two words

After 5 decades of rules, from time to time, you may find me using paper napkins, or wearing jeans to a museum with Mr. Right, or (gasp) serving coffee in a mug.  We all know that a proper young lady or gentleman drinks out of a cup with a saucer.  goodness sakes.

good mannersYou may have figured out by now, that I was raised with a set of strict guidelines.  Call them manners or proper etiquette, they were our rules to live by.  Period.  No questions asked.  Just follow the rules.

It did not matter one bit, if you got up on the wrong side of the bed.  Your good manners should be polished and apparent.

As wild and crazy as I can be sometimes,  those rules are engraved in my brain. I can’t help but do things a certain way.

The one slight problem with having a set of rules that you live by, is when othersgood manners saying don’t understand your passion.  (read that as: never under-estimate how much work my mother went to, to make absolutely sure her three girls would become ladies)

Here is a pet peeve of mine:

While shopping, or dining at a restaurant or interacting with the public in any shape or form  …….. some folks have slid into a bad habit.    It is not wrong, it just rubs ME the wrong way.

I say, “Thank you“.

They say, “no problem“.

URGH, me wanting to pull my hair out.  Me screaming on the inside. Me wanting to jump up and down and teach them a better choice.  A better way to answer my two words.  

If I had used those words, my mother would correct me and say……the proper answer should be “You are welcome“.

I discovered a more up to date, friendly, positive, lovely answer.  I use it on all my business correspondence/invoices.

It was my pleasure to bake for you today. 

Last night, we chose to indulge in a new restaurant in town, employing very young servers and wait staff.  The person taking our order, Alexandra, still had her braces on and was learning the fine art of “small talk”.  She did a very good job.

The owner has taught each of his employees how to answer when a customer says “thank you”.

Two words:

My Pleasure. 

I overheard, “My pleasure, sir”.  “Oh, it was my pleasure”.  “Certainly, it was my pleasure”.

In place of a causal & almost disrespectful sounding, off the cuff  “no problem”, the owner of the restaurant has quickly taught several young employees a new to them, twist. In the blink of an eye, the young servers went from casual teenagers to polished employees.

Same short two-word answer. Efficient and polite.

However, the customer receiving it, feels delighted that they chose to spend their money in this establishment.  The person feels of value.

Good Manners go a long way in making others feel at their best.

“Good Manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” B. Kelly

Was the food good at the new restaurant?  Indeed.  Was the establishment clean and tidy?  5 star.  Were the employees professional and polished?  Yes.

Will we visit again?

It will be our pleasure.

grace allows me to be better

grace braveSometimes I get all tangled up in being me.

I wonder what my “mission” is.  Why have I been graciously given another day?  Then I smile as I remember.  I remember Mr. Right needs me.  My kids and grands need me.  My dog needs me.  Someone has to fuss over them and pray for them and fret about them and cook for them and celebrate with them.

I am the one who creates the “behind the scenes” magic.  Um, yes that IS a job title.  Really.

Every once in a while the magic fairy hits me with the glitter stick of Grace.  There are other people out there that could use a tiny bit of “magic” grace from me.   Not necessarily advise…………say buh bye to sugar, step away from all dairy, stop having things dry cleaned, you are worth more than processed food, stop using air fresheners, get rid of all fluoride, mercury REALLY? and on and on the list goes…………..  I want to scream at the top of my lungs and not just in the shower! Then I have to look at myself and realize……….I am not perfect either.  I get it.  Some choices are tough.  Some folks have the luxury of “baby steps”, so maybe they are just baby stepping through this toxic mess.

One or two hours of daily studying, I choose smarty pants over fancy pants most days.  I gave up fancy lotions and potions, I make my own soap, I have researched so much on deodorant, some might call me an expert or at the very least annoying (geesh), and yet, I am still a hold out on hair dye & highlighting.  Yes, I am fully aware that it is toxic.  I know it is a choice.  I am fully aware of the toxic chemicals.  Why just yesterday, my hair was cut, colored & highlighted.

Daily, I choose my words carefully.  I nervously fret and teeter back and forth about telling the world, or at least my corner of it, that I am healing naturally.  As I step through day 827, healing naturally, I somehow wonder if I am supposed to shout it to the world (or blog about it) that yes you can say no thank you to some very, very serious drugs and therapies and go on to thrive.  On the other hand, am I suppose to study each day, gather information and never share it with another soul?

duh, I know the answer.  I just don’t want to put myself out there sometimes.

“Advise is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t”.  E Jong

Oh no, I am not brave enough to start my own “blurb” as one family member of mine calls it….entitled, “How I politely said no thank you to chemotherapy and radiation and lived & thrived to tell about it.”  827 days and counting.  One goal is to go on living and thriving through my days so that I somehow in all the mess of life, I forget to count how many days it has been.

I secretly adored chatting with the neighbor today.  The same neighbor who once this whole rhubarb started, said I had 3 “good” months left.  When he said with surprise in his voice, wow, you are looking good………….I said a polite & grace filled, thank you.  I didn’t tell him how many days past the 90 day mark I have thrived.

Grace allowed me not to remind him what a worm/jerk/ass he was to say that in the first place.

Note to self and everyone across the land……………..HOPE costs nothing!  Never, ever, ever take away people’s HOPE.  It is mean and senseless and stupid and beyond nasty.  Everyone deserves HOPE.

What I am brave enough to do is this.  I am brave enough & smart enough  to make a hand-made card and give to someone who is just as brave as me.  She is quietly living her life.  She does not have a “blurb”.  She is not telling others, LOOK WHAT I DID!   Pat me on the back.  Today, I am guessing, she is saying for the 117 time, no thank you to “one won’t hurt” offer of one cookie, or bagel or donut or piece of cake at her place of work.  Sure she is struggling with inner choices.  For her, it is a no brainer  to say NO to all sugar……….but it is easy to say no to hair dye?  Or does she feel guilty every single time she uses a dryer sheet (with 9 toxic chemicals)?

Yes, we all struggle.  We are trying to unravel this mystery we call life.  Some days are trickier than others.  Some days, my studies take me into the world of selenium and methionine and E621, soybean lecithin………other days, I look for fabulous lipstick that is gorgeous and won’t make me sick.

stone of graceGrace allows me to be better.

Grace allows me not to slap the neighbor up side the head with my flip-flop and ask him WHAT were you thinking?

Grace allows me to send a card to a friend who is walking through a tricky week.

Grace allows me to keep my mouth closed when I need to.

Grace allows me to make a card and write something that I honestly mean to someone who inspires me.  She is brave and needs to be reminded of that fact.

Grace allows me to create behind the scenes magic.

…and yes, Grace is what I bathe myself in when I choose to use hair dye.  Grace takes away some of the guilty sting. Grace not perfection

almond milk

Today, I made Almond Milk.

20150427_110735Oh sure, I started soaking the 1 cup of raw almonds 2 days ago.

Although, that is as tough as this recipe turns out to be.

Now, I won’t go on and on about the dairy boys, the hormones or the artificial ingredients.  I will just say, I have chosen to make my own. Dairy is not part of my line up, however, I love to use Almond milk in my hot cereal in the morning and don’t even get me started about an afternoon cappuccino.  oh la la

1 cup of almonds (soaked one or two days in filtered water) , drained and rinsed.  Please don’t save the enzyme water.

4 cups filtered water, 1 Tablespoon raw honey (you can use four dates or agave or 20150427_111012coconut sugar…), 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt, real vanilla (or use part of a vanilla bean)

Put all in Blendtec.  Push whole juice.  Once. Twice.  For a total of 2 minutes.  Strain through cheese cloth or mesh nut bag (amazon 8.99 that you can reuse over and over).

20150427_111942-1Pour into storage container for refrigerator.  I am looking for an old-fashioned shaped , glass milk jar.  I think that will make me smile.  Until I find one, this jar will work fine.

Pure creamy dreamy goodness.  Happy!  Healing!

In this together!

Here’s to your health and wellness!  (and saving some money and not ingesting nasty chemicals)

grand new job

When people ask me what I “do”.  I always say, I am a Mom.  What do you do?

They politely giggle and say, no what do you really “do”.

That is what I really do.

To be honest, my days are no longer filled with BASKETS of laundry.  I don’t step on Match box cars or Legos.  I don’t have to answer the daily question “is there anything to eat”?   I no longer have to read one more book aloud about dinosaurs, motorcycles, rocks or bugs.  I have not had to go ask someone to pick up a wet towel off the bathroom floor in years.  I have not spent one moment of a lovely dinner gently correcting someone’s table manners.  I have not spent one minute teaching fractions, geometry or algebra to a young person living in our home.  Nor have I had to correct punctuation on a paragraph about robots. I have not spent one hour of my time lately looking for ___________________.  (a backpack, shoe, whistle, purple & white marble, lucky baseball hat, etc)  I have not been back to the hardware store to have house key number 8 made.  Gosh, there are a lot of our house keys out there somewhere.   I am no longer on a first name basis with the eyeglass repairman.  You will not find me, every Wednesday in the orthodontist waiting room for 10 minutes while someone’s retainer is adjusted.

Just what do I do with all my free time, now? 20150423_075756

So nice of you to ask.

I order surprises for Grands.  I buy & write books for Grands.  I send postcards to Grands.  I make birthday gifts ahead of time for Grands.  I talk on Skype with the Grands. I plan stuff for Grands.   I look at pictures of Grands.  I frame pictures of Grands.  I buy funny straws for Grands.

20150422_202159-1Why just yesterday, I spent most of the day making hair bows for Grands.  Yes, yes, that is a hair bow with corn on the cob.  Geesh.  One grandgirlie loves corn on the cob.  Of course I would make a hair bow just for her.  20150423_075824

I am excellent at my grand new job.

Have I mentioned lately, what a lucky girl I am?

grab the old ladies

pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes………...’cause everyone knows”  

……..take my hand……………….Hallelujah………..Hallelujah…………………. 

(I will pause here, to allow you, my followers to put on some Neil Diamond.  I like to listen to it loud. smiling.  However, I am sure you have your own way of “getting down” to the beat.  ha)

Similar to the masses, gathering up supplies, people and moving towards, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”, I sure wish there would be the same interest in the library.

You heard me.  I wish that libraries and books generated as much enthusiasm as a “get saved” show.

Oh, I know not nearly as magnetic, or popular.  No where near as loud. No gospel beat, pounding in the background.

Can you find salvation at the library?  You bet.

Can you find books about good gospel music and Neil Diamond?  Yes, again.

Can you find books about quilting or dogs or healing naturally?  Make that a big fat, yes!

Reach out your hand…………….walk with me this day………….

20150417_090954Yesterday, I reached my limit.  Yes, I did.   Goodbye old, boring, serviceable black, sturdy library book bag, we got as a free sample. 20150421_190820

Hello Hotness!  Oh my, you have flare and style.  I believe they call that charisma! 20150421_164231

I had ordered amazing, jaunty elephant material.  Soft and stable by Annie’s for the strength and stabilizer for between the outer fabric and fabulous teal lining.  I used a piece of stunning braid I found in  Alabama.  I wanted to sew all the good karma and goodness I could into this one bag.

I warmed up the sewing machine and turned up the music.

 …………..starting soft and slow………….like a small earthquake………………. and once I get into my groove and I let go and let the machine fly ……………………………half the valley shakes.

Brand new, freshly sewn, with the perfect pocket for library cards.  Padded handles and reinforced seams to hold the weight of all those good books.

Pack up the babies IMG_9312and grab the old ladies……………………. I read that as grand kids are reading, grandma’s are reading…………20150422_072359

All the cool kids are reading.

Honestly, I want a huge stampede to the ragged tent, I mean the brand new, brick and mortar building.  Grab a book or two or ten.

A new Library book bag!

Can I get a Hallelujah?

so green, so good

20150419_161018Yesterday, I came up with an idea of how to get Mr. Right to take a break from yard work.

a snack.

Yep, that did the trick.

If you have never stopped by the VegKitchen with Nava Atlas, give it a try.  mouth-watering recipes to fill your belly and soul with goodness, seriously uplifting blog.

Okay, I made the Very Green Avocado Tahini dip.

Start to finish, with clean up………..maybe 7 minutes.

4 ounces spinach, 1 ripe, peeled and diced, avocado, 1/3 cup tahini, fresh juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 Tablespoons combined: parsley, dill and cilantro.  You need and will love the flavor. Real Salt and fresh ground pepper.

Rinse the greens (I use raw, you can also cook if you want)

Place all the ingredients plus 1/4 cup filtered water into your Blendtec or some other fancy blender.

Push play. Wait for magic.

Serve with tortilla chips, veggies or my favorite, Black bean chips (yum-oh) .

Say Grace before you walk out to the back yard to serve.  There won’t be time, once your mouth starts watering.

so green, so good.

grateful for dog hair

Are you a list person?

Quite often, I write notes to myself.

Buy pears.  Make birthday card.  Order dried white mulberries.  Pay $1.04 library fine.  Buy Bigger gratitude jar.

On New Years Eve, we dumped out the slips of paper from last year’s jar and read all the things we were grateful for.  At the beginning of the New Year, we started over with an empty grateful jar.

Being much more aware of things to be grateful for…..the jar ended up being too small.  Now, THAT is a great problem to have in April!

Making room for gobs more, we bought a big enough jar so that we could fill it up with oodles of stuff we are thankful for.
20150418_192140

Of course we write down the obvious things we are thankful for:

healthy, happy Grandchildren (times 3)

healthy, adult children

fresh bouquet of flowers

health

sunshine

healthy dog

freedom

safety

If you happen to be with us on New Years eve 2015, you will get to hear all the things we are grateful for.

To you, the words might be somewhat odd;

vacuuming  (then spent 20 minutes cutting thread and dog hair from the rotating brush on the bottom)

making bed

shook bathroom rug

washing windows

taking out garbage

money (to buy all the vegetables & fruit & vitamins & supplements and books & magnesium salt & a rebounder & a bike & and on and on the list goes of things that help you get healthy, but “health” insurance does not pay for)

Secret:  You cannot heal from anything without being grateful for every thing.  You’re welcome for that.

Here’s the thing, once you have been really sick, I mean really sick….the ability to accomplish Monday morning chores, all by yourself is an amazing thing to be GRATEFUL for.

Who knew I would be grateful to take out the garbage?  ha

Can you start a brand new grateful jar in April?  Only if you have things you want to write down that you are grateful for.

You might want to start out with an old mayonnaise jar.

I highly recommend you think BIG.  Buy a BIG ASS  (yes, I said that) jar and start filling it up.

We are in this together. 20150420_122154-1

Here’s to all the things to be grateful for.

And yes Virginia, there is always, something to be grateful for.

let’s trade

  Trade phones with your spouse/significant other for one week.

Yesterday, while browsing blogs, I came across this challenge/idea/suggestion.

Can trading phones for one week make your relationship stronger?

While it has been brought to my attention that this was a “game” lesson in trust…….my first thought was empathy.empathy

Oh my stars, if I had to answer all the questions and text that Mr. Right receives…….yikes.  I am not sure I could go on and on about the shipping industry, Army, politics, golf or hockey playoffs.  Nor do I think he would be that interested in my friends talking about quilting and recipes and kids and spouses, dog treat orders or the new website for ordering dresses.

(Okay, we are not REAL scientists here, so don’t get all twisted in knots over this experiment.  If you don’t have a spouse, substitute the word girlfriend or sister, adult child, co-worker.  Maybe even try it for a weekend?)

The idea is you trade phones and have to answer text and emails in place of the other person.  Not in their voice nor can you say, “Hi Joanne, this is Mr. Right, I am using Daleen’s phone for the week, she will get back to you in seven days.”

You have to answer the greeting and have a conversation.   “Oh Hi Kathy, this is Mr. Right, do you like the orange fabric for the border of the quilt or do you think teal would be more shocking and fancy?”  or   “Oh my goodness, I am sincerely sorry your friend passed away.  We will begin praying for you.”   Then go get a sympathy card and get it ready for mailing.  “Will you join us for the potluck on Tuesday?  Yes, and I will be bringing a vegetable tray.  Thank you for including me”.  Then write down veggie tray on the calendar.

Will your spouse say NO?  My work is much too important for you to dabble in it!  Will your spouse say NO, my phone, my private life?  Will your spouse say NO, I am vital and no one, not even you can take my place? 

Or will your partner in crime say, SURE, I will gladly let you see how my week unfolds.  Yes please, you talk to these folks for a week, see what I go through.  Here you go, can we start NOW? 

Now, I don’t think the experiment means answering specific work related questions.   I don’t want to answer a government question about shipping something to Argentina or if I think the Toronto Maple Leafs should get a coach (which, by the way I do think they should GET A COACH, any coach).

I think there are some questions you can politely answer.  However, let’s leave the work specific questions to the pros.

I think the general idea is to walk a week in your spouses shoes.  polka dot shoes

plain blackThe idea of me carrying a plain black phone is sort of sad.  I love my teal colored case.  It has “diamonds” that sparkle all over it and a lovely quilted pattern.  Under my fancy, girlie case, my phone is gold.  Yep, you guessed it, Mr. Right’s phone under the black cover is black.teal phone case (seems rather dull and boring)

So, once we trade phones, the discussion begins.

Wow, you have a lot of friends who check in with you.  My goodness, you sure keep in touch with lots of folks.  You must get tired of answering some?  How do you manage to stay kind and friendly with some mean and grumpy folks at your business?  How on earth do you keep all this straight?

Will this experiment give us more understanding of what our significant other walks through daily?  Will we be more understanding when, at the end of the day, they say, geesh, I am tired.

Will we find it charming that they still lift up and continue to cheer on friends from 30 years ago, or do we find ourselves being a bit jealous?

Will we have more empathy and act more loving toward that person?

I am like a 6th grade girl twisting and twirling a lock of her hair.  Smiling.  I think it will be a lovely experiment and a look behind curtain at how the magic happens. I think it will bring to light just how kind, generous with time, considerate my spouse really is.

Are you game?   Are you brave/curious/thoughtful enough to take on the challenge?

hello again

While our boys were little, Mr. Right did quite a bit of traveling for business.  When he returned home, bearing gifts, the boys would be thrilled & excited to see what treasures he handed out.  I would be so happy.  The boys would be occupied for a bit and Mr. Right and I could smooch and smooch some more without feeling like we were ignoring the boys.  They were after all, busy figuring out and sampling their trinkets and goodies.

The gift bags, read that as plastic hotel laundry bags would include “treasures” that included: mini bags of pretzels and peanuts from airline flights, sometimes plastic pilot wings, or maybe a bag of snacks from the area visited. There would also be hotel pens, hotel note pads and a “do not disturb” sign now and then.  One time, they each got a plastic shower bonnet.  haha, yep, they put them on as they investigated the rest of their goodie bag.  There would be maps of the area or state & brochures with colorful pictures and sometimes even those tiny little pencils they give out at golf tournaments. Without fail, there would just happen to be a brand new Match box car in each bag.

I am not sure why kids and kids at heart, love doodling and drawing with a new-found pen?  Little pads of hotel stationery seem to be the perfect place to try out different designs or a new language you have just made up.  I know as the wife of said Mr. Right, I was delighted to have the extra time to chat with and yes, once again smooch with my boyfriend.

20150411_091321Fast forward a few years.  Mr. Right comes home from a business trip. (side note: golly I love that man & miss him like the dickens when he is out of town)  Notice I said “dickens” not chickens”.  ha

He always comes bearing gifts.  Now a days, home it is just the dog and I.  Oh, how times change. Oh sure I get a couple of smoochies and a t-shirt.  (have no idea when that started, but boy do I have a fantastic colorful, happy collection of amazing sleep shirts) The “gift wrap” is still a plastic laundry bag from a hotel, ha.  20150411_092224Sometimes, I get a piece of fun jewelry, or he brings home a new coin he received in change.  Of course there are brochures, magazines, books,  maps, pens and paper.

Strangely enough, while I am wearing my new t-shirt, trying out the new pen on the little mini stationary, flipping through the latest magazine……Mr. Right is spending his time, rough housing and saying hello again to the dog.

They have such a happy, energetic, fanciful reunion……..I really don’t mind.  I am occupied looking through all my new-found treasures………..hey, wait a minute!