Maybe later, but definitely Monday

Hey gang, no morning post, but you never know…maybe later today, but definitely on Monday I will be back. Thanks for your patience!!!!

Adulting…What Does That Even Mean?

“Grow up!!!”

“I’m done adulting for the day.”

“Act your age!”

We have all heard these or similar phrases in different seasons of our lives. Society says that at a particular age we should be living life a certain way. This was especially true back in the day. My parents and their parents before them were expected to marry young, have kids right away and settle into “adulthood”. Were they even ready for it?

I know Ozzie and Harriet and Ward and June made it look so easy on television every week, but was it possible to make it work in real life? Did women really vacuum in heels and pearls? Did they have martinis waiting for their husbands every night because they liked them or because they knew they weren’t ready for the responsibility that life was throwing at them? I mean, they made mother’s little helpers for a reason, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some people who are totally ready to do the grown-up thing. Get married, have the mortgage, raise the kids, start that retirement fund, all in their early 20’s, but there are some who either need a little more time to get it together or they don’t want kind of lifestyle at all.

I am one of those people. I never wanted the “conventional” life. Get married? Have kids? Nope, that was never on my radar. I wanted to meet a nice guy and spend the rest of my life with him, but I never set out looking for him. I let my life unfold without any real direction and it has worked out for me. I finally settled down in one place and met my guy at the age of 42. My sister says I am Peter Pan, and I will never grow up, but I think adulting is different for everybody.

What even happens when you hit “that age”? Do I have to change what I wear, where I go and what I eat? Well, maybe the foods do need a little change depending on health, but that’s about it. But all of a sudden, I need to stop wearing high tops, painting my fingernails black and drinking Yoohoo? Nope, not going to happen, if I have to give up my Fruity Pebbles, then I guess I will stay a kid forever.

But thankfully, things have changed, and each generation has eased up and tweaked the definition of adulthood slightly. So, what does it mean now? Well, to me being an adult is simply taking responsibility. Do you work? Do a good job. Do you have bills? Pay them the best you can and don’t fall behind. Have a family? Take care of them. Are you a free spirit who couch surfs around the country and blogs about it? Cool, get your posts done on time. Whatever being a grown up means to you, make sure you do it right for you.

***Question for the comments…what does being an adult mean to you? Is it a certain age? A state of mind? Certain responsibilities?

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Outside All Summer Long…

How did you spend your summers growing up? I have mentioned in past posts about summer camp and amusement parks, but what about a typical, normal, “boring” day in the summer. What did you do with your time?

We were not allowed to spend all summer inside. If you wanted to stay inside and read a good book…forget about it, you had to go sit outside and get some freah air and read. The words “Go outside and play” were heard in just about every house on every block back when we were kids. We only stayed home if we were sick, and even then, I am sure our moms wanted us out of the house.

We downed our breakfast, maybe did a quick chore or two and then it was out the door to meet our friends. There were never really any major plans and there were never any calls to coordinate times and meetup places. We just all knew where to be and when we all gathered it was go time. What did we do? Absolutely nothing special, but we had a blast.

We would go exploring in places our parents would probably not appreciate. We would play games on the street, and hopscotch on the sidewalk. You have seen this in movies like “The Sandlot”, and “Now and Then”, just kids doing nothing and everything all at once. If you got thirsty you just drank water from the garden hose, none of this carrying around water bottles for us. A big bulky water bottle would only slow us down.

When lunchtime came it was a quick stop at home to check in and down a quick sandwich or some mom would see the bunch of us, take pity and feed us all. It was easier back then. In a pack, we were safe, so our parents didn’t really worry about us. They knew we were fine as long as we all stayed together. Afternoon brought more games and maybe a trip to the arcade. When we were young, we couldn’t wait to hear the ice cream truck on the street. As we got older we would all walk down to the local 7-11 or neighborhood store for a soda and snacks. We all pulled our money and shared.

Until the age of 5 we lived with my grandmother in her row home in Southwest Philadelphia. At the end of the block there was a fire hydrant. When it got to be too hot, some dad would grab some big tool and open it up for us to play in and cool off. My brother and sister were always told to watch out for the baby (me) to make sure I only stayed on the edge or in the back, otherwise I would get hurt. Whenever I see kids playing in a hydrant in a movie I get wistful…man, I miss those days.

We would be outside all day playing and hanging out. No matter where we lived, it was always the same. We knew we had to be home when the street lights came on. So as day turned to dusk we would be out there playing kick the can and freeze tag. Everybody was exhausted and ready for a good night sleep, but there we were, still laughing and carrying on until the first street light turned on. Then it was a scramble to get home, everyone yelling and saying good night and knowing that at first light, we would be getting up to do it all over again.

***Question for the comments…What was a normal stay at home summer like for you? What was your favorite part of a summer day?

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Drink Up!!!

I have never been a fan of drinking water. I would normlly go about my day drinking soda until my mom made me down a glass or two. She would tell me all about the evils of dehydration and remind me to drink water daily. I would tell her I would, but you know how that goes.

I got a little better, and I mean a little. A glass here and gulp there. I never could get down the recommended water intake on a daily basis. I would rather drink another mocha latte than worry about getting my 8 glasses of H2O in. Then I started drinking, I mean the fun kind…cocktails. People would tell me to drink a glass of water before going to bed with some asprin, but nooooo, I refused to listen. Which led to some very horrific mornings. It’s been a long time since I woke up in such a state. Not because I learned my lesson and take better care of it; I just don’t like to drink that much anymore.

I have spent my whole life battling water intake. I would try to add lemon or lime. I would get fancy and drink sparkling water. I still came up short. You know what the problem is, right? The more you drink water, the more you have to use the restroom. I have spent most of my life in the hospitality industry, which means you are on the go for most of your shift. You do not have time to stop and take that kind of a break 5 or 6 times a day. You may get a chance to take a few minutes to shovel some food in your mouth, or if you are a smoker (me) you are taking that few minutes to get one smoke in…food and hydration be damned.

So, is water really all that important? The answer is yes!!! So many different reasons. I won’t list them all, but here are a few: it regulates body temperature, it lubricates the joints, it helps maintain blood pressure and it boosts healthy skin. That last one, skin health, is the easiest one to notice. (I mean, we could talk about the color of urine…but I would rather not.) The skin says it all, you just have to pay attention.

When we first went on lockdown, I decided to be more healthy. I was home doing nothing, so I decided to actually up my water intake to 96 oz. a day. Never in my life have I ever done that. The results were amazing!!! I have always had good skin. I was blessed with clear smooth skin with good color, but the water amped it up like 1000 times. It was plump and rosy, the few little laugh lines (not wrinkles) I have around my eyes were less noticable. I have a young face, but the water made me look even younger. I felt better overall too. I can’t give you any medical reasoning or clinic terms for it, but I know how I felt…great.

I kept it up for awhile, even after I went back to work. I made sure to drink the bulk of the water before and after work, at home. In the past few months I have slipped back into my old ways. Less water, more caffeine and I really noticed the difference. I don’t feel as good overall, my skin still looks good, but had lost a little bit of its glow.

I now know what everyone is talking about. I saw the before me, the during me and now, the after me. Water does make a big difference in our overall well being. We need it to survive of course, they say you can only live without water for 3 days, but we also need it to thrive. There is an old 80’s commerical that told us milk does a body good. That is totally true, but water does a body great!!!! Go down a glass now, you probably need it.

***Question for the comments…Do you like to drink water? How do you like to drink it?

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The Thrill of a Lifetime

Roller coasters, the log flume, the carousel, the tilt-a-whirl…no summer is complete without a trip to an amusement park. Not everybody can plan a big multi-day trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth”, but there are amusement parks all over the place that you may be able to get to for a one day trip of fun and adventure.

I used to love going to the amusement parks. Every year, my youth group planned a day trip to Kings Dominion and another one to Hershey Park. Growing up in Baltimore, we were able to drive a few hours in any direction and hit a park for a day. It was one of the best trips of the year.

I love them so much, that I was totally bummed the year I was graduating 8th grade. My graduation date fell on the same date as our Kings Dominion trip! How was I ever going to get over missing out? Well…little old me is not that great in math. I can do basic math, but algebra and above makes my head hurt. So I was going to have to go to summer school. I was told I could participate in the graduation, but not receive my diploma until after I passed the course that summer. Thankfully my mother was cool about it and let me go to the park instead!!! The nuns weren’t happy…sorry sisters, LOL.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the park? Do you eat something? Do you head to the scariest roller coaster to get your nerves straight right away? I always headed to the swings. I don’t know why, but I love to swirl around as the swings take you higher and higher and I get a good look at the park from there. It’s a tradition that I always did. I haven’t been to a park in ages, but it would still be number one on my list.

Next, it was off to a roller coaster. I am a little scared of them, but I go anyway. The best way for me to combat the fear? Humor. As it took off, going slowly up the first hill, I started to pray out loud, jokingly. I would start reciting the Hail Mary and my friends would laugh…then we would reach the top and down we went. My friends would be screaming and laughing, but my mouth didn’t open as my eyes were shut tight and my hands gripped the bar in front of me. Then it was off to the next one.

I always wanted to go on the log flume early in the day. It gives you time to dry off while you are walking around the rest of the day. I would say no less than 3 hours before you leave the park. But kids being kids, we broke that “rule” a lot and ended up riding 3 hours on the rental bus wet and uncomfortable.

What is your favorite type of food at an amusement park? Do you sit down to a real lunch or just grab and go all day? I am a grab and go girl. Stop for a corn dog, then later on a pretzel and no day is complete for me unless I get my cotton candy. Even now, Neil and I will go to an expo in town and if there is a vendor selling it I have to stop to get some. I told you I was just a big kid at heart.

Do you have any funny things that have happened to you at an amusement park? When I was about 8 years old and living in Southern California for awhile, we went to Disneyland for the day. There we were at “The happiest place on earth”, having a great time seeing Mickey and the gang until…we got stuck on the “It’s a Small World” ride. The ride broke down, but the music didn’t. I don’t know how long we sat there, but it felt like hours as that song just played over and over and over again. It’s in my head now and I can’t stand it!!

If you can’t make it to an amusement park, I would say the next best thing is a fair or carnival. It’s not the same big experience, but you can get that feeling. They have rides and games and fun food. If you can, get yourself out to an amusement park or carnival this year and have some fun. It’s what keeps us young.

***Question for the comments…Do you like amusement parks? What is your favorite ride? What is your favorite food to eat there?

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July + Christmas = Why???????

All you have to do is scroll back to my December posts to know that I love Christmas. I upped my weekly posts just to make sure I got to say everything I wanted to about the holly jolly season. No one can ever accuse me of being a grinch. But Christmas in July??? Forget about it, I lose my Cindy Lou Who vibe the moment July 1st. rolls around.

I am a BIG believer in celebrating all the things, in fact, today is National Lollipop Day, so I am going to have go get me at least a tootsie roll pop. But I am also a big believer in the flow of the seasons, and everything has its place. Sounds funny from a go with the flow kinda of girl like me, but it’s true. I refuse to even think about Christmas until after my pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. I am all about traditions.

Why, then, am I forced into thinking about Christmas now? Look, I know some people shop throughout the year for presents. Maybe they see the perfect gift, so they grab it before it’s gone. Or maybe that’s the only way they can budget for a great holiday for their kids. Those things I understand. But other than that, this thing has gotten out of hand.

You got the shopping networks doing shows with all the decorations and fanfare, some people actually have parties with Christmas music and all the trimmings and of course, you got the Hallmark Channel premiering new Christmas movies…what is this madness?!? When did this even become a thing? Why did this even become a thing?

Well, we have a summer camp to thank for it all. A girl’s camp from 1933 in North Carolina. Apparently, the co-founder was on the creative side and dreamed up a 2-day event to break up the summer for the campers. It grew through the years to include present exchanges and singing carols. The camp is still open, I don’t know if they still celebrate this event, but any camp that has been open since 1916 has to be awesome. I wonder how I would feel about Christmas in July if it had been my camp? Would I embrace this midsummer madness because of fond memories of my youth? Knowing me, probably not, LOL.

I am sure I would remember the crazy camp times and how it was a fun part of the summer every year, but once I was out of camp…no more Christmas in July for me. Tis the season for barbeques and swimming pools and lemonade, not hot chocolate and candy canes. I actually heard someone last December in the store say they were buying extra candy canes for July; I think I felt my skin craw just a little bit.

I will give one concession to this holiday and that is for the people in places like New Zealand and Australia. Their coldest months are in June, July and August. They actually have a Yuletide celebration this time of year. Having grown up around cold, snowy Christmases and not having one in about 10 years, I can appreciate the idea of being able to enjoy the idea of Christmas as it should be, in my opinion, in the cold.

If you love the idea of Christmas in July and you celebrate it, go ahead and have a good time. But please, please, do not ask me to participate in any of it. I will catch up with you on Thanksgiving night. After I am stuffed to the brim, and I have watched my traditional “Miracle on 34th. Street”, you will find me listening to the carols and making my Christmas card list. Until then, have a happy Summer and Fall.

***Question for the comments…Do you like Christmas in July? Do you celebrate and how?

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Creating Content

I am not a big fan of that phrase, creating content. I don’t know why, but it seems a little pretentious to me. At least, I used to think that. I have been on social media for ages, just posting pictures and telling people what’s on my mind and I never thought anything about it. For me, it was just point, click and post with a few words thrown in for good measure. Then words like content, hashtag, and branding became part of everyday vocabulary and my left eye started to twitch. (no, not really…ok, maybe a little)

Maybe it’s because I am older. I saw the beginnings of this new wave of technology, and I used it, but somewhere down the line, it surpassed me. I am a leftover romantic of putting actual pen to paper to write a first draft of anything. This blog is the first thing that I have ever done where the words flow from my head straight to the keyboard…I know, I belong in a museum, but I am getting better.

We live in a world where everything is online. You can do anything and everything via the computer these days. And the jobs to put all these things online grow every day. The job of content creator is a real occupation, but all of us, whether we think so or not, are creators.

Do you post on social media? Write a blog? Contribute to your church newsletter? Put the notices up on your knitting circle website? It is all content and if you want to get it noticed, you have to do things a certain way. It’s got to be catchy to the eye, you have to look at SEO and have the right branding techniques and don’t forget about the almighty hashtags. My head is always spinning, because just when I think I get it, the rules change on me.

My goal is to write books. Back in the day all you had to worry about was writing it, sending it off to a publisher and praying they liked it enough to publish it and pay you for it. Now, I see writers promoting their work all over the internet. It’s not enough anymore to just write. You have to do a full other second job of marketing it. And that’s even if you do have a publisher. If you decide to self-publish, it’s harder still.

I feel like the easier it gets to view information via the internet, the harder you have to work to get anybody to see it. You have to get the follows and keep them coming back for more. It really can be mentally exhausting. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

I have become pretty good at the hashtag thing, and I can write a good caption, but they keep adding things like reels, video shorts and live video. I have a real problem with going live. I am loud and cheeky and can talk your ear off. You would think I would be good at it, but for some reason, I can’t seem to push the button. Maybe one day, you never know.

In the beginning, I said I thought the phrase content creation was pretentious, but after doing it for my own purposes and for my church’s social media accounts, I realize I was wrong. It is hard work. Keeping your brand out there for the world to see on a daily basis and keeping it up top for them to notice is exhausting. I tip my hat to anyone who does it on a daily basis. #ireallymeanit

***Question for the comments…Do you work online or casually post online? How do you feel about all the work it takes to get your stuff viewed?

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream…

Tomorrow is National Ice Cream Day!!! I am preparing myself a day in advance, LOL. Normally, I hear about these little holidays after the fact, and I missed out on it, or it is something I don’t care enough about to celebrate, but being the big kid that I am, I will always celebrate ice cream.

Do you have a favorite flavor? A go to over and over flavor above all others? I actually do not. I have about 10 that I would consider my “number 1 flavor” and then a bunch of back up flavors. I know, I am a big mess. But how can I just choose one? And don’t get me started on the toppings. It all depends on my mood.

I recently wrote about ice cream in one of my summer posts. It was about ice cream trucks and the joy of running outside to grab a treat. Today, we tackle all other things ice cream. Are you a cone or cup fan? Do you mix your flavors? What kind of toppings do you like? What about an ice cream cake? Start thinking, because I would like to see some comments on this, please.

I have always loved ice cream, of course. I remember Breyer’s being a brand in our house a lot, but I also remember those little vanilla cups with the wooden spoon attached to it. It was definitely a cheaper ice cream, but something about it was delicious. I recently had that experience when I stopped in at a small shop and got a shave ice with ice cream. They had them premade in the freezer and when I tasted the vanilla ice cream in the middle, it brought me back to those days sitting on the stoop in front of our house with my little cup and wooden spoon.

I worked at a Baskin Robbins for a while in my early 20s. They have about 1400 flavors that they rotate in and out based on season and a base of about 15-20 that are always in stock. Why the name 31 flavors? It’s so you can have a different flavor every day of the month. This is where my obsession grew. I would try so many different combinations of flavors and toppings in cones, in cups and in milkshakes. Some of my favorites from BR are Gold Medal Ribbon, World Class Chocolate, Baseball Nut, Jamoca Almond Fudge and their French Vanilla. They had the best French Vanilla around…yum.

Besides all the taste tasting I got to do, one of my favorite things was learning how to make all the cakes. I got really good at the swirls and different ways to decorate. But my favorite cake I made was for the nuns. Every year a nun celebrates her Feast Day, which is the day she entered the convent, it’s her anniversary. I came up with a little design of a cross with a ribbon of rose buds draping over it. They loved it and all came in for it. It made me proud, because you know how much I love the nuns.

I said before that I choose differently all the time based on my mood. Well, right now, at 6:51 in the morning, after all this ice cream talk, I am craving a coffee ice cream in a cup with a sugar cone on top (yes, I like both) with a little chocolate syrup and whip cream. Yes, that is very specific, and it might be because I have not had any caffeine yet. I need to stop and grab some right now, because we don’t have any of those ingredients in the house.

If I had to choose a favorite brand, I pick Ben and Jerry’s. I have told you this before. I love the different combinations they think up. So many different things in one pint…it makes it easier on me, I don’t have to think up a combo on my own. Yes, I like to be fancy, but don’t rule out the simple for me. I will take a plain scoop of vanilla or chocolate if offered. One of my favorites growing up was Neapolitan ice cream, which is 3 different flavors layered in one container, usually it’s vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. That’s because I like to get a little bit of all three and mix it together into one big mess…so good.

So, remember, go out today and get all the ingredients you will need or plan to stop at the local ice cream parlor tomorrow. Don’t miss out. Because it is so good that I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!!!!

***Question for the comments…Do you like ice cream? Cone or cup? Topping or plain? Favorite flavor? Favorite brand? Let me know!!!

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What’s Your Style?

I did something today that I haven’t done in a million years, I made myself a hot cup of tea. You know me, I am a lover of coffee and energy drinks, but I used to enjoy a cup of tea every now and then. I made my cup of coziness, because that is what tea conjures up in my mind, the way a few English lads taught me when I was on my missions trip many years ago, with milk and sugar. My sister would say, “No, no no” and tell me only lemon or nothing at all belongs in that cup, but I disagree. One sip and I feel like I am sitting in Buckingham Palace, waiting to have an audience with the Queen.

This got me thinking about all the things I “steal” from other cultures and how it all makes up who I am. I am a lover of all cultures and how they are different from my own. I have read numerous books and articles on how to live like a french girl…don’t mock, they are fun to read. I have embraced eating a Mediterranean diet, because I was raised as an Italian American, which any Italian from Italy will tell you is different. I have followed what the British Monarchy are up to, and I have embraced eating rice with my eggs the way they do here in Hawaii.

I am, in fact, a sum total of all the things I see and read about from all over the world. But is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. It keeps me interested in myself. I tend to get bored easily and go flitting around from one thing to another. So, to embrace numerous traditions from all over, it keeps me interested.

Before my current life of tee shirts, board shorts and slippahs (flip flops), I was actually up on the latest styles and then took that and streamlined it all down to something simple…very french like of me. In the afternoon, I would either go for an English teatime with the little sandwiches and scones or nosh on an antipasto platter with a glass of wine.

I recently discovered the word hygge, which is a Danish concept. It refers to finding comfort, pleasure and warmth in simple, soothing things. I have to read more about that. As I get older, my introverted side comes out more that the extrovert. I still love being in the center of things and being where the fun is, but not all the time. I love to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee, or now tea, LOL and just read for hours. Or I like to be alone writing about anything my mind thinks up. I guess cozy is exactly what I am looking for right now.

It doesn’t matter what kind of customs I pick up or from where, because they all make up who I am. I may change things up here or there as I learn something new, but they always seem to work together in perfect harmony. Everything is in sync with everything else and I love it.

***Question for the comments…Do you have a custom that you picked up from another culture not your own? What is it and how to do bring it into your everyday life?

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