09Feb/17
funeral in the church

The Unexpected Things I Learned About Myself At A Funeral

You never know when you will have these “light bulb” going off experiences…

funeral in the church

the light went off in the church…not literally

I have been blessed in my life to have three “Mothers”. My Mother who gave birth to me, my godmother Lorraine and my Mother-in-law, Peg(actually she hasn’t been my MIL for many years, since her son and I divorced). My Mother passed away in 2014, I was grateful to still have Lorraine and Peg as my “other Mothers”. Lorraine passed in October of last year and Peg, this past week.

All 3 of these women were so important to me and such big influences in my life. They helped to shape me into the woman I am today. All of them were very different, the one constant being their deep love for me and my love for them. I have written about my Mother several times and have shared how much I miss her every day. I was so grateful to have these other women in my life when she passed. Now they are all 3 gone.

Peg had been in a nursing home for the last several months. The very same one my Mother had been in for 4 years and the exact same wing she was in when we said goodbye to her. So it was very hard to go back there when my MIL was sent there to recuperate from an illness. We thought she would go back to her home and that is what she had hoped for also. But that wasn’t meant to be. We went to visit almost 2 weeks ago and she passed a few days later. We knew most likely when we left that day we would not see her again..on this earth.

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

I had been dreading the thought of her funeral, due to the fact that it seems like all I do lately is go to funerals of people I love. However this particular one was different…and we spoke about it many times when we were together. It was different because my ex husband would be there. A man I had loved dearly, a man who was my first love, the father of my children and a man I thought I would be with forever. Knowing also the funeral would be held in the church we used to go to as a family when we were together and where we got married for the second time(yes, we did..incase you missed this in my previous posts, I did marry him twice). It took me a long time to get over him after our divorce. I thought love was supposed to last forever. I couldn’t believe ours didn’t.

My oldest was out of the country at the time of the funeral but my youngest came home with her 3 boys. We all went to the funeral together and also took my son’s 2 children. All 5 of the kids loved their Nanny and wanted to be there. For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I lost my son in July of last year. The 7 of us walked into the church and immediately memories from the past came flooding back. I though it might be hard but I didn’t expect it to be that hard. Thank goodness for the love and support from my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law and their whole family including my nieces and nephew who quickly surrounded us and hugged us. With me not being “real” family and knowing how my ex felt about me, I knew I was the odd man(woman) out…but they did everything they could to make me feel like part of their family. Their warmth, love and understanding was truly appreciated and something I will never forget.

Without going into too much detail, lets just say things between my ex and I aren’t exactly good. Things between us aren’t really anything at all since we don’t speak and I haven’t seen or heard from him in over 30 years. He doesn’t have a relationship with his children(our kids together) and he has never met his grandchildren(his choice). So the fact my Mother-in-law and I could keep a relationship through all of this albeit a close one was amazing. We never knew what to call each other, so I would call her Mom and she told people I was her daughter-in-law. We got tired of  saying ex DIL and MIL and explaining it to people so we just settled on that.

I loved my MIL and I was going to the funeral no matter what. I needed to pay my respects to her for all she had done and all she had been to my children and grandchildren, and of course me. I knew my ex wouldn’t be happy about my being there so I didn’t know what to expect when I saw him. What I really didn’t expect were all the feelings that came over me the moment I first saw him walk in. So many mixed emotions and feelings of “what ifs” and what could have been. I was brought right back to that time many many years ago when we were a family and raising our kids together. I guess its normal to feel this way especially when you haven’t seen the person in such a long time. I guess its normal to wonder what might have been and how life would have played out for us if we had stayed together. I guess it is, I’ve never been in this position before so I don’t really know. I just knew I was overloading on memories and freaking out a bit.

My daughter sensed all of this going on and leaned over and hugged me and asked me how I was doing. I told her I wasn’t doing too good. I told her there was so much going on and so many feelings I didn’t expect to feel. While she was hugging me she whispered in my ear, “turn around and look a few pews back.” I turned around and there was someone else from my past seated all alone just smiling back at me. A friend, a good friend that had been around during that time and knew what I was going through. It was a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time. But somehow just seeing this person there helped. It jolted me right out of my “what ifs” and “what could have beens”. It reminded me of how far I’d come since that time way back then and that I made it to this point in life all on my own. I had raised my kids myself and did a pretty decent job. My son may be gone but he was a good, kind man and he created 2 sweet loving children to carry on his legacy. My girls are both wonderful young women and they are also my friends. My youngest is raising her 3 boys and they are growing up into caring young men. I realized I had done pretty good without him or his help.

Having these 5 grandchildren sitting beside me made me feel so loved. They were worried about me and wanted to protect me. So did my nieces, they sat in the pew with me as well. I don’t think I have ever felt so loved, especially at a time such as this when I wasn’t sure I could even make it through the day. I do know their grandfather will never know that kind of love. And I feel sorry for him. When he stood  at the podium looking out over the church to read what he had written about his mother, there we were… all 7 of us lined up together directly in his view. He couldn’t NOT see us. He has not seen us for 30 years but he saw us that day in the church. The day we came to pay our respects to the woman who raised him. The woman I called Mom.

“No one ever really dies as long as they took the time to leave us with fond memories.” ~ Chris Sorensen

02Feb/17
giraffes

10 Questions That Have No Answers

at least I don’t know the answer…

giraffes

why do we have such long necks, Bob?

There are certainly many unanswered questions out there. For some reason I tend to think of weird things and wonder about many of them while drifting off to sleep. Yes, I know I’m weird. Here are a few of the many questions I have.

  1. Why do giraffes have such long necks? No other animal has a neck this long. I always thought they looked kinda weird and if they weren’t careful they could get tied in a knot. Like if they looked in to many different directions at one time or if they did yoga or something.
  2. Why do they have toilet paper commercials on tv? Seriously, we all need this. Do they really need to advertise it? Do they think we will stop buying it?
  3. Why do we adults have trouble opening child proof bottles, but little kids have no problem? If I can’t get my bottle of aspirin open I always ask my grandson to open it. No problem.
  4. Why is lemonade sometimes made with artificial flavoring, but my dishwashing liquid is made with real lemon juice? This one really gets to me. I don’t understand it at all. I honestly would pay more for my lemonade to have real lemons in it. And wouldn’t artificial lemon juice work just as well in the dishwashing liquid? It’s not like I drink it…but it does smell yummy, so I want to.
  5. Is clear a color? My grandson just told me the color of his hair was clear when he was a baby. I asked don’t you mean blonde, he said no it was clear. I don’t know…maybe clear is a color. White is a color and it really doesn’t have any color… ok, never mind.
  6.  Why when someone works really hard do we say “he worked like a dog”? I don’t get this. Every dog I know lays around all day and sleeps. They might get up and walk around in circles for a bit, but then they lick themselves and lay back down again. Really, did you ever do this when you worked very hard at something?
  7. Why do we say “after dark”? After dark is light and light is before dark. So what does this even mean?  I think this is another one of those riddles our ancestors said to confuse us.
  8. When you die do you have to keep wearing the outfit you had on when you died? Anyone know if this is true…if it is, then I need to dress better every single day….just incase.
  9. Why is there an expiration date on sour cream containers? Ok, isn’t it already spoiled, it is sour..so why can’t we keep it forever and not have it turn bad? My daughter and I had this discussion last week when we made tacos and the sour cream had a date that had passed. We looked at each other and said, “how can it go bad it’s already sour?” So we used it on our tacos. We are still alive. And thank goodness for that cause I wasn’t wearing a very cute outfit that day.
  10. Why are all barns red? I don’t even have a thought on this one…let me think for a bit..Nope.. nada.. nothing.

Well that’s my ten for today. I have a lot more but I will save them for another day. Ok, since you begged me…I have another…why for all that’s holy please tell me why hot dogs come in packs of 8 and hot dog rolls come in packs of 10?? Why?

And here’s one for you to sleep on tonight. The ABC’s are supposedly alphabetically arranged…who made this the way it is and said that is the correct way? Maybe, way back in time it really started with N or Q. And then someone else came along and thought better of it and said I think it should start with “A”. Whoa…I will just leave you to ponder that one. And if you come up with a good answer I will listen to it.

Do you have any questions that have no answers?

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charles Chaplin

27Jan/17
a man who can fix things

“It’s So Nice To Have A Man Around The House”

Especially when they can fix things…

a man who can fix things

he really loves to fix things…

Both Dinah Shore and Eartha Kitt sang this song back in the day, but it sure says what I’m feeling this week. And no I don’t have a man living in my house. And I didn’t all the sudden find the man of my dreams(does one such man even exist) What I have found is something better… A good honest man who can fix things and doesn’t charge me an arm and a leg to do so.

I bought my little old 1890’s built house 9 years ago. It is a double house, not a duplex but a house that had another full house attached to the back of the parent house. I wanted a house where I could have my own place and my son and his family could have theirs. We decided to do this together and I would charge them less rent because my son would do all the work on the house and also take care of the yard work and snow removal. He took care of everything from electrical problems to plumbing and everything in between…and I mean everything. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix. It worked out great for us all. If I ever had a problem I told him and it was taken care of. And I was there to help out with the grandkids.

This situation worked great for all of us until my son’s death in July of last year. I was grieving the loss of my son but also I was constantly stressing and worrying about how I was going to take care of this big old house that always, always needed something fixed. As I have mentioned before, I have awesome friends and one of them gave me the name of a man she said was a wonderful handyman should I ever need one. So many things had been happening over the past few months that I put off calling him. I have had a few leaks in the ceiling and lately they had gotten to the point where I couldn’t ignore them anymore. So I finally picked up the phone and called him last week.

His name is Calvin. We talked for a bit and he mentioned my friend had told him about me and that I might be calling him. He told me he would stop by the next day to go over what I needed done. When he arrived he wasn’t what I had expected from our conversation but then no one ever is. I always have a picture in my mind of people and somehow they never turn out looking like what I expect them to look like. Back to Calvin. I showed him around the house and told him all the things I wanted done eventually but what I needed now and what was at the top of my list was the roof fixed and to stop the constant water coming in whenever it rained. He said no problem and would be back the next day to take care of it. Just like that.

Calvin worked 2 days fixing all the leaks and was up on the roof yesterday in gale force winds trying to get everything done so we wouldn’t have to worry about any more water coming in. He found so many spots that needed repair and places that I didn’t even know were leaking. I kept going out to see if he was ok and that he hadn’t blown off the roof. Seriously… I thought he might. When he finally finished up and had loaded up the ladders and his tools he came in to present me with his bill. I was a little concerned because he did buy quite a few supplies and also worked 2 long days. I almost fell over with relief when I looked down at the amount. I won’t go into details here but lets just say I was very very happy with Calvin.

When I told my friend I had called him and how happy I was to have him she said…”Everyone should have a Calvin.” And she is so right. All of this talk about how much I liked Calvin made me think of Brooke Shields and her Calvin Klein ads back in 1980…so to do a little play on her words…”nothing’s going to come between me and my Calvin.”  My whole point is this…. we all need a Calvin. An honest man that fixes things that we can trust. Now, I can fix a broken toilet, put a new faucet on, etc, I have many times. I once lived with a man who couldn’t fix a single solitary thing… so I did. But this house is overwhelming and as I’ve said.. old. It needs a lot of fixin. I am not sure if I will continue to live here or not. There are a lot of happy memories here but then some not so good. But they say not to make a big decision until at least a year after the loved one passes so I am not rushing into anything. We will see how it goes..but in the meantime I have my Calvin.

Do you have a “Calvin” in your life? I hope so.

“Every job is good if you do your best and work hard. A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have nothing to do but smell.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder     I loved this….

Oh by the way, here is a picture of Calvin..

Brad in Thelma and Louise

Calvin…LOL..just kiddin, it’s Brad in Thelma and Louise.

 

 

20Jan/17
crap

Do We Have Too Much Crap?

well I do and where does it all come from…

crap

yes, I said crap…

Since the weather was so warm this week it tricked me into thinking Spring was here, and because of that I decided to do a little Spring cleaning…Now if you know me at all you also know I hate to clean, so I have to pounce on these moments when they happen. And believe me they don’t happen very often.

For some reason, things in my closet seem to multiply. I really don’t understand this. I was just talking to my friends about this very thing and they agreed it happens to them too. The question is… “How” does this happen? Do little gnomes sneak in while I am sleeping and put stuff there… because I know I couldn’t have purchased all this crap. Ok, it isn’t really crap, some of it is really nice stuff. There is just way too much of it in my teeny closet.

I do feel like I just went through all of this about a year ago. Sorting through clothing, shoes, boots and handbags, getting rid of what no longer made me feel joyful. I have heard this quote on many occasions… “Discard everything that does not spark joy.” ~ Marie Kondo  I am not ever sure I can do that totally… How can I get rid of the washing machine or the stove? Anyway, my point being is it is hard to get rid of some things you may have gotten attached to or maybe thought you would wear to that wonderful event in your head that has never happened.

I decided to start with shoes and boots. I made a brilliant discovery while doing this…if you keep shoes and boots in boxes and can not see what is in those boxes, you will never wear them, And when you open aforementioned boxes, you may be quite surprised to see a pair of boots you bought 3 years ago on sale at the end of the season and have never ever worn. Note: this may or may not have happened to me… I could not believe how many pairs of shoes I had and many I have never even worn. I went through them like a crazy woman, throwing into a pile the ones I will donate and others to people I think might want them only keeping the ones that bring me “joy.”

“If you always add and never subtract, you will eventually bury yourself.”~ Peter Walsh

When I moved to this house 9 years ago I got rid of everything that didn’t make me happy or bring me “joy,” I really purged, I figured what better time to do this and there was no reason to take things I no longer loved to the new house. It was so sparse in the new abode, The basement was clean as a new born babe. I had listened to Peter Walsh’s advice about how we move boxes to new houses and never even look inside to see what we are moving. He also advised that if you had things saved from your family members who were no longer with you, to go through them and keep just one thing from the box, but display it. I thought this was good advice and I did that. It was hard getting rid of my grandmothers dishes but now I have one sitting on my dresser in my bedroom with a candle on it. I can actually see that every night and think of her.

But I digress, back to the task at hand. The shoes, boots and handbags are finished… its on to the clothing. This I’m afraid is taking much longer than the accessories. My underwear drawer alone is a daunting task to be had. There are so many different sizes and so many different types in there it is a little scary. Who is going to wear all this crap? Who did I buy these for? Ok, let’s leave that discussion for another day and maybe a therapist.

Last year I made a decision that if I purchased anything new I would get rid of two things I had. I did this for a few months and it was working. I don’t know what happened to that plan but I have now started doing it again. First of all I want to state right here and now and want you all to hold me to this…I do not now or ever in the next few years need a pair of shoes or boots…well that might be a little over the top, I may need a pair of sneakers…walking sneakers…they do wear out. and I walk a lot. But as far as clothing, styles come and go and we do need new things every now and then to perk us up and make us feel fresh and “in style”… I don’t know about the rest of you but at this age I need all the “perking up” I can get.

I don’t know if this is normal or if others tend to do this,  but I seem to get the same things over and over. If I find a certain type of shoe or sweater I am drawn to buy more of that same kind. I don’t know what that says about me or why I do this. I blame it on my Mom. I told my daughter recently maybe we should just take a picture of something we think is cute instead of buying it, that way we can look at it without the expense. She didn’t seem to like this idea. I just know I can’t keep up with all this “crap”.  I had a rough year last year and maybe all this clutter is a sign of that. I need to clear out the crap and get on with my life. This year will be all about clearing out and “healing”…

I will let you know how the closet cleaning is going and by the way if you don’t hear from me for awhile I may be lost in there and can’t find my way out. Please check on me…

Do you do this? Do you have too much crap? How do you keep it under control? I really hope I’m not the only one, let me know in the comments.

“Collect moments, not things” ~ Unknown

 

 

12Jan/17
questions anyone?

Weird Sayings That Make No Sense

and I mean they make no sense at all…

questions anyone?

Huh??

The other day I heard someone say, “That is cheap at half the price.” Huh? What does that even mean? Ok, I know what it means but why say that? Why not just say, “that’s an excellent price for that top.”  So having heard that got me to thinking about all the other weird sayings I have heard over the years and I have come up with a list. Here are some of the dumbest sayings I can think of.

  1. “I am under the weather” – ok, I know it means you aren’t feeling well but really what does this saying mean….A cloud came down and is pressing on you…snow fell on your head…how do you get “under” the weather?
  2. “Happy as a clam” –  Just how do we know clams are happy? Have you spoken to one lately? Maybe they aren’t happy at all, maybe, just maybe… they don’t like being in that shell.
  3. “He really tied one on last night” – I know it means someone got drunk. But what did they “tie” on to get that way? I may have gotten a little drunk in my day but I don’t think I ever had anything tied on me when I woke up (well at least not that I recall).
  4. “You need that like you need a hole in your head” – Ok, I get this one. You really don’t need that $200 purse..but then just say that. Of course we don’t need a hole in our head. Got it!
  5. “I knew him since he was knee high to a grasshopper” – Do you even know how small that would make someone be? I’m guessing you knew them since they were a fetus. And maybe you did.
  6. “Up Sh*t Creek without a paddle” – First of all i would not be putting my canoe or kayak in a sh*t filled creek. End of story.
  7. “If that don’t beat the band” – I really don’t get this one at all, I have no clue what this means. Who wants to beat a band? Bands do have the “beat” but don’t think that is what it’s about… No clue.
  8. “He made it by the skin of his teeth” – Since we have no skin on our teeth, how did he make it? Guess he didn’t..
  9. “It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack” – Got it, it’s hard to find.. but who put the needle in there in the first place?
  10. “He who laughs last, laughs best” – Why does he laugh best? Maybe he just didn’t get it and laughed anyway.
  11. “I’m off like a dirty shirt” – My daughter always liked this one but I don’t get it. Does it mean you are going somewhere fast… cause I would take a dirty shirt off pretty quickly? I don’t know. Do you?
  12. “Can’t see the forest for the trees” – Huh? The trees are the forest. The forest has trees. Just don’t get it.
  13. “She is dressed to the 9’s” – Does this mean she almost was a 10 and missed it?
  14. “It is what it is” – I absolutely hate this saying. What does this mean? Of course it is what it is. It is totally redundant. I had a boss who used to say this all the time and I really could have smacked her. Did I say I hate this one?
  15. “Six of one, half dozen of the other” – Sometimes you really just need to say this. It means that it is even. So it does make sense. My daughter hates when I say this. So I say it a lot. LOL! My other daughter hates when I ask rhetorical questions. So I do that a lot too!
  16. “Colder than a witches tit” –  How does anyone know this? Who has ever done it? I have to admit I do use this one from time to time. To me it means it is really really cold. I like this one.

I know there are a million more and maybe you have a favorite that you can share in the comments. Do you use any of the ones I have on the list? Do you ever wonder why we say them? I wonder about a lot of things.

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson  I think this is kind of a weird saying(quote) and to tell you the truth I am not completely sold on this one, Alfred.

04Jan/17
peace, calm and healing

My Word For The Year Is…

well you didn’t think I would just blurt it out now did you?

peace,  calm and healing

Namaste peeps…  

I have chosen a “word of the year” for the last 3 years. Prior to that I would write the endless list of New Years resolutions on New Year’s Day that most times wouldn’t even make it past the first week. I got tired of doing that every year and then I also got tired of  feeling like such a loser when the year ended and I hadn’t accomplished anything on my list.

In 2015 I read about picking a “word of the year.” Just one word. I thought this was a great idea and wanted to give it a shot since I was so over the whole resolution thing. The word you pick should define you and the direction you want to see things go in your life. It should set the tone and focus for your whole year. Resolutions can be broken so easily and make you feel like giving up. But having a “word” for the year is different, If you forget about it for one day or even a week, it is still there waiting and you have the rest of the year to focus on making it work for you.

I decided I needed to give this “word” thing a try and chose the word  “Gratitude” for 2015. I was trying to find things to be grateful for after losing my dream job in February of that year. Every day I wrote things down in a journal that I was grateful for and it made me so aware of what I “did” have and not focus so much on what I had lost.  Last year, my word was “JOY”. I loved the word and tried to find as much of it as I could, and I did. That is.. I did until July when my son died. It was very hard to find any kind of JOY after losing him. But somehow the word kept coming up and I started trying to find more of it. And unbelievably, I did. I had so many friends and family members who showed me love and compassion that it made me believe I could have JOY even in the darkest hours of my life. So you see it works. If I could find JOY at the worst time of my life, then anyone can do this and make it work for them too.

Ok, I have made you wait long enough. Here it is…My word for 2017 is.. drum roll…”Healing”. I picked it due to the obvious fact that I am healing after losing my son…but I picked it for other reasons as well. I honestly just love helping people heal. I make essential oils for my friends and family members to help them with health issues. I love showing them alternative ways to help them heal by using Coconut Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar instead of medicine. I have helped several friends who had severe health issues, so much so that their doctor asked them what they did differently to get these results. When they said they were using Apple Cider Vinegar, their doctors all said keep doing what you’re doing cause it is working. Score!

Another reason I picked “Healing” is I am also looking into taking classes so I can teach Reiki. If you have never heard of this you need to. It is amazing. I looked up the meaning in the dictionary and here is a simple explanation of it. “Reiki is a technique based on the principle that energy can be channeled to the recipient by means of touch, activating the natural healing process and restoring physical and emotional well-being.” Sounds cool, right? Well it is and I want to learn more about it and possibly be a Reiki Master. I want to heal others and also myself.

So you can see how having a “word of the year” can truly define your year and your life. I am excited for what this year holds in store for me and also to see how many ways I can “Heal” or help someone else “Heal”.

I hope I inspire you to pick a word for 2017. A few of my friends already do this. One of my friends picked “Rejuvenate” and another picked “Grateful.” They both helped me to find “Joy” this year so of course, I plan on helping them find ways to be rejuvenated and grateful. Maybe I can also be helpful by “Healing” them in some way.

Well now you know what a “word of the year” is. And you know mine. Have you ever had a “word of the year”? Are you going to pick one for this year? I hope you do! Please comment and tell me what it is.

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

 

 

28Dec/16
new year

Things I Wont Be Doing In 2017

and maybe never again…

new year

off with the old, on with the new…

It always makes me a little sad when a year comes to the end, but not this year. I have never so wanted a year to be over with as I have with this one. I am looking forward to a fresh start and hoping for a year filled with promise, love and healing. And so in this same vein of thinking about the new year before us…here are ten things I won’t be doing next year.

  1. I won’t be wearing a bikini – since I haven’t worn one since I was 15, I don’t really think it will happen next year. Or ever for that matter…
  2. I will not see David Bowie, Prince or Glenn Frey in concert – I am so upset I never got to see any of these greats in concert. So I have Cher and Paul McCartney on my bucket list next time they are touring. I already have tickets for Guns N Roses for August. 2016 taught us to see the people we want whenever we have the chance.
  3. Getting Married – Since I am not seeing anyone and its been sometime since I even had a date, it is fair to say I won’t be getting married next year. But if I do, I want to get married on the beach. And you are all invited.
  4. Work more than 4 days in a row – I tried this right before Christmas and it just about did me in. I got a terrible cold and was exhausted. I am still trying to recuperate from this experience. I know its crazy cause some people actually work 5 or even more days in a row, and at one time a few years ago I did myself. But, 3 days in a row is going to be my limit for 2017.
  5. Iron – Considering I don’t even own an iron, I think its a safe bet I won’t be doing this next year or any time in the future. Actually, this is for a friend who loves to iron…how is that even possible?
  6. Get Organized – Yeah, I read that stupid book. And honestly I did it once and it just didn’t work for me. I am not an organized kind of person. If by chance I get a wild hair and do it, I can not for the life of me, ever find the things I have organized. And really, having a completely organized house is the last thing on my to do list. I have tried…it just isn’t me. I love this quote.. “At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.” ~ Rose Macaulay
  7. I will not stop eating ice cream or potato chips – I know this post is supposed to be about things I won’t be doing next year….well ok then..I won’t deny myself foods I love. I know these things are bad for me and I will have to exercise a little more to be able to shut my jeans but it is worth it to me. I have heard stories of people who eat super healthy, exercise and do everything right and they still die. So at least I will have had my favorite foods and not deny myself these simple pleasures before I leave this earth… Oh and pizza…can’t forget pizza. And of course, the occasional glass of wine. I’ve heard tell it is good for you. So there you go.
  8. Stop Shopping – I love to shop. My Mom took my shopping every Friday when I was growing up. I loved it then and love it now. It relaxes me and brings me joy! I love shopping with my daughters and my friends. I have shopped with friends this year that I have never in my life shopped with before and hope to do it more in 2017. I have a friend who I have known for over 40 years and until this year we had never shopped together. We couldn’t think of why we never did it before… but we did it 3 times this year. Maybe a New York shopping trip is in order for 2017.
  9. Stop Writing – I will not stop writing next year or any year after that. I always wanted to write but life, kids, jobs, etc. got in the way, so I am never stopping now that I have started. I love writing. I love hitting the publish button. I love hearing what you have to say about what I have written. But most of all I just love putting my feelings and thoughts out there. I write about my life and it helps to get it out of my head and down on paper so to speak. So I won’t be stopping.
  10. And last but certainly not least.. I will not conform – If you look conform up in the dictionary it means to obey, heed, accept, follow…well sorry but I won’t do that anymore. We are only here for a short time and we should not spend that time doing things we don’t want to do, go places we don’t want to go, or be with people who make us feel things we don’t want to feel…Don’t be afraid to be the person you are. The people in your life who love you will still be there.

This is my list of things I won’t do next year. I just have one thing to add and it’s not something I won’t do… It’s something we all need to do. Make time for those you love. Tell them you love them and hold them close. You never know if you will see them again. If 2016 taught me anything… it’s how true this is.

What won’t you do next year?

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson (I’m counting on it, Alfred)

17Dec/16
store closed

Ten Stupid Questions Retail Workers Get Asked

and its worse at Christmas…

store closed

closed…best sign ever..

Working retail is never really a whole lot of fun but this time of the year brings out the best or worst in people and sadly it is usually the latter. There are nice customers and some are even kind. It does seem as though if I am really nice to them and smiling it can somehow turn their nastiness around and they even wind up thanking me for my kindness and help. Most of the time though it is hard to smile and be kind.

With all that being said, here are some of the stupid questions they ask…

  1. Is there a Macy’s in New York?  I couldn’t believe this guy even asked that question. I thought he was joking until I said, are you serious.. and I saw by his expression he definitely was…serious that is.
  2. Why don’t you have any more(insert whatever you want here) left? Um, because you waited until the last minute to buy them. And I told you when you were here last week we only had a few left and yet here you are wondering why we don’t have any.
  3. Do you work here? If I’m standing behind the counter with a name tag on…then yes, most likely I work here.
  4. Where is the restroom? Well if you would look up at the sign above your head you would see it it is right down there. (this is what I want to say, but don’t) And I get this questions a million times a day. Seriously..I do.
  5. Can I get this for $50 instead of $98?  No this isn’t a yard sale, this is a department store. Sorry.
  6. I’m not sure what door to go out to the parking lot, can you help me? I think you need more help than I can give but I will try. What did you see when you came in the door, shoes, clothes, etc? Answer: Oh, I don’t remember. My answer back: Well maybe just go out all the doors until something looks familiar.
  7. Can I pay cash for this?  Yes, we do still take cash.
  8. Will you wrap this for me?  I just laugh and laugh when I get this question. I don’t wrap my gifts at home, I’m not wrapping yours. Seriously, here is my answer…they don’t offer gift wrapping in the store anymore but I will give you a gift bag.
  9. Can you throw this trash away for me? Oh, of course I’d be happy to take your germ infested Starbucks cup that you just coughed all over. No problem.
  10. Do you have kitties? Disclaimer: I may or may not have heard this guy right? But I said, No we don’t.

 

Well there are definitely more than 10 but I have to get to work. I hope you are not guilty of asking any of these questions. If you work in retail I would love to hear some of the stupid questions you may have heard from customers. Thanks for reading and say a prayer for me.

“Working retail at Christmas is fun.” ~ said no one ever….

06Dec/16
hanging clothes

Where Did The Quality Go?

Seriously where did it go?

hanging clothes

Racks of clothing, but nothing of substance…

I remember a time when you could find quality. It wasn’t that long ago. There were stores jam packed with quality clothing, shoes, handbags and jewelry. So what happened? Where did the all the quality go? Is it due to the fact that most items are now made in China, Vietnam or some other country I can’t even pronounce. I’m not sure what happened but something did…

We were shopping this past weekend and I don’t know how many times I uttered the phrase, “where is the quality?” Nothing’s the same. What happened to my favorite lines of clothing and handbags? The stores were filled with merchandise but it wasn’t calling my name or saying…pick me, pick me like it always did. I remember going in Coach and wanting every single bag in there. It was hard to make a decision there were so many I loved. I couldn’t even find one single solitary bag I could even kinda like. The same with Michael Kors…there was a time I would go without groceries to buy the bag I coveted(this is a true fact). I loved every bag and design from each season. That hasn’t happened in over 5 years.

Don’t even get me started on clothing lines. Ralph Lauren and Ann Taylor just don’t do it for me anymore. I loved these stores and their clothing lines. When I would go in the Ann Taylor store it screamed class. And the clothing was something that would last forever. I still have some of the “good stuff”. One of my other favorite stores White House/Black Market was the same. I wouldn’t be able to go in there without buying something and it took forever to narrow my choices down to a reasonable level of 3 items. I went to all of these stores this past weekend and didn’t buy one single thing. I didn’t see anything I liked or if I did even come close to liking it the cost was so high it didn’t warrant a purchase. But I would have most likely bought something no matter what if it called my name. All I heard were crickets…

I haven’t found a pair of shoes or boots I’ve absolutely loved in so long that I am still wearing my Bandolino black boots from 10 years ago. And even though they are 10 years old, people still come up and ask me where I got them. I did recently find a pair of purple suede booties, which really surprised me since I am not a big purple fan. But they were very cute and I hadn’t found anything in so long I just had to buy them. Also the point here is, I am still wearing a pair of boots that are 10 years old and they look like I bought them yesterday…QUALITY.

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” ~ Henry Ford

So where did the quality go? I did some research on this and also by reading the brands websites and checking them out on Wikipedia I found out some very interesting facts, at least I thought they were interesting. Bandolino shoes and boots were first made in Italy. Enzo Angiolini designed for the company and even had his own line for awhile(I remember this and bought quite a few of his designs). They were part of US Shoe until Nine West bought them and then Jones Apparel Group. Then Nine West Holdings snapped them back up. From what I could dig up because they make it extremely hard to find out where these companies are doing their manufacturing, they are now produced in China.

Michael Kors was first made in Italy as well. Most of the finest leather comes from Italy so that makes sense. Now their purses are made in China, Korea and Vietnam. Coach bags were produced first in Italy. I didn’t know this. They were also made in the US, which is where I thought they were made. Now they are manufactured in China, Turkey and Thailand among others. Not in the US anymore as far as I could see. Another handbag I love is Hobo Brand International. They were founded by Toni Ray in 1991 on her dining room table in Annapolis, MD. She cashed in her life savings and headed to NY with her daughter and son in law. They were made here in the US. I can’t find anything to tell me where they are being made now. But the simple fact I can’t find it on their website with the rest of the story leads me to believe they are no longer made here. I could be wrong though.

Ann Taylor was founded by Richard Liebeskind and he named the stores after his father’s best selling dress at his own store. Their products were made in the US and are now manufactured in Bangladesh. Chico’s started out as Chicos Folk Art Specialties on Captiva Island, Florida. They acquired White House Black Market around 2004 which had started as a single store in Baltimore, MD in 1985. They also own SOMA. They manufacture in over 30 countries, some of which are China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and even the US.

And then we have Ralph Lauren. During the 2012 Olympics the uniforms the US Team wore were designed by him. He caught a lot of flack and there were even protests over the fact his clothing wasn’t made in the US and was in fact being manufactured in China. When the 2016 Summer Olympics rolled around Team USA’s uniforms were made in the US. The brand is manufactured in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

I tried and tried to find some lines of clothing and accessories that are still being made in the USA and here are a few:

  1. Frye Company – they make beautiful shoes, boots and handbags.
  2. LL Bean – boots and clothes
  3. Alex and Ani – jewelry and bags
  4. Pendelton – blankets and apparel
  5. New Balance – sneakers and sportswear
  6. American Apparel – clothing(hence the name apparel)
  7. SAS – shoes
  8. Stetson – hats and boots
  9. Lucky Brand Jeans – jeans and clothing (not sure if everything is made in the US but their jeans are. I absolutely love their sweaters because they have something you don’t see everyday…QUALITY. I can spot them a mile away. They have that look and feel I love. I hope it stays that way.

 

Boots and Sweater

Me at work in my Bandolino Boots and Lucky Brand Sweater

There were a few others on the list but I never heard of them, so I just posted the ones I knew. I think this is really a sad list. What do you think? Were these brands better off when they first started? Should they have just stayed small? Does the fact that they are manufacturing in countries other than the US make the clothing and other items look and feel differently. Can I say the word we are all thinking of…Cheap.. cause that is really what it is. It is cheaper to make the clothes and accessories in these countries, but then what they get is a cheaper looking item. Did the fact that the people who cared enough to start a company are no longer running it and a board that has no idea what their mission was is even on the same page now? Do they care what we as consumers want? I don’t know the answer to these questions but I got a news flash for you….If we keep buying this cheap crap they will continue to make it.

So what do you think? Do your favorite brands look and feel the same way they did a few years ago? If they don’t, what do you think the reason is? I’d love to hear from you about this.

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be the will to produce a superior thing. ~ John Ruskin

 

28Nov/16
Reading equals happiness

How Reading Makes Me Happy

and that isn’t easy these days…

Reading equals happiness

Sometimes all you need is a good book…

“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where were are.” ~ Mason Cooley

I have always loved to read. I read all the time as a young girl and teenager. I even wanted to be a writer. But then I got pregnant, married and started working…there wasn’t much time left over to read. Even when I did through the years, I couldn’t focus on the book. I read one every now and then until about a year ago I started reading a little more often. Just recently I was having trouble getting to sleep so I started reading more. Now I have been reading a book every few days. Finishing off one or two a week.

Reading can take us to far away places and make us feel and experience things most of us could never experience except through books. Reading a book as enjoyable as that may be is so much more than that..it can also be helpful in many ways. It has been known to delay Dementia and Alzheimers by keeping the brain busy and active. It can help relieve stress and relax us, thereby inducing sleep. I choose to read at night, in bed. If I don’t read my brain goes off on a tangent of what ifs and whys. And so I read. I read until I am tired or I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. And I fall into a deep sleep sometimes dreaming of the characters in the book.

Speaking of the characters in the books, I sometimes identify with them and feel like they are my friends or family. I was talking to someone the other day and almost told them I knew someone who had just gone through whatever it was they were talking about… I had to stop myself because I quickly realized it was a character in a book I was reading at the time. I also get upset when I finish my latest book of choice. I miss the people I have grown to love and want to hear what is going on with them now. I want more. What happened in the years since I left them….did they stay together, did they have that child? Maybe I get a little too attached to the characters in my books. I don’t remember ever doing that after seeing a movie. It’s just books.

We had libraries and also a few small book stores when I was young. They were the only way to get books. I remember getting my first library card, how excited I was. I also remember paying a fine when I forgot to take the book back on the day it was due. Now books are readily available anytime and anywhere. Ebooks are supposedly the best way and easiest way to read a book these days. I have a few on my kindle but to me the whole experience of holding a book in my hands and smelling the pages of my well worn paperback is half the reason I read. Laying in my bed with a beloved book is pure joy at the end of a long day.

I have heard that reading can be therapeutic. Back in the early 1900’s bibIiotheraphy  first became a thing. Doctors and some early therapists thought that by reading books on subjects which mirrored issues the children and adults had could benefit them in ways other treatments could not. It is also sometimes combined with writing therapy. Some studies say it helps with depression. I think this is true. I know both reading and writing have helped me through some very difficult times.

I have read different genres at different stages of my life. I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye back in high school. We weren’t supposed to read it and my parents said I couldn’t. So I hid it under things in my drawer and read it by flashlight every night in bed. It was full of teenage angst and rebellion. Everything a teenager wanted to read about. I really want to read it again.

I read various self help books during my divorce.  I read every book I could get my hands on. I thought it could fix me. Of course it was my fault we were no longer married. At least that is what I was told. After one breakup I read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. I know this book was not given a lot of credit by the critics when it first came out. But the book and movie captured many women’s hearts and dreams. I mean come on….Who wouldn’t want to go away for a year and eat Italian food? Me(raising my hand) Not sure about the other two places, but why not?

I like fiction over non-fiction. Most of the time I pick light hearted books that don’t make me think. I want something to take me away not bring me down. I love books that are centered around ocean towns and beaches since I love the beach reading these books instantly makes me feel as though I am there. I love Erin Hildebrand, Kristin Hannah, Susan Wiggs, Wendy Wax, Lisa Wingate and my all time favorites Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher. I have to say my favorite book is
The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde. It is about families, 3 generations of family. And it made me feel so deeply I cried when I was finished. I do that quite frequently now when I finish a book.

Sometimes I read something based on the author or what or who the story is about. I did this recently when I read The Paris Wife. It was a fictional account of a true story about Hemingway’s first wife and the time they spent in Paris. I was enthralled with this book for many reasons. It held my interest and it was in Paris, a city I want to visit and is on my bucket list. It intrigued me so much that I wanted to learn more about Hemingway. So I decided to read “The Sun Also Rises”. It is widely considered his best and has millions of rave reviews. I hated it. After reading both of these I decided to try again and heard about another fictionalized account of a real life story. This one was about Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne, The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel. It was a very good book, but in the end it made me really hate him. I loved the movie with Jimmy Stewart as Lindbergh and thought he was a wonderful man. He very well may have been but his image is forever tarnished by my having read this book.

So yes, reading can take you to places you have never been and feel things you never knew you would feel. I love reading and so does my daughter and many of my friends. We trade books and we all share different views on the books we read. But one thing we all agree on is how much reading enriches our lives. I heard that people who read are happier. I know in my case this is true. Keep reading my friends and get happy!

Do you love to read and what is your favorite all time book?

“With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw it’s fragrance deep inside me. This was enough to make me happy.” ~ Haruki Murakami

 

Disclosure: Some links on here are affiliate links and if you click on them and buy something I may earn a little cash,  if you buy more I could maybe get a cup of coffee.