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Posts Tagged With: useful information

It’s not what I did, it’s what I didn’t do

source: ludix.com

I’ve been off work for more than a month recovering from foot surgery. I have another 2 weeks to go before the doctor will release me.

In my mind, I had a vast list of things I was going to accomplish during this so-called “down” time.

I was going to:

  • review & file EOB (Explanation of Benefits) statements from last year
  • catch up on watching recent Academy Award nominated movies (2009, 2010 etc)
  • shred credit card statements and receipts
  • reorganize the top of my dresser (it’s a humble-jumble of jewelry, perfume, buttons and receipts)
  • read at least half of the books stacked on my end table
  • and much more that I barely remember

I didn’t do any of those things.

It’s not what I did .. it’s what I didn’t do.

I didn’t:

  • Use an alarm clock… instead, I slept until I woke up.  Letting my body reset itself has been most restorative
  • Mind letting the answering machine pick up calls (couldn’t get there in time anyways)
  • Watch any Academy Award winning movies. Instead, I snuggled up with old favorites like “Hitch” and “Notting Hill”
  • Cook for weeks at a time (unheard of, especially for me)
  • Try to be a hero; I took pain meds when I felt “the pinch”
  • Read anything more challenging than “Readers Digest” or “People”
  • Blow dry my hair; too tiring, too hard to stand, and too easy to pull my wet, clean hair back into a ponytail and let it air dry
  • Forget to say “please” and “thank you”
  • Call the office or respond to emails with any particular regularity
  • Resist the urge to nap when necessary
  • Refuse friends who offered to cook for us
  • Miss an opportunity to greet our boy after school
  • Fail to appreciate everyone who helped me

This morning, while listening to an April thunderstorm thrash our house with rain,  I reflected on this time of recovery.

Some of it I don’t remember (Hello Vicodin!) and much of it I do.  What did I learn?

The best laid plans of mice and men!

We think we’re in control.  Our bodies have a way of making us take a time out.

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Categories: Blogging, Family, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Try a little tenderness

image courtesy of Stockphoto

Recently I was asked for advice on repairing a relationship.  The person asking was sincere, expressing genuine pain and confusion.

I listened to a recap of the hurtful things they’d said to each other and considered the impasse they were at now.

** Disclaimer** here’s the deal with me: If you ask my opinion and I care for you, I will give it to you.  You might not like my answer, but you can count on me to be honest and constructive.  If I don’t know you well, or if I sense that you’re only looking for me to mirror back an answer you’ve rehearsed, well, that’s a different conversation altogether.

I could tell that being subtle was not going to work and I knew that any attempts to be Switzerland-neutral would fail.   I condensed my advice to these words:

  Try a little tenderness.

Try championing each other.

Try being thoughtful, of putting the other person ahead of yourself more often than not.

Try saying “thank you.”   Try meaning it.

Try avoiding the words “always” and “never”  (relationship killers, in my experience).

Try saving your best for each other.

Try tossing the scoreboard and celebrating that you’re on the same team.

Try a little tenderness. Just try it … and see what happens.

Everyone wants to be appreciated. Everyone wants to be heard.

Sometimes the change we want to see in others has to start with a change in US.

Try a little tenderness: take it away, Otis.

Categories: Attitude, Forgiveness, Friendship, Life, Love, Men, music, Opinion, Quotes, Relationships, Romance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Panera Cares: The question is .. will we?

Last night my local news featured a story on The Panera Bread restaurant chain having opened its third “Panera Cares” cafe in Portland, Oregon.  Two others were opened in the past year: one in Dearborn, MI (near Detroit) and the first in St. Louis, MO.   These cafes have the same food choices on the menu as all other Paneras with one difference: there are no prices listed. Meals aren’t free, rather a “pay what you can” concept has been introduced.  I heard the reporter state that while most customers pay what would be considered the regular price, many pay more so as to give something back.  Any extra monies are given to local job training programs benefiting at-risk youth.

“There are a lot of folks out there who question whether this could ever work. In many ways, this is a test of humanity,” said Ron Shaich, the company’s founder.

I do enjoy the variety of Panera’s menu and while some items are too calorie-laden for me, I am happy to support a company that tries to do something for the greater good.  Give me that over a 30 ounce “Trenta” any day of the week.

For more information visit their website or watch the video below:

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Food, Gratitude, Life, News, Patriotic, Personal, Products I love, Relationships, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Company French Toast

photo from thecrownmarket.com

Company French toast is not only delicious,  it’s a great choice for company as the recipe is prepared ahead of time.  It takes about 20 minutes to prepare on Day 1 and cooks up the next morning (Day 2). As it bakes, your home will fill with the mouth-watering aroma of cinnamon and brown sugar, leaving your guests and family members marveling at your cooking finesse.    

**Company French Toast**

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter (margarine can be used but we prefer the taste of butter)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 12 slices thick white bread  (Challah or French bread, cut in 1” slices diagonally across the loaf)*
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 large eggs, beaten

* Regular bread can be used but a denser bread like the ones listed above are preferred because they can soak up the eggs/milk without falling apart. 

Directions:

Day 1: Melt butter in 9 x 13 baking pan. Do this by placing the butter into the baking pan and turning the oven on low. Just melt the butter, be sure not to burn it. Remove pan from oven and stir in brown sugar & cinnamon. Spread butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture across the bottom of the pan.   If you choose, you can instead melt the butter in the microwave, pour into the baking pan and stir in the brown sugar & cinnamon.

Next, place bread slices in a double layer over the sugar/butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, stir milk and beaten eggs together and pour the egg/milk mixture evenly over the bread slices.  Do your best to soak all of the bread with the egg/milk mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in refrigerator overnight.

 Day 2:  Uncover the dish and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for about 45-60 minutes. (Cook at 300 degrees if using a glass pan and add about 5-7 minutes to the cooking time) Let pan sit for about 10 minutes invert the whole pan onto a platter (larger than your baking pan); cut into squares and serve.

Company French toast bakes up with a caramelized brown sugarry-goodness topping  –yum yum – but it will very  hot—be careful. Serve with syrup, fresh fruit, whipped cream or whatever you desire.  Recipe makes approximately 6-8 servings.  Or, if you have a teenaged boy in your house, 3.

I serve this on Christmas morning with bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and hash browns because we need protein & starch to balance out the sugar coma this dish induces!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

In an earlier version I had the temp listed as 350 -that’s wrong – should be 325 or this will burn ..sorry about that 🙂

Categories: Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Personal, Recipes, Traditions | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Rants of Christmas(es) Past

Christmas is 11 days away and, oddly, I’m actually calm … this year. But there was a time, not all that long ago, when that was simply not the case.

Not. In. The. Least.

You see, I did too much. As a young wife, I created these ridiculous standards and then, every year ….I delivered. Every time.   Our tree was spectacular, my freezer bursting with homemade tarts, cookies, pies, fudge and peanut butter balls.  Presents were carefully selected, wrapped, labeled, mailed to people near and far. Songs were carefully chosen for an annual Christmas CD and placed into delicate artisan crafted cards.. and mailed to nearly 60 people.  Four course meal? Hardly. Try seven.  Hand-decorated stockings hung by the chimney with care.  And .. to top it off: hosted a party for 50+, in our home, and did all the cooking.  Oh, and worked full-time.   Martha Stewart can suck my socks!

Should have seen it coming.

The poor hubbs didn’t.  Poor hubbs, who was happily oblivious to my turmoil lurking within. He was only trying to be helpful as he cheerfully announced, two nights from Christmas, that we should all go out for dinner!  Our boys, at that time 16 and 8, erupted in cheers!  The hubbs beamed with delight at the brilliance of his helpfulness.

Me?

Not so much.

Smiling woodenly, I mentally calculated:  ok .. if-we-get-to-the-restaurant-before-5:30-we-won’t-have-to-wait-for-a-table-and-we-can-eat-and-be-back-at-the-house-by-8:00. You see that’s when I was planning on icing the 4 dozen sugar cookies taunting me from the freezer.  And finishing the wrapping. And ensuring that the turkey was properly defrosting. And finalizing the menu for the guests arriving early the next morning.  And making sure everyone had clean “nice” clothes to wear and. and. and.

So  … off we went in the SUV and even I had to admit, it was gorgeous out.  A perfect winter’s evening, with snow falling, Christmas lights twinkling,  and every house up and down our block absolutely glowing.  More cars than normal were parked in driveways, signaling the arrival of college kids and other family members home for the holiday. Slowly I felt myself drawn into the moment, the laughter, the music.

We enjoyed a nice meal and, more than once,  I caught the hubbs beaming with delight that he had orchestrated this moment.  And, I had to admit, it was fun.  The restaurant wasn’t crowded, it felt wonderfully decadent to be waited on and, for a moment, I forgot about all that was remaining on my to-do list.

As we headed back to our neighborhood it began to snow again. Big, fat fluffy snowflakes, the kind that swirl and twirl below the street light. Magic.

Sitting in the back with our youngest boy, as he went over his wish list for the 80 millionth time, I heard these words from the front seat, ” Hey!! Look!! Carollers,” our oldest joyfully exclaimed.   He and the hubbs chatted excitedly as we headed up our street, the same direction as that massive orgy of carollers were headed in. Oh crap.  Continue reading

Categories: Family, Forgiveness, Holidays, Humor, Life, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Traditions, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Live with Intention

source: dailytop10.net

Live with intention.

Walk to the edge.

Listen. Hard.

Practice wellness.

Play with abandon.

Laugh.

Choose with no regret.

Continue to learn.

Appreciate your friends.

Do what you love.

Live. As. If. This. Is. All. There. Is.

-mary anne radmacher

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Random observations, Relationships, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Whooo?

flickr.com

We have an owl living in the woods behind our house; sometimes, he hangs out on our rooftop, as it provides an excellent lookout point to what scurries beneath the street light.  Not only are they beautiful animals, but I find their “whoo whoo” sounds to be very comforting.

Some time ago, I had a session with a local reader who is Native American. Much of her wisdom comes to her in the form of “totems” or symbols of character traits.

She told me my Totem was the Owl.  I found this summary particularly interesting:

Totem of the Owl: messenger, deception, clairvoyance, insight (the night eagle)  Owls come in all sizes, from a tiny miniature that actually lives inside the cactus in the desert, to the great horned owl, which is the only bird that can out fly the golden eagle. A fully grown great horned is an awe-inspiring creature. Its talons are furry, and closely resemble the paws of a baby mountain lion with claws extended. It is meat eater, which means it can be a fierce warrior if challenged, or if something dear to it is threatened. It is often referred to as the Night Eagle. The owl is at home in the night. It has great awareness of all that is around it at all times. It has predator vision, which means it sees clearly what it looks at. It has great intuition: it is the totem of psychics and clairvoyants. It has the courage to follow its instincts. Owl’s ability includes seeing behind masks, silent and swift movement, keen sight, messenger of secrets and omens, shape-shifting, link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light, comfort with shadow self, moon power, freedom.

Owl people can see into the darkness of others souls. Most owl people are clairvoyant because of this. This can be scary at times. Learn to trust your instincts about people as an owl totem gives you the power to extract secrets. Listen to its voice inside of you. You will hear not what is being said by others, but what is hidden.   You can detect subtleties of voice that others cannot. People cannot deceive a person who has an owl totem.

Funny, one of the things I’ve preached to our boys over the years is to “Listen to your instincts; go with your gut. If something rubs you the wrong way, run. Pay attention and never ignore it.” I’ve told this because the only times I’ve gotten in trouble was when I ignored that voice.

Categories: Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Random observations, Relationships, Seasons, Traditions, Useful Information, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Peace ..

It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
~Unknown

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Gratitude, Holidays, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Random observations, Seasons, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Need to take a Relationship Sabbatical?

Do you have someone in your life who is lovely to everyone …but you?

I do. And being related further complicates matters. 

This is someone who is sweet and accommodating to everyone. But not to me. 

Conversations and interactions are a struggle because I have to censor everything I say.  I can’t offer suggestions, be my silly self, or offer up my meandering thoughts.    I have to be less than who I am.

After much deliberation and hand-wringing I took my hubbs’ advice:  

 I. Stopped. Engaging. 

I stopped calling.

 I just stopped.  

It’s not foolproof; old habits die hard and there will, of course, be instances where being together is unavoidable.  But … interesting things happened when I took a relationship sabbatical…I learned this: we teach others how to treat us, including family.  If I would not accept dismissive and acidic comments from others (a co-worker, an in-law, a neighbor), why did I tolerate it from her? Was it “keeping the peace,” or  “doing what I know?” 

When I said nothing, did nothing, and swallowed my words,  I gave up my power.  My inaction enabled the behavior to continue.  

Stepping back was taking action while avoiding a scene (and there would have been, trust me).     It was covert. It was calculated and yes, it was effective, because here’s my surprising realization:   I don’t miss the relationship.     I miss the idea of what our relationship was.

I feel lighter.

I am happier.

I am now completely – 100% – myself. 

Getting older. Accepting ourselves.  Raising the bar for how others treat us.  Drawing a line in the sand and having the courage to stand behind it.  Powerful.

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Gratitude, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Quotes, Random observations, Relationships, Useful Information, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Today, I listened

source: ludix.com

My mojo’s been lacking this week.

I’ve felt lethargic. Less-than-engaged.  Achy. Headachy.   I’ve been pushing through it, as most of us do, assuming I would catch up.

This week, I’ve worked with a headache; I’ve left with a backache.  I’ve stayed up too late because sleep skipped past me.

Today. I listened. 

I got up for work at my regular time, after a fitful night’s sleep. Blah.  My hair hurt. My eyes hurt.  My body hurt.

I looked in the mirror and did something I rarely do.

I listened.

I listened to my body when it said, “I really need sleep.”

I listened to my body when it said, “Help me. You have sick days. Use one.”

Today. I listened. 

I hugged our teenager as he left for the bus stop; I closed the door, climbed the stairs and slipped back under the covers.  And I slept. For four hours. 

Today. I listened.

Categories: Life, Random observations, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Donate Halloween Candy to our Troops!

If your house is like mine, you’ve got leftover Halloween candy. Candy we don’t need. Candy we don’t want.  Candy that probably will end up at the office or thrown away. 

Did you know there’s an organization that would be HAPPY to get your  leftover (wrapped) Halloween candy?  And that this candy is shipped to our military personnel around the world?

Called “Operation Gratitude” (www.opgratitude.comtheir most urgent need is for:

  • personal letters,
  • candy, 
  • hand-made cool-ties /scarves,
  • Beanie Babies/WebKinz/Trolls
  • and financial donations to pay for postage. 

(On the website is an excerpt from a Marine’s letter:  “I live with 17 Marines and Sailors in one room. Everyone got a package and everyone loved it especially the cookies and beanie babies. The cookies are excellent and the beanie babies help us out a lot with the local kids. We give them candy and toys and they give us the location for IED’s. Once again, thank you for everything and for all the hard work that you put into the package. LCPL ND” 

Today’s Election Day.  

I’m thrilled to vote.  I’m honored I can do something that might put a smile on a soldier’s face.

* * *

Wrapped Halloween candy can be delivered/shipped by December 3 to:

 Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Charlie Othold:  818.437.6201
 
 For more information please visit:  http://www.opgratitude.com/howtohelp.php?page=individual 
 

 

Categories: Elections, Gratitude, Holidays, Life, Patriotic, Politics, Random observations, Seasons, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Ready to vote?

 We’re one week from the mid-term elections on Tuesday, November 2nd

  •  Not sure who’s running for local office?
  • Want to take a look at your ballot ahead of time?
  • Need more information on candidates? 
  • Not sure of your precinct #? 

I live in MI and found this helpful link.. perhaps other states are offering it as well?   Simply type in your name & address & it generates a sample ballot populated with candidates websites and $$ spent.

https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/     

Michigan has 83 counties, 274 cities, 1,242 townships and 259 villages and, some say, has been hit the hardest in the recent economic downturn.

  • In the last Gubernatorial (Governor’s) election (2006) 50% of our eligible voting population voted.
  • In the last Presidential election (2008) 66.2% of our eligible voting population voted.   source: https://webapps.sos.state.mi/us

Categories: Elections, Life, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Politics, Useful Information, Vote | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

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just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

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I also live on a farm

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