Pick 3 – Spin the Globe

Today is a tedious day at work – as in TEE.DEE.US. The day has been kinda’ slow and full of non-stop “busy work.” The highpoint? I am listening to “Spin the Globe” on iTunes. It is one of the stations that plays international music – some new, some old, all good. The songs are all good (at least to me!) Here are my three favorite picks from today’s playlist – please, listen and enjoy!

Monday Memes 2

In a remarkable showing of consistency, this is my second installment in a series I like to call “Monday Memes” – a more-or-less largely visual post with a few images around a central idea, message or theme. (blah blah blah). Today, I have chosen the subject SMILE:

Smile balloonsI was taught growing up that I had the responsibility – no, more of an obligation – to smile. And I did so, willingly, to please and appease my parents and grandparents. Remember, my Mommo and Poppo were from Tennessee so we always had to be happy, smiling, polished and polite children. To be honest, I found it pretty easy to smile as a kid – I think most kids are pretty happy and smiling comes naturally. The only time I remember frowning was when I was in trouble, as in “You better wipe that smile off your face, young man.” Which happened rarely (I was a great kid – what can I say?) So I smiled because, honestly, it felt “right.”

smile-youre-designed-toAs I got older, smiling became less natural and more forced. I worked for years in food service where “Your smile is the most important part of your uniform.” I also have always – ALWAYS – been in sales so, like, who wants to buy anything from some crabby-faced man? I have to admit, when one smiles professionally, it does take a bit of the joy out of it. Also, in my twenties and thirties, my life was not the perfect one I had envisioned as a child. I know I am not alone in that realization – being “grown-up” pretty much sucks most of the time. But I persevered…

Keep smilingNow reasonably settled in my mid fifties, I have the life I always dreamed of – I have a handsome, perfect husband (Thank You, Universe – FINALLY, right?), a have a small but beautiful circle of true friends that love me for me and I love them back. I have a career I love and, all in all, life is pretty sweet.

It – life – does sometime beat me down but when it does, I flashback to a ridiculous sales training seminar I attended where the “motivational speaker” asked us all to visit our unhappiest memory. I know, sounds weird, right? But he asked us to go there, to be in that place and just hold there for a minute. The room got really, really quiet and the air was very still. Then – without warning – the guy shouted into the PA system, “SMILE! Smile from ear to ear. SMILE!” It was a pretty incredible moment – the feeling of the room instantly changed and a large number of us not only smiled as hard and as big as we could, we also started laughing like lunatics, which was infectious. Soon the entire room was smiling and laughing. It was awesome. MT quoteAfter the room stilled a bit, the leader asked us what happened – we all giggled a little and then one timid woman in the back said, “All we did was smile.” (She so fell for it!) Then the leader went on to explain that smiling released endorphins and blah and blah and blah. Our faces were made to smile. It takes seven muscles to smile and a gahjillion to frown. All that stuff. What he really wanted to say – his message – was that smiling matters, and we should all do our best smile and be happy.

I won’t bore you all with a lot of drivel about smiles but I do believe they are powerful, they are magical and they matter. There is a feel-good-y quote that goes something like, “You can never own a smile because the minute you have one, you give it away to the next person you see” or something like that. Whatever the quote is, I do hope this little blog post made you smile and I hope you will do your best to smile as often and as genuinely as you can. You will be a happier person for the effort. And the world will be a happier place, too…

smile meme

Stiff Competition

Tonight my Beloved and I were invited over to have dinner with Scott and Joe (our besties – see yesterday’s post!) Anyhow, the dinner was FANTASTIC as always – cedar plank salmon, cooked on the grill, served with a fresh mango/cucumber/red onion and jalapeno salsa, red quinoa, wedge salads with blue cheese, heirloom tomatoes and egg and multi-grain bread. It was, as I said, fantastic. And, in addition to the great food and even better company, we sat outside as the salmon was being grilled. Here was my view:

photo 3

photo 2

photo 1Yeah, so sorry – between a fun day with my husband and a fun night with our good friends, there wasn’t much time to create a “thoughtful, memorable post” for today. The competition was too stiff. The blog “lost” – please forgive me? Thanks… Back tomorrow!

Super Saturday – And A Quiz

Proving that The Universe is indeed loving and benevolent, today I have enjoyed a GREAT Saturday – indeed, I might call it a Super Saturday (no sports reference intended or implied). After yet another somewhat challenging week at work, this day has been a breath of fresh air for sure…

It all started unremarkably enough with my weekly Weight Watcher’s weigh in. I must confess I was not surprised that the scales bore witness to my less-than-attentive efforts this past week but it was nothing unexpected or surprising. As with so many areas in my life – work, therapy, weight loss – when I focus and “put in the work” I see the results. So, I forgave myself and forged ahead with my day.

A surprise call from our friends Joe and Scott really turned my morning around. Scott and Joe are super BFF’s to Martin and me and they wanted to know if we felt like having an “Adventure Day” – lunch and shopping. What? I mean what could be better, right? Great friends + Spontaneity = Super Day! So, Scott and Joe swung by and picked us up, we had a great lunch at a “celebrated” local deli (thick-cut Challah Granola French Toast – know why my Weight Watcher’s weigh-in was bad?) and then we were off to shop!

We spent probably an hour and a half at a big home goods store, looking at everything for nothing in particular. It was fun to just kill time and laugh with good friends. It is also always fun to watch other couples interact, if only to remind me that when we bicker (Martin and I), we are no different than other couples, gay or straight – we laugh, we argue, we “make-up” and we love each other the entire time. Anyhow, it was super fun and it was during this part of the day that my entry in the “Gayest Remark of the Day” Contest happened…

As we were in the bedding department, Joe handed me a set of sheets which had some embroidery detailing and some “open work” and said he thought I’d like them, to which I responded:

“I am a pretty big fan of the embellished sheet.” And – although I am – we all laughed about how “gay” that sounded. It was a cute moment for sure.

embroidered bed linens

The four of us had a blast, and we all got some great stuff (I did not buy the sheets, LOL!) After that store, we actually went to a nearby natural foods market, where we shopped for a few things. The store is lovely – and I was again reminded that “healthy eating = expensive eating” – but more than anything, that experience reinforced to me that good friends, people that you love and love you back, can do anything and have a great time. I mean, I was in a grocery store looking at prickly pear leaves, having a blast.

marketAfter we checked out, our friends drove us home through some of the streets of gorgeous, stately homes that populate our neighborhood (we live in an apartment). As we oogled at huge Tudors, Georgians and Colonials, imagining who lived in each and what they did for a living, Joe turned in his submission for the “Gayest Remark of the Day” Contest. As we all were looking at a huge brick Colonial which, oddly enough, did only have shutters on one half the windows, Joe offered this bon mot:

“Windows look naked without shutters. Shutters are like eye shadow on a house.” Again, we all agreed and laughed really hard.

Anyhow, in spite of their insistence that we join them for cedar plank grilled salmon at their house (we are going tomorrow night instead – hooray!), Martin and I came home. We thanked the boys for a really fun, really relaxed and comfortable day. We hugged them and away they went. Martin and I headed in… On the way, we stopped and grabbed the mail.

In today’s mail was a brief but very touching note card from our dear friends Chris and Reinhold, written as they were flying from San Francisco to Germany. Those two guys are our West Coast besties – we share a similar history and struggles and are all now at good places. It was an unexpected and beautiful moment, and I feel privileged to know those gents. That short note from Germany reminded me that the world, while huge, is actually very small and physical distance never diminishes the closeness of the hearts of friends. I cannot wait to go visit those guys again.air mailSo, now I am off to watch a movie with my Beloved – another Saturday night in, which is awesome. I know The Universe hears me bitch and moan a lot so today, I want to say “Thank You!” for an awesome day, thank you for awesome friends, thank you for an awesome spouse (Love you, MSW!) and thank you for a life that is, indeed, pretty awesome. I sometimes forget how lucky I am – thanks for the reminder today!

PS – Don’t forget to leave your selection for the “Gayest Remark of the Day” Contest in the comments below. Who will win, Tim or Joe?  😀

Affirmative

I am happy to share this profound declaration with everyone today:

Yes, Weekend.I am “off” work till Tuesday. For the next 72+ hours, I hope to do as much NOTHING as possible. I know, it is definitely a “lofty goal” but, honestly? The past few days have been a veritable avalanche of annoyance and I am most definitely looking forward to a little recharging time over the next three days with my main man, MSW.

Hope you all have a great Friday!

More Unsolicited Small Business “Advice”

Today I was grousing about how slow the retail component of my business has been lately when – again! – I got another bit of stellar, unsolicited advice about how to “drive business.” I should point out that this bit of small business success advice I received, like much of the advice I receive, came from someone that – to the best of my knowledge – has never OWNED their own small business. As always, I am sure that advice came with good intentions from a kind heart but, OMG, this kind of stuff drives me C-R-A-Z-Y.

The advice? “You should have an event.”

What? Right after I share that business had been lackluster recently and cash flow is a little slow, your advice to me is to “…have an event?” Have an event and spend money I do not have in the hopes of making enough money to at least “break even” on the COST of the event? And what type of event would you have me host?

See, even the word “event” makes me bristle. To me these are “events” –

Moon Walk

circus

USS Jason Dunham

Burning ManSo, yeah – to me, “event” implies something memorable and historic, not two dozen cookies from Costco and some bottled waters. I know I sound snarky – and I believe this person absolutely had the best of intentions – but giving small business advice should be like giving parenting advice: if you have no kids, you don’t GET to say “what you would do” unless asked. Same with small business advice: unless you own a successful retail store, please refrain from dispensing advice unless asked. Additionally, I personally feel “events” draw event “go-ers” – you know, people looking for something fun to do. Events do not drive business – heck, I’m not even sure if they “get your name out there.” I think they tend to draw fun people looking to have fun. I am looking for a way to attract people that think spending their money in my store is “fun.”

Ideas, anyone? And please, no one suggest hiring a food truck. .. THX!

Wash Over Me

After an especially annoying day yesterday, today has been a blessing. I have spent the entire day with my beloved MSW – we did everything and nothing, all day long. It was great…

I also put into practice a relaxation and de-stressing technique I use. Whether you’d name it “Going to your happy place” or “Water off a duck’s back,” it is essentially this: planting both one’s feet firmly, bracing for whatever “it” is that troubles you then letting it wash over you and finally watching it leave. My imagery always involves water; water has a calming, cleansing significance for me. I always imagine “it” rolling over me and when it has passed, the scene is serene, calm and beautiful. My “happy place” always involves a body of water. I like all the images below – they make me feel calm, at peace, thankful and centered.

I hope they have the same effect on you, too.

pier

Calm Waters

Still water