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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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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Are You a Fashion Fiend?

Do you pay attention to the trends of the season? Are you always on the lookout for the next new thing? Or do you not care at all about what is considered fashionable?

I was on the phone with my sister the other day…what else is new, right…lol. And we started talking about clothes and handbags. This led to a marathon session of looking at clothing websites and scrolling through the trends together.

It started off in Ann Taylor which led to Bergdorf Goodman which led to who knows what else. Just scrolling and laughing and occasionally finding something that we would wear. We got to Fashionphile and my head nearly exploded over all the wonderful designer handbags. You know I am a sucker for a good bag.

I used to do this all the time. I was always up on the latest things. I had subscriptions to Vogue, InStyle, and Vanity Fair. I couldn’t afford all the high-end designer clothes, but I would look to see what colors were trending and what was in and then I would go to places like Old Navy and Ross and pick a few items that would work for the season. I guess you would have called me a low-budget fashionista.

It was the same with makeup and nail polish. I would go with the trends that suited me and not worry about things that didn’t. I never could get the winged eyeliner thing down. Hair, I never looked at because mine was always short. But things have changed.

Since moving to the islands, I really don’t know what is going on in the land of fashion. I am usually running around in shorts and tee shirts, and I can’t tell you the last time I had on a pair of actual shoes. I live my life in slippahs (flip flops). But I have to tell you something…I miss it.

I miss shopping the way I used to. Looking for the right jacket or shirt that would look good with jeans. LOL, I haven’t worn jeans in 10 years!!! Nowadays, I just throw on anything and call it a day. I hardly ever wear makeup anymore. And ever since my hairdresser moved back to the mainland last year, I have let my hair grow long and natural. All this sums up to one thing, I am bored with myself and my look.

I am over the just throw on anything who cares look. Which means it is time for a change. This does not mean that I am going to walk around looking like I just got off the catwalk during Fashion Week. But it’s time to get back to MY basics. Looking to see what’s in and then translating it into my casual island look. Yes, it can be done. I just have to start looking again.

Maybe I am feeling restless because it is Fall. This is the season I love, and I am always up for change this time of year. And this time, the change is my look. First thing to go is my hair. I never feel right with it long, it messes with who I am. It sounds stupid, but it is true. I have a previous post about my love/hate relationship with my hair that explains it better. Then it’s off to the fashion files to see how I can turn my laid-back look into more of a polished beach look instead of just a sloppy look. Be on the lookout, because when I get my look back, you may just see me strut up the street and do a little spin like I am on the catwalk.

***Question for the comments…Do you like fashion? Do you pay attention to trends, or do you not care at all about what is in?

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Are You a Hat Person?

I love hats, do you?

I am obsessed with hats. I have been collecting hats ever since I can remember. I don’t know when it first started, but wherever I go, if I see a cute hat, I am buying it.

Most people go to concerts and pick up a tee shirt to remember the occasion, the first thing I look for is a hat. A few years ago, Neil and I went to see Def Leppard. We went right to the merchandise area. He bought a really nice hoodie and asked if I wanted a shirt. I took a quick scan of all the things, shook my head and just pointed. He looked to where my finger was leading and just laughed…he should have known.

My hat of choice is usually a baseball hat, normally worn backwards. (You know I am a bit of a tomboy) But in recent years I have tried bucket hats and beanies and I like them too. Beanies don’t work really well in Hawaii, in my opinion, because it never really gets cold, but I have worn one if I go out for a few hours and it works with my outfit.

Thinking back, I think I first noticed hats in a big way when I watched Prince Charles and Lady Diana get married. It was 1981 and I was 11. People were streaming into the church and all I saw were these big, beautiful hats. All shapes and colors, some very pretty and some that looked totally ridiculous, I was mesmerized. I looked at the hats more than I did the dresses. I love that about the Royals, I still look at their hats today.

If I want to go farther back, it might have been because of the nuns at school. I loved to see them in full habit, including the wimple and veil. In fact, there was a time when I thought about becoming a nun. Although thinking about it now…I just wanted to wear the uniform. While other little girls were putting pillowcases on their heads pretending to be brides, I was running around pretending to be Sister Tracie. LOL! Even today, I will show more respect for a nun in a habit than the ones who run around in just a skirt and blouse.

One type of hat I cannot wear is a big, floppy sunhat. They are nice, but they annoy me to wear. I have a friend who wears one whenever we have a beach day, and it totally works on her. She looks fabulous in it. Some people can pull it off; I am not one of them. I feel like I should be sitting on the veranda in “Gone with the Wind” sipping sweet tea and hardly being able to breathe because my corset is too tight. I’ll just stick to my baseball and bucket hats.

Do you wear hats? I think you either are a hat person or you’re not. I think some people want to wear them, but they feel like people will laugh or think they are silly. I get it, nobody wants to feel embarrassed. Let me leave you with a quote I found on Pinterest…

“Don’t second guess every decision you make…You’ll go crazy…IF YOU LIKE THE HAT, WEAR IT.” -zen2zany

***Question for the comments…Do you like hats? If you do, what is your favorite style to wear?

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Did You Make It?

What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you do that, or did you wind up doing something totally different?

I was having a conversation with Neil the other night about his college days. He went to college on a music scholarship for trumpet. He only lasted a year because being young, he didn’t want to take any more Math and English classes. He only wanted to play trumpet in an orchestra somewhere. He doesn’t regret his decision. He says if he ended up doing what he went to college for he wouldn’t have ended up with the friends he has…or me, of course, lol.

I wanted to be either a lawyer or a writer when I was young. I fooled around in high school too much, so I ended up going to community college. Not a bad place to start, especially if you don’t have the grades or money is a little tight. I did alright. I had good grades in my writing and pre-law classes, but my parents were going through a divorce and the money just wasn’t there.

I worked various jobs, including being a law clerk, but ended up spending most of my life in the hospitality industry. I would write here and there, but never took any steps to make a career out of it, until now. Last year I decided to take the leap and say I am a writer.

I started this blog and have been really happy with it. It got the creative juices flowing again. I also write on another platform called Medium. I am really liking how that platform works and really looking forward to seeing growth in my writing. I am also working on self-publishing a work of fiction.

Along the way I discovered I also wanted to be a life coach and I am working towards getting that business started. I am meeting with my first client today. All my life people have been seeking my advice and asking for help in figuring things out, it seems like a natural choice for me.

How about you? Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up and did you accomplish that? Did you find something more suited to you than that initial career choice? Let me know in the comments.

And remember, it’s not too late to try something new. I have read stories of people becoming doctors and lawyers in their later years. Anything is possible if you believe it.

***Question for the comments…What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing that or did your path change?

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Is Fast and Convenient Always Better?

As you know, we went grocery shopping on Monday, just a quick shop to pick up odds and ends, not a big haul. We came to the frozen food aisle to grab some pizza, trust me when I say go grab a Walmart brand self-rising supreme pizza. It is surprisingly good. I stopped and looked around at all the microwave meals and tv dinners amazed at all the brands and choices and sizes. We really have become the land of convenience.

I remember having tv dinners on trays in the living room watching television when I was younger. It was not an every week sort of thing, but it did happen from time to time. We were always so excited, because it was a treat. Not only was it cool to look at, forgive me, I was very young, but it always came with a dessert compartment. It was a full meal all in one little tray that you could throw out after and not worry about dishes. Sounds like a big plus to me.

Through the years they got a little bit more creative with the food in the meals. No longer was it just Salisbury Steak and potatoes. It was nice veggies with a creamy sauce on top and maybe a rice pilaf with a lemon chicken. Of course, you still had to wait for the oven to warm up and then the actual cooking time of the dinner. And just when we couldn’t stand the wait anymore…here comes the microwave.

The microwave made our lives easier than ever before. Just a quick zap and boom, something could be on the table. We no longer had to deal with pulling out the popcorn maker or waiting for the Jiffy Pop to do its thing on the stove. In just 2 and half minutes you could have a nice hot bag of popcorn ready to go. All done in the time before the next show came on. Anything you are want can be done quickly in the microwave. Craving Japanese style noodles? Cup of Noodles in a minute. Did you get distracted, and your coffee is now cold? In 30 seconds, it can be nice and steaming again. Leftovers from your favorite restaurant? It will be reheated in just a few minutes.

We are all on the go so much. Families eating at different times because of sports schedules and parents working late. Couples eating at different times and wanting 2 different meals. It’s no wonder the prepackaged frozen meal became a staple and a life saver. If you were to open my freezer at any time in my adult life you would find a frozen dinner there.

But is faster always better? Sometimes the answer is yes. These things were made for a reason, there was a market for it because of our lifestyles. We didn’t change our lifestyle because we saw we could get more things accomplished now that the tv dinner was made. It was made because companies saw a need and fulfilled it.

The world will continue to be fast paced and microwave meals and tv dinners will always be in demand. I personally am waiting for the day when I have a June Jetson kitchen. With a push of a button out comes a whole roast dinner and all I had to do was push that button. I won’t care how it’s made or how the groceries got to the house to begin with. OOOOO…maybe we will all have Rosie the Robots…that would be sweet.

***Question for the comments…Do you have frozen dinners from time to time? What do you use your microwave for the most?

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Back to School…Last Summer Weekend

I can’t believe most kids are already back to school. Every time I see parents talking about it on social media, I feel bad for the kids. Here in Hawaii, the kids get out of school the end of May and they go back the beginning of August. That’s only 2 months for summer, but they do have longer breaks throughout the year.

We got out of school the second week of June and always went back the day after Labor Day. So, this was it, the last weekend before heading back to tests and school lunches and book reports. And in my family, we always had a Labor Day tradition.

Today is Saturday and this was the day my mom would double check to make sure we had all the things we needed for first day. We never got these huge lists sent to us before school started. That came the first day of school and back then we did not need to help supply the classroom with tissues and paper towels, etc. Those things were supplied by the school itself, not the poor teachers who then have to ask for help from the families. (But that is a whole other conversation, although I will say this…we need to pay our teachers more and the school board needs to supply more things in the classrooms of America. O.K., I’ll get off my soap box now.)

My mom knew what to get for the basics, because even though we moved around a lot and I was in a lot of different schools, they were all Catholic and the requirements never change, only the colors of the jumpers do. She double checked everything and then put it all in my backpack. Then she moved on to make sure my uniforms were hemmed and ironed and ready for Tuesday.

We would sit around and watch The Jerry Lewis Telethon every year. Do you remember it? It was a big, televised show that ran all weekend and raised money for Muscular Dystrophy. It ran from 1966 to 2014. It stayed on all weekend long, no breaks. They had music acts and big stars. They talked to the families of the kids they were helping. It was a very big deal when I was growing up. I would sit and watch all 3 days of the telethon. I would be sitting there with my backpack, rearranging it to how I liked it packed. I always had an obsession with school supplies…I still do. I am always buying pens and notebooks, especially the marble composition books, they will always be a favorite.

A couple of weeks before Labor Day, my mother would try to get me to start going to bed earlier, so I could get back on some kind of routine. I didn’t want to, but I did. Here’s the thing, I had a small portable television on top of my dresser. After I went to bed, I would turn it on very low and stand in front of it very close so I could hear it. I would put a towel at the bottom of my door so nobody could see the glare of the screen. I never got caught and that’s probably why I need glasses today.

This is a time of year I consider for new beginnings, even more than New Years. I don’t know why, but the school year has always been a better calendar for me. As an adult, I sit down and make a list of some things I would like to do. It’s the time of year to get back on track after a full summer of taking it a little easy and having more fun. That reminds me…I have to get to the store and get some more composition books while they are still on sale!!!

***Question for the comments…Did you have any end of summer traditions? How did you feel about going back to school? What is your favorite supply for school?

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