31 December 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!



Good bye to 2012.

Tonight....
Get dressed to the nines,
(What does that really mean, anyway?)



Put on your tiara,


Maybe even get lei'd,

And have a safe and fun 
New Year's Eve.



WELCOME 2013. 



  

No. 26 Again: The Best Thanks

NO. 26 Send a Thank You note every Wednesday

As a follow up to last Friday's post, I promised some of my favorite thank you notes received. 

Teenagers write the most uninhibited thank yous. 

Like:

"Thank you so much for visiting me and the beautiful flowers. It made my day to talk to someone other than my parents."    
Obviously that was heartfelt. What teen wants to be cooped up at home with her parents after surgery? Even if it was just for 24 hours. Except when we dropped those flowers off, there were three other girls at that house visiting so I don't think she was just stuck with her peeps.

Or:

Addressed to my youngest daughter, a note from her best friend's older brother.

"Thanks for the money and for distracting my sister at my birthday party. If you hadn't she might have tried to flirt with all my friends."
I know he meant that because it was true. We've had plenty of little sisters' friends flirting with big brother's friends around here. And I certainly made it a point to flirt with my older brothers' friends when I was a teen. It didn't do me any good until after I was out of high school, but it never stopped me from trying. 

I love this one because it made me think. Huh?  Then I remembered.

"Thank you so much for taking me to the beach over Spring Break! I had an amazing time and I'll probably never forget it. Thank you for all of the food, the surfboards and the banana."
Got you thinking, too, didn't it? The banana was a blow up toy for the ocean, purchased at our favorite Buccee's in Freeport to entertain the kids in the ocean. 

Thank you notes do not need to be hard to write, just from the heart. The more true to your voice, the more sincere they are. 

And to warm your heart:

From a graduating senior who was best friends with my son.
"Thank you for everything you guys have given me over the past 10 years. I love you and the entire family!!! :-) "
Makes me want to cry.

 And a thank you from a friend who moved away. Everyone should have a friend like this who wrote such a wonderful, wonderful letter thanking me for my many influences, most of them good. 

"I love that I have grown a little more Sagittariusy and less Capricornish in the last ten years....I am so glad to have you as my gypsy friend."


Unlike a conversation, a note can be read and re-read. 
A note can be placed in time (a 37 cent stamp, how long ago was that? ), held in your hand (or heart) or tacked on a bulletin board as a daily reminder.  
A handwritten note conveys so much more than even the prettiest font on the most elegantly designed computer screen. 

The power of the written word.
...

For a silly blog that writes a thank you note a day, click here.
For tips on writing a thank you note, click here.
For thank you notes from famous people, click here. (Nosiness at its best- reading other people's mail.)





28 December 2012

Nos. 26 and 37- Thankful to be a Slug

No. 26- Send a Thank You Note every Wednesday (for the rest of my life)
No. 37-Spend a rainy day in my jammies- no matter what anyone else says

Hopefully my life won't be ending so I can't truly say I have sent thank yous for the rest of my life BUT I have been sending thank yous every Wednesday for the last two months. It is really a lovely habit to acquire.


And I haven't managed to spend a WHOLE day in my jammies but I certainly have been practicing.

A quick explanation of why I haven't been able to accomplish this: my husband is a fanatic about getting up, getting dressed and getting "the day started". Every day.  It's something we don't agree on.  I think being lazy occasionally has its merits.
I call it "recharging".

But today I managed to combine the two goals.

Over my birthday weekend my friend Diana was here and while it stormed, we sacked up to watch the first season of Downton Abbey.  I'm not a big TV watcher but have been intrigued by all the buzz around this show. Diana also had not seen it, so we commandeered the Netflix and watched all of Season One. On Sunday. In our jammies.

The excellent cast of this excellent show.
(photo here)

They say "Practice makes Perfect" so today, while the wind blew and the temperature never rose above 50, I stayed in my jammies (again) tucked under the down comforter and watched Season Two. (A lovely present from my husband for Christmas. Thank you, Amazon, for the nice gift wrap!)   I did surface long enough to get lunch and go to the cleaners- two errands that required me putting on real clothes. So No. 37 hasn't been totally completed- but I am getting better at it.

And since it is Wednesday AND the day after Christmas, it seemed the perfect day to write thank you notes.  According to Letitia Baldridge (New Manners for New Times) a thank you note should be written every time you are:
Given a present
Invited for a weekend  or
The recipient of a favor.

Certainly after Christmas we all have presents to be thankful for.

And I assure you, there is nothing as inspiring as watching a Masterpiece Theatre show about the English Upper Class to get you in the spirit of writing a proper letter.  They KNOW their etiquette.

So pen in hand, I thanked everyone who gave me a Christmas present.
Pens and papers and stamps, oh my!
(And the remote)


Because really, don't you love getting a real letter in the mail?
Not to mention, don't you love being acknowledged for your efforts?

Write a thank you note. Make the world a more civil place.

And coming on Monday: Some of my favorite thank you notes that I have received.


Not paid advertising for any of the companies mentioned.  Just companies I use/watch/buy from. 



















25 December 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS



MERRY CHRISTMAS!! 

No lists, no posts, no writing old or new. 

Just some pictures.



Christmas Eve at the cabin in Howard, Co.
Wish I was there.




The closest to a snowman that we'll get in Texas this Christmas.


And a family shot with Santa:


I hope everyone has a wonderful, magical day.

Feliz Navidad.

24 December 2012

No. 9: Another blast from the past

No. 9: Start a blog that I actually let people read.


Re- reading my old posts from 4 and five years ago I am amazed and surprised to see how many of them pertain to death in some way. 

I am not a morbid person at all.  Death doesn't particularly scare me- we all do it eventually.

But my dog dies, my son goes to an autopsy, teenagers have brushes with death in these posts. Probably half of them have to do with something related to dying. Must be related to my firm believe that if you talk about something then it won't happen. Ignoring the bad stuff lets it sneak into your life.

So, since this is Christmas eve which should be about life and joy- those posts will not see the light of day. Instead something more fun will be shared.  Something silly. 

Like new cowboy boots. I am a Texas girl, after all. 

And in February of 2011, I got "new" boots.
We went to the rodeo!


I bought some new cowboy boots yesterday. I use the term "new" loosely as they are only new to me. Wandering through one of my favorite consignment stores, Free the Monkey in Salida,Colorado, I spotted this awesome pair of pointy toe boots in the perfect shade of gray. I love gray for accessories-it goes with everything. Or at least everything I wear. It was an immediate connection. I knew I had to have them.

Grabbing them from their perch I thought the size looked right. Slipped my foot in and Voila! Perfect! How could that be? What luck! And the price was right-$19.99.
All I had to do was get past the slight yuck factor of wearing someone else's boots. But they felt like MY foot had always been in them. So I got over that real quick. And anyway, I wear socks with my boots.

Now I am a Texas girl born and raised. But I haven't owned a pair of cowboy boots in probably thirty years. ( I have a horse and I ride, but English hunter/jumper- sacrilege- and wear tall very non-cowboy boots to do so.)  I'd been thinking recently of getting a pair but they are always so stiff. And the ones I want are so expensive. And I don't want to pay a lot of money for boots that need to be broken in. So many reasons these were perfect.

I put them on this morning to drive to the airport in Colorado Springs and I think there might be some magic in them. I stood taller. Well, duh! They do have heels, something I don't wear on a regular basis. But they gave a little swagger to my walk. And a chance conversation had "y'alls" dripping from my mouth like honey. I do say "y'all", but not with that much of an accent. I smiled at everyone, flipping my long blonde Texas hair. I was a stereotype and loving it.

Now the irony of flying to Colorado and coming home with a pair of cowboy boots is not lost on me. Belle said recently that she's afraid Colorado is "out-Texasing Texas". That's okay. 

I've got new cowboy boots. 

Don't care where they came from. 

Yeehaw!

So- I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas eve and Christmas day. I hope you get something new and wonderful and magic that you are thrilled with- we all need some treats in our life. 

Merry, merry. 

Love, Nancie 


22 December 2012

No. 9: An Oldie Sees the Light of Day



No. 9: Start a blog that I actually let people read.

As I posted yesterday, I have always wanted to write and have actually had a blog before that no one ever read. No one read it because no one knew it existed.

So I've decided to air out some of these old blog posts and post them so they can have their chance to be read.

This one is from 2008 and seems appropriate to this blog. Musings about aging which all still hold true for today.



Dad, Bunny, Mom- Jan 2009
(One person in this picture will kill me if she finds out I posted it.
Please don't tell.)


Getting Older (and Better)  from August 2008

Had lunch with my parents and one of their friends the other day. Mom is 84, Dad is 85 and Friend is undecided. (Or at least not talking- but I'm pretty sure she is in her mid 80s, also.) They were all very interesting. Friend travels and keeps up with lots of acquaintances and the parents have a more active social life than the Prince of a husband and I do. 

Makes me wonder just what it is that keeps some people active and young while others seem old before their time. The common denominator with most of the active older folks I know, my parents included, is that they make a point of having younger friends. Now "younger" is all relative- in their case it means 50s or 60s or even 70s. But I figure this works well for me. Being an older mother I tend to hang out with the parents of my kids' friends who are for the most part 10 years younger than I am. Or more. I just found out I am the same age as Belle's best friend's grandmother. Eek!

So Dad is complaining about how he "never expected he would be this old". He had a stroke last year and has recovered 95%- but he is still mad about that 5% that's gone. I'm not sure what he thought the alternative would be but I suggested that if he was really that upset, he should get himself a Harley, blow off the helmet and just go for it. Seems every day in the obituaries there is at least one person who died doing "what they loved best, riding their motorcycle." Although I actually suspect that part of the reason that he is doing as well as he is might be related to his attitude. He's just not interested in becoming old. And come to think of it- neither am I.

I am at the crossroads of getting older. I feel great. I look pretty good. I'm strong with no physical complaints. 

BUT! Those wrinkles have given me a permanently grumpy look so I confess to indulging in a little Botox. Just to get rid of the lines between my eyebrows. And now my hairline seems to be thinning-or is it just graying?- which really stinks for a woman. (It probably really stinks for a guy, too, but at least there are lots of you in the same boat.) My nice "cosmetic dermatologist" suggested a little Rogaine and some more highlights while also pointing out that this fix would be a constant for the rest of my natural life.  

And what comes next? I would be amazing if I had a little bit of a facelift- but I also wouldn't look 52 or maybe even 42. Would I have a 40 something face on a 50 something body? That always looks odd. It is like 60 year old women having implants- these bright and perky breasts on an otherwise soft body. Even if it is a FIT body, it's an older body. (I've always thought they should make "older women" implants. Ones that come with a bit of softness built in to them. ) 

So- keep hanging in there doing a bit here and a bit there? Or go with the often appealing (and often appalling) idea of just giving up? Or do something major? Or buy the Harley? Just don't know.

For now I guess I will keep sticking my fingers in the dike- fixing things here and there. Hopefully, the whole dam thing won't go. In the meantime, life is good.

So there.   In 2008 I was already thinking about aging and how to fight back.  And even then I knew that the best way to fight was to keep thinking and doing and nurturing the relationships of the people you love and find interesting.  

And my parents are still happily alive and my dad is still railing against getting old. He will be 90 in February.  Hasn't bought the Harley yet.

I'll post another oldie on Monday.



21 December 2012

Write Now

No. 9: Start a blog that I actually let people read.

I feel like I can say that I have somewhat accomplished this.


I started this blog a month ago and I have had 528 page views so far.  That is NOTHING when compared to some of my favorite blogs that will have 20,000 comments on one post but still it is way more than I ever expected.


So thank you to all my friends and family that have taken a peek at this blog. And thanks to the random strangers that have also looked and hopefully read my random ramblings. And a special thanks to the 25 people in Israel that logged on - or maybe it was one person in Israel that logged on 25 times- that made me smile and shake my head and wonder just HOW someone in Israel found me.   I understand Germany and India- I KNOW people there. France and Canada make me wonder but I can at least see having connections in those places. But Israel?? Hmmmm. 


Can you tell I love seeing the stats on where people are that log onto this blog? 


And now a little blog history. Blogs first started in the late 1990s when online publishing tools were introduced. Before that any online journaling required a knowledge of HTML (HyperText Markup Language- the code of the internet).   Originally called "weblog", the name "blog" was created when early blogger Peter Merholz broke up the the word "weblog" into "we blog" on the sidebar of his own personal online journal. Obviously a man with a sense of humor.


Now everyone has a blog. Or so it seems. 


Men blog more than women.  Women in Utah blog more than women in any other state. Thirty five percent of blogging  moms in the U.S. are located in the state of Utah. Not sure what that means but it is a fact I find interesting. Utah moms?? 


And me? 


I had a blog before this one. The Misadventures of Mommy Salami.  I wrote solely for myself and no one ever read it because I never told anyone about it. I think there were five posts. (Nope. I just looked. There were closer to a dozen.) That's why No. 9 required actually letting people read what I wrote. 


Because I have always wanted to be a writer. I've also always wanted to be an artist. But first it was "writer", then "artist" and ideally, hey! I could write and illustrate my own book! Except I'm not an illustrator at all.


So for the next few days I will publish some of my original Misadventure posts. Air them out and let them see daylight. 


Apologies to my kids who might realize they have been written about. (Or not. They don't read me now, I don't think.)   Apologies to the kids' friends who might recognize themselves. O well.  You know what they say: write what you know.  I know these kids.


So tune in tomorrow. 


(And just in case the world does end today- unlikely since it is Friday already over in Australia and they seem to still be plugging along-I want to tell everyone that I love them and life is good and live like there is no tomorrow so you have no regrets that you didn't do something today. xxoooxx)

((And sorry no pretty pictures or fun links. I spent the day at the hospital while my husband had his second surgery to repair the damage from his first surgery in October. That first surgery was what got me re-started on this whole blog thing. Surgery went well and hopefully he will be home Christmas eve.))

18 December 2012

No. 45: Do You Hear What I Hear?


No. 45: Spend one day a week on a radio station that I don’t normally listen to.  i.e. explore SiriusXM radio

Boy, I had no idea this would be so entertaining and educational.

I started on Sirius in my kitchen, scanning in Air Musique.  French punk/alternative music sounds a lot like English punk/alternative music- except I couldn’t understand what they were singing. But it is so similar I felt like I SHOULD be able to understand.    After about three hours of  baking and listening I had a splitting headache and a big batch of cocoa almond biscotti.  I wish I had the ear for French but so far, no.

Yum.


Next was Caliente on Sirius in the car. I speak and understand enough Spanish that it was no different than listening in English. I listened for a few days and discovered I like Juanes. No challenge otherwise.

Juanes. Ummm, a bit of a babe. Also, yum.


Then it got interesting. WRN. World Radio Network. English language radio from all over the world.

The first day I listened was the day that Syria tried shutting down the roads to the airport, the internet and pretty much all outside communication. Reporters read live tweets and brief communiqués from short wave radios.  The government was trying to contain its citizens but the citizens were having none of it.  
History was unfolding live right in my car.

 Syria, located. 

Since then I have heard the Korean fashion report for the winter season. In case you are headed to Korea, pack your color blocked clothes, your tone on tone outfits and complete it all with stillettos.  For work. Apparently sex sells all over the world.


And how about a SwedishHoliday dinner?  Click on the  Swedish Radio website and you too can serve Swedish meatballs, pig's foot in gelé and lutfisk to the relatives come Christmas day.  Smoked reindeer is also a must but I don't think even Whole Foods carries reindeer.

Dinner? I don't think so.


Poland has the Top Thirty Pop countdown that sounds just like a US Top Thirty Pop countdown- only from the 1980s. Maybe I was just listening on a bad day.

But the best part?

It sparked a conversation with a darling 70+ year old gentleman who was interested in Russian Radio. While Sirius doesn’t have a Russian station, we found one on the Internet instead.  So No. 45 brought history to my car, sparked a cross-generational conversation and opened up a world of possibilities.

Wow.

Not a paid advertisement for SiriusXM or anything else mentioned here.