Today, most of America is focused on the events of 10 years ago.  Everyone can tell you where they were, what they were doing, and what they were thinking.  Instead of telling you where I WAS, I choose to tell you where I AM.

Physically, I am back in Virginia.  My stint in Pennsylvania, the time I felt most …. what’s the word I want….lacking?  unhappy?  lost?  frustrated?  isolated?…..regardless, that time has passed. And like a seasoned dumpster diver, I have picked over that time, selecting only the best “goodies” to keep, and have left the rest for the memory landfill.

I have said for years how much I hated Pennsylvania.  How Pennsylvania started it by hating me first. (how adult of me)  She struck the first blow…I just retaliated.  However, through the recent revelation, I have come to realize that I had a lot of wonderful times in Pennsylvania.  I met good people, had good times.  Not everything was a crapfest.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of crapfest, but again, it’s my choice to remember only the good, and gloss over the bad as I see fit.

I am more jaded by life, more cynical.  I am less likely to trust, although my faith in my beliefs are much stronger. And yet, even through my cynicism, I am more apt to jump to help those in need than to sit idly by and watch someone suffer.

I am stronger in self, as well.  I suffered, and I survived.  I have lost loved ones, struggled with overwhelming grief and sadness.  I have challenged, and won, and challenged and lost.  I have fought for my children, my belief system, myself.  Not all battles had positive endings, but all were learning experiences, and have made me what I am today.

10 years ago my professional life was all I could ever hope for, but my personal life was a quiet, private shambles.  Today, my personal life is wonderful, where my professional life is not where I would hope, what I counted on.  Which is better?  Which makes for a better person?  I know that now I am infinitely happier than I was then, I feel safer, more secure in self than I did then.  I also know that now, I find myself …lacking.  Sometimes I feel like it’s just not physically possible to have both, to be fully secure.  But given the choice, I know that I prefer where I am now, for I can make the changes that I need, whereas before, as a friend said to me “I was putting a band-aid on a gaping chest wound”  Painful to hear, and not what I wanted to “see”, but it was the truth.  She was right.  Unfortunately, we are no longer friends (gee, guess why) and I am unable to tell her I am sorry, and that she was right.  I’ve tried, it’s just too late.  I am thankful now for her candor, and it is one of the reasons that I do NOT pull punches when someone asks me something.  And everyone knows, if you want the truth, Suzy will give it to you with both barrels.

For so many years I believed that the memory I held of my life “before” (pre-PA) was the only thing that would save me, believed that it was the only truth, the only lifeline.  I held hope that if I could only “turn back time” and return my life to what it had been, where I had been,  I would be ok.   Part of the “great revelation” is that many experiences are tinted with rose-colored glasses, elevated to a status that helps us to gloss over the bad, and highlight the good.  Things change, people change, places and situations change.  Holding hope for a memory, in the end, only showed me that you can’t go home again, at least, not in the complete sense.

10 years ago, we didn’t have a lot of choices, at first.  A situation was presented to us, and we stood in horror trying to unravel the events that were unfolding in and around our lives.  Quickly, however, our choices became available to us.  We could choose to see what was happening, or choose not to.  I know people who did both.  We could choose to act, in our families and our communities, or we could choose not to.  We could choose a lot of things….some did, some did not.  10 years later, we still have the option to choose.  If nothing else.  I choose to see me now.  Not then.  Not past.  I cannot change the past, but I can change my future.  I can choose the energy I want in my life, and the people I want in it.  I can choose to be honest, even when it hurts.  I can choose to raise my children as strong, healthy, individuals with a sense of self-worth and strength.  I can choose to educate those around me on how to improve their own mental, physical and spiritual lives.  I can choose to share, to be kind, and to find my own inner drive and strength.  I can remember that, even though a lot of thing can be taken from you, your right to choose your life is not one of them.


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The Great Revelation – part 1…ish

So, it’s been a while.  I’m feeling a little rusty on how to share one’s feelings with a myriad of strangers, but, well, I’m thinking it might be worth it, so we’re gonna get back into the swing of things.

I have been thinking a LOT lately about coming back to my blog, on how it helped me through some difficult times, just being able to spill my guts without having to look at the eyes of the one being spilled upon, it’s a sense of freedom.  I can pretend in my world that NO ONE but me is reading this, and therefore be brutally honest with out fear of retribution.

Now, to tell the tale of the last few months (ok…read almost 2 years), and to maybe fully understand the SIGNIFICANCE of the great revelation, we need to start at the end…i.e. the revelation, and then kinda work backwards…er…forwards… Or…sideways at least.  Regardless, the tale is the same, and in the end, it will all make sense, and maybe…touch someone else who has experienced their OWN great revelation.

So, if we’re all ready, let’s begin.

In July of this year I lost a friend and mentor, Mr. Henry Bolduc.  For those of you who knew Henry, or were lucky enough to study with him, you know what a kind, gentle, enlightened soul he truly was.  In my heart, I know that Henry was ready to make his transition, but the selfish part of me was angry and very sad that he was gone.  I was mourning the loss, both personally and professionally, when…ka-BLAM….THE GREAT REVELATION (think deep Godlike voice booming in the background over a chorus of angels singing and you’ll be close)  I had not LOST this amazing man, when I had the opportunity to keep him alive through the work that he had shared with me?  (ok…so, now…admittedly, so far it sounds pretty…well…obvious…but go with me.)

After the death (do you know, that is the first time EVER I have used that word in conjunction with the following name…ever.) of my dear friend Don Wingate in 2009, I was devastated.  Yes, I knew he was ill, and that the end was near, but somehow, I just thought that someone as wonderful as he would overcome all obstacles.  Miracles happen.  Losing Don Was heartbreaking.  HEART. BREAKING.  The death of his dear partner, and my friend, Jeanne less than 30 days after was…well…lets just say I didn’t take it well.  I felt for months like I just could not overcome the grief and sadness I was feeling.  And during that time, I knew that Don was around, and that he was annoyed with me for being so bogged down, but…well, that’s all I could muster.  I was hating Pennsylvania, hating my situation, feeling lost and away from those who UNDERSTOOD me, for what I really was and all around pretty unhappy.  I put on a brave face most of the time, and only Trainman was privy to my deep seated depression.

So, during all this internal hoopla, I starting hearing Don, and remembering all the times he asked me to go to Massage school.  I was already an established therapist in the Fredericksburg area, and perfectly happy doing what I was doing, including teaching Aromatherapy to Don’s massage classes.  I would tell him repeatedly “that’s your thing, this is my thing.”  And I was content with that.  Now, flashing forward to the winter/early spring of 2010, I decided that the one thing I could do for Don was to honor him with the request he set forth for me so many, many times.  I decided to go to massage school.

Here’s the sideways part….we’ll leave massage school as a WHOLE ‘nother post…trust me.  🙂

So, amusingly, as I begin school, make a commitment to PENNSYLVANIA, within 3 weeks of my starting, Trainman is offered a job…OUT OF THE BLUE…in…yep..you guessed it, Fredericksburg VA!  Wait…what…says you?  Isn’t that…could it be…yes, Baldwin’s Girl was headed home!  home home homehomehomehomehome.  Clicking my freaking heels and smiling like a cheshire cat home.  Wait, you say…you just started school!  What about the promise?  The commitment?  Turns out, my school has a campus in Falls Church, that I can cleanly transfer to without having to repeat anything.  voila, stars align, angels sing, blah blah blah.

So, here’s the girl, poised on the brink of change, ready to go home.  Home where she was a successful therapist, with wonderful friends and wonderful clients and home.  New Horizons…er….old horizons…whatever.  A good stopping point for the thoughts of today.

Up next…part 2…ish….moving on up..out…down….whatever

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Amazing Distance Healing

For all my light workers, energy workers, and healers…this was such an amazing experience, it was too good not to share.


I was offering up a distance healing this morning to a friend who was in need…physical pain brought on by some yukky stuff going on in their life.  I had been working for about 30 -45 minutes…and decided it was time to get a shower, as they were showing some relief.  I asked that the healing continue while I went about my shower, etc.  Now, I am a HOT shower person.  like…scalding.  Unfortunately, my water heater never seems to satisfy my need for heat.  Not today.  After turning on the water, I offered up some blue tansy oil to assist in their calming and healing of the mind, and hopped in.  Lemme tell you what…that water has NEVER gotten hotter.  It was amazing!  I felt a sense of calm, happiness and a peaceful release of energy as I stood, stretched, and focused the hot water over the site of their pain, praying that they would feel the release in the muscles, feel some relaxation, and find peace.  20 minutes….20 minutes in the shower and it was still scalding hot…when usually I get about 5 minutes of really warm.  I stepped out, feeling so light…it was overwhelming.  But then….then the most amazing part.  I selected a tshirt from the laundry…put it on…and was almost bowled over by the scent of patchouli (not unusual with my laundry, but this week was tea tree and orange)  Patchouli…used to heal things that are cracked…physically, spiritually and emotionally.  I even made todd smell my shirt…I couldn’t believe it!


Amusingly enough…my friend reported a HUGE surge in heat (while doing a recommended tx) while all this was happening.  Was it just his tx causing it?  I think not.  🙂


I know that what I do works..I know that there are things that happen that cannot be explained and I sometimes go along blindly with them…but I jsut had to share this moment…this reminder…that it DOES work…it CAN work and it’s amazing!

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Thank you to Holt’s!

As you all know, I PREACH customer service.  It’s the one thing that can, as far as I’m concerned, make or break a business.  There is no doubt in my mind why Holt’s Cigar company is such a HUGE success!  The folks that work there are amazing!

I had my name on their list to purchase Drac’s when they came in.  Now, as you all know, I might have just as well asked for a trip to the moon.  But one can hope.  So, imagine how surprised I was when I got the call yesterday that they were in, and I could COME ON DOWN!  Well, come on down I did, and was able to procure 3 (yes, 3)!!!!!  Dracs!  Sadly, there was only 1 Boris left, but it came home with me as well.  Since the box was empty too……..  🙂

Of course, before smokin them, I had to share the photos of how lovely they are.  Then right back into the humidor they went!

I just can’t say enough good things about Holt’s, even before this.  It’s one of the very few places that a lady can go and purchase her cigars without being treated…well…ignored is a better word actually.  Thanks Holt’s, you really made my day!




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Awesome Haul

One of my local thrift stores was doing their “$10 a bag” sales today, and I totally took advantage!  Be on the look out for new items in the Etsy shop from these amazing fabrics!!!

just leather

JUST THE LEATHER/SUEDE!!!  7 pairs of suede and leather pants!  I’m thinking skirts, deconstructed bags….maybe a wallet or two (or 50!)

the whole lot

Total haul value (thrift store prices:  $1211)  my cost $30.00  Yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags full!!!!!

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Man O’ War Event at Cigars International

As usual, CI put on a spectacular event, and a great time was had by all…especially by me.  I do love those Man O’ War Ruinations….and the Girls were pretty special too!

Just a few to make you smile…

aj at workAJ Fernandez working hard hand rolling cigars for anxiously awaiting customers

hatI totally think I need this hat.  A person would command respect in a hat like that…don’t you think??

lionOne of the nifty new decorations I’m just not so thrilled with.   ah well….

man o war girlsDid I mention the Man O’ War Girls?

manowargirlPerhaps I neglected to mention that the Man O’ War Girls were going to be there???

rolling cigarNow THIS is how you roll cigars!

thigh cigarUm……….yeah.

aj fernandezPossibly one of my faves of the evening.  What a nice man, and really cool to watch him work.

Thanks again to CI for the amazing event.  It was too much fun, and totally worth the drive!

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Ladies and Cigars

Now, that title ought to send the search engines into overtime!  ha ha.  Ok.  back on topic.  I want to get on my soap box for just a bit about MEN who own/manage/work in cigar stores and the way they treat women who come in there. I don’t mean all of them, but enough that it warrants a “hey guys, listen up!”

Gentlemen, keep in mind that JUST because I am a woman, it doesn’t mean that I only like little fru fru vanilla cigars.  I DON’T just smoke them because it’s cool, cute, sexy, my boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/significant other does.  I don’t giggle in public and I have more than half a brain.  I smoke what I like, KNOW what I like, and you annoy me when you talk down to me.

Case in point.  I enjoy visiting local cigar stores, just to see what they might have that is new, different, unusual, etc.  Of course, my true love is Cigars International in Bethlehem, where they would NEVER treat me like a second class citizen.  With them almost an hour away tho, it’s a rare treat to visit thier store.    But I digress.  I recently visited a cigar store near me.   I entered the store with a friend. Who was male.  (an important point).  There were two gentlemen, and I use the term VERY loosely, conversing in the store, several more in the smoking lounge in the back.  My friend went one way, I went the other.  (The store was rather “u” shaped…) NOT ONCE WERE WE GREETED BY THE STORE OWNER/MANAGER/CLERK whatever he was.  That so annoys me.  Perhaps it was because I was in my standard summer uniform of shorts, tank and flops and didn’t look like I could afford his cigars.  I dunno.  moving on.

I immediately found something I had been looking for, and was very excited (i’ll say what in a sec…go with the story).  I began to walk around the case to my friend, at which time the worker man said to HIM “if you need any help buddy, just let me know.” As I passed by him he said, and I quote “Oh, and you ma’am, if you need any help finding your man his favorite cigar (he chuckled here) YOU just let me know, ok? (like I was 4 and fell down and scraped my knee).  As we all know, it’s my mouth that gets me in trouble before anything, and this time there was no stopping it.  I turned, eyes wide with my jaw hanging open…I was furious!  I could do NOTHING but stare at him in wide eyed wonder.  “WHAT” he says.  I replied “OH, as if I  wouldn’t be looking for A CIGAR FOR MYSELF?????”  His reply…no I am not kidding…was “huh…not in THAT CASE”. Note…other man in store who was previously talking to the rude jerk is now standing staring, looking like a deer in the headlights realizing that his friend is a complete ass.   Mouth slammed shut….steam coming from ears as I said hey hon, wasn’t that rocky spring 2009 the one I was looking for?  (things get a little hectic here..go with me)  store man’s friend goes OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH to store man, my friend goes “yep, that’s the one you’ve been looking for”  store man turns red and begins to look at his feet.  “excellent, I say, they have them. Do you see anything you want?”  “no, they don’t have anything I like here”.  store man’s friend is laughing, about to pee his pants, making comments under his breath about store man putting his foot in his mouth, etc.  I turn to store man and say “i guess you aren’t too bad, at least you didn’t tell me you were couples friendly like other stores have, meaning as long as I bring a MAN I’m welcome to come”.  Store man is turning purple at this point.  I pick up the Rocky Patel spring (which is an amazing smoke, I have to say) and move to the counter.  Why not just leave, you ask?  it was the principle of the matter.  So, I move to counter, go to purchase and the store man goes to put it in a bag.  I say no thank you.  His friend is still laughing, says “she’ll smoke it now”.  I say yes I will.  Store man offers to cut it for me.  Before I answer, his friend says “Hey, I bet she can cut it herself!”.  I say, yes, but I prefer a punch, thank you.  The guy is about to die laughing, store man is looking like he shit himself, my friend looks smug and I am content.  As we are leaving, store man looks at my friend and says “sir, we are couple friendly.  YOU are welcome here anytime, as long as you bring her along”.  My friend laughs, although it really wasn’t funny, and store man says to me “Have a good day hon”.  With that 2 minute exchange, I went from Ma’am, to Hon.  My mother would have been so proud that for 1 minute, someone thought I was a Lady.  Capital “L” lady.

In my Cigar shopping experiences, I have been told I should bring my husband in with me to pick his cigars himself, been physically pointed to the flavored section, and told, very….lewdly, that it’s so HOT to see a woman with a big old cigar sticking out of her mouth.  Oh yes, JUST LIKE YOU ARE IMAGINING.  It’s rude, crass, and in this day and age, so unbelievably chauvinistic and antequated.  It’s ANNOYING!.  So guys, STOP IT.

NOW, that I have finished spouting, I want to share with you my latest fave smokes….just my girlish opinion of course!


Man O War Ruination

Ladies (and gents too) do NOT shy away from this smoke.  It’s smooth, rich and has a great body.  Nice spice and great mouth feel all in all a FANTASTIC smoke, and the price isn’t bad either. Combine this with a nice bourbon rocks and I’m a very happy camper.   Hey, if you’re in the Bethlehem area Friday night (14 august) stop by the CI superstore where they are having a Man O War event…with the MAN O WAR GIRLS!!!!.  Pick up one of these amazing sticks…you will be very happy you did.

rocky spring

Rocky Patel Spring 2009

I just adore Rocky’s.  The Autumn and Summer were candidates for this post, but the spring right now is truly one of my “go to” smokes.  Not as bold as the winter smoke, this is a perfect smooth easy cigar for the lazy summer days.


Legends series – Cigars International

The Legends Copper Label by Drew Estates is awesome.  Had a bad experience with a drew estates, a gift of an “acid” which was horrid and unpalatable and I really tried to shy away from this company for a long while.  But the Legends copper drew me back in.  Great smoke, really smooth, and a very subtle flavor undertone that gives it just a hint of fun and spark.  Priced wonderfully for an everyday smoke, I always have a few of these on hand to share.

Of course, I still have my “go to” CAO’s, which rank right up there as my faves, but these are the latest and greatest that are being purchased, toted and smoked by Baldwin’s Girl!

And if I haven’t mentioned it enough, I love the staff at Cigar’s International.  If you are in the Bethlehem area, hell if you are within 3 hours of the area, you have GOT to visit the guys at the superstore.  Imagine over 5000 feet of happy humidor experience, great smokes, great staff.  I must admit (sorry guys!) that the addition of the new dead animals on the wall is a bit offputting, but I love them so much it doesn’t affect me much.  I just don’t look up.  🙂

So….what are your favorite smokes this summer?


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