Happy New Year, Y’all

Helloooooo out there!
Happy New Year, everybody!

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BE HAPPY! Your choice.
ūüėė iz
Later.
p.s. found leaf heart above under my smiling tree

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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.