ROUTINE OR NOT?

I am a very routine person.  I need to have order in my days.  My basic morning is the same every day.  I wake up, go for a walk, get ready for work.  Everything is so habitual that Rosie, our Boston Terrier, knows exactly where I am going every minute.  She darts from room to room with me. If I change one thing, she slams on her breaks and takes note.   It confuses her.  I like it this way, I accomplish everything that needs doing and it works for me. 

This is all well and good for my mornings during the week but when it carries over to the rest of my life, it causes me problems.  It suffocates me.  I need variety in my life to keep me from getting bored and complacent.  It is easy for me to fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over because it is comfortable.  And I must admit when I get a bright idea to do something different, it is usually an interest other people don’t share.  I don’t want to go to the Farmer’s Market in Orlando that is 15 minutes from home, I want to go to the one in St. Pete that is more than 2 hours away.  I want the adventure, something different, a road trip. 

I enjoy going for a drive to nowhere, stopping for lunch and coming home.  There really doesn’t have to be a purpose except to have lunch.  Kind of like our own ” Diners, Drive-ins and Dives “ if you are a Food Network Guy Fieri fan.  John and I used to do this but somehow we have gotten away from it, which is a real shame.  This takes me out of my comfort zone but it also allows me to relax.  If I stay home, I am in constant motion.  There is always a chore to be done; a floor to be mopped, laundry to be folded.  I rarely sit still and do nothing. 

I have to be honest though; there is also another side to this story.  I have discovered I only want to be adventurous doing the things I want.  I am not necessarily “all in” when John has a bright idea.  He wanted to go bowling with his church group and I did not want to go.  I love the people, but bowling?   He has talked about this outing for over a week and each time I whined and complained like a child.  He knew that I would go and that I would have a good time once I got there and he was right.  We had a ball.  It was FUN.  We laughed, cheered each other on and celebrated each other’s success.   Who knew I would like bowling?  John did, and he doesn’t like to bowl at all.  How funny is that?

I don’t think it was really about the bowling, it was more about doing something different.  I keep looking for new things to do and have to be ready to step outside the norm and give it a try.  If anyone has any other bright ideas, send them my way.  I can’t promise I will actually do it, but I will certainly give it some thought.  And probably whine and complain like a child in the process.  Isn’t it progress, not perfection?

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GRATITUDE

I believe in doing Gratitude lists to keep me focused on my blessings.  It helps me to stay positive and, well, grateful.  I was taught a method that helps me to find hidden treasures that I might forget about if I don’t concentrate.  It is called the ABC’s of Gratitude.  So here we go for today:

A.            Ascension, my church

B.            Barb

C.            Chicken wings, I love them!  

D.            Dad, I miss him

E.            Estroven – it keeps me sane!

F.            Friends, every one of them

G.           God’s presence in my life, my garden

H.            Home

I.             Instincts, they have served me well

J.             John, my husband; Jack, my brother-in-law

K.            Kin; aunts, uncles, cousins

L.             Laughter

M.          Mom, Max and Marathon

N.           Nieces and nephews

O.           Oceans, my favorite place to be; Orchids, Orlando Magic!

P.            Patti, prayer

Q.           Quiet time to myself

R.            Rosie, our Boston terrier; Roses, my favorite flower

S.            Silence, singing

T.            Television, I have to be honest, don’t I?

U.           Umbrellas, although I rarely have one with me when I need it

V.            Viennese Waltz, it was Mom and Dad’s favorite and it is beautiful

W.          Walks

X.            X-rays with positive news

Y.            Yoga

Z.            Zippers that go UP!  And Z88.3, my favorite radio station

I cannot say that I do this daily, but I do it often.  When I am done, I have at least 26 things that I am grateful and how can you be sad after that?  Because I am focused on being grateful, I end up thinking of new things to add to the list all day.  That is how I keep an attitude of gratitude.  Feel free to give it a try!

Sing-A-Long!

I love music and I cannot imagine my life without it.  I was the kid in the bedroom dancing around the beds, singing into my hair brush.  I never had any illusions that I was a great singer, my sister always made sure that I knew that my skills were primitive.  But I loved doing it and still do. 

I took piano lessons when I was in sixth or seventh grade.   I had to walk a couple miles (through the snow and rain of course!) to get to the lesson.  I don’t remember complaining too much about going and I don’t know how long I took lessons.  I quit when we were going to have a recital and I didn’t want to participate.  Mom might have a completely different version of these events.

In the early 70’s our church started a Folk Mass, which was popular at the time.  There were sisters that were really the stars of the show with their beautiful harmonies, but there were several others that were a part of it too.  They taught us to play the guitar and it was one of the best times of my life.

I love Classic Rock which is the music of my youth, it wasn’t Classic then, it was just Rock.  Country took over in the 80s and I and then Contemporary Christian in the 2000’s.  I like to mix it up so I don’t get bored.   I think I like songs rather than special music, it depends on my mood.  I can listen to it all.

John and I did the karaoke thing for awhile.  We had a local bar that was fun, we liked the people there.  Once you get the courage to get up and sing the first time, the rest is easy.  John and I sang John Denver’s “Country Roads” because it is a great sing-a-long and you don’t have to carry it yourself.  John always liked to sing “Man of Constant Sorrow” and I sang Martina McBride’s “When God Fearing Women Get the Blues” and Mama Cass’s “Dream A Little Dream of Me”.   The environment was relaxed and people helped each other get the courage to sing.  It was a lot of fun.  It also ran its course and we left it behind.  The place is closed now but we had a lot of fun there, nice memories. 

We are supposed to “make a joyful noise” and I try my best to do that.  I have a friend who says that God gave her this voice and she is giving it right back to Him.   I love that.  I say it often but cannot take credit for it!

When I am alone in the office I sing along with the music all day long.  It really does make the day go by faster.  If anyone came in without me knowing I’d probably be a bit mortified.    I love singing in the car too.  I crank up the songs I like and sing loud and proud.  The nut you see singing away in the car next to you, especially if it is a gray Honda, is probably me, just being in the moment, enjoying the music.  Let loose and give it a try sometime.  It is harmless!

EASTER MEMORIES

It was normal to have company for Easter from up north.  Relatives would take their holiday and drive to Florida.  I was always excited to have company, to meet the relatives we rarely saw.  This was long before Disney and as much as I liked them being here, I have absolutely no memories of what they did when they came.  I do not recall our family doing anything out of the ordinary so company must have come and gone on their own.   I do have a picture of my cousin Karen and me in the back yard sunbathing in our bikinis.  I love that picture because it reminds me of when I was skinny enough to wear a bikini, and of course my love for Karen!

The Easter Bunny of course came to our house.  Our baskets were hidden so first thing in the morning we would all be up running around trying to find them.  They were filled with the typical chocolate bunnies, Peeps, Robin Eggs, jelly beans, etc.  I fondly remember the year they came out with the giant Sweettart, I was very excited to find one in my basket.  After Easter Mom used to collect all the uneaten chocolate, melt it down, add peanuts and freeze it.  We would have chunks of it, which was delicious.  Mom never let much go to waste.  As we got older candies were replaced with shirts or other practical items but there was always an Easter basket for each of us.

I remember in first grade Catechism the nun asked why my Dad didn’t go to church and I told her he was a Prostitute.  Dad loved that.  Dad went to church with us three times a year, Mother’s Day, Christmas and Easter.  When he was in church, he almost always fell asleep during the sermon and he always sang loud.  It surprised me that he knew all the songs since he never went to church but he did and he loved to sing them.  Did I say LOUD?  We all had new clothes and shoes for Easter Sunday.  Girls used to have to wear hats to church which I hated.  Dad always bought Mom a beautiful orchid corsage, which is a tradition that you don’t see much anymore.  I wonder why?

Mom planted all the Christmas poinsettias in the back yard along the fence and they grew as tall as the fence.  At Easter they were still in bloom so our Easter family pictures used that as the backdrop.  It is a little confusing why we are all dressed for spring and there are all those poinsettias. 

Mom always set a formal table for holidays.  I mostly remember Lamb for Easter dinner.  After us kids married and moved on, Mom and Dad started having Easter Brunch for their friends and neighbors.  They would really fuss and put on quite a spread.  Dad made his own kielbasa and there was everything from eggs Benedict, sticky bread, hash browns, ham, it was all there.  The house would be full and they enjoyed every minute of it.  I think they were sad to give them up when it became too much work.

As I have matured I found that Easter means much more than the Easter Bunny and candy.  I have embraced the religious holiday and those traditions.  We still gather together to celebrate Easter.  It’s less formal and new memories are being made.  Times change, life changes but it is still a time for family. 

Happy Easter Everyone.