Look For It

She walked toward me and I noticed one thing.

Not her clothes or lack of designer clothes.

Not her hair, for all that mattered it could not have been washed today and pulled back in a ponytail.

Not her size or her shape, or how did she let that happen.

Not her shoes and purse, and whether they came from Wal Mart or Kate Spade.

I noticed her smile!  It changed my day.

ImageImage

100%

Choose wisely.

Whatever you choose give it 100% until the job, the task, the race is complete.

Choose less.

It is impossible to give 100% if there is too much to juggle.

Choose play.

Not everything that you give 100% can be about work.

Choose you.

Not everything that you give 100% can be about others.

Choose to make a difference.

Give 100% to causes that will change another person’s life.

Choose rest.

You cannot continue to give 100% if you never rest.

Choose not to give 110%

You can only give 100%, go beyond that, and life gets out of balance.

Choose 100% every time.

You will be proud.

Image

Thinking about The Think Tank

The Brooking Institute is ranked as one of the most influential think tanks in the world.  Brookings was founded in 1916 and today in 2013 is still in existence.  I have heard the name Brooking Institute and I have read the name Brooking Institute, but I have never slowed down to research the reason the institute was founded, and why, and how it has continued for so many years.  Fifty years old and I never took the time to learn about the Brooking Institute.  What else have I missed?  What else have I been oblivious towards? What have I been doing for the past fifty years?

A customer stopped by my office today as their son had graduated from college and is living in Washington D.C. and participating as an intern at The Brooking Institute.  The discussion included questions about their insurance and the changes that would be needed due to the son’s graduation and move out of state.

The conversation continued and I quickly found myself having to really focus on their needs.  Their son, obviously the brightest of bright or he would not be interning at the Brooking Institute, and then there is me and I do not even understand the purpose or the function of The Brooking Institute?

It was a moment of panic.  A moment that reminded me there is so much that I don’t know, and so much that I could learn.   A moment that reminded me to slow down, contemplate, and research if I see a word, a place, a person’s name, or a concept that is unknown or unfamiliar.   Just a few years ago most research meant a trip to the library or to a set of encyclopedias.  Today the whole world and a vast knowledge base is right at your fingertips. The internet and all the search engines along with all the other technology tools have changed our lives.  There is no excuse for not learning something new every day.  Just taking a peek at learnstuff.com once a day would be a good start!

I may never make it to The Brooking Institute think tank, but there many opportunities in my world for a think tank. Just thinking about the most awesome think tank in the world really got me thinking!

Image

My Purse is My Barometer

barometer is a scientific instrument used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure.  Pressure is word that could be interchanged with stress.   I would like to submit that my purse is my barometer.

No worries, I am not going to dwell on the fact that lack of money in one’s purse can cause pressure or stress and therefore my purse is my barometer.

Instead, I will focus on the fact that when my purse is out of control and in a state of disorderly conduct, my life is typically in state of disorderly conduct.

I stumbled upon this fact several years ago and began using my purse as a barometer.

Typically pressure builds and builds and eventually reaches a maximum level before things start to blow up.

When my purse gets too heavy and I am carrying too many things around with me, then I am probably trying to juggle too many things in my life. I need to toss some things out.

When my purse has so many receipts and I can’t find the one I need, then my desk at home probably has too many piles.  I need to stay home for an evening and get organized.

When I have seventeen pens in my purse because I keep adding another one every time I leave my office, then I probably have duplicates of items in my home that I keep adding to because I am not keeping things together.

Let your purse be your guide.

You’ll know when it’s time.  Time to go home, take a step back, take a deep breath, regroup, get organized, get your thoughts in order, get yourself back together, throw out some stuff, put some stuff in the right place, take inventory, and lighten your load!

How do you know when it’s time to go home and pull yourself back together?

Image

Sushi and Boys

Rain and rush hour traffic through downtown Atlanta and trying to make it to the airport, doesn’t really seem like a pleasant evening.

It is funny how that combination turned into one lovely evening.

My son and his wife were returning from a trip out west, so it was a good reason to be going to the airport in the rain, in rush hour traffic, through downtown Atlanta.  But I was not looking forward to the journey, just the people I was retrieving.

I left the office at 5:00 and drove by my home to grab my daughter.  Sushi has been on her brain for the past two weeks.  When she gets something on her mind, she really gets it on her mind.  She really wants sushi for dinner.   Take out sushi, never considered it, but ok.  We are going to be in the car for several hours.

We place an order for sushi and make a quick stop.  She feeds me sushi as we drive along.  What an interesting twist, she is feeding me.  I knew this day would come one day when our roles would reverse and she would be my caregiver.  She is ready!  I just hope she doesn’t have to feed me for a really really long time.  Fifty makes you think about these things.

In two weeks my daughter starts high school.   This summer I have been contemplating many subjects that we need to discuss.  A few things that I learned in high school that I really want my daughter to know have been swirling around in my thoughts.  It has been thirty years since my high school experience, and I have survived one round of high school with my son where I picked up some additional knowledge.

Our time in the car last evening was spent eating sushi and talking about high school.  High school and drugs and alcohol and boys and sex and studying and s.a.t scores and what you want to do after high school.  We talked about consequences and choices during the next four years and how it  can change your life forever.  She never tried to run from any of the discussions, well she could not run because she was trapped in the car with me!

We talked about boys and standing her ground.  We talked about freshmen girls and upper class boys.  I told her to remind them that they just don’t know her mama.  Remind them her mama runs up mountains while she is sleeping on Saturday mornings.  She is tough and she is protective.

I hope that she remembers the evening that we spent in the car and the conversations that we had.

We picked up my son and his wife and the conversation quickly changed to their adventures.  Life changes as quickly as the conversations change!  Turn the page, move on to the next chapter.  You never know what is waiting for you!  Pay attention, it’s going fast!

Image

Training for Life

Time ticked slowly away as I watched the swimmers make their way to the opposite end, flip turn, and repeat.  Over and over the same scene played out as the swimmers worked to improve their time and perfect their swim strokes. 

Waiting patiently, watching this methodical back and forth, and finally thinking I should be swimming laps while I am waiting.  I bought some goggles, I bought a swim suit appropriate for the aquatic center, I bought a swim cap and I jumped in and started swimming.  That was four years ago. 

A  poster hanging at the entrance for a local triathlon caught my attention.    I ran and I got out my bike and I swam and I did it.  Then I did another one and another one.  Then I ran some and I ran some more and some more.  I ran until I ran a marathon. 

I fell in love with training.  I made some new friends.  Friends that loved training too.  We pushed ourselves to new limits.  We ran up mountains, we swam in lovely lakes, we ran up six hundred steps.  We sweated and planned the next adventure before we finished the last.

Today as I related the grueling workout from the night before to a friend, they asked what race are you getting ready to run?  I laughed and said, I am not training for any race.  I guess that I am just training to be training.  And to this they replied, you are in training for life!  Yes that’s it, training for life!  There are ups, there are downs, and there are transitions.  Sometimes it’s smooth, and sometimes it’s bumpy.  Every day is an adventure!  Yes life, I am trained and ready to roll with your flow.

Image

Date It

Date it.  Not a blog about E-Harmony!

Date it, as in put a date on it!

Just reading a professional organizers article on her top 10 organization tips.  Put a date on every piece of paper that crosses your desk.

This is definitely a rule in my office as every piece of correspondence is date stamped.

Why would this rule not work in my personal office as well?

She recommended putting a date on everything including grocery lists, to do lists, coupons, gift certificates, even stuff clipped out of magazines.

I rarely clip things from magazines as Pinterest and Houzz have solved that organizational problem or maybe I should say created another obsession and distraction.

My hubs has already got this date thing down.  He loves to buy certain things in bulk and he loves to mark the date on the items with the swipe of a big black sharpie. Could it be that he is really ahead of the game when it comes to organization?  In his case the date reminds him what to use next.  I suspect he learned this trick from owning a convenience store.

Dates on the paper that are written in large print would allow you to purge quickly, remind you to use the coupons and gift certificates before they expire, and remind you time is ticking to take some action.  After all how many times do you squint to see the date on coupons only to see that they are expired.

So go ahead DATE IT, date everything you see!  I think I’ll try it.  Low cost organizational idea, after all how much does it cost to buy a sharpie!  I suspect there are a few sharpies in that unorganized desk drawer right where those piles of paper are stacked without dates! Organize, it’s on the list fifty is 50!

sharpie1

I shop, I don’t mop

A shopping spree with a fourteen you old is always quite interesting.

We never made it to the mall.

It seems there is a trend with clothing stores for younger girls outside the mall. Dress Up, Francesca’s, and Lavender to name a few.  They have whimsical and eclectic down to an art.

Trendy clothes that are arranged by colors.  If you love orange or if you love purple, just go to the section where you see that color.  Of course we looked at all the colors.

It’s  not the world of  J Crew, Abercrombie, or Banana Republic when it comes to classic style or well-made qualities.  Disposable and trendy would be better adjectives.   Disposable meaning the trend will fade, more than likely the fabric will fade, stretch, and seams will tear.  We will see if it lasts even a year, maybe just a season.

Young pretty faces reminding you of sales and such are zig zagging throughout the store. Jewelry, scarves, and baubles fill baskets and tables.

Dressing room doors are painted with black chalk paint.  Philosophical graffiti written in chalk, with the ability to change  your art and quotes as quickly as you change your mind.    Graphic signs with quotes and hanging everywhere.  Signs that announce “Love is Having a Dog”, “I don’t need to flirt with you, I will seduce you with my awkwardness”,  “Nope, no monsters here, carry on”, and one that really caught my eye “I shop, I don’t mop”! There you go the reason that young girls don’t do housework anymore.  Graphic signs are filling their minds with nonsense!  But you know what, I pick shopping over mopping any day of the week!

The prices,  YES,  they beat those classic and better made stores.  But in the end the fourteen year old will grow and their ideas of fashion will change much quicker that my 50 year old ideas.  Guess what?  Mom jeans are back, those are long gone from my closet and they will not be coming back.  Jeans that come up to your belly button combined with fabric that doesn’t give an inch.  Just say no to that torture, and fashion nightmare.  Must be true, what goes around, comes back around.

My daughter even announced on the way home, it was a great day and I love my clothes! Now that’s worth the trip to hear it was  “great day” from a fourteen year old with mood swings as wide as, well I don’t even know a word to finish that statement!  Truth is I choose shopping over mopping.  Great days always trump so so days!

ImageImageImage

Sister A to Z

This post is in response to the WordPress A to Z short story challenge.  This Winnie the Pooh quote is the perfect introduction to my short story.   “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you”. And in keeping with theme of my blog fifty is 50, I love her as much at 50 as the day my parents brought home this fabulous gift, my sister!

All about my sister.

Brady Bunch, and watching every episode on Friday nights. Eating popcorn and drinking orange koolaid.

Carol Ann a sweet southern girl name, for a sweet country southern girl even though she now lives in the city.

Daddy reading us books in bed.  Him in the middle and us on the sides. Daddy singing rounds with us in the car on road trips.

Exchanging clothes every two weeks after she moved to Atlanta and started working. Everyone thought we had so many clothes.

Frightened by every scary TV show, and hiding behind me.  Recently saw a scary movie and she was hiding her face in her purse. Some things never change.

Going on adventures, and never stopping going on adventures.

Holding on to each other while we went to sleep.  A hug is not a hug unless it lasts a complete 6 seconds.

Imagining things we see in the clouds while laying on quilts in the yard.

Jacksonville Beach and all the summer memories.

Kelley, she gave one of her daughters my name.  She must love me back as much as I love her.

Laughing until we cry. Things are just funnier with your sister.

Maley and Sally our Imaginary friends and the hours that we spent with them.

Never fighting.  Our mother would not allow it.  Could be why we are not good at confrontations to this day.

One sister to love forever. Hoping that we die on the same day.

Playing in our playhouse that had a loft.  Real cabinets, a ladder to the loft, real roll out windows,  real for a make believe world.

Quilts in the yard for suntanning.  Coppertone lotion and the smell of quilts that had been in the sunshine always make me smile.

Riding bicycles everywhere when neighborhoods were safe. The boy next door that did not have a bike, and would wear our tires out laying drags.  The look on our dad’s face when he would have to replace the tires.

Soul sista.

Telling each other our secrets.

Unbelievable amount of hours playing with Barbie and Ken and getting their houses set up perfectly.  Research for our later lives.

Vini vidi vici the meaning and also the restaurant.  We came, we saw, we conquered.

Washing her hair in the hospital  bed, right before the birth of her daughter.

X  A great eXample on being a mom.

Young.  Forever young with my sister. At least in our own minds.

Z typically the end.  There is no end for the love that I have for my sister.