Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolution Revolution

I can guarantee my neighbors are not dressed like this!

    The year is coming to an end as another lies in wait right around the corner. Are you excited? Or are you wishing that you could hold onto this one a little longer? Do you stay up and celebrate on New Year’s Eve? Or do you treat it just like any other night? Does the city or town where you live celebrate in any way? Do they drop their own ball? Do they shoot off fireworks? Am I full of questions today or what?

  Out here the towns really don’t do anything, but I believe that in Charlotte (North Carolina for those of you just stopping in for the first time) they do a mini version of New York City’s ball drop. Up here in Podunk I am blessed with cannon’s exploding. And I don’t mean just at midnight to scare the New Year back a decade either. These cannons are an all day thing. They start early in the morning as if they need a fourteen hour warm up to blast the New Year in in just the right way. Enough about life in Podunk though. I want to hear about you, and your traditions.

  Every year I watch and hear of people making resolutions. I hear the same ole… “I want to quit smoking,” or “I want to lose twenty pounds.” Morning shows like the ‘Today Show’ or ‘Good Morning America’ will run story after story about the best possible ways to lose weight, or to get in shape. They’ll run stories on how to quit smoking, or how to save money. Anything one might resolve to do they will cover it. And they’ll cover it to no end. A few weeks later they will also cover how many people gave up on their resolutions. So… Are you a believer in the resolutions? Do you make a vow to yourself or your loved ones that you are going to change a part of who you are?

  I don’t want anyone to misconstrue what I am about to say. If you are a resolution person that is fine and dandy. And good luck to you! I wish you nothing but the best. It’s just I am not a believer in the I-Will-Quit-Something-At-The-Stroke-Of-Midnight type. I am a believer in the You-Have-To-Have-The-Right-Mindset type. I am not a believer in doing something just because everyone else does. I believe in doing something when you are ready. If that day happens to fall on New Year’s, fine.

  Almost three years ago I quit smoking. I didn’t really want to, but I knew I had to. I didn’t try to make a resolution to do it. I knew chances were I might fail. Here’s the thing though. I put myself in the right mindset. I knew I had to be strong to overcome my addiction. I picked a day and went for it. I can’t help it that I picked July 4th, or Independence Day, here in the U.S. If I was going to do it and be successful I wanted to symbolize it in a way. Quirky much? Yes! But because I was strong, and focused on the positive, I overcame the hold that nicotine had on me. It made me a healthier person, and a mentally stronger person than I was before it. Even now when I think I can’t do something I focus on that one aspect and realize I can do just about anything I put my mind to.

  So if you are one that makes resolutions I just suggest that you have the right mindset first. Gear yourself to make the necessary changes that giving up a part of yourself entails. Prepare for obstacles, because there always seems to be some. And don’t ever give up. Be strong and remember even if you fail at first keep trying. If you let the negative into your mind you will never overcome your will to succeed.

  Wow. I did not mean for this rambling to turn into that. Honestly I just wanted it to be a Happy New Year, blah, blah, and good luck with your resolutions. Then suddenly I went waaaay off on another track. Should I go back and fix it? Nah.

  Happy New Year my peeps! I wish you all the best in upcoming year, and hope that this one is better than the last!

Do you believe in resolutions? Have you made any and kept them? What do you do to celebrate the New Year?        

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Box It Up

So Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye. Did you have a houseful? Did you get what you wanted? Was your house full of wadded up wrapping paper that the dogs and cats batted around until you were sure there were pieces you wouldn’t find until next Christmas? Better yet, what happened with all those boxes?

  Why do I ask? Well, we are a family of repurposers. If there is a box around we will take it and stuff it away until the perfect sized object can be placed in it. This does mean it may sit and collect dust for… oh… ages. It also means that anything is fair game when it comes to gift giving occasions.

  Is it really a family thing? Yes. I thought it was just me, but then I realized my brother has a garage full of boxes. Now, is that an over exaggeration? Probably, but really I’m not far off. Sorry Doc (brother nickname.) Then I continued to realize it is an inherited thing when my mother told me a story about a Christmas gift. My soon to be niece-in-law opened a gift from my parents. The box revealed a wood moose that was an eye glass holder. My niece-to-be exclaimed, “I love it!” Sadly, my mother had to explain to her that her present inside the box was not what the box showed. Welcome to the family, Erin!

  So I was sort of relieved to find out it wasn’t just me. I come from a family of box hoarders. I do have to admit that it is nice to not really worry about a certain box size. It’s just trying to find it that’s hard! Sometimes there are boxes inside of boxes inside of boxes. B)

  Do you repurpose boxes? Does it run in your family? Is there anything else you repurpose? Like say…wrapping paper? Or tissue paper? Maybe that is a blog for another time! Or not. J

W.P.I. - Most corrugated boxes today are made from recycled paper. Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 9 cubic yards of landfill space and 46 gallons of oil. I think of my repurposing of boxes as recycling also. With efforts in recycling boxes and paper think of how many tree’s are being saved!

Monday, December 24, 2012

From Our House To Yours

  The time has come. The wreath has been hung on the front door springing a cheerful ‘hello’ to all that enter. The lights hang lazily from the eaves. The perfect tree has been plucked from its spot.

  Cards have been sent from near to far wishing all a joyous holiday. Christmas songs have filled cars, offices, and houses for a month or more. All declare a wonderful season filled with merry times.

  Decorations of all sorts have come out of their hiding places to make their way onto the tree, table, doorways, or stairs.

  Presents have been wrapped and placed under the tree, or in their hiding places until the perfect time. Ribbons have adorned packages of all shapes and sizes making them look even more tempting to young eyes.

  The baking is done. The candy, cookies, and fudge are arranged on a beautiful platter, enticing fingers to reach in and give a try. The pies and cakes sit aplenty on the counter hoping to please each that taste.

  Families travel to meet and enjoy each other’s company. They exchange words, love, and gifts from the heart. They rejoice.

  Candles are lit to soften the mood. To offer peace. Peace. In a world that needs it more now than ever. Peace.

  I hope you enjoy all you do this holiday season. Cherish the time with your family. Remember those that can’t be with us. Bow our heads for those who are less fortunate, or suffering through difficult times.

  Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.


  Merry Christmas to all!

  From our house to yours, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season.

  I you all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fun Christmas Stats

  Being the awesome person that I am I have scoured the internet for some interesting facts to share with you about this fun Christmas season. I searched high and low, day in and out to come up with some trivia you may not have known. ;)  So without further ado…

* The average shopper walks 5 miles between parking lots, stores, and malls.

* Shoppers are now spending nearly 7 hours shopping online. (So the calories burned walking quickly re-accumulates while internet shopping!) J

* Before the standard red started in 1920, Santa wore green, blue and purple coats.

* “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens in 1843. It took him 6 weeks to write it. (Wish I could write that good and that fast!)

* 17% of people will embarrass themselves in some way at office Christmas parties. (There was a year or two that I upheld my end of that statistic!)

* 1 in 3 men will wait until Christmas Eve to finish their shopping.

* People spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes wrapping presents.

* The first Christmas card was created in England on December 9, 1842.

* A Christmas wreath hanging on your front door symbolizes a sign of welcome and long life for all who enter.

* The carol “Silent Night” was written for a choir when the church organ broke down.

* 56% of Americans sing carols to their pets! (I admit, I am a part of this statistic too.)

* One of the most popular Christmas songs, “Jingle Bells,” was actually written for Thanksgiving.

* This Christmas the average person will go to one party, sing 5 carols and eat 30 pieces of chocolate candy. (I have accomplished two out of three. And actually exceeded the chocolate part! J)

* For every Christmas tree harvested, 2-3 seedlings are planted in its place.

* Approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States every year.

  I hope you got some enjoyment out of this. I like, and learn from these fun fact blogs, and hope you do too! 

  Have you found that you could be any of these statistics? Does your company have a Christmas party? Do you do your shopping from the internet, malls/stores, or both? Are you real or fake? I’m talking Christmas trees, my peeps! Do you do live trees? If so do you go cut them down yourselves, or go to a pre-cut lot?

W.P.I.- Just a few Christmas tree facts… In the United States, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs. Recycled real Christmas trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter. Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife. Also, Christmas trees can remove dust and pollen from the air.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What's Old Is New

  Throughout our lives we are taught and told certain things that eventually, after hearing so often, get embedded in our heads. I don’t honestly know if there is a rhyme or reason to these things, or if some are even factual, but we are expected to adhere to the rules and believe in their truths. “We learn from the experiences of our past,” is one that sticks in my brain. To me that says, the past is behind us. Don’t dwell on it, don’t go back there, just take your experiences, learn, and move forward.

  While shopping recently I have wondered why some things from our past are creeping their way back into our present day. Granted, sometimes retro is cool. Now a days they label older items ‘vintage’ to give it more appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see some things make a comeback. Old cars would be cool, like the 57 Chevy. I’d like to see old movies and television shows make a comeback instead of half of the garbage that is available. What say you?

  From this point on remember that saying… We learn from the experiences of our past.

  Since Christmas is in the air we have heard about a couple of gifts that people may or may not be getting for Christmas. One is a record player. Really??? Didn’t we give those up for bigger, better, faster, and clearer, years ago? Now that nearly everyone has ridded themselves of the old vinyl of course it will make a comeback. Nice. Has anyone priced a vinyl Beatles album? And if I didn’t hear it with my own two ears I witnessed it on a recent trip. I found old records for sale, and *gasp* brand new record players. I will admit that this doesn’t really bother me so much, it just isn't a Kelly thing.
Vinyl being used in a different way.

  Let’s talk fashion now. Briefly. I almost choked lately when I saw clogs for sale in a few stores, and online. Clogs? Really? Come on now. If they were such a great fashion statement why were they taken off the shelves years ago? I remember being very young and having my own pair of clogs. I also remember they were ugly, and uncomfortable. The ones that I have seen recently haven’t done anything for me either. (Don’t get too mad at me, I am the farthest thing from a fashionista. Part of my wardrobe consists of sweats and thermals!)

  Lastly, I shake my head at this new old object. Memories flood my mind when I see these on people today. Headphones. Big ones. I remember back in the day the big ole headphones my brothers, and occasionally myself, would don to listen to music. They were so big they looked like people were wearing some sort of alien helmet. Throughout the years they got so small you could barely even see them in a person’s ear. IMHO that is nice. Now… Now… Days of flashbacks have come. I see people with these huge things on their ears again and I am left shaking my head some more.

  Haven’t we learned from the mistakes of our past? Must we always see some famous person wear or do something and follow along? I don’t understand. Isn't the past supposed to be left in the past.

  Have you seen any examples of something good from the past being brought back to popularity today? What is the worst example of old style becoming new again that you have seen? Am I being too harsh?    

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scents Abilities

  Many, many moons ago I was a licensed massage therapist. I liked what I did, but I never loved it. I loved working with essential oils, and tinkering with aromatherapy. To this day I love how different scents evoke different moods and thoughts. Herbal remedies bring a whole new set of thoughts to my head. I love thinking about how people tried to heal each other through herbs. Actually, I wish more would be done with herbs today. Oh, don’t even get me started on prescription medicines! Remember, I am pretty much a nature freak.

  About a week ago I lit one of my favorite candles for this time of the year. I purchase these candles from Bath and Body Works, and think that I single handedly keep this particular scent going for the candle makers Slatkin and Company. Being the nature nut I love the smell of trees. Especially Christmas trees. Unfortunately it seems their aroma doesn’t last long. Introducing Fresh Balsam candles. I don’t know how they did it but the candle makers have managed to package that wonderful Christmas tree scent into a candle that burns slow and emits scents a plenty! I love it and would truly have no spirit if I didn’t have a few of these to burn around the holidays.

  I started thinking about how different scents bring different memories. That Christmas tree scent will always make me think about this time of the year. I walked outside the other day and upon re-entering the house I smelled the delicious pot roast we had for dinner. I don’t know why, but that particular scent made me think of my late grandmother. She used to make mouthwatering pot roasts, and that one scent always makes me think of her.

  It is when I requested a certain hand lotion for Christmas that the scent game started playing in my head more. A hand lotion that I use has a citrus lavender scent. I absolutely love it. When I have my mini panic attacks I try to put some of this on. As soon as I rub it into my hands and inhale the soothing aroma I immediately feel a sense of calm. It brings me an inner peace that is really hard to explain. How? Lavender helps to calm and soothe. Don’t laugh at me, I speak the truth! Try it sometime.

 So why am I talking about all of this? My current heroine dabbles in  aromatherapy, and is an herbalist at heart. When I started the book I didn’t know how big or little the herb part would be, but the more I write the more I find myself bringing it into the spotlight. She is a young mother that has been through bad times. When her son gets injured protecting his bullied homeless friend she finds herself opening the doors to her home. When an injured world famous hockey player comes knocking for help himself she finds herself opening more than the doors to her home, she also opens the doors to her heart. With three wounded hearts and souls at her side she turns to herbs to try and heal her newfound friends, and family. Can her love help to cure them? Can their love help her broken heart?

 That’s just a tidbit there. I found myself doing some research the other morning and fell in love with this website. I am also envisioning myself visiting their farm in the future!

  All of this information on essential oils and herbal remedies amaze me. I find myself playing with different scents from time to time. Every fall I throw together some sliced apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks and a clove or two in some water. I simmer it on the stove and that combination of goodness spreads throughout the house. I tried doing that same thing with star anise pods. In no time the house was filled with a soft black licorice aroma. It reminded me of Christmas cookies that I used to make. After looking it up I found out it is used in teas and other cooking methods. It helps to soothe an upset stomach.

  Do certain scents bring back memories to you? Do you ever seek out a certain scent or herb for an ailment? Are you thinking that I am crazy? Most importantly… How does the tiny book synopsis sound? ;)

A field of lavender. Heavenly!
W.P.I. -).Essential oils are most often described by their odors and scents (otherwise known as ‘notes’) and fall under the following groups: Floral (Rose, Jasmine, Lilac and Gardenia); Citrus (Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, Orange and Tangerine); Mint (Peppermint and Spearmint); Woody (Cedarwood and Sandalwood); Herbaceous (Basil, Marjoram and Thyme); Earthy (Oakmoss and Patchouli) and Spicy (Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

How Did This Happen?

The days are winding down until ole St. Nick makes his yearly visit. Years past I would be excited about it. Now-a-days, not so much. I don’t really know why I can’t seem to get into the spirit. I listen to the music. We decorated outside, and a little bit inside. I have even watched Christmas Vacation once already. Still, I got nothin.

  I have most of my shopping done. Well, let me rephrase that. I HAD most of my shopping done. I thought I was in the homestretch when suddenly I found myself having to get gifts for my mom from my dad. How does this become possible? I have things I could say, but I will bite my tongue because my family sometimes reads my ramblings. :)  

  Shortly after that revelation I had a casual conversation with my mom. It was then that I found they needed to get something for the Charmed One. Somehow I ended up volunteering for that also. Or did I?

  So in my frustration I started a new type of shopping. While shopping on the internet the other night I ordered something for the Charmed One. Then I ordered something for myself. I instantly felt better. Shopping like this I can handle! One for someone else, one for me. Do any of you all need me to shop for you?

  I guess I wouldn’t mind shopping for other people so much if they had any clue to what they wanted. I am deep into this book now and I have a Christmas deadline I set for myself. I feel as if all my creativity is being put into that book, so when it comes to picking out presents I’m coming up short. Gifts this year may be a little… lame. Heck I can't even pick out a book to read. For two nights I have looked and nothing has grabbed at me.

  I admire the people that put creativity into their presents. I believe that is a gift in and of itself, isn't it? I just wish I had more of it this year. 

  Is your shopping done? Do you have to shop for your parents as well? Are you a creative gifter, or one who goes by a list? Do you have any good book suggestions?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Realtor War

This is not it, but very similar.

The rain is trickling down at the moment. Our ground here is gulping it down as soon as it lands. We are in a drought right now so every droplet counts. Every once in a while I stop typing to glance up at the gray skies. The room I do most of my writing in is a place I commonly refer to as the Inspiration Room. It is a very open room right off of our living room. Most would call it a sun room,  but I am not like most. Two walls are windows that on most days allow ample sunlight in. My desk is situated so my view is of the windows, the back yard, and beyond.

  I have been doing a lot of writing lately, and being a creature of habit I have certain routines I do. I have a Christmas music channel on the satellite playing softly for background music. A scented candle burns in the living room as well so I get a nice aroma flowing through too. Right now though my dogs are snoring so loud that I can’t concentrate!

  So I am sitting. Staring out the window. Various different conversations are running through my head, some fictional with my current book, some real. One recent string of emails has me shaking my head.

  The other day the Charmed One and I were having a conversation about our realtor. We never hear from her and were wondering if this is normal for people that are trying to sell a house. I kid you not about fifteen minutes after that conversation my phone dings alerting me to an email. I laughed as I checked it because it was our realtor asking if the house could be shown by another agent later that day. I thought of it as a sign. The house showed and early the next morning I received another email with the follow up info from the showing. The agent stated that her clients liked that the house was full brick, and had a great yard, but that was the first house they had looked at. The clients were looking for something a little newer and blah, blah, blah. I emailed our realtor back and said that was disappointing, but what can you do. So much for signs. Later that day I wrote my last blog about not having patience. Coincidence? I think not!

  Get on with the story, Kel. The next day I received another email from my realtor. It read, “At least its showing.” Now, I was not negative with her at all, but her response raised my eyebrows. Showing? We have had three showings in three months. Do you call that showing? As I sat befuddled I forwarded her response to the Charmed One, who is all business almost all the time. Little did I know it would start a mini war between the Charmed One and the realtor, but it did.

  Let me just say that we've watched Million Dollar Listing on Bravo, or HGTV, or whatever channel it’s on. We admire those realtors who are the all out, get it sold, type. Ours… well, ours is a part time realtor who believes that listing on a few different websites is adequate. Don’t get me wrong, I like her. I know the market is still not up to par, and I didn’t expect it to sell right away. But I also DO expect her to do a little work to sell it. So far every showing has been from another realtor. As I have previously discussed… patience is not my virtue.

  So, do you see what happens when the dogs’ rhythmic snoring interrupts me from working on my book? Y’all get a rambling like this. Sorry!!!

  Do you have any specific thing that inspires you? Is there an area of your house that you like more than others? Have you dealt with a real estate agent lately? Do you have a realty story that might bring a smile to my face?

W.P.I. - A good landscape can add up to 20% to your home’s value. It may cost a little to put it in, but in the long run it will pay off.    

Monday, December 3, 2012

Patience Is Not My Virtue

They say that patience is a virtue. Well, I’m without said virtue, because I have no patience. I blame my red hair. I blame my short temper (actually it’s much longer than it used to be, just watch out when it blows!) I blame, oh, I don’t know, everything under the sun because I don’t have nearly one ounce of patience.

  Some people I know are full of it. They can be pushed and pulled, in and out, up and down, this way and that. And they never get worked up about it. If they do it doesn’t show. I’m afraid I’m one of those people that shows everything from sentimentality, (I’m a sap) to happiness to frustration. Recently I wondered out loud why I can’t make it through an episode of Grey’s Anatomy anymore without crying. There are times that I get frustrated at myself for being soooo sentimental. If I were more patient that probably wouldn’t happen.

  How bad am I? Hmmm. Thanks for asking.

  I am so impatient that I think there should a fast lane and slow lane for walking. I understand some people have conditions that prevent them from walking at a reasonable pace, and I am truly sorry about that. That is where a slow lane would come in handy. I’m from New York. I move at a faster pace than most. There are times when I tempt a head on collision with oncoming walkers just to get around the slow as a snail peeps.

  I get impatient with my niece, who knows about my patience deficiency, yet pokes and prods at it every time we are together. She does it in various ways, and even tends to be creative with new ideas on how to get to me. Various friends and family often say to her, “Do you know your Aunt Kelly?” She simply smiles and waits for me to explode. (This rarely happens, gulp.)

I made my own cover for a class!
  So when I turned real serious about this writing thing I wanted it all. I wanted to be published fast. I wanted to be on a deadline. I want to see my name on the front cover of a book. On a shelf. In a bookstore. Not in my dreams. But reality struck me. I have taken baby steps and am doing the best I can to try fulfill this dream. Sooner or later it will come. Failure is not an option. But my patience level… It is good on most days, but some days it all just gets to me.

  Yes maybe I am a little melodramatic when it comes to the subject of my patience. Honestly I don’t feel like I have much, but there have been times where I have held on way too long. When it comes to writing, I will hang on as long as possible.

  Is patience one of your virtues? Does Grey’s Anatomy make you cry? What is something that you feel your patience level has far surpassed?