No More Media

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Like many of my readers, I spend quite a lot of time on social media. It’s the quickest way to find out what’s going on around us. The problem is, we tend to express our opinions a little too openly and frequently under that guise. And sometimes that ends badly.

So, I’ve decided to limit my time on social media and, in doing so, hopefully allow my brain and my emotions to take a step back and refresh. That doesn’t mean I’m backing off or shutting down. I’m simply trading in my new phone stylus for my old knitting needles!

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High Blood Pressure

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Few things in life naturally lower our blood pressure – but plenty can raise it. Between worrying about our health, our families, our pets, our friends, our careers, our finances… there’s little time left over to just ‘chill.’

There are numerous drugs on the market that will help keep BP at an even keel. Doctors tell us to give up almost all of the things that give us the most pleasure. “Everything in moderation,” they tell us. Yeah, and we’re also told to ‘just say no’ and ‘you can’t eat just one…’

But these are, literally, words to live by.

We should eat right, exercise, do yoga and/or meditate and all our troubles will magically disappear. Really? Just like that? Yet we continue to abuse our bodies – putting chemicals and additives and artificial coloring and preservatives into our system on a daily basis. We have little if no self control and, when we feel poorly, we blame everyone else but ourselves.

I, for one, do not have high blood pressure. I’m as stressed as the next person but I don’t keep things bottled up inside. I yell, I complain and… you know what? I feel better.

So, do what your doctor tells you and take meds if they’re recommended but the rest is up to you. Find something that calms you – I knit and I color. It relaxes me at the end of a long and stressful day. So does drinking a cup of hot tea and eating a whole lotta chocolate!

A Perfect Marriage

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A man and a woman had been married for 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other, except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box but, one day, the little old woman got sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife’s bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found 2 crocheted dolls and a stack of money totalling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married, my grandmother told me the secret to a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”

The little old man was so moved he had to fight back the tears. Only 2 precious dolls were in the box. She had only been mad at him 2 times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the dolls!”*

*Author Unknown

At First Glance

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At first glance, you might think this plant is real. Clearly it’s plastic and will, therefore, never die. It doesn’t require watering or any other maintenance. It’s pretty to look at and reasonably inexpensive.

So why buy the real thing?

If you’re a gardener or have plenty of time and money to care for flowers and plants, your first choice would undoubtably be to purchase and/or grow them yourself. This goes for both indoor and outdoor varieties. But, if you’re not in the market for something fragrant and don’t really need the extra work, why bother?

I think there’s a fine line between personal gratification and the simple pleasures in life. Some people need to have a hand in everything. Others are quite content to sit back and enjoy the fruits of others’ labor. I’m a knitter and I prefer, whenever possible, to create or recreate (using someone else’s original idea) my own projects. It’s peaceful, it’s therapeutic and (in some cases) it’s even less expensive. Plus, more often than not – especially if it’s a gift for someone else – it comes from the heart.

And you can’t put a price tag on that.

So, next time you buy something that you did not make yourself, remember that someone else DID make it and maybe you’ll appreciate it even more!

Happy Holidays!

Do It Yourself

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DIY – there are some things I enjoy doing for myself. These include: knitting, needlepoint, coloring, collage-making and jigsaw puzzles. Granted, they’re all mostly artsy-crafty types of activities but I get a lot of satisfaction out of completing my own projects, without help, and with (hopefully) pleasing results.

But when living with my elderly parents, I find it much easier to just pick up the slack. And that seems plenty agreeable to them as well… most of the time.

I understand and respect their need for independence – but only up to a point. Sometimes it just makes more sense (and takes less time) to do things myself. I also hate feeling like I’m overseeing them or rushing them to finish certain tasks because I have other places I need to be and work I need to get done.

It’s not like I plan on remodeling or doing major electrical work around our home. But, between my constant need for organization and cleanliness (above all else), I’ll continue with my little projects as long as they make me happy… busying my hands and keeping them far away from the cookie jar!*

*Cookie Jar – from Paint Your Own Pottery, Stowe, VT
Plate – from Fishs Eddy, NYC
Cookies – from Keebler

Places People Meet

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When living in a co-op or condo community, you’re bound to run into your neighbors at some point. In our case, since my parents pretty much never leave their home for social occasions, that meeting of people tends to take place in the elevator.

It’s a very short ride so not much gossiping occurs during the trip down to the lobby. Once downstairs, people either head to their respective mailboxes or to their garages.

I’ve lived in many towns and I’m not one of those people who tends to run into friends and neighbors at the supermarket. Even when my kids were small and had various groups of friends, I seldom ran into their friends’ parents or their teachers or their coaches outside of school.

But here, where a large majority of homeowners are retired and/or widowed and have nothing but time on their hands, running into someone – anywhere – is pretty much a given.

Some of my favorite meeting places are:

1) The Gym – where they often fight over the single stationary bike (and the tv remote)

2) The Pool – where they often fight over the single lap lane (and the one remaining noodle)

3) The Clubhouse – where everyone wants to invite their entire family over for Thanksgiving (because who wants all those people in their home?)

4) The Clubhouse, again – where men and women have separate poker games (and heaven help them when they’re scheduled at the same time)

But I guess I’d have to say that my number one favorite place that people meet here is… the semi-annual homeowners meeting. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. People come out of the woodwork to air their grievances and hear what catastrophes everyone else is dealing with. I almost expect to see Madame Defarge, happily knitting away, while corporate heads roll under the scrutiny of the elderly!