Outlook

IMG_4381Photo by K.L.R.

It’s deceptively sunny outside and makes me believe I can walk out in shorts and bare feet, without shivering almost instantly.  Alas, Friday’s temperatures swiftly left before the sun rose on Saturday, and now, here we are, Sunday afternoon….and the numbers are slowly creeping upward.

It’s strange, I’ve complained more about the weather this winter (and now Spring) than any other time.  Normally I LOVE seasonal changes, bundling up in boots, gloves, sweaters, and coats for a few months, and then transitioning to short sleeves, sandals, and THEN bathing suits and shorts.  However, of late my daydreams regularly feature island beaches and roasting temperatures, with yummy drinks flowing.  On the bright side, the temperatures are rising this week, and will hopefully reach the 70’s!

Friday afternoon a burst of energy exploded in my room, which led to me ticking a few items off of my “to do” list!  Since then, I’ve been making efforts to do things that are productive, energizing, contributing, and beneficial to my mental, physical, and spiritual health.  I’ve spent some time this afternoon researching blog challenges to get my creative juices flowing.  I also found a photography challenge that looks fun (**must remember to charge camera batteries**).  It feels SO good, with each passing activity that “normal me” does, to feel more and more like myself.

Oh, one of the productive things I did was start my taxes! (Last year I waited till April 14th…so this is improvement!)  And, last night, Mama and I enjoyed homemade pizza and a movie (How to Marry a Millionaire, with Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable—then I read this article this morning about the auction starting today for Lauren Bacall’s belongings, including her Louis Vuitton luggage…not that I’m envious).

Also, there is an article circulating (that my darling boyfriend sent me to read) about the benefit of writing for your well-being.  It’s true, whether writing in my journal, blogging, writing an article—whatever it may be, I feel better, more alive, invigorated after writing.  Here’s a similar article (I couldn’t find the exact one) if you want to read about the positives of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

I am off to finish the first episode of The Doris Day Show (not sure how I missed that she had a show).  Have a relaxing Sunday afternoon, whatever you choose to do (or not to do)!

Manipulation, Marketing, and Why I Haven’t Blogged

A few hours ago I discussed with my boyfriend my difficulty with blogging over the last 6+ months.  If you scan through my posts, you’ll probably notice the various phases and styles I tried over the five years I’ve maintained this blog.  Of late, I’ve contemplated starting a new blog where I focus on events, issues, and other things impacting our world, but I’m not positive that’s my answer.  First, I need to find a writing groove…and I’m not promising this is it.

There are lists of blogging challenges and creative inspiration ides.  I just finished reading one with 33 ideas, and before I made it half way through, a rant against manipulating the masses was already rising up inside of me.  Manipulation is despicable (but I’m good at it–and at spotting it).  However, knowing I’m good at it, while hating it, means I make almost every effort to stop myself from manipulating situations and people…though, not always with success.

The list I read was geared for people in the marketing industry.  Some may think marketing is synonymous with manipulating, but I do not.  Yes, manipulation is a key part of marketing for many, but I don’t think it is necessary to manipulate and still sell a product or idea.  I’m sure you all know someone (or many people) who sell products with a “not available in stores” company (i.e. Mary Kay, Avon, Arbonne, Lia Sophia, Rodan + Fields, Cutco & Vector, Jamberry, and many more).  Most people sell something they love and swear by.  I’ve considered selling a product line, but I’m not convinced that I can do it honestly.  Before I sell something, I need to have a solid, fresh reason that I can give for being impressed by and an advocate for a certain product.

My approach to marketing is to simply share with someone why I love something and why they might, too.  Do you know my favorite things to market?  Boutiques and TV shows…more specifically, Laura’s Boutique, Ltd. in Hot Springs, VA and White Collar and Sherlock.  Seriously, I’ve gotten many people hooked on White Collar and Sherlock by just talking about the fun, brilliant, and chemistry-connected writers and actors, as well as the excellent story lines.  As far as boutiques–people want good customer service.  They want to go somewhere and feel special.  Laura’s Boutique give that: great variety of clothes and accessories, relaxed ambiance for shopping, and associates who will go above and beyond for each person.

Marketing, networking, all of it–it’s about people.  People want to improve their lives and others’ lives.  They want to find new things to do and try within their range of interests, and even splash in some new experiences.  BUT, it can be done truthfully and creatively!

May Pink Tinge Your Day

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The day when pink, red, and white are strewn about, flowers are bought in high quantities (matching the high prices), and love is declared in many classic and crazy ways.

But, the difference between today and my past 23 Valentine’s days is: this year I have a BOY Valentine (Lauren joined the “boy for Valentine’s” club a while ago—but now it’s my year).

I’ll admit, I have conflicting feelings about this day—the commercialism is somewhat off-putting (sometimes immensely so).  But, if left simply to me, I really do love it!  A day dedicated to sharing, giving, expressing, surprising, being…ALL in the name of love.  Yes, yes, it is a good and wonderful thing to show love and care all year long.  But, Valentine’s Day allows it all to be done with a PINK tinge (and I’m all about that pink, bout that pink).

I remember Valentine’s Day when I was six or seven.  I awoke to these cute, pink cards with little love notes to me from my parents.  They are still safely stored in my jewelry box.  When I was nine, we watched a movie about St. Valentine during school.  This was a little awkward—I didn’t know how to react after it ended and St. Valentine was killed, so I laughed a little.  A classmate said something to me along the lines of, “How can you laugh?”  Too young to explain/understand that when uncomfortable, sometimes the wrong reaction happens.  Like I said,awkward.  Of course, there was the year the boy I had a crush on gave me a Valentine that said, “We’ve got chemistry.” Yes, I read into it.  I was a very romantic and thinking sixth grader.

Of course, if you’d been privy to the Skype date I just finished, you’d have seen two little girls excitedly showing me their Valentine necklaces from their parents, Valentines they had made for their mommy, and their Valentine outfits.  You’d have seen their big sister showing me her Valentine outfit, too!  You’d have heard my cousin sharing the plans she and her husband made while her mom watches the kids.  Yes, they’re home is FILLED to overflowing with PINK (i.e. love).

Back to where I started: this year I have a BOY Valentine.  He’s the handsomest fellow I know.  The kindest, most loving, filled with compassion, funny, silly, intelligent, wise, stubborn, truth seeking, justice wanting person I know.  He loves beauty—true beauty.  It’s the kind found on a back of a beetle, shimmering in the summer sun.  He runs through the pouring rain with me, laughing as we find cover, not caring that the people sheltered and (mostly) dry might be staring. He takes me to fashion exhibits because he knows I’d like it.  He meets me with a cup of tea just the way I like it.  He reminds me to drink water when I don’t drink enough.  He carries my purse through the museum so that my back won’t hurt.  He notices when I get bruises and reminds me to be aware so that I won’t keep bumping into things. My dentist will love him: he hands me floss, even when I’m tired.  Also, he makes seriously yummy scrambled eggs, and created an original breakfast dish that is delish.

He is the BEST <3

So, regardless of what society says about this day, shorten your branches so that the twine of culture won’t hold you hostage (gardening reference inspired by my philosophy prof), and instead choose to enjoy a day of special moments, surprises, heart shaped pizza, a cuddle on the couch, a homemade valentine with lots of cut-out hearts because your five year old LOVES making them, a cup of peppermint hot chocolate from your daughter (Mama, I’d make you one if I was home), and soak up the day.

*Please note, this was not written in ignorance of the origin of Valentine’s Day

ReBecoming

I had my first internet interview this afternoon.  I think I liked it.  It went pretty well…though, nerves did show themselves.  Now, the incessant email checking and waiting commences.

Sherlock convention tickets just went on sale, and the website isn’t working.  I had my first experience relating to The Big Bang Theory when the guys click for ten minutes before finally getting in to buy Comicon tickets.  I just want to read the details!  Wah.

The past few days I’ve begun easing into some of my old routines (this is good).  For various reasons, after moving it was very difficult for me to put energy and concentration into things that used to come (mostly) naturally and easily.  It feels SO good journaling, reading, exercising, writing…stepping back into myself.

 

 

What Hairspray Can Teach Us About Current USA Problems

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This morning we three girls watched the musical Hairspray.  I had not seen the movie in over six years and did not recall the plot (it was practically like seeing it for the first time–with a few exceptions).  What caught me off guard were the glaring similarities to the current, American, societal issues, particularly the ones occurring on the racial/governmental front.

While there is no longer legal segregation, racial prejudices are an underlying (and blatant) problem–all ways, might I add, not only white to black.  In the movie, there is a peaceful walking protest made up of black people and a few white people.  In the middle of the street, they come across a line of policemen that do not want to let them cross.  The woman leading the walk speaks calmly, saying they are peacefully walking, the officer won’t budge, the main, white character hits the officer on the back with her sign, and he calls her on assault of a police officer (if you want to know the rest, watch the movie).

The first issue is the line of police officers refusing passage to a peaceful walking protest.  The scene bears an eerie resemblance to current happenings in the USA.  The second issue was assaulting the officer–violence, no matter the level, is not the solution.  The third issue was that the individuals/entity that people expect to go to when injustice occurs were the very ones acting unjustly.  Again, how many YouTube videos display officers blatantly shooting non-violent and unarmed individuals, committing a crime for which a non-officer would be arrested?

There is a deep-seated problem in the United States (yes, in the world, too,but I’m addressing the USA in this post), one that many claim is not an issue, but daily news headlines are saying otherwise.  Find the movie and watch it–don’t let the fact that it is a musical deter you.  As you watch it, look past the plot and understand the message.  Then, compare it to today.  If you are a teacher and you are reading this, may I recommend you play it in your classroom and have each student make notes of issues and comparisons to today.  This is not the time to play the part of an ostrich.  When young children are being shot for holding toy guns, when officers’ first instinct is to shoot to kill and not to injure, when law-enforcement is no longer considered safe–SOMETHING IS WRONG.  And something needs to change.

It Started With Donetsk

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A lot is happening in the world.  Attacks, war, attacks, lost trust, attacks, and more.

I left the USA just as things began to heat up (unintentional on my part).

Now, I sit in England, not far from more attacks and war–France, Ukraine, and, because my idea of distance is different than other people’s, the Middle East and Africa….and all I want to do is talk about it, write about it, bring light to the truth of what is happening.  However, in order to do that I must be there.  I must talk with people.  There is a story, many stories, that need to be shared.  I rack my mind, thinking of ways to write truth into a world of lies.  While anonymous officials make anonymous statements, REAL people are dying.  Artillery is being fired.

People don’t stop living because their surroundings are in turmoil.

I read a brief interview transcript from NPR’s Corey Flintoff in which he shared the environment of Donetsk, Ukraine.  Shelling, spurts of artillery going off—and I asked myself how it would change me to experience that.

Why are we all not asking ourselves that question?

Perhaps if we attempted to place ourselves in the shoes of those who are accustomed to guns constantly exploding in the near distance and where the death count is more than a number–it’s family, friends, the neighborhood grocer–we might work harder, and with more passion, for justice, truth, and ending the war(s).

*Photo of painting taken in summer 2014 at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC

Day 24: Truthful Feelings

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Photo by K.L.R.

*Cue Spotify playlist “Favorite Michael Buble Songs”*

Music to fit my mood–and to set the tone–is necessary.  I want to write, I want to create.  One of my favorite things is sitting down to a blank sheet or notebook of paper.  Sometimes I simply crave writing–I want to write, something, anything, WORDS!

However, there is a chance this blog post creation will be the sum total of my creative writing today–barring some unexpected strike of inspiration.

I’ve been in England for 24 days.  The adjustment is much harder than I ever expected.  I hesitate to use the words “depressed”, but things that normally appeal greatly to me, I have no desire to do–especially alone.  Yes, perhaps loneliness is a better word, but I don’t want to go out and make friends.  I’m enjoying the solitude of my room and the family interaction with the Pfeiffers.  My life in the States was…crazy.  Busy=understatement.  Maybe my body, mind, and soul are relishing the pause–and aren’t ready for it to end.

A day will arrive when I crave people; I’ll want to get out, and London won’t be prepared for me.  But, for the time being, my little room is perfect.  I have a desk when I feel structured, a chair when I want to curl up, and a comfy bed when I want to lounge about.  Perhaps a book–an old friend–is just the remedy.  The thing I just realized…I brought mostly books I haven’t read but have been on my reading list.  Drat.  I may need to pop into a local book shop (good thing they are plentiful) and find an old friend.

Cups of tea and talking with friends in America definitely helps (I’m VERY thankful for technology and social media).

Family, too.  My parents, brother, and others are supportive of this venture.  It helps ease the transition.

And…cups of tea ;)