It’s hard for me to believe that it has been so long since my last blog post. Time has flown by. Choosing a topic to write about given everything that has been going on in the past few months is not an easy task. We’ve traveled to Ireland and had some heavy, beautiful, and fun experiences. It seems like I’ve resolved some big questions in my life. And then there’s just the daily living part of life.
Despite the myriad of topics floating around in my brain, the one that has had the most impact on me is having my path made clear. Over the past couple of years I have been in search mode. It’s the classic “I’m about to turn 40 and what am I doing with my life” theme. One day recently it was like I looked up and noticed that I had become surrounded with messages about finding purpose, stepping out on faith, taking risks, and other jargon aimed at giving someone the encouragement to do something better. Along with these messages are endless stories of (mostly) women that have created a financially successful business. The bloggers seem to have taken over the world. A great number of the innovative app developers are women or the companies are run by women (class pass, Yahoo!, Eventbrite, etc.). An endless number of interesting and creative ideas by women run through my Instagram feed. It is exciting and exhilarating to see what women are doing in today’s world. I can only imagine the triumph in the faces of all of the women in our past who have fought fiercely for this moment in time.
For some travelers, planning a trip is almost as enjoyable as the trip itself. It generates excitement and wonder. Nothing else can compare to this kind of freedom of exploration.
Recently, we met with the couple we are traveling with to Ireland to plan our itinerary. With our plane tickets purchased, we had the dates nailed down and the parameters of our schedule set. The next point of order was to decide where we were going to visit so we could make room reservations. For some people that like to live on the edge, booking the accommodations beforehand is too structured. In fact, a friend that I consulted about our trip arrived in Ireland without one night booked. She and her husband flew to Dublin, rented a car and just started driving. The couple stayed in Ireland for a month and never failed to find a place to rest for the night. Apparently, with the numerous bed and breakfasts in Ireland, this kind of travel is easy. For those of us that like to have it all laid out in advance, that is not something I could ever imagine doing.
Coming together to plan a trip is an opportunity to share a meal and catch up. It was our turn to host so we prepared dinner – our companions were in charge of the dessert. [For my husband, letting go of the dessert planning is akin to my trepidation in traveling to Ireland without accommodations—he had to make sure they were bringing something “good” and “not just fruit.” Needless to say, the homemade blackberry cobbler and Blue Bell ice cream met his expectations.] After a lovely meal, we got out our maps and the handy itinerary chart I prepared for everyone – a planning element I developed for our trip to London a few years ago. The chart is designed to plot out where you are staying each night and what to do in the morning and afternoon. Filling in the chart with a map and guide ensures efficiency in travel and sightseeing.
In researching for the book, Get Down (this is what I’m calling the book so I don’t just call it “the book”), I figured it would be a good idea to speak with the “players,” such as the prosecution team, defense counsel, judges, defendant, and possibly the police officers involved. Since this case occurred between 1985 and 1986, I’m quickly running into the age-old problem of researching long past events – death and dementia. At least with dementia, generally speaking, the oldest memories are the last to go.
When I was in first grade I entered into a contest to see how many books I could read over the summer. Ever the competitor, I read like a champ that summer. One of the books that I absolutely loved was Aesop’s Fables, a book of tales for children. The stories were so creative and wove a tale that always illustrated a moral. One of my favorite morals from the Fables is “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” It is derived from the story about the lion and the mouse. The lion reluctantly spares the mouse who later saves the lion by chewing threw the ropes ensnaring him.
Despite the fact that these Fables are for children, they are instructive at any age. Sometimes it feels like our world is spinning so fast that we have forgotten some of the simpler things in life, such as kindness. But kindness isn’t hard; it’s as simple as a smile or acknowledgement. The dictionary definition of kindness is “having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others.” Simple, right?
Some say coincidence where others say miracle – I fall in the miracle category. Coincidence just isn’t that exciting to me . . . I prefer to believe that everything happens for a reason.
Recently, I had a conversation with the universe about a book idea and whether I should pursue it. (I can’t say my idea because I don’t think it was . . . I believe that it was given to me, not created by me.) Part of the deal I made was that I would do all the work and the universe will take care of the results, whatever they are intended to be. I agreed to stop “thinking about” whether I should do it and just freaking do it. Once that was settled, the tiny miracles started to happen. In fact, one big fat miracle happened the day after my latest blog post about this “turning it over.”
Every since I can remember I have wanted to write a book. I guess that’s not an uncommon goal for us humans. In my daytime career, I read and write a great deal, but it does not satisfy my creative needs. I imagine it’s a bit like trying to scratch the travel itch by just reading about a place; it just doesn’t do the job – the sounds, smells, and experience can only be gained by going there.
A few years ago I moved into a smaller office to cut overhead (it was 2008). I moved into a closet with another attorney – our desks were literally 18 inches from one another. Luckily, he is a criminal defense attorney meaning that he spends more time at the courthouse than he does in the office. So, the place was practically mine. And then I added a paralegal to the closet . . . but that’s another story.
My new friend was / is a storyteller. One day, at my request for a good one, he wove a tale about a man that he represented who was wrongfully accused and almost convicted for a murder he didn’t commit. There are so many amazing and quirky parts to this story that I immediately thought, “This would make a great book, and I need to write it.”
A dear friend of mine recently opened a high-end spa in Dallas. In addition to her quality services, she has a retail section of luxurious apothecary items—all items you can find on her “Czech List,” which is derived from her name. Cool name, cool idea.
This concept of a list of things you love got me to thinking about my own list and what would it be called. I started with many attempts to incorporate my name – no play on words developed. But, my initial “B” provided an interesting opportunity that morphed into a “Be List.”
Ireland is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Partly because I have always been told that I have an Irish heritage – along with half of America! (More about that later . . . )
For me, one of the best parts of a trip is the planning stage. I’m a “learner” by nature and this gives me an excuse to research and learn about somewhere new. Books, guides, blogs and various travel websites all provide great fodder for research. This trip began by learning about the weather and the best time to visit Ireland – May through September with August being an optimal time to go. With our summer travel schedule, we couldn’t do August, but we also didn’t want to be there during the high season for tourists. We opted for May – the weather would be fair and the tourist levels would be low.
Thankfully, as of the writing of this post, I have (finally!) secured our accommodations for our trip to New York on October 22. Everything else – plane tickets, check; tickets to a show, check; reservation for dinner before the show, check – was done BEFORE we even had a place to stay.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit the South of France – in particular, the regions of Provence and the French Riviera. It evokes so many images – fields of lavender, the Mediterranean sea, and stone pathways through ancient cities lined with bougainvillea. The cities are iconic – St. Tropez, Cannes, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, and Nice. The magic of the SOF will delight anyone no matter what your interest: if you’re an art lover you can walk in the steps of Cezanne, Van Gogh and Picasso; if you love French food (and who doesn’t, really?), then you will find the land of mussels and fries, salad Nicoise, and lots of pastries; if you love the outdoors, there are beaches, bike paths, and mountains.