Ahhh….Paris

I just came back from an Evening in Paris. Walked the back streets until I came upon this little bistro. I sat outside at a little wrought iron table under an umbrella, for it was raining. The lights of the Eiffel Tower sparkled through the misty rain, a constant vigil in the Paris skyline. Down the street a door opened and the sweet strains of La Vie En Rose poured out, completing the night.

Actually, I was downloading some images for a future Eiffel Tower Gallery and kept coming across pictures of Paris at night.

I wasn’t always a dreamer of French bistros and cathedrals. My desires have always been towards the green hills of Ireland and the rolling towns of England. But the last few years have drawn me to the romantic notions of Pariee…the museums, the small restaurants, French wine, croissants, fashion,  café au lait, parks, romantic side streets…I mean, I could stay for a month.

Perhaps I’ve watched “Midnight in Paris” too many times. Or “An American in Paris.” Movies always make places seem more magical than they really are.

But I don’t think it’s the same with Paris. I think there’s always been magic there. From the time of Louis XIV and Versailles to the rolling wine country of Bordeaux and Champagne, there is always something about another world that is full of mystery and atmosphere.

I don’t think I’ll ever travel to Paris — with grandkids and mortgages and who knows what else, I don’t think this is on my husband’s top 10 places to visit before he dies. And anyway, I doubt anyone would want to do the kind of wandering I’d be inclined to do (the pretzel kind).

One thing that has danced on the outside of my thoughts is to write a story about Paris. I haven’t been in the mood to finish my third novel (or anything else lately), but the thought of a middle-aged woman finding intrigue and freedom in a strange and beautiful city…

Ah, but how can I write about a place I’ve never been?

Well, I’ve never been to 1885 Claremont, Wisconsin or Veii, Etruria either. And I survived those uncharted worlds just fine.

If you want to write about something you know nothing about, write. Take a chance. Let your mind wander past the 25-mile circle you call home. You never know…

Maybe we will meet at  Le Recruitement Cafe one evening. 36 boulevard la Tour Maubourg, 75007 Paris. I will have to astral travel, but hey…I’ll be there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Favorite Food?

Sitting at work, eating a lunch of cottage cheese and sunflower seeds, is not the right condition for a funny, deeply inspiring blog. So in researching something else deep in my posting past, I came across this post. It’s much more fun. And foody.

From 9/16/14 (and please pass the butter…)

breadBread and Butter Badlands

A funny thing happened this evening. I was all pumped up to write a blog about scheduling things in your life, when I read a fellow blogger’s (David Kanigan) blog called “Don’t Eye the Basket of Bread: Just Take It Off the Table” ( http://davidkanigan.com/2014/09/16/dont-eye-the-basket-of-bread-just-take-it-off-the-table/). It really is an article about how to exert self-control. Which, in that sense, makes sense. If it’s not in front of you you’re not tempted to eat the whole basket.

But I almost missed the point of the blog because I was thinking about fresh baked bread dripping with sweet, creamy butter.  Crispy crust, fluffy inside.  Which led me to daydream about my homemade spaghetti sauce, full of fresh tomatoes and veggies with a smattering of ground beef and/or Italian Sausage, dripping over vermicelli or linguine, fresh Parmesan cheese sprinkled delicately over the top, a small glass of merlot within reach, sitting quietly next to that basket of freshly-baked bread that I’m suppose to have taken off the table.

And suddenly I’m daydreaming about the wonderful world of food.

I’ve been on a diet — no — food behavior modification — for as long as I’ve been out of puberty. I have always had a love/hate relationship with anything that has more than 2 carbs and 35 calories per serving. It’s that homo sapiens thing…anything that is fattening is worth tasting. Of course, tasting, and indulging, are two different things.

They say one can survive on indulging in one tablespoon of anything. Buffet? No problem. One tablespoon macaroni salad, one tablespoon chocolate mousse, one tablespoon mashed potatoes along with one tablespoon gravy. Just think of what a decorative plate you would bring back to the table! One tablespoon from 50 different dishes!

But let’s face it. Living on one tablespoon of cheese souffle is like smiling at only one child at Christmas. Or having one cashew. Or hugging only one grandkid. Satisfying as a bath in ice cubes. We know we should be sticking to the one-tablespoon-rule for our health, for our diabetes and our cholesterol. And most times we do alright.

But sometimes our libido cries for liberation. It just cannot be satisfied with the one-teaspoon-rule. We try to tame it. We hide the food. We buy celery and apples and lean chicken and fish. We succeed where others fail. We lose weight, lower our cholesterol, add some years to our life.

But then something as innocent as a whiff of freshly baked bread or bacon frying and we’re whipped up into a frenzy of biblical proportions. Why is that?

I do believe in moderation. Fortunately for me, the older I get, the fewer things I can digest properly. A couple of cream cheese canapes is not worth the agony of hours in the bathroom later. Spinach Dip, Ice Cream Sundaes, Hot Cheese Spread, all no-nos with the digestive tract from Hell. Yet I have to admit, I cannot pass a chance to try a scoop or two. Just to check it out, you see.

I try to avoid get-togethers where rich foods are the center of attention. Most times I can say “no thanks.” But just as often I hear myself saying, “Just one bite.” Then my big-mouth libido takes over and bread and pasta and Ceasar’s Salads are the order of the day. And as I hang my head in shame, I still enjoy the crumbs at the corner of my mouth or the sweet slide of butter still on my tongue.

I guess I’ve lost the thread of this whole blog to the whims of the wonderful world of food. So let me ask you — what foods weaken your will power? Which sumptuous feasts make you moan with delight? Which part of the banquet table can you not pass by without sampling?

Think I will go bake a loaf of bread while I wait for your answer…

Let’s Change Our Work Hours

keep-calm-mondayMonday Monday, can’t trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh Monday Monday, how could you leave and not take me.    ~Mamas and Papas

 

Monday’s really aren’t that bad, but somehow our culture has psychologically made it the fall guy for all jobs we hate and bills we have to pay.

So I put it out to you — If mankind — or rather the working world — could work their “8 Hour Day” any 8 hours straight they choose, could Monday (or any other day) be still successful — and less stressful?

I will use myself as a shining example. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself to be a night owl. Or rather my body thinks it’s a night owl. I love the evening, the night — I could stay up until 1-2 a.m., windows open, music, writing, folding laundry, whatever the calling.

I also could sleep in until 8 or 9 a.m. every day after that, too.

So why couldn’t I punch a time clock at 11 am and punch out at  7 pm? Or some mornings punch in at 9 am and get out at 5 pm? Or punch in at 1 p.m. and scoot at 9 pm?

I know — first off you say I should get a second shift job. I don’t think they do my kind of advertising work at night.

I know — you also will say that companies can’t have people coming and going all the time; that their utilities would have to be on 24/7, which would cost more money to them, and less to me. Well, my household utilities are often on 24/7 — or 21/10 anyway, so it’s time for companies to join the millennium.

I want to be able to wake up with the birds when I want or sleep until they’re at their noon siesta. I want to wake up and see it’s raining and turn over and sleep a few more hours. I want the freedom to wake up peppy and prepped or sluggish and sluggy, and have both be an okay start for the day.

I suppose it’s one of those wasted daydreams like what I’d do if I won the lottery or lost 50 pounds. But I live on daydreams. I dance with the Arts, with the Muses, with the Dreamers and the Philosophers. Free thinking is a blessing, a gift, and a burden. Rather to carry that burden than others that exist around me.

But back to the flexible schedule. I suppose the truth is that I’d push the start time further and further back until I was working the night shift. Which is time to go to bed. Guess it is all just a continuous Celtic Knot with me at the center.

I suppose retirement is the only out for me. Or lots of half-days off. Or winning the lottery. My best chance is the last one.

Got a dollar?

 

 

What’s Back There?

book4Greetings! I did a little “rollover” dance with my Explorer the other day. All is well, thank the Goddess, but I thought a little backwards glance into my glorious blog might entertain you while I recuperate a little…

Chocolat and the Sun 

Escapism with a Reality Check.  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-2w

2 Chocolat and the Tuscan Sun1

Life is a kaleidoscope of feelings: it is pain and death, birth and life. Because the cosmic implications of these things are way above my head, I would rather contemplate my own daydreams.

I Can’t Believe I Believed That

Legends are So Much Fun…  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-6g

Dolly-Parton-with-Crossed-Eyes--58695a

Urban legends are as old as Medusa turning those who look at her to stone — old as dirt.  The more society has matured, the easier it is to decipher falsehoods from the truthhoods. Or is it? Here’s a list of ditties I found on my wanderings while doing research for my Great American Novel #3 (let’s hear it for the Internet and a few spare hours!)

Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Dressing comfortable is one thing … dressing like a hobo another … http://wp.me/p1pIBL-67

31 Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Are you one who enjoys presenting your best side to the viewing public?  What I mean is, do you spend time fixing your hair, pants, shirt, purse, shoes, the whole bit?  Not that you strive to strut your stuff down the Chanel or Yves St Laurent runways ― it’s just that you want to be presentable. Most women who take care of their heart and/or soul take care of their appearance, too.  What I’d like to know, then, is why is it when we are away from the public eye, we look like hobos from Hoboville?

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Parents and their kids often speak two different languages. http://wp.me/p1pIBL-8N

chinese_symbol_for_laugh_postcard-p239398313843791555trdg_400

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

You Make Me Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Ever feel like you’re always doing the spin-a-roonie?  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-jt

dizzying

Not so long ago I wrote a blog entitled, “I Make Myself Crazy.” You know ― it’s the on-sweater, off-sweater, hot/cold thing.  http://www.humoringthegoddess.com/2012/04/07/i-get-on-my-nerves/  Nervous ticks aside, I now try to slow down and think before I flutter.

Get ‘er Done

thThis is a question everybody can answer. There are no rights or wrongs — just a lot of points-of-view and lots of fun.  Youth vs. Age, married vs. single, male vs. female, 30 vs. 60. And my guess is that the results will be quite telling of what side you are on.

My question is:  If you had a weekend all to yourself, what would you do? I mean no guilt about leaving friends and family behind; no guilt about not fixing the car or doing the dishes or playing fetchie with your dog. Finances are taken care of if need be, but not the focus of the daydream.  How would you like to spend the hours between, say, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon?

I’ll start.  I’d love to check into a hotel ALL BY MYSELF, with my laptop, 3-ring binder, paper and pens, Ipod, bottle of wine, bubble bath, great snack food, and chocolate truffles. I’d write, organize the files on my computer,  research, download images for my blog, edit the novel in the 3-ring binder, enter writing contests, go back and work on stories I started 6 years ago — along with using their WIFI and watching their movies.

How boring, you say. My husband said the same thing. He thinks I’d do nothing but surf the net for two days. Not So. I have sooo many things I want to do in the writing world that two days would barely be long enough. Just think — no cats climbing over my laptop; no dogs bugging me to play fetch; no Swamp People or Deadliest Catch. No questions of “where’s the ___?” or “Did you do ___?” Just me and Gaia Borealis and Darren McHale and Ginny Huntington and a boatload of other characters just waiting for me to tell their story.

Now.

My husband, bless his pea-pickin’ heart, is one of the most linear, in-the-box thinkers I know. I  asked him the same question the same way.  First he said he’d spend the two days with my grandson. No — no family members. Then he had to think about it. He loves fishing and hunting. What about a fishing trip  somewhere? No — he’s a people person. He loves to do things with other people. Me too — but that’s not a part of the HYPOTHETICAL question. After a few more rounds of “reasoning” I decided he just wasn’t going to play.

I would love to know how YOU would waste two days. And don’t feel you’re slighting your “others” if their name doesn’t show up on your guest list.

If they played this game, your name might not be at the top of their list either…

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

You Didn’t Read Which One??

With the Madness of Summer burning the bottoms of our feet, there is not often much time to do any deep reading. A news headline here, a gossip column there, is about all one can squeeze in between State Fairs and Renaissance Faires and Italian Fairs.  So I thought I’d make it short and sweet this time around…come along and check out some of my oldies-but-goodies and see for yourself how fun managing the madness and magic and middle age can be!

Sharpening the Tool  — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/sharpening-the-tool/

I hate it when people say that many middle-aged people “aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.” It’s condescending, insulting, naive and just plain wrong. What I hate even more, though, is being one of those dull tools. Alas, there are times when I feel I’m struggling to stay in the shed, period.

Dancing in a Too Tight Tutu — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/522/

I was sitting around the other day with my gal friends, sharing tales about the weekend. We all seemed to have gone through the same delightful experience, albeit in different ways. We all were relaxed, having a good time, and probably drank a little too much, for we all said, “I’m too old for this.”  One sat with friends and sipped with friends all day, one went to an outdoor concert, and I party hopped.  I’m sure the situations were on the same astral plane as many others “my age.”  Time flows, excitement and comfort wraps around us, the atmosphere make us feel good, and before you know it we are waking up the next morning with a headache, saying, “I’m too old for this.

Dinner With the Queen https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwursthttps://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-importance-of-unicorns-and-bratwurst/

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane.  I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about.  Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going.  But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?

Merlot at the Lake House — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/merlot-at-the-lake-house/

Quick.  Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time gain.  Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

Any Extra Time, Dali?


Okay. Here is one for you to think about and answer. I’ve been running helter-skelter around Wisconsin and Illinois lately: work, birthday parties, funerals, kid’s house, grocery store. I constantly daydream about having a couple of hours TO MYSELF.

So here is your scenario. You have two hours free any time during the day. My pretends fairs better, say, after work. Yours can be whenever. Loved ones: gone. House: clean. No soccer games, hospital visits, or fests to get in your way. 

How would you spend those two hours?

To Dream or Not to Dream…That Is the Question

       33 To Dream or Not to Dream     One of the yin-yangs of hormone fluctuation is sleep, or lack of it.  Between hot flashes and finding a comfortable position, my REM’s make rare visits,  leaving my consciousness floating in the bubbles of semi-sleep through the world of dreams.  Now, many people say they don’t dream; others leave a notepad on their nightstand so they can record the ching chang jumble that comes out in the middle of the night.  I believe we all dream, but length, depth and retaining capacity is what makes everyone’s claim different.

         Scientists and talk show hosts tell us our lives are influenced by anything and everything, and our dreams are one way of dealing with all of it. Dreams, and  their alter ego, nightmares, can result from everything from eating pizza before bed to an argument earlier in the day. Dreams can be triggered by stress, anticipation, having too much time on your hands or, more likely, not enough.  Scary movies, sappy movies, long distance phone calls — everything can leave a chip in your mind that can explode into a myriad of dreamy scenarios.

            The great thing about this flight through those shadowed clouds, though, is the variety of experiences it presents.  I doubt my conscious mind could make up half the things my subconscious does. And if it could, would it be as fun?  In my dreams I interact with bosses from 20 years ago and talk to family members who are no longer with me.  I wander the halls of my grade school, look out on Lake Michigan from a high-rise balcony, and walk through castles of long ago.  I have driven off cliffs and been chased by  unseen dragony/monster things. I have stood in a shadowy alley talking to Edward Norton and had coffee with Kiefer Sutherland.  I have run from building to building to building, either looking for something or trying to get somewhere, and have jumped and bounced and flown my way across the landscape.

            Where in Jove’s name do we get these ideas from? 

           Being a writer, I often bring some of the unearthliness of my subconscious and put it into forms that entertain me and others. Without analyzing every laugh and tear, I try to bring these esoteric beings into my writing. The more nonsensical, the better. Other people transform their dreams into paintings, gardens, photography, and card making. 

            Of course, the down side of dreams is that they don’t always give you a direct answer to your cosmic questions.  It is fairly obvious that when I dream of my son as a toddler rather than a college kid, I am searching for the olden days connection we had when I was omnipotent and he was subservient.  When I am wandering through corridors and cross loading docks and down long hallways filled with shops and warehouses and theaters I am lost in more ways than I care to admit. But instead of interpreting these dreams as portents of bad things to come, I would rather see them as insights to the possibilities that lie ahead. We have the ability to choose which meanings we take to heart and which  we toss out.  We can choose to see rain in the clouds or we can just see clouds.  We can choose to see dragons shapes or bouncy cotton balls in those clouds or we can just see clouds. 

            The best course is always to take a little of both. Don’t ignore the clouds that are really thunderheads, and don’t get the idea of stepping out of a plane to bounce on their springy tops.  But also let those clouds be dragons or snakes or baby diapers. Nod at the thread of reality that runs through the middle, then make what you will of the rest.   Don’t worry what others think your dreams mean, or if you can’t remember their endings.  The old adage that it’s the journey that counts, not the destination, is just as true in your onscious state of mind as in your conscious one.  Don’t read more into your dreams than what is there.  And create whatever you want from them.

            As for me, I’m looking forward to tonight.  I told Kiefer I’d meet him at the coffee shop sometime around eleven.  Maybe I’ll even ride my dragon there.

Dinner With the Queen

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?

Oh, you say, I am happy being just who I am. Of course you are. We all try and walk that fence between selfish and selfless; between modesty and bravado. But admit it. There are many times in our very predictable life that we’d like to do something unpredictable. Of course, unpredictable varies from person to person. Bungee jumping is one way, as is impulse buying a Hummer. More low key, there are times when we want to guffaw aloud instead of snickering quietly. We want to dance naked in the living room and wear chuggy boots with a sundress. But most times we settle for eating Thai as a means of excitement. While that sounds fairly adventurous, I assure you, the dreams of the experienced are filled with possibilities never imagined by the inexperienced. In other words, the older we get, the looser the parameters of our dreams become.

There was a time in my life that I worried about what others thought of me and my opinions. A time when I tried to fit in, vaporously reflecting their ideas on religion, child rearing, and employment. It was important that I pulled my own weight, never rocked the boat, nor raise the hackles on someone’s neck. I was (and still am) respectful of others.

But eventually I got to a point in life where I wanted the river to flow where I wanted it to flow. I wanted my own boat, my own crew, and my own destination. I found that the further I wander down the road, the less I’m concerned about what I have done and more about what I can do. The thought of being no more than a passing blush in the cosmos makes my selfishness bubble to the surface. So I find myself wanting to be bigger than life: a heroine to all, someone who makes a mark and leaves it for others to decipher. That doesn’t mean I want to be an assassin or a movie star or a nuclear physicist. But a motivational speaker, a middle-aged trend setter, a famous author — what’s wrong with that?

Maybe that’s not really “out of the box,” but for me, it’s peeking out from under the lid. I’ve been a loving mother, a great wife, a dedicated friend, and all-around good person. I have dotted all of my i’s, crossed my t’s, and given to the United Way.

But now and then I feel this little quiver in my reality that makes me wonder what it would be like to leave the cookie baking and office typing to someone else and find something different to do with my time. How cool it would be to become a fashion maven or a world traveler. To stand before a crowd and sing like an angel. To be the next Food Network Star. To be asked to be on the next “Tour of Homes” because my house and garden are so incredibly fantastic that the world ― or at least the citizens of Whitewater ― have to experience them. To nosh with Stephen King at lunch and have dinner with Queen Elizabeth. To design a line of clothes that would knock the socks off Calvin Klein or raise enough donations to build a new wing on the local hospital.

All right — maybe not the “Queen Elizabeth” part or the “wing on the hospital” part ― but to create something new, something eye-catching, something memorable, would be a trip I would never forget.

We love and appreciate the little things in our life. Our friends, our family, all are a part of who we are. We work hard and, if we are lucky, play hard. Being famous would take us away from all that we worked so hard to create. And, after all, celebrity does have its price, privacy and anonymity being the first two privileges to go.

But while those platitudes make perfect sense, every now and then my daydreams take a cosmic swing to worlds just past my fingertips. Writing a best seller that becomes a movie lover’s dream, people paying $200 a ticket just to have lunch with me, opening a boutique that splashed between the covers of famous magazines ― what a thrill that would be! Who wouldn’t like to be a travel reporter visiting small European towns or American homesteads and talk about their cuisines and cultures? Who wouldn’t want to have their art on display at at the Art Institute or the Milwaukee Art Museum? Who wouldn’t want to be the one person the President could come to for advice?

Aspirations breed inspiration. Not being afraid to follow the muse within your heart brings freedom to your soul. Feeling positive about who you are enables the world to mold itself around you. Most ― if not all of us ― will never get a chance to live out those kinds of dreams. Not on that grand of a scale. But that doesn’t mean our inspirations can’t be grand. That our forward movement can’t be grand. Understand that grand is all in one’s point of view. Don’t worry what any other point of view is but yours. Dress up for any or all occasions. Paint a mural on a wall. Start blogging your most outrageous ― and delicious ― recipes. Grow an exotic garden, take pictures of it and enter them into photography contests. Design jewelry. Show horses or dogs. Enter your prized whatevers at the State Fair.

Don’t be afraid to break out now and then and have a good time. What others think of you is not nearly as important as what you think about yourself.

Besides ― I’m sure the queen made other dinner plans anyway.