Word Water Day in Baja

World Water Day, observed on March 22 was established to bring attention to the condition of the world’s water supply. The theme for 2014 is water and energy use, however, the biggest issue in my hometown in Baja, Mexico is water pollution, and so that’s what this post deals with. My partner Jim and I moved to Baja California, Mexico, in 1997 where we found bottled water a big deal because many people, immigrants and natives alike, even now feel the water supply is not up to standard. As an example: Once we were playing bridge at someone else’s house when I turned on the faucet for a glass of water. Even though the water is potable, the hostess was alarmed. She was sure I’d come down with a horrible illness. Since she was playing a hand at the time, I drank the tap water—with no bad results. The belief that the city water is polluted goes back to earlier times when it did cause intestinal problems. Yet I can attest to the fact that after visiting the area for about a […]
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Who Says You Need a Guy on Valentine’s Day?

Who says you need to have a man around to be happy on Valentine's Day? That's what best friends are for! Forget sitting at home in your pajamas alone. Grab your best gal pal for a fabulous guy-free Valentine's Day. Get dressed for the occasion Whether the two of you wear Valentine's Day themed pajamas, you go the anti-Valentine route with anything other than pink, red, and white, or you sport your best Valentine's Day ensemble, there's no reason you shouldn't dress for the occasion. Make some drinks Drinks are a must for girls night. cosmos, margaritas, or martinis anyone? Don't forget the garnishes, such as salt, olives, and cherries. Whip up some delicious eats Buffalo chicken meatballs, penne and vodka sauce, and honey garlic chicken are just some of the mouth-watering recipes you and your friend can whip up on Valentine's Day. You'll be eating just as well as those in a restaurant, just without the heavy price tag.  Share bad date stories We've all had at […]
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My Funny Valentine

"I kissed Anthony, it felt like fireworks and loveliness! It was like drinking hot chocolate in front of a fire after playing outside in the snow." That was the text message I received a few days ago from my 19-year-old cousin, Emily. A freshman in college, she's head over heels for a new boy. The text made me smile. I remember those days – a time when nothing else seemed to matter except spending time together, even if it meant doing nothing. And, let's face it, as a broke college student nothing was a very popular pastime. Time flew by and stood still at the same time. Every kiss felt amazing and every second apart felt like a thousand years. Emily is going to have an incredible Valentine’s Day this year. I'm 33 and married so I have over a decade of experience on my cousin and that's probably why she confides in me with text messages like that. Plus, she thinks I’m still young enough to be cool, so I’ve got that going for me. If I were to send a text message back to […]
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How single BFFs can take on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just as much about friendship as it is about love. Besides, everyone who’s ever had a best friend knows that a special kind of love exists between buddies. When my BFF and I find ourselves single on February 14, there are a few different ways we like to celebrate the holiday: Tackle Your Bucket List! Have you guys always talked about skydiving but have never gotten around to it? Today’s a great day to take on some things you’ve always wanted to do. So attend a burlesque class or take that road trip. How about speed dating on a chair lift? Go out! It’s a misconception that all restaurants and clubs will be packed with couples today. Getting dolled up and having an evening out with your best friend does a girl good, and there are actually many singles events held on Valentine’s Day in cities across the U.S. Make fancy cocktails! Cap off the day by flaunting your mixology skills. If you’re looking for delicious drinks but are concerned about […]
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Creating an unforgettable Valentine’s Day for couples

Forget the typical dinner and a movie, this year you and your significant other are going to make cupid proud. Whether your relationship is fairly new or has passed the test of time, you and your loved one won’t forget this Valentine’s Day when you give the following a try: Doing a ‘selfie’ photoshoot Document your love and practice your artistic talent with the selfie, or rather, the “couplie”. Grab your camera or phone and take photos with your guy at cool spots around the area that mean something to both of you. Don’t be afraid to snap a few silly ones! Some cities even have cutest couple photo contests this time of year, so pick out your best pics for submission. Taking a class Going out to learn some new skills on Valentine’s Day is a great way to break from the norm. Take a cooking class, learn to samba, make some art together— there are a lot of options out there. Getting an adrenaline rush Save the cuddling for later and venture out to explore […]
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AWESOME

March 10th is International Day of Awesomeness. On that day I’d like to honor my partner by telling him how awesome he is. Here’s what I’ll say: When we started to live together, I had a few books published and wanted to write full-time. You made a commitment. You’d pay all the expenses, and I could simply write. When my work started to sell, we’d share the bills. It’s incredible you had that much faith in my ability. And, you were willing to wait as long as it took. What makes it more remarkable is that you embraced my three young kids, who were living with me. One day I read that Peter, Paul and Mary were going to appear in San Diego. They’d been among my favorites for years, and so it was with regret I knew I couldn’t afford to attend this local concert. A few days later you asked if I was ready to go. “Where?” I asked. “You’ll know when we get there,” you said. Of course, it was the Peter, Paul and Mary concert. A minor gesture? Others might think […]
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Love Your Pet Day!

The year my boyfriend (now husband) gave me a litter box for my birthday, I knew things were getting serious. We were taking our love to a new level by bringing a pet into our relationship and loving him unconditionally. This meant that no matter what life brought our way – new jobs, marriage, a new home, a baby, this little guy was our forever responsibility. The following weekend we went to the local animal shelter together and picked out a kitten. We were already living together in a small one bedroom apartment, but the gift of a pet meant we were becoming a family. Due to policy, we were not allowed to take Ollie home that day. The shelter had to do a number of reference checks to make sure we were going to be good parents. Although it was extremely hard to wait, I liked that the screening process was so thorough and the sweet animals were only given to good homes. I got a call from the shelter on a Friday morning and they said we could pick Ollie up any time that day. I was […]
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The Benefits of Bubble Baths

“You’re willing to have a tiny bathroom just so you can take bubble baths?!”  When my boyfriend and I renovated our apartment recently that was a question we heard a lot.  It seems like everyone thinks you need to maximize space.  They’ve got a point, but for us, having a bathtub really was worth the sacrifice.  I could be sensible and say it’s because there are numerous health benefits of warm baths, as articles like this one point out.  But I have to confess that what motivated us was mostly bubble baths. Bubble baths are more than just a luxurious soak in sudsy water; they can really help your relationship!  For example, sometimes I’ll come in from a long day at work and see that my boyfriend has once again left his dirty socks on the floor, instead of just putting them in the laundry hamper.  With my already frazzled nerves, now would not be a good time to talk to him about this.  Instead, I head for the bathroom and take a nice, soothing bubble bath.  […]
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New Year’s Reflections

New Year’s Day is a moment for reflection and hope.  My family lives in South Africa, where the weather is warm, and New Year’s Day means lounging by the pool.  But, this year we are 10,000 miles away, in my home town, in a world covered in snow.  New Year’s Day cannot be spent outside.  I set out to discover new activities to occupy us, choosing my younger son to help me plan for New Year’s Day.  We drove to the local mall, in the midst of the Christmas fury to find a puzzle, and all the things a family needs to entertain themselves indoors for a day of private reflection amidst family fun. Battling the crowds, and my son’s amazement at how different life is in the States, we shopped for a puzzle.  Despite the frenzy erupting around us, we took our time.  Oscar wanted a puzzle that everyone would appreciate, and we searched diligently for the best fit.  The puzzle was just the beginning; we also shopped for delicious snacks and some poster board.  He […]
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Time is a Gift

How many times have I wrapped up yet another sweater or book that was carefully chosen as a gift for a loved one and felt somehow that I was getting it all wrong? Not that my husband wouldn’t like the color of the sweater, or my friend would find the book dull, but the idea of a real gift was somehow lost by the ordinariness of just buying something. Sometimes I made things, knit, sewn or cooked by my own hands, yet still it was just something that eventually made it to the back reaches of drawers or cupboards, mostly forgotten, even if much appreciated. In this crazy world we live in, hamstrung by work, family and money obligations, the most valuable currency we have is that of time. Spending the equivalent of a day’s wages on a gift may mean a big financial sacrifice, but taking the day off to celebrate love, rekindle friendship, to laugh and to connect in person with the people who matter most is usually an even bigger challenge. I decided that I wanted to find time instead […]
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