Sunday, January 10, 2021

Expectations at the Beauty Shop


 In a magazine devoted to Southern recipes, vacations, gardening, clothing, etc., the movie Steel Magnolias came to my mind. Especially the character, Truvy, played by Dolly Pardon. It brought back so many memories of going to the beauty shop with my Grandmother and sometimes my Mom. My Grandmother went weekly. My Mom was more of a DIY and this meant even taking care of my hairstyles. I can't tell you how many stinky perms she gave me sitting in our kitchen. Or even bangs cut unevenly and way too short to be in fashion. I much preferred to go to the beauty shop with my Grandmother. I felt so grown up.

So much was going on there at the shampoo bowls or hair dryers. The ladies were all using this time to not only get their hair styled but to catch up with all of the latest gossip. It seems as if a hairdresser is along the lines of a bartender. We share everything with them. They hear it all. Probably more than they care to.

There are some things that have no regional barriers. Going to the hairdresser is one of them. Miss Manners even can tell us what is socially acceptable while at your  salon.

According to her etiquette, you can never be too prepared, or too polite. 

~  Hairdressers' time is valuable. Try not to cancel at the last minute unless there is an emergency. If you are truly sick then by all means do stay home with your germs. Just let them know as soon as possible.

~  No need to trash talk your former hairstylist. Make polite conversation. Make the conversation with your stylist, not someone on your cell phone. Your stylist may have to answer their phone to schedule appointments and take cancellations. As a good client, you can get your phone out when you are waiting for processing to be done.

~  It helps if you do bring a picture or two of what you would like your hair to look like. Be reasonable. If you have thick wavy hair, listen to your stylist about what your hair can realistically do. And to say, "Surprise me!" is definitely not what a stylist wants to hear. Give them some clue of what length, color, or style that you want.

~  Kids are better left at home. Unless you have a perfect little angel who will sit still, stay quiet and read or work on their tablet keep them at home. (I have rarely witnessed this.)

~  Let's not forget to tip. It is the right thing to do. Also, there is no room for negotiating the price of the service that you are having done. They have set prices based on what they must pay for the shampoo, colors, gloves, and so other many costs involved that it would just be tacky to come out and ask for a discount. Oh, and a nice little holiday gift is always appreciated.

~  When all is said and done, if you aren't happy then speak up. It is possible that something could be fixed immediately. If you get home and can't control your hair then make a call within the week to see if you can schedule a touch-up appointment to fix the problem. Sometimes after a fresh cut, you need a chance at home to try to fix it your way. If that does not is best to call your stylist. One thing that is not a proper thing to do is to "ghost" your stylist. They have feelings too. Just let them know that you are trying someone new that may be able to try something new with your hair. End it with no hard feelings.

It can all work out.

The next time you visit your stylist remember Truvy's saying, "Smile! It increases your face value." Plus it makes for a happier experience. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Out With the Old, In With the New!

 Out With the Old, In With the New!

After having a year like no other we have experienced, the same words ring true, "Out with the old and in with the new." Only this year, most of us are holding out hope for a more positive year in all aspects of our lives. A vaccine is being distributed in a respectful way, prioritizing front line workers, people who have assisted living, and people over 75 years of age. 

People do not seem to listen to the warnings of the experts, mainly because there are so many leaders across our country who think they know much more than science can explain, yet they do not have a degree in science or medicine. So our country just keeps growing with the number of cases and deaths. There has been racial unrest along with feelings of hopelessness, in some cases not being able to see our loved ones and travel to them. 

I must repeat myself: out with the old and in with the new. We will soon have new leadership and a time to work on the healing of our country. To me, it is done one person at a time. It will take all of us. Sometimes, it will mean that we must at least agree to disagree. Moving on in a positive way, one filled with gratitudes and finding what brings us joy is how we will succeed. 

On the calendar at the top of this page notice that it has a 'To Do: Make Resolutions.' I stopped doing this a few years ago. I read a great little book that explained it to me in a language that I could totally understand. Resolutions can be overwhelming. They are to me. However, picking a word for the year to help me work on whatever it is that I wish to work on for myself to grow as a human being speaks to me. The word must resonate within me in many different areas of my life; somethings I want to build on within my everyday life.

To be able to pick your own word of the year, I will share how I go about picking my word. It helps me so much in bringing in the new year with a new outlook. I always make a list of words that reflect on the past year and what I really want to achieve. The typical answer that was always given from Miss America finalists was that they wished to save the world, or they wanted world peace...yada, yada, yada. 

Yes, we all want that. One person can wish that, however it takes all of us, or at least a majority of us to work together to make things happen. So bring it down to a smaller scale and consider the parts of our own mindset that we would like to improve upon. This means to focus on where we would like to be 12 months from now. When I make my list of possible words, usually I keep returning to one in particular, time and time again. That becomes My Word. I hold this to be a promise to myself that will help guide me as my mantra to achieve whatever I want in my life.  Just to give you an example some of my former words were 'Believe, Joy, Connect, Change.' 

My word this year is, "IMAGINE."

When I think about the good news that happened in 2020, just to imagine what can happen when there is not so much 'stuff' going on that focuses on negativity.  

I know that I am not just speaking for myself, we all have had to find creative ways to live through what our world was experiencing. Just to name a few let's think about how we all mostly benefited from learning more technical skills. Zoom meetings and Face Times and Video Chat...this was to be able to stay in touch with those that we love. No, it is not the same as actually being together but we at least had that. Families grew closer, at least most of them. If you were staying safe at home then coming together as a family was important. Cooking together, playing games and watching movies together. Taking walks or short distance drives to get out of the house. There is only so much quarantining one can do. 

Restaurants that came up with creative ideas for curbside/take out business flourished. Almost everyone that I know who has tested positive for COVID ate out in restaurants or went to see live music. Even with masks, scientists tell us this is the worse place one can be. They did suggest eating outside, so many restaurants did take heed and set up domes/tents/bubbles to keep everyone in the open air and at a table in a covered bubble with only their small family and friends group did fair better. 

The other good news is that more people voted in this presidential election than any other. More people gave to good causes, lots of virtual concerts and new movies coming out on streaming devices. Creative masks were made, I mean, if I have to wear one then it may as well be a statement mask. Those that could manage, worked from home. It was safer. Schools were safer also. People set up home offices and took care of their jobs on their laptops, as well as helping kids that were at home via zoom and their teachers. 

Virtual tours or art museums took place...and zoom meetings and webinars set up by local book stores for readers to meet their favorite authors. All virtually of course. 

I think that when I chose my word from last year as BELIEVE, I had no idea what I would be setting myself up for. Yet, it worked. I also found several podcasts and a marvelous motivator named Nataly Kogan. I can honestly say that she allowed me to see that much of what I believed to be true was indeed true and it so much validated my thoughts. The other things that she taught me was that I could paint. Yes, even me. I used to call myself the stick figure queen. No longer! I find that painting changes my whole outlook. There is no good - there is no bad. Just believe in yourself. Tell that brain of yours to stop being so dramatic. You are in charge and it is YOUR choice to be happy or sad.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Difference Between Alone and Lonely


 This blog came early because I was in the mood to write about how we all are celebrating Christmas 2020. Apparently many of us did not heed the warnings of family gatherings outside of the regular household members for Thanksgiving. Our U.S. Covid-19 new cases, deaths and running out of beds has gone to new levels. This is not a good thing. I am not here to point fingers at anyone. What I hope to do is to write about ways to enjoy being alone at Christmas and the holidays. Whether it is you all by yourself and perhaps a pet or whether it is you as two or a few more such as live at home children it will be a Holiday season where all of us need to become more creative. 

Here is the truth about Christmas 2020. Most of us are alone this Christmas and that is okay. Move on to the next step which is to decide how you want to jump forward from there. Depressed with the blanket pulled over your head? Or taking steps to enjoy the holidays with an awesome human being. Yourself! (And possibly some of the usual family that live with you)?

We were thinking ahead and mailed packages to children and grandchildren way in advance that we knew we would not be able to celebrate with in person. There was no vaccine being distributed at that time and even though one has now come out, there is not enough time to take the two rounds and wait a month. Next best plan is to use FaceTiming, Zoom meeting and Video Chats. We will watch our granddaughters opening gifts and will be able to enjoy their spirits of the holidays. Every household in our family decorated for Christmas, including us. And why shouldn't we have some holiday decorations out. We deserve to enjoy the festivities, if only in a smaller celebration.

We made the choice to be grateful for what we have. Find joy in whatever way is possible during this pandemic. We have checked out the magical neighborhood light displays, picked out Christmas movies to watch together at night, played Christmas music throughout the day and for dinner. Other little treats such as sending out more Christmas cards and then receiving more cards than usual really boosted the Christmas spirit. We have little gifts wrapped for the neighbors in the cove to be delivered with a mask and standing back away from the door with a wave and a, "Ho, ho, ho!"

For the two of us, it is not the first time that we have not had anyone else except the two of us here for Christmas. We truly can enjoy a houseful or just the two of us. Whether this is your first time ever to be alone or your twentieth...just think about what you can do to navigate happily through the holidays. We decided that it would not be such a great idea to spend the days with all of our normal family foods for dinner. So we compromised. We have a wonderful place in our city that bakes traditional foods and freezes them for customers to order and come to pick up curbside. We ordered a few things and each day: Christmas Day and Boxing Day, one of us will make a dish to celebrate in our old fashioned way. 

Think of it as a way that this year there will not be a shortage of ovens for everything to go in to bake, the timing of all the goodies to be done at just the right temperature. In other words, in all respects become your own version of Santa Claus, just down-scaled a little.

Some other ideas that the two of us have come up with is to binge watch some shows that we have missed, read more books, paint or get into creative adult coloring and holiday card making, playing a few games together if there are a two or more in your household, if not? Then get on line and sign up for some free games to play. Start a workout video by streaming yoga or a workout class, making sure that afterwards, you take the time for self-care as in a scrumptious bubble bath perhaps with a glass of wine. Even play spa day and give yourself a facial and manicure. Taking care of ourselves and finding what brings us joy is important for our mental state.

So find your ways to relax and just enjoy being happy in the holiday celebrations.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

When Everything Goes Wonky!


Being married to a Brit, I learn new vocabulary every day. Wonky is just one example. It means askew or unsteady. So let me tell you about my wonky day.

Sometimes it seems as if it may be me against the world. When I find myself asking, just what else could possibly go wrong, I regret asking that question. It is my own dang fault, but not always. I do believe that I handled the first part of my wonky day fairly well. 

First of all, let me say that I was working on 6 hours of sleep which is never a good thing for me. Those of you who are insomniacs, I apologize. I do not function well with this little sleep. I am a 9 hour is perfection sleep kind of person. I can deal with 8. I had an appointment that was what I thought to be a simple, uncomplicated doctor appointment. I worked my brain into thinking how wonderful everyone told me about this easy and quick surgery. Quite frankly, after the shock of being told that I needed this, I had to agree. I thought that my eyes were just needing new lenses. Wrong! The cloudiness would not go away, even if my prescription went stronger. 

The appointment was called a consultation appointment. I figured that I would be there 30- 45 minutes. Let's say 3 1/2 hours later, I was set free. Steve went with me and sat in the car with his book for all of this time. I wish I had known more about the surgery so that I knew better of what to ask. One of my many faults is that I do not like too much information being tossed my way. I need visuals. I loved the surgeon who would be doing the actual operation. His assistant worked on the measurements of each lens. He checked it over, and then yet another technical person checked my eyes out. I kept being moved from room to room for the different machinery.

All of the staff was very friendly and very professional yet they had so much information coming my way that I was feeling as if my brain was on overload. Sort of the way I felt when I was in high school geometry class. I did not get it the first go round and only because the second go round had pity on me for at least trying to grasp the concepts, I was passed on. 

It was at this time that the last person who saw me gave me a book, a pamphlet and papers with the surgery centers from which I could choose to go to and the COVID testing sites to go to. I must also call them to set up that test on the day that I go in again to surgeon's office 5 days before surgery to  double check their measurements of my eye. The surgeon's time was given to me, so I need to get the testing place close to that time. 

Also, told that the surgery is only about 10 minutes long but the pamphlet stated on being there 3 hours. Once we got back to our home, I just had to put it all aside and let information sink in to my head slowly.

The next part of the day was really wonky. We purchased a new sofa and had the old one picked up two days ago, based on their schedule for when they were in our part of the city. We figured that we could make it for two nights without one. We would go into the Reading Room and sit to enjoy music and just read and talk. 

Going back to the fact that I had only had 6 hours of sleep, and how long we were at the surgeon's consultation appointment, I could not get a nap in because our window for delivery of our sofa was 2:30 - 4:30. I read and waited and waited. This was a Friday. I figured I would reach out to the number to send a text to the delivery guys. No reply. It was coming up on 4:30 and I was getting nothing back from the many texts that I sent to them. We now had to find a Plan B for dinner that was spoiled due to this wait and not not knowing.

Panic was starting to set in. OK - so there are times I can be rightly called a drama queen. I was seriously doubting we would have a sofa tonight and perhaps not even till Monday. I decided to take action and I called every number of every person that was on my receipts. The main office, the one in VA, the delivery office, the customer service office...the designer consultant told me that they would most definitely be there. She has never had one not be delivered, but sometimes they run into problems. Just be patient! Finally, at 6:30 I sent a text to let them know that I have called everyone at their company. I now receive a text that stated in a very clearly that they will set up a time for delivery. What? I had a time!

Now, I am so far beyond wonky, even The Wonky Donkey can't help. That book is endearing to me because he overcomes only having 3 legs, thus his name. Then a miracle happened. My phone rang and I recognized the number as being the one that I had been texting. It turned out to be the delivery guys supervisor. He was so apologetic because he had told his driver and assistant to reach out to all of the customers to tell them how late they were running. They did not do as he instructed. He said that he has them tracked now and they should be at our home with the sofa in 30 minutes. 

Sure enough, he was right. They were at the door. I showed them where to place it. They got it in and placed and I signed for it. 

Certainly many people have had much worse days than I had today. Yet we all need to give ourselves the freedom to have wonky days now and then, as long as we can get over them. I do believe that each thing that I go through that there still are reasons to be grateful. There is no situation where everything is wrong. You either need to find another solution alone or with the help of someone else. It is important to remember that as long as I am living and breathing something good can come out of this.

My belief is that the squeaky wheel gets the oil still holds true. Let me add that the squeaky wheel does not have to be ugly about it. Just let others know what the problems are and how they need to help. Why? Because to weather storms, no matter how significant or insignificant they are: "This too shall pass."

Now for two nights, we have enjoyed our new sofa and I have questions lined up to ask at my next visit to the eye surgeon before my surgery. All in good time and because I did not make a fool out of myself, I can go in with my head held high. 

Lessons learned?  ~ keep your wits about you
                          ~  stay strong and be creative to find those who can help you solve the problem

Gratitudes?          ~  I will soon have my good sight returned to me .
                          ~  We have a stunning and comfortable sofa.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Is a Simple Thank You Enough?

Yesterday was my birthday. Steve and I really celebrate each of our December birthdays as two separate days, as they should be. Sometimes, having a December birthday can be not so special. When you have one, you know how it sort of feels a little weird to get your Happy Birthday present wrapped in Christmas paper. Would you do that to someone who has a July birthday? I think not. We make sure that does not happen, ever. 

Both of us were overwhelmed with well wishes from friends and family through texts, phone calls, FaceTimes, snail mail, delivery services and social media such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter. 

The words, "Thank you," come to mind, of course. Yet it doesn't feel like it truly expresses my gratitude. It is so heart-warming to see so many people take a few moments out of their busy days to wish me well. Sometimes I don't know what to say or how to thank people who wished me a Happy Birthday. It is such an expression of care or love, whether it be a simple HB or written in some kind of message on a card. The fact that it made my day so special and put a smile on my face is all that mattered.


It was so overwhelming that I just had to write a simple thank you to each and every person who took the time out of their day to make my day so extraordinary. Just to let you know that these were the best birthday wishes ever. Even though, I am aware that we are lucky in having at least Facebook for letting us know each day who has a birthday from our 'friends list.' So I really would like to give a BIG shout out to Facebook for helping you to remember it was my birthday. (And for helping me know when it is yours.)

I know that is something that I try to check each day and find a moment to tell that person to have a Happy Day.

Some are long time friends, even if we don't get together much at all. We remember each other from school days. It is always nice to talk about old times and catch up with each other concerning kids, grandkids, jobs, etc. Some are friends of friends that I may have met or been introduced to one time. They still made an impact on me, whether I watched them perform in a play or just chatted about mutual friends at a party.

To be showered with awesome birthday wishes just makes me think that a simple thank you is somehow not enough. These were good people who cared enough to reach out and say have a great day.

Then, there were calls from granddaughters who sang Happy Birthday to me, children who reached out to tell me Happy Birthday because we could not celebrate in person due to this strange Covid year! This gave me a chance to tell them how much I adored their thoughtful gifts. And just as I was finishing up the last call, in came another call from my brother down in Texas. Well, he could have been at his cabin in Arkansas hunting, yet he took the time out of his day to give me a call.

There were mixed feelings coming on in my brain on the eve of my birthday as Mother Nature was adding another year to my age. The special ways that so many reached out came through my thoughts and changed everything about how I viewed another birthday. The way I look at it, is that it is only a number. A number that I can change to whatever and whenever I desire. And if the truth be known, I will admit that I have told little white lies about my age that I don't even know my exact age. Once, I had to take out my phone's calculator and subtract the year I was born from the current to be sure. (The only time that this is important is when I am at the doctor's office. Otherwise it is fair game to take ten years off.) It apparently works, because I have so many people who do not believe that I am on Medicare. There! Now it is out in the open so everyone knows it is at least a starting point in guessing my age! 

Best of all was the way the love of my life treated me on my birthday. Actually, he is this thoughtful all the time. I kid you not! Those who know him, are aware of this fact. Yes, he is a keeper! He brings me coffee in the morning and on this special day made some cheese scrambled eggs for me.


We just spent the day together reading and playing with the furbabies until it was finally time to take off for our curbside pick up dinner, to the champagne he served to the very thoughtful gifts that he wrapped for me. 

I am one very lucky woman to have him in my life, our special children and grandchildren and extended family, as well as all of the special friends who wished me Happy Birthday in texts and all of the other social medias. It is my belief that as I get a little older, I tend to appreciate things on a deeper level. It truly is the little things that count and mean so much to me. I like to believe that I celebrate every day, but I celebrate my birthday more because it is the one day I can see that I was in the thoughts of so many. Thank you for remembering me!

THANK YOU knowing that my words may not be enough to convey my elation but, what I really want to share with you is just how grateful I am to everyone who reached out. YOU bring me JOY!

JOY      JOY     JOY     JOY     JOY

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Moving Christmas Forward


(a little early is just fine)

There is one thing that I noticed more of this year. Christmas decorations and such come out early every year, not just this year. The majority of people, including myself, simply ignore it. In my mind, and sometimes out-loud, I just say, "Let's get through Thanksgiving first." The way that this year of 2020 has been so full of 'negative stuff', it has seemed to be so different that many people, including myself, began earlier for holidays.

There actually have been studies that prove there are psychological benefits that the early decorating helps to fight the gloom and doom of 2020. I noticed more people putting outside decorations up earlier and many others followed suit. The theory is that it helps us in a way to reclaim traditions - at least to give us some form of control. Twinkling lights and bright colors make people feel happy and really does bring back happy memories and can offer distractions. Sort of like when planning a vacation helps one's mindset almost as much as the vacation. Christmas will not be the way it was in previous years. At least remaining safe and staying home, yet putting out decorations that bring back the nostalgia of how it was and will be once again once the pandemic is under control. 

Is it a false sense of happiness or real cheer? For me it is the real thing. Sensory elements of light, color and sound work for me, as they do with many people. It has the ability to boost our mental health and mood. Nostalgia plays a huge part of the positive vibes when we decorate. It is almost an instant boost with a positive view into the future. Thinking into the New Year gives me hope. Something to look forward to.

If the idea of putting up holiday decorations does not bring you joy then please don't despair. There are other ways that you can bring joy and hope into the New Year. Think about getting some new throw pillows or a new comforter for your bed, reorganizing kitchen counter tops. Add a little pizazz. 

On the other hand if it makes you feel good decorating then go for it. Send out more traditional cards that have a personal message written in it. Shipping off packages and presents to loved ones that we can't be with during the holidays. Plan on zoom times, video chats or FaceTimes for opening presents or setting the mood for the holidays. Most importantly is to stay safe so that we all have the future to look forward to.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?


It could be argued that I am retired so what do I have to worry about when it concerns time management? The truth is, life goes on, or as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you are making a plan." No, I may not have supervisors telling me this is due or that is past due and meetings to be on time for anymore. However, what I do have is a home to run, right along beside my retired husband. Also, the mundane things that, at least to me, seem boring have to be done and as they are done, how do I get my motivation back to refuel my energy to do what I love to work on? 

It is all in a plan that I put out on a 'To Do' list. It is comprised of all the things that I would like to get accomplished for the day. Laundry, dishes, Dr. appt., sweeping out the leaves that blow into our patio, making the grocery click-list, grooming dogs, etc. I could add more and more, as I am sure that you could do the same. For me, if I prioritize and put the things that need to be completed on a list and work really hard to get these things done, I must be sure that I add in ways to refuel my energy every single day. Some of the things on my list are actually things that bring me joy so they count as part of my refueling.

One way is to be sure that I get enough sleep. Being sleep deprived is not a good way to start out my day. So if our furbabies get us up before we are ready, it is important to pencil in a brief time to take a nap. WOW! Some people think that is a lazy way to refuel your energy. I find it invigorating. 

When working hard on writing, researching, reading or taking care of household chores, I find it very important to take a refreshing break once every hour. It can be 10 - 20 minutes of doing something that I love doing. A time to sit back, close my eyes and just meditate and breathe correctly that will help to quiet my mind and relax me more. If you start by asking, "Who has time for that?" You are missing the whole point. When you take these short breathers you actually will find yourself becoming more productive.

Another activity to help motivate yourself is to practice appreciation and actually savoring it. Take a moment to write down three things that comfort you because you appreciate them so much. It could be 'things' or it could be 'people.' Be sure to add on why these things or people comfort you and be specific. If it is a person, then let them know how you feel through a phone call, an e mail or a text. Sharing your appreciation is a two way street. 

No matter what position that you have in your life, we all can be drained by our emotions with all that is going on in 2020 and Covid-19. We all need to find the strategies that prevent emotional exhaustion to be sure that we are taking the time to refuel. 

With that being said, knowing that time management is so very important for all of us we do need to schedule in refueling breaks. Things that bring us joy and realizing that what brings me joy may not bring you joy. I actually have a friend who tells me that ironing brings her joy. She says that the crispness of the sheets when they are ironed makes her feel good. I don't understand it, but I don't judge it either. Whatever floats her boat. She probably thinks the same thing about me and my joy and love for cooking everything from scratch. It is all ok. Just schedule a time in our days to  do things like taking a walk, painting, having a quiet cup of tea, doing a crossword puzzle. 

Just this morning, I had scheduled in (and yes, I do have to look at what is on my calendar) a shower with my hair being washed. Because it takes up a huge chunk of time to blow dry my hair and style it, I started hurrying and panicking. WHY? I have choices. I could cut it much shorter and not have to deal with it. That would not make me happier. Or, I can let it air dry and just be curly and that is an answer some days. Today, I just wanted to blow it dry straight. Once I took deep breaths and talked myself down from hurrying, I asked myself, "Why rush?" Everything will be waiting for me when I finish and I will feel good about it. Let's just say it works for me so I thought that I would share it. Steve tells me that he never has to worry about time management because I manage it for him. So happy that he loves me.

It is a case of reshifting your mindset because you do have time. Things will get done. Thinking in these lines remind me of a quote by A.A. Milne: 

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there, someday."