Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Superb weather, Wonderful lunches, Nice people

Before I write more about Harry Borgman's and my trip to Puerto Vallarta a few weeks ago I want to make an observation. And I think it concerns romance!

Who has decided that men should look unshaven to be sexy? First of all what woman would want to kiss a man with whisker stubble on his face and get whisker burn! And it must itch! I'll bet the men are not all that comfortable. Where's their pride? (Harry is always clean shaved!) In earlier days we would have said an unshaven man looked like a slob not a great lover. OK, now that I've put that complaint into cyberspace, what do you think? Is this really romantic!

Back to the romance of our trip to Puerto Vallarta. In Michigan where we live, we had had cold and snow for what seemed like forever. We had left my house at 3:30 a.m. to catch the plane and were exhausted when we arrived. But by two in the afternoon we were lunching at our favorite table on the beach. And the weather was so balmy I couldn't believe it. Only once in all the years I have visited this attractive town has the temperature dipped. About three years ago the high was in the 60s and hardly anyone had brought a wrap. I always bring a couple extra layers with me where ever I go but the people in bathing suits were not happy. Fortunately on this vacation the weather continued to be sunny and fabulous throughout the 10 days we were there.

This trip we mostly just laid back, even treating ourselves to a luncheon cocktail. I learned to adore a mango daiquri and Harry preferred a mango margarita. While we decided to eat at the hotel the first couple of days, we finally got ourselves together to go to the River Cafe another charming restaurant in downtown P.V. Between 1 and 4 p.m. you get two drinks for one. After our first visit there years ago when we each ordered a cocktail and each received two, we carefully only order one and get two. The River Cafe is located along the Cuale River and while it is not the most beautiful river I have ever seen, it is somehow soothing to sit near and watch it flowing toward the ocean. There is a little covered patio which extends out. It has four tables and we almost always try to sit there. It's also fun to look for iguanas. Since the Mexican government has started protecting the large lizard from soup pots, you more often see one than in earlier days. And for some reason there's almost always one or more who seem to like the area where the restaurant is, sometimes in a tree and sometimes on the ground. As we were sipping our delicious drinks, someone spotted one near the river. I jumped up to take a photo and managed to get his tail. See if you can find it in this picture.

Then along the river banks and under the bridges you'll find booths with every kind of souvenir imaginable. There are some attractive things such as clothing, purses, etc, but there's a lot of junk as well. It's buyer beware! What fun. However, there are so many things and they are all displayed together that it's difficult to really see all the various items.

After lunch we strolled toward the ocean where the city fathers have built a wonderful walkway along the water complete with local sculptures and more booths from which to buy. If you look closely you might find some interesting jewelry. Shortly after that we hailed a cab and went back to take a nap.

Well, I'm going to wind this post up for the day. I have lots more to tell you about our romantic trip to Puerto Vallarta but I'm running out of time. I need to get out and mow those darned dandelions which keep popping up. If you have any questions about this trip or romance in general please leave a comment at the end of this blog. And don't forget my book on romance which really works as I followed my own advice and met Harry after being single for over 23 years. I know that many women and men have had bad experiences with love and are afraid to try it again or are reluctant to leave their comfort zone. I personally interviewed over 50 couples who met and married in middle life. If you would like to buy one, leave a comment with your email and I'll contact you. This trip would not have been any fun by myself. It's a place for romance after all. I've had four going on five years of a delightful relationship that I wouldn't have had if I hadn't sent an email to a dating site where I saw Harry's profile. Internet dating can be safe if you follow the rules.

I'll be back soon. Gloria

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Harry and Gloria Go to Romantic Mexico!

Wow, it's been a while since I chatted with you. Harry, my romantic artist partner, (see my other blog: romanceafter50 link) and I went to Puerto Vallarta for 10 days. We have gone there every year since we met on the internet and the weather is almost always great. This year was especially nice with balmy breezes during the day and night. As I mentioned on the other blog, we decided to go at almost the last minute because of the great deals on travel and hotels. We took the 5:30 a.m. plane to Houston, changed planes and by 1:30 p.m. we were checked into the Fiesta Americana which we particularly like and always go there.Within about 15 minutes we were having mango daiquiris with lunch at our favorite table next to the beach. Unfortunately, we were also exhausted and spent the next two days recovering from the trip. The view from the balcony of our room was just wonderful and between naps we enjoyed looking over Bandaras Bay.

Normally there is only an hour difference between Michigan and Puerto Vallarta. However in our state we had just changed to Daylight Savings Time which I dislike intensely so there was a two hour difference. Just to make everything more confusing, Houston where we changed planes was in a different time zone. By the time we arrived we were totally confused. Of course we had had viturally no sleep the night before as we had ordered the taxi for 3:30 a.m. No wonder we were tired!

That evening we decided we were too tired to dine out and generally the hotel has excellent offerings. I was disappointed with the flounder that I had ordered although Harry was happy with his coconut shrimp. It still was a terrific evening. The TV is limited at the hotel so it wasn't long before we were would asleep.

The next morning I called my friend Pam who owns Rancho El Charro, the best horseback riding ranch there. (You can see her ranch if you click on the link for Rancho El Charro.) We have been friends for over 20 years and we look forward to seeing each other yearly. We couldn't make up our minds where to go for dinner so decided to stay at the hotel where an Italian style menu was offered. Here you see Pam on the left with Harry in the middle and that's me on the right. Again I was disappointed as the pasta was heavy and rather tasteless but it was great to see Pam. Frankly I was surprised at the rather mediocre food as in the past the dinners had been outstanding. (I'll tell you more about this in a future blog.)

While we had decided not to push ourselves dashing around although I did hope to develop another photo exhibit, we were anxious to have lunch at the River Cafe, one of our most favorite places. It soon became apparent to both of us that we were truly exhausted and truly out of shape! Well, tomorrow would be another day and I'll tell you all about our further adventures in Puerto Vallarta in my next post.

Your traveling friend, Gloria

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chocolate is the Food of Love

Well, I'm back! And just in time for Valentine's Day. This most romantic day can be wonderful or just plain disappointing if we have no sweetheart with which to share it or if your sweetheart doesn't spoil you just a bit. However, there is never a disappointment with chocolate!

There's a study reported by the BBC that suggests that melting a piece of chocolate in your mouth will produce an increase in brain activity and heart rate that is more intense than that produced by a passionate kiss and that the experience will last four times longer. Wow. Just think. If your honey isn't a first class kisser or if you haven't one available, just savor that piece of really rich dark chocolate.

Chocolate has been considered unhealthy for years probably due to the fat and sugar in it. Recently studies have shown that dark chocolate contains good antioxidants. Plus a small amount can lower your blood pressure a few points for a short time. If you have a bad cough another study suggests that if you melt a piece in your mouth and let it coat your throat, it may soothe it and stop your cough.

What is considered good chocolate? In earlier days dark chocolate containing 30 percent cacao solids was considered high quality. Nowadays dark chocolate should be at least 60 percent. The higher the percentage of chocolate, the less sugar. I like 85% cocoa in a bar labeled Excellence by Lindt, a Swiss maker of chocolate. I must warn you that many do not like this extra dark chocolate at first. It's an acquired taste like martinis. (By the way have you ever tried a chocolate martini? Be still my heart! See the end of this blog for the recipe!) But back to the Lindt chocolate bar. You can find it in a lower percentage such as 60 % as well. Today Lindt is so popular that you should be able to find the products at Walgreen's. The makers also use Bourbon Vanilla extracted from a type of orchid grown in Madagascar which is considered tops. I was surprised to find that other well known chocolatiers use soy emulsifiers which is a hydroginated vegetable stabilizer in place of cocao butter which is a slightly cheaper process.

If you like hot chocolate, be aware that Dutch chocolate which sounds as if it should be really good is just the opposite. Dutch chocolate is processed through alkali to make it easier to dissolve and to enhance the flavor. Unfortunately it also takes out most of the antioxidants and the flavonoids which are good for us. Both Hersey and Nestles make chocolate natural and Dutch processed. Just check the front of the packaging.

In many areas there are dedicated chocolate lovers and makers who create the most wonderful handmade delicacies. North of West Michigan there is Mimi Wheeler's shop on M-22 called the "Grocer's Daughter Chocolate" in Empire. She practices her art by using chocolate from Ecuador and is Rainforest Alliance certified. Her website is www.grocersdaughter.com.

In Wayland, MI you'll find "Awesome Chocolates", delicious handmade chocolates created by Henry Klok. He shares space with Daily Brews coffee shop. For more information you can call 269-792-2739.

"Sweetland Candies"has been a popular destination for years. The business was started 90 years ago by the family of co-owner John Naum Jr. Can you think of a more divine place to work? All candies are hand made in their full production area. For more information about Sweetland Candies call 616-363-3444.

In Grand Haven there's Patricia Christopher busy with her second career in her shop "chez Christopher." A retired school psychologist, she studied in Montreal at the Chocolate Academy and specializes in ganaches. You can find more information about her delicious products at her website: www.patriciaschocolate.com.

I must add one more destination for absolutely wonderful yummies. If you're looking for the best nuts and the best and SAFE peanut butter try "Koeze's". I've known about Koeze's for most of my life and in fact my late husband and I use to ride horseback with some of the Koeze boys many, many years ago, but I only recently realized how superior their nuts and chocolates were. A friend sent me a selection of mixed nuts and turtles for Christmas. Then I bought some nuts as a local store. Well, there is just no comparison. If you want to impress your sweetheart or treat yourself call Koeze's at 1-800-555-3909.

Incidently, a word of warning. Chocolate is very unhealthy for many animals including, cats, dogs, and horses to name just a few. They cannot digest the theobromine in the chocolate and can lead to death. So don't think you're giving them a treat if you love your pet.

I will suggest that if you want to spice up your romantic life, share some wonderful chocolate. And if you want to get your love in the mood, treat him/her to the best. My loving partner, Harry Borgman, and I are planning to take a tour to the above chocolate masters for our Valentine's treat. Then we are dining that evening with dear friends, Peg and Phil, at Markos, our favorite restaurant in Grand Rapids. Mark makes the best walleye we've even tasted. Then we'll finish the dinner with Markos' divine chocolate ganache tort.

Here's the recipe for a fabulous chocolate martini which we enjoy at Harry's and my favorite restaurant. Soe's, in the town of Sawyer in Southwest Michigan on the Red Arrow Highway. Kathleen, one of the co-owners and bartender extraordinaire, graciously shared it with us: 1-1/2 oz Vanilla Stoli, 1 oz Cream de Cocoa, 1 oz Bailey's. Shake Well. I would suggest only one if you plan to drive home!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Computer Not Cooperating, Tune In

Hi dear readers,

In the last couple weeks I have been experiencing a serious hard drive problem. My screen shakes so it's like trying to play tennis with each letter in each word. I've had it diagnosed at the local Apple store and it needs to go in for a tune up, so to speak. I hope to post at least one more blog before I take it in, but I never know when the computer will act up.

Please have patience and I'll be back in a couple weeks. In the meantime, enjoy a new cartoon by Harry Borgman, my partner. By the way, we just learned that his blog has been translated into Russian and by extension so have both of my blogs. Hope to be back soon. Gloria

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Astrological Forecast for Travel

In an earlier post I promised an occasional astrological forecast. Whether you believe in astrology or not, it's still fun to have a possible glimpse into the future. Remember, astrology is only what might happen to your plans. You will always have a choice of what you do. But sometimes, as when a planet is retrograde which our friendly astrologer Sheila explains below, your plans may or may not be easy to carry out. If you are forewarned, then you might be more persistent or you may be able to avoid a looming problem.

Since travel and/or romantic travel is frequently on our minds at the beginning of a new year, Sheila has fashioned a travel forecast for you. If you have any questions for her, click on 'comment' at the end of this blog and ask her.


Setting the date for your travels this year should include checking out the astrological aspects which might affect your plans. The day you leave and even the time is important. These aspects can result in a great vacation is you work with them in mind.

For instance, favorable lunar aspects, a sextile or trine between the moon and a ruling planet or sign, will be best just before the moon forms the aspect. A good aspect for Saturn, another influencing planet, would suggest a stable and predictable trip. Of course, Jupiter is the best, promising good luck and an abundance of everything you plan to do. Venus will bring romantic relationships, lots of social life, and relaxation. Mars will give you adventure and competition - and lots of action! Mercury favors communication and transportation; Uranus will spark surprises; Neptune is good for travel for the arts; and Pluto is great for sharing experiences and exploration.

Sometimes a planet will go retrograde which means it appears on a chart to be going backwards. When this happens, it is time to "re-do" things or to stay within the familiar pattern of actions you've done before. This is especially important with Mercury since it rules speed, distance, and transportation.

This year Mercury will be retrograde from January 11 to February 1. Trips taken with Mercury retrograde can be just fine, however I suggest that you stay with the paths you've taken before. Sometimes you may be surprised at what you missed on the last trip in the same location!

Mercury's retrogrades for 2009 will also be found from May 7 to May 30 and from September 7 to the 29th. It will retrograde one last time starting December 26 into the New Year through January 15, 2010. Waiting a week after Mercury begins to move forward again will open the door to new adventures and you will be in the clear.

Since the moon is in CANCER at the retrograde, CANCERIANS may want to tighten the budget since it's a lean year. A low key vacation may be the ticket. Be sure the car is in good running order. The best times for you to travel are in March (to a familiar place), June and July, and in September and October, again going back to the places you've been before.

GEMINIS need a little restraint on travel this year. How about a trip to a health spa or a visit to an old friend? Last minute details won't ruin anything and February, July, and October throughDecember are the best times for a trip.

LEOS are out of their usual element going low key on their travel this year. Reconnecting with old friends and reliving the good old days are great activities for LEO, but February and March are the best times for a trip. May and June may bring tight finance so it's better to wait until October to seek out a new adventure.

Sharing is going to be a challenge for ARIES all year and that includes sharing a destination space. From March through May, it would be best to stay in familiar places, perhaps a reunion with friends who have an interest in historical sites. TAURUS may long to find earthy connections and agricultural abundances. January and September are good times for such jaunts.

Family obligations may cause SCORPIOS to alter travel plans. If you can blend work with travel, you can take spontaneous trips from July through December if you can decide with whom to vacation! And just as with most of the other signs, VIRGOS will not have the normal range of opportunities to hit the road, but that minimum travel will be a great deterrent for any overspending. June and July are your best bets for vacationing.

This can be a great year for LIBRA for group travel with family and friends. Do something unusual! A good idea is to have everyone chip in. July and August are good for short range trips. SAGITTARIANS can expect some exciting adventures this year with many friends eager to join you. February through March is the best time, but be flexible as a job change is possible this year.

Last year was a rocky times for CAPRICORNS and it's not over yet. Look for some relaxation. This year will present some interesting opportunities that you should not be pass up. Travel alone in January if you must, but in July something big is coming your way. AQUARIANS shouldn't bypass a possible trip to a place you've long desired to go and it's a perfect time to share it with a good friend. February is a most favorable time as it will become hectic at the end of the year.

PISCES needs to tend to unfinished business this year and may have to travel to get it done. January will be the easiest time to accomplish this as long as it's not anything completely new. June, September and November are also good. Family issues may be prominent in August which could slow down travel plans.

VENUS is the next planet to go retrograde on March 6 and could affect romance. We'll check that out in the near future.

This may not be the most fabulous year in which to travel, but with careful planning and awareness of possible problems, you can still have a great vacation.

By the way, the Chinese New Year is January 26 at the time of the New Moon. Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Searching for Your Soulmate

There's a new book out about finding the perfect partner, a soul mate. I would suspect that if you are waiting for your soul mate you will have a very long wait. Most couples in my book who had previously been happily married and then widowed have found new, wonderful romances. Of course if you believe that there is that perfect man or woman out there for you who has to fit all of your specifications, you may be sadly disappointed.

The author also suggested that those looking for romance should imagine what the new partner should look like, to visualize in your mind a physical description. I disagree. A friend of mine was widowed and she was determined that she wouldn't date anyone who was bald or small in stature. She had numerous opportunities but refused every invitation to dinner or for a drink. It didn't matter to her how nice a man might be. If he wasn't tall, reasonably wealthy and distinguished looking, she wasn't interested. Consequently, she sat home alone most evenings.

I suggest you write down a list of characteristics which you would like to find in a person for a serious relationship. Someone who is kind? Likes animals? Enjoys travel? If you have a hobby or are concerned about the environment that's a place to start as well. An antique car show may be a good place to meet someone new but if you don't like antique cars don't go there. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life hanging around antique car shows?

Make your quest an adventure. If you expect to find that new romance every time you go to a party or to a singles dance or on every blind date, you will be continually discouraged and depressed. And sometimes it just takes time. One couple in my book met at Toastmaster's Club and dated once or twice. The relationship just didn't seem to take. They worked together on committees and attended the same social events, but it wasn't until several years later that they tried dating again. Eureka! They discovered this time there was magic in the match.

There are more than 50 ways that couples have met in "50 Ways to Find Romance after 50". Actually almost all examples are good for couples of any age. One popular and successful plan is going to class reunions. Not only do I have a couple in my book who did this, but I've since met several others who found romance with classmates years later.

I accidentally met my wonderful romance by following my own advice. I was a widow for over 23 years. Although I met numerous men at civic meetings and at functions where I was the photographer and while I dated for most of those years, I still hadn't discovered just the right man for me. One of the ways a couple in my book had met was through a dating service on the internet. At the time I began researching my material, there were few services on the web and far more mature women than men. After the book was published, I joined three dating groups to find out what was going on although by this time I really wasn't looking. I was busy marketing my book by giving numerous talks, being interviewed by radio hosts and continually looking for new information about romance, a subject I had been researching for over 30 years.

One of the first profiles I saw on the dating service was an artist, Harry Borgman. Bingo. After numerous emails, we met. Within weeks we were dating and having a great time. We still are! He is the cartoonist on this site and you can find his blogs and website on my "links".

So don't be discouraged. Romance may be waiting just around the corner.

If you are interested in my book, just leave a comment below this post and I'll get back to you or go to my website for my email. I'll get back to you.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Romance, Good Health, Great Travel in 2009

Happy New Year! Now is the time to plan what we would like to find, improve, and discover in 2009. A whole new start, so to speak. Forget about what we did or did not do last year. We have a clean slate on which we can write a new future for our romance game. It may be we wish to find a new romance. Perhaps we would like to improve our health which is really necessary to pursue the romance of anything. What about a little more glamour? How about romantic travel? There is certainly romance and beauty in many countries. You can fall in love with the beautiful wine country in California, in Italy, in France, for example. We can have a fabulous year ahead taking our romance road in a number of directions. When I met Harry on-line I opened a whole new world of excitement. But I must add that while single, I had a number of delightful experiences such as visiting my son in Singapore, going on a cruise with a dear girlfriend, and writing my book about romance. You cannot stop living until you find that elusive romance for which you have been seeking.

My major problem is finding the energy to do everything I want to do. In this blog I will explore health and give tips about what have helped me. I'm always looking for new make-up ideas and discus permanent eye liner which I absolutely love. As my photos are selling rather well, Harry (my honey) and I may plan a trip looking for new photo subjects for a new gallery show and I'll obviously keep you posted. The world can be your oyster if you try.

This is one of my favorite photos in my show of doorways and gateways in Mexico. During most of the year you can see them at the Scarlett Macaw Gallery in Sawyer, MI. However, eventually Harry and I plan to develop a site at which you can see the entire photo show as well as some of his wonderful photos of Lake Michigan and some beautiful handmade pottery and jewelry from talented artists in the area. I'll keep you posted. So much to do and so little time, it seems.

So let's begin! Find a pad or a spiral notebook in which to write your objectives. Is a new romance your major goal this year? How's your health? Do you like travel? Do you want to learn a new art or craft? What really is your heart's desire? Write your ideas down.

Let's discuss romance. What is it that you would like to find in your new friend with whom you would like to have a romance? In my case I wanted someone who liked cats. I had dated many men in the 23 years that I was a widow and they all were rather unexcited about cats - or other animals - all of which I love. Most thought I was an interesting date because I had been so many places and was a fairly well-known writer/photographer in the area. They liked to be with me because I knew so many people and almost always had a smile on my face. It's amazing how many people will respond to a warm smile. Oddly, I really had no description in my mind for my new romance. A friend of mine was widowed and she had a mental picture of how her date should look. Most emphatically the man had to have hair. I think that was because her late husband had been bald most of their married life. She was more interested in looks rather than fun. Sadly she refused dates because no one measured up to her expectations and she died alone.

I was looking for someone who, besides liking cats, enjoyed dining out and travel, was kind and who liked me. Unfortunately, sometimes some men really don't like women and I think the reverse is often true as well. We each want to be accepted for ourselves. Don't ever meet someone and then plan to make them over. It doesn't work. On the other hand, no one is perfect. I am certainly not. You can sometimes moderate a behavior, but people rarely change.

I was lucky. Not only does Harry like cats, he likes my rather large collection of shoes. Plus he seems to enjoy shopping with me for more! How perfect can one man be. He especially likes the sexy, high-heeled kind which I find attractive as well. The only problem is that our way of life is relatively casual so we have to plan occasions during which I can wear them. He even doesn't mind going to my favorite store, Chico's, at which I almost always find something new to wear. As we still cannot decide where to live - and it may well be that we will live a month at each home - I am dividing my shamefully but happily large wardrobe between his house and mine. I am really getting tired of packing each time I drive there.

Well, you have your assignment. Think about the person you would like to meet. Do you like horseback riding for instance? Do you prefer to stay home and read? Do you like yourself or what would you like to improve? How happy are you with your life or what would you like to change?

However, don't plan your whole future on meeting that perfect someone. Enjoy the journey on the romance road. You might find some fascinating people, places and activities along the way. Please let me know how you are doing. Leave me a comment at the bottom of this post.

There are wonderful adventures just waiting for us around the next corner.

Good luck! Your queen of romance, Gloria