Wednesday, September 30, 2009

C'mon, Get Happy!

There's a book out right now titled Bright-Sided:  How Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich.  It's all about how positive psychology and positive thinking are vastly overrated.  Ms. Ehrenreich says it is, instead, "blind optimism" that prevents people from seeing things as they really are and making choices based on the realities of their situation.

There's a part of me that agrees with the premise of her book.  I don't want to be so focused on happiness and getting happy and being happy that I forget there is always going to be "less happy" episodes of life.  And that getting through those graciously and with some common sense is just as important.... maybe more so..... to living completely.

But being happy is something everyone wants as much of as they can get.  Me, too.  It's how you define happiness, I think, that helps you get it.  One woman's "happiness" could be another's "oh, shit".  Personally, I'd like to have the contentment and peace of mind kind rather than the delirious type.  And to also remember in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:  "is not a goal, it's a byproduct".  So, finding an interest or a cause might be a big first step in the happiness equation.  Time to get out and explore some new stuff and jumpstart the old happiness engine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Network? What Network TV?

Even though I'm a HUGE fan of Dancing with the Stars (I hear the snickers....quiet!), I'm abandoning all network TV this week.  Ken Burns' new series on the National Parks system started last night on PBS.  If you didn't see it, start tonight.  It's FABULOUS, informative and fun.  It will be on every night this week.

Last night set the stage with the first parks being created:  Yosemite, Sequoia, one other I don't recall the name of, and the great Yellowstone.  John Muir, a Scotsman by heritage but raised here, was a moving force in the birth of the parks system.  He sounds so terribly fascinating himself that I might have to go to the library and delve a little more in to his history.

I guess there will probably be a I will have to buy.  And then, I'm sure PBS will use the video to raise money.  But right now, it's all free and I'm watching!  Hope you are, too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Southern Delicacy

Yesterday as I was driving home from the grocery store, I happened to glance up at the Hardee's sign as I went by.  And there it was:  advertising for a fried bologna sandwich.  WHAT????? 

Now, I don't know if Hardees all over the nation are on this bandwagon or not.  Maybe it's just us this particular campaign is aimed for.  But I haven't seen or heard of any restaurant or deli or sandwich shop around here touting bologna before now.  (And by the way, when I was growing up -- and still --- that word is pronounced "bolo-nee", long o's with the emphasis on the "nee" if you want to get the inflection just right.)  Just one more little artery-clogging menu item to entice us with.

I can well remember as a little girl going to the store with my grandmother to grocery shop.  She always stopped at the butcher counter (remember those?) and had the man there slice up at least a pound of the stuff.  Thick slices.....really thick slices.  Back then, it didn't come all prepackaged for you.  He'd slice it up and wrap it in that nice thick, white butcher's paper.  And when we'd get home, I couldn't wait for her to unwrap it and slap it down in that skillet.  She'd fry it up until it was nice and hot and crispy brown around the edges.  Take it out, put it between two heavily mayonnaised pieces of fresh "light bread" and dig in.  Oh, and "light bread", if you don't already know, was white, presliced, store-bought bread versus the homemade kind.  Yummy!  No wonder Southerners seem to have a problem with calorie counting.

I bet Hardee's version doesn't hold a candle..........

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wet/Mold/Mildew/OH MY!

For two years, we couldn't PRAY for rain.  This year, it's monsoon season.  Flooding everywhere in the South.  There's one thing I know for certain:  I can never live in Seattle, London or anywhere else that has gray, cloudy, rainy, CRAPPY weather day after day after day.  Depression City!

This past weekend as I visited with friends in Atlanta and attended a couple of dog shows, it absolutely poured.  The only thing I could think of was how totally relieved I was NOT to have my dogs with me.  All those poor souls slogging around in the rain (some sans umbrellas or raincoats) imploring FiFi to "PLLLEEEAASSE  PEEEEEEEE".  And trying to keep all those hours of dedicated grooming intact long enough for their two minutes under the judge's eye.  Oh me, oh my.  Yep.  It was glad I was that the Little Black Dogs were safe at home.

I was even gladder that I made it home myself.  Especially after I just heard yesterday about the mud slides and tragic deaths happening in the Atlanta area.  This is just one more case of that famous saying "Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it."  And in spades, too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No More Bookcases?

Just a couple of days ago I read with great interest about all the E-readers (such as Amazon's Kindle) now on the market and the ones soon to be out.  Ever since the Kindle first came out, I've been cogitating on buying one.  It just seems so expensive compared to a trade paperback or even a nice hardcover.  However, the more I think about it, the more the price is looking reasonable.

First of all, if you're a pretty avid reader like me, the amount I spend on books in a year would more than pay for the cost.  Honestly, I try to go to the library more..... and I have.  But often I end up halfway through the library's book thinking, "Oh man...I've GOT to have this book."  This is probably due to the fact that I read with a yellow Bible highlighter in my hand with my own books.  This propensity to want to "remember" passages would be the main drawback to me of an electronic reader.  Unless, of course, they've REALLY perfected their way of annotating.

Secondly, I look around at the number of bookcases in my house, both built-in and freestanding.  You just wouldn't believe the shelf space I've dedicated to books.  There is at least one in every room of my the built-ins in the kitchen, the living room, one bedroom and my craft area.  There're even two in my attic!  Could an electronic reader really help prevent buying more???  Very possibly.  Could I stop having to give away books to friends and the libraries because I've run out of room in my house to keep them?  Maybe.

And there's always the issue of travel.  Although I don't do much flying or train riding, I am adamant about taking a book along with me wherever I go, even if it's just an overnight.  I can't imagine sitting for more than 10 minutes with nothing to read.  I swear, it's a sickness.

Could this be my Christmas present this year?  Maybe.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Week Ended

A good friend of mine is about to become a grandmother at the end of the year.  I really can't believe that I'm old enough to have friends who are grandparents, but there you are:  I am.  As I still find it hard to take care of myself and my dogs (and occasionally my husband), there's a big part of me that's glad it's her and not me.  The other little teensy part of me that heaves a big sigh at the thought of grandmotherness filled the need by knitting this little lap blanket for the new arrival.

I love to knit anything flat because
I'm really not much more than a
novice knitter.  So, baby blankets are
my go-to gift.  Plus, I love the yarns
that are designated for such projects.
As a matter of fact, I found a little
jacket for a toddler that I'd really LOVE to make for myself.... just need to find someone who can rewrite the pattern for me.

I didn't find out until I had finished what gender we had coming out of the oven (a boy).  Thank goodness I chose a yarn to do the heart that could go either way.

I hope that this gets used till it falls apart.  And it keeps that wee one warm and cuddly.  Babies truly are a magic gift.  Beside this new little person, my blanket is just a very wee token.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's Coming!

I could feel it in the air this morning.  Instead of doing my usual routine of popping in an exercise video to force myself to move, I decided to go outside for a REAL walk.  It's kind of cool this morning; sun is shining for a change.

It didn't take too many minutes for me to realize it was downright comfortable and pleasant out there.  Immediately my mind sprang forward to a few weeks in the future and started fantasizing about all the fall walks I could take The Little Black Dogs on.

I'd like for those not to be just fantasies this year.  So, I'm aiming for a couple of dog walks a week for the fall.  I know two little critters who would LOVE that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The End of Summer

Labor Day is always supposed to be the official end of summer.  It makes no difference that temperatures here in the South will still hit the high 80s or low 90s until somewhere along about Thanksgiving.  That may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much.  I've known plenty of Thanksgiving Days that were in the low 70s.

Enough about the weather.  It must be a mental thing, but when I woke up this morning (at, I don't know why....I just did), I felt curiously energized and ready to DO something.  Which is a far cry from the way I felt over the weekend.  Can you say "lethargic"?  It's almost as if my brain flipped a switch in to Autumn Mode:  crispy, clear days equal crispy, clear behavior.  Go get 'em, girlie!  Make use of that little surge of adrenalin!

Anyway, I'm ready.  Summer makes me tired and cranky and hot.  I'm ready for an attitude adjustment and a change of season is just what the doctor ordered.  Falling leaves, anyone?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday's Finish

Did you think I was eaten by a scrapbook or something?  Not hardly.  Haven't even been back to that side of the room this whole entire week.  Not that I haven't THOUGHT about it.....WANTED to.....just never happened.  And why not you ask?

Why not indeed.  Monday was throw-the-house-back-to-order-from-the- weekend.  Tuesday & Wednesday were taken with a flying trip to Atlanta to get The Little Black Dogs groomed.  Yes, I know I groom them.  But I do not groom them CORRECTLY.  God knows I try.  I think I'll probably have that put on my tombstone.  Something to the effect of "I did the best I could."  That would just about cover everything I think.

Thursday was Hunting & Gathering Day (food for the household hungry).  And today was Little Black Sambo Day, otherwise known as "mowing the hayfields we call yards" around here.

So, I have tomorrow and Sunday to finish out this wonderful week.  Could I maybe make it to one of the stools around the craft table?  Maybe.  If it rains.  Seems like I do a lot better with my creative stuff on soggy days.