author moments

What I Know for Sure, 2021 Edition

A group of friends recently shared their thoughts on “What I Know for Sure.” This task, based on Oprah’s essays and so on, was a pleasant challenge.

I jotted mine down in quick scribbles. Nothing really took too much thought. I just did 20 in no particular order. Most of them are pretty basic. There was some head-nodding as we shared at the dinner table. Here’s the list I shared:

1.) The most important approval in my life is my own.

2.) I feel better when I move first thing in the morning.

3.) I can do without way more than I imagined (e.g., cheese)

4.) The main thing I can control is my own choices.

5.) Focusing on what I can control eases my anxiety.

6.) Bring food, a book, and something to do with you.

7.) I can provide guidance, but walking the walk and being an example is the most powerful, grounding thing I can do for others and myself.

8.) I can’t expect anyone else to prioritize my physical, mental, and emotional health – that’s my job. They also may not understand what prioritizing those things look like. That’s also not my problem.

9.) Garbage in, garbage out – reading, media, food, all of it.

10.) Most people are doing the best they can based on what they know and are capable of at a given time.

11.) Play is important at every age. Laughter is, too.

12.) Local places beat chains.

13.) If it’s worth it, go for it.

14.) Nature heals, redeems, centers and grounds.

15.) Writing matters.

16.) Dogs are amazing and make most of the people in my life happier than other people do.

17.) Most things that seem like a big deal really aren’t that serious.

18.) To be on time, leave at least 15 minutes before you think you should. Always leave a buffer.

19.) Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give other people.

20.) Thank people often for things big and small.

Most of this stuff is not groundbreaking. What I marvel at is how my list would have changed from even 5 years ago. I didn’t work out in the morning. I was beset with anxiety most of the time. I didn’t spend much time outdoors. I didn’t write for myself. I didn’t like dogs. Life is changing. I am changing. If my list stays the same, have I really learned or grown? What will the next 5 years bring?

I have a number of friends who are on the cusp of this time of great change with me. It’s wonderful to share such an exciting and transformational time with people. Instead of a stumbling, fumbling block it can be a launch pad.

What do you know for sure, right now?

author moments, awareness

Parts Unknown

My radio in my car was on the fritz. I was missing my Sirius XM something fierce. Finally, at long last, it was all fixed up a couple of weeks ago.

What did I miss most? The 80s channel? Yacht Rock Radio? I love those. But both can sort of be replicated on Spotify. Honestly, what I missed the most, what I couldn’t replace, was the CNN Originals channel.

More specifically, I missed listening to episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown. On a long car trip this week, I listened to his travels through San Sebastian and London.

It’s a travel show, about food. Originally presented in a visual medium. So sometimes there are long stretches of listening to people just eat. Plates clanking. Sipping from glasses. Mouth noises.

Then there are the paragraphs in other languages. I’d bet there are subtitles on TV. On the radio, just the original language.

Why would I listen to this?

Honestly, it’s for the writing. The passion in Bourdain’s voice. They say when you lose one of your senses, the others can become heightened. Listening to his description of foods, of people, of places…you hear his thoughtful, meaningful, often funny and insightful words even more clearly. He is just so damn smart.

When I taught writing to future teachers, I would often use examples from Anthony Bourdain’s TV shows that stunned me with their clarity, their originality, their sheer impact. He would make jaw-droppingly smart comparisons. I often felt like I was sitting at the table with him, enjoying a meal, even though we were separated by a screen.

Now we are separated by much more than a screen. His loss still stirs emotions in me. Listening to his voice, his perspective on life, culture, and food, is still something I savor.

Whose writing or perspective on life do you admire?

anonymous letters, author moments

Hey Ass$&/@!

I wrote a post a while back about you. I sat on it for a while. I edited the post multiple times. Each time downplaying the severity of the situation you have created. Finally I deleted the post knowing no person or persons, especially you, were worth my time. 

The time passed. Days, weeks, months, then a year. I was on and off about this dilemma caused by another. Sometimes silently debating the issues. The subject’s actions were questionable and they also gave me the creeps. Add in some environmental conditions and boom their true colors shined. Asshole traits went off like fireworks. They lit up the sky. I was not the only one to see them.

Here I am again revisiting the subject of the same asshole scenario. I’ve been questioning the gut feeling I had to write my story originally and why I didn’t stick to my gut. I was trying to maintain peace. Take the high road. Overall be an adult and a civil one at that.

Unfortunately the asshole that is in my life has grown to the epic asshole level. How sour does one have to be in their own personal life that they need to rain on your happy-go-lucky life? I ask this question of myself a few different ways. It’s inexplicable to me. However this is real life and this asshole is on me like flies on shit. As nasty as that description is, it is realistic.

Unfortunately, you will have to read the book to find out all the nitty gritty shit I’m knee deep in with this epic asshole. Until the book is published and chapter(s) are identified as asshole moments xyz, I would encourage everyone reading this blog to be nice.

Be nice and / or kind to strangers, neighbors, community servants and leaders, family and so on. You never know when you may need a friendly hand in the future and you never know who knows who or who is related to who. Kindness is a best practice in life. It also keeps you from burning bridges.

For those who are just assholes by default, I will say a prayer for you. I also make note that I believe in karma. If you are not a nice person karma will come bite you when you least expect it. And when karma hits it’s normally a doozie.

For now,  I continue to exercise my patience muscles relating to my asshole and the dumb situations he is creating for himself and others near him. I know that one day he will the get the shit storm in his face as payback for all he has been dishing out as a bully. Bullies do exist in adulthood. I can confirm this. I can also confirm an asshole can be lurking in plain sight. Visible daily. Those may even be the worst kind. Some bullies just have too much ego to let shit go when they should.

I, on the other hand, have no problem ghosting somebody. Heck you could live next door to me or work with me and I could easily ignore you. If you are a ghost to me, never expect anything from me. Not a single thing. 

I actually feel better about the fact that I pulled this post out of the dumpster file and put it in relevant. Life isn’t always a bed of roses so now and again I just need to share the shit show moments. 

Just another random post for our diverse audience from around the world. Today’s post is dedicated to curious folks from Canada and the Netherlands who check us out each month. Sending you a virtual wave from the Peach State.

author moments, business

Reading is Wise

Reading and comprehension can be overrated at times depending on who you ask. However, reading, simply stated, can be wise.

I remember back in elementary school I was given a test. It was a simple test maybe ten questions. The teacher clearly stated to follow all directions on the paper prior to starting. Being the headline girl that I am, I completed the easy test. At the end it said the test was not necessary had you read the full instructions at the top of the paper.

Silly me! I wasted time. However I learned a valuable lesson that day. Read. Re-read. Comprehend. Pay attention to detail. Skim if you need to, when you need to but never skip the details. The written instructions.

Now, many times in my adult life I have seen people I know build things or assemble things. My favorite is always the one to watch who doesn’t read and ends up with extra screws or parts. Simply reading, evaluating, processing and re-reading could avoid these situations but often times this isn’t what happens. It does however make me giggle at times.

Case in point. I sold a vehicle to a family member recently. The county charges a percentage of fair market value for tax. This can be thousands of dollars based on value of said vehicle.

Fast forward to a line at the registration office. One is waiting. One is observing. One is reading the posted signs that many will see but not read let alone comprehend.

The fine print on one sign notes that if you exchange vehicles from a family member or property is part of a divorce the tax rate is minimal or greatly reduced.  The reading of said sign saved thousands of dollars for my family member. So excited to see this.

Simply reading in this situation was a wise choice. Sometimes comprehension is an issue for some. Understanding how verbiage on a sign may apply. We all can learn from this scenario.

Read.

Research.

Ask questions.

Knowledge is power.

Passing on valuable tidbits of information that can help others is much needed in today’s world. This scenario may not apply in your area of the world but it may spur an opportunity for you to read, review or ask questions relating to laws or ordinances in your area. Or even remind you to fully read instructions when assembling your next big item.

I’m not big on reading fiction but I am a big proponent of reading fine print, directions, signs (especially when in lines), and terms and conditions. The fine print in some contracts can really get you. Maybe even allow seizure of your property if you don’t pay for something like your mooring at the local boat marina. Hint: this is real life for an acquaintance.

These are all lessons for me as well. I did not know this about taxes in my jurisdiction. I maybe learned from a friend’s misfortune. The list goes on. 

Today I learned something new. I am always hungry for knowledge. I am passing on this tidbit to you. Maybe it will be beneficial. Maybe not. Enjoy your day either way.

author moments

Symbols

Meaning is hidden everywhere. Places. Signs. Memories. That little park you pass on the way to work every day is the place where someone proposed. It is also the place where some friends had a huge fight. It’s the place where a kid broke her arm and ended up in a cast. Maybe it’s even the place someone first learned to drive, smoke pot, who knows. Countless scenes in countless stories have taken place there. All in the little park you pass each day without thinking.

Meaning, symbols, roadblocks are everywhere. We stumble over the hearts and sometimes heartaches of others without even knowing it.

Music is potent for memories with me. I grew up singing and listening to tunes all the time. Paul Simon, the Statler Brothers, and Dolly Parton on my parents’ 8-track tape deck in our conversion van. Show tunes and standards I belted out with our player piano in the basement. And then the love songs I would pine over each night, wishing in vain someone would dedicate something to me. It took decades for me to listen to the music of Chicago without bristling or quickly switching it off. Even today, there are songs I may never listen to again. Places I may never go. Overly sensitive? Perhaps. After all, it is just a place, a song, who cares?

Maybe I’m just too much. I willingly embrace being labeled sentimental. Someone watching closely may see the quick shadow roll across my face when that potent memory pops up. Most will miss it.

Just part of what makes me me.

For some people, cardinals are a special symbol. A reminder or even a visit from someone departed and dear. A symbol more purposeful than just happenstance…a place you used to go, a song you used to sing to. This is more of a sign. For me, it’s ladybugs. They always pop up at the most unlikely times. They bring me back to myself. A reassurance. A reminder.

Recently, someone new in my life called me ladybug as a nickname. And it stuck. Sometimes when she says it, it makes me smile, sometimes tear up, sometimes just makes me hold my breath an extra beat. She could never have known that ladybugs are so special for me. Just a sign that she has some role to play, a scene to share. A hand reaching out of the day-to-day doldrums to remind me of the bigger picture.

What it all means.