Tis the Season…

elf

Recently, over Thanksgiving I was informed there is a new game in town. Elf on the Shelf. When I voiced my confusion over this idea, I was met with a cacophony of “What! You’ve never heard of Elf on the Shelf??” I know, hard to believe that this 59 year old Gramma that watches the news every day like an on-going soap opera, spends countless hours on her iPhone perusing Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter somehow missed the boat when it comes to Santa’s little helpers. Around my house, the only elves that are here are the ones that tie knots in my Christmas lights, steal a sock from the dryer and eat my ice cream treats while leaving the wrappers in the empty box, taunting me like the fat farm police.

Apparently, these little Minions of Mischief come with a cautionary tale for wide-eyed girls and boys awaiting Santa on Christmas Eve.  Rumor has it, Santa has “Scout Elves” which hide in people’s homes to watch over the daily comings and goings only to fly back to the North Pole at night to give Santa the low down on who belongs on the “nice” list and who gets that lump of coal in their stocking.  They return home to their new home each morning only to hide in a new place in the house, either sitting simply on a shelf or hiding in a tin of flour only to be found making snow angels.  I guess that one depends on if you get a “nice” elf or a “naughty” one.  Oh the the inventive fun to be had!

When I think of all the “Coulda, Shoulda Woulda’s” in my life, this is right up there.  Why, didn’t I come up with this imaginative idea?  All this creative credit goes to a woman named Carol Aebesold and her daughter, Chanda Bell who came up with this clever idea in a 2004 picture book.  In my opinion, they should get the Nobel Prize for Best Creative Holiday Marketing  Idea Ever. Obviously, that’s not a category for the prestigious award, but it should be, besides, the Swedes and Norwegians love a good Christmas story….

My little ones are big ones now but I don’t think that’s going to stop me from purchasing an elf ( I hear Target is the place to go…you can thank me now Target for the plug), naming it, (Buddy, isn’t that the only name it could be?) and finding special places in my house for it to reside.. I’m thinking in reindeer poop… (chocolate covered raisins.) I guess that answers the question of which list I’ll be on this year.  :o)..

 

 

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Fake it till you Make it.

Here I sit, December 1, 2016, on the first day of a 30 day writing challenge.  I’m reviewing my failed, okay that’s too harsh, “less than stellar” blog site. I haven’t really had any new content in years, haven’t even written much more than a grocery list to stare at and this is coming from someone who claims writing is a favorite pastime.

My “About” page touts me as an SEO writer.  I was for a time, but found it more stressful than I thought.  When it takes 10 hours to write 750 words, something’s amiss.  Of course that included research time, sorting out content, making sure I spun it around and injected it with witty critiques to call my own and nap time.  My one client seemed pleased, paid me cold hard PayPal cash and yet after 4 or 5 articles it faded away.  I did nothing to procure more business, no more writing, no more spinning witty words, no more naps… alright, there were plenty of naps.

Why?  Four letters.  Fear.  About what?  Of being criticized, of being boring, of not having any worthy content that someone would actually want to read, let alone pay for and for not understanding how to rule my computer with a magic wand and make WordPress my bitch.

I stress about all of that and more.  Heck, it took me 5 minutes to find my draft for this article once I left my site.  Never mind trying to think about blog staples such as linking, inserting and adding photos, things I’ve long since forgot how to do.

That’s where this writing challenge thing comes in and the title to this post, Fake it till you Make it.  I’m going to act like I’m a writer.  I’m going to write for 30 days straight.  I’m going to channel my inner Erma Bombeck and Jerry Seinfeld and write about “nothing” but yet something.  Hopefully something worth reading, even if it serves as just a distraction into someone’s day. Will I make any money? That’s a guaranteed, No. Will I have to ask for technical help?  That’s a resounding Yes, but hopefully what I gain in confidence and self-worth will be priceless.

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I’m a Legend in my own mind…

How would you describe an athlete?

My dictionary app on my IPhone defines it as: “a person trained or gifted in exercises involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise or game requiring physical skill.  So, take note of the sentence after the semicolon…”participant in a sport, exercise or game requiring physical skill.” It doesn’t say you have to be making a million dollars and sponsored by Nike or receiving a full ride scholarship at  major Division 1 university.

Where am I going with this?  Recently, I broke my leg.  Right fibula, above the malleolus to be exact.  Yep, snapped that ankle bone clean through.  Went to Urgent Care…was referred to the local orthopedic gurus in town when my very wise, albeit very old doctor, okay that was a bit judgmental…very “old school” orthopedic surgeon (note the word SURGEON) said I was a “tweener.”  I wish that meant he thought I was a child between 10 and 12 years old, no, he meant I was between needing surgery for my broken ankle and just casting it and letting nature take it’s course.

Did I mention he was a SURGEON?  So, three guesses what his preference was.  Besides dollar signs and months of recovery floating through my head and me begging not to have the dreaded “S” word…the thing that really got my goat was that he said, “If you were an ATHLETE, I’d haul your ass into surgery.”  Okay, he didn’t say ass, that was used for dramatic effect.

After I got over being offended and my bruised ego started to recover, I asked what he considered an “athlete.”  Examples given were a soccer player for the U of O or a professional football player.  I countered with, I play tennis and golf and swim and I broke that ankle hiking dammit!  He said, oh, you’ll be fine casting.  Let it be noted that his preference was to perform surgery, not because I was an “athlete” but because he was a surgeon and that’s what he likes to do, and apparently my physical pursuits did not qualify me as an “athlete.”  Who cares that surgery is double the recovery time and probably quadruple the cost.

Grrr.  So, here’s my theory and justification on me being an “athlete”…

I think most everyone would agree that Tiger Woods is considered an elite athlete.  He’s considered one of the best professional golfers of all time.  I play golf.  On any given day, Tiger can shoot below par, say 70 or below for 18 holes and he walks the course.  Now, I also walk an 18 hole golf course, AND I shoot about double that, say 140!  So I WALK FARTHER than Tiger Woods and swing those clubs TWICE as many times, so by my calculations, I’m MORE of an athlete than Tiger Woods!  And for good measure, I have higher moral standards…

So, there you have it.  I’m an athlete and a Legend in my own mind :o)090

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Psychic Pets

My world has been surrounded lately by lots of talk about ghosts, mediums, psychics… well you get the idea.  Mostly the discussions have been dealing with one question, “Well, are they or aren’t they?”  You know, real.

If you spend any amount of time channel surfing you will eventually land upon shows like “Long Island Medium,” “Crossing Over with John Edwards,” and even “Psychic Kids, Children of the Paranormal.”

But what about Psychic Pets?  I’ve always heard that animals can sense when there are ghosts or spirits about.  I’m not really sure what to call them, perhaps “other worldly beings…”  I just recently heard a story about a dog that was incessantly barking at a corner in the owner’s new “old” house.  Months and months of barking and the owner finally contacted a “pet psychic.”  Believe or don’t believe, but the woman said there was a dead cat’s ghost parked in the corner of the dining room.  And to get rid of it, all the person had to say was “Out Cat!”  Reminds me of MacBeth…”Out damned spot!”  Or in this case, “Out damned Fluffy…”  Well, you guessed it, the dog never barked at the corner again.

If you’ve read my blog at all, which if I go by my stats page… you haven’t, you’ll know that I usually write about something personal that’s going on with me.  So strap on your proton packs Ghostbuster fans, I’m ready to roll out my latest anecdote.

It’s no secret that my life the last few years has been topsy-turvy.  Divorce, job changes… and as of yesterday, finding out I have to move again.  Sometimes it just gets overwhelming and girl just wants her Mommy… well my Mom’s been passed 15 years and where I occasionally wonder, okay more than occasionally, if she’s around.  You know, if she can see me from wherever her grand perch in heaven is.  I often find a penny which has always been my symbol for my Mom and it prompts me to look up and say, “Hi Mom.”

Well last night I had a fitful night’s sleep.  Worrying about where I was going to live and when I would have to move, yada yada yada.  During one of my lying awake, staring at the clock moments, I thought of my Mom.  I remembered how amusing she could often be, making me chuckle with silly things like putting a flashlight down her pajama pants…  Haha, doesn’t that thought just make you want to chuckle now?  :o) Well, perhaps you had to be there…

At 5:38 in the morning I wanted my Mommy.  My faithful dog Grace was soundly sleeping on the bed. My room was pitch black.  I remembered lamenting about my current situation, a few tears rolling on the pillow… and I hear clear as day, “It will be alright, Sherry.”  My childhood name.  As soon as that thought finished in my head, my little comatose dog jumps up and barks.  I mean the second of.  I said to no one in particular, “Is that you Mom?” “Woof Woof!  Bark! Bark!  Grrrrr!”  Gracie hops off the bed, runs into the kitchen and starts pointing her little Ghostbusting nose in every direction.

Gracie, channeling the spirits.

I don’t even know what to write next, just that it was the coolest feeling ever.  I felt protected, I felt loved, I felt my Mom was right here comforting me.

And then my next thought was, hmm, I wonder if Grace could have her own reality series…. “Gracie, the Mystic Mutt…”

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The Power of Prayer

Now, that’s a headline that will either cause you to eagerly click on the link and see what the latest miracle is, or make you scroll on by, mumbling about the bible thumping crazies out there only re-affirming your non-belief.  Either way, if you are reading this, you must have some iota of interest in my latest tale.

I usually do not espouse about religion or faith but sometimes there are just events worth talkin’ about.  One of my early posts, “Do you believe in Angels?” was a story of divine intervention that to this day makes me nod my head, and say, “Why yes I do, and this story tells you why.”

And now I have another story to tell.

Yesterday was a typical Sunday for me.  Usually a day of rest and relaxation, sometimes I play golf or tennis, lately I’ve been walking tons getting ready for the Portland marathon. But even though Sunday for many people is a day of Faith, mine wavers on the belief meter between, a high of “Yes, there definitely is a God and Jesus is his Son and he died for our sins”…. to “Well, I think there is some sort of higher power because, well gee, I said a little prayer and I got what I asked for, but then it’s probably just coincidence.”

Yesterday I went to church for the first time in about a year, subconsciously I think I was trying to tip my sliding faith scale more towards the”I’m a Believer” side.  I needed that affirmation that Someone is watching out for me, I wanted to know my silent prayers for work, love and guidance were being heard.  I left feeling renewed.

I spent the afternoon reading and dabbling on Pinterest and Facebook.  I poured myself a giant glass of Arizona diet ginseng green tea, my new favorite drink obsession.  I was a happy camper.  Until I spilled my tea.  All over my beautiful HP laptop with built-in web-cam and DVD drive.  Oh SHaron!  That’s secret code for the other “sh” word that has four letters.  Oh Crap!  That’s just a good word I yell when I’m  frantically running around pulling dozens of Bounty paper towels at lightening speed to sop up the liquid quickly evaporating down into my hard drive.   Picture ice cubes sliding around like little bumper cars leaving their skid marks draining down my keyboard.

I sat there stunned.  I sat there while my screen went all white.  I sat there while my computer refused to shut down.  I just sat there and held back the tears.  Then I went into survival mode… get the rice… okay, I’m gonna need a lot of rice. Forget that. I don’t have enough rice to immerse my computer in it. Get the hair dryer.  Yes, that’s good.  As I carried my laptop to the bathroom, tea is dripping profusely out of every orifice and USB port.  Oh geez, this really can’t be good.

Well, I dried my computer the best I could, removed the battery, left it open to air out and sat down to go through Costco coupons for new computers.  I did not say any prayers.  I knew it was hopeless.  It was fried, even I knew that liquid and electronics do not mix. And it was a lot of liquid.  Think a 20 oz glass, three-quarters full down to a quarter of that after the spilling episode.  In effect, Laptop Toast.  

It’s nearing the end of the night, I’m getting ready for bed, and I get a text from a friend that says, “How was your day?”  Well, I wrote back an earful, or perhaps I should say a screenful… I whined prolifically about my fried computer.  He simply texts back, “Your only hope is 2 lay hands on it and pray.”  I chuckled to myself and thought, okay, I’m a massage therapist, I know I have healing hands but really?  Lay my hands on my computer and pray?  So, as I’ve said many times before, Lord, I’m trusting you here….” and I laid my hands on my computer keyboard and I prayed.  And then I went to bed.  And then I woke up, popped the battery in and got the white screen.  All I could think of was… follow the white light….Whoa there!  The white light suddenly flickered and was replaced with a black screen filled with text that said my computer was not shut down properly… Ya think?  My computer took a dang bath in ginseng tea… and now it apparently works!

Prayer?  Healing Hands? Coincidence?  Who knows, but I’m going to channel Ricky Bobby from the movie Talladega Nights and say, “Thank you Baby Jesus!”  My faith meter is on full tilt and I’m enjoying the signs and stories that come from it.

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Falling from 14 Hands

We’ve all heard that expression, “If you fall off the horse, ya gotta just get right back on again.”  What about if the horse is big and wild and scary?  This is how I would describe my latest distraction, Internet dating.  I call it a distraction because it kind of consumes you.  After years of sitting alone on Friday and Saturday nights and going to parties dateless I finally succumbed to the propaganda of online dating.  I was being bombarded by friends’ advice, television commercials, emails and that hovering statistic that 97% of people now find their mate online.  Okay, that stat is totally made up, but I know it’s a large percentage of people.

So off I went, saddled up and looking for green pasture.    I found the most flattering pictures I could, some were 20 pounds ago.  Is that misrepresentation?  Some were yesterday, so take that you naysayers, it all evens out.  I then sat down to write about myself.  For someone who likes to write, that was actually a tough one.  Um…”I like tennis and golf and hiking…I do crosswords….I make earrings…”  Guys read that and think BORING! So I had to throw in the parts about liking tequila shots and dancing naked in the living room and howling at the full moon.  Okay, maybe not so much, tequila yes, dancing certainly and I have to be provoked to howl but I couldn’t bring myself to write that.  That’s something they have to figure out on their own.

And they certainly have tried to.  It all starts with the “winking” and the “emails” and the “I like your profile… please respond.”  The first two weeks of online dating I felt like the most popular girl at the ball.  I thought, wow, I must’ve done really well with my photos and profile.  And then I realized I was just a new face among hundreds.  Let’s try the new girl, maybe she’ll respond….

So, that’s the operative word….respond…who in this plethora of Y genes catches my fancy?  Well, because you see their photo first, that’s naturally the first thing you will be attracted or not attracted to.  All I could think of is, why do they look so old?  The last time I dated I was in my 20’s, everyone rode the hot tamale train.  Now, I’m attracting men on Medicare.  Ugh.  So, I had to have a little heart to heart with myself.  Now Sharon, look beyond the outside package…it’s all about what’s on the inside right?  Let me clue you in here… 18 or 80 men still have one three-letter word on their mind.  Lay.  That’s not the word you thought I meant is it?  Well, had to keep you guessing.  It basically comes down to the same thing.  They want to lay you down, lay it on you, lay lady lay.  Sorry to Eric Clapton for that one.

So without going into any details about my actual dates,  I’ve fallen off the dang dating horse, dented my already bruised heart and wonder if this roller coaster online ride is for me.  But, as my opening quote suggests…. I must get back on the horse and look for that green pasture.  Besides, I have a month left on my membership.

So now, I’m going to go drink a glass of  fitting wine, check to see who my future heartache or heart-throb might be and ride that pony.

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I did it.

 I did it.  What is it I did, you say?  I threw the dog’s ball from the top of my bed, 30 feet down the hall, over the bench and into her water dish.  Yes, I know, quite an accomplishment.  Okay, so you’re rolling your eyes right now.  But this Herculean feat was instrumental in my having a “Good” day. 

What’s so “Herculean” about throwing a ball into a dish?  Well, I’ve only done it once before, by accident. 

I try to play fetch daily with my dog, Gracie.  Seeing as how the Oregon rains can make for a wet, smelly dog if we play outside, I found the longest straightaway in my little abode and rigged up our “course.”  As I mentioned above, it entails throwing the ball from my bedroom, down the hall, over the dining bench and past the bookcase into the kitchen/living area.

On one serendipitous occasion I threw the ball into her water dish.  Whoa!  That was cool.  I felt like I’d just landed a half-court shot at the buzzer.  Every time since, that’s been my goal, to land the dang ball in the dang dish.  I know, you’re thinking I have small, meaningless goals. 

Or not.  These little gems of  ambition are a mainstay in my life.  How many times can I hit a tennis ball against a wall without it dropping?  How fast can I walk a mile?  How many crunches can I do during a commercial?  How many tries will it take to get my contacts in?  And my personal favorite, how long can I continuously pee?  I’m up to 58 seconds.  Okay, that little tidbit probably embarrassed me, but I don’t care.  Try it, you will drink more water because of it and people will wonder why you’re counting… one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three in the bathroom.

Adoring fan and rebounder.

Anyway, like everyone I suppose, I wake up hoping for a good day.  Sometimes it depends on the hair, okay, a LOT of the time it depends on the hair.  It’s true what they say, if you’re having a good hair day, you’re having a good day.  For me, it’s small inconsequential things like my morning paper being dry, a comment from a Facebook friend, a $5 bill found in my jeans. Those things start my day off on the right track or in some cases, turn it around.  Today, it was making the 3 point shot from half-court into the paw-printed water dish for a rousing Woof! Woof! from the adoring fans, or fan, loyal as they come, hairy little rebounder that she is. 

So, plant some tiny little goals into your day and watch them sprout into good feelings, small accomplishments and hopefully, a productive, happy day. 

I need to go drink some more water now and try to PR in the ladies’ room.

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