It’s Not 2016’s Fault

Trending on twitter today: #2016In4Words. After perusing more than a few tweets, the sentiment is that you either hated everything about 2016 or you loved it. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground, and for many of those I follow on twitter and am friends with on Facebook, “Worst Year Ever” seems to be the consensus.

Sure, there was a lot not to like about 2016, especially if you are not a Trump fan, and I count myself in that group, but I am not about to let one man ruin my entire year. (If you feel like Trump’s win makes it the Best Year Ever, the jury is still way, way out on that one, so you can stop gloating now. It’s not a good look.)

Sure, a lot of famous people died this year, some expected and some not. Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, y’all are in the latter group, and we are truly sad. Beyond sad. But people die. If you google “celebrity deaths 2016” the world lost many sports figures, entertainers, politicians and more, and each of them will be missed somewhere by someone or even lots of someones.

If you are Syrian or refugee from anywhere, then yep, probably worst year ever. The same for those who were victims of violence. Put down the weapons, people!

I understand bad years. I had one of my very own worst years ever a couple of years ago.

Shit happens.

I’m not denying that bad things happened this year, but I do take issue with those who have so much and still put on their fanciest Chicken Little costume and proclaimed that the sky is not only falling, but it has fallen, lying shattered on the ground. Get a hold of yourself. You are going to be okay.

God forbid, but y’all could all be saying the same thing about 2017 in 12 months time.

Look, I’m not Pollyanna wearing rose-colored glasses. I’m just not going to jump on the 2016 Misery Bandwagon. I want to choose happiness when I can, choose kindness and love over hate always and pray that the world will choose peace. I know that last one is a tall order, but someone has to pray for peace on earth; someone has to champion peace on earth.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

~Maya Angelou

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Wrapping Up the Lists — Book Edition

Earlier this year I challenged myself to read all the books that I had not already read on the Goodreads List of 50 Books That Everyone Should Read at Least Once. I am happy to report that I accomplished the goal, and I’m wrapping this challenge up, ready to head on to the next one. The most succinct way I can think to do this is in Superlative fashion drawing from all 50 books on the list. Books with an * were from the list of 18 I read this year.

Favorites:

*The Book Thief, *Fahrenheit 451, *The Picture of Dorian Gray, Night, The Alchemist, The Help, The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games

Least Favorites:

*Brave New World, *The Giving Tree, *The Secret Garden

Most Disturbing:

*1984, *Lord of the Flies, Gone with the Wind (by today’s standards)

Couldn’t Get Through:

*Crime and Punishment

Full disclosure in that many of the 32 on the list previously read were read in another lifetime, aka as high school or college, so many years ago that to truly give an opinion of them I would have to read them again. Alas, there are so many books in the world that I have no desire to re-read any of those right now. Maybe someday.

My 2017 reading challenge will involve books of my own choosing. More on this later.

Happy Holidays!

Resist the Urge

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December can be a crazy time of year for people because coupled with different holiday traditions (pick your’s), it’s the end of the year. Students have projects and finals, business people have deals they want to finish by year-end, and well, I’m sure there is a lot more stuff, but I don’t really have time to do the research. I still have Christmas shopping to do, menus to plan, gifts to wrap and parties to attend and, well, you get the idea.

On top of all the busy-ness, I have always had a deep-seeded hatred of winter. It’s the time of year when I would be happiest curled up under soft blankets with a book or watching a movie, sipping on hot chocolate and eating multitudes of Christmas cookies and candies. Oh, yes, add a dog or three sidling up next to me so that we’re all cozy together.

Even living in the southeastern United States is not enough to overcome the desire to flee to some mythical warmer clime, sipping umbrella drinks on the beach, warm ocean water lapping at my toes. But I Must Resist. Fight that urge.

Jolted back to reality as I look at my naked Christmas tree, half-emptied boxes of decorations strewn haphazardly about and wondering what to bring to a pot-luck tomorrow, I take stock of my blessings, ground myself in the present and resolve to enjoy this time of year because I have so much to be thankful for and life is too short to run away. The grass is never greener.

 

 

 

 

Signs

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Suzanne drove 3 hours non-stop to reach her long-distance boyfriend’s apartment in time for her birthday dinner date that he had organized. Hurrying between the apartment buildings in the vast complex, she noticed a pretty blonde girl hurrying in the opposite direction, applying lipstick as she ran. Suzanne appreciated that talent and guessed she must be a model to be that skilled. She would have lipstick on her nose if she tried that.

As she knocked on Doug’s door, she tried the doorknob and finding the door unlocked, she barged in, yelling out, “Hey, Doug, I’m here!” She tossed her coat at the couch but missed, and headed straight to the bathroom, cursing the coffee she had to have before she set out. Slowing her breath as she peed, Suzanne sensed something different about the bathroom. It seemed unusually clean for Doug, who only gave it a quick wipe down when he knew she was visiting. But there was something else. Mixed in with the scent of Scrubbing Bubbles was another scent she couldn’t quite identify. Perhaps Doug had lit scented candles, but there were none in the bathroom. She finished, and bent down to pick up her purse when she saw a long, blonde hair near the baseboard under the cabinet. Did Doug hire a maid?

Her mind went through plausible scenarios while her body tensed with the truth. She was there in her head, ignoring the turmoil growing through her midsection, when she collided with Doug as he came out of his bedroom.

The collision became a hug, and Doug said, “Hey, you’re here. I didn’t hear you come in. I was just changing out of my work clothes.”

“Yeah, I just let myself in. Really, really had to pee.” Suzanne wanted to say more but felt tongue-tied.

With a quick peck, he grabbed her hand and walked her to his small kitchen. “Of course! Long drive and all. Let’s have a glass of champagne to start your birthday celebration.”

The champagne bottle was already open, and there was that scent again, stronger this time. Suzanne pulled her hand from Doug’s and avoided his touch as he served a champagne flute. “Thanks,” she said. “Looks like you started without me. That bottle is only half full.”

When he didn’t respond, she added, “Hey, who was that blonde girl leaving the apartment?”

Doug’s eyes went wide and then he looked down. “Yeah, guess I did have a glass when I got home from work. And what girl? There wasn’t a girl here, she must have been leaving another apartment. I don’t know any blonde girls. Oh, unless it was Jenny. Yeah, must have been Jenny. She just moved in next door, so you probably saw her running out of her apartment, not mine.”

Now fully connected, mind and body, Suzanne ignored the rambling and said, “Her perfume smells lovely. And I noticed one of her long blonde hairs in the bathroom. Is that lipstick on your ear?”

“What?” Beads of sweat appeared on Doug’s forehead as he felt his ear. “Her perfume? I don’t know anything about how she smells. Really. But, um, yeah, she needed some extra money so I let her clean the apartment. It looks great doesn’t it. Better than I could ever do. She did every room. And look, over there on the coffee table. I got a new candle in, um, vanilla for your birthday. Isn’t that your favorite?”

She put the champagne flute deliberately down on the counter, walked the 10 feet over to the coffee table, and leaned over to blow out the candle, intensifying the strong vanilla scent.

“Nope, Doug, that’s not it. Take a deep whiff where you’re standing. Definitely not vanilla. More cloying. Floral. Something I would never wear and the same odor I smelled when that girl ran by me. The gentleman, thou doth protest too much, methinks.”

His blank stare and silence confirmed her suspicions.

She grabbed her purse, picked up her coat where she dropped it, and left Doug standing there in a cloud of guilt.

Guest Snooping

During the holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to see how you measure up to everyone else what with parties, potluck dinners and gift buying. Even if you don’t celebrate a particular holiday, you may still have occasions when you visit a friend or family member’s house and you need to use the facilities.

I think it’s pretty normal to use someone’s bathroom when you’re visiting and take a peek into their medicine cabinet. Just to see what’s what. If you restrain yourself, congratulations, because that’s the right thing to do. But when you’re locked in that little room, haven’t you been given carte blanche? If they had something they didn’t want seen, shouldn’t they have taken care of it before they invited a bunch of people over? And how else will you know how you measure up?

I may or may not have ever done this in my life. Temptation probably did get the best of me when I was younger, but now, meh, who cares?

But what if you are visiting overnight? Over the Thanksgiving vacation, my husband and I were invited to stay at our son-in-law’s dad’s house. We accepted the invitation because they are great people, I wouldn’t have to cook and our new grandbaby would be there and if we wanted to see her, well, we had to get to Tennessee.

Thomas’ dad is a bachelor who lives in a rambling two-story house with four unused bedrooms, three of them with attached bathrooms, on the second floor. It’s like a bed and breakfast where you hardly see the owner and breakfast is a pop tart and coffee.

Roland and I are assigned the bedroom with no windows because we have proven that we are able to wake up in a room without any signs of daylight creeping in as the signal for a new day. It’s pitch black. Probably illegal as a bedroom since there is no second exit, but never mind that. The attached bathroom is accessed down two dangerous looking tile steps and in the middle of the night, can only be located with a flashlight.

What’s that? Leave the bathroom light on? That ruins the pitch black atmosphere that one really almost never experiences. Two nights of sensory deprivation can be therapeutic and restful.

When you are staying overnight, the no looking in the cabinet rule can be broken for two reasons. Looking for that extra roll of toilet paper. You could be in a compromising situation and are not expected to search out the host to ask where he or she keeps it (unless of course you don’t find any under the sink or linen closet). The second exception is to look for a hair dryer. Now that I’m thinking about it, there might be more reasons. You need a band-aid or Tylenol. Really, just snoop away.

Another feature of this bathroom is the wide array of toiletries, despite the minimal use of said room. Face cleansers, shampoos and other hair care products, body washes found on both the sink counter and inside the shower. These items were out in view, so no snooping necessary and I brought my own preferred stuff so I left them alone other than noting the sheer quantity.

Except.

bighairExcept on the counter stood the tall red can with the black top. You, too, can have Big, Sexy Hair this product proclaimed. You know what I’m talking about. Hair products that give you big, sexy hair. Now, I’m from Texas, so I know me some big, sexy hair, but it’s never happened to my own straight, fine hair. Alas, that’s the second reason people don’t believe me when I say I’m from Texas, the first being that I allegedly have no accent.

Nevertheless, I was alone on Thanksgiving morning getting dressed when I decided that would be my day for big, sexy hair. I grabbed the can and went into the bedroom so I could more easily bend over at the waist to apply the hair spray to the underneath layer of my hair. Everyone who has ever tried to achieve big hair knows that’s how you do it.

I shook the can, bent over, flipped my hair and began to spray liberally. There was no hiss of hair spray, rather the spitting and spurting of … something else. I stood up and opened my eyes to see that I had been spraying volumizing mousse which had mostly missed my hair and had landed like splats of snow all over a cabinet, my open suitcase and Roland’s leather briefcase. The windowless guest room took on the feel of a panic room as I grabbed a hand towel and began to wipe up the mess, hoping the dots on the briefcase would fade.

After the frantic wiping, I returned the red can to the counter, put my blouse on and went downstairs no one the wiser because … no big, sexy hair.

Sunday Showcase – Kristria Designs

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I used to have a shop on Etsy, and along the way, I met a number of wonderful women artisans that I feel privileged to know and honored to call them friends. This being the holiday season, I want to give a shout out to one of them, Kristin, from Providence, Rhode Island.

earringskasKristin is the mastermind and designer behind Kristria Designs and a few years ago I was lucky enough to meet her and do a little shopping in her dining room! Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway) I am a huge fan! I have a pair of the earrings that are pictured here and I wear them at least 3 or 4 times a week. The patina on the copper pair I have has only gotten more beautiful over the years, and I see she now has a pair of them in sterling silver. The Egyptian spiral is one of her signature designs and shows up in bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

I also own several of her necklaces which get so many compliments.

If you are looking for beautiful and affordable unique jewelry for yourself or for a gift, I recommend you check out Kristin’s shop. I always have several pieces on my wish list!

Happy shopping! You can click on the pictures to get straight to those fantastic items.

P.S. This is not a paid or sponsored post, I just wanted to share!

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Trump,

First off, congratulations on your victory. The battle was bitter and hard fought, but you prevailed despite all signs that you would not, so well done. I would like to be able to give you a chance and to discover why the 62,686,062 people that voted for believed you could do a better job than your other opponents because I can’t believe that many people hated Hillary Clinton that much and saw you as the better candidate. How could that many people be so blind to your panoply of narcissistic traits?

My husband, Roland, has encouraged me to read what the opposition to my choice, i.e., your supporters, have to say, and I would like to, but much of what I see in their rhetoric is so abhorrent and divisive to me that I find I cannot. I have been able to listen to some of whom I will call the “wiser minds” on the right side of the aisle. But during the campaign, many of those wiser minds told us that they saw too many red flags they could not support you themselves. Guess you showed them!

Of course, the left has its own share of shrill, the sky is falling, all is lost and evil is running the world spokespeople. I’m pretty sure Keith Olbermann will not get a Christmas card from you this year, and it’s almost a certainty that there are others on the left that can match your group hate for hate. The right does not have the monopoly on intolerance. [Hey, Keith, I get it. I’m on your side, but sometimes you’re just a bit too much. Carry on. I’ll check in now and then.]

You and I do have one thing in common. Neither of us is that political. I mean, I have my opinions and all, but I don’t spend hours and hours studying the politics of the United States and the world. Of course, I’m not the president-elect of the free world, so there’s that.

I really do try my hardest to find the good in people, even you. But how does the Golden Rule fit into your world? Have you even heard the story of the Good Samaritan? What about second chances and the story of the prodigal son? Anything? The meek inheriting the earth? Not in your world.

No, you appeal to the worst in people and encourage your base to be, well, base. That it’s okay to be a hateful bully. Wear that identity as a badge of honor. Well, unless you happen to be a Muslim hateful bully. Nope, take that shit out of America, because we won’t stand for that.

Oh, I meant for this to be a congratulatory note and my tone has digressed and devolved into something else. I was taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I’ll take a page from your book (your twitter feed?) and risk being impolite. It works for you, amirite?

Peace.

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P.S. For the love of God, appoint Mitt Romney as Secretary of State!