Today I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with a woman who has been my client since 1993.

I have always admired her feisty approach to business, the small streak of premature gray that so elegantly graces her hair, and her ability to always make me laugh.

I walked through the glass doors into the familiar surroundings and smells of the medical world. My timing was precise.

There she was. Walking carefully to her office ... aided by a cane.

It ripped at my heart.

Just over a year ago I sat in her office as she regaled me with the wonderful stories of her right hip replacement surgery and her speedy recovery ... even to the post-surgical adventures in the northland woods of Arizona.

Today, I heard no such stories.

Instead I watched as she sat down with the care affected by pain.

With perhaps a bit of fear, a great deal of frustration ... and large amount of anger, she explained that her left hip replacement had been done in November. Every moment after that surgery was ... and is ... agony for her.

Just over 30 days after her surgery, she received a call from her surgeon:

"A.? This is Dr. X. How are you feeling? Any pain?"

She told him the truth.

He then revealed the news: the hip he had placed in her body just over a month before was being recalled. Yes, recalled.

The manufacturer had skipped a step in manufacturing and now, this woman ... my gentle, but quick-as-a-whip client, must undergo hours more surgery. Weeks of recuperation. Months of rehabilitation.

I walked out of there humbled by her grace. I walked out of there smiling at her humor. I walked out of there admiring her strength.

And thanking my God for all that I have been given in this life, I walked out of there.


Tiger-mania has struck Phoenix.

You cannot turn on the teevee without seeing his face, hearing his name ... they are even doing "breaking news" (interrupting regularly scheduled programming) to bring updates on the scores at the Phoenix Open.

Which, of course, always includes Tiger data.

Two years ago, Tiger played in the Phoenix Open. He was followed ... from hole to hole ... by a man who became increasingly intoxicated, eventually loudly heckling Tiger.

Finally, the "fan" went too far forcing security to wrestle him to the ground. They found a loaded gun hidden in his golf-watching attire.

Last year began new security measures at the Phoenix Open. No cameras, pagers, cell phones. No food or drink (except clear water bottles) can be carried in. Women's purses are checked. Backpacks are checked. They even have the metal detecting wands.

The 19th hole equivalent (a bar, for you non-golfers) ... The Bird's Nest ... was moved off site to further reduce alcohol related rowdiness.

The big question last month and in the first couple of weeks in January: would Tiger come back?

[He passed on the Open last year citing poor security]

Tiger returned to the Phoenix Open this year.

And now security has been breached once again. The Open folks are embarrassed. They fear Tiger might not return.

[*insert hushed golf announcer voice*]

On Tiger's 18th hole, the 9th green, Tiger stands ... lines up his putt. The crowds quiets.

Then ... out of the sky it comes ... an orange. Yep, the kind that made SunKist famous ... comes flying across the green and bounces off the course.

Tiger misses his birdie putt and settles for par.

The 15-year old who tossed the orange is grabbed by security and later led away in handcuffs.

Considering all of the security measures, I could not help but wonder where the orange "missile" came from.

Tiger's response, "As long as they got him. It could have been dangerous if it would have hit somebody."

Tiger-mania is here ... at least 'til Sunday.

I am very pleased to report that the stolen images [see 01.24.01 post below] have been removed.


I am sitting here shaking my head in amazement. Baffled at the audacity of some people.

This site, SweetAspirations.com, and my design site, DesignAspirations.com, are 100% constructed by and designed by and created by me.

Sure, the design is nothing more than little boxes, dots, grids, gradients and lines ... but the result from which these elements were put together is my intellectual property.

Why is that so doggoned hard for people to understand?

Yes, the photos used in my navigational elements [in SweetAspirations.com] are images from around Arizona that I have altered and used under purchased license from ArtToday.

I indicate that the images (and have from the very beginning of this incarnation) of Arizona do indeed come from ArtToday and I link to them ... as per their Terms of Service.

Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, I came across a site that has taken my original art from both SweetAspirations.com and DesignAspirations.com, colorized it RED ... and put it up on their site claiming it with their copyright.


I emailed the violator with the legal "cease & desist" letter written by my attorney regarding the removal of my intellectual property.

The site owner just emailed me back.

She called me a "wannabe artist".

Um, what the f***?

My, my, my ... she takes MY work, colorizes it ... puts it on her uninspired, lame site ... and then calls me the "wannabe"?

Well, she is right. I am a "wannabe":

I wannabe honest and honorable. I wannabe ethical and forthright. I wannabe generous and kind. I wannabe a fighter pilot.

I wannabe sweet. After all, this IS Aspirations to Sweetness, no?

I may never live up to my own aspirations of "wannabe" ... but I know one thing, I never "wannabe" a thief.



United Parcel Service knocks.  I am handed the Amazon.com box.

Ten minutes later, I am listening to Steely Dan's "Two Against Nature".

Instant transportation:

My college daze, at Shaunessey's in Scottsdale ... listening to David Dodt's band covering "Black Cow" and "Deacon Blues". I am 20 again, drinking Foster's ... and dancing with complete abandon.

Seems like yesterday.

Instant reality: many, many yesterdays.

If you design web pages, may I suggest that you do the "upgrade all the browsers" dance?

I did. Rude awakenings indeed.

If you have not seen your site in Netscape 6 ... go take a look. You may be in for a surprise.

The Bloggie 2000 nominees are announced. Beautifully presented, Nikolai.

Oddservations based on their relativity:

in-sidi-ous: adj. [sic] more dangerous than seems apparent;
      characterized by treachery

treach-ery: noun betrayal of trust, faith or allegiance

al-le-giance: noun [sic] unwavering loyalty to one's friends

gos-sip: noun (def. 1b) a close friend

- Webster's New World College Dictionary, Third Edition


I like John Cusack.

Well, wait a minute. I do not know John Cusack.

Let's say I like the characters John Cusack has chosen to portray.

And then, I like his portrayal of these characters.

He plays unique, edgy, quirky, charming and oh-so-endearing men.

I had a dream that John Cusack and I had lunch at Taco Bell.

I awoke laughing and found myself doing a search on Cusack. Perhaps I was looking for some sort of parallel between Cusack and "run for the border".

I found no such serendipity, however I learned that John was born in Evanston, Illinois, and forgoes the whole Hollywood scene by living in Chicago. I like that.

After looking at his filmography, I sat in sheer amazement that his body of work includes 43 films with commitments to doing 15 more. He is 34 years old.

He has uttered two of my favorite movies lines:

"This place is fantastic; it's like "Gone With The Wind" on mescaline." - [as writer John Kelso referring to Savannah in Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil]

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." - [when asked what he wanted to do with his life as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything]

Yep, I like John Cusack.


I do not like to shop. I have stated that here before.

Except ...

I simply love office supply stores. I love looking at all of the organizational items and the smell of new stuff ... especially the reams of slick, clean paper ... clean palettes just waiting.

I guess it all just appeals to the anal retentive, perfectionist seeking compulsions that haunt me [*ahem* ... thanks Dad!).

With that divulgence before you, today I pulled out a brand new legal pad. I opened a new pack of "sticky notes", uncapped a new pen and set out a new pastel aqua highliter.

I feel like a kiddie preparing for the first day of school.

Why the "dance of the office products"?

I am studying. Turn off the teevee, no CD playing, complete silence studying.

Arrrgh. Oh my. It has been a long time since I attended university or actually studied the written word in books.

This, however, is important to me.

But no matter how cool my new office products are, my brain is still old, murky, requires a tune-up and needs a new wax job!


Some ramblings and notices:

Today we honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

..::|| "I have a dream." ||::..


Cute eh? As close to my likeness as possible. *wink*

"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes."

- Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne


"Anticipation ... it's making me wait, it's keeping me waiting ..."
- Carly Simon

There is something so painfully delightful about having to wait for that which brings us pleasure.

There is bliss in the ache of wanting.


Definitions are all relative to perspective.

Today, in Phoenix, it was cold.

Cold, for Phoenix ... that is.

The skies were gray and abundant with rain clouds. The trees bent against the brisk wind and the winter grasses rippled like emerald water.

There was a chill in the air.

Tonight, there is a celestial canopy of deep velvety charcoal only to be interrupted by lunar illuminated clouds lost to the storm of earlier today.

The moon dances on the damp rooftops leaving the illusion in deception of ice.

As I slip beneath the surface of the water, I watch the steam rise then disappear, laughing at the moon's static presence.

I lift my hand letting the droplets of jacuzzi water fall back to Earth and I am reminded of the brilliance of diamonds.

Body submerged, I feel the cold breeze against my brow ... lifting my hair.

Leaning back, I close my eyes and realize that perspective is all relative to how we define it.


Sense of smell is my exquisite friend ...

... the sweetly fragrant perfume of the desert after rain ... oak & cherry wood burning brightly in the fireplace ... freshly washed skin and hair (so sweet for the kissing) ... lavender candles warming my home and warming my spirit ... patchouli oil massaged into my sore shoulders ... soft cotton sheets scented with a favorite perfume ...

Rain has come to Phoenix tonight.

Each droplet falls like pure essence of frangipani and frankincense ... dancing on the leaves, rooftops, and windowpanes.

Clean. Pure. Fresh. The chilled winds of winter redolent with scent, memories ... and hope.

Oh, to bottle the sachet of Nature renewed!

Yes, sense of smell is my exquisite friend.


For those interested, Mom is getting stronger everyday. She is getting cranky now ... so we all know that means she is on that proverbial road to recovery! YAY Mom!

I am still gleaning through my email inbox. My, my my ....


Moments in time, rites of passage.

Growth, change, evolution ... learning.

Time passages.

In the New Year, I wish for you many things: love, health, friendship, understanding, compassion, empathy, decency, patience, prosperity and joy.

Seek individuality, explore creativity and experience charity.

In the New Year, it is my hope that each person will realize the cause and affect they have on the world:

"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

- Edward Everett -

Wishing you the happiest, brightest, and best in the year to come:


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