ABCs of Gratitude…a List

One of my fellow writers over on the platform Medium wrote an article this morning listing 26 things she loved or was grateful for using the letters the alphabet. She then challenged a few other writers to do the same…I was one of those people. I figured I would share it with you, because why should Medium have all the fun, lol. Let’s go…

A. Apricots, one of my favorite fruits

B. Beach

C. COFFEE

D. Daisies…my favorite

E. Entenmann’s coffee cake (to go with the letter C, of course)

F. Fall, you know I do

G. Giraffes

H. House, MD… great television show

I. Ice Cream…don’t ask for a particular flavor…too many to choose from

J. Jokes…I love to laugh

K. Kellogg’s…grateful for all your delicious cereal

L. Ladybugs

M. the Moon…when it hits your eye like a big pizza pie…you know the rest

N. Nancy Drew Mysteries

O. Orange…as in the color, it’s just an upbeat little color

P. Pepper, as in Dr. Pepper…thank God for the liquid physician

Q. Quarters…the actual money and the game we all played in college

R. Rye Bread…I am an East Coast girl, and nothing beats a great sandwich on rye

S. Santa Claus

T. Texting…if it’s going to be short, I’d rather text than call

U. the Universe

V. Vending Machines…sometimes you need a little snacky when you’re out and about

W. Writing

X. Xigua…watermelon in Chinese…perfect on a hot summer day

Y. Yoke…best part of the egg…without it we wouldn’t have deviled eggs

Z. Zigzag because it reminds me of a Squiggle Line, which you know I am

There you go, 26 things I am grateful for using the alphabet. What about you? Tell me one thing you are grateful for or that you just like, BUT you have to use the first letter of your first name.

***Question for the comments…what’s one thing you like that begins with the first letter of your first name.

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Mean Girl, Thy Name is Cardio

I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of things and doing cardio is at the top of the list.

Cardio promises so many things and I am among the many that get swayed by the sweet talk. She promises (yes, cardio is a girl, lol) a healthy heart, lower blood pressure, regulation of weight, better immune system and much, much more. It all sounds so wonderful, and it is, but there is more lurking behind the saccharine laced smile and bubble gum pink lip gloss.

I am writing this in the early morning hours because I am going to be hitting the treadmill when my condo gym opens at 7 a.m. I have decided to add cardio to my exercise routine. I have been lifting the weights with Neil in the afternoon and it has been going great. Today, I face off with cardio.

Why do I call her a mean girl? Think about all the different ways you can do cardio. Walking, running, biking, aerobics, swimming…the list is endless. It seems so promising; you pick the method that seems like something you will like, and you jump right in. It’s kind of like meeting a new girl at school or work.

She says hi, you say hi and you begin the dance of getting to know each other. With cardio, you pick your method and start slow trying to get the rhythm of how the exercise is supposed to go. It’s going great, you’re getting the feel of the exercise and you bump it up a notch. It’s like agreeing to go hang out at the mall with the new friend. It’s still very friendly and you are having a good time, maybe meeting some other girls through your new friend. But watch out, danger signs may be ahead.

You are just moving along minding your own business, having fun and then…bam…you get a cramp or shin splints or something else happens to make you despise your workout. Similar feelings occur when your new friend decides to turn the tables on you and be mean. You have heard of such things happening, it was possible you would be next, but you didn’t want to believe. But here you are. So, what do you do?

You could do one of two things. You could let the mean girl win and never do cardio again. But you would lose out on all the great benefits that cardio actually provides. Or…you can look that cardio in the eye, tell it to bite you and show that exercise who the boss is and dominate it!

It would be like if you went up to a mean girl and told her you’re not going to deal with her petty nonsense anymore. You are in control of who and what you deal with, and that is soooo FETCH!

***Question for the comments…Do you like to do cardio? What is your favorite type to do? Do you hate it? Tell me why?

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Books, Books and More Books!!!!!

I always laugh a little about all the daily “holidays” the nation celebrates, but I think they hit the nail right on the head with this one…National Bookstore Day. It’s today!

Bookstores are my favorite retail place to go. I can go without buying clothes and other things if they are in good shape, but I cannot pass up a bookstore. As soon as I see one, I have to go in and look around. I am like Pavlov’s dog; at the sight of a bookstore my eyes start to glaze, and I begin to salivate. Well, maybe not that bad, but pretty damn close.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a large corporate chain or a small indie store, I can spend hours walking up and down the aisles. If it’s the big corporate place, the first stop is the cafe for a latte. I must have caffeine to fuel me as peruse the stacks looking for the perfect book.

Most of the time, I do not have any particular book in mind to buy. I am drawn mostly by the titles and covers and the genres I seek. I always start in the discount section. I have found a lot of good titles there that have become favorites. Next, I hit fiction and literature. Normally, I am looking for books that I want to add to my collection that I don’t already have by my favorite authors. I don’t particularly need the book; I just want to add it to my shelves. I guess I could always order it, and have it delivered, but I prefer the thrill of the hunt.

Next up is the travel section. I love travel writing, reading about other people’s adventures is fun for me. I love to read books about people who have moved to other countries and write about the daily life there. Next up is reference, especially the writing section. I am always on the lookout for good books about writing structure and how other writers form their craft. I hit the jackpot when I find a book about the daily life of an author. When and how they write, where do their ideas come from and the whole writing process from start to finish. I find it fascinating.

Okay, so maybe I have a problem with books and buying them…maybe. It might also be said that I have a problem with bookstores, as in I have never been in a bookstore I didn’t like. That could also be a valid point, maybe. But, how do you really know I have an addiction to books and bookstores???? My favorite books are the ones written about bookstores…yup, wrap your head around that one.

***Question for the comments…Do you like to go to bookstores? Do you prefer big chain ones or the little indie stores? What is your favorite section in the bookstore?

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Boy Bands…

Ahhhh, the boy bands, every middle school girl’s dream. Every decade or so a new crop of boy bands enters the picture and sets little girl’s hearts a flutter. Did you have a favorite growing up? Who was it?

What is the fascination with the boy band? They are a bunch of cute guys who sing and sometimes dance, but they don’t play instruments. They are here to sell albums and merchandise and make the girls go crazy. And they do.

If you go to Wiki, it will tell you the precursor of the modern boy band is actually the old-time barbershop quartets. A bunch of guys singing together making harmonies…sounds about right. That morphed into the doo wop groups hanging out on the street corners and it eventually trickled down to what we call boy bands today.

Before the term was coined in the late 80s there were very successful groups out there that could fit the bill. The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds were doing this long before it became a thing. Even Menudo and New Edition were around before there was a name for the phenomenon. All the girls were going crazy, you would think The Beatles were back together.

All the girls were going crazy…except me. I somehow missed the boat on boy bands. I was in middle school in the early 80’s and fell hard for bands like The Go-Go’s, Culture Club, The Police and Duran Duran. Yes, Duran Duran was made up of very cute English guys in their early 20s, but they didn’t fit the bill because they played instruments. We bought the records and merchandise and screamed and fought over them, but not a boy band.

The boy band reemerged with full force when New Kids on the Block hit the charts. Their big success hit overnight in the late 80s, but by then I was listening to more punk music and didn’t care. I will admit to liking a few of their songs, but the only one I can name is “Hanging Tough”.

I have watched new boy bands make the scene every few years and see the reactions of the girls on television. Hanson, One Direction, the K-Pop thing…all the girls going crazy for their favorites, just like I did with Roger Taylor from Duran Duran.

As much as I want to shake my head and laugh at these bands today, I can’t. I remember what it was like at that age. And maybe I wasn’t into the teenybopper bands, but I did go head over heels for my favorites and the reaction was the same. I remember my mom kind of laughing at my reaction to Duran Duran and telling me it was silly. I looked her straight in the eye and told her she acted the same way about Elvis and the bands she saw when she danced on American Bandstand in the late 50s. She couldn’t deny it.

I encourage you to listen to your favorite music from middle school today and remember how you felt at that age. And keep that feeling in mind when you might want to laugh at “that crazy kid music” being played today. We have all been there and we have to let the kids of today have the same experience.

***Question for the comments…Did you like boy bands? Who was your favorite? If not, who was your favorite band in middle school. Do you still listen to them today?

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Celebrity Gossip…Do We Even Care?

Do you pay attention to celebrity gossip? It is a money-making industry that floods our media feeds, but here’s a question…why do we even care?

I will admit it, sometimes I get caught up in the gossip of celebrity. It’s true. if I see something about a favorite actor or singer, I will skim the article to find out the facts. I have been known to get sucked into a click bait article about the “troubles” surrounding some star only to find out the article doesn’t give me any new information and it wasn’t worth my time to begin with.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. I have been a little bit of a royal watcher since Charles and Diana got married back in 1981. I was 11 and the pageantry was magical. I have never been the type to gush over princesses and I never played make believe that I was one, but I loved watching that wedding. And I have been keeping tabs on the British Monarchy ever since. Not in a big way, but I can tell you a little bit.

Why the fascination? I have no clue really. Most people like a little scandal, I guess, and I am right there with them. And there is plenty of scandal in the realm of celebrity to go around.

Just take a look and you can choose from so many different types of gossip or “reality” type shows. I do not care what the Kardashians are up to and the “Real Housewives”…I take a hard pass. The one “reality” show I did like was “Mob Wives”, everyone knows I am a fan of all thing’s mafia, so I had to take a look. Definitely entertaining.

But the question remains…why do we care about celebrity? Do we dream of being celebrities ourselves? Do we just like to look at other people’s glamourous lives? Or do we just like to see the people we put up on the pedestal crash and burn? I have no clue.

But I will continue to pay attention to the goings ons in the Royal Family as King Charles III makes his moves. I find it interesting to see how they do things, so different from how it is in the States. And yes, I am into the drama surrounding his brother and youngest son. I admit it…the cute “bad boys” of the throne controversy is an ongoing storyline in my google feed.

I will also be looking for things about my favorite celebs. Point me towards an article or video clip about someone I follow, and I will most likely watch it or read it…I guess I am really a gossip hound after all…and I am okay with that.

***Question for the comments…Do you follow celebrity gossip? If you do, who do you follow? If not…tell me why.

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The Changing of the Seasons

I was having my daily sister call a few days ago and the subject of weather came up. She told me she was all bundled up because the temperature had done its normal fall dance of dropping quickly for a day without warning only to have it go back to where it had been before for the rest of the week. Fall on the East Coast…I miss you.

Fall, as you know, is my favorite of all the seasons. The crisp cool air, changing colors of the leaves, warm cozy drinks…it’s like a perfect coffee commercial with a tag line of savor the moments of your life, or something like that. OOO, that’s good, maybe I should pitch that somewhere.

What I miss the most is the actual changing of all the seasons. Here in Hawaii, we just have warm and warmer. And yes, I do love my endless summer of slippahs and boardshorts and the idea of having a beach day as a Christmas tradition, but I have to admit, there are a lot of things I miss in a big way.

I miss the first snow fall of the year. I love snow. We used to live for snow days. We would spend the day out playing and come home to hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. As soon as I saw the first flurry of snow fall, I would pull out my hats, gloves and scarves and be ready to settle in for the winter. I haven’t seen snow in over 10 years, but you can bet if I am ever near it again, I will be out making snowballs and clomping around like a kid. And then I would fall back and make a snow angel. I don’t care how old I get; I will always act like a kid in the snow.

And then winter melts into spring. As much as I love snow and winter, I am so over it by February. I look forward to seeing little Phil the groundhog and what his prediction for spring will be. Look, we all know it’s a big racket and Phil can’t predict anything, but it does make me feel better when he looks around and doesn’t see his shadow. It means Spring is in the air. Phil is almost always wrong, but hope does spring eternal and I am always hopeful he will get it right.

Spring comes in and the flowers start to bloom and the air around you begins to warm, but you always have to be careful. The temperature is unpredictable. March comes in like a lion and April showers do bring May flowers. I have had blizzards hit right around my birthday in April and I have been turning on the air conditioner in March because it’s hot as hell. As beautiful as Spring is, it can take you on a wild and crazy ride. Always be prepared should be the motto for Spring.

By May, thoughts turn to summer. As kids, we had already tuned out the rest of the school year. I did just enough work to keep a passing grade. As an adult, it’s time to think about trips to the shore and other vacation spots, barbeques with friends and refreshing cocktails. Lawn mowers come out in full force and it’s time to do all that outdoor work around the house that you were glad to put off at the end of last summer.

Party hard is the theme of summer, but that starts to fade by mid-August. The days are getting shorter, and thoughts turn to replenishing warmer clothes and getting the kids ready for school. It is sad to see summer end. The loose, carefree attitudes are replaced by the nose to the grindstone attitudes. Nobody thinks they are ready for summer to end, but then the cool crisp breeze starts to swirl, and the warm cozy drinks come back into play, and you realize that every season is perfect in its own way.

***Question for the comments…what is your favorite season of the year and why?

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Dear Diary….

How many of you had a diary growing up? Did you write in it faithfully? Do you still have piles of them hanging around in the attic or basement just waiting for you to open them up and cringe at what your deepest thoughts were at the age of 11 or 17 or 33? Do you still keep a diary today?

I have kept a diary or journal or whatever you want to call it on and off for years. I wasn’t always the best at writing in it every day. That seems kind of funny now that I am a writer full time, but there were some days and weeks that nothing happened…it was just plain boring and who wants to write about that?

My diaries contained the usual drivel that many young girls write about…the boys I liked and the things that happened in school or church youth group. It was probably the most horrific thing to read. Thank God I never kept any of them. We moved around a lot, so I tend to purge my things every few years. In landfills all across America there sits in multiple trash bags my most intimate thoughts and if anybody found them, they would get a good laugh.

It would always amaze me when I would read about other people keeping diaries throughout history. Harry S. Truman, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank, Andy Warhol and many others kept a daily recording of their lives. I would envision them sitting at their desk, pen in hand, writing about the events of the day before falling asleep.

It would inspire me to begin again. So, I would pull out my notebook and my pen and begin writing. But life was still boring, so I started adding favorite quotes and song lyrics to my diary. I think one year, probably 1982, I had all the songs from Duran Duran written in there. I would add favorite bible verses and movie quotes. And my diary began to evolve into something different…something that remains today.

I call it my writers notebook today and in typical Tracie style it is a squiggle line of everything. Ideas to write about, favorite lines from books and movies and songs. Little snippets of life events and to do lists. Everything goes into whatever notebook I am writing in at the moment. It is actually a more accurate account of my life than anything I wrote back in the day. And one day it will be taken out and disposed of, like all the others. And I will put out another notebook and begin again.

***Question for the comments…Did you keep a diary growing up? Do you still? Was it in a fancy journal or a plain notebook? Do you still have them?

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Laughter is the Best Medicine…

That’s how the old saying goes and I totally believe it!!

I am sure you have heard this saying many, many times in the past. But do you know where it comes from? It is actually a proverb from the bible. It’s true, I looked it up. The verse is Proverbs 17:22. It has been changed down the line a little through many different translations and interpretations, but the meaning is still the same. Here is The Message translation: “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.”

Do you feel that in your own life? When all you hear are bad things on the news and keep getting a bunch of junk in your timeline, what happens? Do you feel happy and ready to take on the world? Or do you feel deflated by all the things you see and hear?

I bet you are a lot like me. You just don’t want to hear anymore. I scroll through and see something that catches my attention and I start to read…ok, so far so good, just getting the information and then two things happen…you start reading the comments and then you are in a bigger funk, because reading the comments is never a good idea and then more of the same thing keeps popping up in your feed. It is a never-ending cycle of bad juju, and it has to stop. Why? It’s bad for our health.

I can hear some people now, “But, I have to be informed on what’s going on in the world.” That is true. But that doesn’t mean you have to be so involved in what’s going on that it affects your health and spirit. You might not think it does but keep track for a little bit. I am not going to throw a bunch of statistics at you on this subject, that has never been my style. I am more of a feeling kind of girl. Just check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. Does all the information that you consume bring you down? I have a great prescription for you…

LAUGHTER

It’s true, try it and see. We all need to sit back and just laugh out loud sometimes. I love to binge watch television shows. I like drama every so often, but you will find me in the comedy section most of time. And I recently discovered a show that has been on for 15 years!! (yes, I am late to the party…I usually am)

I have been laughing out loud for the past week at “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. I told you I was late to the party. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I am glad I finally made it. I can’t even begin to describe all the silliness and crazy things that happen on this show. It makes me want to go back to my hometown, eat a cheesesteak, go find Paddy’s Pub, knock back a few beers and just listen to their jawn. (Philly word used for basically anything)

I have 15 seasons to watch, and I will be laughing the whole time and it be great for my soul. Do you have a favorite movie or television show that just makes you laugh so hard you instantly feel better when you sit down to watch it? Let me know what it is in the comments.

Remember, everything in balance. Yes, we need to be up on the happenings of the world, but we don’t have to let it take over our lives. Read it, watch it on the news, get informed and then move on. Do something that makes you happy. Maybe you’re not into movies/television, that’s ok, go dance around the living room to some good music. Here is a great tip…you can never go wrong with 80’s music. (in my opinion anyway, lol)

Fill your soul with uplifting, fun things and remember…laughter really is the best medicine!

***Question for the comments…How do you lift your spirits after all the bad news you see? What is a favorite go to movie or television show that makes you laugh out loud?

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What Have They Done to Pooh?

Fall is here and with fall comes all the things heading towards spooky season. Halloween candy is for sale, costumes are being thought about and all the new horror movies are coming out.

Do you like horror movies? I like certain ones. I am more into psychological thrillers than I am slasher flicks. I will watch “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th”, but I will pass on most things in the horror genre. So, I have to ask a question related to the new batch coming out…what the hell have they done to Winnie the Pooh?

I have three favorite childhood characters: Curious George, Paddington Bear and Winnie the Pooh. That is who they are for, kids, and that is how they should be remembered. Have you heard about the movie, “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey”? It is coming out soon.

Apparently, Christopher Robin has gone off to college and left his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood to fend for themselves. When the food supply runs dry Pooh and Piglet become unhinged, and all hell breaks loose…WTF? I can’t even begin to imagine how that would even look.

I watched the 2018 movie “Christopher Robin” when I was home sick recently and while sad, it makes more sense to me that Pooh would go on a search for his friend to reconnect, not go on a rampage. As an adult I would be traumatized by it, I can’t imagine if a young kid saw it by accident.

What’s next? Is Paddington Bear going to go berserk and go on a killing spree if Mrs. Brown forgets to buy marmalade one day at the store? Will Curious George get a little too curious after seeing a slasher film and bump off the man in the yellow hat just to see what it feels like?

I know we live in a world where anything goes, but I think some things should remain innocent and pure. Is that too much to ask? Listen, I am in no way a prude, at all, but come on…childhood things should remain cherished.

That is my opinion anyway. I will be watching my usual scary movies while eating a bag of candy corn this year, like I do every year, but I will be giving the blood thirsty Pooh a pass.

***Questions for the comments…What about you? Do you like horror films? Which one is your favorite? How do you feel about the Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey film coming out?

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