A is for Attitude

A is for Attitude

Tony Bennett

A recent interview on CBS Morning News with Susan and Tony Bennett revealed his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and the challenges of aging. The discussion highlighted how helpful the disclosure was for the general public. His wife said, “Tony Bennett is battling Alzheimer’s disease, but singing is saving him.”

Well, singing is an option. Remember the songs Get Happy sung by Judy Garland or Happy; written, produced and performed by Pharrell Williams? Both are uplifting and yes after humming a few bars people feel happier. 

The correlation between attitude and quality of life has never been clearer. Books, lectures, magazine and newspaper articles go on and on describing the benefits. We frequently celebrate one- hundred-year-olds who may need help blowing out the candles but nevertheless are recognized for their positive attitude, activity and ability to socialize. Captain Tom Moore published his book, Tomorrow  Will Be A Good Day at age one hundred.   

Having the right attitude matters.

There are more indicators that quality of life can be maintained as we age and questions about the inevitability of dementia in seniors.

Attitude can be a challenge and I used to coil at the phrase happiness is a choice.

But now think; happiness may be a choice. . . some days, although maybe not every day . . . even if the sun is shining.

Well, just hum a few bars of your favorite song.

. . . just saying

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Lucky Day

Black Onyx Earrings

Lucky Day

Yesterday was a lucky day for me. The feeling stayed with me all day and woke me up this morning. Lucky because I found a pair of earrings, I thought were lost. I frequently misplace but rarely lose items. Unless you consider putting something in a very safe place never to be seen again.

These earrings, favorites of mine, were searched for time and again. I hadn’t put them in a secret spot, but I looked in jewelry cases, double checked coat pockets, handbags, toiletry bags. I crawled under couches, shook out bed sheets, used a flashlight around car seats. Eventually, I threw my hands up and said, “When they’re ready to be found, they’ll be found.”  

A few years went by. I still couldn’t believe they were lost and phoned my sister asking, “Did you happen to find a pair of black onyx earrings?”

Purchased at an antique store on Beach Street in Daytona, they had history. Some might reference the jewelry as previously owned. The store identified them as estate jewelry.

Yesterday, while sorting through a basket kept in the bathroom for hairdryers, curling irons, and brushes they appeared, so tarnished I had to put my glasses on to identify them.

They were ready to be found.  

It was a lucky day.

. . . just saying

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New Year’s Eve 2020

A Favorite book of mine

Sing a Song of Seasons, the book was displayed in the children’s section of our county library and I fell in love with the pictures and poems and promised myself to read each daily poem. Of course, I didn’t. The year has passed quickly for me and I find myself with the same goal for 2021.

Poem December 30th

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December

A magical thing

And sweet to remember

We are nearer to spring

Then we were in September

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December

by Oliver Herford

Poems; a daily joy to ponder what life is really about.

May you duck in time to avoid life’s mishap or reinventing yourself if you fail.

. . . . just saying

Happy New Year

You Got To Smize

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You Got To Smize

Yesterday, I read Susan Sparks article, “Put on your mask . . . and smize,” in our local newspaper, The Daytona Beach News Journal.

I want to pass along her message.

Rev. Susan Sparks is senior pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. Prior to working for God, she was a trial lawyer and a stand-up comedian. To clarify; first she argued for a living, then cracked jokes, before saying amen . . . Let’s talk about the lord.

I’m not Baptist, but enjoy her articles and perspective.

She wrote about a recent venture in the city. While, everyone wore masks that covered their mouths, she caught someone in a smile, by looking at their eyes.

Evidently, Trya Banks, coined the word to advise other models about how to really smile.

The gist of the article is; although a smile is a reaction to feeling happy, a smile can create a happy feeling. In other words, a smile can change a mood.

There is little to smile about in recent news. Especially the tragic public killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

There’s concern that the coronavirus will have long lasting effects on how people interact. Talk of the potential harm isolation does.

I’m not suggesting we smile about these heartbreaking appalling events.  But that we continue to smile, with our eyes first.

 

. . . just saying

Readers, you can open up the links to Susan Sparks and Trya Banks by scrolling over the colored text.

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Happy As A Clam

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Happy as a Clam

It is 7:52 AM; I am in the kitchen having a first cup of coffee when a ding-dong alerts me a door has been opened.

In walks Mr. Wonderful, my husband of 47 years carrying an empty McDonald’s brown bag, showered, shaved, and dressed returning from lab work. I say, “Good Morning Husband” and stretch to kiss his cheek as he whizzes by dumping his cell phone and car keys on the counter exclaiming a need “to PEE.”

As the toilet flushes, he returns calmer to greet me, I ask, “How are you today?”

His reply, “Happy as a clam.”

I ponder how happy a clam might be and why . . . . then ask, “Happy as a clam because you remembered where you parked the car?”

“No,” he states emphatically and drains a dribble of coffee from an empty paper cup before tossing the used paper product in a recycling bin under the sink.

My curiosity is mounting, “Happy as a clam because you didn’t leave the engine running while you were inside Lab-Core?”

“No . . . . Happy as a clam because I didn’t have to wait.”

“Really, you had the first appointment, 6:30AM.”

“Right, but when I arrived at 6:20 the doors weren’t open, so I decided to hunt for that loose golf ball that rumbles around the car and drives you crazy.”

“You said you didn’t know what caused the sound, the car might need brakes.”

Ignoring my comment and concern, he exhales heavily, “My head was under the front seat searching, before I knew it, a van pulls up, and this aid is helping some grey hair pony tailed old goat into a wheel chair. Other people are getting out of parked cars and headed toward the door, you know tinted windows make it near impossible to see who is waiting in their cars, a line was about to form. ”

“What difference would it make if you had an appointment?”

“Claudia, be serious, if the old goat in the wheel chair is first in line they are going to take him! So I fast walked, got ahead of everyone, and when the doors opened said, Good Morning, I have the first appointment at 6:30. The nurse asked if I was fasting, I said yes, but first I had to PEE! That’s why I’m happy as a clam; I was out of there and having breakfast at McDonald’s, lickidy split”

My Mr. Wonderful is wearing a look of glee as I recap the situation, “So you are feeling happy as a clam because at the crack of dawn, you beat out an older than you senior in a wheel chair to have blood work.”

His good mood is alluringly infectious, but I question, “Can a clam be happy, really?”

Mr. Wonderful’s response . . . . “Sure at high tide, with their shell closed they’re smiling,” and proceeds to demonstrate his own delight with a tight lipped grin.

.  .  .  . just saying

Joey’s Apple Pie

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A dear friend phoned the other day and said, “I have a big favor to ask.”

“No problem,” was my response. We have known each other thirty-six years, so short of asking me to change someone’s diaper I was all in.

She continued in a subdued tone, almost a whisper, “It’s a really big favor.”

Obviously, it was more than watering houseplants or feeding the cat. Perhaps it involved driving her to the airport or lending her my car.

“It’s a really, really big favor.” She continued emphasis on both reallys.

“Really really,” I responded. “Tell me what you need.”

“Will you make Joey an apple Pie? You make the best apple pie.”

Joey is her grandson and graduating high school. Although she and Grandpa Bob gifted him a college fund, what he really wants is an Apple Pie.

Now I was saying really, and hard pressed to remember if in fact I did anything special when baking an apple pie but nevertheless, said “Of course I’ll make Joey an apple pie.”

Our conversation ended with me feeling I have special talents, that is how Pat makes people feel, and recalling how we met.

It was 1981 and we were buying our first home. The purchase price was $80,000, interest rates nineteen percent. The sellers, Ruth and Lee Hardin agreed to hold a $57,000 mortgage for five years at thirteen percent. Our monthly house payment would be $630.53.

As a stay at home mom, and substitute teacher I wanted to earn extra money so responded to a New Jersey Herald ad, Avon Representatives Needed in Sussex County and met Pat.

Pat first came to our home as the District Sales Manager but soon became a guest.

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The house was a beautiful Victorian on Linwood Ave in Newton, New Jersey and we were thrilled it was in move in condition. There was pink plastic tile, trimmed with black, in the bathroom, a window in the shower. Four doors consumed the small kitchen; one to the outdoors, one to the basement, a swinging door to the family room, and  a paneled door entering the formal dining room. The windows were original and the drafts off set by huge silver radiators. There was green sculptured carpeting throughout and matching embossed green wallpaper everywhere. We had one couch. My mother-in-law lent us a dining room table.

The day after our phone conversation, Pat dropped off a deep dish-baking pan purchased for Joey’s Apple Pie and Mr. Wonderful set about the task of peeling the Granny Smith apples.

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I tossed the apples with cinnamon and very little sugar, turned them into a bought pie crust, dotted the apples with butter, crimped the edges of the top crust and baked the pie in an oven.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA      I felt special, as though giving a commencement speech, and knew Joey would feel special too.

. . . . Just Saying

Potty Singing and Happiness

One of the most powerful forces in human nature is our belief
that change is possible. ~ Shawn Achor

thThe Happiness Series

     I am limping into 2016 determined to make the year less crappy. We retired in 2007 and every year after has had a good deal of crappiness. This year I said, “Enough is enough!” and have declared this year, one of happiness.

     I started by watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday television program, hoping to be inspired and I was. The show is a mixture of interviews with and lectures by Spiritual Gurus designed to improve your life. It airs Sundays, on OWN.

     I was most taken by Shawn Achor who along with Elizabeth Gilbert author of “Eat Pray Love” has admitted to crying on the bathroom floor. Shawn has studied the Science of Happiness since his days at Harvard and talks about Positive Psychology and redefining Happiness. I was unaware that Happiness is a science, but what he said makes sense.

     The traditional formula, Hard Work = Success = Happiness, does not work because happiness is on the backside of success. We are always chasing the carrot because it is moved continually . Since 90% of happiness is derived from how the brain processes the world, we can train our brain to be happy just as we train our body to be strong, with exercise. The train your brain exercises he recommends are; a gratitude list, journal about what makes you happy, exercise, meditation, and random acts of kindness.

     You can watch his lecture on Super Soul Sunday or visit his website for particulars.

     While we have heard some of this before, Shawn supports the “Happiness Advantage” theory with findings. He found that people engaging in any of the activities for 21 consecutive days, were happier. In other words, happiness is a habit and good habits, like smiling, make a difference.

     Since writing make me happy, and writing about what makes you happy is on the list, I am introducing the Happiness Series, with “Striped Sweater.”

 

Striped Sweater

      Snow falls throughout the night into the early morning. Soft sugar like flakes that tickle your face then flutter gently to the ground, remind me of creating angels in the snow. We are snowbound. The roads are driveable but it is safer not to. The accumulation is six to seven inches and the air crisp.

     Our eleven-year-old granddaughter is playing computer games with Aunt Janine and doing handstands on the living room floor. The Christmas tree is still standing with scattered presents beneath the artificial branches.

     Alexandria Antonia resembles my side of the family: fair skin, freckles, hazel blue eyes, and her dad’s auburn brown hair. She will more than likely be tall.

     Alex, as she prefers to be called, sings throughout the day, off tune. Her voice is wonderful to hear. She sings, “Striped Sweater, a sweater with a stripe” a song she wrote. There are no other words just this simple refrain. Papa wears an old green sweater that inspired the catchy tune. She denies liking to sing and in between handstands excuses herself to use the potty.

      We then listen to her joyful rendition of Jingle Bells from behind a closed door.

      This is happiness.

. . . . just saying