Thursday, January 19, 2017

Learning new things 1: Being a Dutiful Daughter

An aid getting meds
(c) 2017 P. Lynne Designs
In December 2016, I announced that I was slightly changing the scope of this blog while creating a new one to replace my now closed Simply Organized Crafts Blog.  At first, I thought about combining it with this one, but I love the topics I cover on this blog and I would not have it any other way.  So, a new blog is underway.  It is called Home’s Little Lessons and I cannot wait to get started.  I have one other blog that needs attending to, but I think I am just going to get rid of it, and put it in with Home’s Little Lessons.   The reason is I will be an every once in a while Independent Longaberger Home Consultant after June 1st.  I will stay on to get the discount and post a sale or two every once in a while.  Now that Housekeeping is done (a word quoted by Pete Werner of Disney UnPlugged), on with today’s post.
The other thing that I announced in December was that in 2017, I wanted to learn new things about myself, my city, my state, and my country, to name a few.  I never knew it would come so quickly.  One of the reasons why there was not a post last week was the art of becoming what I like to call being a “Dutiful Daughter” and the art of, “Be careful what you wish for”.  It may come true.
What is a Dutiful Daughter?
A dutiful daughter is a woman who puts aside all the things that she wants to do for the sake of her parents.   It is sort of the same as when a woman has all the dreams and aspirations of living her dream but put it aside to become a stay at home mom only you are helping your elderly parents.  So, when a parent says “Jump”, you do not question them, except to say, “How high?” This may cause sleepiness nights, eating at odd times, and taking breaks at odd times.  You make yourself an afterthought. 
For instance, I am writing this post at 4 am, when I should be sleeping.  Why?  Let me give you the back story:
This virus/flu/whatever you may call it has taken a toll on everyone in the United States.  Experts say it is the worst strain yet.  I have not been hit by it yet, but both my parents have been hit by it, as well as my oldest nephew.  The worst that hit me is my allergies, and that is it.  The person hit the hardest was my mom.  It starts out as a simply little cold.  She went to the doctors for that.  Then a few days later, she went back, and they said it was Bronchitis.  On January 7th, she was admitted to the hospital with Pneumonia.  She was so week, until she was unable to walk.  When she recovered from that, they transferred her to rehab, so she could gain strength back in her arms and legs.  The way she is recovering, we all keep telling her that they will evict her on Friday to finally come home, and she is ready to go home.
Between going back and forth to the house to make sure both mom and dad are ok, then back and forth to the hospital, and finally back and forth to the rehab place can take a toll on a person, especially if you are the only “child” that can do it.  My brother lives out of town, and my sister does not have a car, plus I am the eldest, and usually in an African American home, after the other parent, taking care of things falls on the eldest child.
Do I complain about it?  No, and besides that, I love both my parents.  My dad has been sleeping at the hospital, and then at the rehab place with mommy, so I have to take care of things when he cannot do them.  It is the least I can do, after all the things that they have done for me since I became an adult.  They are still doing it, such as my finances while I am trying to put together my business.  They do not have to do that for me.
So, that is what I mean by being a “dutiful daughter”.  My brother is coming this weekend to come visit mommy, and to help with things around the house, such as finally taking down the Christmas tree, and other things.  Nothing matches with son, and I am most certain that if he lived here, he would also give dad a break every once in a while.
So, this is my first lesson in learning new things.   It is not like I have helped out before.  There was the time mommy had surgery, so I had to learn how to wash on a fly.  I was in my early teens, when this happened.  Of course, I have always made sure that my parents were OK.  Dad is an old-fashioned man, meaning “men take can of man’s work, and women take care of women’s work” that sort of thing.  Dad learned how to use the washer this week.  Mommy always did it.  When she gets home, I will slow cook a pork roast to stretch out the week, and I will cook other things for them.  Dad’s idea of cooking is “what do you want me to buy?”  That will only happen a few times.  They do have someone come in to clean the house, plus my eldest nephew still lives there, and he also has been helping out.
Take away lesson for you:  The lesson I want you to see out of this is tri-folded.   (1) Make sure you learn all the basic of taking care of yourself before you graduate from high school.  You never know when you may need it.  The one thing I need to learn all over again is how to wash.  The current washer I have is a two-cycle washer.  I do not have all the bells and whistles that today’s washer have.   (2) Be kind to your parents, you never know when you may need them beyond the 0-18-year-old contract, or they may need you someday.  I am blessed that my parents have been married over 50 years, never once discussed the possibility of getting a separation or a divorce (although one time when I was 10 and heard them arguing, I was sure it was grounds for one (Overactive mind of a 10-year-old at work)), and my father never laid one hand on my mother in an abusive situation.  Love pats, yes, abusive, never. (3) Take care of yourself during a time of crisis.  My mother is constantly asking me if I am eating, and when I tell her the truth of the things I am not doing to help me be the best me, she gets mad at me, and tells me that I must do it.  This includes taking care of the things for my business.  Make sure you eat, sleep, and so forth.  You are not doing yourself and that person (rather it is a parent, spouse, or child) a favor if you are sick.
Have a great week.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy New Year and a New Month

Roasting in the New Year
(c) 2017 P. Lynne Designs
Happy New Year Everyone.

As usual, I had a different post for December 31, 2016, but got caught up in the festivities of the celebration.  So, I am turning this into something different.

2017, The Year of Making a Difference…

I mean it.  2016 had its charms, but let’s face it, for some, it was a difficult year.  There have been some surprise deaths in the celebrity world.  We lost a Prince, a Princess (Carrie Fisher), A lovely lady (Florence Henderson), and a Legion (Debbie Reynolds).  We lost singers (George Michael), a Droid (the person inside R2D2), and a whole host of others.  Some were unexpected, some were not.  All of them are not forgotten.  My lasting request is I hope they do not treat Prince’s massive music collection the way they have treated Michael Jackson’s and Elvis’s massive collection, but they will, after they get past the legal red tape, and they will say that he would want it that way. (As of this writing, Disney is trying to figure out how to deal with the Princess Leia character for the 2019 release of the last Star Wars movie-it’s complicated)

In addition to the celebrity world of surprised deaths in 2016, in the normal world (everyone else), we dealt with 5-year old’s who became president, ISIS finally admitting to the number of deaths around the world, and congress and the Republican Party having a tantrum every time President Obama wanted to pass or veto a bill.  At least Cuba is finally free of Fidel Castro. 

For some, it was a smooth year.  Everything they ever wanted worked out.  New homes, new cars, and new jobs.  Some got married or engaged.  Some opened businesses or reinvented their business.  Some people had one baby, two, or more.  Everything has been real smooth.

Most of us had a so-so year.  I am not going to recap what I have gone through, but I have lost some things, found out about some things, and some things remained the same.  For the most part, I just wanted 2016 to be over with.

What’s so good about 2017?

In case you have not noticed, 2017 is the beginning of something new, fresh, and wonderful.  It all depends on how you make it.   This is the year of change.  Change of habit, change of venue, and change of attitude.  I do not like the word resolution.  To me, resolution means I am going to do that new thing or change for only a few days, weeks, or months, then I am going to go back to the same old thing.  Resolutions are rituals.  Everyone does it, so I have to do it too.  Try the word “goal” or “change”. Don’t announce it, if you are not going to do it.  Just lose the weight, just organize, and just spend less.  You do not need the new year to do this. 

What is an Accountability Partner?

If you must announce it, announce it so you can have an accountability partner.  An accountability partner is someone who is going to hold you to a goal.  They are going to ask you if you are on target of reaching that goal.  For instance, I am going to use losing weight as a goal.  You want to lose 40 lbs., and it is December 31st.  you cannot squeeze into your favorite pants, and you scream, “THAT’S IT, MY RESOLUTION IS TO LOSE 40 LBS.”  You tell everyone at the party, and January 1, 2017, you start.   As you gaze at your leftover Christmas sweets, the leftover New Year’s Eve party food, and the dinner you so perfectly prepared, you decide that you will start…. Next week.  That food looks too good to waste.  You said you would start that day, but can’t.  Start anyway.  
Now if you had said your goal is to lose 40lbs. during the course of the year, you can tell one or two people who you trust to be your partners, and they can check on you from time to time on your goal of losing weight.  They may even suggest ways on how to do it. 


2016 is gone.  Do not try to figure out what went wrong.  Sometimes things happen to teach you something that you never knew.  My health has taught me that, just like my car accident taught me things in 2015.  The point is to move forward with your life.  Make a difference in someone else’s year, and yours will feel brighter.  My overall goal and I have said it in many of my past posts are to try something new this year.  Not just one thing, but many things.  Try a new cuisine, a new culture, a new adventure, a new hobby, and help somebody.  Notice I did not say or in that statement. 
I am going on a cruise this year.  My first one ever.  My parents have been on two.  I have tried and eaten the following cuisines (outside the American norm):  Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.  I have never been too keen on Indian, but I am willing to try again, as well as trying other cuisines.  I know many have been Americanized, but maybe the cruise will allow me to try much more.  For the rest, you will have to stay tuned, because I have lots to write about.  Many of the reviews and other stuff will be noted on an unnamed blog.  I will be finalizing and start in the next couple of week, and it will not be on Blogger.  It will piggyback from this blog, but I urge you to subscribe to it as well.

Well, all I can say from this point is Happy New Year.  Stay warm, especially in the states that receive the most frigid temps this side of the North Pole.  (Does anything ever happen in the South Pole?) I heard that it is supposed to be 18°F tomorrow in Columbus, so I guess I will not be going anywhere. (Oops, there is matter of the laundry, darn).  This year is just beginning, make it a good one.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The art of being Organized-Gift placement

(C) 2016 P. Lynne Designs
Well, well, well, look at all of those gifts.  You sure got a lot, now didn’t you? 
It is a wonderful thing to get gifts for Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Festivus, or even your birthday.  (10 points of you had a combo month - you know the drill-Birthday + any two holidays, 20 if you throw in Thanksgiving = Thanksbirthanuzafestmas*).  Let the food coma begin.  Nothing like the coming of the new year to throw it into overdrive.
Fact: this is the worst time of the year for anyone with food allergies, Gluten intolerance, or diabetics.
Once New Year’s Day is over with, it is time for normalcy to kick in.  Kids go back to school, parents go back to work, and the daily routine schedule commences.  My question is, “where did you put all those presents from December 2016”?  If you do not know, perhaps you are not as organized as you think you are.  Have you even used them yet?  If the answer is yes, good job.  If not, why?
What to do with the gifts?
I know, silly question but I am here to help you out.  You can do several things with gifts.  You can use it, re-gift it (it is not rude to do so). You can return it. Make sure you get a gift receipt, know the store from where the gift was purchased AND their policy, and a good excuse to the gifter on why you are returning it in the first place. (Saying that it is ugly is NOT a good excuse).  You could also sell it.
Have a gift card to a store you do not shop at?  You could try the store out, after all, you may like it, or there are several online places that will exchange the gift card for the one you like, or get a Visa, American Express, or MasterCard gift card. (I have not seen a Discover Card gift card as of yet.)
If you decide to keep said gift…
Please use it.  Nothing is more embarrassing than the gifter standing in long lines just to get you the perfect gift and you do not look at it.  Do not use it out of pity either.  Store the gift in its proper place.  If you do not have a place for it, create one.  Find a like item (something you already have that is in common with the gift).  For instance, my father got me a purse for Christmas.  I am not crazy about the color combination, but I love that I can put my mini Ipad in the main compartment of the purse.  My phone fits up front, and my wallet fits inside with the Ipad.  I do not carry tons of makeup, so when I do, it will fit as well.  I will carry the purse until it is time for the season to change, then I will store it with my other purses.  Now it has a home.  I store my purses in my bedroom closet.
There is another place…
To put an unwanted gift.  You do not need any monitory value for it at all.  Donate the item.  Most places like consignment shops, thrift stores, and shelters take gently used items to give to those without a whole lot of money.  Some places will pay you money for your unwanted gift, like consignment shops and shops like New Uses, but do not expect a lot of money for the precious item.
Back in the summer, I needed some money, so I decided to try New Uses.  I had some retired Longaberger baskets to unload (8), so I decided to give New Uses a try.  Longaberger baskets are worth a lot of money, but the total I would have received from New Uses was a whopping $27.72, had I taken the money.  I was expecting around $200.00 tops.  The buyer explained to me that they go by the size and shape of the baskets, NOT what it is worth. In other words, the value.  She held up the smallest basket and said that it is was worth $2 by itself.  I was so heated, until I grabbed all the baskets, and got out of there. 
Thrift stores do not pay, at least in Columbus, Ohio.  Your best option is to simply donate the gift.  While you are at it, clean out your closets, so your gift would not be lonely.  The donation alone makes a great tax write-off for the end of the year.  My church’s denomination, The United Methodist Church has a free store on the south end of the city.  Those who are in need go there to get gently used items, and it is like a store, where products are set up on shelves or hanging on racks.  The only difference is the people pay nothing for the product, eliminating the stigma of not having any money to pay for a new doll or a new pair of pants.  All you, the donator needs to do, is drop off the products for the people to “purchase”.  Of course, you get a receipt for the items you donate, and you present that receipt to your tax preparer.

You have received so much in one day, make the most out of it.  Maybe you have not, and this holiday season was such a struggle for you. Perhaps you do not celebrate any holidays or birthdays for whatever reason you choose to, or it was something you were taught.  Whatever the reason, whatever the thought process to the gift you received, and whatever the gift is or was (remember Hanukah and Kwanza are still being celebrated as I type this), always remember that it is the thought that counts, and it is better to give than receive.  Give to others and receive the present of family and friends, for those are lasting memories.  Time is very precious.  Make good use of it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Just in time for Christmas

(Warning:  Some of the links below may contain affiliate information.  I may receive a commission for that link. For a full explanation, please see my disclosure page. Thank you.)

Shopping at Longaberger Homestead
(c) 2016 P. Lynne Designs
Here is your PSA for the week courtesy of my Facebook Status:

This is your PSA for the Week...Please, please, please be patient. I know many of you out there at the last minute are present hunting. Why? These employees are stressed as it is. I have been there. Yes, stores should be well stocked, but sometimes their buyers underestimate the crowds this time of the year. They go by what their numbers were for the same or similar item last year (2015). They have no idea as they sit in their ivory towers and laugh at the rest of us, shouting "glad I do not have to deal with this". Be glad you have to the money (or the credit, which you shouldn't) to get the item. Trust me, I have worked at a department store and a scrapbooking store, and I always hated the week coming up to Christmas.
I got yelled at for an item not being there when the customer wanted it, an item not on sale, and why can't they get a refund for an item (or raincheck).
At the same time, for the employee, please, please, please, be patient. Customers do not read minds. If a customer is asking you for something, anything, do not brush them off and talk to them down to a child's level. Do not scream at them. Stay professional at all times, don't let them see you sweat. Do not discuss your work affairs around a customer who is just trying to get home or to the next place to shop. No one has time to hear that mess.
OK, Bye, I smell a blog post cooking. Stay tuned...

The dictionary defines patience as “lack of complaint” and “staying power” (I need to explore that a bit), while my thesaurus says that the similarity words are endurance, tolerance, persistence, and stamina to name a few. 
I will admit to some that I sometimes have a lack of patience, especially when it comes to driving.  I want to get where I am going, but I am less tolerant of those who text or talk on their cell phone, and they are headed towards me with said phone in hand.  I am not in the mood of being totaled again, especially when the cause of my accident last year was me taking my eyes off the road for a second to reach for my donut.  I was not that hungry, and the donut stayed in the car, as I was being carted off by the ambulance.  Trust me, the text or phone call is not important, and neither was me eating as I was heading towards another SUV.
Patience at Christmas Time…
Starting with Black Friday until this week, thousands of people have shopped in the stores, malls, and online, hunting for that perfect gift.  This is a plus for a store. Black Friday, which is the one day of the year where stores operate in the black (making profit) as oppose to operating in the red (losing profit).  If you are a Star Trek fan (which I am), the retail sector would be the Ferengi species, who always want to get something for profit.  In the retail industry, it means sales, sales, and more sales. I wrote about my experiences as both a consumer and a business owner in this post.  It was not easy, but I made it through.  I did not get any sales, but I see the error of my ways and will try to do better next year.

As a consumer, we are a particular breed of customer.  This is the type of person, who is always looking for a bargain or a deal.  They are the ones armed with coupons, sales papers, their cell phone tuned to the latest app, or their tablet and laptop.  They do not want to pay full price for even a stick of candy (I am always armed with my phone and Ipad, the only way to shop, LOL). 
Retail stores are particular too.  They want you to come to the sale, but in addition to the sale, they want you to say, “Oh, I meant to get that last week, but while I am here, let me get it now”.  Are you familiar with the end caps (end of the aisle shelves)?  The shelves at the registers?  The endcaps usually hold the sales.  You go in for the sales and if you do not have time to go deep into the store, you can turn around and be enticed to buy something at the registers.  Retail stores do not like it when a person buys one item.  I also call the shelves at the registers, “shut the kid up” shelves because if you are standing in a long line, and your kid is constantly nagging, you can grab a candy bar, give to the kid, and they are happy.  I had to do that for a niece or nephew once or twice.  Two more points if you are hungry as well.  This is happy money for the store.  This is one of the reasons why a clerk as you if there anything else they can help you with.  They are not being nice for nothing.
This time of the year is trying for both customer and retail.  Not sure what I mean?  Re-read my status at the beginning of this post.  Not too many people can say that they survived the Christmas seasons of the past in retail, and live to write about it.  In fact, I can say that I had more patience for customers than I do for driving. I rung my last sale January 17, 2010, at Archiver’s, a Memories store.  It was a scrapbooking store.  I left in January, and Archiver’s closed its brick and mortar stores in February 2014. I made lots of friends while working there, both in regular customers and in co-workers.  I do not regret my time there, even when I started working with a difficult manager.  She was new and I had already been there for 3 years.  We did not see eye to eye, but she was not the main reason why I left, but I will tell you that P. Lynne Designs was the main reason for me leaving.  Yes, I was starting my own company.

As a customer service associate for the store, and working years earlier at a local department store called Schottenstein’s Department Store for 2 years (I also worked at Sears but in the office-no customer contact), I have received my share of customer rants and raves. When I explained with a simple “no” and a reason why not to the customer, I received answers from a simple “Ok”, to “I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER, NOW!!!!” I was to remain calm at all times when that was shouted in my face.  I sorry customers, but stores cannot be all things to all people.  I hated when the manager came out, explain the store policy to the customer again (after I have explained it), then to keep peace between the three of us (me, manager, and customer), by issue something that has them skipping out of the store, which was usually money or a lower price on a product.
Customers, please, do not talk down to a person, who is trying to help you with what you want in the store.  Like I explained in the status, the number of products in a store is determined by sales from last year.  Sometimes, a buyer is brain-dead to the stats of the store you shop at.  They do research all the time, but they cannot catch all the data being fed to them.  If the store you are shopping at is a low performing store with not a lot of traffic, there is not a lot of product to choose from.  How does a customer know this?  You don’t, but it would not hurt to ask the manager on duty.  Have a conversation with the manager.  Don’t have a long drawn out conversation, get to the facts on hand.  Please, do not explain how much your child would love the latest Hatchimal, explain where you have been looking in that store.  If no luck, go to a quiet place, and search on your phone while in the store.  If it is at another store, for instance, you search for another Target store while in a Target, ask a manager or a service desk person to call that store to see if they have the item.  If so, see if they can hold it.  If not, ask for a raincheck if possible.  If not, check online when in the store.  Most stores have free WIFI.

As a customer, the last thing I want is for a clerk to do is talk to me like a two-year-old.  I feel like as a customer, your attention should be on me as I talk to you to ask a question or if I am paying for my purchase.  On Black Friday, it was me and my mom looking at a few things.  Come check out time, a person helped my mom, and was wonderful, except during the checkout process, she was talking to another co-worker about another co-worker, who had quit her job, another one who was late, and yet another one who was new.  This convo went on for about 15-20 mins, and we as her customers could have been finished in 10 mins.   No customer wants to hear that kind of talk.  You should be present with the customer, asking them questions about the item they purchased, reminding them about current and future specials, and so on.  Once you are off for the day or on your break, feel free to talk about those co-workers.  A customer’s time is valuable.  Courtesy also has its rewards.  Say a customer calls in to find out if your store has an item for sale.  Do not repeat, do not hang up on them.  If you do not have a product, kindly tell the customer what is the store policy when you sold out of a product.  Again, the customer is not a mind reader.  God does not equip us with those abilities. 

Long Lines

Last thing…. Long lines.  They will come, and they are everywhere.  Don’t like them?  Hire a personal shopper or shop online.  Simple.  You can even arrange when to have it delivered.   If you are stuck in one, play on your phone.  I do.  If you have kids with you while stuck, have them play on your phone.  My sister does. If you and your spouse are shopping together, have that person take the kids to the car.  Problem solved.

My take away for you:  This is a stressful time of the year.  We all go through it, and we try to people please during this time.  Cut the stress by doing something with the family that is meaningful.  In fact, I insist. Helping one another means more than some present that is only going to be tossed aside by someone if they do not like it or it gets worn from overuse.  Love someone, care for someone, never let go of that feeling.  Once they are gone that’s it.  

Take care and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Christmas Wish you heart makes

It all Started with a Mouse
(C) 2016  P. Lynne Designs
Welcome to Christmas week.  I love Christmas and all that it brings.  The presents, the love of family, get-togethers, food, sweets, but most all, the importance of the birth of Christ.  I love the decorations, but again, I must remember that this is Jesus’ birthday.
I know that some Christian purists and theologians will say, “but Christ was not really born on this day.”  No, we do not know ACTUALLY when He was born, but Christmas give us an idea of what day he was born.  Now, when choosing a Christmas story to believe in, to me, it is the biblical one.  Besides that, it is better than to believe in a story about some immortal fat elf, who breaks into people’s homes to leave a present, and spies on you the other 364 days of the year.  I am sorry folks, that is a home invasion.  On top of that, do you really have to leave him cookies and milk, and snacks for the reindeer? 
Now, I do not want to ruin it for the little ones, so, I do respect the guy who needs to be a spokesperson for Jenny Craig.  When kids do ask me about Santa, I tell them about him, and I do tell them about Jesus’ birthday.  No, I have not traumatically ruined the lives of my niece, nephews, and other children around me.  I have had some years to think about this whole Santa thing. 
What do I mean by “A Christmas wish your heart makes”?  I am talking about taking a trip to Disney World.
Like I said, I love looking at decorations, and I have gone to Disney World at Christmastime.  The parks in 1998 were not that crowded, and Disney was not making the big promotion thing like they do now.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom was just a few months old, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios was called Disney’s MGM Studios.  Disney Springs was called Downtown Disney, and my family and I stayed off property.
We went back in 2004 during the spring break, and it was wonderful, but I longed to get back there during Christmastime.  I was a member of the Disney Vacation Club, which is a wonderful way to stay on the property of Disney.  I do recommend it if you take annual trips to Disney.  I do have to warn you; it is like a timeshare, you have all the perks of a timeshare, but it is so worth it if you do visit Disney multiple times of the year if you can afford it.  In 2006, I had to give it up, because of a financial crisis, but I will tell you that it does not show up on my credit report.  I have plans to get the membership again.
I have been trying to get back to Disney World for Christmas since 2009, but many things have come up in my life over the years.  I am shooting for 2017 this time and it may be the first time without my parents.  Dad has never been big on Disney, in fact, he hates it.  I never knew that concept until we took the trip in 2004.  What we don’t do for our kids.  He tolerated Disneyland when we lived in California, and he thought that we would only ask a handful of times when we moved to Ohio.  Little did he know that he would have a child that loved all things, Disney. 
Mom is a lot better about Disney.  Mom’s now has walking issues, and she is afraid that she would not make it through a week of walking around Disney World, even though if need be, we get her an electric chair to ride in.  She did great in 2004, but she was younger and her legs were stronger.  
As for the rest of the family, except for my ankle issues, me, my brother and his family, along with my sister and her family can do this alone, if my parents do not come.  I want to make it a Disney Cruise/resorts type of trip.   I will have to see and talk to them about it.  One of the things about myself that I need to work on is to be assertive when I ask of something from my family.
One of the events I would like to visit in 2017 is the Disney Social Media Mom’s event.  I doubt if the Disney officials would see this post, but that is one of the goals if that could be pulled off.  I believe it’s in March or April, but I am also not sure how many page views I need on this blog to even get an invite.  I have never been to an event of Disney’s and I heard that when they have one, it will blow you away. 

Well, this is short, and again it is Christmas Week.   If I do not post again and I hope I do so before Sunday, you have a wonderful Merry Christmas. (New Year’s will come up sometime next week)

Friday, December 16, 2016

My heart is heavy but thankful

(c) 2016 Card and Photo by P.Lynne Designs
This week, I was hit with and reminded of losses.  Friday and Saturday have not come yet, but yet I am reminded of these things that are held so dear.
First, there was a loss of things….
Sunday night, after coming home from my parents, I discovered a small leak in my garage.  I live in a 4-unit condo (1 ranch, 2 townhomes (one of them is mine), and a loft unit.  If you have ever lived in an apartment (flat if you are from the European Union), you know that if something happens in the common areas (garage, outdoor space, etc.) it affects everyone in the building. 
Now this is how my mind works:  see a leak, panic, call parents.  End of story. Sunday’s was different.  I when I called to let them know I was safe at home, I went into, “I just wanted to let you know” mode.  OK, hours later, I am using the downstairs bathroom, and my left foot happened to touch something wet. This was 3 in the morning.  I picked up a skirt, which I thought I left over at my parent’s house, and it was dripping wet.  I went into, “I’m too tired for this, let me put this in the washer and deal with it when I wake up”.  The bathroom also doubles as a laundry room. I went to bed.
Hours of the incident, I turned on the washer and went about with my dressing for the day.  Suddenly during the spin cycle, I hear water rushing to the floor.  I panic but composed myself as I turned off the washer in mid-spin. Called the house and mom answered.  I told her to tell dad that water is all over bathroom/laundry floor and a plumber was needed ASAP!   I then pulled a “not so bright” move and decided to flush the toilet. (I can see some of you face palming right now, LOL).  Water went rushing everywhere, and I could not turn off the water valve to the toilet (remember, the washer is off by now.)  My mom and nephew came over to help me clean up. 
I had to use the upstairs bathroom until today, and that loss of using this luxury item (yes, a bathroom/laundry room is a luxury item), help me appreciate the two-bathroom system because the homeless have none.  The problem was solved by a plumber coming to help a red rag out to sea, but not before the hefty price was given, Ouch!
The second loss was having no printer to print business cards for an event I had a table at.  I make my own business cards.  It is much cheaper than going through a company by Vista Print or Staples when you are in a pinch, and believe me, I was in a pinch.  I have been meaning to order some cards all year but never got around to it.  I decided to print on 110 lb. paper.  I thought that the printer could handle it, and nope, the cardstock jammed on me.  OK, not to panic.  So, I cleared the jam, and the printer would not do a thing.  This was Monday evening.  Whenever something goes wrong in the computer department, I call my nephew, Mike.  So, I called him, and like most 20-somethings, he will get to me in the morning.  Well, it was too late for that.  Thank God I decided to print up two sheets on regular paper. So, I put everything in a folder to make a fast copy or two at Staples on my way to the event.  The problem is not really solved, because of a Polar Vortex that decided to blanket the city with snow and ice the next day, it was bad going through one of the busiest streets in the city.  There were only 15 people at the meeting, and I was just following up today.
So now it is early Friday morning, and I was reminded of several losses yesterday:
My friend, who is a teacher, was remembering the children and adults who died in the Sandy Hook school incident.  I cannot remember what I was doing that day, but I told her on Facebook, even though I am no longer a teacher (Pre-K for 3 years), and I do not have a child, I would throw myself in the line of fire, if a person dares to try and kill a child.  No child should ever be killed by anyone, but yet there are those persons who feel the need to kill anything and anyone.
Speaking of which, I was also reminded of the man, Mr. Roof (forgot his first name) was found guilty on 33 counts of murdering 9 people during a bible study at Emmanuel AME church in South Carolina.  He did it so he can restart hatred (racism) or segregation in South Carolina.  I guess he thought that it wrong for people of color to have so much freedom, to do what we need to do in order to live in this country.  The sentencing phase begins next month.
It does not matter what the loss is (material, loved one, or physical freedom), the point I am trying to make is having the ability to go on.  Now naturally, the loss of things (such as plumbing and the ability to complete
a task) is nothing compared to losing a loved one.
In both cases (the loss of innocent children and the 9 during a bible study class), the hurt becomes less and less as time moves on.  Eventually, a person would be able to smile when the gentleness of things reminds them of that person, but they have to get there first.  I am not an expert on grief and I am not claiming to be an expert, but the loss of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends have been less and less painful, as I moved on in my life, and I am greeted with little reminders, such as a song my mother’s mother used to sing.  I would find a tear fall from my eye, reflect, and move on.  It does not bring her back, but it also reminds me that she is in a better place than I am.
I think the hardest thing I had to do was to attend a baby’s funeral.  It was 2 years ago, and the baby only lived for a day.  It was a friend of our family’s baby.  It wasn’t a week before that time, in which I asked my mom what day we were going to the baby store to pick out a gift for the baby shower.  Things happened so fast.  The next hardest was attended a 6-year old’s funeral after he had been sick for a long time.  In both cases, I found myself questioning God and asked why these two.  The same when I attended another person’s funeral in her early 20’s.  I though during those trying times about, how God should have just left them alone and allow them to experience life to the fullest, but I had not considered other circumstances, such as the mother’s life (who was also in her 20’s), the 6-year old was in an accident when he was 3 months old, or that the young lady had cancer and was barely hanging on.  So, I turned them into teachable moments that I experienced. 
Yes, loss is hard, very hard on loved ones left behind, but it gets easier. In the case of the Sandy Hook, new gun laws have been on the books.  Teachers (including my friend) across the country are going through ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Trainings, to make sure that every child is safe in the school they are assigned to attend.  There is nothing you can do about the shooter, because he killed himself that day.  It is important that everyone to know when a person is about to go off.  Know the signs, watch their behavior.
As for Mr. Roof, justice has been served, but there are people who are a magazine of bullets away from killing people in a church or elsewhere.  In the denomination that I belong to, The United Methodist Church, churches across the country have in place a program called Safe Sanctuaries.  In each church, there is a policy that tells members, potential members, guests, and their families that this is a church where they can feel safe, and there are rules in place in the event that something happens during a meeting or a worship service.  I am sure that there are similar policies in place in other churches.

Just remember that when you are going through loss, either of things or loved ones, you are not alone in this at all. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Not Today

I do not think so.
(c) 2016 Adobe Stock
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Ever since my post titled, “Happy Holidays and Welcome to December the last month”, I have been playing around, trying to explain to my followers my Black Friday experience.  I even have a post half way written, so I can just plop it onto this blog, and be gone.  It is not easy being a business person. 
One of my goals with this particular blog was NOT to write a blog post, have cute frilly words, give you guidance, and then when the hook is securely firm into your neck, I will hit you with 500 products you can buy from me, all with a low price of $1000 a package.  It has never been my way.
So, when I talk to you about my Black Friday experience as a seller, it is MY experience.  Nothing fancy about it.  Can I tell you what I do when I am not writing a blog post?  I have mentioned it several times, but for those who are just finding my blog, it would be helpful if you knew about people behind the blog.
I am not going into the whole, “when I was a little girl” type of story because I sort of fell into selling. I only figured out that I liked marketing and advertising 20 years ago, and it all started when I was a baby, and my parents told me that I would play during the television shows, but stopped when a commercial came on.  OK, enough of that.  Let’s fast forward…
It was really a failed attempted on getting marketing internship jobs that lead me to becoming an Independent Longaberger Home Consultant. I thought, “why am I acing an interview, and then suddenly they could not hire me.  I understood that in order for a company to even offer an internship (paid or unpaid), they had to have money to do so.  Every single one of the internships I interviewed for, offered me the position the day of my interview, but then turned around to tell me that through budget cuts or some other odd reason, the position was dropped.  I thanked the interviewer, and reassure he or she that I am available, should the position become open again.  One marketing firm I was interviewed 3 separate times.