good manners, grace, healing, Uncategorized

the need to knead

Some weeks just feel out of sorts.

Emotional or stressful, whatever the heck you want to call it……it sort of hangs in the air.

Like when you accidentally burn beautiful little orange pieces of carrots for fried rice.  Then you have to stop and toss and take out the garbage and scrub & clean the pan five times.  Then you start over, and yet somehow that smell of burnt carrots is still lingering, hanging in the air, for quite some time.  Come back into the kitchen, windows open, 3 hours later, yep, it is still faintly floating in the air.

This past week, some of us have dealt with wedding stress, the stress of being unwell, injury, memories of the past, poor sleep, missed talking to grands, stubbed our little toe on our right foot,   however, I can safely say, we all have felt the punch of our election.  Boy Howdy, did we all feel the stress.  yikes.

No matter what side you were on or if you were balanced precariously on the fence……..political stress packs a wallop.  (I won’t mention the poor behavior of talking badly about others.  They all better be on their knees thanking the Good Lord, that I am not their mother.  My kitchen floor would be spotless!  If you have time and energy to talk bad about others, then I guess you have time to scrub my floor or rake my leaves, or wash my windows?)  If you would like, you can certainly ask our grown boys how I feel about talking poorly about others.  I am quite sure they will fill you in.

The stress is still lingering, floating all around us.

Back to basics my friend.

When I can’t seem to move gracefully forward, I notice that I stop and stay put.  I do things that I can control.  I take extra time to wash dishes, by hand.  I don’t grumble about folding laundry, I just find the calm in the process.  I don’t mind plucking weeds or raking leaves.  I can see the results of my efforts.  I send cards.  I write actual letters & walk to the mailbox and send.

I bake.

I measure and stir and use a whisk.

Oh sure, I have a great machine with a wonderful dough hook.  I didn’t use it.

I used my hands.  I needed to knead dough.  I wanted to work with my hands.  I was making something to give.  Not to sound to “Medusa Mom crazy”….. however…………..I needed to feel connected to it.

20161111_142418_resized_2All with the idea, there is no way, we could ever eat all this food before it spoils.

So instead of fretting and fussing over things I couldn’t/can’t control , I decided to bake rolls for some neighbors.   No other reason than just to share with our neighbors.

To remember and to remind myself that we belong to each other.  Not what the news reporters tell me nor what I see on face book.

Plain and simple:  We belong to each other. 

rumi

good behavior, good manners, grace, politeness

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.

good behavior, good manners, grace, great marriage secrets, haPPY

choices

The Thank You note is in the mail this morning.

For the second time in 34 years, Mr. Right and I went out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.

We went out one time, while dating.  To be honest, I don’t really remember the dinner out.  I am guessing I had googly eyes for my date and was worried I would spill.   I was always worried I would spill.  Heck, I still worry if I might spill.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think anyone ever broke up with someone because they spilled?

Dining out on Saturday was a treat.

 

We dressed for the occasion.  Mr. Right washed & detailed the car.  It was a real date.  We talked about it and anticipated it all day long.

There was a special holiday menu.  The restaurant had been closed for a couple of hours that day to prepare and decorate. They brought in festive table cloths, made a special printed menu, strung hearts above and rose petals were tossed about.  Silver trays of chocolate dipped strawberries were there to greet you and were brought to each table.

It was a meal that was over the top scrumptious.  lady and the trampWhile we could have chosen spaghetti served with one meatball on top and two loose ends of pasta draped over either side of the plate to share……….. I chose lasagna.  I have not had it for a long, long time.  Let me just say, that the word lasagna was elevated to a new level.  Hand made paper-thin pasta with caramelized onions and mushrooms and spinach all tucked in and somehow dressed with a magical sauce that danced with my taste buds and made beautiful savory music.

The service was top of the line.  They were attentive and took their time with each patron.  Somehow on one of the busiest days in the life of a the restaurateur,  we were made to feel as though were of utmost importance to them.  One of the owners came to our table and asked if all was well.  He was kind and calm, didn’t appear to be rushed at all.   Somehow, in all the things swirling in his head….. food, turning over tables, reservations, extra wait staff, and more that we will never know……….he seemed genuinely pleased we chose his establishment to celebrate the day.

When out to a fine meal, I try my hardest to stay focused.  We focus on each other.  The meal.  The atmosphere.   Sure, a quick glance around the room, and we saw a family with three little girls all dressed up, using their best manners and their tights had hearts fluttering all over them.  Of course extra tables for two were the main focus, two tables of four right near us as well.  Not a romantic meal for the four, more of a fun celebration.  One table for two, with a pretty young girl looking anxious.

After 20 minutes her date did indeed arrive.  Although most likely my imagination, a collective sigh when her date showed up.  All is well.   They were over my right shoulder, so I did not follow them.  Until Mr. Right said to me, in a whisper, she deserves better.  I took a quick look.  She was leaning forward, smiling, all dressed up and gazing into his face.  He was looking at and texting on his cell phone.  She was smiling.  He was busy.

Once a very crass radio talk show host, on several occasions, said something like, if your dinner date takes out their phone, they are looking for something better.  Do yourself a favor and leave.

I took a moment out of my fine meal and ESP’ed to that pretty young woman, YOU ARE WORTH MORE.  Yes, it is Valentine’s Day.  YOU CAN DO BETTER. You alone are better.   Stand up, politely lay your napkin down, thank the owner for the meal and walk out with your head up.   This would make a great blog post if she did what I was secretly urging her to do…….……….She didn’t hear me.  She decided that being with someone, even though that person was not WITH HER, was more important than her self-worth.   It is all about our choices.

I cannot show you a picture of our food or the perfect little hearts cut out of beets that were tucked onto our salad plates.  I cannot show you the heart-shaped ravioli that was placed perfectly along side Mr. Right’s main course choice.

Why?

Because our cell phones were left, locked in the glove compartment of our car.  We chose to be with each other.  There was nothing more important to either of us.

It is a family owned business.  A business.  Simply put, they offer a service and product and we pay.  Mr. Right paid the bill and left a very generous tip.  We said our thank you’s to the waitress and the owner.  We asked that they thank the chef for us.   We each held up and completed the business portion of the evening.

thank youThen, GASP, we wrote a thank you note and it was mailed this morning. 

Yes, believe it or not, you can actually write a thank you note for a fine service/product you received.  Sending a proper thank you note is not part of the business deal.

We chose to make it part of our fine meal.

The perfect way to bathe ourselves and others in Grace.

A lovely way to end a celebration.

 

 

 

gift giving, good manners, grateful, great marriage secrets, haPPY

blow me a kiss

I am one grateful grandma.  Some amazing person with a fabulo-so brain created and invented Skype.

Skype makes it possible for grandmas and papa’s across the land to visit with and see and interact with their grands.

One of the things we have been working on is asking questions that help the conversation.  Questions like, “Did you have fun at the parade today?” yes.  Do nothing to help in the chatting skills department.

We are trying to use questions that help teach conversation and help us enjoy the Skype experience.

What did you have for breakfast?  We had round pancakes.  What shape were your pancakes?

What is a moon pie?  “Well, Grandma Daleen, a moon pie is …… a moon pie!” 

Haha, I love those grands.

We also get kisses blown at the screen.   I can go two or three days on a kiss blown through the computer!

Speaking of smooches, did you notice today is not only Ground Hog day………….6 more weeks of winter…………… but today marks only 12 days until Valentine’s day.

Everyone loves kisses.  period.

Kisses from grands.  yes.

Kisses from dogs.  yes.

Kisses from your kids. yes.

Kisses from your Mr. Right. yes.

20150130_150234On Friday, I made a little something up for Mr. Right to set on his desk today, bright and early Monday morning.

While I am guessing he doesn’t want kisses from his co-workers.  I think the thought is nice.    HAPPY.  That is all, plain and simple.

Share a treat, get a smile.  Then tell someone else, then they get a treat and smile.

Way more Happy all around.

Why not make a treat jar for your Mr. Right?  ( I used a plastic jar and filled with a couple pounds of bubble gum.)

Yes, even if you haven’t traded Valentines for years (and why the heck not?)!  Yes, even if they work from home, or out of a truck or “they never share things like that” or you live alone….. then make one for your desk or share a jar of Happy with your favorite hair dresser or the lady who sells raw honey.

Just maybe, by you or your Mr. Right sharing a treat, there will be more HAPPY to share?

Then you or your special someone will come home being more HAPPY.

What a novel idea.

Share HAPPY.

Receive HAPPY.

makes me smile.

 

 

 

book review, books, good behavior, good manners, grace, grateful, great marriage secrets, haPPY

rules

Within a year of being a newly wed, we moved from one side of the country to the other.   From Washington state to North Carolina.  To say it was a drastic change would be the understatement of the year.

New life, new baby, new husband, new roads to learn, new stores to learn……….and no friends, no mom, no mother in law, no funny Aunt’s living near by.  Back in the dark ages, no computers, no cell phones, basically no contact.  To make a phone call was extremely expensive and you had to wait until the weekend or after certain times.

We were alone.  period.  Two young kids and a baby.  Culture shock is the perfect way to describe it.

Rules of being newly married, um?  I was clueless.  Honest.  In no way am I putting myself down.  I just didn’t have a clue.  I was the person that could barely remember “my turn” to clean the bathroom once a week while in college.  I kind of don’t even remember if we had a vacuum?

Back in the day, we stumbled upon a little book, not too expensive, and was a whole lot easier to read and remember than a 5 pound Emily Post Etiquette book I had.

I needed help.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I left home with oodles of knowledge.  How to set a table for a formal tea.  How to send a proper thank you note, sympathy note (what color ink to use), what to say in a get well card and house-warming card.  How to send a proper invitation to a dinner party.  How to set the table with good china and crystal.  What to wear to a funeral.  When to wear gloves or not to wear gloves to any occasion.  The proper title and how to address any envelope.  I know the proper direction to pass food at a dining room table.   The proper shoes to wear with the proper purse.   If you had an etiquette or good manners question, I had the proper answer.

By all means, good manners have gotten me through many a situations.  I lived in a very structured and proper world.

Real life, um, not so much.  I needed, I craved a list of rules.  What to do, how to do it.  I just wanted a list that would help me live my life.   Yes, I had/have several etiquette books, we have several Bibles, Mr. Right had volumes of books on proper behavior for an Army guy.  Heck, we even had a copy of Dr. Spock’s book on how to raise a child.

Big thick books that really are a bit overwhelming at times.

I/we needed help.  Fast, quick, black & white rules to live by.

Oh yes, I came armed with oodles of etiquette and proper behavior knowledge.   I just didn’t know about “life rules”.

20150129_084948The book that helped us over the rough spots was written by a Dad .

H. Jackson Brown Jr.  is the author and his son Adam was leaving home for his freshman year in college.   He wrote the book for his son.  He wanted to send him off into the world with a little help.

It is really a collection of advise, rules, observations and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life.  They totaled 511.

Our book’s spine is broken.  That is how much we used it.

Learn CPR.

Keep a tight rein on your temper.

Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

Over tip breakfast waitresses.

Give thanks before every meal.

Take a brisk 30 minutes walk each day.

Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.

Plant flowers every spring.

NEVER criticize the person who signs your paycheck.  If you are unhappy with your job, resign.

Every day look for some small way to improve your marriage.

Lie on your back and look at the stars.

Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover.

Learn your representatives in Washington DC.

Let your children overhear you saying complementary things about them to other adults.

Learn 3 clean jokes.

Don’t postpone joy.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Be forgiving of yourself and others.

The list goes on and on.

You would be amazed at how many of the 511 things we do every single day of our lives.  They were/are our rules.  We read them and we memorized them and we put them into practice.

Give little surprise  WRAPPED gifts to your spouse for no apparent reason.  Not a birthday, or anniversary, just because.  Make sure you take the time to wrap them.

20150128_135710Last night when Mr. Right pulled out his chair to sit down to dinner, there was a wrapped surprise gift just for him.

 

 

gift giving, good behavior, good manners, sewing

Oh, Happy Day!

Look around you.  Yes, right this moment.  Do you see any living human being in your general area?  If you are at work (are you really suppose to be reading someone’s blog while the boss is paying you?)  do you see a co-worker?  If you are at home, do you see family?  Ask yourself, what can I do to spread a little HAPPY?

I keep repeating myself over and over……….didn’t their mom ever teach them?  Okay, so if your mom was teaching you and you were tuning her out, I am happy to share a couple of words of wisdom.

You are an amazing person, we all are.  We just need to polish the apple, so to speak.  We need to think of others a bit more often.

One of the reasons you were put on this earth was to lift spirits.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No, you are not in charge of others happiness.  You are in charge of your own.  One of the ways to make yourself a bit more happy is to share that HAPPY with others.

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Back in 1979, I gave an outdoor speech to about 200 people.  I used Ralph’s line.  Thanks Ralph!  What the heck did I know about sharing happiness with others?  I was flying through my speech and remembering planned gestures, I am not sure I really understood what I was spouting.  Okay, so maybe I did get “it” slightly.  I had figured out that being nice to others makes us happy and it is the right thing to do.

Everyone reminds me that they are “busy”.  They work.  Okay, heads up sweet friends, once and for all………..we ALL WORK!  Each one of us.  We cook and bake gourmet dog treats and type and sing and mow lawns and push papers around and fix boo boos ( with a kiss and a band-aid or with surgical instruments and stitches), we put squiggly lines and splashes of color on canvas.  We all work.   There that is said and done.

Now, for the extra hours in our lives.   Yes, do the math.  If we each work 40 hours a week, plus 56 hours of sleeping time…………. um, that leaves………72 hours to do with what you please.  Oh sure, some of you are going to tell me you commute or you have to volunteer 4 hours a week or you have to grocery shop for 2 hours a week………………….What are you doing with the other 51 hours a week????????????

Do yourself a favor and make someone happy.  Make yourself happy.  Do something for your better half.  Make him or her a loaf of home-made bread. (heads up, the recipe makes two loaves, give the other loaf to a neighbor or co-worker)  Iron one of their shirts while you are ironing yours.  Leave the car full of gas next time you use it.  Buy one fresh grapefruit and cut it up ready to go for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Let me ask you, just how happy would you be if you started off the day with a fresh 1/2 a grapefruit already cut and ready to eat?

While the potatoes are cooking for dinner, you have time to think of someone else.  While you wait for the laundry to finish drying, you can make a card.

You can start a batch of cookies to share with your family and a little plate full for the co-worker in the cubical next to you.

20150115_155922You can sew a Happy bib for the newly expectant parents that you know.

Seriously, I timed myself.  Yesterday,  took me 41 minutes to cut out and sew a bib.  I wrapped it up and tied a tag on it .  No, you don’t have to spend $4.00 on a card.  A happy little polka dot tag with the words, “CONGRATULATIONS on your HAPPY” will do nicely.   Secret:  I keep fusible fleece on hand.  I cut out two at a time, always.  I keep a steady supply of HAPPY fabrics to make a bib.  So no, I don’t have to drive to the store every time I want to share a sweet bit of happy.  20150115_163714

It made me happy to sew the bib.  It will make the parents to be, silly with happy.  It will make them happy one day when they actually use the bib.  It will make someone happy to see the little babe in the bib, maybe in a picture.  That folks, is a WHOLE LOT of HAPPY for 41 minutes of time and a few pieces of fabric. 20150115_163959

May I gently suggest, you do yourself a favor?  Look for ways to make someone else happy.  It doesn’t have to cost oodles.  It can be quick and easy.

It is the right thing to do.   Getting a little happy on yourself?  Well, that just happens to be a happy by-product.

Go ahead, YOU ARE WORTH HAPPY!

Your mother did indeed teach you to think of others every single day.  Maybe you had head phones on and missed it?

You deserve to be happy.  We each thrive on it.

Get out there kind people and make your day sweeter.

OH, Happy Day!

good manners, ranting

dunderheads among us

Today, I am offering up a Public Service Announcement.  If you are reading this, you are the public and I am offering a service.

Buckle up. 

dunceLast night, a friend and her husband were leaving a restaurant.  Once outside they were screamed at by a schmuck.   If you don’t know what a schmuck is, let me use a different word…. buffoon.  They were walking out the door of a restaurant located in California, USA.

Here is the service:  Today is 2014.

We are not living in the 1930’s.  We are living in America.  People can and do marry people of different cultures and backgrounds.  NO ONE CARES what color your skin is!  No one cares what country your great grandparents came from.  People only care if you are a ninny.  Stop behaving like a ninny!

In the words of my four-year old grandgirlie, “REALLY PEOPLE?”

(Here is where I want to be a young, salty Sailor and scream ~TYPE ALL IN CAPITOL LETTERS and use profanity to describe this person.  However, I am not sure you are allowed to do that during a Public Service Announcement?)  I always had better success at correcting my children when I spoke very, very quietly.  They knew something was about to taught.

Like when I give myself a budget to buy a present…..  I am much more creative, if I have to use my noodle.  So, no swearing during a PSA.  I am only allowing myself to utilize creative words to describe this half wit.

Seriously?  Have you and your pea sized brain been living under a rock?  Let’s be honest here.  It must stink pretty bad under that rock?

Sometimes, I write my blog post to teach my “kids” something that I want them to learn.  I am NOT writing this to my four adult grown children.  They don’t need to be taught this.  They are well-educated, intelligent, smarty pants people who would never stoop to such stupidity as did this dolt.

It hurts my heart.  Oh sure, I have heard all kinds of nastiness from my own family.  Here’s a test, marry someone from another country in 1982.  Yep, folks, there were numskulls back then, too.

Fast forward to today, 2014, I had no idea that an under educated ninny & buffoon was roaming among us?

This is nasty and naughty behavior.    Someone needs to dust off his book of “how to behave like a normal, kind, well-educated person” book.

I wish I was strong enough to call you out.

You are an imbecile.

You are an idiot.

I wish I could wash your mouth out with soap.

If it happened to me, I can only hope I would be strong enough to keep my mouth closed and move along.

Ignoramus like that don’t deserve our breath or energy.

Public Service Announcements are so cleansing and helpful.

Glad I could be of some service today.

The End.