course through my veins, and let the breaths come slow and steady.

Unlimited fresh air and perspective to inhale!

Unlimited fresh air and perspective to inhale!

Check out the other 50 Questions

DID YOU GET HIGHLIGHTS?

I have a friend who, whenever our group of gals get together, asks all of us what our highlights are. Most of us groan (somewhat jokingly), some leave the room, change the subject or act like we didn’t hear. Whether startled by the sudden change in perspective or perhaps uncomfortable with the idea of giving ourselves praise (after cheerleading every other cause and person we live with) we try our best to squeak one out. We can’t just use our get togethers with her and the gals as a highlight (although I do count every year of our 25+ year old friendships as highlights).

This year she pointed out that highlights may be lowlights since often the challenges we face are the greatest gifts. Also, she kept emphasizing that people must find their own voice, we can’t go along with something someone pointed out for us as a highlight.

With 2012 wrapping up, I thought this would be a great time to discuss my blogging highlights that occurred within this my first year!

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Highlights:
I wrote a lot! as opposed to previous years where I said “I will write,” I did write. While my plan wavered as I wandered, I still improved my quantity of writing by leaps and bounds from the last few years. It refreshed my spirit and worked my creative muscles a lot! The practice of purging then limiting my words fine tuned my writing.

People wandered by! 10,000+ people wandered along with me (WTF: Wow, Thanks Friends)! I’ve mentioned before how much I love round numbers, well hitting the 10,000 for me this past week was a great achievement! Some other great milestones were a high of 125 readers in one day and that I had no days with zero readers since the time where my posting became less frequent while applying for, financing and finishing my first semester of grad school. I thought making the decision to return to school would kill my blog but was so grateful for those who kept wandering across my path leading me to complete this, my 200th post!

I just renewed my URL for another year! I have things left to do and questions left to answer! I want to take my new outlook on life and explore many more wide open spaces.

I am grateful for everyone you wandering along with me and love to hear from you as well! Your words have often lead me to dig deeper or straight up inspired me!

So what does 2013 hold for you? I plan to do a 365 day project. Wanna do one with me? Do you have one or are you afraid of the commitment?

Mine has to be an abbreviated effort with school starting in the end of January, so consider doing a haiku a day with me!! Just a 3-line poem with 5-7-5 total syllables in the 3 lines. Either write in my comments when I post mine or write on your own blog and let me know when you do so we can support each other’s efforts!

Now the bad news… I won’t be posting my first one ’til the second week of January as I am on holiday and won’t be near reliable/affordable Internet til then.

Until then, I hope that your holiday festivities continue and that you have an unforgettable New Years!

With that, my parting haiku…
2012 ends,
Wandering with friends, I turn
To ask your highlights

Drop by next year!

27. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT TIME 5 YEARS AGO WHEN YOU WERE EXTREMELY UPSET? DOES IT REALLY MATTER NOW?

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Back then, I prepared to downsize homes for the 2nd time in 2 years. I LOVED moving a lot when younger – exploring new neighborhoods and setting up a new home.  While married, I accumulated a household and dragged around our baggage. Feeling the divorce “forced” the downsize, I stubbornly held onto stuff thinking when I’d proved that I survived, I’d have a full house to show it.  Hindsight reminds me that sending volumes of negativity into the universe, attracts negativity.

I’d hired movers that I used before (different franchise), scheduled for an afternoon start.  The hours-late movers were not starving, nor students, and debated putting it off until morning. I had to be out that day and I’d made it clear how much stuff on how many floors when I called. They asked if I’d be paying cash or credit card (shady) then conferred and began.  I calculated a few hours to load, drive 2 miles and a few more to unload.

7 hours later at 11pm – 2 hours after my ex calmed me down due to damage they caused to the place and my furniture – they finished loading.  They offered to store my furniture in their “warehouse” overnight to start fresh.  “Hell no, Continue!”

Flash-forward to 1am, I was in my new yard talking the police out of ticketing me because the truck parked on the wrong side of the road. Recognizing my un-neighborly first impression, I pleaded, “Single lady…don’t feel comfortable…” They relented, “Ma’am. Please put on the flashing blinkers.”

Looking back, the movers took the insult I felt from moving and added injury to everything I owned, even my independence prize – the first non-hand-me-down NEW couch I bought.  It sucked the wind from my sails.  Fortunately healing began with saint of an old landlord. Since he planned large fix-ups to prep for sale, the mover’s butt busted through his drywall became a minor patch job.  Starbucks cards to my neighbors allowed us to earn a new first impression.

Looking back, things don’t matter.  Sometimes it bothers me that the couch isn’t perfect on one arm.  It pleases me more how many “Big bed nights” the kids enjoyed with friends.  Those are invaluable!

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13. WOULD YOU BREAK THE LAW TO SAVE A LOVED ONE?

I’m knocking on wood and rubbing rabbit’s feet that since I’m answering this question in writing, the laws of attraction won’t bring me a big challenge to test my sincerity.   I don’t ever like to say things against people like swearing on their lives and such.  It’s not that I’m a liar, it’s just that I don’t feel like someone’s else’s life is mine to use to swear on.  So to dream up a scenario where I have to imagine breaking the law, as my loved one’s only chance of survival, makes me super uncomfortable, as if I’m tempting fate.

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Healing Heart

So, the answer is – it depends.  I absolutely confirm that there are two incidences where I’ve ignored traffic signals for the safety of my college girls and me.  Once, returning to campus, we got off a few exits too early in the wee hours.  We were lost in South Central and made the executive decision to cry if we had to if pulled over.  [For the record: That is not a guaranteed method of escaping tickets – in fact it’s never worked for me.] Another time was the first morning after the LA Riots started and as many girls as could fit in my Sentra and I were fleeing to San Diego.  On the way to the freeway a huge mob of people tore down the street and while they appeared to be heading towards a shop, we weren’t taking any chances so when the coast was clear we leaped across the road, home free!

Have I driven too fast getting one of us to the ER? Yes!

Did I park in the closer handicapped spots? No.

Do I realize that if I am speeding along that I increase the odds of fender benders. Yes.

If I knew my special someone would die without a kidney transplant, would I bump their name up to the top or buy a kidney on the black market? No.

I suppose the invisible line would be the separation between misdemeanors and harsher crimes.  I would do whatever it took to save loved ones.  But perhaps I’m being too literal.  Bottom line, I’d never intentionally harm another to save my family.

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I have to believe the soul would not want us breaking laws.

37. IF YOU JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS, WOULD YOU QUIT YOUR DAY JOB?

The cashier swore these tickets would win!

Winning a million dollars isn’t truly a million dollars. First, calculate cash up front brings it down to $500,000, then paying 50% taxes reduces it to $250,000 – no, I wouldn’t quit my job.

What I would do – all or some of these until I’ve spent $250,000:

1)    Invest half

2)    Put a down payment on a house

3)    Rescue a dog or two

4)    Buy Disneyland annual passes

5)    Ride the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to the northern-most part

6)    Disney cruise to Bahamas

With investing half, and not touching it, the money could grow quickly into college funds for my kids.  It would afford me more flexibility in where I’d work since I currently follow a 7-year plan to work at one of two private universities in my area to earn my children free tuition.  It’d afford me to take regular summer vacations, big or small, to build family memories.  What does your “Win a million list” have on it?

Money doesn't make the world go around... experiences do.

For a character comparison, let’s ponder winning the lottery that I actually bought a ticket for.  I limit myself from becoming a problem gambler by only playing the large lottery drawings for $100 million and above – as if winning 7 million ISN’T worth its weight in gold.  I know my odds fall from “Not even” to “Never in a million years!” with this strategy.  If I won the $241 million Mega Lottery – cash up front brings it down to $120.5, then 50% for taxes reduces it again to $60.25 million. Yes, I would give sufficient notice to quit my job.

Then I would:

1)    Invest half

2)    Donate to charities

3)    Pay cash for a house

4)    Rescue a dog or two but not until we returned from…

5)    2 Semesters at Sea – before my kids go to college. Anyone may book the 100-day around-the-world cruises. Two hemispheres means two semesters. Add in the cost of flying their dad to come spend weekends with them at ports around the world.

6)    I’d love to randomly reward kindness and goodness that I witness in strangers

7)    Set up more scholarships locally for kids to play sports

What would you do with $241 million dollars?