Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's those little things.....

   My good friend, Robin Leonard, once gave me a small, coffee table book for my birthday entitled, "Little Things Make a Big Difference." The book is authored by Laurin Sydney, of CNN.  In the book Sydney laments on how our daily lives are overwhelmed with long lists of "want tos" and "have tos."  Often, the result of this is that we just shut down completely without even making an attempt to complete our "want tos."  If we can't do everything on the list, we don't do anything on the list.
    I plead guilty to this behavior.  I begin each day by creating a list. Sitting in my leather chair in our breakfast room with my computer on my lap, I sip coffee and plan my day.  By the time the list is written, I am already in a panic mode, just knowing that there aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done.  The things I absolutely must do always take precedence over the things I simply want to do.  If you recognize this behavior in yourself, you might benefit from a few of Ms. Sydney's recommendations on how to change your attitude.  Incorporating a few positive habits into your life can cast a ray of sunshine and help clear up some of the bewilderment many of us feel on a regular basis. 
          *  Sprinkle your vocabulary with hopeful, happy words.  Brilliant, stupendous, miraculous, awesome and spectacular are a few of he superlatives that separate the upbeat personality from the downtrodden and depressed. 
           *  We all know how good it feels to receive a compliment.  The next time you are interacting with another person, no matter who or where, perhaps a waitress in a restaurant, or a clerk at the post office....pay them a compliment if they deserve it.  "You have the most beautiful smile," or "Your eyes are as blue as the sky," can just about change someone's day.  Try this on family members, especially teenagers, and you'll notice a remarkable change in their behavior.
            *  Take a 15 minute catnap.  Don't feel guilty.  Pull your car over into a parking space and close your eyes with the radio on...or sit in your most comfortable chair at home, even if you've got sugar and flour all over your apron.  Just close your eyes for 15 minutes.  You'll have a new found energy to get through the rest of the day. (Many physicians actually recommend this.)
            *  Let there be light!  Few things can get a person down more readily than darkness.  During the winter months, when the days are shortened, be sure to take advantage of sunny windows by opening the drapes or curtains regularly.  Illuminate rooms at night by burning scented candles along with regular lighting.
            *  Talk the talk.  Repeated positive affirmations uttered to yourself silently,will actually stick in your subconscious and affect your daily life in multiple ways.  At first , it will feel weird.  But, eventually, it will become habit.
            *  The bottom line is...change the way you think and the way you look at the things around you.  Your new attitude will roll over into your everyday activities and you'll become a much happier and more productive person.  Maybe you'll even be able to mark off some of those things on your daily list as "done!"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Whose fault is it, anyway???

   Sometimes I accuse hubby of having a chip on his shoulder.  It seems that whenever anything goes wrong, either here at our house, at our daughter's house just around the corner, or anywhere else for that matter, he says, "It must be my fault!" I think it's because he can fix just about anything. Somehow, that translates in his mind that he should be fixing whatever is broken wherever it might be.  A hefty assignment for anyone, don't you agree?  His attitude always gets me going and I respond by pretending to dust off that imaginary "chip" resting on his shoulder.
   We were talking about this subject recently and it made me realize that there are a lot of gripes and grievances that couples and families have with each other.  Whenever human beings live in close quarters together, their differences are bound to clash on occasion.  I think, for the most part, hubby and I get along quite nicely.  But I know I drive him crazy once in a while with my own idiosyncrasies just as he drives me crazy with his.  
 Human nature is an odd and interesting thing to observe...especially in those with whom we have close relationships.  Learning to "go with the flow" can become an art form sometimes.  Patience is difficult for some people and I am one of them.  I often don't understand why everyone doesn't think the way I do!  
   One of the things about my own behavior that seems to drive hubby crazy is my penchant for seeing every glass as half full instead of half empty.  I have never understood looking at the negative side of anything when you can just as easily emphasize the positive.  Most situations are what they are and won't be changed by being negative or placing blame.  Hubby calls it my "spin."  
    So when he complains about feeling as though it's his fault that he can't fix everything for everyone that breaks, loosens, falls apart or needs tender loving care, I remind him to look at the positive side.  The mere fact that he has the ability to change a bad situation into a good one should make him feel warm and fuzzy, not glum and anxious.  I say he shouldn't try to balance that chip on his shoulder anymore but should pat himself on the back instead. 
(Based on my article from the Winter 2002 issue of Emily's Country Quarterly.)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where has everybody gone???

   Most of the blogs I follow haven't had a new post since last Fall, including my own!  I think we just run out of things to talk about.  Or we get busy.  Or we're distracted by facebook, twitter, etc.  I know how disappointed I am when I check the blogs I used to read faithfully and there no new post, so I assume that readers who used to follow my blog have the same emotion.
   Yesterday, I was cleaning out the glove box in our old beach buggy to get it ready for donation to Cars for Causes. It's an old Isuzu Trooper; the perfect transport for beach chairs, pails and shovels and most of all....sand.  The car is virtually full of sand. Even though we are a hop, skip and a jump from the beach at the end of our road, we often like to bring chairs, coolers, pails and shovels and...kids (kids who get full of sand).  so we load up the beach buggy just to ride down to the end of the street!
    Back to the glove box.  Inside the glove box of the Trooper, I found a plastic bag with several copies of the 2002 issue of a newsletter that I once wrote and published. We had a ten year run and it was so much fun.  I wrote about everything that came to mind.  Hubby did a project in each issue, often creating and building a piece of furniture out of the old antique floor boards we took up along the way in the remodel of our really old house here on Cape Cod.  I sat there in that old relic of a car and read the entire thing from beginning to end, enjoying the photos of things I had long since forgotten and chuckling at some items from the "tips and tidbits" section. 
    Emily's Country Quarterly was my baby for ten years. We had about 500 subscribers from all over the country plus several from Canada and a few from overseas. It was my outlet to write and, along the way, a diary of the progress we made in an effort to bring our circa 1724 cottage up to livable standards. I bought a good digital camera that allowed me to take great pictures and include them in each quarterly issue. We went from a 10x12 page format to a 5x6 booklet that was easier to read and hold. The best part? The letters from readers who seemed to look forward every three months to their issue in the mail. We tried to make even the envelope appealing, using colorful ink and graphics. All in all, it was a great creative and learning experience.
    But things changed when hubby retired in 2002.  Suddenly, I didn't have the "alone" time to think creatively. We would sit together in the morning and drink coffee, watching the news on TV and discussing the politics of the day. We'd have dinner much earlier so the work day would come to an end much faster. I used to write in the morning after he would leave for work, or in the late afternoon while waiting for him to come home. I am one of those who have a hard time doing things when there is noise or chaos going on around me.  I need complete quiet and solace. Often, I would work late into the night long after hubby and probably the entire neighborhood went to bed.  
   Now with the addition of social media competing with my quiet time, I find I'm  completely neglecting this blog. It makes me sad but I still wander off whenever I make an attempt to write something.  Reading that 11 year old issue of Emily's Country Quarterly gave me the idea of posting some of the items I wrote long ago. They still seem pertinent today even with their age.  
  Therefore, I will now be plagiarizing myself, at least for a time, until I see if you like what I've written. I hope you will.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's a Puzzlement

     Have to admit that I'm puzzled about something.  I recently had a couple of guest bloggers who asked to post on my site.  After checking out what they wanted to do, I agreed.  I enjoyed both posts and thought they each fit into the theme and slant of my own thoughts.
     However, I have recently noticed that I'm getting comments on those posts from people who appear to be merely promoting their own links.  I wouldn't mind that, except a couple of them are not necessarily items I wish to promote so I've had to delete them!  Now I'm wondering if I've been duped! 
     Other than that, I've just been lazy about blogging lately.  Part of it is due to the fact that there always seems to be some sort of media taking my attention, be it talk radio,  television, my Ipod touch or just searching around on the computer. I used to like to write when I was alone and the house was quiet.  That rarely happens anymore except for early mornings and late evenings.  As I get older, I don't have the energy or zeal to be creative at either one of those times. I'm even getting lax about my apron business.  
      I guess there are two kinds of people in retirement; those who finally feel free to partake in all the activities they've been longing to do all their lives and those like my husband and myself, who find that just doing nothing at all is the best reward. For some reason, we're ridiculously content just hanging out, reading, doing projects around the house, going to the beach or sitting on the porch.  Maybe we're just lazy.  Whatever.  It is what it is.
Just thought I'd explain why I've been incognito for a while.    Although I seem to be on the computer all the time,  I just don't find myself in a creative mood to write anything!  I'm noticing that several of the bloggers I follow are slipping in their numbers of posts as well.  So I'll not kick myself too hard!