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Name: Justine
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Justine, is a little bit more than you'd expect. This is where you are supposed to put your "elevator speech". What you'd say if you were in the elevator with somebody you wanted to connect with. I don't have an "elevator speech". If I ran smack-dab into one of my "heroes" I'd just have to smile and be polite and keep my yipper shut and that's probably for the best anyway!

Sunday, December 31, 2006
New Year's Eve
It's New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve morning really.

I've just watched the "Sunday Morning" show's tribute to those who passed this year. Including those who passed serving the country in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wonder if the crowd around the presidential bed in spirit and haunt "W". Perhaps they should. Perhaps they should haunt us all. Or perhaps, better yet, they should move on with their spirits to whatever comes next.

I tried to think if a part of me died this year. But not really. I just evolved, changed a lot.

This is the end of my last year in this house. I remember sitting down to watch the last sunset of the century over the river here. I remember a lot of things here.

When I started listing the things I look forward to in the new house, I realize this one is a lot about self abuse. (Stay with me my thoughts get wispy here.) I've lived in this house the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my life. (8.5 years) I've lived here on purpose because this is where I chose....nobody made me. Not really. Altough I stayed because of the rent. The rent was a lot cheaper than anywhere else because, while the view is nice, the amenities are non-existent.

I put up with the laundry-mat, 1.5 flights of stairs on the outside of the house, faulty electric, unreliable electric, no control over the thermostat, buying my own window air conditioning, fighting for parking, fighting for enough hot water to take a shower, having a kitchen I couldn't cook in, living with paper plates and cups......all of that I elected to put up with.

Why?

I'm finally asking myself that question. Partly because of rent. Partly because I didn't want to live in an apartment complex. Partly because "it was there". Partly because I didn't know any better. Partly because I didn't realize I could do any differently. Partly because....it was tme. It was appropriate to that season in my life.

Now that long, dry, hard season is at an end.

I think about what living here enabled me to do. With the money left over from the rent I was able to do a lot of things. Things I really needed to do.

Living here enabled me to make my two trips into the Taos Desert. My trip to the Santa Barbara retreat. My week in the writer's cottage near Ashland. It gave me those things. All of them taught me differnt things. Taos saved my life. Santa Barbara & Ashland helped me discover who I am. What I want. What I won't put up with.

Living here enabled me to go through some pretty harrowing medical therapy. Therapy I needed, just what I needed, just when I needed it. It wasn't easy, it wasn't fun. But it did it's work and I sheltered here while I went through it.

It's been just over a year since I completed the toughest part of the therapy. The last year has been the midterm exam to see how well it worked. What a hell raking year it's been too.

It was a year in October that Hurricane Wilma thrashed in on the gulf coast of Florida. It seems more like a life time ago. That was when I went and evacuated mom. The rest of the year has been spent relocating her, overhauling her house, running through piles of legal paperwork, transferring titles, listing properties for sale, fighting the community grass nazi's, wangling through assisted living applications, and wrestling through the worst decisions I've ever had to make.

Two weeks ago mom had a breakthrough moment. She was herself again. She held my hand and told me "I'm glad you moved me up here. I didn't want to be down there alone any more. I never knew if I had enough money. You've done the best for me. I'm lucky to have a daughter like you."

That was my Christmas miracle. That was a long way from her throwing a five pound bag of dog food at my head and calling me Judas. That was my mom, holding my hand while I cried, and her telling me everything was all right.

Exactly what I needed when I needed it.

That's what the last few years in this house have bought me.

Now it's time for me to have a washer and dryer, a kitchen I can cook in, an art studio, an office with all of my books out where I can get to them, a place to display my collections of "stuff" in an organized fashion, a point in time where I can stop saying "when I get a house" I'll be able to use this stuff.

The time has come to sigh and relax and move forward into a more abundant life. A life that fits.

There is a new job on the horizon. One where I don't have to accept what I can get. I know it's time for that too. I've worked long and hard for my job skills. This year marks 19 years in the computer "biz". I know I know what I'm doing at this point. Time to smile and take a bow and be a professional that's paid what she's worth. Time for the comfort of self-confidence.

Time for the next thing.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
One toke over the line......
I'm barreling down the highway in my big red vintage Cadillac convertable. The upholstery is an electric blue nagahyde. When the car sits still in the sun, the upholstery appears to pulse and vibrate on it's own. And that's without the radio on! This car has a mind of it's own. It's got a life of it's own.

The sound system is blaring "One Toke Over the Line". An homage to the man who sold me this Caddy in the first place. But I know next up is a calypso version of Eine Kleine Nacht Music, followed by Brian Setzer cranking out "Brand New Cadillac".

So you may be wondering, new house, new car, what's next? Well let me make this clear. The new house is real. The new car is metaphorical. I'm rocketing into the future with a new mindset and a new attitude.

That my friends is my new vintage convertable Caddy with the turquoise blue vinyl seats. We are cruising in out of the desert and onto the Vegas strip. Time to gamble. Time to play the poker machines and see the shows. Time to come in from the hot, dry, barren desert. Time to have some fun with life.

Please my friends. Don't think of this as a midlife crisis. Think of it as a first childhood. I'm picking up where I left off when I was ten years old. All the abusive adults are dead, reformed, or otherwise out of the way. There's nobody to please but myself. All the boogie men have been vanquished. After all the storms and battles, I woke up one morning lying in the middle of the desert. I've ridden camel back and Caddy back and now I'm pulling into oasis.

Whatddaya say? Let's check into our specially sound proofed suite at the Flamingo and hit the strip! We're in time for the breakfast buffet at the Bellagio. Then we can go swimming in the pool with the waterfall. Maybe we'll spring for our own poolside cabanna replete with cabanna boy. Tonight let's go catch Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo. Maybe tomorrow night we can go see Penn & Teller at the Rio or Chris Angel at the Planet Hollywood.

The Caddy's hummin'. and So AM I!
Monday, December 25, 2006
The Tuxedo Is Moving....
Last post was only a few weeks ago on Dec 7th, but there's been a lot going on since then.

The Tuxedo Inn is moving. Not on the web but to a new secret location in which to broadcast from.

We've bought a house. A brick rancher with a tiny yard and a fireplace. Domestica is about to be ours.

Christmas miracles have abounded for us. Break throughs with mom. The miracle of finding a house I can afford. The miracle of getting the home owner decide to replace the water heater before settlement. A job interview out of the blue.

Things are wow.

We've started packing. We're booking the movers tomorrow.

We've been with the same company for almost 19 years, but if we stay the next 11 until retirement, we will be so far behind in saving for retirement we won't be able to. In fact if we don't trade up, we will loose our house in seven years with the payment ramps up. We won't be able to live anywhere in the area. It's costing me money to stay with the company. Anf frankly my dear, they don't give a damn.

So it's a miracle time of year, a miracle time of life for us here at the Tuxedo Inn.

Good thing to, cause our life the last few years hasn't been satisfactory in the least.

We're thankful. I'm thankful for everything.

It is our genuine prayer that all our prep work is getting met with miracles and now is when our ship takes sail.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Wake up...time is running faster and faster every day and we don't want to see you miss anything you truly want to do on this ride round the sun.

Gloria In Excelsis Deo
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Breathe in breathe out, move on.
It's a December Thursday afternoon.

The weather's trying to decide if it's going to snow or rain or shine.

In December I play Jimmy Buffet music, in the house, in the car, at work. It's one of the few things that helps me hang on to sanity by my fingernails at this time of year. I'm really just a well aged beach baby...who wants to spend her days catching rays and drifting on the swells on an air mat.

Jimmy is singing right now, trying to calm me down. I'm trying to buy a house and I got 20 bucks and the change in my ashtray. My mom is being eaten alive by Alzheimers. I've used my rescue inhaler twice today.

Jimmy's got the only idea that's working for me now...so I'll share it with you.

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On
(Jimmy Buffett/Matt Betton)

I bought a cheap watch from the crazy man
Floating down Canal
It doesn’t use numbers or moving hands
It always just says now
Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And if I have trouble the warranty said
Breathe in breathe out move on ....................

According to my watch the time is now
The past is dead and gone
Don’t try to shake it just nod your head
Breathe in breathe out move on
Don’t try to explain it just bow your head
Breathe in breathe out move on

© 2005 Coral Reefer Music (BMI) & Vernon Dubusque Music (BMI)