Life

I am the Rube

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I grew up in a town of about 8,000 people, nestled in a quiet corner of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. It wasn’t always quiet because a major battle was fought between the British and Americans here in 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga. The details are a bit sketchy since I’ve been away so long and school is many years behind me, but my grandmother and mother spent many years working there.

From the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to get away. I managed a few trips to New York City with my dance school and something about city life was very enticing to me. I applied to schools all over when I was looking at colleges: Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Albany, NY and a couple in small towns like the one I grew up in. I was all over the board with what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. I went from wanting to be an interior designer to working in fashion to being a chef or an author.

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Life

The Rhythms of Life

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I tend to get suspicious when life is going along just fine. After a while I get used to it and then when an issue comes up, I’m unprepared and knocked back just a little bit. Oh, right, life isn’t supposed to always be easy, I remind myself! This is an important life lesson that I keep trying to instill in my son Liam who is elven. He seems to be coming home with different issues from school these days and I try to give him my best advice to help him along.

Sometimes it has to do with academics – a poor test grade or missed assignment. He will get very upset when he doesn’t do well on a test even if his grade is in the low 90’s. I do not want him to put so much emphasis on one grade or one assignment. I simply tell him to learn from these situations and just to always do his best. We can never be doing everything perfectly.

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Life

Finding inspiration in the Last Lecture

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Today’s daily prompt brings to mind many different uses of the word lecture. But the one that immediately popped into my mind was the amazing and inspiring Last Lecture of Randy Pausch recorded in September 2007. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and was given a death sentence in the form of pancreatic cancer just a month prior to this lecture. The doctor had given him 3-6 months to live and he eventually succumbed to cancer in July of the following year.

The subject of his lecture was a simple premise: Achieve your childhood dreams. No, he didn’t talk about his looming death, his unfulfilled dreams, his regrets or hopes for his family’s future. He talked about his childhood dreams, from a somewhat simple goal of winning the “big” stuffed animal at amusement parks to the big one of working in animation at Disney. He details how he made these dreams come true (maybe not in the way he expected) and why our childhood dreams are important.

To date, there are over 18 million views of his lecture and if you haven’t seen it or are looking for inspiration about living life, please take a look and enjoy.

It got me thinking about my own childhood dreams which were: owning a horse, traveling to England, writing a book, owning a convertible (like Nancy Drew), going on a cruise (Love Boat anyone?) and becoming an Olympic gymnast. Some of these things are not going to happen (the Olympic dream has long since set sail) and some have already been achieved (London, convertible, cruise) and my dream of owning a horse has been eclipsed in knowing how much work it involves! That leaves one goal left on the table which is to write a book. It’s something I have worked on from time to time but has never gotten far off the ground.

What were your childhood dreams and how many did you see come to fruition? What’s left that you still want to do?

MC

Life

Monday Morning Blues

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I want to go back to bed. Instead, I’m at work in our redesigned department, a line of desks against a wall, all exactly the same. It looks so robotic, so office-like. Of course, I do work in an office. I’m waiting for our IT folks to bring the phones and computers while I’m pretending this new floor plan isn’t happening.

My old desk was against a row of windows where I had a front-row view of a major road (there were often fender benders directly in front of us – none causing grave damage as far as I could tell). Now I’m looking at nothing but a vibrant blue partition. I need to look on the positive side of all this so let’s conjure up some good thoughts.

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Musings

Mnemonics and Names

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I suppose there are things to say about mnemonics but I’m not really feeling it today except to say that I use them for my computer passwords here and there (you basically need full phrases with numbers and symbols thrown in these days to be sure everything is secure). A couple of these phrases have really stuck in my mind so I guess you could say they are now serving a dual purpose. The things I learned them for are not even anything I use anymore in my grown up life but they got me through whatever tests I needed them for and for that and the fact they are still in my brain 40 or so years later is a testament to them.

Speaking of remembering, I really need an ace way to remember people’s names. I’m pretty good if I know someone else with the same first name (especially my own because I usually will say to them, well, that’s easy to remember with a little laugh and that somewhat reinforces it). But there are many, and I mean many times when I am introduced to someone and my mind isn’t present when they say it so I’m like, uh oh, and hope someone else will come by and say their name so I’m not embarrassed later when I can’t remember. Does this ever happen to you? It could be me saying hi, I’m Mary and then I totally miss their name when they say, I’m ______. I seriously have a short attention span.

I’m also not great in social situations with people I don’t know (these situations that require us to introduce ourselves in the first place). I’m too busy thinking of things to talk about so if people are being introduced, my mind is already too absorbed in my other thoughts to take it in. I will try to ask someone else if I really need to know. If I know I’ve met someone before but see them another time and can’t remember, I’ll just say, hi, I’m Mary again and hope they reciprocate.

A few years ago, I took part in Dale Carnegie training and let me tell you, they really stress how important it is to remember people’s names. A person’s name is really the most important thing about them and it makes people feel good when you use their name in conversation. If I can remember it the first time, I will always try to say it again or at least at the end of the conversation because that is a good way to reinforce it as well. I practice this when I’m on the phone with anyone in customer service because they always give their name. I write it down so I can use it during the conversation and again when the call is ending.

Maybe we should all develop our own mnemonics so when we introduce ourselves, we can say, hi, I’m Mary, Meet A Real Yoyo. On the other hand it might just be easier to remember Mary.

Tell me how you remember people you meet for the first (or second time).

MC

 

 

Life

Blogging from Bed

I don’t have any inspiring words tonight except for these: listen to your body. Mine is beat tired after two days of skiing but I insist a blog must be written in keeping with my promise to myself to try to blog every day in February.

The snow was exceptionally rough today. Me, a friend and our 11 year olds took the lift and I was feeling quite excited so I suggested grabbing the next lift to the top (you have to ski a ways to get to it). There was a bit of miscommunication and I lost them 5 minutes into our run. I was lagging behind and fell (the snow was dense and ungroomed – not that I need a reason to fall) and by the time I righted myself they were gone and hadn’t noticed I was no longer with them.

I went to the bottom instead of the other lift and waited a while to see if we could reconnect. I decided to go back up and try to catch them at the other lift. Again, they were nowhere to be found. I looked up and the mountain had no visibilty at the top but since it had been my idea to go up I decided to take the lift on my own (well with a fellow skier/stranger) and by the time we were halfway up I knew it was a very bad idea. It was fairly treacherous and I managed to make it down with one wipeout and a couple falls which I considered to be a success! I skied right back to the lodge and decided to read for the rest of the afternoon.

My body is beat up and so here I am blogging in bed with the Olympics, a snoring husband and snoozing cat as company.

Hope you had a great day.

MC

Musings

How do you solve a problem like football?

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Football season is over! Of course, there will be the post-game rehash of what happened, the half-time show and the commercials but the long season of men in tight pants, tossing around a ball is over. Can you tell I’m not a fan? To each his own, I guess, but apparently, I’m in the minority because over 114 million tuned in to the big game yesterday.

I did give football a go many times through the years for the people in my life: family, friends, boyfriends and my husband. I could never understand the game and why each 15 minute quarter seemed to last an hour. Whenever I asked questions during a game I was sushed because you are not permitted to talk during the game due to rules of social propriety unless you are yelling at the players and coaches on TV.

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Life

Organizing the family for the slopes

Today is turning into one of “those” days. When things keep going amiss. Typically we ski every Saturday once the snow starts coming but it’s been hit or miss this year with it either being too cold (below 0 plus windchill) or too warm (60 degrees and rain). This week is cold but if you dress right it should be OK.

One of our biggest challenges is getting out of the house “on time” by 7:30 because it’s a two hour drive to the mountain. In years past, we’ve skiied at a place within an hour’s drive so it was not a big deal if we didn’t get out of the house until after eight. But getting out of the house never happened without a meltdown (I won’t name names), missing gear (once I forgot to pack Liam’s snowpants – expensive mistake) and threats of calling the whole thing off (again, no names).

So this year I vowed to be different. Organization would be key. Making sure we had every bit of gear and then some. Extra gloves, warm socks and baclavas. Ski pants (dry), boots, poles and skiis. And then there’s the food which is a very big part of the whole enterprise (unless you want to spend a fortune in the lodge cafe which we prefer not to do). The must have things like paper plates, plastic ware, knife and ciutting board (for the fruit and cheese). Paper towels, crackers, chips, etc, etc.

In years past I’d throw random things in reusable shopping bags, but we really upped our game and got the Scout BJ carrier bag which fits everything quite nicely. It tends to be pretty heavy but we have most everything someone in the group needs.

I packed everything yesterday and since there wasn’t skiing last night, I didn’t have to contend with the extra step of drying out our clothes, gloves and other gear. That was a huge help. And yet, at 7:20 a.m. no one was near ready to go and we almost reverted back to our behavior of past years. Truthfully, I’m the biggest problem here because I have very little patience in the morning, especially since I did most of the orgazational work. Can you sympathize with me on that?

Eventually, i told myself to relax since it’s not like we were under mandate to leave the house at 7:30 and then all was good. We made it to the mountain just a few minutes after our friends and had a wonderful day on and off the slopes.

As a side note, I thought I’d try daily blogging in February to get back into a writing rhythm.

Hope your day was great!

Liam and I after a day of skiing

MC