Free Advice: On 'Invisibility'


I'm calling "Bullshit" on "Invisiblity over 50". 

That being said, I certainly understand the feeling of not being recognized and/or validated in a variety of social and professional settings from time to time but in the final analysis, my personal feelings of invisibility had very little to do with age and has everything to do with my state of mind and those people I come in contact with.

Socially: Have you ever walked into a room full of fabulous people all chit-chatting, laughing and apparently having a good time but knew that no one sees you or could care less if you were there or not?  Me too! Chances are, you don't really know these people and if you did, you probably wouldn't want to hang out with them anyway. When I'm in these situations, I either...

a) Leave.
b) Find someone who looks as uncomfortable as I do and ask ..."So, How do you know X and Y? " or "Are you originally from Dallas (or wherever)?"

I consider this example to be an opportunity to help out my fellow invisible wallflower.

Professionally: Have you ever been treated as inconsequential by a doctor or banker? Ha! Me too! Asking questions of an arrogant bastard has proven to be helpful - especially if they are talking at you and not with you..."I'm sorry but I'm not certain that you heard me, my question is..." and another good one is to "mirror" the offensive comment back to them so that the asshole can hear what you just heard..."So what you are saying to me is ..... Am I correct?"

Many times arrogant bastards are just that and sometimes they are just really poor communicators.

The moral to my story is that invisibility happens to all of us at one time or another. Whether you are in your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and beyond.

Our choice is to roll over and accept it or... not.
Thank you to my muses, Bobbie & Lorraine on this post.

Christmas 2012


To all of you out there who have not received a Christmas card from me 
- and that would be ...everyone, since I didn't send any this year
...this is it. 

As a nurse, I've had to work my share of Christmas shifts but it's what I have chosen as my profession and I'm good with it. Actually, I've always considered myself to be one of the lucky ones. Especially at Christmas-time.

It always been so easy for me to get caught up and into the hype of the holiday season - You know the drill...
  • Get the house decorated
  • Plan Christmas Dinner
  • Bake
  • Shopping
  • Gift Wrapping
  • Clean the house
  • etc.
But what I am most grateful for is the regular dose of 'reality-check' that I get from going to work. It  helps keep me grounded.

A couple of weeks ago, my elderly patient happened to be blind. She had lost her vision completely, three years before. As I was feeding her dinner, the story on the evening news was all about New York City's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. 

My patient said "Oh, how I wish I could see a Christmas tree one more time".

I described the tree to her as colorfully as I could. 

Since that night, I have paid a little more attention to the beauty and detail of the Christmas season.

I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.

Wishing you all a 
Very Merry Christmas, 
Happy Kwanzaa, 
Happy Hanukkah 
and a
Great New Year!

Costa Ricahhhh - Logistically Speaking


Our destination was Guanacaste Province, Hermosa Beach. We arrived into Daniel Oubert Airport in Liberia from Miami. The city of Liberia is about 1/2 hour drive from Hermosa Beach on the Pacific Coast.
  • Taxi fare was $55 USD. Caution: I had read somewhere that you should choose only taxis with a yellow emblem on the side. They are licensed.
  • Most tours include return transportation to/from your hotel.
  • Renting a car is an option. FYI: If you have an American Express card...reserve your car with it prior to arriving in Costa Rica - it insures the car for you.
  • Hiring a driver is an option too. I would think your hotel would know how to go about it.
We had heard that Costa Rican people were generally regarded as friendly and pleasant. We had no idea. Many refer to themselves as "Tico's".
  • Our transportation to the hotel had not shown up at the airport and I was in the midst of trying to figure out how to use the pay phone (its been a while) when a random Costa Rican man handed me his cell phone. How cool was that?
  • We met a Costa Rican guy on Hermosa Beach who was selling tours - 'Herson' was fluent in English and asked that we not reserve our tour with a down-payment but that he would trust us to meet him as promised.  We were not disappointed. 
Spanglish Tours
Herson Segura 
Mr. Something and the coconut guy

After visiting only two beaches while in Costa Rica, we are hardly expert in CR Beaches - that being said...Hermosa Beach and Coco Beach are comprised of volcanic sand. It's what gives these beaches their characteristic gray color.
Monkeys were in the trees on the beach every morning. Sunsets were spectacular. Vendors were everywhere, selling pottery, massages, tours, coconut water, etc. A simple "No, Gracias" usually did the trick - anything else and you were buried in whatever was being sold.

Case in point: I closed my eyes for a few minutes while basking in the shade on the beach, listening to the rhythmic sound of the surf when I heard my husband speaking Spanglish to someone. Reluctantly, I opened my eyes. Mr. Something was clinging to 6 ceramic pots of which we now own. He has trouble with saying "No, gracias".

We added tours once we got to Costa Rica. I needed to zip line, Mr Something needed to see the volcano, we wanted to snorkel. Done, done and done and then some.

Zip-line "Canopy Tours" are all the rage in Costa Rica. My fear of heights was quickly assuaged by a kind-hearted zip-line guide who allowed me to ride tandem with him, We zipped the Congo tour. $45 pp including return transportation from the hotel. 

 Me. Zipping. Click on the arrow to play the video.

Herson's full day private tour of the Arenal Volcano, Rio Fortuna Waterfall, Danaus Eco Center and a naturally fed hot water river included breakfast and lunch. $140 pp included return transportation to the hotel.
The river water was as hot as a Jacuzzi tub.
Catarmaran Tour. 130pm - Sunset. Included Snorkeling, Heavy snacks (Barbeque Chicken, chips, guacamole, open bar) $85 pp. included return transportation to the hotel.
 Kayaking - offered by our hotel.
 In the unlikely event of a Tsunami: 
"Do Not Scream..."

Good to know.

Costa Ricahhhh - Photo Gallery


Catarata Rio Fortuna

Admittedly, our recent trip to Costa Rica merely scratched the surface of this beautiful country as we limited our travel to The Guanacaste region on the Pacific side of Costa Rica but here's what we know...

1. You can feel free to drink the water.
2. Electrical outlets are the same as in the U.S.
3. Costa Rican (C.R.) currency are "Colones" - roughly speaking, 1000 Colones = 2 U.S. Dollars
4. If you want to get to the Pacific side of C.R. - fly into Liberia - there is a direct flight from Miami.

5. If you want to get to the Atlantic side - fly into San Jose.
6. Tipping is widely accepted and appreciated.

Look up...
Howler Monkey
Keep looking up... 
Anybody out there know what kind of bird this is?
Look down...
Poison Dart Frog
Look out...

Look around...

Arenal Volcano

Unusual tree bark
Ahhhh, Costa Rica.

Girls Trip 2010: Key West


Our Girls Trip this year was aboard Amante, docked in Key west Florida.

It was during our flight that I became familiar with a group of people known as "Parrotheads".
Two real-live 'Parrotheads' in the parking lot of  Key West's Hog's Breath Saloon

Colorfully dressed, flower wearing 50/60-somethings outfitted in flip-flops, Hawaiian shirts and shorts while clinging to their Margaritas during a somewhat eventful trip wasn't so bad. A generally laid-back, affable group, I couldn't help but imagine Jimmy Buffett tunes playing in their heads despite two aborted landing attempts in Key West, a subsequent return to Miami and an extensive delay on the ground. The Parrotheads seemed to take it all in stride - as long as alcohol was served - our flight attendant was all over it.

The following day, upon arrival in Key West the Parrotheads remained chipper. After all, they were attending the "The Meeting of The Minds" - an international Parrothead convention.where around 4,000 fine feathered friends "phlock" (their expression, not mine) to Key West annually. Now it seems the younger generation have been turned on to the Parrothead vibe. These 20/30 year-olds (dubbed "Parakeets") are a welcome addition to the club. .
So, just who are these Jimmy Buffet fans anyway? Exploring the lyrics to a few of his songs, it soon became clear...
Apparently, Parrotheads really like ...Jimmy Buffett, the tropical-beach-bum-lifestyle, alcohol and sunsets.

According to the Parrotheads in Paradise (PHIP) website, "The purpose of the organization is to promote the international network of Parrot Head Clubs as a humanitarian group sharing information and social activities for mutual benefit. The organization will engage in activities that are charitable, educational and that promote the general welfare of the community. Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc. is a Not-For-Profit Corporation, whose purpose is to assist in community and environmental concerns and provide a variety of social activities for people who are interested in the music of Jimmy Buffett and the tropical lifestyle he personifies".

Parrothead chapters can be found all over the US, Canada and Caribbean, Europe and Australia.

Who knew?

Paranoid in South America

Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...