Sunday, February 28, 2010

These Times They Are A Changin'

Does anyone really like change. We all have to live with it. Sometimes on a daily basis. But do we like it? It can make us feel unsure and uncomfortable and down right scared. I love the quote from Rosanne Cash, "The key to to let go of the fear." Easier said than done, right? In the first post to my blog I mentioned something in my life that really ROCKED it. It wasn't just my life---it was my husband and daughter's too. I could even go further and include my extended family. We had a job opportunity that was the perfect situation that you could possibly imagine. Work that my husband is great at, with a company that respects their employees. State of the art equipment and a benefit package that would make you weep.

Then on a dime, at the very last stages of the process, without any explanation things did not work out to our benefit. Devastation isn't even the word that describes what our family experienced. We had been led to believe that this was going to happen. Yes, there were a few final hurdles, but it was looking solid. And then the call or should I say text that read "I'm coming home." A day early. I knew this wasn't good. My husband was back in town within three hours of that text message. No real insight as to what happened. His gut and his analytical mind told him that everything went well. He enjoyed meeting the people he would potentially work with. Liked the facilities. He was getting excited. And then nothing.

Bless the Human Resources person that he worked with because she did stay in contact and answer a few questions for him. She seems so kind and really thought that this was a done deal, too. But through a series of unfortunate circumstances it obviously didn't happen.

So here we embark on a week of change at our house. The first week that my husband starts a new job---away from us during the week. We know that we are fortunate to have a job because many don't. The circumstances are less than ideal, though. We will make the best of it and hope that it turns into something better. We have each other. We have our faith and our health and for all of these things we are grateful. We'll see him on the weekends and holidays. Already planning our first trip to travel and see him. He has a great pool where he's staying. My daughter wanted me to mention that.

I'll close with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, "When you're finished changing, you're finished." Well, Ben, we're not even close to being done yet!
©2010 Ann M. De Broux

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Aren't Gifts Great?

Well, they certainly can be. Then there are those gifts that we have all been given that are not so great. I don't want to step on any one's gift giving abilities, so please take what I am about to say with the knowledge that it is coming from me---the girl who has a tattoo that reads SIMPLIFY! Okay, I should have maybe put that little tidbit about myself in my profile, but I wanted us to get to know each other a little more before I disclosed that information. I fought getting a tattoo for years. So many I knew were getting them. I wanted my tattoo to really mean something to me and I wouldn't get one until I was sure of what that important meaning would be.

So the day came, when I was 37 and approaching 40, you know, in three years, and I had an inspiration. Why not have my tattoo read SIMPLIFY? It is the one word that encompasses all that I believe in. If you clear out the clutter, you feel better. If you donate, you have given to someone. If you take the time to make the time, the important things in life bubble to the top of your list. So I did it. I walked into the parlor and had my word. The artist that had been recommended to me said, "Are you sure you don't want me to jazz it up a bit?'' And then immediately after, "that would just complicate things." l liked this guy right away. He got it.

So, on to gift giving. There are those times when an actual material object is appropriate and genuinely wanted and appreciated. But think about all of the other times. You need a hostess gift. A gift for a client. For your friends, a work gift exchange and the list goes on. How about we start a movement? We only gift consumables? Make it personal if you like. You know the favorite coffee shop that your friend likes---perfect, a gift card. Make it generic if you don't know the person well. Make your famous pickles and gift them. Your friend appreciates this more than there are words in the dictionary to describe. Friend, you know who you are.

So, in a nutshell, spice up some one's day with flowers, gift cards, handmade, home-cooked consumables. They will use these gifts and remember who gave it to them while enjoying it. And by the way, for those of you who don't know, my tattoo is on my shoulder. Smile.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

It's the famous day of hearts. The holiday that you either love or hate. You love it because you are in love or hate it because you're not. It can be almost sickening with all of the cupids, flowers, candy, cards, etc. Sorry to all my friends in the business! I'm going to make a suggestion for this particular holiday. Here goes.

Let's just celebrate each other. Celebrate anyone you like. It can be your neighbor, your friend, your sister/brother, your husband/wife, child, parent, you get it. And I'm going to take a moment to celebrate someone from my past. I'd like to tell you about her. She is the closest thing that I have had to a big sister. We used to live across the street from each other. She never made me feel like I was bothering her. She raised my training wheels up bit by bit until I learned how to ride my bike. She gave me her hand me down jeans that were worn to perfection and man, did I feel cool when I wore them! She makes the best cheesecake. I haven't talked to this person that I celebrate for quite some time. I just found out that she has an inoperable brain tumor. I am so sad. And yet I celebrate her. She fills my heart with her courage. She has put into perspective the stuff I was complaining about yesterday. It doesn't matter that much. It's just life.

That's my simple point for the day. Life is for living and celebrating. Celebrate those that have made a difference for you. Love them. And go ahead and buy the flowers, cards and candy, too!
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One Thing In, One Thing Out

So about three years ago I really did the BIG house cleaning. Call it what you want---spring cleaning, getting ready for the rummage sale cleaning---just know that it was monumental! I have a mantra that helped with this. Is it useful? Is it sentimental? Does it just make me happy? And if all of those questions have been answered and the final cumulative answer is no, then I say, when in doubt, throw it out! Sometimes I mean literally throw it out, like in the garbage. Other times I mean recycle it or donate it.

Now that the BIG clean is done how do you maintain it? That is where the one thing in, one thing out rule comes into play. If I buy a new book, shirt, rug, whatever, I make sure one of the same goes out. This will often stop me from buying in the first place. If the rug in my back hall is perfectly functional and I'm just sick of the color, I try to reason that I don't need to buy a new rug. If I have tried this thought process and I still WANT a new rug, then I clean the old one, donate it and then purchase my new rug.

It really is as simple as it sounds. I do it all of the time.
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, February 1, 2010

Twenty-four Hour Rule

Twenty-four hours. One day. Not long at all, right? Unless you're waiting for a favorite someone to arrive on a plane. Unless you are waiting for test results. Then twenty-four hours can feel like an eternity.

So here goes. I need to make my usual trip to the store. You know, Target, Walmart, Shopko, you fill in the blank. I make a list and check it twice. I may know my store so well that I actually make the list follow the floor plan of the store! I'm just saying I'm a little particular. Anyway, off to the store I go. What's the first thing I notice? I left that pretty little list on the counter in the kitchen! Crap. Oh well, I think that I can remember most of it.

First thing I get smacked with is the new holiday stuff in the Dollar Spot. How cute. I've always wanted measuring cups in the shapes of hearts. Wait a minute. I hope that the company that manufactured these cups really measured accurately, otherwise all I'm buying is cuteness. And I also dare say that I don't want to throw off any of the scientific reactions that my recipes call for. Being the fantastic cook/baker that I am (it's o.k. to laugh if you know me) I would hate to have faulty measuring cups in my possession.

Onward. I'm pretty sure I needed paper towels. And Kleenex. Well, I'm right here in the toothpaste aisle I may as well pick up a few tubes. Are we out of mouthwash? Yep, I think so. Lotion aisle. It's winter. Never can have too much lotion. And cold season. Don't get me started. Some pain relievers, cough drops, those little things that cover the tip of our battery operated ear thermometer. I need those, too.

Across the aisle. Look at the new book releases! If I purchase this one I get a $5 gift card with it. Well, I'm always one for a deal. And I'm expanding my mind and educating myself. How can a girl go wrong. Wait. The book I'm buying is the third in a series. Of course I should buy the other two or I won't really get the third book.

I know that I need garbage bags. What? Are you kidding me? There are liners that you put in your crock pot that virtually make for no clean up. Have I been living under a rock? I look down at my cart. It's looking kind of full. I'm pretty sure that I have everything that I came for.

I check out with my favorite gal. She's always so nice and we banter as usual. She gets me. We have the same kind of humor. I like that. I seek her out on purpose. I'll even step back in line and allow someone ahead of me so I can be in her line.

I bust through the back door. Bring in my numerous bags. Empty them and put my purchases away. After I'm done I look over at the counter. Staring me right in the eye is my pretty little list. I do a quick little look-see to compare my receipt with my planned list. Oops. I did remember the garbage bags and paper towels. But I came home with no less that 15 other things that weren't on my list and that I didn't need.

Has this ever happened to you? Me either. I was speaking hypothetically.

So, I came up with the twenty-four hour rule. It starts with TAKE THE PRETTY LITTLE LIST WITH YOU. Then, anything that isn't on the list, think about for twenty-four hours. You think I'm nuts, don't you? Try it some time. Stick to the list. Anything that is an impulse buy---RESIST! A day later you probably won't even remember that you wanted the heart-shaped measuring cups. Think of all of the money and time you will save. I know that I have.
© 2010 Ann M. De Broux