Posted by: Kelly Lux | January 1, 2013

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

2012.  God, I thought it would never end.  But I made it through and now it’s time to look back.

If you notice, the title to this post is a little different than how that saying usually reads. That’s because my first thoughts about 2012 are not about the positives.

A recap:

January.  Rung in the New Year in Florida.  I was there to see my daughter play with her marching band in the Gator Bowl.  I made this trip alone because my husband chose not to go, and I was not happy about it.

February.  My husband moved out.  I took a business trip and a little side trip to Sand Key in Florida where I spent some time with my cousin Crissy.  February was probably the month that I started crying on a daily basis, several times a day.  Valentine’s Day is really a cruel, cruel day.  Convinced myself that not only did I have no husband, I also had no friends.

March.  Went to SxSW in Austin and while there I had a meltdown due to an errant text from my husband.   I almost flew home that day, but I stuck it out and somehow managed to have a (mostly) great time.  Started meeting with lawyers in a ‘collaborative divorce’ process.  Cried throughout every meeting.  Mackenzie got accepted to Syracuse and to Emerson in Boston.

April.  I started to really have some major anxiety and found myself barely functioning.  My anniversary was particularly tough.  I decided sometime during the month that I had to put the divorce process on hold because I couldn’t deal with it ~ at all.  I stopped talking to my sister because I was convinced she was betraying my confidence in her and talking about me to my husband behind my back.  Visited Emerson in Boston with Mackenzie.  She loved, I loved it.  It would have been a perfect school for her.  Felt incredibly awful when I had to tell her she couldn’t go because of no financial aid and no tuition exchange.

May.  Spent the month trying my hardest to change my husband’s mind, to no avail.  By the end of the month I decided to relent and agreed to put my house on the market.  At which time my husband told me he had cancer.  (now cancer-free, thank God).  Mackenzie went her senior ball and was so beautiful.  And I was so terribly sad about it everything.

June.  My house sold in three weeks.  Mackenzie graduated high school and shortly thereafter put a video out on FB and YouTube telling the world about her battle with Alopecia.  I was never so proud of her.  I spent my birthday alone and miserable, but I did plan a dinner for myself with friends and Mackenzie at my favorite restaurant.  That made me happy.

July.  Hosted Mackenzie’s graduation party by myself in my house which was now sold.  Started packing my life up.  After looking at houses for momths, decided to build a house.  Signed the contract and broke ground.  Realized I needed somewhere to live between the time I closed on my current house and moved into my new house.  Asked my Dad if I could move in with he and my mom until my house was done.  He told me I could move in, but I couldn’t bring my dogs.  Had an argument with my mother on 4th of July and stopped talking to her.

August.  Probably one of the most stressful, awful months of my life.  Went to California to be present at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories for the landing of Curiosity on Mars.  A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.  While I was there I had an unbelievable reaction to some medication I was taking that caused me to feel miserable for the majority of time I was there.  When I came back I started panicking about the amount of time I had to a) get Mackenzie read to move into SU, and b) move out of my house.  During this time it also became increasingly clear to me that I could not, under any circumstances, move in with my parents.  I started to feel like I had no family, and my family was treating my horribly, and no one cared at all.  Not sure where I was going, but I had to figure something out.  I made one email, and thanks to an amazing person in my life, I had somewhere to stay.  That was a great relief.  But the week I had to move Mackenzie into her dorm I had to turn around and be out of my house three days later.  I had an amazing amount of help from my aunt and uncle, who became like my surrogate parents and I’ll be forever grateful to them.  Moving out of a 3,500 sq ft house and downsizing to live in a 1,760 sq ft house is a major undertaking for anyone, least of all when you don’t want to sell your stuff and give away the rest.  I felt like I was dismantling my life and selling it off to the highest bidder.  My husband decided to help me the last weekend I was in my house.  We were able to get along, and actually went to dinner together.  Probably not a great idea, because I set myself up to believe maybe things could be different once I got in my new house.

I spent a lot of time at Green Lakes this fall.

I spent a lot of time at Green Lakes this fall.

September. Absolutely miserable.  Living alone for the first time in my life and in a place that wasn’t mine.  Mackenzie was away at college, my dogs were with my husband.  I was truly alone for the first time in my life ~ and against my will.  I spent the month avoiding being alone at the place I was staying.  No one ever visited me there.  Actually one person did, and we spent most of the night talking on the porch.  I ate too much and drank too much and drowned my sorrows every chance I got.  And I spent a lot of time burying myself in building my new house and searching the web for the perfect ‘everything.’  I was really counting on my house being a new beginning for me.

October.  I went to Seattle at the beginning of the month, and it was so beautiful.  I was having a good time by myself and spent a reaally nice time with some friends…until I totalled my rental car.  It was a perfect storm of not being familiar with the city and being totally distracted.  I would say this was about the lowest point of the year.  I was so shook up.  I saw the car crash into me and it was exceedingly violent.  I was OK, and probably because I saw it coming.  I’m convinced this was the result of a year of distraction, and it made me feel more alone than ever.  No one to call.  No one who cared.  All alone on the other side of the country, trying to deal with a traumatic event on my own.  Just a few days later (Even though I had told the person who’s place I was staying at that I would only need to be there until mid-momth), I fell apart when I was told that I needed to be out by the 15th.  My house wasn’t going to be done for at least a few more weeks and  I didn’t know what I was going to do.  Then I remembered my sister (my other sister) had told me I was welcome to stay with her if I needed to.  I called her and she welcomed me in until my house was done.  I enjoyed spending time with her and her family, and reconnecting in a way that we hadn’t in years.  And I shared with her my unhappiness about the way things had gone in my marriage, and my continuing inability to accept what had happened and how I still wanted it to be different.  I still wanted to fix it.  The last part of the month was also incredibly stressful as I waited for a closing date.  I’m not a patient person and this was brutal.

November.  Moved in on November 2 to my new home, which had turned out to be everything i wanted.  Got my dogs back.  Felt like I got my life back.  Now I was going to get my husband back.  But within a couple of weeks it became clear to me that wasn’t going to happen.  At the same time, I started being able to relax and really consider what had happened over the past year and what I wanted to happen in the future.  Mackenzie came home for a week at Thanksgiving, and we had Thanksgiving dinner at the new house.  My first Thanksgiving without a ‘partner’ and it was a rough one.  At some point in the month, or maybe late in October, my Dad reached out to me to make amends.  I ended up inviting my parents over Thanksgiving night, and I spoke to my mother for the first time in 4 months.  Noticed that I wasn’t crying every day anymore.

December.  The holidays and all that comes with it makes it very difficult for people who are alone.  Since I’ve been with someone since I was 18, I struggled with being alone, at the same time that I was learning to enjoy living by myself.  Sometime early in December, the sister who I hadn’t spoken to since April reached out to me.  Even though I swore up and down I would never speak to her again, for some reason I started thinking that maybe I should soften that stance.  That it was hurting me more than helping me to continue this, and that it was just too hard to not be ever able to see my family because I refused to be in the same room with her.  So after several extended emails on both sides, we met at my house.  And now things are mostly back to normal, and I’m very grateful for that.  Halfway through the month, I decided to ask my husband not to contact me anymore, because it was too hard for me.  I finally gave up on thinking that we were going to have any kind of relationship, and I started to look forward, instead of back.  Christmas Eve sucked because I have always had a party at my house since Mackenzie was 2 years old, and it was her and my favorite night of the year.  This year I was invited to my sister’s house.  Things have changed so much…everybody has little kids and my little kid is now grown up.  Christmas Eve was just tough…but Christmas day I felt better.  Didn’t hear from my husband on Christmas, not even a Merry Christmas text.  So, on the day after Christmas, I delievered a package to his door of a 10-page letter I had written two weeks earlier and stuffed in a drawer hoping things would miraculously change, along with notes, cards and pictures of the two of us I wanted to rid myself of.  I also told him in this note that I would give him the divorce he wanted.  This was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

So, would I go back and relive 2012? Not in a million years.  But did I learn an immense amount about myself, what I’m capable of, what I really want, and what really matters? Absolutely.

On January 1, 2014, I fully expect to recap an amazing year filled with new and exciting experiences and opportunities, love of friends and family, and growth in new directions.  While I now know I’m OK by myself, that (in the words of my therapist) *I’m not going to die*, I still want a special person in my life.  I still believe in love and I’m confident it will find me.

Hope your new year is everything you want it to be.  If you have thoughts about what 2012 meant to you, I’d love to hear them.

Oh, and I’m so much better off than I was a year ago.  Thank you to everyone who helped me get through 2012; you know who you are, and I’ll never forget how you were then when I needed you most.

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Posted by: Kelly Lux | November 24, 2010

2010: A Year to be Thankful for

I know it’s cliche, and I don’t really expect anyone to read this.  But I wanted to point out (mostly to myself) all the things I have to be grateful for.

2010 has been a year of changes for me. Major challenges as well as major triumphs.  Major disappointments as well as major surprises.

And while I have a list of ‘majors’, I’m also going to include some things that just occurred to me today.  But like I said, I’m doing this mostly for myself.  So here goes.  In no special order.

1.  I have to say that what comes to mind FIRST when I think about what I’m grateful for is that my daughter is healthy.  She spent a month in the hospital earlier this year with a severe depression.  She’s a differnt girl now, which means she is back to herself.  For that I am incredibly grateful.

2.  I started a new job this year.  A job I never dreamed I would have.  A job that found ME.  My job allows me to do every day the kind of work that I love: connecting and building relationships with people from all over the country/world.  What could be better?  I’m grateful for my amazing job.

3.  I’m grateful for my amazing colleagues.  I work with so many incredible people, I’m not even going to list them.  You know who you are.  You inspire me.  You help me be the best I can be.  You make me laugh.  And I learn so much from you every day.  I’m grateful for all of you.

4.  I’m grateful to have a husband who allows me to do all kinds of crazy things, at all kinds of crazy hours.   You make it possible for me to do what I do…if you weren’t supportive of my new job requirements, it would be almost impossible to succeed.

5.  I’m grateful for all the new friends I have met through twitter…and beyond.  Social media has become such a big part of my life over the past year and I have a whole bunch of talented and otherwise amazing friends because of it.  Some of you I haven’t even met yet ~ but I still consider you my friends.

6. I’m grateful to be educated, and to have the ability to make decisions that benefit myself and my family.  Not everyone has this privelige.

7.  People who get what they want make a conscious decision to do so.  I’m grateful for the fact that I’ve given up on denying myself due to the fact that I don’t feel that I’m worth it.  It’s all about the attitude.

8.  Today, I’m grateful to live in a country where I don’t have to worry about our neighbors to the North raining down devastation on my home at any moment.  I’m incredibly grateful to be an American…for all of our problems and idiotic politics, there really is no better place on Earth.

9.  I’m grateful for a nice dining room set.  I know this sounds silly, but it’s something I’ve always wanted, and now I have it.

10.  I’m grateful that my Mom joined facebook.  Before she did, I hadn’t spoken to her in three months.  Now that she’s my friend on FB, I’ve spoken to her three times this week.   Contrary to popular belief, facebook can bring families together.

11.  I’m grateful my daughter has been blessed with a special person in her life who knows all about her and loves her anyways.  He’s the answer to my prayers.  They didn’t make boys like that when I was in high school.

12.  I’m grateful for my siblings and for their children, those who are here and the one on the way.  My sisters, brother and I have been through some rough times in the past few years.  I couldn’t imagine life without them.

13.  One last thing I’m grateful for.  You.  If you got to the end of this very personal post, you must have a reason.  I hope something I wrote made you think about your own life, if just for a moment.  We all have a lot to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Posted by: Kelly Lux | June 26, 2010

Car Quest 2010: Day 2

Day 2.  I drove to Infiniti of Syracuse on West Genesee excited to drive a G35 or G37.   I got out of my car and looked at a few in the lot and then entered the showroom.  It was a ghost town.  I could have driven out of there with one of their cars and no one would know.  I wandered around for a few minutes and then left and stood out in the parking lot.  One of the service guys noticed me and went and talked to someone in the office (not me).  The guy from the office came out and said, “nobody’s helping you?” to which I responded, “that’s right.”  That guy disappeared, I hung around a few minutes more and then got back in my car.  Very. Disappointed.

Some of my friends say that I should have made an appointment.  I’m sorry, but car shopping should not be by appointment.  If they don’t have someone available to wait on me when I want to ask a question, that is really bad customer service.  I don’t have to make an appointment to go to Pottery Barn, do I?

Luckily, Crest Acura was right across the street.  I had already decided I didn’t want to drive the Acura, but since it was just across the street and I was so mad at Infiniti….

When I walked into their showroom, someone greeted me pretty quickly and then I was matched up with a salesperson, Bill, who was really nice.  Bill explained everything I ever wanted to know about Acura, never outright dissed another car manufacturer and gave me the straight scoop on a number of issues.  He took me out on three test drives, and I walked away very impressed.  Here’s what I drove on Friday:

2008 Acura TL – A very nice looking car with every amenity.  Nice ride, nice handling…and I like the entire Acura package.  Since I’ve driven Hondas forever, it’s very familiar to me.  Maybe not sporty enough, a little bit soft.  I really like the white color, with parchment leather.

2008 Acura TSX – Really like the look of this car.  Again, everything is standard on an Acura, so there is nothing missing.  Love the fact that it has heated seats!  This one was black with parchment leather.  Another color combo I like, but having had black cars in this climate, not really a fan of getting another one.  They look like they’ve been dipped in salt all winter.  This car was fun to drive…and actually was reminiscent of my little Civic Si in terms of pick up.  It’s a 4-cylinder V-tech engine which gets great gas mileage, probably close to 35 on the highway.  Another huge plus for me.

2008 Acura TSX

2008 Acura TSX

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Posted by: Kelly Lux | June 24, 2010

Car Quest 2010

In honor getting a new job, I am treating myself to a new car.  I have been driving around in a little Honda Civic si, a fun, sporty, economical car, for the past three years.  Now I’m ready for a REAL vehicle.

Could this be my next car?

Purchasing a car is a big decision.  But I’m on my own with this one.  Art (my husband) could care less about cars.  So I will get pretty much what I want, as long as I can make the payment.

So here are my requirements:

  • Sporty – have to like the ‘look’
  • Safe – needs to feel ‘solid’
  • Reliable – per Consumer Reports
  • Mileage in the high 20’s-30’s
  • Fun to Drive

Based on these requirements, I have decided to look at

There were a couple of other cars that were recommended to me (Acura TL, Lexus IS, Hyundai Sonata), and they are all very nice cars…but I just don’t like the look as well as these three.

I did, in fact, drive the Lexus IS today…and it was un-impressive.  Felt like I was driving my Dad’s car.  I told the BMW guy this, and he said that Mercedes & Lexus are ‘rider’s’ cars…and BMW’s are ‘driver’s’ cars.  I’m definitely in the latter category…and how often do I have a rider?

On the other hand, I drove three different BMW’s today: 328, 335 and 325 – in that order.  (I forgot to say earlier, that the car that I purchase will not be a brand new vehicle.  I have found over the years that a car that is one or two or even three years old is a much better deal than driving a new one off the showroom floor.)  Here’s my brief review of the cars I drove today at Burdick.

2007 BMW 328 – NICE car.  Nice feel to it – a little sporty.  Very roomy front and back, all of the accessories I’m looking for, and some I’m not.  Heated seats, all leather, fold-in side mirrors, etc.  Possibility.

2007 BMW 335 – AWESOME.  More HP and a VERY fun car to drive.  The salesperson told me that if I drove this one first, I wouldn’t want to drive the 328, and he was probably right.  Also, more expensive.  Possibility.

2006 BMW 325 – This one was a 6-speed manual.  Also a very fun car to drive..a little bit older.  Actually the same model as the 328, you can’t tell from the outside that they’re any different.

So, I’m not buying any of these particular cars.  I want an exterior color I like, with a complementary interior, not too many miles, etc.  I told them that I would love to have a white one with the tan interior.

So Matt, the guy who let me take out all these cars, is going to keep me informed when cars come in on lease.  He was a nice guy and I wouldn’t mind buying a car from him.

In the meantime, I’m going to go drive an Infiniti and an A4.

I’ll keep you posted.

Posted by: Kelly Lux | June 20, 2010

Of Missing Persons

The title of this blog post is the title of a Jackson Browne song that I chose to be played at my father’s memorial service in 2005.

Your father was a rounder
He played that rock and roll
A leaper and a bounder
Down to his gypsy soul
The music was his angel
And sorrow was his star
And those of us who follow
Might hope to reach as far

Those words described my father, as I saw him, and still do.

My father and I shared a love of Jackson Browne’s music and I see that as one of the most beautiful things he ever shared with me. We bonded over music in particular, although he shared, and passed on to me, his love of many other things as well.

On this particular Father’s Day, I am missing him, my father, who was not my Dad, but Jim. We were estranged from the time I was five until about thirteen and then he died when I was 43. We had 30 years together and for most of that time we were very close.

Meeting your Dad, really, for the first time when you’re 13 is kind of weird. Especially when your Dad is kind of, for lack of a better term, hippie. He loved to hang out with friends, listen to music and yes, drink and occasionally smoke pot. This was not the way I was brought up in my mother’s house. It was like being let into a strange new world of grownups that I never knew existed.

I immediately gravitated to my father’s music. He had an extensive album collection, a kick-ass set of speakers and some really awesome headphones, which I spent a lot of time wearing when I was at his house.

Jim liked a variety of music but gravitated mostly towards rock and blues, hence my introduction to ZZ Top, Led Zepellin, Eric Clapton, and Hot Tuna. It seems like in my teenage years, we both loved the same albums. So I went from being in love with Elton John and his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to The Eagles One of These Nights, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Jackson Brown’es Running on Empty. Those albums could be the soundtrack of my days with my father.

We went camping, took hikes, had great meals together, and listened to music. Even when I was older and married, we would spend many Friday nights at my father’s house for ‘Happy Hour’ and then dinner, always with music blaring in the background.

One of the things I will never forget about my father is how one day when we were listening to Billy Joel’s The Stranger album when I was about 16, he told me that the song Only the Good Die Young reminded him of me. You see, he and my mother had different versions of how teenage girls should be raised, and he thought I was way too repressed. So when I listened to the words

‘Come out Virginia, don’t let me wait
you Catholic girls start much too late…
I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints…
the sinners are much more fun’
Only the good die young’

they kind of became my mantra, for better or worse. And those words still have a lot of meaning for me.

I knew it was over for my father when the music stopped. The memories I have now of his last years are of silence. When his love of music died, so did he.

So, today, in honor of my father, who left me way too soon, I am going to listen to his music, to our music. And remember what a great Dad he really was.

Posted by: Kelly Lux | June 13, 2010

As American as….

Carmen Basilio (he of State Fair sausage sandwiches) and a vintage Cadillac.

There’s just something about a parade that get’s me all *verklempt.”

While I wasn’t exactly thrilled to drive to Canastota for the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade of Champions today, it turned out to be well worth it.

I didn’t realize until I was standing there with my camera waiting for the Baldwinsville Marching Band to pass by, that it’s the microcosm of America that surrounds them that makes parades so special.

Today’s parade included the usual Americana:  clowns, kids, dogs, smiling politicians, waving dairy princesses, men in kilts, etc.

But in addition to those familiar scenes were some of the boxing world’s most famous former contenders, riding by in convertibles of all stripes, and waving for the crowds.  I couldn’t help but notice the difference in them as they rolled past….the older ones were all white.  The younger ones were all black & hispanic.  Apparently there was a racial barrier in boxing as well as the rest of America back in the day.

In terms of the actual marching bands, some of them are piteous…and I won’t name names.  But no matter how bad they may sound, and how ragtag they may look,  I know from being a marching band parent, how much hard work they put into what they do.  These kids aren’t necessarily the most popular kids in the school, but I guarantee there are future leaders among them.

So I came to watch my daughter, but got a lesson in American culture.  While the world swirls around us, and the Gulf of Mexico is awash in crude oil, life in central New York goes on much as it always has.

Kids love parades.  Puppies are cute.  Firemen are brave.  Boxers are heroes. Marching bands make your heart swell.  And that’s what makes them all quintessentially American.

To see all my photos from today’s parade, click here.  Enjoy!

Posted by: Kelly Lux | March 28, 2010

Why I’m grateful for Twitter

Twitter is a great networking tool.  It’s also a great job-searching tool, recruiting tool, marketing tool, you name it.  I have been using Twitter for many of these functions for the past 14 months.  This past week, I used it for something I don’t normally:  emotional support.

I am positive person on Twitter.  I tweet about jobs & internships, career advice, networking, social media and a variety of other topics I find interesting.  You will find me cheerleading for my SU Orange, talking about my dogs and sharing other tidbits about my life.  What you won’t find me doing is complaining.  I have to admit that I find this one of the surest ways to get me to unfollow you ~ being negative on a regular basis.  On the other hand, if you are usually a positive tweeter and all of a sudden things go south, I become concerned.  This past fall one of the young, unemployed tweeters I follow became very depressed-sounding through her tweets, and it was unsettling.  I sent her several messages of encouragement and just tried to find out how things were going.  She was very appreciative and I have checked in with her again from time to time just to see what’s going on.  But I can tell from her tweets that she’s in a better place now.

Fast-forward to this past week.  I had an incredibly bad Wednesday; job and personal issues combined for an extremely challenging day.  I allowed myself to tweet the following:

I realized that yes, I had a bad day, but that they weren’t a common occurrence, so I was not just complaining, I was showing that I realize how fortunate I am and was grateful for that.  Over the next several minutes, I got these responses:

As you can see, most of these responses came within three minutes of my original tweet.  I was truly overwhelmed, especially since I didn’t really expect a response.  Three of these people I have met in real life, two I have had ongoing Twitter interactions with, but have never met in real life, and the other two I only connected with on Twitter during the previous week.  I cannot begin to tell you the feelings that these tweets brought on.  I felt like I truly had a support network that was there when I really needed them.  The sentiments were sincere and I greatly appreciated their kindness.

As much as I put myself out there on social media, I tend to keep a lot of things to myself in real life.  I don’t like to call up my friends and family and share my setbacks any more than I like to do that on Twitter.  So when I had this really crummy day, I felt that Twitter was a place where I could share something about myself without revealing too much, and just get it off my chest.  In return, I got an outpouring of support that made me feel a whole lot better.  I instantly thought, I’m going to write a blog post about this, because I think that this is one of the things that the world outside Twitter is missing in terms of what Twitter is all about.

Twitter is really a place to have conversations and build relationships.  In everyday life, the more engagement you have with an individual, the more likely you are to become invested in that person’s success.  This is true on Twitter as well.  A lot of people say to me, those aren’t ‘real’ relationships.  Well, in many ways they are.  If people share who they are on Twitter, that’s a lot more than some people do in real life.  It’s hard to come by people who are real, and on Twitter it’s usually easy to spot real from fake.  You gravitate towards, and follow, those who are like you in some way.  You follow people who make you laugh, or make you think, or make you see the world from a different perspective.  This is the community that I have on Twitter.  And the great thing about Twitter is that you can build your community to your liking, it’s all yours.

I got into Twitter with the idea that I would it be an asset to my professional life.  I can now, without hesitation, say that it has enhanced my personal life as well.  Twitter is a place where you can find anything you want; and last week I found just the right amount of support, right when I needed it most.  And for that, I’m #grateful.

Posted by: Kelly Lux | March 11, 2010

The Dino Sells Out

Art & I went to the Dinosaur BBQ this past weekend.  The Dinosaur has changed, and not for the better.

I have been a huge fan of the Dinosaur since it was little hole in the wall takeout place.  Back then, and for many of the incarnations that followed, the Dinosaur was a real, albeit accessible, biker bar.  It was a little grungy, a little dangerous feeling and had amazing music and food.  There were honest-to-God biker bouncers, like ‘TrashCan’, a great big guy who I remember from his days as bouncer at a real dive bar called Livingston’s that used to be in the space that was Antonio’s on North Salina Street.    The Dinosaur was small, dark and original.  And it was a real Syracuse place.  That’s what made it great back in the day.

The Dinosaur was the first restaurant I ever took my daughter to.  Her dad and I stopped there for lunch after her two-week checkup, and we put her car seat carrier right up on the table.  She slept through the entire visit.  We also have a picture of my daughter when she was about 2 1/2, posing outside the Dinosaur on one of the bikes, wearing a big biker’s helmet.  She loved to go look at the lineup outside on a summer day when we visited.  Her favorite food at the time was the Drunken Shrimp and the waitresses knew her by name.  And yes, I even had one of their black t-shirts, with the flames down the sleeves.

Over the years, as the Dinosaur expanded, I have continued to be a big fan and eaten there probably once a month.  When Art and I were dating, we went to the Dinosaur almost every Saturday night…it was our favorite place to hang out.

But something has happened to the Dinosaur over the past year.  I noticed it first when we went to the Dinosaur in Rochester.  We decided to visit last Fall when we knew that we had a few hours to kill in Rochester before my daughter’s marching band show.  I had never been there, so I was really excited to go and see what this other Dinosaur was like.

I didn’t care for it at all.  It was too big, it was too bright, it reminded me of every chain restaurant on the strip in Myrtle Beach.  It was like a cross between Outback and Dick’s Last Resort.  Not a biker bar at all.  Yes, the same BBQ could be had, but the atmosphere was non-existent.  This was a family restaurant.  I was sooooooooooo disappointed.

This past weekend, I got the same vibe at the Syracuse Dinosaur.  It has gotten so big and cleaned-up it’s no longer authentic.  Classic rock ~ not blues ~ was playing in the background!  Even the original coolers with the one-of-a-kind bumper stickers have been replaced by shiny new ones.  The bartenders look just like ones you can find in any Chili’s and the clientele is suspiciously of the boomer generation.  It used to be a place to see and be seen.  What happened to the Dinosaur of old?

I understand the need for businesses to change and grow, and I applaud the founders of the Dinosaur because they have done an amazing job positioning themselves in the market.  I’m just disappointed that one of my favorite places, that was so authentic for so long, seems to have succumbed to the relentless pursuit of homogeneity that plagues our entire country.  While I will continue to visit because I love the food, I will never again have the feeling that I once did when I was able to snag a coveted seat at the bar.    The Dinosaur has become a victim of its own success, and what was once one-of-a-kind, is now a brand made in boomer heaven.

Are you a Dinosaur fan? What do you think about the recent changes?  I’d love to have you share your opinion.

Posted by: Kelly Lux | March 8, 2010

20 days into Lent ~ Self-check

I started out giving up a few things for lent:

1)  Starbucks Monday – Friday

2)  Wine – Sunday – Thursday

3)  Pizza for Lunch

4)  Fried food

So how am I doing now that it’s been 20 days?

The fried food thing is not too hard.  I’ve bypassed the french fries and potato chips and fried calamari with no problem.   But do nacho chips count?  I did have some nachos at the Dinosaur this weekend.

I also went to Starbucks one day for a meeting and had one of the forbidden coffee drinks.  I’m not even sure what my thinking was on that one.  Just wanted it.

Then, last night I decided I wanted a glass of wine after dinner.  I had opened a bottle on Friday night and it was just sitting there…so there went my resolution not to drink wine.

No pizza for lunch at least!!

So, as I look at this, it doesn’t appear that I’ve been keeping my promises.  But I’m trying! and I think it is paying off already.  Maybe I’ll keep these resolutions even after Lent is over.

I would probably be labeled ‘impulsive’ by most people.  And this exercise in self-denial is part of my effort to curb those tendencies.  I am also not a rule follower.  Give me a rule and I’ll show you how to break it.  So what I’m finding is that making my own rules and then sticking to them is hard, but maybe not as hard.  Seriously, what are the consequences?  I was never going to be nominated for sainthood, so that’s not an issue.  I would be more concerned that I didn’t lose the few pounds that inspired these measures in the first place.  What I need is some real incentive ~ like a trip to Tuscany!  Then I could follow any rules you wanted!!

There you have it.  20 days to go and one report to come on Easter Sunday!

Posted by: Kelly Lux | March 1, 2010

Should you bite the hand that feeds you?

Bella Latte Lux

Probably not.  And in this case, definitely not. 

My dog Bella, whom this blog is named after, bit my 15-year-old daughter last night hard enough to leave several puncture wounds in her thumb.  Yes, there was blood, and a lot of screaming on the part of M (my daughter).  M was trying to take a rawhide chew out of Bella’s mouth when she started growling.  I told her to tell Bella to drop it, which she did several times.  Eventually Bella got quiet, which I thought meant she was getting ready to drop it.  Not so.  She all of  a sudden went crazy on her and wouldn’t let go of her thumb.  It happened so fast I couldn’t even tell you how we got Bella away from her. 

I’ve spoken to my resident Dog Whisperer (yes, I have one) and she told me that I should have pushed Bella off the couch the minute she started growling, told her no and made her drop it myself.  I was trying to see if Bella would listen to M, because she will usually drop things for me.  But apparently Bella thinks of M as being on the same level with her, i.e. another dog, so that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.  My bad. 

The back story on Bella is this.  She’s a 13 pound, part Pekingese, part god-knows-what rescue dog and came to us having been clearly abused.  Bella was found on the south side of Syracuse running the streets, and she was in pretty horrible shape, having been homeless for an undetermined amount of time.  

Bella is somewhat fearful of men so we assume her abuser was a male.  When she first came to us, she was very protective of food and actually bit my husband within weeks of us getting her.  Bella was almost kicked to the curb at that point. 

However, Bella has become a big part of our family.  She is a very sweet and loving dog who tries very hard to please.  She loves to be pet and brushed and has become somewhat of a spoiled princess.  The other side of her is that she has absolutely no house manners and doesn’t know how to tell you she needs to go out.  This can be challenging to say the least.  She also likes to eat any food that may be within reach.  So if you’re not looking, she will help herself to whatever is on your dining room table, end table, kitchen island, etc.  She is a bully to her brother Buddie, who is older but smaller.  While we have had him for six years and her for one, she is absolutely the Alpha dog in the house. 

Suffice it to say that she can be a terror, but she is worth it.  She makes us laugh and loves us for having given her a home.  Even now that she has bitten M, I am convinced she is a good dog and was only trying to protect herself.  It’s more my fault than anyone else’s.  I should have been more aware that the situation was escalating and put a stop to it. 

The moral of this story is, if you have a rescue dog, or if you are considering a rescue dog, you must have patience.  And your patience cannot run out after the first week, month or year.  If you make the commitment to bring the animal into your home, assume they are now one of your children.  Would you give one of your kids away because they didn’t always behave the way you wanted them to?  I think not. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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