Sunday, May 27, 2018

Relaxation Is Possible

At some point in time, I believe we all have come to the conclusion that we have no time for relaxation. Which in reality, makes it even more of a stress factor on our bodies. Relaxing is a mindset. I have discovered just how true this is after retirement. I am not looking for sympathy because I did do relaxing events over the years. For me, it just was not a particular mindset. I am sure that it helped me to sign up for Zumba or yoga or even belly dancing. It was for the fun of it. I have learned that it does not need to be organized. Just have some good music on and sway your hips as you are in your room changing. Simple really. (Think of Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister in "Love Actually" just letting the stress leave his body by swaying those hips.)

Doing certain activities for the fun of it is not a bad thing. In my thought processes, I need to be aware of what relaxation means to me. (my own personal definition and we each have to have our own, as it is different for us all). Sunshine helps, even if you enjoy it on a brief walk or while out in your car letting the sun come in and warm you. The afternoon pick-me-up of a cuppa tea or a latte can be a mindset. Find your own.

For the most part relaxation means less stress for me. Stress, as we all know can come in many different forms. Identify yours so that you are aware when it is trying to invade your body, soul and mind. 

What I have learned is that relaxing needs to be ongoing. Find what works for you. The number one form of learning about relaxation is focusing on breathing. Breathing can help everyone deal with anxiety and even panic attacks. It is a matter of learning how to inhale slowly, filling your lungs and diaphragm, then letting it out slowly. This is something that you can do at night, during the night, or in bed as you begin your day. You can even sit at your desk at work (at certain times of the day.)

Stretching can go right along with this while you are waking up. One arm over your body and out to the side, alternating sides and legs being lifted up and down. If I had only known how relaxing this was to start my day, I would have been doing it all along. It is worth the extra ten minutes that it takes. Ankle rolls, neck rolls and shoulder rolls can be done as you are sitting on the side of the bed. What a wonderful way to wake in the morning! I used to clamor to the coffee pot as soon as my feet hit the ground. Or if my thoughtful husband was already awake, he would bring a cup back for me. 

Beginning my day on a great note, is to go through the breathing and stretching, dressing for the day and coming in to my study with coffee and my agenda for the day. The agenda for the day is my positive mantra. I think it or see it, I repeat it and have it within me all day. Something that speaks to me and helps me through the trials and tribulations of my day. By the way, it is my day, yet it is also 'our day!' The love of my life is ready to begin his career in writing and we work it all together. Yet we each must take on our own mantra for the day. (Many times they actually overlap and merge together).

There was an article that I read recently that talked about self massages and even had a video attached on how to go about this. No thank you! If it works for you, then go for it. I will agree that a foot massager will work, just very inconvenient. It is quite heavy to tote the base, filled with water over to a sink. I will agree that it feels great while my feet are in it. The problem is that I can't let go of the clean up afterwards. 

One of the last things that helps in relaxation is laughter and smiling. At several times in my career, I noticed that some team members seem to always look unhappy. If someone stopped and talk to them, this was not usually the case. It was the picture that they portrayed by not smiling. Wrinkles had already formed from the frowning. Maybe it was just a habit? I am not a psychologist, just an observer. Laughter is the best medicine and if we all just lightened up, we would feel so much better.

One of my favorite quotes is from Thich Nhat Hanh:
"Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger and that is a very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Royal Wedding

Many of us in America woke up bright and early Saturday morning to watch the Royal Wedding. Of course, there was quite a bit of pomp and circumstance that goes with it. Here in America, you could take your pick of which channel you wanted to view it on, therefore it involved different commentators. 

Then there was the BBC America to watch it on. Due to the different languages that the two countries speak (one Proper English and the other American English) as well as the fact that ordinary weddings are so very different with protocol, much less throwing in a Royal Wedding, which adds a different perspective altogether. We, as Americans, really have no clue as to what is or is not protocol in a Royal Wedding. 

All of the social medias were abuzz with what they did right and what they did wrong. We had one friend who went out to get the Rosetta Stone on the subject to understand the culture better. As for myself, I had a very good deal of having a 'real, live Brit' that I happen to be married to, feeding me information that I otherwise would have missed. 

The one thing that I found very noticeable in the commentating was that the cameras stayed off the BBC commentators and focused their cameras on what they were talking about. The American commentators had the cameras swing in for a shot of themselves. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt...was this to show their viewers that they really were live at the wedding, and not just in their American studio talking about what was taking place?

Another noticeable difference, at least on the American channel we watched, was that so many details were omitted. Was this because research had not been done or someone just did not think of it as important? Everything was planned down to the very last detail in this Royal Wedding. For example, the  escorts were all men that had served in the military with Harry. Meghan's white veil, they revealed, had the fifty-three countries of the Commonwealth represented by being embroidered along the edges of the train. Wouldn't some of these facts been helpful to share?

This wedding ceremony was like no other Royal Wedding. It was a fusion of the very best of the American and the finest of the British, yet it was even more than that. It was a bridge between cultures. With a British black choir singing in a cappella, "Stand By Me" and following in music was a very talented 19 year old male cello player from Nottingham. The St. George Choir was next with their amazing harmonizing of voices.

Let's move on to Rev. Bishop Michael Curry. It was clear that it was not to be a standard Church of England sermon. He was from America and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  Almost as soon as he started he put the script away and went off on his own bold, loud and fueled with passion words. (His sermon was to last for 6 minutes, however, it went on for 13 minutes.) He used the word 'Love' 58 times. As he spoke, cameras were scanning the people at the wedding and there were all kinds of facial interpretations.

As the procession was leaving the Chapel, Prince Charles had his wife, Camilla on one arm and walked with Doria Ragland, Meghan's mom on his other arm. How very dignified and charming she behaved. Usually, it is the mother of the bride who is also in the limelight. This Royal Wedding did not have that in any plans. Not to be is just the way it is for a Royal Wedding. Very gentlemanly, indeed, was Prince Charles. This mother of the bride traveled over to see her daughter marry Prince Harry and become the Duchess of Sussux, not the Princess. The commentators that we listened to continually called her a Princess. One way to help remember this is that the Queen's husband is NOT a King. This is the way British history has been from the beginning of time. If you really want to be confused, look up who is in line for the throne. (maybe for a future blog)  

It was a very long day for the newlyweds. They even changed up some long standing Royal Wedding "to do's and not to do's list). They held hands most of the time. They had a public kiss. After they attended a reception of 600 people, they went on to the next reception that was more intimate with only 200. 
                                                                                They will always be in the spotlight. That is the way it is. I just know the two of them will find the time to have their own special times together without cameras all around. Look at the love in their eyes!                                                   

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Advice for Girls? I Hope Not!

Just a few weeks ago, I saw a poster somewhere that was titled, "Advice For Girls." It is credited to someone named Spencer McFarland. I did try googling him, looked him up for an author on Amazon and really nothing, nothing at all appeared. One or two little articles, of which I could not tell if the articles were being sarcastic about the 'Advice' or vice versa.

Anyway, I will let you read it for yourself and then if you care to, you can read my thoughts on this advice. I would love to have comments.

Maybe I took it too seriously, however, I do not believe that anyone should tell female or male to be loud and gross and take up space. That is just sheer rudeness. As for not saying, "Sorry, No or None of Your Business," there are many other approaches to take. 

First of all, it takes all of one second to say that you are sorry about something. It could be something that you said or did that really hurt someone's feelings. It shows that you, as a human being, have some empathy. There most definitely are times that you must say the no word to someone. There is a right way and a wrong way to say it. Being a true hot-headed person just yelling out, "No" makes you seem like a toddler throwing a fit in the store because you did not get your way. As for "None of Your Business," is there a more creative way to get around a subject matter that truly is none of someone else's business and showed their lack of social and emotional intelligence. Do you really want to accept the invitation to more drama? Or end it right there on the spot with a clever answer? 

There are many places to read up on quotes that sound much more intelligent than just a none of your business. Be creative and find some of these. Parents may have to help younger children, guide middle age children, however, we as adults can most definitely find our way in the book genre of self-help. There is a huge difference in standing up for ourselves in a positive way versus the negative way. I am still not too sure which way Spencer McFarland was trying to lead us. Being snide and sarcastic reminds me of The Grinch. Is that what we want to teach our children or to emulate that kind of behavior ourselves? Surely, that is not a good role model?

There are some areas in his paragraph that can be positive. Yes, take some fun selfies and celebrate the moment. You just don't need to be inappropriately clothed as some of the famous young women. (And to show just how old I am, I don't even know what they are famous for??) By all means, please don't laugh at jokes that you don't think are funny, because they probably aren't. The person telling the jokes should know this. If they have to explain their jokes, it is not funny.

Wear your hair the way you like it and pick out what makes you who you are as an individual. You do not need to always go with the pack. If you are comfortable with it, that is what matters. Let's always take a stand to help one another.  WE do not have to put our comfort zone on hold for others' egos. WE do need to recognize when someone needs us and our wants can wait until a larger crisis is dealt with. That is the way it is done.

Last, but not least, when I get mad, I am careful about how vocal I get. It pays to check out all of the facts before going crazy on someone. More often than not, I have learned that the person who vocalizes their anger the loudest is the one who comes out last. 

As Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Always strive to leave a positive impression!

Monday, May 7, 2018

When It Rains, It Pours

The title of this blog is a bit misleading. It is a true statement. It just depends on how you take it. The day that we had some work scheduled to be done brought only frustration for me, I believe more than even Steve. There are some things that he is able to remain a bit calmer on, at least until the bitter end. Don't ring his chime all day and expect his usual calm nature to prevail. He won't go totally crazy on you but you will have gone past his limitations of patience.

Let's begin that for some reason, whether it is the two of us having work done or friends that we know having work done in the home...the stories all seem to match. Contractors are not what you would call always reliable. They generally have excuses of why they are not where they should be when they said they would be. Now, I am aware that some jobs have extenuating circumstances going on without prior notice. A phone call would be nice to have so that the next customer is not waiting around all day for no one to show up. It is called communication.

Let me give you some personal examples that just happened to us. Last week we had scheduled a company to come out to work on a problem on our roof. It had caused damage to the ceiling in our screened in porch, as well as our inside Reading Room. Nothing major yet.  

The insurance company suggested a firm they have used. We called them because we knew of no one in particular. The deal was that someone would come out, look at the damage, take pictures and send in to the insurance company. They agreed something needed to be done and set us up with a company to do the outside work and then do the painting.

We had a representative from the company out, took pictures and we were approved for work to begin. The day was set and so we got up and dressed and just waited until after 9. More than an hour past when they were to be here. Would you believe that we called the district manager 4 times throughout the day. No, he was not proactive in calling us...we had to reach out to him. Each time we were told that his worker was finishing up his job and on his way to us. 

LIE, LIE, LIE! At 4:40, we called to say that we had to reset a day because we had to go out. He asked if the worker could get in the backyard if we were not here. Of course,he could. So off we went to get our dog, who we had placed in Doggie Day Care to keep him out of the roofer's way. HA! 

Back home now at 5:30, cooked our dinner and at 7:30 we cleaning up from dinner. There was a knock at the door. It was the freakin' roofer! For real? We asked how could he work at dusk? He said that he was there to take pictures to send in. We corrected that misunderstanding right away, of which he was quite surprised. This meant another call to the Manager. He apologized, said his subcontractors know much better than this. It is not a part of their job. He said that he would call us in the morning when someone would be out. The two of us knew that we would not be holding our breath on this statement.

The doorbell rang again, this time it was our neighbor across the street. He wanted to know if we truly did have a roofer coming over because he found this guy in his back yard. He thought that he was an intruder and had a gun on him. Luckily, he asked first and did not shoot first. Mind you, this roofer parked right across the street from our mailbox with big numbers that are very hard to miss - 8890 - our address. Our neighbor does not even have an address that can be seen.

Meanwhile, since we were going to already be home for one set of work scheduled, we decided to pick this day for our pool to be opened. We watched as they removed the cover. They removed it in a way that allowed all of the dirt and leaves to go into the pool. We were told it was the only way. Bologna, I say to that. Our pool looked like the black lagoon. A few hours after they left, Steve went out to check the skimmer baskets in case they had filled with leaves and there were no baskets to be found?? What in the world were "Larry, Moe and Curley" thinking? The pump was working, but why? It was left in a mess, in other words. 

Too late to call the pool place now, but first thing in the morning, Steve put a call in. We had to wait all day before a call back was made. This time, the reason was legitimate. Why the receptionist did not tell us that the owner was out on a personal nature concerning her daughter's graduation and prom? Who knows? When she did call, she told us the procedures and that the crew were not finished and they will be returning. We were home, they knew we were home, and yet they still did not bother to knock and tell us the situation. 

It has been 5 days since the outside roofing work has been done. No one has called to set up the inside. I have reached out to our insurance company to let them know of this incompetent restoration company that is on their list. Because of our prior commitments, it can't be done until Friday. If it takes longer than one day, it won't be done this day because we will not go through the weekend with tarps hanging everywhere.

All I have to say about this kind of hot mess is that if I ever had the urge for us to build our own home  -  just go ahead, take me out behind some barn and just shoot me. If taking it in smaller chunks like this or when we had our kitchen and master suite bathroom remodeled can cause this much angst, I don't want to know what a whole house could do.
Just let me add that the problem that I see in the picture above is that it is a beautiful day, the house has a lot of work yet to be done, yet I see not a worker in sight? Just sayin'...