Habits to Kick with Both Feet & Habits to Embrace

“If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.”

(Marian Hamilton Alderson)

“Average doesn’t cut it.”

(Me)

Note to self: do something, anything about the following:

    • Onion dip and potato chips¬†are not¬†a healthy dinner choice. If this is unavoidable, check out Clinton Kelly‘s recipe for homemade onion dip – it is beyond tasty.
    • Emotions are fickle; do not confuse with¬†truth.
    • Finish¬†one project before starting another. But there are so many, I get bored and am easily distracted …. oh, okay, take ADHD¬†vitamin and focus.
    • When¬†it becomes a choice to be kind or be right, always choose kind. Being right – and smug – ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. It is cracked. For me.
    • Always take bag when walking dog. Sometimes I forget and dog does his thing.¬†This situation is sort of like stepping on a crack – no bag and business means I will step in it shortly.
    • Keep your friends close and your frenemies at bay. Yeah, yeah … the saying says keep enemies closer. Ridiculous. Choosing to have a bad experience over a great one? Not an option for me.
    • Make a comment instead of pushing “Like” button when reading blog posts.This is¬†addressed to¬†me – “like” is great, so no haters. I push the “like” button all the time. But am going to attempt to do otherwise; if bloggers have taken the time to write and I have taken the time to read their posts, then it makes sense for me to commiserate, congratulate, admire … whatever. But you are welcome to “like” me anytime you want.
    • Stop¬†wearing clothes inside out. Happens all the time. Must slow down and look in mirror before exiting home. This sort of issue is crazy cat lady stuff. I don’t have a cat. And I’m not crazy. That’s a lie. A little bit crazy. Acknowledge contemporary insanity and slow down when dressing.
    • Lead with love and compassion. Yesterday, a woman came into the shop where I work. She was looking for a hat and veil for her best friend. Whose husband had passed¬†away. Although we’d never met, we spent a good hour trying to find the perfect pillbox hat for her bereaved friend to wear¬†to the funeral. During that time, we talked about any and everything. And when she left, tears were rolling down both our cheeks. She was an amazing example of leading with love. And a stellar reminder to me to do the same.
Dashing ….
Later.

Free Falling

Free falling. There are those times when you find yourself in a free fall. Gravity, disguised as circumstances, exhaustion, or emotions, just knocks your feet right out from under you. And you are free falling.

It’s not so much about the fall, itself, but that you stop it. This is NOT the time to go with the flow.

Catastrophizing, whining, blaming … these are not options but negative motivators (oxymoron?) that build nasty momentum. So, how do you stop the fall?

First, reach out. Grab some strong arms to hug you, seek loving ears to listen.

My very wise friend, Renee, would say, “Shift“. Look at what “pushed” you, shift your perceptions, and find the lesson. Emotions are fickle, not to be trusted”. Ms. Shay would say, “It’s all about will – your will, your choice – and you have abundant, positive choices.”

And then, the rest is up to me … or you. It always is. When I am in a free fall, it is often precipitated by control. Me trying to control anything, everything. And when anything, everything feels like I am herding cats, “tilting at windmills”, and bouncing off the same brick wall repeatedly, I know to stop. Just stop and listen.

Then, and only then, I hear Renee and Ms. Shay. And the Big Voice saying, “You are NOT on a crazy train that’s going off the rails. You didn’t buy that ticket. Simmer down.” And I’m no longer falling, but standing up, sorta straight. And remembering verses that are warm and fuzzy at the very least – to me:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find relief and ease and refreshment and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is useful – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant, and My burden is light and easily borne.” (Matthew 11:28-30, Amplified Bible)

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver)

Then I know that comfort, so momentarily elusive, will come.

And I begin again.

——————————-

*Big Voice would not be Ozzy Osbourne. But I do like “Crazy Train

Blame it on Eve

I’m talking about clothing. While I wouldn’t call Eve a style icon, her curiosity and that damn apple did present us with the need to “cover up”. Don’t know who decided to make dressing an art form, but God bless him/her/them.

Did you know that any clothing over 20 years old is considered vintage? I didn’t, but am all over vintage clothing for a number of reasons. First and foremost …..

My Grandmother

My grandmother was born with style. I think this photo is 1930’s but her outfit looks like Norma Kamali was around at that time. Luckily, I have some of my grandmother’s jackets and other accoutrement which I wear frequently. Because it was so well made and way cool. I LOVE vintage clothing. The fabrics, the craftmanship … oh, I feel a case of the vapors coming on.

Before I take to my fainting couch, I must tell you why I’m double lucky regarding vintage. My city has the very best treasure chest of vintage clothing, shoes, hats, handbags, and other accessories in this hemisphere. IN ONE SPOT! Cheeky Vintage! Just the name makes me swoon.

The owners of Cheeky Vintage, Denise and Tina, are brilliant and have a serious love and eye for vintage perfection. But don’t just take my word for it; Lucky Magazine calls Cheeky¬†one of the country’s best vintage stores. And the positive press goes on and on. Go to cheekyvintage.com to drool.

Chanel, anyone?

Treasure Chest

Just fainted.

Later.

Creative Explosion: A Movie, A Book, and Two Singers

Color Explosion

You just never know when¬†or how that creative urge will arrive.¬†I mention this only to explain my lack of posts lately. Right in the middle of a Mahjong game last week, I¬†had a vision. Which explains why I couldn’t win to save my soul. Have been lost in color, ideas, creating. When that happens, I have no concept of space and time. I think¬†it’s Tuesday and I’ve come up for air. For a moment. To share some GREAT creations of others.

Movie

If you haven’t seen it, please check¬†out “Heartbreaker. This romantic French comedy made me laugh out loud a number of times and smile throughout. The film was made in 2010 and is set in Monaco. Directed by Pascal Chaumeil, it stars Vanessa Paradis, Romain Duris, and Julie Ferrier¬†and they are brilliant! Even if you are Grumpy Grumbleson, you will be in a great mood after watching this. Just sayin’.

Book

My youngest daughter recommended a book to me. Donald Miller had me at his author’s note: “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It’s as if they are showing you the way”. The title, “Blue Like Jazz” is a beauty, but it’s the subtitle that indicates you are in for a thought-provoking ride … “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality”. His writing is anything but traditional; I find myself wondering how he got in my head while reading this. I think he and author Anne Lamott would get on famously. Two of my favorite passages so far are:

“My mother had given me her Texaco card for my date, so on the way home I stopped in for some Cheetos and donuts. I sat in the Texaco parking lot and thought about poor Romeo, begging for love, running off with his woman, and then accidentally dying. Some dates go terrible, it’s a fact.”

“At the time I was attending this large church in the suburbs. It was like going to church at The Gap.”

And this from his blog, ”¬†My flight out of Nashville was cancelled and I found myself, suitcase in hand, standing outside the Nashville airport dismayed because all I wanted to do was go home. But there was a part of me that wondered if something good could happen, if I couldn‚Äôt ‚Äúcreate a reason‚ÄĚ for being stuck in Nashville. I made some calls and the night turned out to be great, one of the best I had that season.”

More, please.

Singers

Christopher Jak does it for me. Favorites: “Hold On Tight”, “Squeeze”, and “Begin to Cry”. Awesome.

I¬†like¬†David Gray. This singer/songwriter is most excellent at what he does. His latest album is Foundling, which should be available on iTunes. Previous to this release, my favorite DG songs are “You’re the One I Love” and “Babylon”.

That’s enough for now …my muse is calling me ….

Later.

The Love Letter

My Grandfather

This wonderful man wrote me a letter when I was four days old.

“My Dearest Little One –

Please forgive a fond Grandfather for the delay in welcoming you into our family and accept this letter as a small token of my love and affection for you.

First of all, let me congratulate you on your excellent choice of parents, and always be assured that they are rare people indeed. I have known your dear Mother since she drew her first breath of life and in all the passing years, the love I hold for her has mellowed and increased with the passage of time. Your Father is the newest member of the family, but he has earned a place in our hearts by just being himself and loving your Mother with all his heart. As for your Grandmother and me, well, we are just plain run-of-the-mill Grandparents, and we solemnly promise to spoil you and jump at your every beck and call.

I haven’t had the opportunity to be with you yet, but you can bet your Sunday boots that I am looking forward to that time with the greatest anticipation. I shall probably cause you some discomfort with all my foolishness, but just don’t be too harsh on me as all Grandfathers are just a bit silly at times. My chest has increased at least 10 inches since you were born and I’m sure it will continue to do so as I compare you with all the other inferior grandbabies of my friends. You must not feel any conceit, but I am sure there is no other little girl in the world quite like you, and you must always accept this position with charming grace.

Once again, let me tell you how welcome you are and how much I love you even though we haven’t met. I am counting the hours until I can hold you in my arms. The name I sign at the conclusion of this letter is a first for me, and it brings an overwhelming feeling of pride to do so. Give my best to your Mother and Daddy and save a little bit of your love for your –

Granddad -“

I Remember (Grand)Mama

My Grandmother, in a piece from her trousseau

“Don’t frown; it will cause wrinkles!”

If my Grandmother said this to me once, she said it a million times. I miss her. While it has been years since she passed away, she took flight over Memorial Day weekend.

Grandmother was elegant, charming, and always a lady. She was also an extraordinary flirt, which is a win-win for a gorgeous woman, which she was.

She was the only child of prosperous parents. Her aunt made every piece of her wardrobe (including everything from the lace to the buttons of her trousseau).

Grandmother had three husbands, three children, and seven grandchildren. People still come up to me and say that she and my Grandfather looked like a movie star couple.

I don’t think she felt like much of a movie star during WWII. My Grandfather was in the Cavalry and she lived on an army base in San Antonio with three children under five. There were lots of Hispanic children on the base, which, for some unknown reason, inspired my five-year-old Mother to become a humanitarian. She took my Grandmother’s jewelry box, which was filled with some serious bling, and passed the contents out to all her young friends. My Mom still remembers the spanking she got and none of the jewelry was ever recovered. Whoops. Completely overwhelmed¬†with kiddos¬†and trying to live on a very small budget, she finally threw in the towel, called my Great-Grandmother and pleaded for help. My Great-Grandmother thought over her darling daughter’s plight –¬†no money, three ankle biters, and¬†army base life. She did what any mother would do. She sent her a full-length mink coat. No wonder my Grandmother’s hair turned white at 26.

Flash forward to my appearance on the scene. Grandmother was all of 40 when I was born. She adored me because she didn’t have to birth me, I was her first grandchild, and I went home with my parents. She also loved me like her own child, which I could have been. My sister and cousins will tell you I was the female equivalent to “Baby Jesus” according to my Grandmother. They were loved as well, but sort of had “shepherd status”. Happens.

Four Generations

Mom, me, and Grandmother

I spent lots of time with my Grandparents. And it was all good.

The Three Amigo(a)s

Flash forward to the last years. She called my Mom, “Sis”; they lunched together every Friday. While “mothering” might not have been her best gig, she gave it what she could. Grandmother never said a bad word about anyone but I’m sure she thought of some zingers. And she had very nice manners. When my Dad’s father, Andy, came to town, she invited him for dinner. Andy was born and raised in the very rural¬†deep South. And he thought Grandmother was “hubba hubba” material. After dinner, he gave my Grandmother a big compliment. He said, “Beautiful Lady, them squashes was delicious!”. Her reply, “Oh Andy, you do go on so.”

She was a steel magnolia. Her¬†southern accent got deeper when she sipped on her favorite adult beverage, a scotch mist. The only time we got sideways was when McPaddie was born.¬† We decided to call McPaddie by a nickname; Grandmother said she absolutely would not call the new baby anything but her formal name. I said that was fine, the entire world minus her, would be using the nickname. She caved, and dearly loved both of my daughters. When she passed away, we ordered a blanket of fresh magnolias for her coffin. When I went to check on the situation, all the magnolias looked like they’d barely survived a southern tsunami. I marched myself into the funeral director’s office and said, “SHE MAY BE DEAD BUT THE FLOWERS SHOULDN’T BE, MR. MAN!”. Winner, winner, scotch mist for dinner!

I miss her.

The Steel Magnolia in her early 20's

My Grandmother at 78

And she was right, you know. If you frown, you will get wrinkles.

Milestone Playlist in Three-Part Harmony

This is a story in three-part harmony.

Drove to Austin listening to my current favorite playlist.  My youngest, McPaddie, was graduating from UT. My solo road trip was extra fun because I could sing at the top of my lungs. SWEET. This morning, I jumped in the car, turned on the tunes, and headed home. SWEET and SALTY. What a difference 24 hours make.

One: BeforeWoke up yesterday morning at Austin Ann‘s peace haven. Something is off – oh, haven’t had coffee yet. Drink my body weight in java, read Nora Ephron‘s, “I Feel Bad About My Neck”¬†from cover to cover. Jump in shower to wash off oompa¬†loompa¬†tan and get all gussied up for the Big Event. The second I see Ann, I tear up. Her baby just graduated from UGA, my baby will have a diploma in a couple of hours. It was a mom moment. Lots of deep breathing.¬† Fairy Godmother, Poob, arrived, we put our high hoofs on and off we went.

Two: During Р Met up with Miss Peach (eldest daughter) and her dad at the venue. Each school has a commencement ceremony; we were in an enormous venue for The School of Communications.

Yep, we were going to be there for hours. Poob‘s daughter graduated from Stanford; Oprah gave the commencement speech. We were anxious to find out who we would be listening to. Opened the program and OMG. The address was being given by a guy who dated one of our friends in high school and was engaged to another friend after college. I immediately sent a text to both women: Craig Dubow is the SPEAKER!”¬†Furious texts flew back and forth between Austin, Houston, and Fredericksburg. I mean, he does have cred – Chairman and CEO of Gannet Co., Inc. Whatev. We had most excellent seats and McPaddie was front row. She walked, we screamed, and two-and-1/2 hours later we hooked our horns, ¬†sang, “The Eyes of Texas”, and piled out into the Texas heat. Pictures taken all around amidst a throng of other picture takers. My graduate was one happy camper. Another mom moment – proud. Off we went for drinks at the W, very cool. Then Skywalker, the graduate’s fab love muffin, met us at Eddie V‘s for dinner. All great fun, saw the world, including friends we’d gone to UT with. Poob and I left the younger ones at that point; we’d been in graduation mode for 12 hours and it was closing time – for us. This morning, we left Ann with smooches, had a bite with the grad, hugs and smooches all around, and we headed in three¬†different directions.

Three: After¬†–¬†Driving out of Austin for the umpteenth time, I turned up the tunes and pressed the pedal to the metal. But this time, it was different. My oldest has a big life in our home town. The youngest isn’t coming home. They are both amazing. We’ve all experienced a milestone. Listening to the music, tears started falling out of my eyes. Happy, proud, sweet tears mixed with some salty, sentimental mom water. Deep breathing. Nothing is impossible. Life is good. Mysterious, but good.

The Playlist, in no particular order

  • “Raise Your Glass” – Pink
  • “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
  • “Gimme Shelter”– The Rolling Stones
  • “Stronger” – Glee Cast
  • “Sweet Child O’ Mine”¬†– Guns N’Roses
  • “Heads Will Roll” – Yeah Yeah Yeah’s
  • “Born This Way”– Lady GaGa
  • Dueling Guitars” – August Rush movie
  • Defying Gravity” – Idina Menzel and Lea Michele
  • On The Floor”Jennifer Lopez with Pitbull
  • Someone Like You” – Adele
  • “Learn To Fly” – Foo Fighters
  • “Sweet Home Alabama”¬†– Lynyrd¬†Skynrd
  • “Shout It Out Loud” – KISS
  • “Daughter”¬†– Loudon Wainwright III
  • Mercy” – Duffy
  • “I Was Made To Love Her” – Stevie Wonder
  • “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley

As for the three-part harmony ……..

Peach, McPaddie, Cita/iz

¬†“A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.”

Blessed two times over, I am.

Later.

Are You Superstitious? Fact and Fiction ….

 

Years ago, I wrote a 13 page article about superstitions for a magazine. Have always loved superstitions and had a mighty fine time researching them. Have no idea why they are on my mind right now (am sure there’s a superstition about that) but superstitions will be the topic of this and maybe the following post. Or not. So let’s get started here …….

  • Fridays: For some religions, the term, “TGIF“, should instead be, “OSIF“(Oh Shit, It’s Friday!). Adam and Eve got booted from the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Arc set sail, and Jesus was crucified – all on Friday.
  • Garlic: “Carry garlic to ward off the Evil Eye“. This will not protect you from the Stink Eye, which you will receive in abundance due to the pungent garlic you are carrying. Ah, the sacrifices.
  • Knock On Wood: In the olden days, protective spirits were believed to live in trees. Knocking on wood would “intensify” the wish that was being made. If this is true, American Loggers, you are sooooo screwed.
  • Stumbling: Stumbling when leaving the house¬†and stumbling several times while out of the house indicate bad luck is headed your way. ¬†I think if you are stumbling around, you should quit drinking, do not drive, and get orthopedic shoes.
  • Wearing a Hat to Bed:¬† I suppose it’s bad luck because you are obviously drunk again.
  • Meeting Three Sheep:¬†To meet three sheep is good luck. It’s the language barrier that’s awkward. “Hello, how do you do?” “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.”
  • Right Side of Bed:¬†If you are accused of “getting up on the wrong side of the bed”, you need to know this. The right side of the bed is lucky. Using the left side will assure you a Grumpy Grumbleson sort of day.
  • Crossed Fingers: This symbol is used to ward off the devil; it is also popular at the craps table and right up to the time you can’t remember why you crossed your fingers.
  • Wear Clothing Inside Out: This is supposed to be good luck; I believe people who won’t wear their glasses made this up. My ex house helper used to fold my lingerie inside out. So this superstition, to me, means everything in my house has been broken and the liquor cabinet drained dry.
  • Putting Your Shoes On the Table: this action assures you will have bad luck and you already have horrid manners.
  • A Shrew in Your Pocket: Apparently, carrying a dead mouse in your pocket will ward off rheumatism. Could also get you a one-way ticket to the nearest psych ward.

I have a few suggestions to throw in here. While more fact than superstition, I’m the boss of this page so…..

  • Let’s Do Lunch: If someone says this to you, you can bet the farm it will never happen. EVER. Good luck.
  • Sleep With Wedding Cake Under Pillow: When I was little, it was almost a rule that you took a slice of wedding cake home from the festivities. Wrapped carefully and put under your pillow, you would supposedly dream of your future husband. This is NOT TRUE. You will, however, wake up in the middle of the night and eat the smushed cake. Perhaps the term, “midnight snack”, came from this activity. Fat luck.
  • Purple Teeth: If you drink red wine, you will have purple teeth, temporarily. The more you drink, the deeper purple.¬† Not the best look. Bad luck/Good buzz.

What superstitions strike your fancy?

Ok, gotta go. My glass slippers are hurting like a mother and my carriage has already turned into a pickup truck.

Later.

Angry Birds, Royal Wedding, Ellen DeGeneres & Other Randamonium

Well, hello there! What’s on your mind today? Here’s what’s on what is left of mine:

  • Angry Birds: If you “know” me, you know birds like to use me as a restroom. But I’m not talking about those birds. Talking about all the Angry Bird games. They are making me crazy. I get the utmost satisfaction when I aim a bird, let it fly, and it decimates a bunch of green pigs. Especially when I give the dastardly pigs names, usually names of¬†people I know. Am greatly stressed at the moment because there are just some levels I have yet to win. Games should be relaxing but this one is making me crazy¬†crazier. Back off, PETA; these pigs are animated and I love animals. Except fake green pigs. Meh.

 

  • Royal Wedding: Unlike most of the population, I’m not pissed I didn’t get an invite. Although I should have. My relative was the Queen of England … for eight days. Have stayed at The Goring, where Kate and Co. will stay until the wedding. It’s quite a lovely hotel and conveniently located right around the corner from Buckingham Palace. The only odd thing about the place is that the bar includes a herd of sit-¬†upons resembling stuffed sheep. Of course, there’s an explanation for this, but I didn’t read the book. Baaaaaaaa! The sheep seats, ha! ¬†These two lovebirds are getting hitched as quickly as possible;¬†weddings are not held in the Anglican/Episcopal Church during the Lenten Season. Usually. And one more thing …¬†Ellen DeGeneres didn’t get an invite, either, and Kate‘s her cousin. Someone has forgotten her manners. Maybe that’s common among commoners.

 

  • Ellen DeGeneres: She is one of the funniest people I don’t know. And she is kind and generous. She helps people. I’m still hunting for a job. So, I decided to write Ellen, requesting her help in this area. DON’T LAUGH OR I WILL CUT YOU… out of my will. ¬†Am well aware that she gets grillions of letters, requests, pleas and such. Am also aware that I am not her demographic target. Nevertheless, I press on. I do know, from prior work, there are people hired to specifically go through all the communication and cull, giving her what they deem a “possibility” for her show. So I included a note to the person reading my words – “*Pretend I am your mother*” Maybe a tiny guilt trip will get my words in front of Ellen. Am not asking for job on her show – just employment that pays $$ that pays the bills. Will keep you posted re: any communication from Ellen. I don’t tweet, but I can dance. So we shall see ……….

 

  • Be Specific: Need to be more specific with my personal¬†prayer requests. Finding myself in the dating pool at this stage of the game – well, I’ve uttered the phrase, “God help me!” about a million times. Usually after a date. So praying for a nice man or gaggle of nice men to enter my space is most necessary. That has yet to happen … or maybe it has. I live with a male who loves me unconditionally, would protect me to the death, who thinks I’m the nuts and soup. He’s awesome. But he is my dog, Cooper. Methinks more specificity is in order … need to add “human” to the mix. Silly moi.

Okay, Happy Day to all.

Am off to eat my weight in chocolate bunnies.

Later!