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Hard to Kill …. Houseplants

As seen on www.SPINPlanners.com
Here is a short list of some hard to kill houseplants.  Notice I did not say “impossible to kill” because with very little effort and extreme neglect, there is no doubt this author could indeed accomplish the actually “killing” of these hard to kill plants.  Cactus, which is not on our list is also hard to kill, but I digress…onto our list. 

Kalanchoe – I feel like this is something that someone says after a person sneezes. This is a succulent that grows colorful, bell-shaped flowers and withstands dry climates and temperature swings.  At my age, the Kalanchoe may also be able to tolerate my mood swings. 

Snake Plant – This plant is tough to kill and can go for MONTHS without water. If I got a pet Snake Plant I would name it camel.

Bromeliad – a distant cousin to the pineapple, this plant produces “pups” or side shoots that replace the older shoots. The Bromeliad, like my grandma, doesn’t care for a chilly home, so keep it around 70 degrees, or knit it a little sweater.

Rubber Plant – Although this plant can tolerate bright sunlight, it would appreciate it much more if you found it a nice shady spot somewhere in the house, preferably with an ice-cold salt rimmed Margarita. Keep the ants away though because they like to try and move it. (they like to move it, move it, they like to MOVE it)!

Air Plant – Seriously what could be simpler?  A plant with no dirt, just toss it into a container and every 10 or so days give it a 2–3-hour bath. It’s practically the same care as a teenage boy who likes to play video games with the exception of an occasional pizza. 
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Tips for Dealing with Fear

Schnapp out of it! (Sounding like the Drag Queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race imitating Cher)

(No Drag Queens nor Cher were harmed in the making of this blog. Well actually, no Drag Queens, RuPaul, nor Cher have any affiliation with this blog, or actually know it even exists…)

I have a new obsession!  Well, technically it’s not that new, because I’ve been binging the show RuPaul’s Drag Race ever since before the 2020 plague started.  In my mind I am best friends with RuPaul.  We hang out, dance, I make him laugh! It’s a wonderful imaginary relationship!

I even have a list of women who I’d love to see played on the Snatch Game like: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence as Mama, Gilda Radner, Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers! At this point I know you’re probably wondering, “What in tarnation does this have to do with dealing with FEAR”?  Well, I’m glad you asked, you see my FEAR is that one day there may not be a RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I will have to go back to my boring normal life binge watching everyday programs like the news.  (Oh, the humanity!)

Is that a real fear?  Most certainly not!  I can’t see my IBFF (imaginary bff) ever letting that happen.  He’s having just as much fun producing that show as I am watching it.  So, you see, the fear is not real, it is made up in my head, but my brain BELIEVES that it’s real.

However you want to break it down, FEAR is very real in our day to day lives.  Sure, we’ve all heard about the fight or flight response, that old example of the caveman being chased by a hungry tiger causing an adrenaline rush (and the peeing of the pants).  BUT, when we experience that same fight or flight response because a beetle the size of Aruba is sitting in the middle of your living room floor (not paying rent mind you) and you imagine that it will leap into the air, then stick to your face like the predator in the movie Aliens, well my dears, that is not a real fear. (Sidenote: if that really did happen though, it may provoke a peeing of the pants for sure!)

If we look back on our lives, there were many times that we were exposed to fear and made it through the other side.  Sure, some of our fears are for real self-preservation, like walking alone in the dark, that’s when we trust our gut. 

Then, what can we do to understand and better deal with fear?  Well, I’m glad you asked, because here are 5 tips:

  1. Breathe – Just breathe.  When you are feeling anxious or angry, then just breath.  There is technique called Box breathing.   Box breathing is a powerful, yet simple, relaxation technique that aims to return breathing to its normal rhythm. This breathing exercise may help to clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus. It is simply done by breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, breathing out through your mouth for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, and repeating up to 4 times. Go ahead, try it!  Right now, this very moment.  We’ll wait…
  2. Understand that nothing lasts forever, not the bad, nor the good.  Think back to a historical time that you were very anxious about an activity. Realize that it was a historical time, that it passed, that you managed through it, and came out the other side. When we’re feeling anxious or afraid, it’s hard to realize that “this too shall pass”, but it is true, and it will.
  3. Imagine the worst thing that could happen – then plan from there.  Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it works.  Let’s say I’m afraid of giving a big speech in front of hundreds of people.  What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, I could just stand there on stage in silence and become so frightened there is once again a peeing of the pants! But the reality of that is unlikely.  I make a plan; I write a speech and practice it in front of the mirror and force my friends to sit and listen beforehand.  Now I’m more prepared and feeling confident.  Whew! crisis averted.   I feel better already. Working things out from the worst possible scenario helps ease anxiety.
  4. Talk about it.  Often when we feel fearful, we don’t want to share this with others because we think that people might think less of us.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  In today’s society, we are encouraged to share our vulnerability with others; to show we’re human, and all humans have feelings we can’t control.  Sure, we can manage our body’s reactions to the fears, but overall, we cannot control feelings themselves, they will emerge regardless.  So, find a trusted friend, family member, a confidant, a co-worker, and talk it out.  They say a problem shared is a problem cut in half.
  5. Realize that EVERYONE is fearful. Period!  There are very few rare folks in this world who have absolutely no fear for one reason or another, but this is a very small minority of all the people.  Understanding this will help you manage through your fears.  Afraid of interviewing for jobs?  Do some research on the inter-webs.  Afraid of getting a divorce? Find that happy divorcée and go have coffee to chat about the process. Changing your mindset helps release the fears.  The next time you think “Geez, I don’t really want to…” rephrase your statement in a positive way. From “I don’t want to play tennis; I’m the worst at tennis!” to “I’ve played a little tennis in the past, and I’m still a beginner so I’m willing to keep trying and have fun”
Photo credit: All images are from Pixabay.com or Pexels.com Two glorious royalty free photo sites.
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The Most Hopeful Month

Cut to an image of me flipping the calendar from February to March.  Here’s what happens next.

  1. A smile BURSTS onto my face and I proceed to make goo-goo eyes at my calendar.
  2. I back away and stare for a moment as my body prepares for “the dance”.
  3. Now my whole body begins to motion like someone just put “Groove is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite* on the radio and it’s right at that part, you know that part, when the song goes “POP, 1,2,3 BBBddrrrrr” 
  4. And, right there I realize that this is the MONTH OF SPRING!  The most hopeful month of the year!​


*Yes, I absolutely 100% put that video on and danced my bum-bum around the room

Funny

I mean it this time…

Well, well, well, look who’s returned to the inter-webs.  Yes, I’m still here, not blogging, but the good news is that I haven’t stopped writing entirely.  You see, I have been cheating on myself and writing Newsletters for an association I’m a member of, and honestly, I’ve been cracking myself up for over a year.  One day, I may share the link, but for today, it remains a mystery.

Working full time now, I need to consider reinventing my website.  I may turn it a simulation of all those other bloggers I admire, but instead mine will show burnt recipes, ½ finished projects, and possibly selfies of me laying around on the couch on those lazy days. Who knows, reinvention is hard!

For now, I PLEDGE (as she slams her hand down onto the desk with all the might if smacking a fruit fly), and PROMISE AND VOW. Which basically all mean the same thing, but because I said it three ways, so I mean business! That I will NEVER let this blog space go lonely again. 

So, more from me in 2022.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Well probably a lot of ugly because we’re doing that “show your vulnerability” thing now in 2022. 

Photo Credit: Viktoria Slowikowska on Pexels.com
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As Aerosmith once sang…

Good Gravy!  It’s been nearly two full years since my last Blog post, where did the time go? More importantly what have I learned?

  1. Blogging is easy, only if the words flow freely from your fingers and not just inside the barriers of your brain!
  2. People will drop you like a hot potato once you stop tantalizing their eyes with your words.
  3. Some people will actually tell you that they miss your Blog Posts.  To which I think “Holy Crap, someone was actually reading my stuff”!  Making me feel a little like Sally Fields at the 1985 Oscars “You like me!”  (Which I guess basically no, they didn’t say they liked me, really they could have missed me like an old molar that was sending searing pain through their nerves.)
  4. Time passes and there is so much more to share.

Well, my former and future readers, I’m back!  Back in the saddle to tickle your funny bone, provide somewhat irrelevant information, and in some case bore you to tears with pictures of my pet dogs.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you.   

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Time

All in Due Time. The more I accept that the universe provides exactly what I need at the precise moment, the more relaxed and humbler I become. Meditation helps solidify this thought process.  

I am grateful for meditation teachers who take their time with new people seeking this skill-set.  The practice of meditation has become a life-changing gift for me.

Feel Good, Lists

What’s yours?

Yesterday I attended a meeting and events industry association networking event.  The guest speaker was Andy Lansing, he is the President & CEO of Levy Restaurants.  Although I was not aware of him prior to the event, I’ll remember him and his presentation well into the future. He made me laugh and made me think. Which is exactly the outcome you want when hiring a speaker for your event. His topic was about the Top 10 Things he’s thinking about right now, and his list changes frequently.  This blog is not about sharing his top 10 things, but rather to say it got me thinking about My Top 10 Things.  And since it’s my blog, I’ll write about what I want.  (and if perhaps Andy Lansing happens to read this blog post, great job on the presentation, you got me thinking 😊 )

  1. My Blog – I will write when I am inspired, you won’t get blog posts from me which are forced “just because”.  That means there will be gaps of time when there are no stories posted.
  2. Fundraising – Is challenging, rewarding and humbling.  Everyone should donate some of their time and give it a try at least once in their lifetime.
  3. Meditation – is a year-long habit that has literally changed the way I react to things in my life.
  4. Growth – I’ll never settle for what I already know, I will challenge myself all the time.
  5. Exercise – this week I’ve banished this word from my vocabulary and replaced it with “movement”.
  6. Barking dog – I have one, he’s loud.  I’m sorry.  (#6 is for my neighbors)
  7. Kudos and Thank You – I’m learning to give these out freely and without hesitation.
  8. Guts – Career changes, hard work, dedication, volunteering, networking, doing the next right thing even when you don’t want to.  All takes guts; give yourself Kudos and Thanks if you’ve done some of these things! 
  9. Laughter – this word will likely be on my top 10 list 100% of the time.
  10. Fewer words; more pics – keep practicing using pictures to replace a thousand words in my presentations. (right after this blog post…)

What’s in your top 10?

Feel Good, Funny

Three little birds…

According to the song by Bob Marley & The Wailers there are “Three little birds pitch by my doorstep”.  Well that’s Bob’s story, and this is mine.

Recently as I walked to the kitchen, I noticed something outside the window flying around my three-season screened in porch, and this was abnormal.  The porch is completely screened in, except for a tear at the bottom of one of the screens which I had been meaning to fix, but in my façade of normalcy nobody from the street can actually see the tear, so is it really there?

This will not end well

I sipped my coffee and looked out the window to watch the bird fly back and forth unsuccessful in his escape from the porch.  As I watched I engineered solution in my head about how I could help guide the bird back to the hole in the screen in which it entered.

It kept flying (and pooping) near the tear in the screen, but he couldn’t quite figure out his exit strategy.  I went out to the porch and moved a piece of furniture that I figured would help guide the bird’s migration.  Didn’t work…

Go out this way, follow the arrow sparrow

Now his friends were in the bush located next to the porch outside coaching him, but he wasn’t getting it.  So one of his friends decided to come on in and help him out.   Then I had two little birds outside my doorstep, not singing “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”  Instead their lyrics were more of something like this “Oh God, we’re gonna die, die for sure”!

Good job helper bird!

A third bird propped itself in the bush just outside the screen, and this is when I flew into action.   I went to the kitchen, grabbed a box cutter and thought about which screen was best to remove.  The torn one? The one the bird kept smashing his little bird body into? I was not sure, he seemed to have short term memory loss of the original entrance / exit location. 

Get off my porch

To my delight, when I returned, there were no more birds.  Apparently #3 was the wisest of the bunch and managed to coaxed them out from their original location.  I went out to the porch to verify this was the case, and that I wouldn’t have three little dead birds outside my doorstep in the spring.  Nope, they were gone, they flew the coop, friends of a feather they flocked together. 

Will I fix the tear in the screen in the spring?  Depends on how many birds enter from this point forward.

Funny, Tantrum, Uncategorized

High Snow Hopes

In the part of New England where I live we managed to escape the winter season pretty much unscathed this year, but apparently mother nature had other plans for this weekend.   That’s OK because right around Christmas time I bought myself a present, well two presents to be exact.  These two shiny bad boys were going to solve all my snow problems.

So new, so shiny

This winter I welcomed all the snow the clouds could deliver so I could impress the neighbors with my snow scooping skills. Oh, we had other attempts at snow fall this year, and I was able to clean up after one of the snow events with a broom and a single swoop of my arm on the windshield of the car.  This weekend however was it, FINALLY my snow day had come.  


Out comes the yellow shovel, my brain presented me with a challenge – I bet I could shovel the ENTIRE sidewalk in just one scoop! – Shovel in hand I placed it onto the sidewalk and positioned myself behind the handle ready to remove ALL THE SNOW in just one push of the shovel.   Two feet into the push, stuck.  Hmm must have hit a bump in the sidewalk.  Again, two feet, stuck. (swear word) One more try, one foot, stuck!  (creative slew of swear words because that’s what I do)

Then I tried the little gray shovel, I got about 5 feet of pushing snow before it slowed to a stop.  I picked up the yellow shovel again, maybe there were some directions on the back I didn’t read carefully before I shoveled.   Try again… Big fat N.O.P.E. No scoop for you! I finished shoveling with the little gray one. 

The yellow one I’ve given the name…. Big Lazy Sticky Yellow.   I had such high hopes for it, I mean look at the depth of the scoop, the curve of the handle, and heck it has not one, but two grips in the middle!   It is my belief that this shovel was designed for the beautiful people, you know anyone 5’ 4” and over, not for us hobbits.

The good thing about this entire snow episode was that I was delighted by the cute little maple leaf tracks that my boots leave behind in each foot print.  More snow coming on Sunday, I’ll give Big Lazy Sticky Yellow a try again, no doubt more swear words on the way!

Starting off on the right foot
Feel Good, Funny, Tips

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter Q

When I hear people talking about how much they hate networking events, my brain immediately thinks “Qué”? (which is Spanish for WHAT? and with my limited knowledge of the language, that’s about all I got).  But since the post mentions that today is brought to you by the letter “Q”, I figured I better make my opening quirky.  (raises eyebrows up and down like…get it?) 

Well, technically this post is not brought to you by the letter “Q” as much as it is about networking at events and how I grew to enjoy it.  Now a networking event doesn’t always mean the traditional “let’s exchange business cards” type of event, here are some others and see how many you recognize as “networking events” – a business meeting, company party, neighborhood block party, cookout, church event, fundraising gala, wedding…. So with these events in mind, here are several tools I learned over the years which have helped me tremendously.  I can’t claim to be the originator of these tips, but I have applied them and they have worked in most cases.   I hope they help alleviate some of the queasiness you feel before your next networking activity.

Quest – make it your quest to make the obviously uncomfortable person in the room feel more comfortable.  You know who I’m talking about, that person standing alone, awkwardly clutching their drink and fumbling with their phone.  The one who looks like they wish a cloak of invisibility would envelop their body right in the middle of the room?   Go talk to them, make it your quest to find out something about this person.   By doing this, you will not only quell your own fears, but you’ll be helping to quash another person’s as well.   (honestly, I didn’t think I’d find this many “Q” words before I started this blog but I’m enjoying it now, so roll with it)

Questions – You may be thinking, that’s interesting advice, but what do I do in order to make another person feel better about their networking situation?  Well, I’m glad you asked, because it brings us to our next “Q” word.  Ask them some very targeted questions, but don’t ask them so they end up thinking you’re creepy, just open-ended questions to start a conversation.  If you get to the 5th question and you are both still just kind of staring at each other, my apologies to the both of you. 

  1. What’s your name?  This is a fundamental question asked by all children who want to make friends.   Don’t worry if you forget their name as soon as they say it, here’s a tip; at the end of the conversation just ask their name again and make a remark like “I really want to be sure I got your name correct, was it Todd”?  or “forgive my forgetfulness – please tell me your name again, so when we meet another time I’ll remember”
  2. Where do you live?  Remember the creepy reference from above, this question is where this comes into play.  I prefer to phrase this question as “Do you live locally, Todd”? (less creepy).   If yes – tell them what you like about the town/place they live.  If no – ask from where, and some general questions about why they enjoyed living there.
  3. What did you like about your last vacation?  Totally open ended, and even if they haven’t taken a vacation in years or stayed home and read the latest Quidditch techniques; this question is still relevant.
  4. What do you do at your job, work, career?  If they don’t work, an alternative question is How do you like to spend your time?
  5. What do you enjoy doing with your family? This is a great way to phrase the question because it doesn’t matter what kind of family situation, this topic can produce a quality discussion.

Quick Summary of yourself – I would recommend before going to your next networking activity that you do a quick summary of your answers to the questions noted above.  Have some thoughts ready so when the conversation continues, you can also talk about your experiences. 

Well this post was a lengthy one, I hope it quenched your thirst for knowledge on how to hate your next networking activity less.  Good luck!