The real reason we should celebrate

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If this past weekend taught me anything, it is that you don’t have to see people everyday to be reassured that they will still spend a moment to think about you.  It was my birthday on Saturday and I was overwhelmed by the number of messages I received from people who I am unable to see on a regular basis or have never even met face to face.  There are still a few people in this world who may look down on social media and digital communication but the numerous birthday wishes I received through those forums meant just as much as the messages I received in person.

I took the time to read each birthday greeting and every word that each person sent meant so much to me.  It is almost effortless to ignore the constant reminders in our hand-held, digitized lives but I have realized during the many years that I, too, have been a slave to the cyber-enhanced face of reality that it takes an infinitesimal amount of time to reach out.  It is the same small fragment of time that it takes to ignore that electronic reminder and, if the recipient is anything like me, a simple string of words can have a profound effect.

At one point during the afternoon, I was overcome by gratitude.  I, admittedly, had been feeling the effects of the long winter and the very distant signs of Spring and was a bit down about the snowy, barren landscape that greeted me on the morning of my birthday.  But each notification, each acoustic announcement of an incoming message, turned that desolate panorama of my morning into a garden painted by Monet.

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 (image credit)

Because of the wonderful blend of the real world and the cyber world, I got to celebrate my birthday with everyone.  I had a glass of wine with the family I work with who has become like my own family.  I was able to hear from friends near and far and I was able to have a great night with good food and lots of laughs with my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews.  What started as a day to celebrate the day I was born turned into a day of celebrating everyone who has joined me along the way.

Cooking for one doesn’t have to mean Kraft Dinner

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I am the only living creature in my home who consumes “people food”.  Callaway likes to protest as often as possible which results in some fibrous vegetables going into her mouth and subsequently my ruing that decision once the foul odor of processed cucumber and lettuce assaults my senses.

Living alone has its challenges but cooking for one is not even on the list.  I love to, not just cook but, create in the kitchen.  Just because I am only cooking for myself does not mean I take the easy route and buy horribly processed pre-packaged easy to serve meals.  I opt for the more labor intensive, home-cooked, real food.

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This meal took 30 minutes to prepare and was delicious.  Fresh beef, a portion of a bag of small potatoes and an onion created this tasty home-cooked meal fit for one.  It took one pan and two small pots, one for mashed potatoes one for fried, dusted onions.  The preparation was easy, the cooking process was simple and the taste was phenomenal.  The result was so much better than a store-bought meal.

Cooking for one doesn’t have to be intimidating but it does take some practice.   There are a plethora of options that are easy to prepare, that are healthy and that make great leftovers for lunch.  You can even make a full recipe and freeze it for future meals but I spoil myself most of the time and buy fresh ingredients each day.  I find I spend less money doing that than I do buying in bulk and freezing food that I may forget about and never eat.  And fresh is always the best.

What is your favorite meal when you are cooking for one?

 

 

Yes Charlie Brown, happiness really is a warm blanket

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Our friends are like blankets.   They can be an endless string of material woven together with such strength that they completely envelope us or they can be an array of tattered old pieces of what once was a blanket, holding desperately to the strength they once had but unable to fully cover us when we really need it.  Regardless of whether the blanket is old or new, the heart of the fiber is still created from the same cloth and still retains the ability to protect a portion, if not all, of us.

 

Over time, it is inevitable that some cloth becomes distorted from its original plush appearance, but if you delve into memories of that blanket, you can hold on to the soothing feelings you once got from it and realize that it did everything in its power to keep you warm and protected.  It can evoke a feeling as strong as a childhood sense of urgency to hold on to a security blanket.

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Some blankets are indestructible.   Although time may march over that blanket a thousand times, its resolve to stay in its original shape is overwhelming.  It is always consoling when you need to seek comfort, it is never in a place you cannot find it and it will always be big enough to cover all of you.  On very rare occasions, a blanket can be unintentionally neglected but when you rediscover that unique blend of interlaced textiles, you cherish the true strength of those fabrics and know they will never unravel.  Once you wrap yourself in that blanket again it is like coming home but after never really having been away.

 

I am thankful for all of my blankets – the old, the new and the recently rediscovered.  Every fiber of material that makes up those blankets has offered me comfort at some point in my life and I hope my blanket has done the same for them.  I can always take solace in the fact that the material they are made of is genuine and it is readily available whenever I need to feel soothed on those stormy nights.

When there is nothing left to do but laugh like an idiot

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There are a very rare number of glimpses into a perfect juncture in time.  Those precious gifts are brought at unsuspecting moments but, when the mood catches you at the right time, laughter becomes unstoppable to the point that tears begin to roll down your cheeks,  your ribs ache and your stomach muscles become constricted.

I had one of those moments last night.  I was watching a show where an actor was doing an impression of Christopher Walken – not an easy feat but he did it with such impressive articulation it spurred me to go to YouTube to find more impersonations.

I must preface my evening’s lunacy by announcing my love for old musicals.  My Fair Lady was a favorite to watch with my parents.  It is a treasured memory of a time gone by that will remain with me throughout my life.  When our leading lady is learning proper diction, the phrase “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” is uttered continuously to help her ease out of her Cockney accent and pass as a well-bred lady.  So when I stumbled on what I thought was a depiction of Christopher Walken, this gem of humor surfaced and had me watching it over and over until I couldn’t see because I was laughing so hard.

Moments like the one I had are hard to come by.  There are so few times that we allow ourselves the reckless abandon to be able to laugh the way I did.  Life hits us with a barrage of reality and it is so difficult to give ourselves permission to be silly but those moments make it possible for us to deal with the hand that life has dealt.

Today will be a bright day for me because I go into it knowing I still have the capacity to let go, to laugh at something so inane but something that was able to break the constraints of my day-to-day existence.  I let everything else go and, just for a moment, laughter riddled my body with the kind of pain I wish I experienced more often.

Allow yourself that moment.  Give yourself permission to throw every responsibility on the back burner and just enjoy life, even if it’s only for that brief moment. These are the rare glimpses of your life that you will carry with you and the pain you will want to remember.

Eternal optimism while staring at your balls

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There is a local golf course that is always the first one to open every season.  They even have a count down sign on the highway so driver’s passing by can share their enthusiasm for the start of golf season. It is a nice reminder, a beacon of hope that lurking under the mounds of snow lie tiny blades of grass waiting to be kissed by the warm, Spring sun.

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I drove by that sign today and the magic number on the sign is 25 days to golf.  I almost drove off the road I was laughing so hard.  As I collected myself, I began to scan my surroundings.  Mounds of snow still shroud anything that may slightly resemble a golf course and the temperature on my car thermometer was -12C.

Maybe the optimism of the course owner is misguided.  Perhaps he knows something the rest of us do not.  But I’m willing to bet that the sign proudly stating golf season will start in 25 days will say the same thing 25 days from now!

Dare to dream BIG

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Dreams come in all forms.  The one I had last night was a prime example of all of the outside forces in my world coming together in a blend of incongruous ideas.  But dreams keep life exciting.  Dreams are the wishes we make for ourselves and hold close to our hearts.

I have several dreams – some seem absolutely attainable and others seem light years from my perception of reality but I hold those dreams as close as the wishes that dangle at the tips of my outstretched fingers.  Those delusions of grandeur make me strive, not only to succeed but, to make my life as close to my image of perfection as possible.

Dreams give us motivation.  Dreams make the mundane tasks of everyday life seem that much more bearable.  Dreams can transport us from reality into a glimpse of a microcosm so far from our daily routine that the mere idea seems absurd. But those dreams give us hope.  Even though those desires convey the impression of being impervious to our concept of life as we know it, we still need to maintain the assumption that dreams come true. The strength of our imagination makes dreams become more plausible and leaves a door open to a world beyond the essence of our day-to-day life.  Those dreams make us breathe.

My dreams have no restrictions.  I dream small and I dream big.  The image below is one of my big dreams and one that I cannot seem to let go.  I want to own a Morgan.  I have had an infatuation with this car since the late 1980’s.  I can visualize it in my driveway.  I can picture what I am wearing when I drive it.  It has gone from passion to craving.  Oddly enough, I was looking through some old family photo albums and came across a picture of my dad standing in front of a Morgan on one of his trips to Florida.  I had no idea this obsession was genetic!

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(image credit: retrothing.com)

I will never give up this dream, or any of my dreams.  The intensity I feel when I think about this car only fuels my desire to make this dream a reality.  Many of my dreams may not come to fruition but that will never quench my desire to make those fantasies become real.  The day I live without a dream is the day I stop living.

Never give up on your dreams.  The day we stop thinking we can have something is the day we give up.  Dreams give us hope. Dreams give us a drive to succeed.  Dreams make us realize that all things are possible if we only choose to believe.