TAKE THE COMPLIMENT, ALREADY!

It’s Monday morning and you are looking good. Over the weekend, you bought a new outfit and got your haircut. One last approving glance in the mirror and you head off to work.

Four, maybe five, people compliment you before you settle into your cubicle, and your reaction is the same each time: instead of simply saying “Thank you,” you respond with suspicion.

Do you find yourself in this role? Do you ever respond to the statement that your hair looks good today with the question, “Why? Did it look bad yesterday?” Do you ever find yourself explaining how old a garment of clothing is when someone tells you that she likes what you are wearing?

Women seem to be especially unprepared to take a compliment graciously. Almost every woman I compliment has a negative response.

Take the compliment already! If someone tells you that your hair looks good today, he is not insulting your past appearance. He simply noticed that your hair looks good. Say “Thank you,” and move on. Accept the compliment and let it boost your self-esteem for a moment or two. That is the whole idea of a compliment, anyway. When you receive a compliment on an outfit, do not feel the pressure to explain where you purchased it. Do not argue with the compliment by asking “This old thing?” Once again, “Thank you,” is the correct response.

People can be nice, even to you, so take the compliment. It is a gift given to you by a well-meaning person.

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A NIGHT WITHOUT MY DOG

This was the perfect night, the cool summer air refreshed by the afternoon thunderstorms. I was driving home, thinking about what I would have done once I arrived home, if my dog were still alive.

She would have danced around the front door with delight when I walked in, then eagerly darted to the back door. I would have stayed outside with her while she relieved herself, and waited while she sniffed every molecule of air in the back yard.

I would have taken her for a short walk, and then let her into the back seat of my car. We would have driven to the local beverage drive-through, where she would have eagerly received her dog biscuit treat, and mandatory ear rub.

She would not be ready to go home just yet, so I would drive the back roads to the next local town, lingering far too long at the stop signs so that she could sniff the crisp night air. Once she lay back  down, I would have turned around and driven home, where she would insist on fresh ice water before demanding that I throw her ball a minimum of ten times. I would sit at the patio table while she sniffed every molecule of air available. Satisfied that she had sniffed everything, she would finally agree to come inside.

We would have sat on the sofa, her head on my lap, those dog eyes staring up at me until I relented and petted her until she was almost asleep.

After the news, we would have prepared for bed. She would have insisted on sniffing every molecule of air one last time of the day, done her business, and then sat quietly beside my bed while I completed my pre-sleep routine.

I would have crawled under the covers, and then invited her up, where she would have made certain that I was not on her pillow. She would have snuggled up against my back before snoring so loudly that I would worry that the neighbors might be disturbed.

Sometime during the night, I would have woken up to yet another of her apparently hilarious dreams, and gently patted her head until she began breathing normally again.

Instead, I went home to an empty, quiet house.

My dog, rescued from the local animal shelter when she was barely three months old, lived to be almost fourteen years old. She was a good –no – great, dog, and I miss her terribly.

The American Dream?

For some, home ownership is the fulfillment of the “American Dream”. For me, a single
woman, it is pretty much a nightmare. I am a homeowner. My best friend lives in an apartment. I pay a mortgage; she pays rent.

When the grass around my abode needs cut, I drag myself to the shed, pull out the lawnmower, and dutifully mow my grass. She hasn’t mowed grass in years.  I am responsible for all the yard work, something she hasn’t worried about since she sold her house. The maintenance crew is wonderful where she lives.

While mowing my lawn after work the other day, I noticed that my fence needs some repair. I will have to get up early on my next day off, go to the local home improvement store, and spend the remainder of my precious day fixing my fence. I hope that I will be able to pick up a few hours overtime to afford this repair. When my best friend notices something amiss outside her apartment building, she calls her wonderful maintenance crew, and the repair doesn’t cost her a dime in extra rent.

My central air quit working, and I am saving money to get it fixed next year. Thankfully, this has been a mild summer.

My best friend’s air was “sounding funny,” so she called the office, and one of the magnificent maintenance crew was there in no time. This was also included in her rent.  Her house is nice and cool; I have two window units, so I have two nice and cool rooms…

On Saturday evenings, I am puttering around in my yard, weeding, trimming hedges, whatever needs to be done. My best friend is partying with her apartment dwelling neighbors.

There is a pool in her complex, a place where she spends most of her spare time. I am a homeowner; I spend my spare time keeping my home in working order.  If I had a pool in my backyard, its upkeep would be my responsibility. Pools take a lot of time, a commodity that I have very little of.

When my walls need painting, I buy the paint and do the work myself. She picks up her phone, and, you guessed it, calls maintenance.

I could go on forever, but you get my point…

I don’t have a high paying job, and it barely covers the bills. When I work overtime, so that I can afford to buy the things necessary for the upkeep of my home, I don’t have time to do the work.  If it rains on my days off, I just get further behind on my outside tasks.

Winter isn’t much different. Last year, I forked over a tidy sum to have my furnace repaired. It was nice not being cold, but I could have used that money on much better things.

There is a myriad of things that need to be done to keep a house in good working order. I’ve had to call electricians, plumbers, roofers, etc., and I’ve had to pay every one of them.  She calls maintenance, and the cost is included in her monthly rent.

Last night, after a particularly stressful day, I was mowing my lawn for the second time this week.  It wasn’t too hot outside, and the breeze was nice. After I was finished, I went online to check out Facebook. My home owning friends were discussing how they wished it would quit raining so much, they all had so much to do outside. Their plans for the weekend included putting on a new roof, fixing windows, remodeling bathrooms, etc.

My apartment dwelling friends were all at the pool, happily discussing all the great times they are going to have in the upcoming weekends!

I woke up this morning to find a puddle of water on my kitchen floor. My refrigerator broke sometime during the night, and now I will have to take time off work to replace it. I figure I will have to work about eighty hours of overtime to replace the money that I am going to lose in wages, and the expense of a new appliance.

I am calling a realtor as soon as I get the spare time!

November 30, 2014

Made it! The final post for NaBloPoMo for this month. I had some doubts, but I completed the task. What about NaNoWriMo, you ask? Didn’t do so good, but next year is another story! I have (hopefully) gotten into the habit of writing, if even just a little, every day. I do believe that was the whole idea, right?

December is promising to be an even busier month for me, so I will not be writing as often, but I am committed to posting a blog at least twice a week. Also, I hope to stretch my wings a bit, maybe put some DIY’s on this site. I can be fairly crafty if I put my mind to it. I have a few tables that I am planning on refinishing this winter, I will put before and after pictures up if I do.

This has been a gratifying experience for me. I hope that those of you who have read my posts have enjoyed them. I am always looking for feed back, and advice on how I can improve my writing, so don’t be shy with your comments!

Talk to you all later. Stay safe, stay warm, and say “I love you” every chance you get. That final day comes too soon for all of us.

November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas Holiday shopping season is in full bloom. On Thanksgiving, I headed out early in the morning to get a newspaper, and boy was it full of ads! I am not going shopping on Black Friday for several reasons (my bank account is telling me not to, for one), but that’s okay. I’m fairly sure what I am going to buy everyone, and not one thing that I had in mind is on sale — anywhere! Luck of the Irish, I guess.

I had a great time yesterday, spent the day with my son, grandson, daughter in law, and her family. I did miss my daughter, who lives in Florida, and her family. Maybe next year.

I also have some catching up to do around here. The weekend is going to be crazy busy, so I really need to make the most of my last day off for a while. I have so much to do, that I might just look forward to going back to work! Yeah, right, who am I kidding.

I doubt if I make the total 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo by Sunday, but I don’t feel bad. I thought I would, but I’m not disappointed at all. I had a great idea for a novel, and the more words I pounded out on the keyboard, the more I noticed that the book was going to be a series. It was amazing to me how the piece of fiction took on a life of its own. I have written stories where scenes come to life, but this was completely different. I am committed to continue to write, but set the goal just a little more realistic for my life. I know I won’t have, say, 100,000 words by the end of December, but by March, I am pretty confident that I can have the first of the series on E-Reader. I edit as I go, so it takes me a little longer to get the first draft, but I’ve learned from experience that is what works for me.

I am thrilled that I have kept up writing in this blog everyday. I will post something at least twice a week from now on. Judging from past experience, it will mostly be poetry, which is fine. I am working on a book of non-traditional Haiku even as we speak.

Have a great rest of the day, whenever you are reading this, and wherever you are. If you venture out to shop today, keep safe and warm.

November 25, 2014

Whew! We are nearing the end of this month, with NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. I’ve done a very good job at keeping up with my blogs, not so much with my novel-writing exercise. I did really, really good for the first few chapters, then the ideas just sort of disappeared.  I have three days off in a row at the end of this week (Thanks to Thanksgiving!), so I am planning on writing like a demon. I’m not so far behind that I can’t make it to the finish line, but, boy is it going to be tight!

It’s been a wonderful learning experience for me, and I don’t regret taking the challenge one bit. I love to write, I always have. When I was a little girl, I used to write little stories about my dog, Major.

Poetry got me through my teenage years. I always felt that poetry was God’s way of helping me out, that it was His gift to me. I write poems all the time, most of them will never, ever be published in my lifetime. They are just too personal.

I enjoy the freedom of writing, especially at a computer screen. You can pour all your emotions out, never having to worry if it makes sense. The ‘delete’ key is my best friend at times! It’s very cathartic to let the words flow, as if they had their own lives.

Five more days, and I am already planning on how often I will post on this blog after December 1st.

Til tomorrow!

November 18, 2014

Since winter has decided to come a little earlier than usual this year, I thought I would post some winter safety tips. I’m no expert, so this list is just advice.

1. You’ve gotten your flu shot, right?
2. Keep warm, and as dry as you can
3. Especially your socks. Keep your feet dry, and warm.
4. Be really, really careful using electric heaters, kerosene heaters, and fireplaces.
5. Repeat #4
6. Keep that emergency kit in your car: a blanket or two, a flashlight, some flares, a bottle or two of water, battery jumper cables.
7. Keep your cell phone charged
8. Know your route, in case you need to dial 911, and your cell phone doesn’t have GPS
9. Make sure someone knows your route, also. Be a creature of habit.
10. If the roads are bad, if it’s at all possible, stay home.
11. Park off the street if at all possible.
12. If you haven’t had your furnace checked this season, do so as soon as you can.
13. Don’t get overheated if you are outside
14. Take it easy if you have to shovel snow. Take your time, take plenty of breaks.
15. Remember your pets. Make sure they are warm, and have plenty of water. Bring them in if at all possible.
16. Dress in layers, and keep all exposed skin covered.
17. When cleaning the snow/ice off your car, don’t forget your headlights, tail lights, and license plates. And, please, please, please, get that windshield completely clear before driving.
18. I’ve had three mechanics tell me to use at least mid-grade gas during extreme weather conditions. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I have followed that advice, and am driving a 20-year-old car.
19. Don’t text and drive. Seriously, don’t. Ever.
20. Enjoy the beauty of the season. Even I have to admit, the snow is pretty, especially the heavy snow that stays on the trees.

Be careful out there, stay safe, stay warm.