June Blog Archives 2016

June 30, 2016

Everybody’s out of town……..

Seems like I’m the only one around and I don’t like that!  I do love that people travel and tell me all about it.  My favorite thing to do is travel, so I understand the reason why no one seems to be at home.

 

If you could go anywhere this summer where would it be?  Take money, time, packing, weather, relatives, pets, and everything else out of the equation and just dream for a minute or two….  Where you going to go?

 

Me?  I’m overdue for another visit to Maine.  I can just smell the salt water and evergreen trees, taste the lobster, and see the moose with their babies munching on pond grasses.  That place really fills up my soul.  Or how about a trip to Memphis?  Check into the Heartbreak Hotel and go see Graceland, eat BBQ on Beale Street, go see the ducks at the Peabody Hotel.  That’s so much fun and the music is awesome!  Maybe it’s even time for a trip to the Rockies.  I’ve been meaning to take a train trip from Denver to Salt Lake City and see the sights…..

 

So many things to do and even if you just get away in your mind for a few minutes, a vacation is always a balm to your soul. 

Happy Travels, whether near or far!

  

June 29, 2016

A little yankee education…..

I have a thing about ice cream.  Isn’t it just one of the best things in life?  I also have names for my ice cream that they don’t have in the north.  So since I’m too old to teach new tricks, I have to teach everyone here new names.

 

In the south, we call the vanilla ice cream on a stick and coated with chocolate, ‘Dixie Doodles’.  We call the pointed sugar cone with vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate and nuts a ‘Nutty Buddy’.  An ice cream sandwich is an ice cream sandwich – we didn’t see the need to change that…..

So the kids have to call them the correct southern name to get one.  It’s been hilarious and led to everything from names like ‘Dancing Doody’ to ‘Nelly Belly’. There’s even been discussion about what Dixie actually means to a southerner.  Either way, the learning curve has been surprisingly fast with ice cream as a reward.

 

When I was in elementary school, we went to the ‘Candy Store’ every day and could buy candy or ice cream.  It was the highlight of school for me.  In today’s world where they just took cookies out of the cafeteria to prevent obesity, the kids were amazed that we had a candy store.  It was fun to reminisce with them and crazy how things have changed. 

 

They were happy though that one thing has not changed:  As long as you get the names right, you can have one of each!  And to a starving teenager on a hot day?  That’s all you need to know.

 

June 28, 2016

How can you help me?

Where to start….  I know a lot of teenagers and they know me.  That means when they need money, they call me and ask if I have anything they can do.  I pay well and always have dessert or ice cream or both, so it keeps them coming back.  But do I really have anything for them to do?  Oh my goodness yes!

 

First of all, you could power wash my house for a week.  It seems no matter how clean it is going into fall, the winter is just brutal and it needs it again.  Then

there’s the hauling of mulch.  That alone can keep you busy for a couple of days.  Lastly, sticks seem to be more prolific in my yard than anywhere on earth and when you add in all the pine cones, there’s a whole other week of work.

 

Problem is, teenagers don’t much like those jobs.  So I don’t get many takers.  When they do come, we don’t always get a whole lot done.  It’s more fun to have fun!  They do love the ice cream though, and so my husband probably has a point when he says I always end up in the hole financially. 

 

Yes, but we make incredible memories!

 

June 27, 2016

Flowers in bloom……

I do not have a green thumb.  I have a great yard and apparently I have great dirt, but I don’t have a green thumb.  I do however, have the ability to shop the clearance plants and pick out mulch.  So I take a chance on things here and there and if they don’t work, I put in something else and hope for the best. 

 

This year, thanks to miracle-grow, I’m doing pretty well so far.  I do have some old favorites and that helps.  I love red geraniums!  They have to be one of the first things I buy.  Next, something pretty and hearty.  This year that is begonias – also red.  I got a pretty good sale on those, so I planted a bed full and they are looking well.  And always, always, there has to be brown-eyed susans.  I just can’t resist them.  I love to buy them on clearance and plant as many as I can fit in the bed.  They are so full of promise and cheer!

 

I was fortunate that someone who actually knew what they were doing came before me and put together a smart plan.  Something blooms literally all summer.  The beds I have influence over are just for fun and I’m holding my own.  A neighbor came over and said, “Wow!  You really are an amazing gardener!”  I thought for a moment about taking credit, but since I had just realized I pulled out some good plants thinking they were weeds, I just smiled.  I see no good reason to tempt mother nature!

June 24, 2016

Jason and his grandfather……

Every time we go to Best Buy, we run across a delightful young salesman named Jason.  And no matter what our need is, Jason is really smart about it and seems to provide expert guidance.  Beyond that?  Jason always mentions his grandfather……with a huge smile.

Jason is the middle child and according to him, his older brother and younger sister were quite the handful, leaving him mostly unattended or at best a last thought.  Lucky for him his grandfather lived right next door and not only understood, but adored Jason.  He said to date, he never once asked his grandfather to go fishing when it didn’t happen.

 

Moreover, grandfather was full of wisdom that made sense to Jason and he quotes him freely.  The love is obvious and the fact that it clearly saved this awesome guy is too. Last night, this little jewel was my favorite:  ‘If you have someone you really love, no matter how long, you are one lucky son-of-a-gun.’

 

I don’t know Jason’s grandfather, but I sure like him.  I had incredible grandparents of my own and often credit them with any accomplishments I manage to make.  I told Jason I would have loved to live next door to his grandfather and he said with a huge smile, “It has been my favorite gift so far.”

What’s your favorite gift so far? 

 

June 23, 2016

If you don’t own this book……..

 

You need to:  Animal-Speak, by Ted Andrews.  I’m not big on recommending books, but I believe everyone should own this one.  The universe speaks to us in so many different ways and animals are perhaps the easiest one.

 

This simple to read book lists many different types of animals, birds, and reptiles.  If one shows up out of the blue in your life?  You simply look it up and the book will tell you what you might need to work on.  This week deer have literally been stopped in the road at 3 in the afternoon standing and looking at my car.   Sure it’s summer and they are everywhere, but it’s ‘become ridiculous’ to quote one of my teenage passengers. 

 

And that’s not all.  A tree blew over and a large limb hung over the road where clearly it had not been and everyone would notice.  As I went under it?  The largest hawk I have personally ever seen was sitting on it watching me ride by.  Well, there’s another one.  And so it goes……

We are about to embark on a new learning phase with my son, the deer and hawk call for sharp insight and a reminder to think before you speak.  Both good guidance in any adventure, but especially good reminders for me now.

 

People tell me all the time that they don’t know how to converse with Spirit.  Well, this is conversing 101.  And the more you do it, the more they will talk to you.  They seem to have the animal kingdom on speed dial.

 

Let the animals in our fascinating world guide you.  It’s easy and I highly recommend it.

 

 

June 22, 2016

You don’t know what you don’t know…..

If you have a child who is going off to college this fall, there are some things you need to think about now.  For instance, did you know that most people who are the first one in their family to attend college rarely make it past two years?  It’s a daunting process and without someone to really guide you, it can be overwhelming.  Jobs on the outside look really good and seduce you to leave all the frustrations behind.  How could you know the frustrations are still waiting for you in the ‘real’ world? 

Even parents who have attended college might consider it a huge challenge, depending on how long it has been since they were there.  Or if your child is going to a college different than you are familiar with, choosing a major you don’t know a lot about, it can also be like going for the first time.

Don’t wait.  Get to that campus and find all the nooks and crannies.  Go to the library and find out the procedures.  Figure out parking, buses, etc., during the ease of the summer before the throngs arrive.  Make yourself a student of the courses offered and all the possibilities.  If your child does not know where they are going just yet, pick a college nearby and take a basket weaving class together to help them get the feel of the big leagues.  Most offer great affordable summer non-credit classes.  It will all matter and goes a long way toward keeping them in college for the long haul.

 

Lastly, do your best not to lament them being gone from you.  Instead, try saying things like, “Oh you’ll be home for Thanksgiving – that will be here before you know it!”  Then go cry in your closet alone….

 

Best of luck to you all, parents and kids alike.  It’s not easy to traverse this big world with success, but it can be done.

 

June 21, 2016

I scream for ice cream……

And I’m lactose intolerant.  Still, the teachings of childhood and the fact that I now have a car and a credit card only strengthen my resolve to not pass an ice cream store by…..

My son told someone, with a long suffering look on his face, “She can’t help it.  We have to stop for ice cream all the time!”  Oh Please!  If that is the only thing he has to go to counseling about, it’s all good.

But seriously.  What can’t be made better by a visit to the ice cream store?  All those wonderful flavors.  All that creamy goodness.  Everyone in an ice cream store is happy to be there.  Grandparents bring their grandchildren, parents bring their kids, friends laugh over the fun of it.  In Maine, you could bring your dog and he would get a free doggie scoop.  I’m telling you it’s a win-win.

One of the teenagers in my car said, “I thought about working at an ice cream store, but I thought it would get boring after a week or so.”  Funny.  I grew up in a restaurant and while I grew tired of the grill, I never grew tired of making confections from ice cream.  And eating them….

I was incredulous to find that out of the 4 kids in my car only my son had bought ice cream from a truck in their neighborhood.  So now, I’ve got to look into buying an ice cream truck…… 

But no worries!  Even if that works out, we will still go to the ice cream store.  Yum!

 

June 20, 2016

Tis the season for the pool boy……

 

So I was talking to a senior lady in her 80’s at a community function, who admitted she had an affair with her 30 year younger pool boy for the better part of 20 years.  She just up and said it in front of everyone!  And before I thought it through, I said, “Wow!  I thought that only happened in the movies!”  She assured me it did not.

 

Next question:  “Do you still have a pool?”  She said, “Yes, but my husband changed pool companies and the new one is not so appealing.”  To which everyone at the table said, “Oh sorry!”  Bizarre talk.  I thought maybe she was just doing it to mess with the rest of us, but somehow she seemed sincere and genuinely sorry to see him go.    

As we got up to leave the event, one of the other ladies said, “I can’t believe I’ve always cleaned my own pool.” 

And I am laughing still……. 

 

 

June 17, 2016

I made an improvement……

But you couldn’t really tell.  It seems I am someone who, as my husband puts it, ‘goes through brakes on a car faster than anyone alive’.  I do have a tendency to drive a little fast and brake a lot more than recommended by my safety gas conscious husband, so around 60,000 miles it’s usually new brake time. 

HOWEVER!  This time I made it all the way to 90,000 miles!  So kudos to me…..or Honda, but I’m taking the victory for my own.  “Perhaps,” I said to my husband, “I am just really driving better these days.”  And he couldn’t dispute it, but I saw the doubt in his eyes.  Still, he remained supportive and whether it was just pure kindness or reluctant acceptance didn’t matter to me even though I knew he would be looking up specs on the Honda website later.

Stop!  This is a victory for me and I am taking the lap for it!  Well, I was until I paid the $800.  And now, I get to start fresh with my new braking ability.  Next exit:  180,000 miles!

June 16, 2016

They thought we were celebrating for them…..

The kids finished school and the moms threw a pool party bash to celebrate.  On the surface, it looked like a party for teenagers, but it was so a party for parents. 

Carpooling, constant demands, grades, teacher conferences, games, uniforms, money, laundry, school supplies, sweating finals, packing lunches, early mornings, and late nights were over at least for a couple of months and we deserved to celebrate!  We sat around sipping lemonade, eating hamburgers, reminding about sunscreen, and pressing more food to the crowd, but we were so happy it was over!

All about us?  You bet it was.  And the best part was the kids never suspected a thing…

Happy Summer Everyone!

 

June 15, 2016

Criticism is a dirty word……

It’s not for everyone and it is tough to handle.  If criticism has showed up in your life, it is probably time for a growth spurt.  That doesn’t mean you have to like it though…. 

Here are some basic rules that might help:

  1. Consider the source.  If the criticizer doesn’t have a clue then their criticism is unreliable.

  2. Check yourself or your skills and see if there is any validity in it.

  3. Repair something if it needs repairing.

  4. Be as gracious as you possibly can, even if you are discounting the source.

  5. Don’t let it slay you or keep you up nights.

Remember that sometimes the source of criticism is jealousy.  Sometimes it is valid though, so try to see it as an opportunity to change and improve. 

Do your best not to let it make you crazy, that doesn’t help anyone or anything.  Grow from it, don’t be stopped by it.

May the force be with you.

 

June 14, 2016

A very good friend screwed us all…….

Metaphorically.  She surprised her husband with a cherry red Corvette for their 20th Anniversary!

He was, of course, delighted beyond words.  After all isn’t that everyone’s dream on some level?  She is now the undisputed heavyweight gift to husband Champion of the World!  And the dinner my husband and I usually manage to go to on our anniversary is looking weaker and weaker……

To make matters worse, she started saving for it years ago such was her faith in her marriage.  I know, “AAAWWWWW!”  In less than 3 years, it is my 30th anniversary.  Think I can save up for a big screen television or a weekend at a B&B?  Probably not…..

So all their friends are very happy for them (really!  They are nice people!) and stressed for us.  We have had to call emergency meetings of ourselves to reiterate that we do love our husbands, just not that much financially…..  And we will wave with a smile on our faces when they drive by, but I swear if she buys him a bigger toy at their 25th, we are all going to mutiny!

June 13, 2016

Morals…..smorals…..

So I had the opportunity to talk to some 30 year olds, who informed me that my morals were old-fashioned and no longer relevant.  It seems that they felt adultery was no longer a necessary moral or value in a relationship.  They said it didn’t matter as long as love was not involved and it was ‘just sex’. 

I pointed out that I had seen a lot of adultery in relationships in my lifetime.  I observed that it never did a relationship any good.  And logically, if you put 3 people in a relationship it rarely works out.  But they said that was just my judgement and value determination based on my own life experience.  That for instance, they could decide that the color orange was not good for their relationship and accomplish just as much.  I couldn’t help thinking that a lot of adultery could lead to the color orange in prison…..

So as the saying goes, “It’s a whole new world out there….buckle up buttercup!” 

This is going to be a difficult if not impossible transition for me.  This teaching center called Earth has but two very different types of humans on it.  That is not going to change.  And unless there is a monumental shift, and I’m talking bigger than anything we’ve ever seen, blatant, random, adultery just isn’t going to fly – love or not.  It’s just an opinion, based on a whole lot of observation and research.  I’m going to agree to disagree, keep my antiquated values and morals and watch it unfold. 

Que music from the 60’s.

June 10, 2016

So I’m going back to camp……

I was never one of those kids who wanted to go to summer camp.  I was not really very coordinated, so the athletic part of it was daunting to me.  I didn’t really like being away from home either.  But there are times in life, when camp just cannot be avoided and this weekend is one of them since I truly do want to help.

I am going to a brass band camp, as a chaperone, just for one night.  And I keep telling myself:  “You can survive this!”  It’s not the sleeping in a cabin, eating in the dining hall, or the chaperoning of kids that worries me.  It’s the mosquitos, the canoeing, hiking, and having some sense of decorum that bothers me.  And I wonder….  Can I pull this off?

My son, who will have to suffer the humiliation if I do not is skeptical…  And rightly so.  He suggested perhaps I don’t canoe, since last time he and I did that together I got stranded on a sandbar and nearly decapitated by another canoer who ran me over even though he knew what he was doing.  He suggested I ‘lay low’ and I think he has a point.  I suggested he ignore me if I should begin to embarrass him and he thought that was something worth considering.

Either way, my heart is in the right place.  And it’s not as if I am going with Mount Everest hikers or world class athletes, I am going with brass band musicians.  I understand them, mostly.  And I admire them always.  So it won’t be like camp as a kid, right? 

Oh well, either way the music will be awesome!  And please!  It’s just one night…….

 

June 9, 2016

Spare me from the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’!

Here’s a bit of true advice:  Everyone experiences difficulties.  Everyone.  From the wealthy to the poor, we all suffer and triumph.  We all stumble and fall.  We all laugh and love.

Judging is easy, but it is not a true picture.  Just because someone lives in the best house on the lake, does not mean they are happy, healthy and loved.  And conversely, just because someone lives in a house with dirt floors, they are not miserable.

 

In my lifetime so far, I have had the honor of meeting people from all walks of life.  From the house with the dirt floors, to the house with the million plus price tag.  And across the board, they all had things to laugh about, love about, and live for.  They also all experienced sadness, loneliness, and difficulties.  We are not immune to any of these things life here on earth teaches us.  We cannot buy our way out any more than we can suffer enough to change the outcomes.

 

It’s something to ponder.  And if you are lucky, it can lead you to:  “Well, then.  I guess life is what I make of it.  How I look at it.  And just as possible to me as it is to anyone else.” 

 

You may even come to believe you are a have, no matter the circumstances you find yourself in……

 

June 8, 2016

‘Happy Ever After’…….

Is a hoax.  Really.  Why?  Because no one actually can live that way!  We all have bad days.  We all want to chuck it and head for the beach.  We all want to back the truck up and change the direction of our lives at one time or another.  ‘Happy Ever After’ is a myth.

 

Now before you go all postal on me and thinking I am not positive enough, I do believe we can be happy.  But the ever after part takes a whole lot of consistent work.  A new bride recently told me, “But he’s my soul mate!  So why am I not happy?”  Because even your soul mate screws up, has to learn new methods of marriage, needs a break from you, and had no idea marriage would be this hard…..  Did you check the tag on that groom?  Did it say ‘wash and wear’?  Or did it say dry clean?  Because this might really matter…….

 

Please do yourself a favor and realize that ‘Happy Ever After’ is a state of mind.  If you don’t mind that his underwear somehow ended up on the kitchen floor, or that he drank directly out of the milk carton, then when he changes the oil in your car or mows the lawn, you will have the sense to know it all evens out.  If you wake up and even with morning breath, he still makes you smile, it just might be your ‘happy ever after’.

We all have a different views of happiness and that’s okay.  As long as we all realize it’s not possible 24/7.  Just give it your best shot and love them anyway!  That’s the secret to ‘happy ever after’….

 

June 7, 2016

Cinderella sold us down the river…….

No one ever said what happened to that chick once she moved into the castle.  Maybe she just wanted to redecorate the master bedroom, but the groom said, “Sorry, those tapestries have been in the family a long time and just because there is a hunter killing an innocent deer, doesn’t mean we can take them down…….”  And just like that!  Cinderella is unhappy……

 

I always wanted to know how long it took her to get enough of Mr. Perfect and throw all his clothes out one of the back windows of the castle (where no one could see), and into a huge pile she set fire to.  Because you know she didn’t move in there and love every single thing!  You know she didn’t have complete control.  You know she wanted to fire at least one servant…… 

 

But we so bought the story.  So when our own lives hit a bad patch, we wonder what went wrong?  And you know what it is?  Life!  Life lessons!  All over the place……..

 

Cinderella is that tired mother you see in the carpool line.  She is the woman rushing to work, putting on makeup at the red light, trying her best to do it all.  She is the one who went through 8,000 hours of labor and is still trying to smile in the baby pictures.  She is the one who is crying over a gray hair or a new wrinkle.  She is the one who can’t quite zip up her jeans today.  She is the one who cannot believe her prince still doesn’t know where you keep the toilet paper.  She is even the one who doesn’t always want to live in the castle……

 

Put that woman in perspective and understand that it is not all that simple.  Marriage is hard work.  Life lessons happen to us all.  The ups are fabulous and the downs are truly crummy.  And that white horse he rode up on?  Has to be fed, watered, cleaned, and put out to pasture.  It’s not all a fairy tale, but it’s our destiny. 

 

And how we view ‘Happy Ever After’ really matters…..

 

June 6, 2016

We take obey out of the vows……

But we never take honor out.  I always laugh at people working so hard over taking ‘obey’ out of their wedding vows.  Women conjure up a scenario where the husband is making her his servant and so they get all out of sorts about the term ‘obey’.  And I just want to say, “Well, if you know that about him up front, deleting the word out of the vows won’t fix it!  Perhaps, he’s not your prince after all.  Maybe you are not really ready for marriage…….”

 

No one ever takes out honor, and yet, we don’t do much of it.  It’s not smart to skip honor.  In fact, we do it at our peril, because honor is an integral part of marriage.  It is essential to happiness and perhaps the hardest part to understand and do.  If you are going to take lessons in marriage, start with honoring.  It’s that important.

 

If out of all the people in the world, you managed to pick this mate, why do you think that is so?  Why this particular one?  Seems to me that’s pretty specific, so maybe it begs a closer look.  What if this person was put specifically in your life to teach you life lessons you could not get from anyone else?  When you gain a real understanding of that, you realize pretty quickly that honoring will be the big ticket item in your marriage.  Perhaps even the key to success.

 

Vows happen for a reason.  They are a ritual, but they are also so much more.  And every part of them matters.  Think about honoring.  It’s been around way too long to ignore.

 

June 3, 2016

What does honoring someone actually mean?

If you are planning to leave your significant other, be smart enough to honor them first.  You hired them to be in your life.  So learn the lessons they came to teach you.  Honor that they agreed to be a part of your life and teach you those lessons.  Even if they are getting an academy award doing it.

 

A client noted to me that her husband had cheated on her in more ways than even he could count.  Boy if that’s not a life lesson, I don’t know what is.  So I asked her, “What did you learn from it?”  “I learned I hate him!” she said.  Okay, I can understand that, but what did you really learn?  Seems to me he was teaching you the lesson over and over.  Seems to me you are a slow learner…….

 

Honoring brings the lesson back to you.  After all, it was yours in the first place.  You could sit there and blame him over and over, but where does that lead to really?  He can leave.  You can start all over with someone else.  But if you didn’t learn the lesson of it?  The next guy will cheat on you, too.

 

Earth is just a big teaching center.   You came here to learn life lessons.  When someone is so obviously teaching one to you, figure it out and it will stop.  Another life lesson will take its place and you can begin to learn yet another thing…….  That’s how it works.

 

Honor is a game changer.  It’s tough, but essential.  Give it a try.

 

June 2, 2016

As Spring turns into Summer…..

Change is inevitable.  There has been a rash of people coming to see me about divorce.  And the big question is:  Are you staying or going?

 

Most people think that going is the hardest thing to do, but I disagree.  Staying when you were contemplating freedom is the hardest.  It greatly depends on how much your partner wants to make it work.  You can agree to work on a marriage, but if both parties don’t really dig in and work on it, it just can’t have a happy ending.  Staying is really tough, because you have to be there and get past the hurt, sadness, and confusion.  You have to summon up the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and put it into the equation.  You have to back up and see your partner as someone you care about enough to stay.

 

Leaving is all smoke and mirrors though.  Even if you have someone waiting in the wings, it’s not easy.  Loneliness will be visiting your house and you will think twice about your decisions.  You really have to want to leave badly enough to weather the consequences of it.  You have to be willing to live in your car to truly leave someone.  In other words, it has to become more important to go than to stay and you need to know that deep down inside yourself.

Lastly, you put that person in your path.  So before you go, learn the lesson of them in your life.  Otherwise you will repeat these same mistakes again.  You hired them to teach you so learn from them.

And remember, change is inevitable.

 

 

June 1, 2016

It’s official…….

I’m a solid week behind despite my best efforts.  How does that happen? 

 

I feel like I am working at full speed, but my list just keeps growing and I can’t seem to catch up.  It all started with going to Disney in April, I began to prepare way before we left and well, the truth is I haven’t been caught up since……  New Year’s Day!

 

Perhaps I am just destined to be behind all year.  I mean, it’s June and there is no relief in sight!  This past school year was easily the busiest.  I thought the early childhood days were the hardest to be productive in, but they are nothing compared to this.  Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of my son, but it’s all just going by too fast!

 

Someone asked me to put together a collage of the past year.  I figured it wouldn’t be too hard, just snag some of the pics on my computer.  Fifteen minutes tops!  Three hours later and a whole bunch of tears, I was still mulling over the changes and the inevitability that we will have an empty nest way too soon…..

 

So I’m behind, but in my defense, I have paused a whole lot to love, laugh and play with these remarkable kids and their families.  And I know when he goes to college, I will have plenty of time to catch up.  At least that’s what I am telling myself……..

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