Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Good Stuff: Take Pause and Look Again

You know what's wonderful about writing posts re: gratitude and happiness? It gives me a reason to shift my perspective and look for reasons to be grateful and happy. 

Hmmmmmm. Kind of ridiculous that I need a reason to do that, isn't it?  

By any measure of the word, I am blessed. Family, friends, health, work I love, roof over my head, plenty to eat, etc.* Yet I don't always pause long enough to appreciate it all. 

This week, I hope you pause. I hope you pour yourself a nice hot mug of something, settle back in a cozy chair, look around, and take note -- or make notes -- on your own version of The Good Stuff. 

Super good stuff.
Mug, from Lynn. Cider, from Louisburg
I am going to pause** this week, rather than post. Here's to a lovely Thanksgiving for us all! 

*Knock on wood. A saying that always reminds me of my grandmother, who would say it and then rap her knuckles on her head. 

**OK, OK. I'm not going to completely pause. There's baking to be done. You know me too well ... 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Good Stuff: Unexpected Kindness

Hey -- thanks for being here! Thanks for reading the blog.

As we continue the countdown to Thanksgiving with a few posts re: little things that make me happy, little things to be grateful for, here's a big one: unexpected kindness.

This past Saturday, the people who were installing our windows came back to finish the job. They came right at lunchtime, and brought a treat -- tamales from Elvira's for me and Tom. We are talking the best tamales I've ever had.

Sure, it's possible the tamales tasted extra good because they were such a lovely surprise. And I hadn't had lunch yet. I also hadn't had a tamale in years, and they always remind me of going to see the Kansas City As play baseball when I was a little girl. Dad took me once (just me!), and bought tamales for us at a little stand outside the stadium. I thought that was almost as cool as the pop-up rabbit.*

When was the last time you surprised and delighted someone? November is the perfect month. Go make someone happy.

*If you know what I'm talking about, you're either as old as I am -- or a baseball fanatic. Either way, it was a damn cool mechanical bunny, wasn't it?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Fun: Plan Ahead. Eat Ahead.

Do you realize that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away? Two weeks from today, you'll either be out the door at the crack of dawn for sales, or ... if you're like me ... sleeping in, safe in the knowledge that there are leftovers from the feast and you don't have to do anything. At. All.

One of my favorite leftovers? Nantucket Cranberry Pie. I've shared the recipe before. I'm sharing it again. The only problem is -- sometimes there aren't leftovers. This pie disappears. Fast.

I think you should make Nantucket Cranberry Pie this weekend, just to see if it's something to add to the Thanksgiving Day spread. And I think you should invite me over for a big ol' piece, with a really good cup of coffee.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Good Stuff: Good Bones

You know how you can be absolutely sure of something -- and absolutely wrong?

Yeah, it happens now and then. Even to me. ;-)

I absolutely knew I had shared Good Bones by Maggie Smith with you, because I love this poem. There's so much to be grateful for when you find a poem, or story, or book -- or even a line* -- that communicates perfectly. That makes you say, "I know EXACTLY what she means."

Poetry or prose, such words make us feel a little less alone in this big world.

Good Bones is a good example. But, I did a quick search on the blog, and ... it wasn't here. So, now it is. Enjoy!
You could. And I believe you will.

P.S. Since the poem is about mothers and their children ... If you need a decent realtor in the KC area -- one who won't sell you on the bones -- I've got one for you. Kate Harness. You can thank me later.

*Per my post last Friday, I did read A Man Called Ove and it's absolutely wonderful. If I hadn't been reading a borrowed book, I'd have highlighted a number of perfect sentences. If you haven't read the book yet, I recommend it!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Good Stuff: Clean Windows

If change happens gradually, we ease our way into it -- good or bad. I remember an ob/gyn doctor I used to see, who would praise me if I had lost a pound or my weight had stayed the same over the course of a year. I once asked him why he made such a big deal about a pound or two, and he said:

"Most of the women I see gain a pound or two every year. It's not a health risk at first, but after 20 years, it can be."

And that brings us to this sad, but true confession: Over the course of the past 30 years, the windows of our home had probably gained about 30 pounds of dirt and dust. I am not loved for my housekeeping skills. 

This week, we got new windows throughout! And this, my friends, is the good stuff. Clean windows. I can see through them, and the wind can't blow through them. There's no condensation from the cold. And, bonus! They open and close easily -- and can be cleaned from the inside.

I just need to remember to do that, at least once every 30 years.

Take a look around the room you're in, and consider:

  • Is there something on display you don't really care about anymore?
  • Is there something else you could put out that would bring you joy?
  • Have the pictures on the wall been up so long you don't even see them?

Now, extend that fresh perspective. Take a good look at the people in your life. People change too -- at times, so gradually that we fail to see it, Or as Lillian Hellman once said, "People change, and forget to tell each other."

Change can be the good stuff. Share it.
This glider reminds me of being on
my grandmother's porch.
Memories. The good stuff.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Good Stuff: Super Socks

Over the years, I have shied away from product endorsements on the blog ... oh, I've done a few, but ... that's not really what we're here for, is it?

HOWEVER, as we continue our countdown to Thanksgiving and consider little things that make us happy, socks have to be on my list. And not just any socks. These fleece-lined socks from Columbia are THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET.

Soft, warm, cozy.
I could almost like winter ... 
I'm one of those people who rarely wears shoes in the house, so I wear these socks from the moment it turns a little cold until it's warm enough to go barefoot again. Eva, THE BEST SISTER ON THE PLANET, got me my first pair a few years ago.

And there's another little thing to be grateful for*! Presents -- not necessarily hugely expensive -- that are exactly what you want when you didn't even know you wanted them.

Life is good. Sock it to the world, peeps.

*Yes. I ended a sentence with a preposition. Good catch. Thank you for caring.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Fun: Reclaim Your Hobby

"What are your hobbies?"

Sounds innocent enough, doesn't it? Yet, when a fellow consultant/new friend posed the question to me recently, I panicked. What could I say? Reading? I don't read as much as I used to. Baking? I rarely bake these days; everyone is dieting. Exercise? That's not a hobby; it's a way to keep osteoporosis at bay.

Yoga? That's definitely not a hobby. It's a lifesaver.

"I do collage art," I finally mumbled. "And I like to read and bake."

It didn't feel like a lie -- it's not like I claimed to be a knitter. I have done collage art and will again. And I do like to read and bake. And it sounded a lot better than saying, "Well, you know. I take care of the universe all day, it doesn't revolve without me, and then at night I collapse on the couch, play solitaire on my iPad, and ignore my family."

I could have given her that ugly truth, but the woman who asked the question is a new friend, and I want to keep her.

That said, you and I are old friends. So let me ask: What's your hobby? What do you do just for fun? This weekend, make time to do it! Party on, peeps.

I've meant to read it. Now I've got it.
Weekend ready!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Good Stuff: A Collection of Happy

As a writer, I hate to say, "I'm at a loss for words." However ... I'm not sure what to call this:

I can tell you what it is: The shells, rocks, shalom pottery and and breathe reminder form the collection I keep at the base of my computer monitor. I see them all day, every day. And I love them. Each one has meaning to me -- they're all from a special place and/or person.

They feel like totems, if I can call them that without being disrespectful to any Native cultures. And I'm not sure that I can, so I won't.

But, whatever we call them, this is a little collection of happy.

Oh, that image on my computer screen? That's a collection that can make you happy! My free e-book, Creative Chai, has 18 life-embracing ideas for you to consider. And one to grow on!

FYI, I see the doubt on your face. The e-book truly is free. No registration needed. No emails requested. No follow-up provided. Brilliant marketing, huh?

And that brings us to another thing I'm grateful for -- this month and always: The ability to laugh at myself.

Shalom, peeps. Breathe.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Good Stuff: Sweaters

It's fall in Kansas City, the leaves are turning, and it's finally cold enough to put on a sweater. All good stuff!

As we kick-off November and continue my list of little things that I'm grateful for, comfy sweaters are at the top of the list. We're talking soft, warm, fits-just-right-which-means-a-little-too-big sweaters. Mmmmmm. Not as good as a hug, but the sweater does stay with you all day.

Gift from Kate, from Norway.
Best. Sweater. Ever.
Is it possible to see leaves this beautiful
and not feel just a bit happier?
Even if it's just for a moment.
Moments count. 
I hope wherever you are, it's just a bit chilly outside. And you can think of one little thing -- right now -- that warms your heart.