Ah, life is a learning experience! A while back I attempted to redesign my blog and somehow managed to misplace my past blog posts.So this is why they are all awkwardly jammed into this one post for you to read! Either way, I hope you enjoy them. Starting August 2019, my blog posts should be back to normal!
You have to stop to appreciate light, color and texture!
I LOVE MY LIBRARY! As part of the adult summer reading program, we were welcome to make this craft for FREE. There were buckets of water at each table. We chose three colors of nail polish and dropped each color into the water. Then we dipped the pot and rolled it around until we achieved this look. Everyone’s pot looked totally different. What fun!!
Colt State Park, Bristol RI.
Share your troubles with the water. She’ll listen and the wind will reply with reassurance that this too shall pass.
Here’s the thing – I was a pretty clean-cut kid. I don’t think I ever asked for much or misbehaved. The two things I really wanted most (on a superficial level) were pierced ears and to watch Beverly Hills 90210 on TV. In my household however, these two things were not allowed. Even though I didn’t watch the show, I proudly sported my white cotton t-shirt with the original cast of 90210 on it, everywhere I went. Kind of still wish I had that (and my New Kinds on the Block bed sheets).
I recently discovered HULU has the entire series of Beverly Hills 90210. Entire is actually a lie, there are random episodes missing, so in between, you have make up storylines to keep up. I decided to binge watch the show. I am finally up to season ten and my timing could not be more perfect, as I hear there is a new 90210 show in the works starring the original cast.
I am enjoying the show, soap opera really. I miss 90s fashion (which I never wore because I had to wear a uniform my entire academic career) but I can dream of midriffs and cropped tops.
Now that I watch the show with wiser eyes, I realize why dad wasn’t crazy about me watching it – premarital sex, cropped tops, extramarital affairs among other naughty bits. I can see how he would not want his impressionable young daughter to think this is how real people actually act. As an adult though, I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is my guilty pleasure!!!! Ah the joys of being an adult!!
I can’t find the word – is it a resurgence, a comeback or a revival? Whatever it is, I am along for the ride. The 90s are back -hardcore. It seems we’ve hit a point in culture where nothing is new – movies and TV shows are all remakes or remodeled from past- Full House, Beverly Hills 90210, Roseanne etc. and I am seeing lots of 90s inspired clothes at Target. I even saw a Caboodle! Someone is really trying to bank on past. The media is really pushing it on us. I will not resist though, simply because it brings me joy and it doesn’t cost me anything since I can check out old books, movies, and tv shows from the library. And there is the criteria for me before choosing to invest my time in something.
When I read fiction as a child, I always enjoyed a strong lead character (still do). I can’t remember how I was introduced to the Babysitter’s Club but I remember reading quite a few of the novels, then watching the movie. I wanted to be one of these girls so bad! They were smart, independent, loyal friends and entrepreneurs. In my life, all I knew were secretaries, teachers, bankers or nurses, so the idea of being an entrepreneur sounded great to me. Maybe that’s why, for a while, I had my own photography business? Funny how some books stay with you even if they aren’t classic literature.
I wonder what’s next. Fresh Prince? Punky Brewster? I’m game!
Well, I am trying to stick to my resolutions this year. If you didn’t catch that post click HERE to read up. So far, so good! Taking it a day at a time. I’m no overachiever, especially when it comes to doing something for myself…..
I should have called it the “year of me” because that is what my list really sounds like. I am taking a sewing class this weekend. I have been writing on my own a bit, thanks to my super micro-organized Happy Planner. I can’t believe this, but I actually took a writing class yesterday!!! Remember, libraries offer FREE writing workshops. You can’t beat it. You better check your local library’s website right now. The workshop I attended was one night and it filled up fast! Don’t miss it!
The workshop at the Rogers Free Library was led by Susan Tacent. This workshop happened to be based upon Kurt Vonnegut since the local university is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his novel Slaughterhouse Five with special programs for the community. What a treat for us!
The workshop ran a little over two hours. We started out with Vonnegut’s rules for writers. We reviewed them out of order, which was interesting.
Shortly after, the instructor asked us to throw out some ideas. We started with the gender of the character, her location, wants, needs etc. It was fun to watch this character form in front of us, but only piece by piece.
After that we were given time to write a story using these ideas. No one read their stories aloud, but some shared a summary of the plot. It was interesting that everyone’s story was different. It seemed some were dark stories, with violence or tension.
Mine was a bit more dark than I anticipated but that is ok. It is something I probably wouldn’t write on my own so nothing lost here. Since she is so stoic I figured a loud inner monologue would be interesting. Obviously I did not have time to finish, but below is what I wrote.
I had sex once. It was with a guy. It was repulsive. There was nochemistry or affection like I see in the movies. It was just likesomeone trying to press the wrong sides of magnets together. It was fast, sloppy, awkward. I never shed a tear through the whole thing. And now I am laying here, wearing a filthy diaper, while my newborn baby wails in my arms. I could scream just as loud right now because I really wanted my first time to be with a girl. And not just any girl, but his sister. She is straight though. He reminded me so much of her. I thought it would be good to get it over with….To get over her... My family is poor and now I will be poor too. Someday this child will ask me for a pony and I will remind her we can’t even afforda stuffed animal and she will of course be disappointed and despise me. Someday her college essay will be all about her terrible childhood as a product of a single, unwed mother. Some college will offer her a full scholarship to their prestigious school then she will have the life I never had. Then she will make a stupid decision like I did. She will make stupid decisionsover and over. Why? Because I didn’t tell her anything. I didn’t tell her to talk about her feelings. That was how my parents taught (or didn’t teach) me. Maybe if they told me, I could have told that guy to get his sloppy, smelly body off me. I could have said NO. Instead, I look down at her, and her crying ceases. I start to talk to her like an adult. I say “I want you to be free. I want you to love the person you want to love.”
Thank you so much Susan, the participants and of course the library for making this workshop possible!
We hit up a few estate sales today. Though we purchased very little, I snapped some interested pictures. The more I go to estate sales the more I want to photograph them and not purchase anything. Estate sales sure do tell a story. They tell the story of the elderly people who no longer live there, the story of their adult children who are caring for their elderly parents and of course the estate sale company themselves. Only one of the three companies today took the time to price the items clearly and fairly, and organize the home for the buyers. While I realize that is to benefit them to make good money, to me it is out of respect to the people who lived there. Leftover items strewn about on beds, in the living room and in closets leaves the feeling of a rushed departure and an unhappy ending. Estate sales are not for the faint of heart. I recall my first one was disheartening.
Today I thought about the stories of these people – avid music lovers and novice photographers. Perhaps a pipe-smoking man sits in his easy chair at the end of the day, admiring the feminine touches of his wife’s interior decorations?
Remember when music wasn’t so portable? Remember when music involved a large piece of furniture in the living room with built-in speakers? We all had to gather around a machine in one room and take turns listening to each other’s favorite songs. Sometimes I hate how portable music has become.
I bet you’ve been asked this question a few times in your life, right? I’d say I take after both my parents. My mother however, is where I get my childlike nature. Although we are responsible adults, we like to have fun and we take delight in many simple things like – Disney films. Mom loves the waltzes and the gowns and I like the music, the animation and of course dreams coming true.
Mom recently hit a milestone birthday (can’t tell which, sorry) and I thought this would be the perfect excuse for a Disney Princess birthday. We are by no means extreme (no princess party hats or sashes here). Rather, I used my resources and made up simple items dreamt up by a little thing called imagination….well…and the INTERNET. Thanks to my husband who made the cupcakes while I did the easy part of designing and cutting out papers!
So much fun! Hope she liked it!
Some of these tips will be fairly obvious. Others, maybe you didn’t know about. Either way, I hope this post will inspire you to use your local library! It is a shame that most people don’t know what a gem public libraries really are.
Well this is a pretty obvious one, right? I often dream of a house with wall-to-wall bookshelves, loaded with lovely hard-bound copies of the great classics and all the art books I studied in college. Alas, that would be an epic waste of money and only for show. Very rarely will we re-read the books we have already read and chances are we run out to the store and pick up books we need to projects or inspiration, then they just collect dust. Unless the item is a hot best-seller in high demand, you can most likely get it at the library in-house or via interlibrary loan in under a week. My library has a system where I can request books or other items I can’t find on the shelf and receive a text message when it arrives and is ready to be picked up. WOW. How is that for convenience? Let’s say I am an avid reader of novels. A hardcover novel averages about $27.99 in the store. If I read a book a week I would be spending over $100 a month! That doesn’t include other fun books I might like to check out like DIY books, travel guides and whatever new inspirational self-help book is all the go. Sweet!!
2. Digital Books: e-Books & e-Audiobooks
I love to read. I am obsessive about wasting time when I could be reading. I often carry a book in my purse, but that can get heavy. I wish I could read while I walked my dog – OH WAIT, I CAN!!!! My library offers free digital downloads. Often I will download an audiobook to my smartphone so I can listen while I walk the dog, clean the house or even in the car.
Also, e-Books are great for traveling. If I am away for a week or two at a time, I cannot possibly lug around 4-5 hardcover books through airports and on the plane. I have an old Nook e-reader that I try and load e-books on that way I have one slim and light item with all my books in it for the plane.
3. Museum Passes
I live in a small state, but it seems there are so many good museums here! Most admissions range from $5.00-$30.00. If I went to a new museum every weekend at $30.00 that would cost me well over $100.00 a month! Yikes. I can borrow library passes and present them at the admission counter at these museums and I will receive the discounted rate of the pass. Sometimes if I am lucky, this means free admission. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it will be a percentage off or even just $5.00. But that is $5.00 I can save or choose to spend in the gift shop OR if I like the museum that much, I can put that $5.00 toward a yearly membership which always includes perks like free admission and discounted admission to events.
4. Learn a New Skill
Libraries have so many programs. I can take one (or a series of) classes to learn writing, drawing, painting, sewing and so much more. Libraries also have talks and seminars about financial literacy, health care and cooking! Why would I pay Joann Fabrics or Michael’s Stores to learn a craft when I can learn at the library for free?! And most times, they will supply all the items you need. Holy moly!! A sewing class at Joann’s costs $35! Library = FREE!! Free learning?! WHOAH!!
5. A Quiet Space
Sometimes I need to get out of the house to do creative work. There are too many distractions here. I used to head over to a coffee shop, grab a drink and a muffin and stay a while, much to the owner’s dismay. Instead, I go to the library. I find a cozy corner and dig right in. Price – FREE!
6. Judgement Free Zone
It is scary to say this but I have worked at the library for over a decade. I have learned a ton along the way. But one thing I notice is that all libraries are judgement free – the patrons, the staff etc. There is no shame at the library like there might be at other places.
What could I mean here? Freedom to educate yourself on any topic. Freedom to learn. Remember – many countries don’t allow such luxuries like freedom to learn!! I can go into the library, take a book out on any topic (or even a banned book) and read it because I feel like it!
Well, I could go on but I think at this point you should be running to the library!
Every generation says “kids these days…..” right? Personally, I might be a bit young to start saying it, but then again I have been catapulted into the digital age where the pace is much faster than generations before. I feel like perhaps we are the most nostalgic generation. I could be wrong. But Pinterest really helps bring forth my argument with its gazillion boards full of 90s products, stores and fashion. This all got me thinking about the best things about the 90s.
Kids these days don’t know how good they have it. They can send private texts to friends from their smartphones, without their parents knowing what they are saying. Back in MY day, we had to talk on a landline, in the living room, in front of everyone, because the phone was attached to the wall. To make matters worse, that coiled cord did not reach very far. When you’re young, you are a contortionist and might be able to twist your body into the hallway and get away from the parents. Can’t say I was but those important, private conversations certainly helped my budding figure.
If we wanted to say anything not parent-friendly, we would have to use some kind of code, which was made up earlier, on a note passed during school. Hope you had the updated code. Clearly this is why we are smarter than today’s kids. We spoke our own language.
Want to fall in love today? You send your crush an emoji or a GIF. Little characters do all the talking for you. Back in my day, you made a carefully pieced-together mix tape of songs with lyrics that would tell your crush exactly how you feel. It took time, consideration and if you were cheap like me, you had to wait until that song came on the radio! Hell, how many crushes could a girl lose waiting for a song coming on the radio?!
Back in my day, the Internet just started. We connected to the Internet through the one phone line in the home. That meant, if someone was talking on the phone, you could not access the Internet, which means you were missing out on a super important AIM chat with your crush. Holy moly. And you really don’t want to yell at your Dad to get off the phone so you can use the Internet since he paid for it all, right?!
The gratification of sharpening pencils, folding notes you passed in school or even biking to your destination instead of calling Uber.
Similar to the above. I’ve blogged about this before, but I miss that moment where your favorite new song comes on the radio and you were there to hear it! Oh the torture when you had to get out of the car to go to school and the song was not even halfway done yet! Today I can access any song I want in mere seconds. Kind of takes the joy out of it!
Perhaps you are too young to remember this. Remember the days where you would write to the newspaper with your opinion on a topic? You’d write a letter to the editor, perhaps. It was always signed with your name and address. Then others might read your letter and take the time to compose their own letter to you. They would share their name and address and let you know how they felt about your letter. Perhaps they disagreed and listed their reasons why. Or perhaps they agreed with you and were delighted you decided to publicize this information. It was a time of ladies and gentleman. What a concept – well thought out, respectful communication.
Today what do we have? We have these so called keyboard warriors or online trolls. They spend hours spewing their hateful comments all over the World Wide Web or social media in the comfort of their anonymous homes. They are brash, quick and ready to fight because they believe that their opinion is right -or they are just there to be disrespectful, just for fun. And the worst part is, they can go online and delete anything they’ve said and easily deny the whole thing. This very example must be listed under cowardice in the dictionary.
I miss the days where ladies and gentleman existed. And for you #MeToo folks I don’t mean ladies who sat idly by because of their so-called place, I mean people who made statements based on research and truths because it was the right thing to do and because they felt strongly about it. They read, they listened and they respectfully discussed. What a novel idea. How can we get that back?
I recently heard the news that the local mall was finally closing. I think most of us suspected it was inevitable but we chose to deny it because it was always nice to have a mall so close to home, especially one that didn’t require a driving on the highway!
The mall will soon close, so I thought I might head up there to take one last walk around. There were only a few big stores open, and a couple of recently added arcade and play areas for kids. I tried to remember what stores were there when I was a kid and what they were replaced with over the years. It was certainly a challenge to remember.
We are always sad to see stores close for various reasons. I am especially sad about Swansea Mall. This mall was more than just a mall to me. During my younger years it was a treat to go to the mall. Very rarely did we spend money, so it was always exciting to hear we would be going to the mall. Later on in life the mall was much more important to me. It was a sign of independence. My parents or friend’s parents would drop us off and we were allowed an hour or two to roam the malls, browse and choose exactly how we would spend our babysitting or birthday money. I always loved the music store. I was too cheap to buy an album so I’d spend a few dollars on a single instead. I always longed to have my ears pierced so I could buy pretty earrings at Claire’s.
Today, after I spent most of my walk around the mall taking photos with my phone, I ran into a sign that said photography was not allowed, which broke my heart because I had my mind set on writing this blog post with accompanying photographs and reminiscing about the old days. The sign indicated I should see mall management. Sadly no one was in but I had a brief discussion with a very kind security guard who gave me a few reasons why. He mentioned the retail stores don’t want their stores seen in such dismay, that customers don’t wish to be photographed and of course the ever so important in case of terrorists. I think that last one might be a stretch. So for now, the photos will be filed away on my backup drive and maybe someday I will revisit them. The photos below are three of the many I took, but I have rendered them totally blurry and unrecognizable for privacy. Funny, as I was doing this I realized this is already how my memories of the mall are – fuzzy.
We just finished the season of tradition and reflection right? Although, I feel Christmas is so clouded by retail stuff that we kind of lose sight of the reflection part. My husband and I have a little tradition of our own. At the end of the year I make up a photo album. It contains our favorite photos I have saved throughout the year. When the albums arrive we take out the previous years albums and view them all. Sure it takes a while but it brings us for a trip down memory lane. This helps if you’ve had an especially bad year. It is a reminder of a fresh new start with adventures ahead.
I want to know why anyone who is frugal is always the butt of someone’s jokes? Why are they dismissed as silly? Do they how much hard work it is to be frugal?? It takes a lot of discipline or creativity or both. I certainly try pretty darn hard. I am disciplined and creative and I admit – I get a real kick out of the whole thing.
There are millions of books, articles and Youtube videos on the topic of saving money. Well, let me throw my 2 cents in. Maybe if you hear it enough you might start acting more frugal!
If you know me, you know sending and receiving cards in the mail is kind of my thing. I love sending birthday cards, anniversary cards and of course thank you cards! Let’s say I have about 50 cards to send a year. If I bought a card from CVS I’d say the average (bland, boring) card costs $3.99. But of course I wouldn’t buy those I would buy the cards with more sentiment! Think $5.99-$7.99. 50 cards at $7.99 would cost me a total of $399.00 (before taxes).
Let me share with my little secret. I love making cards. It doesn’t take long. If you are going to take the time to drive to the drugstore and look for the right card, you may as well stay home and make it! I will share with you my secret weapon – scrapbook paper pads. They sell for $19.99 at Michaels. It seems about every other week the pads go on sale for $5. I will scoop up one pad (only on sale) and that will yield one year of cards plus extra scraps for other projects like bookmarks. The pieces of paper are huge! One side has a lovely design and the other side is white. So if you fold, cut and glue you can pretty much make a better card than the $7.99 mass production. I purchase one pad for $5.00 and by doing it myself, I save hundreds of dollars.
My only regret in this process is not taking photographs of the cards! I must get into that habit!
I have committed to using neutral color/patterned wrapping paper from now on to save money. At Christmas I try my best not to buy holiday paper. So this year I had to get a little creative. I noticed that Michael’s has this scrapbook paper in holiday designs as well. So I grabbed a pad and used it not only for my wrapping design but also my holiday cards! Took a bit more creativity but it sure was fun! I actually wrapped some of the smaller gifts in the scrapbook paper because it was so pretty!
Used up some of my leftover twine and a 3D printed Pokemon character to make it fun for my young cousin:
Here are some of them in a sweet box in front of the tree:
If I have to read one more article about broke Millennials I might just lose my mind. We are not all broke, irresponsible consumers. I am not. Then again, I do make one too many visits to Michael’s & Hobby Lobby. BUT nothing says I have to buy anything when I go in. This has prompted me to make a list of ways I save money.
This may be good news or bad news, but your foundation pretty much shapes most of your spending habits as an adult. Luckily I had those parents who didn’t like to spend money. If any of the following ring a bell with you, then you have parents just like mine:We can’t have that this week, it isn’t on sale.I can sew the same kind of shirt at home for less, and besides, it will be out of style soon anyway.
The generic brand tastes the same.
Do you WANT that or do you NEED that?
They all ring true but the last one especially I think is what is wrong with those “broke Millennials.” Do you really need a home delivery service with pre-prepped meals or do are you just too lazy to make a shopping list? Really, though. I am embarrassed for anyone who does that. “I am so busy.” If you spent less time on Facebook you would realize you have the time to drive to the market for food.
I visit retail stores a lot but I don’t spend a lot of money there. Know why? I am a thief. Whoah hold on – I am not a real criminal! I am stealing inspiration for ideas. Between my husband and I we can build, sand, paint, and deconstruct/reconstruct almost anything. Why should I pay $50 for a trendy wood sign at the store when I can make it at home cheaper? Not to mention, if I make it here, it is unique because, well it is mine and it is one of a kind. Before I buy I ask myself can I make this at home with the tools I already have at a better price. Now I also consider time in this equation. If a project will take me hours upon hours then forget it, I will just buy it (with a coupon or on sale of course).
What the….? In case you were wondering, that stands for
Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.
What’s that mean, really? Use up what you have until you absolutely have none left. Once it is gone, can you use something else you already have in its place? Otherwise, can you make do without it at all? I admit, there are times when I haven’t finished last season’s body wash and I am ready to dash to the store for this season’s scent. But alas, I will finish what I have! *SIGH*
Do I need to explain this? We spend $50-80 a week on groceries for breakfast, lunch and dinners. As a couple, if we had lunch out everyday (say, $20 per visit) we would spend $100.00 a week just on lunch. That is twice as much as I spent on the ingredients to make everything from scratch. I cringe at the thought.
The struggle is SO real for me. That is not a cliche. That foamy hot cocoa from Starbucks is heavenly. Not to mention the cake pops and the bacon gouda sandwiches are delightful and addictive. People – STARBUCKS IS EXPENSIVE. I love the
staff, the mobile order-ahead app and the atmosphere but a hot cocoa and bacon gouda sandwich cost $7.49. That breakfast sandwich is good but it is tiny and doesn’t last long enough for the price they charge.
In sum – saving money takes time, hard work, dedication and smarts. You may actually have to I have write down a budget and stick to it. Sure there is an app for it, but write stuff down so you don’t forget how to use a pen.
I’ve recently discovered Dave Ramsey on Youtube. While I don’t follow him faithfully, I do agree with a lot of things that he has to say. Don’t use credit cards. Certainly don’t leave a balance on one!! Don’t take out loans. Why? You are spending money you don’t have. I also just started reading an older book called Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William Danko . I’ve only just begun, but right off the bat he talks about some of the wealthiest people being cash poor. WHAT?! Yes. That is right. They have fancy cars, big houses and no money. Other millionaires are cash rich. Know why? They are frugal. They drive Toyotas and make their coffee at home. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you have to flaunt it. I think I would rather drive around in an pre-owned car and know I am loaded then drive around in a BMV fearing creditors. Wouldn’t you?
This post is long overdue, but during the winter days, I have more time to blog about my summer adventures….
I’ve always loved yard sales. When I was little, my elderly neighbors would have a yard sale every summer. To this day, my mother still tells the story of how I came home with a pitcher from that yard sale. It had a small chip and the neighbors didn’t charge me for it. I bragged about my good deal and I think she laughed for days.
Now that I don’t work weekends anymore, I scope out estate sales. I tend to go the estate sales in the more affluential towns around since the items for sale are higher quality. I mostly look for books and records. But sometimes, if they don’t have what I am looking for, I enjoy looking around. And yes sometimes it can be sad because it is usually the home of elderly folks, but don’t let that bother you.
I have seen all sorts of goodies at estate sales. From vintage clothes to fine china, rare furniture and all sorts of knick-knacks. I would love to have it all but we just don’t have room in our home right now!
If you are moving out on your own for the very first time, and have nothing, an estate sale is a great way to start. You could get all your flatware, cooking bowls, and dishes. Not to mention bookshelves and other furniture. Sometimes you can find office supplies like notebooks, index cards and storage bins. You may even find a quality wood bed frame. Sure it is all used but give it a good dusting and it is new to you! You may find unopened items at estate sales. If the house belongs to someone with the depression era mentality you can find many items new still in the package.
Here’s what no one tells you though:
- Look online for photos of the items before you go.
- Get there early or everything will be picked over.
- Sometimes the photos are used to lure you in but the good stuff may already be taken.
- The house may be packed with people so you may have to wait your turn.
- Shoppers at estate sales might be weird. Some are very nice though.
- Always smell stuff and examine it closely.
- Don’t be afraid to go through the closets and drawers. If it isn’t taped closed or labeled – it is yours!
I always mean to photograph the items I see at estate sales but it is hard with all the people around. Below are some items which have caught my eye. I will have to blog about it again if I take more photos.
I don’t buy digital music. I don’t trust it. I can’t touch it. I can’t pull it off my shelf and use it when wi-fi is down (yeah I know I can download offline but there is never enough storage space and batteries die). I really miss opening a new CD (well not so much the annoying plastic) but cracking open the case, looking at the disc art and of course flipping through the booklet!! Can’t do that with digital music.
Ninety nine percent of the time I get my music from the library. But there are rare occasions when the library doesn’t have the album I am looking for or I really want the album to keep. That hasn’t happened in quite some time. But once in while, something special comes along….
I just heard the Backstreet Boys have a new album out. Listen folks, there is one thing I don’t do it is splurge. Splurging leads to spending money and I am not crazy about spending money. But I drove myself to Target and grabbed their album this weekend. It was worth it. Backstreet Boys are my guilty pleasure; another excuse not to grow up. I still squeal in excitement when I hear them sing (in a more mature, reserved way of course). SO delighted to see they have a new album. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Chances and No Place are great hits, just what I expect from BSB. The rest of the album is equally as catchy and the artwork is pretty cool too. Thanks Backstreet Boys for an excuse to relive my younger years. Those opportunities don’t come around very often. -IBG
Stopped by the Millicent Library in Fairhaven Massachusetts this weekend. It is, by far, the most beautiful public library I have ever seen!!!!
Christmas is creeping up on us. While I usually start watching Christmas movies in late November, I try and save It’s a Wonderful Life for the last few days before Christmas. It is my favorite Christmas movie and possibly my favorite movie ever.
I suppose I annoy the daylights out of my husband when we watch the film together because I recite my favorite lines just as enthusiastically as the actors. While it is hard to pick my favorite line, I think we can all agree that this one is in the top ten:
“To my big brother George – the richest man in town.”
Sure the line about the bell ringing and the angel getting its wings is epic. But the line about Bailey being the richest man in town is most powerful. On the surface, I suppose most viewers of the film consider Bailey rich because all of his friends and family were able to get the funds to save the business from bankruptcy and scandal. If we look at the definition of rich, it makes sense, right?
We immediately think of money, right? Resources and possessions usually include valuable things like gold or crystal right? Well, yes, and no. I am by no means rich with money, or gold or anything of the sort. But I feel rich because I have a loving husband, a dog, friends/family and a job. I have lots of freedoms and the world is my oyster! WOW!
Bailey is rich because he has the support of friends, family and community. I bet very few people can say that. These days we worship and support social media stars instead of hardworking people like Bailey. We would rather scroll through the Kardashian’s social media feed than recognize teachers or nurses who are the unsung heroes of the everyday world.
Food for thought!
We borrowed Dad’s old Bell & Howard 8mm projector to watch some home movies. Sure, we have it on DVD but who can resist the tick tick tick of that old machine which smells so much like the interior of an old battleship? I surely cannot because I am too darn sentimental (but please, don’t tell anyone!)
This digital age makes me cling to the past – paper, film and all things tangible. In this Minimialist age you may deem me unhealthy, but I don’t care. Oh how delightful it is to hold a reel of film in my hand. Seeing the old designs on the boxes alone brought me joy. I have it. It is mine. I can touch it. It is mine to play whenever I want, without Internet access. It doesn’t live on a server in Silicon Valley. I can power on, the reel will spin and I can visit the past. It is pure magic.
Oh how we forget. We forget about our deceased family members. We forget what they looked like or how they acted. We forget their mannerisms, their smiles, their hair, their clothing. We forget how much they loved us or how much we may (or may not) have loved them. What a treasure to be able to revisit these things.
I’ve always been preoccupied with piano, books and riding my bicycle, so I can’t say I spent much time in the kitchen. Mom wasn’t crazy about cooking nor allowing me in the kitchen (if you could see the mess I make when I cook, you would understand her reasoning). Meals were strategically planned and rotated on a regular basis. Very smart. However, all bets are off during the holidays. It seems there is a smorgasbord of food and dessert. Oh the cookies!! Chocolate chip, peanut butter blossoms, butter balls and of course, Vavo’s (grandmother’s) cookies.
My mother makes her grandmother’s cookies annually, whether it is for the holiday or during the month of her passing. It is a nice way to remember the time she had with her and the recipients of the cookies are always delighted! She would ask for my help while kneading the dough and pouring in the oil. And of course, I had the prestigious job of testing the cookies when they were done; a very serious job might I add?
All throughout high school and college I found myself exhausted around the holidays, so I never really had the time to cook or bake anything new. When I was about to get married I thought I might want to learn how to cook something besides the tasteless meals of stir fry or pasta. For my bridal shower, my family and friends each shared their favorite recipes on special recipe cards. I was so delighted with this idea. Later on though, my mom handed down all her famous recipes, including Vavo’s cookies.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I attempted to make the cookies. Interpreting the recipe was a challenge for my mom but over the years she made it her own. Then she had to translate it for me. The original recipe included measurements like two fingers of this or a handful of this etc. So converting that to cups must have been a challenge. My copy of the recipe says to use teaspoons and tablespoons from our flatware and not the measuring spoons. And I do have to use a handful of oil. Good thing my hand is the same size as my mom’s or we would have trouble!
The first time I surprised my mom with a batch of cookies I thought she might cry or die or both. She looked so delighted. Today I am working on a batch again, this time I tried using my KitchenAid mixer. I do wonder if it will taste differently because I did not knead the dough with my hands. We shall see!!
I am not one of those people who makes New Year’s resolutions to get fit or eat better. I already exercise the most I want to (because I hate it) and well I eat everything in moderation, so THERE! Thanks to this blog, I can easily pull up my previous NYR posts. Not sure if that is helpful or not!
It seems my resolutions always revolve around creativity or doing fun things. That makes me a little sad because I should already dedicate the time to such items. Alas, life always gets in the way. To recap, here is my list from last December and my today’s replies to them:
- Finish writing the book and get it published.
Seriously, woman, what were you thinking?! I did write a 10-20 pages though, thanks to my boss who introduced me to NaNoWriMo! Doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but that is a lot for me!
- Start a Youtube channel and make a difference
Oooh ooh ooh!! I did this!! Well I don’t know about the making a difference part, but I started the channel and posted videos! I noticed though the video with the most hits is my Alopecia video, which pleases me greatly because once upon a time, I was really upset and lonely because of Alopecia so I will believe that it is helping 1 of those 100 people.
*Cue tiny violin*- Filming and editing photos takes a lot of time and coming up with interesting content is hard!
- Read more (typical I know)
FAIL. Wow, this makes me so upset. I recently signed up for Goodreads.com again. Maybe this will help.
- Walk or bike to work more.
Nope. However, my car is on the way out so maybe I will have no choice soon! HA!
- Sew at least 4 projects.
Nope. Does it count that I thought about it 4 times? Guess not. I even bought a new table for sewing. I signed up for a free sewing class at the library but was too tired after work to attend. I think it is time for me to sign up for paid classes to really get motivated.
So this brings me to this year’s list (sorry in advance 2019 me!)
- Take a sewing class. Make something and get confident sewing.
- Take a darkroom class. How I miss working in the darkroom.
- Spend more time with friends & family. They bring joy, laughter and another point of view. All of which I need more of.
- Spend more time with my husband. I know, this sounds ridiculous for someone I live with but having opposite schedules makes it a challenge. Now that his schedule has changed I hope we can take long walks, visit museums and try new things!
- Stay organized. Seriously, this is never on my list, but 2018 brought pure chaos on both personal and professional levels. My new boss is mega organized and she has helped me organize my work life which has prompted me to get back to organization at home. I have my regular calendar and now a Happy Planner which will house all my creative activities and finances.
- Save a higher percentage of yearly income. Sure, I do my auto transfers but I think I have to step up my game. Even if it means transferring money manually to round up to the next $. A little game to trick myself into saving more, why not?!
- Just GO. On those nights where there is an event I really want to attend but I insist I am too tired, I need to just suck it up and GO!
- Keep the smartphone out of the bedroom. I want to start leaving the phone in the kitchen to charge and keep it out of the bedroom. That way there is no temptation to check email or social media before bed or right when I wake up. Mornings should be quiet and mindful.
- UIUWITMDODW. Use it up. Wear it out. Make do or do without. This will help #6. A.K.A. Stay out of Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Target.
- Read more. I want to read more, but also, quality items. I think this year I will turn into a book snob.
- Write it down. I read everywhere that you are more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down, and I don’t mean typing it here on my blog. My husband bought me a nice fat journal and new pens, so I have no excuse!Alright, there you have it. Wow 11 is a crazy number!! What was I thinking?! Well….here I go…….
I have had a pretty notebook from TJMaxx in my office for quite some time now. I started writing short stories in it on vacation at least 3 years ago. Writing on vacation is a breeze because my mind is clear and there are no deadlines. Writing at home with a dirty house, a barking dog and a dancing washing machine isn’t so easy!
My new boss told me about NaNoWriMo recently. I thought it was a good idea but I am totally overwhelmed by the idea of it and the people on Youtube who are just so committed. WOW! It seems like most users are writing Young Adult(YA) fantasy novels. It might not be an online community I will be involved in but it is might just be a good motivator!
Yesterday was my first day writing and using the website. I don’t think I will ever get an hour in every day but I did log a little time in yesterday. I went to the local library and hand-wrote (yes that is right, in cursive, with a PEN and I didn’t TYPE ON A COMPUTER) quite a few pages. It was a nice flow and also a nice distraction from life!!
The website seems to be pretty user-friendly. I was able to track my time last night which was a really motivator!! Let’s see if I can keep it up!
I will risk sounding like a fuddy-duddy here, but I’m not afraid!
My library recently celebrated a landmark anniversary. We put together a special history display but sadly it did not contain any old books because most were burned in the fire the building suffered in the 1950s.
By some strange miracle, someone donated two books from our original library (pre fire) to another local library. The librarian promptly returned them to us and we put them right in our display. What timing! What a strange mystery! Who had the books all this time? How did they end up out of our town? Because this person never returned the books, he or she inadvertently saved them from the fire so we could have them today. This is so RARE and interesting!
It is so nice to visit libraries or museums to look at artifacts behind glass. They are parts of history which have been preserved by generations of smart people who knew the value of such items and wished them to be preserved for the future. It is mind blowing to stand at a case and observe an item which belonged to those from generations before. Items survive war, auctions and family battles to sit in a building where all can observe them. How rare. I like the feeling of having to stand quietly, observe and item and think about where is has been and who was kind enough to care for it all this time.
This makes me think a lot about this next generation of ours. Have they any artifacts? Their history is completely online. Will their history consist of tablets with scrolling photographs? I certainly hope not. Hopefully they will continue the tradition of caring for special museum pieces. Someone better tell them and educate them now!
Glorious FALL!! I just want to sit and do analog type things. Vinyl, rocking chair and a good book, please?!
I am about a quarter way through Cunningham’s new book. I am impressed by his drive to work in fashion despite his family’s insistence that the field is not appropriate for a young man. I am looking forward to reading more.
I liked this passage so much, I wrote it down & typed it up in this Canva graphic. Cunningham has expressed how I feel about photography. For years I’ve been shooting weddings and portraits to make money of course, but my heart isn’t in it. My heart IS in photography as an art. But that doesn’t really bring in any money unless, say, you are Cindy Sherman or Annie Leibovitz. So, at this crossroad in my life, do I continue to invest more money and time in fancy professional equipment to make money shooting weddings or do I shoot ugly, old decrepit things that inspired me?
Maybe if I win the lottery I can go back to the darkroom!! HA!
In my previous ramblings, I stated how I felt about being part of a generation with one foot in the digital age and the other in analog world. It isn’t easy. My heart belongs to analog but the practical girl in me realizes the importance of digital technology. What a tug of war this is!
At this point, my DLSR camera is an old gal. Still works, but she’s out of place today. I watch my peers shooting with beastly machines and applying trendy filters to their images and the traditionalist in me wants to scream. Whatever happened to A PHOTOGRAPH-just a well exposed (and PRINTED) image of a moment captured? That is what I love about photography. How I miss the days of the darkroom. It was magical, even when it went horribly wrong (light leaks!) I learned lots of patience from developing my own film and prints. Many of my warm, sunny Spring days were spent in a dark room with the glare of a red light and stench of chemicals. But I didn’t care. I developed my photograph – a moment captured and never altered.
I remember carrying my film camera everywhere. It was always around my neck. I made some of my best work during that time. I had only 24 exposures because film wasn’t cheap, so I had to use them wisely. I had to think about what to shoot, how to angle the shot and capture it correctly. Now, I slip my smartphone in my pocket to capture those moments. I am careless and fast because I know I can take hundreds of images and delete them later. And while I enjoy posting my photos on Instagram and this blog, they do not bring me the same joy. The image might be cool, but the quality stinks.
The pro cameras of today are heavy pieces of metal and plastic that have left me bruised on occasion. Imagine running after a child then coming to a complete stop and WHACK the camera catches up to give you a good jab in the ribs. Not to mention my hands and neck throb after a long day of shooting weddings. Where is their room for inspiration there?
I am at a crossroads now. Do I want to invest an absurd amount of money in a new bulky digital camera or do I invest a slightly less absurd amount of money to go back to film? I would have to wait days or weeks to retrieve my developed film from a lab then of course scan the negatives to my computer myself….
What’s a girl to do….? Ponder I suppose.
I think I found my new muse. My old muse was the rundown factory on the corner of Franklin and Buttonwood Streets in Bristol, RI. She was knocked down a while back to make way for a local business. Oh how many times I wished I were a no-good, very bad person and had the guts to trespass, just to photograph the inside. However, it might kill the mystery of it all!
I try to read or watch the daily news. I prefer the paper because images in print don’t blare as loudly as the TV. Sometimes I have to turn off the TV because the violence or harsh words are too much for me to handle. It seems the media never has any nice news stories to report. Mr. Rogers once told a story about his mother telling him to look for the helpers in scary times. I am drawn to people like that – kind people, helpful people and most importantly smart people.
I digress. Wasn’t this supposed to be a blog post about freedom? I work in a field where freedom runs rampant – a library. People are free to walk into the building and read WHATEVER THEY WANT. They are welcome to use the Internet however they want. They can hold a meeting in our community room and discuss whatever they want. WOW. I often think about other countries (we don’t need to mention any names) who run a tight ship. They don’t allow their citizens on social media and they have very limited access to the Internet. WHOAH. I am not sure I could live without Google or Youtube. I love being able to just hop on Youtube and look up videos by other users. I have learned to change my car air filter (saved big bucks there) and I have mostly learned how to be more self sufficient. Nice to have that freedom! Here’s a great exercise in freedom for you. Fill in the blank!
In this great country I am free to____________what I want: say blog wear travel live
If you are my age your day went like this- watch Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood then GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!! Those were the days weren’t they? I have always had a particular fondness for Mr Rogers, and now as a Millennial, I seem to be drawn to media like this from my childhood. Perhaps it is just my age? I feel like I have been catapulted into adulthood (this girl has always had a vivid, childlike imagination which sometimes is overcome by work, responsibilities and the great digital age.) So wouldn’t it be so normal to recall fondly the characters who influenced my childhood? I should say so.
With Mr Rogers however, my sentiment is much deeper. My childhood was a good one, but I was faced with some obstacles that were quite difficult to get over, most of all my struggle with Alopecia. Some days I wonder how the young version of me dealt with it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger rings true with this girl. I never talked about my struggle or feelings, never wrote even about it. How did my head not pop off? I was lucky to have two outlets – piano and art. I banged away my feelings on the keys of that poor old piano. Mr Rogers mentioned this exact thing in the film and it struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. I would also scribble and sketch my way through my feelings and for those outlets I am so grateful. With a foundation of Mr Rogers always telling me how special I was (how we all are) how could I go wrong?
Seems some people didn’t get his message. Today people of all ages can’t seem to control and properly direct their emotions, especially the ugly, hateful ones. No longer are we a society that internally processes their feelings. Everyone’s lives are out in the open for all the world to see. They take to platforms like Facebook and Twitter and spew hatred toward complete strangers. This is frightening. What kind of people are we? It is ok to have your opinions and it is ok to disagree with others. It is not ok to bully anyone. Have some CLASS will you?! How embarrassing.
Let’s recall some simple lessons and words from Mr Rogers that apply to every person NOT JUST CHILDREN:
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem. Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”
“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”
We took a trip to Pawtucket, Rhode Island today to visit a new bookstore, and, weather pending, walk around. After a humid Saturday, today seemed bitter cold. So we took a quick trip to see the exterior of Slater Mill and the visitor center. It was so nice to read about our state’s history. If you don’t know about Samuel Slater, please click HERE to read a bit about him. We have a lot to thank him for, but jobs are specifically what I have in mind. This man had an idea and the brains and used them to create work opportunities and eventually, great success for himself and the community. As we walked around Pawtucket, we noted many empty store fronts and unkept areas. I was so busy imagining the bustling town and factories that once were, that these sites burst my bubble.
On our way home we drove by a Super Walmart, Super Stop & Shop and some other familiar chains, which were all very busy; parking lots full and people rushing around with arm loads of bags. I thought to myself – WHAT HAS HAPPENED HERE?! Holy smokes!! Inside the Walmart are unhappy, underpaid employees and inside Stop & Shop there is one staff member tending to 6-8 self scan machines. I should know, I used to be one of them.
I looked at my husband and we started a conversation about WHY our country isn’t the way it was during Slater’s lifetime. Don’t think me naive here, of course we can’t completely compare today to the 1700s. There isn’t just one answer, rather many that factor into the downfall of this state (and county!) Rhode Island is pretty famous for corrupt government but I don’t want to get into that! I thought about Slater and the time he was alive then I thought about today. During his time technology was at a minimum (heck they were still creating technology) and there were fewer options for personal items one kept. Perhaps most were satisfied with a simple life. Today, we are so entitled. Everything and anything is literally at our finger tips via Amazon. We can afford (or believe we can afford) our phones, big houses and fancy things. We have debt up to our eyeballs from these large purchases but somehow manage to have the latest iPhone (monthly payments still add up to $699 by the way – they fooled ya!!) Our news is delivered to us via our Facebook all day so we don’t need to pick up newspaper or turn on the TV. We don’t even need to call our friends anymore to see what they are up to because we see it on social media.
So today we purchase items made or partially made in other countries and shop at places that begin with “Super” because it is convenient to shop in one large place. But is that really better than stopping at each vendor table at a farmer’s market? Or driving down main street to shop Mom & Pop shops? If our phones supposedly make our lives easier and more organized, why don’t we have the time to be conscious of where we shop and how we spend our money? There seems to be a slow and steady “SHOP LOCAL” movement but it sure is expensive. We’d like to support the local farms at the farmer’s market but who can afford $25 for a small square of beef? Well wait a minute, you own a $700 phone, shouldn’t you be able to afford the beef that is less than your monthly phone (hardware) payment? Could this be a conundrum?
We were once so successful because we had drive, we were persistent, cared for each other and our community. We had goals and had to work hard for what we wanted in life. It was a hard day’s work and we slept well from it. We wanted very little and something very simple – a few personal items, a nice place to live and a warm meal on the table. We enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors without taking staged photos for our social media pages. Some days I dream of returning to a time like that.
Boy do I sure feel old. I’ve seen the slow decline of the shopping mall, the rise of digital everything and the decline of analog. I wonder if this is how my parents felt when malls replaced mom & pop shops and cassettes were made obsolete by CDs!
We stopped by the North Dartmouth Mall today and FYE is going out of business. They are one of, if not THE last big box music & movie store. Back in my day the big music store was STRAWBERRIES! Bought my very first cassette single there. I DIGRESS!! I do understand why this has happened – the rise of streaming/downloadable music. Is this bad? Most would say no. I beg to differ. May I pose a question? What happens when we can’t access free digital/streaming music anymore? What happens when that music you purchased is taken away? (Did you read the fine print – does it REALLY BELONG to you?) Digital is NOT TANGIBLE. It is not tangible like the records on my shelf or the CDs in my car. I purchased these items, I own them and I don’t need anyone’s permission to play them. I am free to listen to it whenever I’d like. WOW – what a concept – FREE to do something without some big business dictating how and when I can.
I wonder about the future of things – music, books, handwriting, photo etc. I hope the generation after mine hangs on to CDs or vinyl. I hope they practice cursive and read print books. They will certainly miss out on the joys of these things.
Winter – It’s too cold to go outside. Read all day. Power went out because of the storm. Read by flashlight until power returns. Power returns, shut off flashlight, keep reading. Have to shovel? Plug in headphones to smartphone and listen to audiobook while shoveling. Return to print book after shoveling.
Spring – It’s warm out again. YAY! Don’t care, still inside reading.
Summer – Outside reading. Too hot. Return to air conditioned house to read. Too cold in air conditioned house, head back outside to read. Repeat. Over and over until night time. Read in bed.
Fall – Photograph foliage, stock up on all things pumpkin flavor. Drink tea and read under a blanket until Winter.
I’ve lived in one place my entire life – NEW ENGLAND. We have glorious, warm, salty summers and unforgiving, sometimes paralyzing winters. Most people hate winter and with good reason. Aside from the cold, the snow can be very depressing, especially in large quantities, where it forces us inside for hours (or days) and then outside to shovel out the driveway for hours! There is a term here called “Florida birds.” That is a term for retired folks who live in New England during the warm seasons then live in Florida the opposite seasons. I understand their reasoning! If I were rich, would I do the same? Nah.
My husband lived in the south for a good portion of his life. He often comments how he would like to move south and SOON. We have one agreement – not until my parents are gone. Then I am game for almost anything.
If we ever left here though, I would miss the seasons badly. I can be a fairly moody person so the seasons suite me very well. Despite the humidity, the summer is my friend. I love that the sun sets so late in the day and the air is warm and salty. Transitioning to my favorite season – FALL always makes me happy. It is the most apparent change to me. The dull colors that surround me magically transform to deep reds, yellows and purples (some of my favorite colors). The weather cools down and I can wrap myself in lightweight sweaters and slip on my clogs. Following that is the beast – WINTER. I find myself somewhat happy to be trapped in the house during storms. I can catch up on office work and READING of course. I love being sandwiched between my husband and the dog under a few blankets, with some scented candles and a class movie playing. There is something so refreshing about transitioning to SPRING. The snow melts away and we are so aware of the earth again – dirt, blades of grass, weeds etc. Dare I say it is my least favorite season – allergies return like a bat out of hell and everything is far too pretty for me – daffodils, tulips etc. Not as inspiring as their dying counterparts in Fall. Spring is really just an imposter – not summer and not Fall but feels like both at times. I suppose most people writing about Spring would consider it a rebirth. I understand it, but it isn’t for me.
These seasonal transitions makes me feel whole. What an odd feeling, really. But what is life though if we do not constantly feel?
ISB is home sick on the couch today. Boo. But, it’s a good excuse to sit down and blog. I decided to revisit my not so “resolutionary”resolutions from 2017. Here’s last year’s post with some commentary on how I did:
1. Less pop music, more podcasts EH, not so much.
2. Less iPhone more film cameras TOTAL failure.
3. Less typing, more handwriting NAILED IT.
4. Less social media, more time with friends QUITE POSSIBLY!
5. Utilize the resources ahead of me and see what inspiration springs forth Not sure!
I’ve never been a goal-oriented person simply because there are too many things I’d like to do!! SO the list I made last year was a bit above the bar. I’ll admit I completely failed at number two. I knew I would. I tried my hand at podcasts and couldn’t really get into them. Instead, I continue listening to audiobooks from the library. As for number four, I did go out with friends last night and hosted friends at home a few times this year! I deleted (but returned to) social media. I broke out of the habit of scrolling the feed first thing in the morning. I think all the reports about the President and all the online fighting really turned me away from social media. My best efforts were number three. I started writing articles for the local paper about my library. Some were typed up, but a few I wrote by hand. And I must say, the better quality articles came from those written in pencil in a notebook. I quit the paper pretty quickly (did I mention it wasn’t a paid position) and decided to start writing a book. It took me along time to try and figure out exactly what kind of book that might be. I certainly don’t want to write a biography. I don’t want to do research for a non-fiction book and I sure as hell can’t write a novel!! I thought maybe if I combined my photographs and writing I might just get it right. And so far, I have. I got a little inspiration from the book Doorbells of Florence by Andrew Losowsky. His sweet book features a photo accompanied by a short story. So I think maybe that is the way I will start writing. I hope to start typing up the stories soon, add a few more then find a publisher.
So now, on this last day of 2017, it time for another list. Of all the things that happened this year, I think the most negative has had the biggest impact on me – negativity. It was a year filled with scandal, sexual abuse, terrorism and hate. Hate is all over social media and it makes me so annoyed. It is incredible how much time humans waste fighting back and forth with complete strangers on Facebook about politics. I consider them losers, really. I realize that is a strong word. I’d much rather them take the time to contact their local government officials. I wish people would try to send a more positive message. I obviously can’t expect anyone else to be positive, so maybe it should start with me. Positivity attracts positive people. Negativity attracts negative people. Maybe I can send a positive message. I think my blog does that but only to a small group (and by that I mean my friends, husband and my MOM!) I’ve had Youtube on my brain lately. I wonder if it would be a good outlet for me and my message(s). It is a terrifying thought though, having my face on Youtube. I may be a slightly eloquent writer but I am not the best speaker. I wonder who would watch. My father always says, nothing ventured, nothing gained. When I was younger, I would roll my eyes at him, but as I get older I realize he is right. So onto the 2018 list:
- Finish writing the book and get it published.
- Start a Youtube channel and make a difference
- Read more (typical I know)
- Walk or bike to work more.
- Sew at least 4 projects
It’s no secret I’ve always been an old soul. And I wondered at what age I would start to turn into that adult who hates teenagers and can’t understand the things people “do these days.” Well, I am in my mid 30s and haven’t quite hit THAT level yet, BUT I find myself getting a LOT more sentimental as I get older.
The local oldies radio station has been replaying Casey Kasem’s hit top 40 show on the radio all weekend. I am having such a blast listening!! This is making me think about the state of music “these days…”
I recall, as a kid, having a big boombox covered in stickers with a nice big handle. I carried it from room to room to listen to the radio. I thought that was the cat’s pajamas!! Wow, I could CARRY music wherever I went. Little did I know I would have an even more portable device the size of my hand to carry around while (ahem, a walkman not an iPhone! But that too!!) I remember my parents not wanting to spend too much money on cassette albums for me. And I remember wasting (according to my dad) a lot of my babysitting money on tapes. Dad bought me some blank cassettes so I might record my favorite songs off the radio and make a mixed tape. Enter Casey Kasem. That countdown always had every song I wanted! I faithfully listened every Sunday with my two pointer fingers on the PLAY and RECORD buttons so I could slam them down at the same time and record the beginning of the song (hopefully sans the DJ’s voice!)
While I enjoy being able to type in any song, title or artist into my smartphone and instantly listen, it makes me a bit sad. Is it really better to have everything at your fingers tips instantly? Remember being with your friends, and the group trying to hard to remember a particular song? We’d have to pull the tune or lyrics from the compartments of our brains! And if we were lucky to hear it on the radio later, we would rejoice!!!
Digital music makes it possible for me to replay all those oldies over and over and it is killing music for me. Instant gratifcation almost takes the joy out of it for me. I miss the excitement of the DJ announcing my favorite song next up, after “this ad from our sponsors.” It gave me something to look forward to! I’d always be mad at the DJ if he or she faded the end of the song out early to talk.
My, my how times have changed. I blogged earlier in the year about trying to slow down time. I think part of this process should be easing my way out of digital. I’ve purchased a record player and avoid “Facebook memories” by actually physically opening a photo album to look at REAL photographs of memories. Sometimes I even rifle through my keepsake box in the attic. Today I found the cards from my bridal shower and it reminded me of the lovely day I had with the family. I remembered what we ate and what I wore without even turning my phone or computer on. I don’t want to lose that skill; being able to retrieve memories from my brain. Digital is killing our brains. My internal library will never be digital!
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I recall a time in high school where I’d write short stories for my friends on ripped-out notebook pages. They were incredibly silly and I suppose they amused us. It never occurred to me that maybe I should pursue writing. In my eyes, I’ve always lumped writers and artists together – they are always broke and trying to find a job. But, if they are truly talented, they can make a profit and earn the respect of their colleagues and peers. But how often does that really happen?
How does one become a writer? I suppose they just grab a notebook and begin writing. In days long ago, people would study writing and perfect the trade before attempting publishing. Now, it is simple as starting a blog and writing daily posts until one obtains followers. After a while, a blog becomes a book deal and maybe a Youtube channel then fame. It is all very bizarre to me.
Who is writer? Who should be writing? Aside from those special people who invest time in higher education, I think only readers can be writers. The only way you will learn the language is to read, read, read. My father tried to drill this into my head as a child. But who really listens to their parents when they are young?
As I get older, I find my taste in books has changed. I am incredibly picky now and cannot tolerate simple stories or fast-paced, best seller thrillers. I often think – how hard can it be to write a good story? At work, I have the luxury of talking to people all day about books and many of them agree with the question I pose. Dare I say I am a bit of a book snob now? Blame the library I suppose. The library has opened my mind to a world of reading.
Last year I started writing for the local paper. My column is usually under 500 words and it is about the same topic – the library. Often I’d write a column, re-read it several times and think gosh, this is just so simply written and so terrible. I spent time tweaking, eliminating, adding elements until I got it right. And the work paid off. People are very kind and tell me they enjoy reading my column and look forward to the next one. This is not just my mom and husband! Although they are my biggest fans.
I have decided to write a book. You will find in my earlier blog that I’ve already announced it. I bought a notebook, printed some of my photographs and I am trying to create stories based upon the subject of the photographs. It has been a challenge!! As I said before, it is a challenge to write a column about a place I work at everyday, a place I know so well. You can imagine trying to use my imagination to make up a story – the details, the plot, the characters – is an even bigger challenge!
While on vacation I burst through the first writer’s block and was able to create a story revolving around a simple photograph of a pair of red boots on a hardwood floor. My initial instinct was to write about the location and the boots. Instead, I built up characters, one of whom wears the boots- boots that are more than just protection from the rain. They are her life, her safe place, her whole being. But why….?
Stay tuned for more……
There will always be that kid who knows exactly what they want to be when they grow up. And then there’s that creative kid who thinks the world is so beautiful and wants to see it all. You know that kid – he’s the little boy whose parent’s made him play baseball when he really just wanted to play at home. You’ll find him in the outfield, missing the ball because he is too busy studying the shapes of clouds, imaging a scene of dueling superheroes. I would file myself somewhere between the two. I’ve mingled in a few careers (if you could call them that) and I’ve enjoyed them all a little and some, a lot. But there have been two careers I’ve enjoyed immensely – art (photography) and the library. This makes me chuckle because those were my favorite school subjects too (aside from history and lunch of course!)
Both careers have lead me to read and write a lot. I read for work- to learn and for fun. I write this blog for fun and I’ve also been writing a column for the local paper. I would like to be an author, but who knows what that will take? I’ve always admired authors. How fascinating they can just make up a story in their heads, write it down and captivate people’s hearts, minds and imaginations. That is pretty epic to me.
I’ve received some lovely feedback about my blog and my column (aside from my very biased mother). It has really got me thinking about taking writing more seriously. I saved a clipping from the New York Times book review by John Grisham with advice for writing a novel. At first it inspired me, then I freaked out, thinking about writing an entire novel. 300 pages?? Characters, a plot and a great ending?? No way. Then I got to thinking about what inspires me – photography. There is a lovely book at our library called the Doorbells of Florence by Andrew Losowsky. It is a small book, maybe 4 inches by 6 inches. Each page contains a photograph accompanied by a short story. I thought it would be really interesting to use my photographs and write stories about them. Taking photographs and viewing them inspires me. It is one of the many things that helps me see the beauty in the world.
So now I face the fork in the road. I can take the easy route and keep writing for my blog or I can pay a visit to my photo archives, pick some photographs and get writing. I think my timing might be perfect. Fall is my favorite season and it is fast approaching. We are planning a trip to somewhere new and I may just find some inspiration there as well. As they say, it is now or never!
I hope they never die, especially in this small town of mine. We love Mr Pansa’s hardware store. He always has everything you need and he can find it in seconds. I have fond memories of visiting the store with my dad. We’d pick up tools, some seed and Mr Pansa would always have a piece of bubble gum for me. It’s something I’ll never forget. You’ll never get service like that from Home Depot or Amazon Prime.
Sometimes I feel like this world is spiraling out of control. Often I feel so consumed by online news, social media and even TV. We are a spoiled, ungrateful culture with every answer and luxury at our fingertips (PHONES) and it is getting on my nerves. People spend hours of their lives arguing on Facebook with complete strangers or violently march the streets claiming they are better than others and will have it no other way. Yuck. Just yuck.
I never imagined I would be sick of music but when you have a digital subscription like Apple Music or Amazon you can search any song, any time and play it whenever you like. This has prompted me to try to become more mindful these days. I am trying to go back to my analog ways. And that has started with giving up digital calendars for paper and cancelling my digital music subscription. SO nice to take the time to read and write with pencil. In addition, we purchased a record player a while back. I have never appreciated music more than I do now. Daily, I carefully choose an album from our collection, play it and when it is over, I have to get up off the couch and flip it over. I am so aware and it feels great. I even take the time to notice the album cover art. Remember how excited you’d be when buying a new CD – to open the CD and unfold the inserts?! Even to read the dedications by the artist?! WOW!
We had a day off and wandered up to the shops in the big cities. We found a great comic book store wth a wonderful selection of records. We had a great time. Browsing for records always prompts conversation between my husband and me – that’s right – TALKING FACE TO FACE. Remember that? That’s another thing that has died thanks to digital everything. We both expressed how excited we were to return home to play the records and sip wine.
Am I nostalgic? YES. But I am certainly no fuddy-duddy. Really, I’m not!!
As a matter of fact, earlier in the day we were on Youtube looking up 70s, 80s & 90s TV commercials. We had A BLAST reliving our childhood. And I was so thankful for the ability to do so.
I do believe in “everything in moderation.” Now if I could only apply that to my sugar and wine consumption…..
Things from books & movies that are actually happening!
Penny from Inspector Gadget had a Smart Watch:
AND her book was much like a LAPTOP computer!
Captain Kirk had a flip phone on Star Trek:
George Orwell’s 1984 – our gadgets are spying on us and government says whatever they want to manipulate citizens.
There is a lot of buzz about the new HULU show Handmaid’s Tale. I haven’t read the book but the show has terrified me to the point of nightmares. Many articles present this show as timely. That frightens me even more!!
I took this photograph today. One might guess it was taken in the 1960s or 1970s due to the vinyl records and film camera. This digital age is really playing on trick on us, isn’t it? We like vintage (or vintage inspired items) and our fancy phones allow us to apply filters that remind us of old photographs. What on earth are we thinking?! Are we pining for another time that is not ours? I wonder how my generation will be remembered. As I flip through TV stations and listen to music, I notice most shows or tunes are remakes or samples of older, popular ones from the 70s & 80s. Just last night I watched the Gong Show and my husband told me this show is a copycat of one on decades ago (see GONG SHOW). SO will we be the copycat generation? The totally unoriginal generation? What a shame. Guess I will never know!
(I took this photograph years ago as part of a project that fell through. It’s colors are not as vibrant as they are during the month of July, but I still like it)
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had a headache since January 20, 2017. The POTUS Tweets and minute-to-minute commentary by the media has made me turn my TV off and close my social media accounts. And that is a GREAT thing. I’m shocked by Americans who waste precious time writing their long rants on Facebook and fighting with strangers online. That helps NO ONE and, quite frankly, is embarrassing! What has happened to us? I’m not one who cares about appearances, but I often what other countries think of us. I do hope they realize not all of us are the same. Not all of us are disrespectful, ungrateful and greedy humans. Some of us are very thankful for our freedom (like the ability for me to used this platform to say whatever I feel like saying!) Read this article about a blogger arrested in Vietnam for expressing her opinion on the government:
Lucky me! I can say what I want and not fear being arrested. Wow. Take a minute to digest that. And that is possible because lots of people before us were brave enough to fight for it whether on paper or in person. Thank YOU. THANK YOU!
This Is Getting Old
As I think about birthdays past, I realize my priorities have changed greatly. When we’re little we want all the children from school to share in our big day and we wish for many, many cool presents. Now that I am an adult (according to my license anyway) I find birthdays a nice excuse to take the day off from work and do something meaningful. I would never consider taking a personal day before, but I’ve been at my current job quite sometime, and feel senior enough to do it. Last year I told my husband the only thing I wanted to do was visit the local animal shelter and pet the cats. And that is exactly what we did.
This year all I wanted to do is play the piano. Sounds simple, right? Well, not exactly. We don’t own a piano and my parent’s piano is SO out of tune that it is unpleasant to play. I decided to use the piano at the Providence Public Library. Yes, you read that right, a library has a piano to play, for free. We planned a morning of walking downtown and stopping by shop local shops and bookstores. A stop at the Arcade prompted a mini research session at the library with a very knowledgeable librarian.
This girl’s idea of a romantic, relaxing birthday – music, shopping and getting lost in the stacks of a bookstore with her love. Can’t beat it.
PVD donuts for breakfast! Local milk?! Yes please!
(Vintage items from Carmen & Ginger!)
PVD donuts for breakfast! Local milk?! Yes please!
(Vintage items from Carmen & Ginger!)
This Is Getting Old
Every time I sign into Facebook it seems someone is promising a new product that will help you achieve a flat belly, regain vitality and get younger looking skin. It seems we are trying everything we can to avoid getting old. Can someone please explain to me why getting old is so bad? I’ll admit, now that I am approaching my mid-thirties, I am starting to see things I never saw before – looser skin, crow’s feet and some creepy purple veins that I might want to sport only on Halloween. Often I revisit old photos of friends and family and I see a younger, tighter me. She was great. And I am still great. I consider myself an updated version; Kristin 3.0. What I think people need to realize is, no matter how hard you try, YOU WILL NEVER BE 25 AGAIN. I know, that was harsh. Deal with it. You can wrap yourself in magic towels, pop vitamins or drink shakes and still you will age.
The world keeps spinning and Father Time keeps his watch. I think it’s fascinating to watch how people age, especially through photographs. I think I have looked at Nicholas Nixon’s books hundreds of time. Click HERE to read an article about him in the NYT. He did a series of portraits of his wife and her sisters. Over time he’s taken forty photographs of them. When you line them all up you can see subtle differences in each girl’s face and hair. It’s magical. I imagine each line on their face was a mark left by grief, anger, joy or laughter. Imagine that!
We are moving through time. We may not realize it because we are busy with school, work and LIFE, but it’s true. I envision earning wrinkles every time I smile. If that is the case, I predict many, many wrinkles, because not a day goes by that I am not smiling. We are eager to “buy time” – take this product and it will set the clock back or exercise real hard and your heart will be healthy. The latter may be true but I see buying time in a different light. Sometimes, when I am stressed with life’s duties I stop, throw in the towel and take a walk. Going outdoors always makes me feel small, but part of something much larger. It is a good reality check. Some days I stop and look at my husband doing some mundane thing and it warms my heart. I like to think these moments help buy some time and offset other stressful events in my life that have left their mark. This is why I think wrinkles are so beautiful. They are battle scars left between good and bad, happy and sad.
“Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.”
― Robert Browning
My mother has always lead by example, whether she realizes it or not. One of those shining examples is the fact that she has the ability to stay in tune with her youth. As I get older, I realize I need that ability. I might have the idea, but rarely act upon it.
I was at Target this weekend and came across this tipi. The kid inside of me was REALLY excited. I had to fight the temptation of getting in the tipi. I walked away and headed to the registers thinking about my childhood. This made me think about forts. Ever build a fort when you were a kid? If you have a parent who doesn’t like the furniture rearranged, they probably weren’t a fan. I’d drag chairs and take all the blankets I could find and built the best fort I could. It was so much fun!
Adults are just so serious. We’re so caught up in life, I think we forget to have fun. And I don’t mean adult fun, but KID fun. Sometimes I am tempted to build a fort. My husband is always willing to help, as he’s mentioned a few times before. Today is snow day. Maybe today will be the day….
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I am so overwhelmed!! As a consumer, I find there are FAR too many options out there. There are so many big box stores who offer the same thing. Watching the news, I notice lots of stores closing – JCPenny, Macy’s, Sears etc. Perhaps they couldn’t survive among their competitors. I’m starting to see way too many vacant stores as I drive by and it makes me sad. Part of me wishes someone would knock them all down and plant miles and miles of gardens.
Too much of a good thing. Is it possible? Yes. With digital music, I can pull up any song in an instant. This has made me completely sick and tired of music. Gone are the days where I’d order an album from the library and have only a week to listen. My husband and I have given up our digital accounts. Paying for digital music has made us jaded. We recently purchased a record player and will borrow albums from the library.
We subscribe to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. When we finally settle in for the night, we spend most of the time browsing the vast selections and never even watching a thing. And while we don’t have cable, does one REALLY need THAT many channels? It’s all too much.
We’ve decided retrogressing is the way to go. We may keep Netflix but we’d rather read or use our hands for a craft. While I am happy these stores employ many people, part of me wishes consumers would cut more cords and shop locally. This would take a huge transition and I can’t foresee it happening any time soon, although the shop local movement has come very far.
My husband & I were watching this show on Netflix the other day. There was a great episode covering the ground-breaking shows of the 70s like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore. I requested a copy of All in the Family and Maude on dvd from my library the other day so I could watch these shows which I’ve really only heard of.
I hardly watch TV. We do not have cable. We have our old rabbit ears so we can have NBC & CBS. The only show I really, truly enjoy is This Is Us. The characters and plot seem genuine and really get to the heart of family matters. People must love this show because, it truly is one of a kind for today’s standards. Other TV shows have the same topics – medical emergencies, criminal investigations or zombie apocalypses. This got me thinking about present day TV. It can’t beat the TV shows of the 70s, 80s and (some) 90s. These TV shows had morals and A POINT! We learned lessons from the faults of the flawed characters. Some, dare I say, were considered HEROES. Or some were just FUN – good clean FUN!
One of the many reasons we don’t pay for cable is because we aren’t home enough to watch it! By the time we settle in for TV time it is late and we are tired. Most of the time we end up scrolling through endless options on Netflix or Hulu and all we really accomplish is adding more selections to our queue.
Somedays I think we should just cut the cord completely. When I was single and living on my own, I didn’t even have rabbit ears for my small tv. I simply borrowed a dvd or box set from the library and watched that once in a while. I think about all that time I had to read books!! I think we should try it. I wonder if I can convince my husband…….
I have a love/hate relationship with the typical New Year’s resolutions; save more money, lose weight etc. Each year I try to reexamine the previous year (usually in photographs) and figure out some attainable goals for the following year – ones that will bring me JOY.
1. Less pop music, more podcasts
2. Less iPhone more film cameras
3. Less typing, more handwriting
4. Less social media, more time with friends
5. Utilize the resources ahead of me and see what inspiration springs forth
I think 5 is about all I can handle.
Turning this computer off right now to finish listening to the New York Public Library’s podcast of
“Sally Mann on Ethical Photography and Stories”
Seems life makes a girl too busy. I often have trouble making time for the things I want to do.
For years now I have wanted to make my great-grandmother’s cookies. These cookies are made from scratch, so this would consume a lot of time (including dishes!!)
When I got married, mom passed along the recipe to me. Over a year later, I’ve tried it.
I invited my friend to help by reading the directions to me since it is pretty messy!
I think they came out great. I was hoping for a very light color purple for the icing, but I am afraid I am stuck with 90s purple! Oh well!
I’m bringing this small tray for mom tomorrow. I tried making her initials! Looks alright!
Where Are All the Skilled Workers?
I walk my dog everyday. I enjoy the fresh air and the time to THINK.
Today we took a different route. We passed by the cobbler’s shop.
For those of you under the age of, say, 30, you probably never heard the term.
A cobbler is a skilled person who mends shoes (not a pie, thank you).
The cobbler in my town is probably close to retirement. Once at his shop I asked if he had an apprentice. He said no, no one is interested in learning the trade.
I can understand why. It would take years of training for very little money.
That prompted me to think about the future of small mom&pop shops, most especially skilled tradesmen(& women). If we don’t pass these skills down, what happens next? No cobbler.
Guess we will have to just keep buying new shoes.
It kind of makes me sad, that thought. Today I brought my late mother-in-law’s ring to the local jeweler A Jour. He is an incredibly talented jeweler (and artist, if you ask me!) He is another example of a skill that may not be passed on.
Then again, if we continue to buy items made overseas that are cheap, I suppose we won’t need these skilled people will we?
That is pretty disturbing.
This is why I love the library. I can get a book on almost anything and try and teach myself a skill.
I will certainly never be a cobbler or a jeweler but can at least educate myself!
This is a Labor of Love
It has been almost ONE year since I married Kevin. The wedding was very sentimental and included lots of items like mom & grandma’s wedding dresses.
(Mom and I at the wedding with the dresses on display)
After the wedding was over, I gave my mom the dresses back. We started a conversation about what to do with all the dresses. Hers is still in great shape but grandma’s really took a beating.
My mother and I were on Pinterest looking at ideas on how to transform dresses into keepsakes but never really talked about it after that.
Today I paid mom a visit after a long and frustrating day; quite frankly in a cranky mood. Of course she was in a great mood and happy to see me as always. But here is why –
Mom spent a lot of time taking apart grandma’s dress and making it into this lovely Christmas tree skirt. She was careful to use many of the details of the dress. The button and loop of the train now help secure the skirt sides together. The many loops and buttons are now flowers. The lace edges are from the veil. And if you look closely, she took the smallest of beads for extra detail.
This is the most wonderful item I have ever received. I cannot wait for Christmas!
There is one more item! A Christmas tree angel!
Librarians Are Awesome.
It is amazing what librarians can find with very little information.
My friend Emily works at RISD Fleet library in Providence RI.
(If you’ve never been, I strongly suggest checking it out. )
I asked her if she could find a particular video clip for me. I was looking for a dress made of rubber bands from a past RISD student fashion show.
VOILA she found it!
At the 20:13 mark:
Some days I call Facebook a necessary evil. You want to look up a rating of some business, other than Yelp? FB is your answer. Other days, I throw some expletives in there and that is all I can bring myself to say about it. I cannot remember exactly when I signed up for Facebook, but I gather it was sometime when I was in college. Mind you, this was long before smart phones. Admittedly, I spent some days scrolling through feed, on my desktop computer, stalking friends and classmates (don’t get snobby here, you cannot deny at first you did too.)
I maybe posted photos with friends and perhaps a few spicy pics ( don’t get too excited, spicy for me might be a slightly fitted, v-neck L.L. Bean T-shirt.) It took me quite some time to figure out that Facebook was NOT good for me. It was occupying too much of my time and I was comparing myself a bit too much to my former classmates who were already doctors, lawyers or perfect busy stay-at-home moms. SO, I QUIT. I left Facebook for a good 8 or 9 years. Fast forward to the wedding last year. Here’s a new family from out of town who wanted to stay in touch. Better believe the pressure got to me. They said “oh but you’ll miss the cute photos of kid as he grows up.” Damn she was right. It happened soon after that – I signed up shortly after the new year.
Welcome 2016. My how Facebook has changed and it hasn’t. People still use the platform for complaining, bragging and whining. They are constantly professing their love for each other (but really isn’t saying it to the person in private more meaningful?)
They also use it for promotion and sharing positive energy (which I appreciate A LOT). I enjoy reading articles from numerous sources that I might not be able to access in print. Some of the photos are wonderful to look at – babies growing up, cute dogs posing and of course amazing vacation photos! Sometimes I travel the world just looking at my feed. BUT I do wonder if people are actually enjoying vacation when they are spending so much time uploading photos?!
This new Facebook snoops on me a lot more (for example. there’s an ad in my feed for a product I looked up on Amazon 24 hours ago). It is also now platform for a gazillion multilevel marketing/pyramid selling programs. I had NO idea how many of the schemes are out there until I rejoined FB. It is amazing what people are selling – weight loss cures, magic makeup, neck skin tightener, stretch mark remover etc. It is despicable really. Doesn’t anyone know you can do these things on your own? You can workout at a gym or like us, we workout at home or walk outside where the fresh air is free and plentiful. You can buy your own makeup and apply it without someone telling you how. Try a LIBRARY. Read a BOOK. That is usually my approach. And that is usually my answer when I feel as if I have spent too much of Facebook. I turn the device off and crack open a book. Although Facebook is still busy tracking my location and what I just Googled, I at least can enjoy my book freely.
Libraries Are Note Obsolete.
It’s safe to say I’m a pretty passionate person. I’m not rowdy by any means but I do have some strong opinions that I generally keep to myself. I think in the day and age of social media rants, it is a bit more tasteful to save your opinions for something you find important.
I was recently told that someone called our local library OBSOLETE.
I know the person. I work full time at the library and have never seen this person use our library, EVER. It’s a bit like saying a product taste terrible when you’ve actually never TRIED It before. Now THAT gets my goat.
I was having a discussion with my supervisor and we were a little bit troubled by the fact that libraries always have to prove themselves. There are countless articles online about the importance of libraries. Don’t people already know how great they are?! This prompted me to write a letter to editor of the local paper, the Bristol Phoenix. I do hope they publish it. If not, feel free to click below to read it and SHARE if you’d like!
Update: It was published!