Living Through News

We wake up each morning to news stories that really make you think.  Today was a mix of banned bake sales, solar flares, thwarted bomb plots and cheating politicians.  Some of these are new and some are not, still they can capture our attention.

I often wonder if the world is safe or if freedom will ever truly be realized again.  I won’t go into politics because that spells disaster and I’m not necessarily looking for a debate, but I simply fear for the future at times.  But I think generations through time did this as well.  Haven’t you read classic literature that ponders and fears over changes in society?

I don’t want to live in fear.  I see bomb plots uncovered, only to recognize how advanced terrorism is, and how my family is very much their target, because we are all American.

I want to believe that if I have kids, that I can teach them healthy eating habits and still bake a pie to raise money for a carnival.

I know to never trust a politician.  If you think they are dishonest going in, there is less room for disappointment.  Hell, I think our mayor even looks slimey.

Solar flares that can knock out power grids.  Well, I don’t doubt that these sort of events have happened over time, but with our advancements, life is just more complicated as we try to make it easier.  I want to live knowing that I can survive without my computer or my cell phone if I had to.  If I had to live off my land or have a community of smart and innovative people, I’d like to think we could get by the way people did for thousands of years before us.  Still I know some people who would cry if they lost their phone charger.

I’m a news addict.  I read all I can and I listen to all I can, from all different sources and opinionated perspectives.  I like to form my own judgments and perspectives while I put faith where I know it counts; in myself and the people I can count on.  No, we aren’t perfect, but I know they have my back and I have theirs.  I can’t trust anyone else in the world to care for me.

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Pep Talk to Myself

I know I’ve hinted at this before, but life is going to change for me (for us) in two months.  It’s the whole “giving up security and chasing dreams” thing.  At this point, with my husband by my side, it has been decided and I’m going to take a leap.  I’m luckily enough to have the support of family, friends and fellow dreamers/bloggers to do this, even if my head tells me I’m slightly crazy.  (Thank you.)

I can’t help but notice that now that I’ve mentally made a decision, the rest of my body needs to follow along; and it’s not too eager yet.  The next phase of my life will be very challenging, though the hardest part will be regaining and maintaining willpower that I’ve had in years past.  I have slacked for some time now and I’ve done what I wanted, when I wanted (outside of the hours of 8am to 5pm that is).  I’m not the Superwoman I once was.  I’m lazier and my body, energy and wallet suffer because of it.  Soon there won’t be room for gluttonous activity, at least not on a daily basis.

I had major surgery last March and it physically put me out of commission for several months.  I’m not sure I’ve been back to myself since before that happened.  There’s absolutely no reason to let this continue.  I’m at that turning point that I usually question in other people; “How did they end up there? What happened?”

Goals to get Shannon back:

  • Try harder at everything; AKA stop skating by.
  • Put down things I don’t need to purchase.
  • Eat less and eat better.  Stop eating what makes you feel ill and don’t forget your vitamins.
  • Show more love to others by loving, not by buying things.
  • Be a better friend.
  • Sit up tall, get to sleep earlier and stop telling yourself you’re tired.
  • Have faith that no matter what happens, it’ll work out.

No jokes today kids, just the sad reality that if I want things to change, I have to make changes. I like to think that if I publicly commit myself to something, it might be easier to succeed.  Sometimes honesty outplays humor and this is all I’ve got to give during an evening of contemplation.

I have this quote in my “Ultimate Purpose” page, and it’s time to live by it:

“To change your life: Start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions.” ― William Jones

The Easter Bunny is Making Me Chubby

I’m also going to blame Santa, St. Patrick, Revolutionary War veterans, ok all veterans, the Pagans that started Halloween and the Pilgrims.

I realize a furry bunny did not force a chocolate one down my throat; or peeps or jelly beans.  So maybe I should blame my metabolism for failing me when it should clearly know that I like to celebrate every holiday with food; it’s the American way.  Continue reading

How Do Dumb People Survive?

As a homeowner, I watch HGTV pretty often.  My husband and I are handy people and have successfully completed a lot of DIY projects and renovations ourselves, by planning, budgeting, compromising and seeing the value of hard work.  There is also a crazy concept of opening your mind and imagining possibilities.  Not to toot our own horn, but we bought our first house together, which was a fixer-upper and have made it into a comfortable and modern home.  We also aren’t in debt up to our eyeballs because of it.  We aren’t wealthy, but we get by, so it’s not out of bitterness that I ask this; why are wealthy people so stupid?

I see shows like House Hunters and people will say, “We have a budget of only $900,000.”  Only?  Are you serious?  Then I think, well, they must be pretty smart to have gotten that far ahead.  And then the show continues, followed by ridiculously stupid and naïve comments.

“I don’t want that first house because the kitchen was yellow and that’s ugly.”

 

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Handling the Lottery Win…Mentally

To be honest, I didn’t expect it, so there isn’t any disappointment. Like most offices in the states that participate in this lottery, we had an office pool. It was going to be interesting to split it between 244 people. I felt exhausted thinking about the chaos that would ensue and the way people would then sue like crazy, we’d probably never get paid.  To not play though would be foolish.  Who wants to be that guy on Monday who sits alone when people have already booked a cruise and rolled in with their new car?  What a disaster that would be.

It’s funny to think of the possibilities; not so much on what we’d buy but how it would change us. I figured, if we split the jackpot and won just a simple million, I’d try to be conservative and invest it well so it lasted awhile. But you can’t be anonymous anymore when you win. So of course I’d do some good things for family and close friends, but imagine what it would be like when you go to the pub for a night out. Everyone would expect you to pay, all the time, and if you don’t, you’re a jerk. Continue reading

Busy Hands Generation. Are You One of Them?

My Dad brought up a good point recently. He said, “When you go to a bar, what do you see? A drink and a cellphone in front of every person at the bar.” We’ve sat at various pubs since and noticed that he was right. And if a little LED blinks? Forget it. It’s like a gravitational pull that the phone owner cannot avoid. The world might deconstruct if the blinking light is not appeased.

“Must touch phone. Red light needs my fumbling hands. Please note, I’m no longer listening.  The pull is too strong and I am too weak.”

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How Do You Get Out of a Slump?

My writing has suffered as of late, but I refuse to give up.  I can tell that it’s suffering because not as many people are reading it either.  I’m mentally preparing for some pretty big decisions in my life and that has launched a grenade into my creative thinking brain space.  I’ve learned that there are few things that don’t fix this struggle:

  1. An ice cream and cookie diet.  One, it makes everything feel messy, like my keyboard, my phone, my face.  I’m not a slob; I think that eating unhealthy food just makes everything feel gross; including the extra pound or five.  It’s really only made me feel worse about myself and worry more.  This does not lead to creative brain activity.
  2. Diving into a romance trilogy.  As hereditarily impatient as I am, I must finish a book immediately after starting it.  So, last week I cracked open a romance trilogy about Irish sisters and it’s consumed my free time.  I honestly find solace in reading things like that now and then because I get a cheap giggle and get all sappy without making my husband watch a terrible chick flick.  Plus, I’ve always been one of the guys, so these allow me to be a girl without publicly announcing it.  Oh wait, I just did.  Regardless, these books only make me long for something, which makes me restless.  This one is making me Ireland-sick.  It’s not my home, just a place we’ve spent a month, and that I long for regularly.  This could lead to daydreaming and hence inspiration though, let me mull over this one.
  3. Neglecting friends.  This is never a good idea.  When I’m feeling uninspired though, I become a hermit and increasingly lazy.  Do not think about looking at my house right now either.  Where did all these clothes come from by the way?  Have I always shedded this much?  What a mess.
  4. Lacking a theme.  Months ago, I initially hoped to focus on being an old soul.  It has made an appearance through several posts, but for the most part, this blog has lacked consistency.  It most likely just emulates my mind’s patterns. I simply have too many interests.  That should be the biggest goal, to lay down a solid foundation and finish out the rest of the year right.  If you’re been reading this, I’m more than open to any ideas or inspiring thoughts on how to do that without creating a mundane goal.

Well, as one not to dwell too long, tomorrow I’m going to hesitantly go to a happy hour, socialize with some friends, eat healthy and finish that trilogy before I go to bed so I have free time this weekend.  Ok, that last part is a lame attempt to justify staying up late and appease my curiosity.  But I do it for my craft.  Maybe I’ll even dust on Saturday.

Then, with a clear mind, I’ll recreate myself.  How do you find inspiration, especially if you’re writing a 365 blog?

At Peace With Paper

This week has been anything but exciting.  My highlight (so far) came from the fact that I perused our little town newspaper and found an ad that all county residents can drop off all personal documents they need shredded, during a free recycling event Saturday.  This is very exciting.  Do you know what this means?  It means that I can avoid sitting in front of my cheap, hand-me-down shredder for a few hours, while I destroy receipts, bills and credit card applications, to the sound of a whiney and overworked motor.

It means no paper cuts.

It means no more piles of “I’ll get to that”.

It means silence – less frustration – and no overheating small appliances.

I try to be organized, but my ambitions and lack of time only take me so far.  I have a file box with hanging folders that are appropriately labeled and organized.  Instead, I usually end up with a three inch pile of paperwork that is crammed between the tops of the folders and the lid.  Eventually the lid doesn’t close; I drag the box somewhere and it spews all over.  Not today.  I spent the last couple hours weeding through the least eighteen months of paper we “might need to reference one day” and I’m so ready for Saturday.

You can say I’m lame and ask why I’m actually wasting even more time on this by writing about it, but it’s truly exciting to me.  Just a couple months ago, I dreamed of having myself an office and a workable and clean workspace.  I’m so close.  My walls still need to be painted and my books are in Rubbermaid tubs for the moment, but my desk is perfect, as I’m not pushed up against a wall and I’m not seeing scattered piles of paper to distract me from the calm demeanor this room is supposed to enable.  I feel at peace with paper.

Now, what to do with my hoards of greeting cards that I’ve saved…

Sometimes I wish I were heartless.  My house would be so much less cluttered and my basement would be empty to build our dream pub.  For another day, I’m feeling too accomplished to put that kind of weight on my shoulders tonight.

Photo courtesy of rangershredding.com.

A Doily Away From “Old Lady”

The weekend is here, and that means antique shopping; walking from place to place buying old stuff I really don’t need but really, really want. I love finding antique pieces for our house, furniture to knickknacks that give our home the kind of character that Ikea can’t. My rule is that my purchases must always have function or they can’t come home with me.  Old kitchen tools are some of my favorite, even though old ladies condescendingly ask if I know what it is that I’m buying.  Yes, I know what it is, and I guarantee I’ll use it more than somebody buying it for just kitschy wall décor.

Antique character is not for everyone. My brother for example, thinks that old furniture is creepy and reminds him of dead people.  It’s a little extreme to me, but then again I’m an old soul, whereas he’s a hip 20 year old.

That being said, in a small home like ours, it’s easy to teeter on the side of excess. As I’ve said before, the key to life is “everything in moderation”. This holds true with antiques too unfortunately.  Our house is officially full of old furniture and I’m sad to say, I think I’m out of space.

When we bought our house from an elderly man, his children were going to donate all his furniture and were kind enough to ask if we’d like any.  For one, we didn’t have any furniture to start with, except for a bed, which, sorry but an antique mattress is one of the only things that would creep me out.  Two, so much of his furniture was from the 30’s and 40’s, with beautiful veneers and sturdy wood frames.  And who doesn’t want a full size Hi-Fi? I am still giddy about having the monster piece of furniture that plays my record collection with surprisingly good sound.  My husband even fashioned a jack so I can plug my iPod into it.  In the end, we all won and it also saved the owner’s kids the hassle of having it all hauled away.

Before we got our modern couches and rug, our house was filled with just old wood furniture.  We relied on the old couches from my Dad’s basement for a while and the house didn’t quite have our special touch to it; that attempt of a perfect mix between vintage and modern.  My Dad stopped over one day and said, “Shan, you’re about a doily away from living in an old lady house.  You’re not going to start covering the furniture in plastic are you?”

I began to feel instantly insecure.  Could my love of old “stuff” go too far?  Did I pass by being hip 20-something, only to teeter on retirement?

Maybe his mockery helped point me in the right direction.  Who knows where things could have gone.  It is safe to say that the mix is fairly complete now and we more often than not, get compliments on how our house looks like something out of a magazine.  And since I’m a pretty serious recycler, I’m happy to see these old wooden monsters have a new life outside of the landfill.

Tea Time Vs. Coffee Dash

Courtesy of AboutChamomile.com

The Boston Tea Party was a little different from the one I had this afternoon with my Aunt.  Tea Rooms celebrate a time long gone and tend to shy away from encouraging any hostility towards the British.  As a matter of fact, English Breakfast tea remains one of the most popular black tea options on any tea menu, no matter where you are seeking your (insert overcompensating English accent here) “spot o’ tea”.  These establishments are typically Victorian in nature and somewhat gaudy, but in a way that isn’t worthy of an eye roll, but instead a “This is adorable” response.

Tea really could have been an American thing too.  We could have stopped work at 3pm in the afternoon and enjoyed a little tea time ourselves, had American Colonists remained satisfied with bowing down and paying taxes to British Royalty.  Instead, we began to import coffee.  In our American live to work society today, coffee time could be considered the mad rush to wait in line or drive-thru at a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to get a cream and sugar coffee concoction and guzzle on the way to the office.  Not quite a break at all, now is it?

Americans spend somewhere around 18 million dollars in coffee sales each year, as opposed to the approximately 7 million we spend on tea.  We do enjoy our caffeine, but both of these also present health benefits if, like everything else, used in moderation.

The list of tea’s health benefits seem to grow regularly and include the following:

  • Aid in a healthier immune system
  • Fights free radicals with antioxidants
  • Assists in fresher breath and cleaner teeth
  • Calorie-free (until you add your sugar, cream and/or honey of course)
  • Herbal varieties tout specific health benefits from stomach issues to lower cholesterol
    • Example: peppermint tea for an upset stomach
  • Less caffeine than coffee but its theanine increases mental alertness
  • Flavonoids protect the heart and may reduce certain cancers

Coffee is not without its own health benefits, though the news makes it difficult to maintain a good read on whether or not it does more harm or good.  Either way, this is what coffee is said to be responsible for the possible prevention of:

  • Type 2 diabetes (Found in both regular and decaf varieties)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Certain Cancers
  • Heart problems
  • Strokes
  • Liver disease

Whatever option you choose, recycle your Styrofoam cup and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy an elegant cup of something to warm yourself this winter.  After all, the relaxation alone could lead to the biggest health benefit you could use right about now, mental stability.

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