Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I Don't Have to Wait Until 2018



January is over, or will be in a few more hours.  I didn't accomplish everything I had hoped to do this month--in fact, I didn't even begin some projects.  January comes with such hope:  this is the year I will (fill in the blank.)  Sometimes January ends with resignation and defeat.  Oh well, there's always next year. 

Why do we do that to ourselves?  We don't have to wait for another year, another month, another week, or even another day.  If there is something you want to do, make it happen!  (At least that is the little pep-talk I sometimes give myself.)

One thing I was going to do in January was to write about the #52Stories Project.  In short, the #52Stories Project provides prompts each week to help people write their personal history. I was going to introduce the concept and then write a post each week that went along with the weekly prompt.  Obviously, that didn't happen.  I have a couple of different options now:  1. I could forget about it altogether.  2.  I could start in January 2018.  3.  I could make my own hashtag: #48Stories.  4.  I could leave the hashtag alone and just jump in as soon as I can. 

I choose option 4.  Would you like to join me?  Let's give ourselves a week to think about each question.  The prompt we can write about next week, then, is:  Do you know the story of how your grandparents met and fell in love? 

You can publish your answer in a blog post, write it down in a notebook, or document it some other way--the important thing is to preserve the memories. 

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Thanks for prompts, and for second (or more) chances! 

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Not Waiting Till the Last Minute This Week

Yes, I'm going to post my TToT on Saturday rather than Sunday this week! Slowly (but hopefully surely), I am getting more organized.  I'm thankful:

1.  We had more rain this week.  It's sunny again now, but it's so nice that we have been getting so much moisture.  Some of the precipitation was even in the form of . . .

2.  Snow.  It only fell for a short time on Tuesday morning here on the valley floor, and it was too wet to stick, but it was fun to watch the big flakes coming down.  It stuck in the mountains, though.

Photo:  Snow blankets the nearby mountains

3.  I'm thankful for Craigslist.  I was able to find front seats for John's Ford Anglia this week, which then necessitated a . . . 

4.  Road trip to San Diego.  San Diego is the land of perfect weather.  Yes, I like rain, and yes, I like occasional snow, but San Diego just makes me happy with its sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather.  Youngest daughter and I visited a butterfly farm and ate Mexican food in Old Town.  

Photo:  A yellow butterfly rests on a bright pink flower

On the way back home, we stopped at . . .

5. Disneyland to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade, which instantly transported me back to my childhood and my first trip to Disneyland.

Photo:  The beginning of the Main Street Electrical Parade

The week wasn't all just fun and games, of course.  In fact, it was pretty service-oriented.  The saying, "When it rains, it pours" applied this week as far as needs in the church, and I am so thankful for . . . 

6.  The many, many people who step up to help when there is a need. I appreciated those who alerted me of needs, those who took in dinners, visited at hospitals, and those who checked up on others. 

7.  I am also thankful for the good feeling that comes through service.  Service is truly a win-win situation: needs get met, and both the giver and the receiver feel better. 

8.  I'm thankful for friends.  Whether having lunch, going for frozen yogurt, attending a baby shower, holding a church meeting, or just talking, I enjoy spending time with friends.

9.  I'm thankful for civilized discussion.  I wrote a post about my thoughts about the women's march.  I knew that not everyone would agree.  I am (as always) impressed that 100% agreement on issues is not required for civility or friendship.  

10.  I'm thankful for John.  This week, we saw the movie, Lion. Thirty years ago, we attended the Sundance Film Festival together. Every year since then, we try to watch a movie at the end of January that would be a good film festival candidate.  Lion fit the bill nicely, and we felt a real connection to it.  I'm so thankful for the life and family that John and I have made--through birth, and through adoption.   

How did your week go?  What things are you thankful for?  



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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Given

Sometimes, we give advice that goes unheeded.  This was not one of those times.  Linking up with Ivy's Six Sentence Stories.  This week's prompt:  given. (And if this seems familiar, you are either an astute reader or a family member; I realized after writing it that I have already related this story three years ago, in a remarkably similar fashion.)

I have heard it referred to as the "arsenic hour"--that frantic time right before dinner, when the kids can't wait any longer, but the food hasn't quite made it to the table.  Whatever it is called, I was in it.   If I could only slow down the constant, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" demands.  Trying to be patient, I advised, "Just hold your horses."  Amazingly, it worked.   My toddler trotted off to his room. . .only to return obediently--with a little plastic toy horse held firmly in each hand!

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Thanks for sweet memories.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Trying to Unravel My Thoughts About the Women's March

I have been dreading Inauguration Day 2017 since the primaries.  I knew that I was going to be unhappy with the result of the election, no matter which side won.  I couldn't bring myself to cast a vote for either Clinton or Trump.  I cast my vote for someone who realistically had no chance of winning--but, living in California, no one but Hillary had any chance of winning, so I didn't feel like I was "wasting" my vote.  

The election (and now, beyond) has been nasty, on both sides of the aisle.  My Facebook feed makes me sad.  Name calling, unfriending, and an inability, or at least unwillingness to civilly listen to opposing views, come from both my conservative and my liberal friends.  I know my conservative friends are not the uncaring monsters the left describes, and I know my liberal friends are not the crybabies the right-wingers assert.  

I always vote, but I usually avoid political discussions.  The other day, however, I had a friend text me, and we had a one-on-one, private discussion about what we've been observing on social media and about the Women's March in particular.  Our conversation really got me thinking.  My mind churned on the topic.  My dreams revolved around politics.  (I mean my literal, middle-of-the-night dreams, not dreams of the Dr. King variety.) One of my friend's statements really stood out to me:  "With all this talk of inclusiveness, there doesn't seem to be a place where I fit in." 

I admit, though I had heard about the Women's March, I had not taken the time to read their platform.  From news reports, I had gathered the Women's March was an anti-Trump demonstration, and that they were speaking out against some of his statements and proposed policies.  Even though I am a woman, even though I didn't vote for Trump, and even though there are some "Unity Principles" in the Women's March platform that seem self-evident, as I read through their complete platform, I realized that I didn't agree with everything. The "Mission & Vision" page statement sounded reasonable:
We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
"Vibrant and diverse" excludes a vast segment of society, though--anyone who is opposed to abortion might have a problem with the Reproductive Rights platform, for example:
We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education. 
Yes, there is attraction in the whole, "I am Woman, Hear Me Roar," mentality. Women are strong, and can be a huge force for good in the world.  Being able to stand up for kindness and compassion is noble.  There is something exciting about being part of something bigger than yourself.  I suspect more than one marcher thought of women's suffrage movements of the past as they were demonstrating.  

However, the Women's March wasn't just tackling one issue; it was taking on a whole slew.  On the abortion platform alone, I would excuse myself from participation.  Does this make me someone who doesn't care about people with disabilities?  I would beg to differ, though some Facebook posts would make that jump. 

So, what can I, my friend, and others who feel excluded do?  First of all, we can refuse to get caught up in the name-calling.  We can vote, and if we choose to get involved in various issues, we can contact our senators and representatives to make our opinions heard.  Most importantly, in our daily lives, we can live according to our convictions.  Our biggest impact probably won't come on some huge national scale, but in our own homes and neighborhoods.  We can teach our children kindness, and we can demonstrate the same.  We can volunteer our time.  We can listen to the lonely or lend a shoulder to the sad.  With small and simple acts, we can serve those around us.  As we do so, we will find that we do fit in in all the important ways.  




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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: The Weather is a Safe Topic Edition

Inauguration Day has come and gone, and I am still formulating my thoughts before writing anything about the national events of the past few days. However, this week reminds me again that I feel peace not from external events, but from within--my faith brings a sense of calmness to me regardless of what is going on around me.  

This week, I'm thankful for:

1.  Rain.  I can hardly believe how many weeks in a row we have received rain!  

2.  Humor.  Though I am guilty of making the occasional grammatical mistake, I do tend to laugh when I see errors in print.  The front-page news in the local paper warned us of the "more stronger" storm we had on Friday.


3.  Kind people who want to help others.  When I was shopping this week, I told the store employees about this car's predicament. It was not new news, as many people before me had alerted the store. Unfortunately, store employees were unable to locate the owner in any of the shops in that strip mall.  I hope the owner was able to drive away safely.

Photo:  A grey Honda Accord is parked in a flooded parking lot.  The water level reaches the front bumper.
4.  Rain, and not just any rain, but steady, slow, earth-soaking rain. Despite the occasional flooding (like in the parking lot above), for the most part, this rain has been soaking into the earth.  The grass is greening up, and for the first time in years, our rainfall has exceeded the average rainfall for the season.  (We're almost up to 4 inches since October 1st!)

5.  Beautiful skies.  There have been several rainbows between rain storms. Though I didn't get a photo of a rainbow this week, I did snatch a photo of the clouds yesterday. 

Photo:  the clouds hug the mountains at sunset
6.  Snow in the mountains.  Snow in the mountains means water in the reservoirs, and water for the crops next spring and summer. Precipitation is our friend. 

7.  Friends--whether we've met in person or not.  

8. Technology to communicate.  It is so amazing to me that I can be friends with people I have never met in person.  I guess yesteryear had penpals, but technology makes communication so much quicker now. 

9.  The temple.  It was a great place to spend some time Friday night.  

10.  As always, John.  We help each other out, and we laugh together over some of our situations.  This week's "The Puzzle of the Monogrammed Towel" is John's story to tell--and maybe I'll get him to write it up sometime.  Suffice it to say, though, that we solved the mystery. We might have even laughed so hard we cried. We also watched "Hidden Figures" together last night. What a great movie! I'm so glad that John and I can spend time together, and that we enjoy each other's company.

The rain continues to pitter-patter on the roof, but my home is a refuge from the storm.  Literally and figuratively, our homes can be safe havens, no matter what the weather is. 

How did your week go?  What are you thankful for?


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Feel Free to Go Ahead and Laugh

This week, I got a new phone.  I was (relatively) late to the smartphone scene; I got my first smartphone 2-1/2 years ago. I'm not one who upgrades at the first possibility, but decided it was time because I was running out of memory.  (My mind is running out of space, too, but I haven't quite figured out how to upgrade that yet!) 

I ordered a protective case for the phone because, though I am not exactly rough with phones, I have been known to accidentally drop my phone.  The new phone arrived before the case did.  In an effort to keep the phone somewhat protected while I waited for the case to arrive, I didn't remove the flimsy plastic.  

I had fun picking ringtones, and even gave specific ringtones for particular callers.  It was so fun to hear the phone ring, and know immediately who was calling!  I put the phone to my ear.

"Hello!"

". . . . "

"I'm sorry; I have a new phone.  I can barely hear you.  I'm going to have to call you back."

No matter how much I turned up the volume, I could barely hear the caller.  I was so disappointed.  John tried to fix the problem. We thought the phone might be defective.  

Can any of you observant readers solve the problem?  In a flash of inspiration, I wondered, "Do you think the plastic film could keep me from hearing the caller?"  It turns out, the answer to that question is a resounding "YES!"  

Go ahead and laugh.  I sure did.  I still am laughing.  As smart as I'd like to believe I am, it's hard to take myself seriously when I do dumb things like that.  

In case you are wondering, though, if I've removed the plastic yet, the answer is no--not until that case arrives.  I just peel it off the speaker and I can hear clearly.  

That amuses John.  Go ahead and laugh.  I guess I'm the modern-day equivalent of the grandma who keeps the plastic on the living room davenport.  :-)

Just pretend that was a seamless segue. . . 

1.  I'm thankful for cellphones.  

2.  I'm thankful for rain.  We had more this week.  Although we still aren't up to average yet, other parts of the state have exceeded average, and that helps get us closer to being out of the drought.

3.  I'm thankful that it is still January.  The Christmas decorations are (mostly) down, but not completely put away yet.  I've never been so late in completing this task, and take comfort in the fact that it is still January, a perfectly acceptable month in which to get this done. 

4.  I'm thankful for the beautiful full moon this week.  I happened to catch moonrise on Wednesday, and it was gorgeous! (Unfortunately, I was driving so I didn't get a photo.)

5.  I'm thankful for my children.  I enjoy hearing what is going on in their lives, and I'm glad they keep me up to date (even when I struggle to hear them!)

6. I'm thankful for the ease of ordering parts, thanks to the internet. My aquarium water was looking not-so-clear, despite frequent water and filter pad changes.  I recently noticed that one of the filter media baskets was deteriorating.  I was able to find a replacement part.  The water isn't 100% better yet, but is much improved, and hopefully will return to its crystal-clear state soon.

7.  I'm thankful for bunnies in the backyard.  They are just so cute! I look forward to the teeny tiny babies that will be appearing in the spring.

8.  I'm thankful for sleep, and I'm looking forward to some shut-eye as soon as I finish this post.  :-)

9.  I'm thankful for the examples I see around me of caring, generous people.  As I've mentioned before, I serve in church with the women's organization.  I'm able to notice acts of service that others might not get to see, and I'm so inspired by just how quick people are to jump in and help others.  

10.  I'm thankful for John.  We ran another 10K together at Disneyland yesterday.  We were not well-prepared for this race.  We certainly did not set a PR (personal record), but we had a good time together, and ran at a comfortable pace.  I'm glad we have common hobbies and interests, and can laugh together--like we did when we figured out my phone does actually work just fine!


Photo:  John and I, dressed as C3PO and R2D2, cross the finish line of the Disneyland Star Wars 10K


How was your week?  Did you have a chance to laugh at yourself?

(No link code this week, but feel free to list your TToT blog post in the comments.)

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Celebrating 100 Years Edition

The much-anticipated day arrived this week; my grandma turned 100 years old.  I saw relatives I haven't seen in decades, met relatives I had never met, talked, laughed, ate, watched old videos, took photos, posed for photos, and just generally had a great time. And that was just Wednesday!  


Photo:  Grandma wears a birthday banner and crown and is presented with her cake