#13

Lucky 13.

It’s now the first of March and winter is still with us. Here in the Northeast we have some of the white stuff on the ground and more in the predicted forecast.

So my list of ways to cope with the long winter continues.

Clean something.

Not just organize. That’s another posting.

But give something a real good going over with a bit of elbow grease. You’ll end up organizing in the process.

I chose my fridge.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Only you will take joy in this completed task. No one else will notice. No one else will care. Ever. At all. But you will. You will notice and you will care.

Back to me. I chose the fridge because it was time. Way past time. After the holidays. After the kids have returned to university. After ignoring it. After giving it a swipe here and there.

A refrigerator is a big to do. The big guns needed. Taking out drawers and such. Scrubbing the fossilized lettuce on the clear plastic bin. Gosh, I think it’s lettuce. But who can really be sure.

It’s a place of hope. For that half used something or other. The promise of what could be.

With just one more recipe. In the near future.

It’s like I imagine the would be thoughts of jalopies resting in a junkyard. “Maybe someone out there will need a used part and come get me. So I’m not a has been.”

That promise never happens. At least in our house.

But what does happen, and I will admit it makes me sad and happy at the same time, is this. Sometimes those hard choices about promises are just taken out of our hands. Decisions made for us. Not by us.

libby1libby2

At first glance it looks to me like one of those fabulous aerial views showing us beautiful little islands and possible volcanoes in the middle of a Habanero salsa.

Or dead field mice.

Oh my gosh! A picture can tell a thousand stories. Like a Rorschach test.

For the record. I have a ton of glass containers so I am not even sure how that can even made it into the fridge. Please don’t judge me. But it did and happily resided there for awhile. A quiet and unassuming neighbor pushed into the background. Not needing any attention. Until it was time to spruce up the neighborhood.

Then it had to go.

I cleaned that fridge until it looked shiny and new. Every drawer pulled out and washed. Dried up puddles from old vegetable goop all gone. I sniffed containers of sour cream and eyeballed the cream cheese packages. If anything looked like it could be a candidate for the next new antibiotic I heaved it.

I will leave off for now.

Secure in the knowledge that you will wisely choose a smaller cleaning project. That you will never accept an invitation to eat at my home. That you wont ever crave my pumpkin pie.

Have a lovely weekend! If it’s snowing be careful on the roads. If it’s not snowing be careful on the roads.

Spring is almost here.

 

 

 

 

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#12

We sometimes forget that certain smells promote a feeling of well being.

Like laundry.

I mean the smell of clean laundry.

There are even candles and sachets named “Fresh Laundry” or “Clean Linen” out there. Because people love this scent.

If you live in a place where the laundry is dried outside all year then you are fortunate. You get that outdoor scent naturally. You don’t need my “Feel Good” list. You’re probably breathing in that “clean air” smell from your sheets at this very moment. As you should. Lovely scents trigger positive responses.

But for those who use a clothes dryer due to weather and/or the seasons you can try this for a pick me up.

dryerballs

These are two wool dryer balls. They help reduce static electricity and drying time in the machine.

I add just a little something to the mix.

oils

These are essential oils. I’ll be honest. They’re not the real expensive ones.

I find them in Marshalls and TJ Maxx which are discount department stores in the U.S. Same place I bought the dryer balls.

I put drops of the oil on the dryer balls. Once absorbed they are ready to work their magic on the load of wet clothes thrown into the dryer.

The end result is warm sheets, towels or clothes that smell like lemongrass or eucalyptus.

Or whatever wonderful smell you want it to be. Clean laundry? Bergamot? Spearmint?

Smell whatever you want.

I inhale the scent and it lifts me up for a moment.

Try the dryer balls with essential oils for a quick “feel good” sniff during the long/short days this winter.

Maybe you’ll find one called “Beach” or “Summer Days.”

 

#11

#11 on the list. To fight cabin fever this winter.

Challenge yourself. 

Recently I mentioned being exhausted and that I would soon share the reason.

Exhausted might have been a slight exaggeration. I was being a tad dramatic.

But here’s the reason.

I challenged myself at Goodreads. My personal goal is to read 100 books in 2019. I know, right?

This is a great site, by the way, for those who enjoy reading. Has suggestions, reviews, etc.

As an aside, since I am in sharing mode, this is also a fabulous site Reading Group Guides. loaded with so much for a reader to digest.

Since I’ve avoided any weight loss challenges that might be beckoning I figured I would go for something that was actually doable. My friend, Nancy, thinks that it’s a bit aggressive. She’s probably right.

I do enjoy reading and learning. So, I am not doing it just for the challenge. But it will help me to stay on track and not veer off with pesky distractions. While still somehow putting a little healthy pressure on myself. Not necessarily a bad thing if it’s keeping me off the streets.

Now I’m like an anteater sniffing around the house. Reading everything.

Hannie, my youngest who is away at university, is sort of uncomfortable with me grabbing books from her room and devouring them. Because, along the way, I’m taking photos of her neon colored, sticky post it notes and personal hand written observations  in the margins while also lending my own running commentaries.

My accompanying texts, “Yes! I agree!” Or, “Really? You thought that?” Like a virtual book club. In my mind anyway.

neontabs

So that is number eleven on the list “Fighting Cabin Fever.”

Challenge yourself.

Maybe lose the twenty pounds that appeared out of nowhere once you found an empty nest with no cigarettes. Okay, sorry for that ramble. That was totally for me. All me. 

Could be an on-line course. Or listen to a daily podcast. Do one nice thing for someone else each day. Pull out a jigsaw puzzle. Read more books. Go for regular walks. Learn new recipes to shake things up.

A friend from Malaysia joined the 100sareepact in 2015. This involved a pact between two friends to wear their saree (sari) one hundred times while sharing their saree stories. It incorporated photos of celebrations, heritage, joy, love, cherished memories and more. Very cool movement.

Maybe you could create your own friend pact/challenge?

Whatever you decide to do it will result in a lovely feeling of accomplishment. You will have achieved your goal while keeping busy waiting for the change of seasons.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

#10

This should actually be number one on the “Whiling Away Wintery Days” list.

Want to feel better while waiting for the beach days to arrive?

This is the simplest thing. Won’t cost you a penny.

Do something for others.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing.

Sounds so easy. Almost causing folks to wonder, “What’s the catch?”

No catch.

But you do have to make an effort.

Mail a cheerful letter to a friend. Visit someone who could use company. Volunteer your time. Tell someone how much you appreciate them.

Take a moment to think about how you can spread some joy. And then actually do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Years

In just four days, this blog, will be ten years old.

Ten years of prying words out of my head and putting them on paper. Ok, not really.  A blog is an on-line thing so there was no actual paper involved or harmed in the creation of Just Being Mary. To the best of my knowledge.

I just want to thank you all for joining me on this journey. As everyone knows a decade can (happily and sadly) produce many changes in our lives. If I am still writing and you are still reading then we both have a lot to be thankful for today. I am really glad you are still here.

As I continued this blog, through the years, I came to a realization. If this was only for me then I would have just purchased an old fashioned pleather diary (replete with paper made from real trees and a little tiny key for security purposes) and kept my private thoughts locked up and to myself.

But I wanted to share my thoughts. Because I wanted others to laugh, smile, think, commiserate, try, reason, question, help, hope, plan, cry, support, share, discover, learn and do all the things I do.

Especially laugh.

Hope it’s working.

Thank you all!

Hugs,

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9 Cheerful Reminder

Here is number nine on the “Is it April yet?” list.

Find something to serve as a cheerful reminder that sunny days are just around the corner.

I have a few items scattered around my house for this very reason. I really love these guys.

herbspoons.jpg

They were a gift so I can’t take any credit for finding them. My daughter, Norah, bought them for my birthday last October.

I love everything about them.

Recycled/renewed. Unique. Useful.

I’m  even happy that I received them after the herb season ended.

Because that gives me just one more thing to look forward to this Spring.

They are displayed on a trunk right by the back door. Ready and waiting!

Find a cheerful reminder. Sunny days are just around the corner.

 

#8 Eye Catcher

I am feeling the pressure to crank out these babies and I’ll tell you why.

Babies, of course, referring to items on the list. Not actual babies.

“Avoiding doldrums of winter” is the list. Refer to past postings for the other seven.

The reason I am feeling pressure is because the winter is flying. In about eighteen days the clocks in my house will “Spring Ahead!” by an hour. We will blink and there will be crocuses popping out of the ground. It will be Easter and then it will be the Fourth of July.

That sounds like good news. Besides the fact life is going by quickly.

So is my list even necessary?

Probably.

Because some winters are longer than others. Some are colder. Different regions experience different weather.

So here goes.

#8

An eye catcher. 

Usually that’s me. But for the purpose of this list I will stick with inanimate objects.

Have something that brightens up the joint. Something visible that catches your eye. Lifts your mood. Each and every time. Acts like a dopamine drip.

We surround ourselves with furniture and a lifetime of dust collectors. How often do we actually acknowledge them? Even notice that they are there?

Yes, most of us are generally happy with our space. The overall feeling when you walk in the front door. Believe me, some days that feeling of contentment and “I’m in the comfort of my own place” vibe is enough for anyone.

Maybe looking for something more is asking too much?

Nah.

We have to continue working on the “shaking the blues” list! Something more than the same old thing is necessary.

This always works for me.

thumperwatching

But not everyone wants or is able to have a pet and I promised to stick with inanimate.

There are a few things around the house, other than husband and dog, that I really like and always seem to brighten my moments.

I’ll share one today.

painting

This is a small painting by a local Rhode Island artist named Kathy Weber. I have it displayed on a wall in a high traffic area near the front door.

Different things appeal to each of us for a variety of reasons. That is what makes the world go ’round.

When I look at this piece of art I am immediately transported to the town where I was raised. Sure, this could be a winter street scene from any New England working class neighborhood. But it looks exactly like mine. I also love the colors Weber uses in her work.

I found it at Neville Fine Art and Framing in Warren, Rhode Island. I chatted with Donna, the owner, back in the summer while admiring the shop and its nicely displayed pieces.

This little gem caught my eye and then I left without buying it.

I don’t know why. What’s wrong with me? It’s probably because I am a Libra and any decisions I ever need to make practically have to involve a congressional hearing. It’s no joke. So hard for me.

Then I started having these pangs of what I guess could only be described as the opposite of buyer’s remorse. Non-buyer’s remorse.

I knew then I just had to have it.

So a few days later my friend and I headed to the shop. Of course, we showed up after business hours.

The following week I was with another friend and drove to the shop. Had every intention of arriving home with my new bundle of joy. Nope. Didn’t happen. The place was not open on this particular day.

I was about to go down another road. You know the one. It’s called, “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”

But I didn’t.

The third time was the charm. Whew!

Okay, I can’t make decisions to save my life. But once something gets stuck in my head it’s going absolutely nowhere until I deal with it. If a person looks up the definition of “dogged” in the dictionary my eye catching face will be staring right back at them. My Dad used to say, “Watch out when she gets a bee in her bonnet.” He wasn’t lying.

Thank God it’s only the small stuff with me.

Imagine how tired I would be if I was going for world peace? Or bringing down the number of mass killings in the U.S.?

As a side note. It won’t take you three times to gain entry into Donna’s shop. That was just me, flying by the seat of my pants, without checking business hours and days of operation before hopping in the car. Expecting the world to revolve around my whims. 

If you are in the area stop by and see Donna. You’ll be glad you did. Tell her I sent you. Just say, “Mary, the lady who loves that your shop smells like Christmas all year round.” She’ll know. 

I bought the painting and I love it. It is a bright spot on a winter’s day.

Obviously, a painting is not going to do it for everyone. But there will be something. You’ll find it.

The eye catcher.