#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 5

My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.

I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)

Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)

 

 

 

 

 

Katzenworld (https://katzenworld.co.uk/)

 

 

 

 

Happy Saturday!

It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon outside. I have done half of my chores, and am thinking about the rest of them as I pop into Word Press.

A mistake?

Depends on what I pop in here for.

I’m sure it’s the same with you. You work a full time job, either outside of the house or in. Or full time school. Or full time mother. Dog sitter. Whatever. You do what you have to do to buy groceries, maybe a bottle of wine now and then. Society dictates you not only sparkle at your job, but that your house is immaculate and your clothes tailored, children behaved, and your books read.

Good thing you and I aren’t following the dictates of society. You and I live by the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants rules.

Finish the big things, like switching the laundry or turning off the stove. Oh…and make sure you have clean plates for dinner and vacuum the cat hair up at least once a week.

But who wants to do that on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?  My interest wanes in anything physical (except if I’m running around with grandkids) long about mid day.

Except for writing.

Funny how we find excuses for everything we don’t like,  but offer no explanation for those we enjoy?

Ack — with a wave of the hand it will be tomorrow. All your chores will be waiting for you — they won’t have gone anywhere.

But think of how great it would be to finish that painting? That poem? That crocheted sweater? Or, in my case, that novel?

I  love when I read that someone has learned something, discovered something. Finished something. They sound so alive! So sparkling!  So awake!

Here’s to you. And all you do. Have fun!

 

9 Ways to Survive the Holidays

christmas_animals_pictures_7There are lots of ways to survive the holidays. Alcohol tops the list. Chocolate too.

Since my drinking days are more-or-less over, I thought there must be other ways to make it through too many BBQ wienies and bad football games and your brother-in-law. Ways that are cosmic yet down-to-earth. Funny yet serious.

Those of you who have hung around the Goddess this long know it’s hard for me to be serious here. So here are a few ideas to get you through the holly jollys.

  1.  Sing Christmas Carols. In the car, as you walk up to your house, as you walk up to your relative’s house. It’s the time of year to bellow out your version of The Twelve Days of Christmas…like…11 Labs a Licking; 10 Buns ‘a Burnin’…you know…
  2. Bake something. Nothing says Christmas like the scent of cookies in the air. No time? No problem! Pillsbury makes a great slice-and-bake cookie dough. You can also buy your favorite cookies already baked and spray some vanilla/cinnamon air freshener around your house. Same thing.
  3. Don’t sweat the gift thing. I know everyone wants to give something and get something. But not everyone has the buckaroonies to follow through.  Do the homemade thing. Make a gift certificate giving one hour of your time to walk their dog. Or pick up dog poop. Or to sharpen their knives. Something they can’t do themselves.
  4. Watch a Christmas movie with family or friends. And be sure to say the lines out loud along with the actors. Every holiday we watch Christmas Vacation, It’s A Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown Christmas, Die Hard (yes…it is a Christmas movie), Elf, Home Alone, and Christmas Story.  And I know lines from all of them.
  5. Sleep in. I know you probably have kids/pets/mates, you’re going to either host Christmas dinner or driving to someone’s house for the same.  But there’s something about curling back under the covers for an extra 10 that can set the mood for the whole day.
  6. If you go somewhere over the holidays where there are kids, be a kid. Don’t just sit and nosh and drink and talk to all the grownups…there is nothing more freeing than sitting on the floor (or maybe the sofa…I can’t get up from the floor), driving Hot Wheels into stuffed animals, building Lego monstrosities, or coloring in a kitty or car book. The sillier the better. Connect with those who will some day pick out your nursing home.
  7. Take time for yourself. Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes, set aside time to refocus and energize with your one and only soul. Love, learn, and live. It’s okay if you sound like a sappy cliche — that’s what all those affirmations on FB and Twitter are for anyway.
  8. Try one new dish. Something you never thought you’d try. Be a Man/Woman! Don’t let the food intimidate you! Go for the gusto!  And sample as many chocolates as you can. Don’t hide behind milk — go for dark, mint, white, almond, krispie — let the reason for the season be chocolate!
  9. And finally, the best way to survive the holiday season is to just be yourself. Know that every day you are alive is a good day. Let the nonsense roll over you like a bad massage and hold strong to your heart. Good or bad, this day will pass.

And you will have set the record for the most inventive version of the 12 Days of Christmas yet!

Granny the Enabler

th-1Did you survive?

Did you eat too much? Drink too much? Get up too early to shop on Black Friday?

I did two of the three — and survived.

I admit my feet gave up before the second store…maybe I should have stopped and bought shoes, too. Actually, the crowds weren’t too bad. Yet I fear I was one of those shoppers everyone else hates to be around.

I let my 1.4 year old grandson run around the store.

What’s wrong with me?

My husband always calls me the enabler. He’s probably right. I’m the one who ventures forth where no one has gone lately. Grandbaby was crabby. Who wants to sit in a shopping cart when everyone around you is running around filling theirs? There are so many pretty sparkles up and down every aisle — surely there’s no harm in letting baby go check out a few while mom and dad slip away a couple of aisles down.

Enabler.

So here I go, toddling after the toddler, pulling him away from one thing, tempting him with the next. It’s amazing what interests a toddler.

The tags than hang under the merchandise, boxes that were way too big to pick up, emoji pillows, dog pull toys, duck tape, all were temptations the babe couldn’t resist. Nor could I pull him away from. After a few dramatic stretches on the floor, mom or dad would come back and place him gently in the cart or in the carrier.

Enabler Bad Granny.

Grandbaby was pitching a fit at Taco Bell for breakfast…wet diaper, hungry tummy. Nothing would satisfy the moment. So Granny gave him a few sips of her Pepsi through the straw. No sugar or caffeine for grandbaby.

Enabler Bad Granny.

What’s my problem? Am I that out of control?

Maybe it’s the holidays. Maybe it’s my second childhood. Maybe it’s my own kids all over again. What Grandparent says no? I mean, I do draw the line with dangerous things, with car seats and baby gates and no peanuts and diaper rash. I never endanger my kids, my grandkids.

Having said that, what’s wrong with a little exploration through the jogging pants at Kohls? What’s a sip of Pepsi here or french fry there? Life is full of sneak peeks. Of chocolate before bed and staying up to watch movies when the parents aren’t around. What’s wrong with playing soldiers with a 6 year old or dancing in the rain, getting all wet and silly?

Grandparents are supposed to do these kinds of things. The kind of things that parents smile and shake their head about. These are the treats, the perks, the golden magic between two generations that has skipped the one in the middle. It is the secret space that all grandparents hide in with their grandkids. The private tricks they play on all-knowing parents.

My inlaws did it to us: my kids were taken on more trips to Kiddyland, more staying up lates, more homemade cookie baking and animal farms than I ever thought about. At the time I was a little miffed; why were my kids’ grandparents trying to steal the show?

Now older, hopefully wiser, I see what really went on. I didn’t have grandparents to spoil me; my husband did. And my husband’s love for his grandma and grandpa is something he still talks about today.

So it is with my kids; hopefully it will be so with theirs. I hope when I am long gone I will be the star in the stories my grandkids tell again and again.

Granny. THE enabler.

 

Shameless Self Promotion

Dear Friends, animated-gif-jewels_precious-36

I don’t do this often — you know — really sparkle my own diamond. I love to write my blogs, I love the discoveries I’m making in my art gallery.

I know the people who follow me do so because they get a kick out of what I’m saying and/or showing. And I hope to entertain myself — oh! and you — for quite a while into the nebulous future.

So here comes the sales pitch.

If you could share my Humoring the Goddess blog (www.humoringthegoddess.com) or my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog (www.sundayeveningartgallery.com) with just ONE friend, it might just open a new world for them — and me. They might bring a smile or smirk to someone else’s face, or eyes of wonder as they look at the incredible art I find around the world.

My Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sundayeveningartgallery/) could also use a few followers — the sole purpose of this account is to share unique art to those who can’t always go through the galleries.

Either way, I’m done selling for today. Hoping you continue to grow, to dream, and to have fun. We only go one way in this life — let’s make it real.

Where’s the nachos?

Love,

Claudia

Did You Know You Spoke Chinese?

I have a grandson who is starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks. Ahhh…innocence floating out the window. No, not him — me. Or rather his mom. Brings to mind a blog I wrote back in October of 2011. Think it still rings true.

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

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?

The teen years are stressful for those going through them. Puberty comes crashing in any time between the ages of 12 and 16, estrogen and testosterone fighting for space inside a body that is growing in too many directions at one time.  But hey. What about the ones on the other side of those swings? Those who pay for hot lunches and gym shoes and nail polish?  Not only do we have to put up with I-pods and cell phones, but we have to learn to speak a whole new language in order to be understood.  It is as if we have stepped over the threshold of reality into an entirely new universe.

Life seemed so much simpler when our kids were toddlers. The years between two and, say, five, are probably the most rewarding for all forms of parental figures.  We can do no wrong; our children hang on our every word.  They fear and revere us. They bounce around from moment to moment wanting only to please those in charge.  Pick up your toys?  Of course! Eat your spaghetti?  Of course!  Clean your room?  Of course! We speak, they listen, and things are ideal.

Then comes those “cute” years, say, six through nine.  Everything they do and say is cute, especially when they pout and say “no” with wide-eyed enthusiasm.  Pick up your toys?  No! I wanna play with ‘em a little longer.  Eat your spaghetti?  No! I want pizza instead.  Clean your room?  No!  I gotta have twenty dolls in the corner!  They are starting to catch on to the power of being an individual.  They still brush their teeth and do their homework and go to bed pretty much on time, but they learn to manipulate the world by talking or playing or whining, probably all three.

By the time middle school comes around, there is a slight Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-ish personality starting to surface. Football games and study nights with friends start to take on a bit more significance as our middle schoolers begin to feel the strength of their own convictions.  Pick up your toys?  Oh please, I don’t play with ‘toys’ anymore.  Eat your spaghetti.  Red sauce? I’d rather have cheese.  Clean your room.  Oh mommy dear and/daddy dear — it is clean!  A little clip in their voice should be the giveaway that they are catching on to you.

Just when you think you have settled the beast that rustles inside your child, their high school days hit you right between the eyes. Music becomes some thundering beat with  talking rather than singing; wearing jeans that cut low enough to show off underwear or vertical fissures becomes the fashion statement of the day. Homework becomes an enigma.  School semesters are identified by fall, winter and spring sports, and words like Paris and Pink suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

You wake up one morning sprouting antennae from your head. Your voice becomes a booming echo down an empty tunnel or a high-pitched squeak riding the airwaves.  Suddenly you speak a foreign language: ρτε τα παιχνίδια σας  (pick up your toys in Greek);  съешьте ваше спагеттио (eat your spaghetti in Russian), and 投入您的衣裳去, (Chinese for clean your room). Their eyes become glazed and their expression reminds you of eating a lemon.  One day you are a friendly, loving parent, the next moment you are Godzilla’s cousin.  You don’t know what you are talking about ― your ideas or so old-fashioned they will be amazed if you make it to 50.

How did this happen?  How did we fall off of our pedestal?  One moment our child is reaching up to be held, the next moment they cringe if you hug them in public.  Is this the reward for all of our hard work?  All our love?

Well, trust me.  This too will pass.  As your children approach their twenties, they are amazed at how smart you’ve suddenly become.  Your old-fashioned ideas transform into newly discovered truths of their generation.  The older they get, the more human you become.  Your antennae suddenly don’t seem so out-of-place; as a matter of fact, they kinda look cute on your old frame.  You find a common ground through life and all its ups and downs, and they finally understand what you’ve been saying all these years.  Words and ideas flow once again, and your pedestal gets packed away somewhere deep in their heart, only to be pulled out when you are not looking.

Either that — or you have finally learned to speak Chinese.

Read (ick!) At Your Own Risk

bigstockphotoStickingOutTongue27088I have been working very hard on getting my “new” Sunday Evening Art Gallery website up and running so that you can see even MORE of the unusual, unique, amazing art these artists come up with. There are times when I don’t want to read a thing — looking at pictures will do just fine. So hopefully by a week from Sunday I will have a visual gallery for your perusal as well.

In the meantime… Why not fill your head with a bit of food nonsense? Works wonders for me!

 

An average ear of corn has an even number of rows, usually 16.

Most wasabi consumed is not real wasabi, but colored horseradish.

Oklahoma’s state vegetable is the watermelon.

The winner of the 2013 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest consumed 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The  Dunkin’ Donuts in South Korea offer doughnut flavors such as Kimchi Croquette and Glazed Garlic.

(It’s getting worse…)

There is an amusement park in Tokyo that offers Raw Horse Flesh-flavored ice cream.

(And worse…)

Castoreum, which is used as vanilla flavoring in candies, baked goods, etc., is actually a secretion from the anal glands of beavers.

TMI…TMI..

Coconut water can be used as blood plasma.

McDonald’s sells 75 hamburgers every second of every day.

One fast food hamburger may contain meat from 100 different cows.

Arachibutylrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

When taken in large doses nutmeg works as a hallucinogen.

The red food-coloring carmine — used in Skittles and other candies — is made from boiled cochineal bugs, a type of beetle.

To make jelly beans shiny, shellac is used, which is made from Kerra lacca insect excretions.

 

Thank you Buzz Feed http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinabarca/food-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind. 

Makes me never want to eat again.

 

See you Sunday!

Top 10 … no, 20 … no, 5 … List

56179-cat-on-keyboard-typing-gif-hI43I have a love/hate relationship with the end of the year. I cannot keep up with all the “best of” or “top ten” lists that collect this time of the year. I’ve already scanned the Top 100 Wines of 2014, Highest Paid Celebrities of 2014, the Most Disappointing Movies of 2014, and 9 Actors That Make Nothing But Bad Movies. Heck — there’s websites full of top ten of anything you ever wanted to keep track of.

There are sad lists (Celebrities we Lost in 2014 ) and obscure lists (10 Fascinating Facts about J.R.R. Tolkien). There are goofy lists (Top 10 Influential People Who Never Lived), and beauty lists (5-, 10-, 25-, 75-Top Beauty Tips). Enough to make your head spin.

So, in the Holiday Head-Spining spirit, I’m going to add my own 3 cents worth of a list. Here are my ___ Favorite Humoring the Goddess Blogs of 2014 (I’ll leave it fill-in-the-blank until I see how many I pick…)

 

 

thFashion No-Nos for Summer (5/28/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-yP

Companion to the original “Fashion No-Nos For Goddesses of All Ages” (3/1/14, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-yP )  or its predecessor, “Goddess Tips for Women and Men!” (6/18/12, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-fr),  this blog  encompasses everything that is wrong with Flair after 50.

 

1950vogueI’m Too Sexy…for my (too small) Shirt  (6/26/14)

(http://wp.me/p1pIBL-zE)

This kinda goes along with my Fashion Nonsense blogs, i.e., getting rid of things I’ve held onto longer than my college graduate has been alive.

 

 

 

cherryWhen is a Cherry Not a Cherry? (8/27/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-AT

My sophomoric mind gone even more childlike when I hear old words that have new meanings.

 

 

 

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034Magic Shoes (10/3/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-Dq)

Who knew that buying a pair of gym shoes could be so stressful?

 

 

 

 

And, okay, last (but not least)….

 

doll Chatty CathyChit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy (6/12/12)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-eQ)

I know it’s from 2012, but I still suffer from Italktoomuchitis. And it hasn’t gotten much better.

 

 

 

Do go back and take a peek at the world that was 2014 — heaven knows what the New Year will bring! (Maybe I should start writing something like, “20 Things You Can Do With Chalk”..)

 

Check Your Stress At The Door

teacherWashing my hands in the company washroom the other day, I was listening to two women talk about the most over-used word/topic I’ve heard lately — stress. They were talking about being “stressed” at their job. Fortunately, they parted on a laugh and a “tomorrow’s another day.”

These days everyone is “stressed.”

It’s your job — you are expected to do everything while someone else does nothing. It’s your kids — once out of sight, you have no idea what trouble they’re getting into. It’s your family — your brother/mother/sister/grandmother is out of control again (probably the me-me-me thing). It’s your health — cholesterol is off the charts, need to lose at least 15 pounds.  It’s your age — I’m too old to do this, I’m not old enough to do that. It’s everything around us. Everything inside of us. It’s as common as salt on French fries.

Were human beings always this messed up?

I admit I am one of the first in line to succumb to this dreaded disease. I’m older, I’m heavier, I’m poorer than I was 20 years ago. I have a hard time sitting still staring at a computer screen all day. I have lost a couple of loved ones recently which broke my heart. I have had other close ones have surgery, lose their jobs, crash their SUV. I get tired of everyone else stirring up hornet’s nests and not doing a thing about it. It’s a mess out there.

How did we get this way?

Life has always been life. Kids have always been a handful, family members too. Jobs have been hard, paychecks small. People we know have been dying since we were little. People have never had enough free time, and appliances and cars have always fallen apart at the same time. But our lives have balanced out, too (at least most of the time). We love our family. We have a job. We can afford cable. We can walk through parks and snowbanks and feel the sun on our face and play in the rain. We have quit smoking or picked up a hobby or made new friends. Yet these positive things still don’t make a dent in our over-reacting to the world.

Were our parents this wound up all the time? Our grandparents?

I am not making light of stress…on the contrary, I’m worried about it. Talking to others, there is not enough time in the day (or night) to do what we need to do. No less what we want to do. Companies are downsizing, so a lot of us are doing the job of two or three people. The cost of gas and food is rising a whole lot faster than our yearly cost-of-living raise (if we get one). The cost of healthcare in one form or another is out of control, as one visit to the doctor’s office can cost us a week’s pay. We are paying for car repairs and mortgages and fixing aging appliances and paying doctor bills all from the same paycheck.

No wonder we are stressed.

I worry about this because, the older I get, the less roses I get to smell. I have at least another 20 years of spoiling my grandbaby and trying to grow a garden and I still want to go to Ireland and Italy. And every ounce of stress — I mean the really mean stress — takes me one step backwards from where I want to go.

We can’t get back yesterday, but we can work on getting to the future.  And to get there we have to get rid of this over-used condition. And the catch is, we can’t get “stressed” about it, either. How do we do such a monumental turnabout? Here are my simple ideas.

* Get a whiff of fresh air every day. No matter if it’s frigid, humid, scorching, or grey as flannel. Get out and inhale, deep and long, every day.

* Talk to someone you love every day. Not just like trains passing in the night — like real people. Ask them how they’re feeling. What made them laugh today. That you’re glad they’re in your life.

*Remember that, for most of us, a job is just a means to an end. Some of us enjoy our jobs, some of us don’t. Some of us will make a career out of our choices, some of will just make it a job. Don’t get involved in scenarios you can’t change. Some things are just above your pay grade. Do you best but don’t bring it home with you. It’s just not worth it.

* There will never be another you. Savor that fact. Learn to hone that self into one that rolls with the punches. You have to. You can’t stop the river flowing, you can’t walk to the moon, etc., etc., etc. Be true to yourself, and flourish within that light.

* Make time for the little things. Watch the sunset, play fetch with your dog. Watch an old movie. Know that the little pleasures are all that matter — that sometimes that’s all you’ll get. And mountains can be made out of those molehills.

We can’t really wash all the stress out of the world. But I truly believe that if we all make an effort we can make it less of a stain and more of a blush. Deal with what you can, let go of the rest.

Your heart, your blood pressure, will thank you.

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