I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you. ~ Agatha Christie

Friday, July 25, 2014

Are You Trying to Pay Attention to Too Much?

Love this post by Courtney

... How can we pay attention to the important and meaningful stuff, or even discern what is important or meaningful if we are attempting to pay attention to all of it? The short answer is that we can’t. We need quiet time and space in our homes and our lives for contemplation and clarity so we can choose what matters most.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Favorite Chihuahua of all

The grandson has been here off and on this summer.  He just went home after a couple of days of giving Buddy his undivided attention.  Buddy is worn out.  He usually gets a lecture about sleeping on top of his sheets but I didn't have the heart to disturb him.  He only cracked an eye when I took these pictures.  Usually he gets annoyed and leaves the room when the flash starts popping but I guess it was just too much trouble to get up today. 

Chihuhuas of every shape and color

Wish Buddy and I had gotten an invite to this party.  Looks like a good time was had by all.  Actually, I think it was a Chihuahua meet up in a New York park.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Anybody out there still like to cut and paste?

Does fabric scraps and modge podge make your heart pitter patter?  Then this project should be right up your alley.  I'm trying to remember if I have any appropriate colored fabric scraps.  If not, maybe I could do the same thing with scrapbook paper or magazine pages.  Interesting, huh?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Decluter Fast

Dana claims she is on a "deslobification" journey.  I am always on a journey to cut down on the items I own.  I live in a very small apartment and every dust particle takes up room.  I look around and find nothing else to get rid of yet I know I have too much and it bugs me.  So I read declutter/simplify blogs to help me. Dana lists only 5 areas but I found two (#2 and #5) that I can use to declutter. 

Imagine:  Big smile on me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Habits

... here are eleven old fashioned habits we need to bring back into our relationships:

1.  Spend quality time together with no major agenda and no technology.

Put down the smart phone, close the laptop and enjoy each other’s company, face to face, the old fashioned way.
There are few joys in life that equal a good conversation, a genuine laugh, a long walk, a friendly dance, or a big hug shared by two people who care about each other.  Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary just by doing them with the right people.  So choose to be around these people, and choose to make the most of your time together.
Don’t wait to make big plans.  Make your time together the plan.  Communicate openly on a regular basis.  Get together in the flesh as often as possible.  Not because it’s convenient to do so, but because you know each other are worth the extra effort.

2.  Be fully present when you’re in the presence of others.

One of the best feelings in the world is knowing your presence and absence both mean something to someone.  And the only way to let your loved ones know this, is to show them when you’re with them.
In your relationships and interactions with others, nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention – your full presence.  Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event is the ultimate compliment.  It is indeed the most valued gesture you can make to another human being.
Your friends and family are too beautiful to ignore.  So give them the gift of YOU – your time, undivided attention and kindness.  That’s better than any other gift, it won’t break or get lost, and will always be remembered.  (Read A Return to Love.)

3.  Express your sincere appreciation for loved ones every chance you get.

No matter how sure you are of someone’s appreciation and admiration, it’s always nice to be reminded of it.  So if you appreciate someone today, tell them.  Just because they are reliable and there when you need them, doesn’t mean you should fail to give thanks and appreciation on a regular basis.  To value someone too lightly is to risk missing the depth of their goodness before they’re gone.
Sadly, it is often only when we are tragically reminded of how short life is – that today could easily be our last with someone we love – that we start to appreciate every day we have together as if it were.  Let this lesson sink in now.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell the people you love how much you appreciate them.

4.  Work together and help each other grow.

There is no soul mate or best friend out there who will solve all your problems.  There is no love at first sight that lasts without work and commitment.  But there are, however, people out there worth fighting for.  Not because they’re perfect, but because they’re imperfect in all the ways that are right for you.  You compliment each other’s flaws in a way that allows your souls to unite and operate more efficiently as one.
You will know when you meet one of these people, when through them you meet the very best in yourself.

5.  Focus on inner beauty.

When you get to really know someone, most of their prominent physical characteristics vanish in your mind.  You begin to dwell in their energy, recognize their scent, and appreciate their wit.  You see only the essence of the person, not the shell.
That’s why you can’t fall in love with physical beauty.  You can lust after it, be infatuated by it, or want to own it.  You can love it with your eyes and your body for a little while, but not your heart in the long-term.  Thus, when you really connect with a person’s inner self, most physical imperfections become irrelevant.

6.  Tell the truth.

Too many prefer gentle lies to hard truths.  But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie.  Relationships based on lies always die young.
Lying is a cumulative process too.  So be careful.  What starts as a small, seemingly innocent lie (possibly even with the intention of not hurting anyone) quickly spirals into an mounting false reality where the biggest factor preventing you from sharing the truth is the unwanted reputation of being known as a liar.  We lie to one another, but even more so we lie to ourselves most often to protect our “oh so fragile” ego.  We may even be inclined to lie to ourselves while reading this, not wanting to admit how often we have eluded the truth.  (ReadThe Four Agreements.)

7.  Apologize when you know you should.

Take personal responsibility for your wrong doings.  If you know your actions or words have hurt someone you care about, immediately admit your faults and face the reality of your actions.  An apology is the super glue of lasting relationships.
And make sure your apology is sincere too.  Say it and mean it.  Don’t bother apologizing if you’re just going to continue doing the things you said sorry for.  Never ruin an apology with an excuse.  Excuses are NOT apologies.

8.  Work out your relationship issues with each other, not with others.

This may seem obvious, but these days it’s worth mentioning:  NEVER post negatively about a loved one on social media.  Fourteen-year-old school kids post negatively about their boyfriends, girlfriends and friends on social media.  It’s a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with them directly when the time is right.
Don’t fall into the trap of getting others on your side, because healthy relationships only have one side.
Furthermore, relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.  So don’t let outsiders run your relationships for you.  If you’re having a relationship issue with someone, work it out with THEM and no one else.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

9.  Be a force for positivity and encouragement.

Elevate your inner game.  A negative attitude is way below your horizon.
Our way of thinking creates good or bad outcomes.  It makes a big difference in your life and the lives around you when you stay positive.  So be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic.  If something is not to your liking, change your liking and carry on with smile.  Always turn a negative situation into a positive lesson and move forward.
Encourage the best possible results with your thoughts and words.  And teach this philosophy to those around you too.

10.  Over-deliver on your promises.

Be committed.  Commitment means staying devoted and keeping your promises, long after the time and mood you made the promises in has left you.  Doing so is vital to your relationships and long-term success in every imaginable walk of life.
So don’t just say it, show it.  Don’t just promise it, prove it.  Better yet, over-deliver on all your promises.  Supply far more than what’s required.  As Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”  Whenever you can, go out of your way and do something nice and unexpected for the people in your life, especially those who are in no position to repay you anytime soon.

11.  Be loyal.

Stand by those you care about in their darkest moments, not because you want to stand in the dark, but because you don’t want them to either.  Brave the shadows alongside them until they’re able to find the light.  On the flipside, stand by these same people on their sunniest days, not because you want to scorch your skin, but because you’re not afraid to let them shine bright.
In other words, be loyal.  Remaining faithful in your relationships is never an option, but a priority.  Loyalty means the world to the people who love you.  When someone believes in you enough to lift you up, try not to let them down.  You can’t promise to be there for someone for the rest of their life, but you can sincerely be there for them for the rest of yours.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Retirement Thoughts

I read retirement articles all of the time.  Some retirement articles have nothing to do with my life.  Others give me a new angle to view this unrestricted, undefined and unlimited lifestyle.

The internet takes up a large part of my day.  I read. I blog. I research.  Right now I'm sitting in my office, also known as my recliner, with my laptop and remote control in my lap.

I can hear the sound of thunder and smile at the thought that I won't have to run any errands today because I have the excuse that it is raining.  Is it immediately obvious to you?  I don't need an excuse not to run errands because I have all day every day to get things done.  Nonetheless, during the years I worked, raised a family and took care of a house, the rain excuse became ingrained in my list of excuses to ease a hectic day.

When the rain pattered on my porch today I was immediately transported to that time when rain was a reprieve from the fast speed and many requirements of a busy life.

Letting go of life patterns is like watching your child walk into the school house on the first day of kindergarten.  Sweet but sad.  When you let go of a pattern you know your life will never be the same.  Doesn't mean better or worse.  Just means different.  And that, is what retirement is.  Different.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Yesterday's Blooms

I checked on the status of the Hibiscus blooms this morning and here is what I found.  The first bud is fully open.  I think it is called La Fortuna.  Pretty huh?

The second bud has not opened all the way but if you look closely to its right, almost on top of the leaf, you will see a new bud.  I prefer the roseish color of this plant and meant to buy all of the same color.  Alas, you have to go with the flow and since the orangeish plant makes beautiful flowers, it is welcome.  

I tried to get a close up of this tiny bud on the other side of my yard but it didn't come out.  I'm going to try to take frequent pictures as it opens.  

Behind this plant is a Lantana on the left and a large ginger plant on the right.  I have two large plantings of ginger and a third I started last year that is still scraggly.  The gingers are not looking so great yet.  I'll do a little trimming and then post a few picks.  

Below in the back left corner is my Agapanthus.  When I planted this bed there were no Elephant Ears.  I planted two Agapanthus in the back and four other bulbs spread out in the middle and front.  The two Agas survived but the other four, whose names I have forgotten, were a wasted effort even before the Elephant Ears appeared.

Here is the bloom of the Agapanthus growing sideways on its long stem trying to find some light. It is just starting to open.  

This is what my Aga should look like:

Oh well, you do the best you can.

That's it for now.  I've done the dishes, watched an episode of Cagney & Lacey (see my Mother's Day post), put the clothes in to wash, made this post and now I'll have a little lunch.

Enjoy your day. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hot Time, Summer in the City

Buddy and I worked in the yard this afternoon and I thought I would share a few pictures.  I don't think I've posted pictures of the backyard since last summer. Winter was really hard on my yard and I wasn't sure how many plants I would lose, but I came out pretty well.  All the rain we have had has helped a lot also.

It did rain earlier this morning but I just had to rake some of the leaves.  So I'll start at the end with muddy footprints coming in the house.  Buddy wasn't quite as ready as I was to get inside.

Here are some of my first blooms.  Hibiscus in two different colors.  These blooms are just opening.  I've had other blooms already but the rain beat them down.

Next is Esperenza or Yellow Trumphet Plant.  These are the first blooms and should cover all of one bed and part of the larger bed. 

And what yard would be complete without a few little cute things to look at. First a metal cat jumping out of a planter. 

A little reminder to give Peace a chance.

A concrete figure hidden at the back of the big bed. 

And the most important corner holds the Granddaughter's play things.  Under the blue plastic cover is the big hard plastic kitchen.  You'll also see the shopping basket and doll buggy on the right hand side of the kitchen.  And the bucket for washing dishes, pitcher for pouring tea and bags of plastic food and dishes are under my potting table on the left of the kitchen.  And finally the hula hoop and pint-sized rake for yard work with Nana. 

I've got a few more to show you but I'll save them for tomorrow.