Monday, December 20, 2010

When shopping...

As a grown up I realize that through the years I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some I learned in school and through experience. many of them I learned from my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 51 Leave your purse at home

This may sound a bit silly, but hear me out. When you first begin working you may have a part time job and only really make enough to have a little fun here and there. Even as you get older you will have bills, though hopefully no credit card bills, and rent and need to spend money on things you need. Money may always be a bit tight. So, you are off to the store with your mom, grandma, or aunt. You accidentally leave your purse at home. Oops. You end up at the store where you see the perfect shirt.
"I'm just going to try it on... just to see what it looks like," you say.

You come out in it and your mom, grandma, or aunt says "oh it is perfect on you. You should get it."
"I can't," you reply, "I left my purse at home."
"Well, we can't leave it here. Give it to me. I'll get it."
"Thank you," you say as you try not to smile, "but really, I can just come back for it."
"Don't be silly," she says, "I'll get it. Its just a shirt. It'll be our little secret."
BAM. Done and done. It works almost every time. However, Now I am an aunt so don't think this trick is going to work on me. This is a time honored secret of nieces, daughters and granddaughters, so really it works for every woman in the world.
Good luck. There is definitely an art to being able to gracefully leave your purse at home and still manage to come back with new things. Pick your strategy and go for it. I wish you the best.
I have gotten some of my favorite things this way. When I was a kid I got a McDonald's play set with my grandma. When I got a little older I got a cute plaid skirt and sweater with my aunt. Most recently I got a black and white party dress with my mom.

Recommended book for children:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Old Fashioned Christmas

As a grown up I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are things that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and the may not work for everybody but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 50 Have an old fashioned Christmas at least once

Growing up, we always had a wonderful Christmas. We had tons of decorations, baked goods and a beautiful fake tree, that was very reliable, but just didn't have that pine scent of a Douglas fir or a blue spruce. One year I begged my parents for the old fashioned Christmas that I had read about in my books. I wanted a real tree and brown paper packages tied up with string, and popcorn and cranberries. I wanted the works of on old fashioned down home Christmas. Finally they gave in. Daddy and I went to the Market Basket parking lot to pick out our prize tree. The nice guy who worked there even "accidentally" placed a "free" tree stand in the back of my dad's truck. We searched and search and then there it was. The tree of my dreams. I am pretty sure that the nice young man either felt sorry for us or was full of the Christmas spirit because for only $10 we left that parking lot with the tree of my dreams and a free tree stand. It was a sign that my old fashioned Christmas was going to be perfect.
We got the tree home and while daddy was putting on the lights, my mom and sister and I were stringing popcorn ( I let them talk me out of cranberries) into strands of garland. We only pulled out our most special ornaments, many of them handmade, and we decorated for our old fashioned Christmas. I have long since moved away from my parents house, but I go back there every year for Christmas and one of my fondest Christmas memories was the year we shared an old fashioned Christmas.
Yesterday my roommate and I along with some friends decorated our NYC apartment for Christmas. We put up our three feet tall tree on its table and then we had an old fashioned decorating party. We made paper chains out of red and green paper, snowflakes out of white paper, and we strung popcorn. We drank hot cocoa and ate semi-homemade cookies, and watched Christmas movies. The entire event probably cost less than $20 total but it was so much fun. everyone should experience an old fashioned Christmas at least once. It is well worth the memories that will be made.
Recommended Read: Old Fashioned Country Christmas

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken and Dressing

As a grown up I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them I learned from my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some lessons that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 49 Get your Grandmother's Recipes.... Trust me

It is officially the holiday season, especially here in NYC. The kids are rehearsing for the Macy's parade, black Friday is upon us, the halls are decked and the entire baking isle is on sale. There are a few dishes that refuse to spend the holidays without. My grandmother's chicken and dressing, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, and chocolate chip bourbon pecan pie. My grandmother was an old southern lady and man could she cook. She made so many wonderful dishes that she never once pulled out a recipe for. These recipes were long since committed to memory. She had watched her mother make them and back for generations.
One day while I was in college, it it me that not a single person besides her actually know how to make any of these dishes. I also realized then, sad as it was, that Grandma was not always going to be there. If no one knew how to make these dishes then all of our holidays would never be the same. So... I took it upon myself to get the recipes...even if it killed me.
Mary Jo Richardson, my grandma, hated anyone in her kitchen besides her. She knew where everything was and didn't like to be disturbed in her kitchen. I warned her that during the week of Thanksgiving, I was going to come over and watch her prepare. I was determined to get these recipes. We began with the chicken and dressing because it was everyone's favorite. She didn't even own a set of measuring cups or spoons, so I brought my own. Every time she went to dump something into the mix I would stick something under her spoon quickly so i could catch it all and measure it. I swear that she even tried to add stuff when my back was turned, but for the most part we got along quite nicely. I let her humph and growl, but we got through it. In the end, I not only had the chicken and dressing recipe, but also chocolate pudding, fudge, chocolate pie, sweet potato casserole, and a few others.
I am the only one in my entire family who has these cherished family dishes. I keep teasing them saying if they want them, they will have to by my book, which hopefully will be published soon. I feel like I can hold out on them as long as I want to because this way they need me. I took the time to follow her around, annoy her and get the recipes and I will cherish them always. These recipes will end up in my family cookbook that I will pass onto my children or grandchildren one day.

Recommended Read: No Rocking Chair for Me, by my dear friend, Faity Tuttle

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Its not what you gather...

As a grown up I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now I an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really fro anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 48 Its what you scatter.

I received this story in an email. It is so sweet that I thought it deserved to be my #48. If I knew who the original author is, I would give them credit.

"IT'S WHAT YOU SCATTER......

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes... I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'

'Good. Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'

'Would you like to take some home?'  Asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked..

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Millertold the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.

With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.

When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and
moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.

They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size......they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three
exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the
moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself...

An unexpected phone call from an old friend.... Green stoplights on your way to work....

The fastest line at the grocery store....

A good sing-along song on the radio...

Your keys found right where you left them.

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When you're all choked up...

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of life lessons for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 47 Don't be embarrassed if you think you are dying.


This may seem like a silly piece of advice, but it is worth listening to. The other day I was at rehearsal. I had developed a small cold as my body decided it was time to shut down. However, it was not a good time for a system melt down, so I was fighting it to the best of my abilities. I had my juice, water, tissues, and cough drops and I was ready to go. I put in a cough drop so that I wouldn't annoy the rest of the cast as they were reading through a scene that I didn't happen to be in. I popped it in and all was fine until all of a sudden it slipped right down my throat. I tried very gracefully to cough it back up at the same time that I was hoping it would just continue down. All I could think of was that I was about to severely interrupt rehearsal and we only have such a small amount of precious time. I turned frantically to my fellow cast member sitting next to me and motioned wildly. I was trying to not give the universal signal for choking, all the while knowing that I was. Right at the moment when I had decided to give the universal signal, I regained my breath and began to cough again. I slipped into a sort of semi conscious state and I could hear everyone talking around me once they all realized what was going on. "Is she choking?" "Do you need some water?" "She's not choking, she's coughing." "Are you ok?" Finally I got the cough drop out of my throat and into a tissue. Crisis averted.
I may have survived, but I was so embarrassed that I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I felt like everyone was judging me. Let me just say that it was stupid of me to feel that way. If you ever feel like there is something really wrong, don't hesitate to draw as much attention to yourself as necessary. I shouldn't have been embarrassed that I was choking, I should have been relieved that they all finally noticed.
When you're all choked up, don't be embarrassed. Get help in any way possible.
Recommended buy: The American Medical Association Handbook of First Aid

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good things are worth waiting for

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 46 Patience is a virtue

I know we have all heard this one before. I think for me it started in the womb and hearing my mother repeat it to herself because I was two weeks late. My dad would say it to all of us after he sat in a deer stand for hours in the freezing cold and still didn't bring home the big one... or any one at all. Somewhere along the genetic cycle however, I think I missed the patience gene. I try, but it is very difficult to be patient sometimes.
I moved to New York City a few years ago to become famous. I thought then, that it would just happen. That I would be walking through the park and run into some famous director and accidentally spill his coffee and he would just know that I was worth millions. Well.... obviously that didn't happen.
I got a job as a waitress... excuse me, server. We don't call them waitresses any more. I wait tables in Times Square. I spent a really long time "getting adjusted". I rarely auditioned because secretly I still thought it would happen. I would get discovered.
I finally took matters into my own hands. I began, after a really long time, auditioning. I went for years without really getting anything. Then I did. I booked a job. A non paying, but perfectly acceptable acting job as a park ranger at Mount Rushmore. Then I booked a small paying job as a vampire witch in The Horseman's Hollow. Then I booked another job in a Noel Coward play.
Right now, I am happier than I have been in a really long time. I am working as an actor and building my resume. I am perfecting my craft and it feels great. If I had given up at the first sign of a struggle, I probably would have moved back home and spent the rest of my life wondering "what if."
The good things in life are worth waiting for. I know when we hear these things as children and even into our mid twenties, we roll our eyes and brush it off to a different time and place. Its true though. Be patient. Wait around for something.. or someone GREAT! It will absolutely be worth it.
Horseman's Hollow (check out photo number nine...) http://hudsonvalley.metromix.com/events/essay_photo_gallery/flashed-behind-the-scenes/2239256/content

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Count your Blessings

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned in a classroom. So, here it is. A year's worth of life lessons for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 45 Count your blessings!


My family. My friends. My apartment. My job. Air. Water. A full refrigerator. My nieces. My roommate. My memories. A bed to sleep in. Air conditioning. Heat. Sunshine. Rain. My savings account. Rocky Road Ice cream. Laughter. Experiences. My passport. Travel. Closet full of clothes. Siblings. Parents. Flowers. Cell phone. Computer. Books. Music. The subway. My dog. Photographs. Rainbows. Rain boots. Scarves. Gloves. Income. Education. The right to vote. Forever 21. My Bible. Freedom. Choice. Love. Hot tea. TV. Cable. The Internet. My adventure spirit. Money. Support of loved ones. My health. My mind. Cozy sweaters. Passion. Creativity. The ability to read, to think. Independence. New York City. A best friend. My God Daughter. Things that make me smile. Knowledge. Truth. Emotions. Feeling. Taste. Sight. Hearing.

These are just a few of the many things in life that I am thankful for. I am so blessed and when I stop and think about all of the many wonderful blessings I have, nothing really seems that bad. If we all spent a few moment everyday thinking of our blessings, the day might actually run a little bit more smoothly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Family Vacations

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 44 Enjoy your family vacations... One day you will cherish them.

When I was five we started going to Gatlinburg, TN for our summer family vacations. My dad had gone the summer before with the youth group from our church and he loved it. We stayed in the Windchimes Chalet. It was wonderful. We were in the woods and the surroundings were lovely. There is a place called Cades Coves with old log cabins and trails and hikes and waterfalls. We had picnics and hiked. Then during the evenings we went into town and played skeeball and mini golf. We rode the ski lifts and the cable car. We ate dinner at all the touristy spots like the Hard Rock Cafe. We went to the Mountain Mall and bought homemade fudge and tons of souvenirs like airbrushed t-shirts and key chains. We went to Dollywood and learned all about her life and rode the roller coaster. We went in door sky diving. We went to the Ghost Town in the sky in Maggie Valley. We drove to the Roaring Fork and took more pictures than anyone ever needed to take. We did Gatlinburg right and we all got the t-shirts to prove it.
Then the next summer mom and dad decided that we would go back to Gatlinburg. I was only six so I was still excited about it. We went back to Gatlinburg and did it all over again. The third summer, my sister who HATES the outdoors, opted out and stayed home. Then we continued to go back to Gatlinburg.... every summer. We hiked the same trails and played the same Skeeball games, and ate the same fudge and bought the same t-shirts... We saw the same waterfalls and streams and bears and dear and picnicked in the same spots... over and over and over.
My parents could never get enough. They had found their place in the world. Gatlinburg, TN. It was their dream vacation every year. Eventually my brother, who had been my only vacation ali for years, moved away and stopped coming on vacation with us. Then I was forced to do what my sister had done all those years ago. Opt out. It took a really long time. I went from the time I was 5 until I was about 14 religiously without complaint. Then I began my graceful opting out. Mom and Dad didn't mind. They loved it there so much that they eventually began going in the fall too, just to see the leaves change. I went a few more times over the years and then after college I also moved away and it became difficult to go on family vacations. 
Now, more than anything, I wish we could all pile into our Beige Ford LTD and drive the eight hour trip to Gatlinburg. Dad and my brother Erik in the front, because he had the longest legs, Mom, me my sister Stacey and the dog in the back seat. Those were the days when anything could be solved with ice cream and doughnuts. When we were on family vacations no one seemed to have a care in the world. I finally realized that it didn't matter if my parents were taking pictures of the same things every summer, because they were having the time of their lives. Oh, what I would give to be able to go on another family vacation with all of us. The original five plus my brother-in-law, my nieces, and anyone else that wanted to come.
Cherish those moments because one day they might not be so available.
Recommended travel guides: Gatlinburg: With Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Smokies & 100 Secrets of the Smokies

Monday, October 11, 2010

On clean houses...

As a grown up I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 43 A clean house makes for a better working environment

I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop taught by Broadway's own Alice Ripley. Among her many talents, she is also an excellent speaker. One of the things that she said that stuck with me was this: "A clean house makes for a better working environment. You wake up in the morning and clean your stove. Then the next day you do something else that really needs to get done. Then eventually, you wake up and there is nothing left to clean so you work."
She was so right. I find it extremely hard to work at home. I want to check my email, or see what's on TV, or call my mom, and them after I have done all of the fun distractions, then I start cleaning just so I don't actually have to do what it is that I am supposed to do, even though it is for more enjoyable than cleaning. Now, in trying to be just a little more like Alice Ripley, if I have writer's block or can't seem to focus, I will clean something while I try to figure it out. I clean the stove with a notepad next to me. I put my laundry away in a creative fashion, just trying to find a new character or quirk. Whenever I feel the pangs of distraction coming on, I clean something, anything, and eventually the kinks work themselves out. It isn't rocket science, nor even fool proof, but it works for me and Alice Ripley.
When you wake up in the morning  and start cleaning, it will open up new mental channels that you didn't even know were there.
Recommended Read: The Clean House by Sarah Rhul
Recommended Listen: Next to Normal Soundtrack

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Save! Save! Save!

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

#42 Get a savings account!

When I was five years old I went with my dad to the bank and we opened me up a savings account. He put five dollars from every one of his paychecks into my savings account until I was old enough to get a job and start putting my own money in there. I would love to say that I still have this flourishing savings account and that not only am I not in debt, but I will be able to eventually pay for my kids college educations. I would love to say these things... but I can't.
Life eventually began happening and that original savings account began disappearing. Times got tough. I wanted to see the world. I moved to New York City. I moved to Maui. I moved back home. I moved back to New York City. I saw Mexico. I went to Scotland and England to see a band play. I had a lot of fun, but in the process of gaining a lot of really great life experiences, I also depleted my savings account.
I recently opened a new one. I now am not only a grown up, but I also have a savings account. I was a smoker, which is a whole different topic of conversation. Cigarettes in NYC went up to $13 a pack. I quit buying cigarettes. Now, I stick the $10 that I was originally spending five times a week directly into my savings account. It was amazing how quickly it added up.
I work in an industry where there is no guaranteed money. We recently just escaped from one of our slowest months of the year, SEPTEMBER! Slow season was upon me and I was struggling to make money, but I stuck that $10 into my savings account religiously every time I worked. When it came time to pay the bills on October 1st, I was ready. I didn't have it all in my checking account so I just transferred some over from savings and everything was fine and dandy. I certainly don't recommend relying on this every month, or saving more that you can afford to just to say you saved it. There has to be a nice balance and a method to the way you save.
We save for lots of reasons. Backup plans, vacations, houses, college funds, etc. Whatever the reason, don't be afraid to tap into it if necessary. That's why it's there. To eventually be used.
Recommended Reading: You're Broke Because You Want to Be by Larry Winget

Beyond our control

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some lessons that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 41 Don't get angry at someone for something that is beyond their control


The other night I was riding the subway home late at night. The train was filled with a bunch of people who were ready to be home. We stopped at one stop on the regular route and then the doors closed and the operator announced that the train would be going express. I for one was really excited because that meant that I would get home more quickly. Everyone else, however, started to grumble and complain. A couple of guys even knocked on her door to express their very strong opinions about what she personally had done to them, as if this whole fiasco were her fault. It wasn't. She simply did what her superiors told her too over the radio. When the train finally stopped, everyone who had to get off and take the other train crowded up to her window and began screaming at her and cursing as if she personally was trying to ruin their lives. She wasn't.
I get yelled at all the time at work by customers who seem to think that it's either my fault that their life sucks or that since I am in the service industry it is okay to yell at me for no reason. It isn't. I am a person too, just like that MTA operator is a person along with every other person that gets yelled at on a daily basis.
There is always a time a time to get angry. If you are going to get angry, please make sure that a) the person or situation is worthy of your anger. b) that you are not angry over something that is beyond someone else's control. If you are going to yell at someone who is simply doing their job, please think first and make sure they are the ones responsible for your anger. If not, and you still feel the need to yell, please ask to speak to the supervisor above the person so that you are yelling at the right person.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Don't stand on basketballs

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some lessons that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 40 Don't stand on basketballs.

My older brother is coming to visit in a couple of days and this post is in his honor. He is nine years older than me. When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be with him. I begged him to take me everywhere that he went. He realized once he started driving that he could pretty much get away with anything as long as I was in the car with him. I always went to him for advice and often still do. I wanted to be with him and his friends and do whatever it was that they were doing, just because they were doing it so it must be great. he is also much to blame for my music taste, though none of these things is what today's lesson is about.
Sometimes the price to pay for being cool enough to hang out with your older brother is the fact that you do whatever he tells you to because you trust him. Don't get me wrong. I love my brother and today I would trust him with my life. Unfortunately I also did when I was a child and too young to understand that I was their main source of amusement.

If he or any of his friends had told me that if I went to space camp then I could actually become weightless, I would have believed them. If they had ever tricked me into stealing cigarettes out of our mom's purse I would have done it proudly. If they ever snuck me into an R rated movie and told me to tell mom and dad what we "really" saw, I would have agreed. As a child, I was willing to do a lot, just to be allowed in this club.
One day I had the unfortunate opportunity to realize that perhaps I was not actually in the club, but only there because I was good for a few laughs. I was the tag along who had no idea that I was being annoying.
One summer afternoon, I was at the neighbors house with my brother and all of his super cool friends and they were playing basketball. I watched them play and chased after the ball when it went astray and went inside and got them snacks and water and drinks. I thought I was so cool. Then, during a break in the game, my brother came up to me and told me to try to stand on the basketball. I thought it was a bad idea and when I expressed my concerns, he and all of his friends started calling me a chicken and saying that their little sisters would do it.... So... I did it. Its even possible that I stood on top of it for a full nano second before I fell to my fate. The ball rolled out from under me and I fell. I skinned my face and my knees and my elbows and anything else that was skin-able. Then I SCREAMED!
My brother picked me up and ran me home, apologizing to me the whole time. I almost thought he was going to cry for a second.
The moral of this story is this: Just because he is your brother, your protector from the world, does not mean that he will never try to get a laugh at your expense. He is totally trust worthy except for when he is between 13 and 16. Don't give up on him, you are still the light in his life.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Sun Also Rises...

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.


# 39 Every now and then... see the sun rise.

Sunsets, as I have mentioned before are a lot easier to catch than a sunrise. Sunrises are a bit more mysterious and vague. Though we get one everyday, we are all usually tucked safely in our beds when it happens.  A sunset can be a serendipitous occurrence that we just happen to stop and watch. A view of the sunrise, however, usually requires a plan.
Here, in New York City, the city that never sleeps, I sometimes don't get home until the sun is making her first appearance of the morning. I work late, so I hang out late. Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, I get to ride across the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn just as the sun is beginning to rise over the East River. Brooklyn to one side and The Empire State to the other. Trust me, the East River has never looked as beautiful as it does at sunrise on the bridge after a night out. Most of the time that harbor just has the appearance of filth, but at sunrise, everything has terrific gleam about it.
As much as I love this sunrise, it is not, however, my favorite sunrise. My favorite sunrise of all time was at the top of Haleakala, the highest point in Maui, Hawaii. It stands at 10,025 feet. You have to get up at 2am, and drive the hour and a half drive from Lahaina to the top of the mountain. You start out at sea level wearing shorts and tank tops and you end up at 10,000 plus feet wearing coats, hats, and scarves. The elevation causes the temperature to drop drastically. You get out of the car and go with your friends to huddle by the railing and wait for the sun to rise. You are standing above the clouds and it feels as if you are on top of the world. All of a sudden, the sky below you begins to turn the slightest shade of pink and then before you know it you are surrounded by the most majestic collection of colors that ever existed on earth.
Religious or not, which I happen to be, you stand on top of that mountain at sunrise and at least for a moment know that God exists.
I encourage everyone to make date with the sunrise. It may require rearranging your sleep schedule for one or two nights, but its worth it. If you have roof access, go see it from there. If you live near a big hill, go sit and watch the night turn into day.

Recommended read: The Sun Also Rises    By Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Live Music

Shanna, Betty, Moira, Annie, with RCPM in the UK
As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not    agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 38 Find a band that you love

I love live music. I have been to many concerts in my life. Country, rock and roll, Christian, Punk, Alternative, Funk, and even a UK American Heavy Metal cover band called Trigger. There is one band that I will follow for as long as they let me. (Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers ) I have seen them in New York; Nashville; New Jersey; Baltimore; Chicago; Falls Church, VA; Philly; Madison; WI; Jacksonville, Fl; Orlando, Tampa, Dallas, and also in Mexico and The UK (Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Bristol, Nottingham, Barton-on Humbar.) I guess I am what you might call a groupie. Like the lovely Penny Lane in Almost Famous, I prefer band aid.
Now don't go getting the wrong idea. I happen to adore these guys. I have been following them for so long that they know me. We actually have conversations. I have met some of my very closest friends at their shows and now there is a group of us who travel around together to see them. Not only does it make for great road trips with your friends, but it also is a terrific way to travel.  I have purchased all of their music and put them on mixed Cd's for my friends, just so I can introduce more people to them. My friends and I bake them cookies and bring them presents, and occasionally they play the songs we request.
The main reason that their fans love them as much as they do, besides the music of course, is the fact that they are so grateful for us. They will stand outside after a show and talk to every single person who wants to talk to them or have their picture made or have one more thing signed.
I'm not saying that you have to go to the extremes that I do because I love a band, but I do think that you should find a band whose music inspires you. These guys get me through hard times, cheer me on in good times, comfort me when I need a good cry, and they always give me a good excuse for a road trip. I encourage you to find your own Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, or mine, I'm willing to share. Find a band that can help you get through whatever life throws your way.
Recommended watch: Almost Famous, Recommended Listen: Americano

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Puddle Jumping

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know taht they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all of the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 37 Jump barefoot in puddles

For the last three days in New York City it has been raining. All of the women on New York and even some men have adorned their rain boots, goulashes, and raincoats. Everyone is so concerned about getting their feet wet. On days like today, when the ground is covered with terrific puddles, and as I step in one I realize that my rain boot has a hole in it, I am taken back to the days of childhood.
When I was a little girl, my mom and I would always go walk around the neighborhood barefoot after a big storm. Don't worry, I am not encouraging all of NYC to start walking barefoot after a rain, but you should go somewhere once in your life where this kind of behavior is acceptable.
My mom and I would walk all over the neighborhood seeking out the best puddles. We would roll up our pants and go puddle jumping. We would splash and carry on like we were both children. We would laugh and squeal and every time we got to a really big one, we would take hands and count to three. ONE! TWO! THREE! JUMP! Sometimes we were having so much fun that some of the neighbors would come out and join us. I always looked forward to a rain, because that meant that mom and I could go jumping in the puddles.
No matter how old you are, child or child at heart, you can still do this. Go out after a rain on a warm day and jump barefoot in puddles until your little heart's content. I promise that it will, at least momentarily, make you forget all your worries. It has the power to make grown ups feel like children again, and to make children feel as if they never want to grow up.
Recommended reading: Jumping in Puddles by, Claire Allan

Monday, September 27, 2010

Take Birth Control

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe there are somethings that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. You may not agree with all of them and they may not work for everybody, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 36 TAKE BIRTH CONTROL

I know you all just gasped collectively, but this is an issue that needs to be discussed. My nieces are certainly not old enough for this conversation, but many nieces are and 75% of nieces get this discussion from their aunts, not their moms. I am certainly not recommending that everyone go out and start having sex. Actually just the opposite.
First, I would like to say this. It is highly unlikely that you will marry the boy you are so in love with in high school. It is also highly unlikely that you will marry the boy you date for all of your freshman year of college. Finish high school. Graduate. Go to college. Get a degree. Figure out who you are before you make the decision to become a parent, because really, every time you have sex, you are making that decision, either consciously or not.
If you are going to be insistent and do it anyway, take birth control. Use condoms. In today's society there are so many ways to get free birth control that not using some form, or as many forms as you can, is just pure stupidity on your part.
You want to have a life and if you get pregnant at 16 or 21 or at any other time before you have at least attempted to have that life, you could very possibly spend the rest of your life regretting it. So many people, young and old, get caught up in this whole place where they will do anything to fit it. "All the cool kids are having sex." First of all, you have no proof that this is true. Second of all, all the cool kids wouldn't be so cool if they all had babies on their hips.
Just something to think about.

Recommended Watch: Fifteen and Pregnant

Friday, September 24, 2010

Imaginary Friends

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all of the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by, or wish I did.

# 35 Don't fall in love with your imaginary friend

I'm not technically talking about actual imaginary friends. Let's say you meet someone. Instantly you feel a sort of connection to that person, whether it be friendship or something more.  I hear people all the time say things like "oh he brings out the best in me." I'm not really sure how I feel about that. Everyday we let people into our lives, and we have to decide in what capacity we will keep them in our lives. Passing ship. Romantic relationship. Friends. What are we supposed to do when we meet someone, decide where to categorize them and then it turns out that they weren't who we thought they were?
I recently had the opportunity to get very close to someone. I wasn't being a stupid girl when I decided that I wanted to date this person. He was so great and different from anybody I had ever dated before. We had so much fun and we spent months, not dating, but building a relationship. We poured our hearts out to one another for a good part of the year, still not dating. I believed everything he told me, whole heartedly, because why shouldn't I? We were really close and so why shouldn't I trust him?
Cut to.... I found out through a sort of mutual friend that this person had created a whole new persona for when they were with me.
I felt as if I had fallen in love with my imaginary friend. I felt that I needed someone in my life so much that I allowed myself to be deceived by this person. It turns out that he wasn't at all the person he was when he was with me. It turns out that all of those big statements about who he was were false.
Now, I am not posting this so you all can feel sorry me. Actually quite the opposite. I am still having trouble grasping why you would create an entire personality just to be close to someone else. Maybe he enjoyed who he was with me. Maybe he was just personality shopping. I don't know.
My advice to you, is to try not to fall in love with your imaginary friend. Many people come into our lives on a daily basis and some of them are just big fat liars. I don't know how you can tell the difference, but if you are going to give any part of your heart to someone else, try your best to make sure that they aren't going to transform into their actual person after they have it.

Recommended Reading: If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Take in strays

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all of the nieces out there, or really anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 34 Take in strays... pets and people

When I was three years old, our neighbors across the street had an old animal cage that they put out for the garbage men. We had some other neighbors who had fifteen dogs. In the middle of the night, I remember the entire neighborhood waking up to horrible sounds of dogs whining and screeching. Those horrible people had put all of their dogs into this tiny cage and left town. My entire household met in the hallway and my mom put on her housecoat and went outside. I watched from the front porch as people walked with beautiful dogs. Some of them were purebred, and some of them were soft and cuddly. I watched as my mom just stood back and let everyone leave.
"Daddy, why doesn't she take one?," I asked.
"She's waiting for the right one," he told me.
I didn't understand and I sat there waiting not so patiently. Finally my mom was the only one left standing in front of that animal cage. She opened it and gently pulled out the ugliest puppy that any of us had ever seen.
My mom waited because she knew that there would be one dog, possibly two, that no one would take home with them. She brought him home and my brother decided that since he was so pathetic, he needed a tough name.
Killer was one of the best dogs that ever walked the earth. He lived to be almost 18. He loved the snow and he LOVED a good good sick day. He loved chocolate covered cherries and would only drink water out of a cup. He was a stray and my mom gave him a chance.
She gave a lot of people a chance too.
When my sister and I were both in the tenth grade, (not at the same time), there was a boy in each of our classes who never brought a lunch, and never had money to buy one. My mom made both of those boys lunch for an entire school year, complete with the same happy face on the sandwich Ziploc, and the encouraging note on the napkin.
In college, it was always understood that if one of my friends or acquaintances couldn't get home for the weekend or a holiday then they would spend it with me and my family. My dad has come home from work many times when there was a stranger sleeping on our couch. He never questioned, he just waved or went about his way.
Sometimes you just have to give people, and animals the time of day. They might not have anyone in the world who is nice to them until you come along.
My parents now have a new dog, Saffron. Saffron is purebred Weimaraner who my cousin found eating out of a dumpster. He knew that as soon as my parent met her, she would have a home. It also didn't hurt that I happened to be home that day.
Take in strays, you never know how much joy they can bring to your life until you give it a shot.
Recommended reading: A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin
(A DOG'S LIFE) THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A STRAY BY Martin, Ann M.(Author)Paperback{A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray}

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toilet Paper

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of advice for all of the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 33 Toilet paper

Okay, you really have to go. You are out in public and you're in a hurry. Perhaps it is the day after Thanksgiving and everyone and their mother is trying to do their Christmas shopping. You are in the mall and you have been standing in line for a good 37 minutes. It is finally your turn. You rush into the stall, shut the door and sit down. I am not even going to go into the fact that you just sat down. You relieve yourself and then you pull off the few squares of toilet paper that it takes for you.
First of all, you have no idea who touched that first piece of toilet paper before you did. You have no idea what was on their hand when they touched it.
Now there are a lot of things that happen in bathrooms that don't bother me. I rarely use those seat cover things and I am not really even a hoverer, though I do at least look at the seat before I sit on it. I NEVER, EVER just willingly use the first piece of toilet paper. I ALWAYS tear it off and use a fresh piece that has never been exposed.
What if the the person before sneezed and had the flu and wiped their hand on that particular piece of TP? What if they dribbled on themselves while wiping and instinctively wiped their hand on that piece of TP? GROSS!!!!!!
As an aunt, when my nieces were old enough to potty by themselves, but still needed help, this was the first piece of advice that I remember passing on. I think I may have even made it up, but one day in Chucky Cheese's, I watched in slow motion as my oldest niece was about to reach for the first piece of toilet paper, dangling there so innocently. "NOOOOOOOOOO" I screeched as I pulled it off and explained to her why she had to tear it off and get a new one.
Please people, tear off the first piece. it will at least help me sleep at night to think that you are practicing safe bathroom procedures.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunsets are God's watercolors

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say that everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I think that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned from living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all of the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 32 Enjoy sunsets

One of my great aunts always told me that sunsets are God's watercolors. They are the art that He gets inspired to paint every single day.  Not only does each day bring a different sunset, but the location of your sunset is also very different from someone else's sunset. The people in New York experience a very different sunset than the people standing on the beaches of Maui. A sunset over the ocean is completely different from a sunset over the dessert or behind a city skyline.
I have witnessed many different sunsets in my day. I have seen the sun set behind the mountains of Maui from an airplane. I have watched the sun sink behind another island while standing on the beach. I have watched the sun fall behind the Empire State Building and the entire skyline seems to stay orange for at least an hour. I have paused in Mexico and seen the desert sky melt into a thousand shades of pink, orange, red, yellow and a thousand other colors that don't even have names. The sunsets in the mountains of Tennessee are beautiful as the sun nestles her head in the valleys before finally disappearing for the night. I have stood in front of the Eiffel Tower and watched the sun paint a backdrop of an orange colored Sac re Cour as the Eiffel Tower stood tall and proud.
Sunsets are beautiful. The next time that you have the opportunity to enjoy one, please stop where you are and enjoy. Each one you get is like a previously unopened gift. It is new and fresh every time. If God takes the time to paint a thousand different ones for us every day, then the least we can do is take a few moments to enjoy them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New York City

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them were taught to me by my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all of the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 31 SEE NEW YORK CITY

Though I personally think that everyone should live here, I am not going to advise that. There are so many people here as it is. However, I am going to advise you to at least see it. New York City is one of the world's best cities. When someone comes to New York and steps out of the subway into Times Square for the first time, it is like when Alice stepped in Wonderland. You come out from underground and stop. Your jaw drops and you are in a state of complete disbelief. This is probably when I am on my way to work and I run into you from behind, but that is beside the point.
There are so many wonderful things to see and do in NYC. So many wonderful places to eat and drink. Don't worry, the people aren't really as rude as everyone seems to think, just don't ask stupid questions. There are some rules that you should follow though. #1: Tip your servers! #2 Your concierge is there to answer questions for you about restaurants, parks, shops, clubs, etc. Your server in the restaurant you are eating at is there to serve you your food.
Now that's enough about me. Let's talk about you.
There are so many things to do here, so don't be discouraged if you cannot squeeze them all into one trip. Also, depending on the season there are many varieties in the list of things to do. Here are a few major stopping points which incidentally can all be done in one day as long as the stops at each are brief.
Battery Park (Statue of Liberty), China Town, Union Square, Harold Square (AKA Macy's and the Empire State Building), Times Square, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center (PS the view is better from The Top of the Rock than from the top of The Empire State Building) 5th Avenue, and then a nice stroll in Central Park where you should row a boat and see the Alice statue and the Bethezda Fountain. The one day tour is a nice way to get acquainted with our lovely city. Then from there you can decide which places are deserving of your further exploration. Thank you and please come again.
See New York. This is mandatory.
Reccomended Reading: Not For Tourists: New York City




On time...

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there.They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 30 On time is fifteen minutes early

I know exactly where I learned this valuable piece of advice. It  was not from a parent or an aunt. It was from a director of mine, the late Kimber Cox. When I was twelve I got accepted into a theatre troop for teens at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. It was called "And so Forth" and I felt like a Broadway star. Kimber Cox was the director and he was a wonderful man. He was tolerant of a lot of things, but tardiness was not one of them. He was very patient when it came to giggling or whispered conversations, however he would always say, "On time is fifteen minutes early," and then we would all have to repeat it back to him. This was a ritual every time we left and until we met again.
I always wondered why fifteen minutes was such a big deal. Why didn't he just tell us we needed to be there fifteen minutes early to begin with, then we would all have been on time. It took at least until I started driving to figure it out. If school starts at 7:15 and you get there at 7:15, you are guaranteed to be late. No matter what. By the time you park your car and get to your locker and chat with your friends, you are guaranteed to slide into homeroom at least fifteen minutes later.
The same goes for work. My shift starts at 4:45, at 4:46, I am late. If I arrive at 4:40, by the time I get upstairs, say hello to everyone along the way, gulp some soda, change my clothes and use the ladies room, I am royally late. If I arrive at 4:30, it is exactly enough time to do all of the things mentioned above and be in the meeting on time. Wow, it's amazing.
It took me a really long time to understand the full significance of this proverb, but now that I have it, I can't even tell you the last time I was late and it was my fault. Or really the last time I was late.
On time is fifteen minutes early. You'll never be late again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

At least you aren't...

As a grown up, I realize that through the course of life I have learned many valuable lessons. Some of them were taught to me by my mom and dad. Some of them I learned in school and through experience. Many of them I learned from my aunts. Now, I am an aunt and my oldest niece recently started kindergarten. I know that they say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. I disagree. I believe that there are some things that one cannot learn in a classroom. These are lessons that can only be learned by living. So, here it is. A year's worth of tiny words of wisdom for all the nieces and nephews out there, or really for anyone who will listen. They may not work for everybody and you may not agree with all of them, but each is a rule that I either try to live by or wish I did.

# 29 At least you aren't in jail.

How often to we complain? We have a bad day and we walk around talking about how badly the day sucks. I work in the service industry and I have found that we all complain A LOT! Many of my co workers complain when it is slow. They complain when it is hot. They complain when it is busy. They complain when they don't get tipped, or when they don't get tipped enough. They complain when certain managers are there, or when certain managers aren't there. They complain when they are in the front and will not get cut. They complain when they are in the back and will get cut. I have to admit that occasionally I am also guilty of these complaints.
I recently have adopted a new philosophy where complaints are concerned. When I hear people complaining about something stupid, I smile and say " At least you aren't in jail. At least you aren't in the hospital or dead." Sometimes I even say it to myself out loud, because I know no one else will.
Don't get me wrong, many complaints are valid. However, many are not.
Usually when I say this to someone, they physically stop, think about it for just a second, and either thank me or make some snarky remark about what an optimist I am.  I try to always be optimistic, but sometimes the grass really does seem greener on the other side.
If you stop and think about it, it's true. Things in your life might not be going exactly as you had planned. You may be stuck in some job that you don't really love. You may feel as if your boyfriend will never put that ring on your finger. You could be going through any number of things in life. However, you have a job, and though you might not love it, it pays the bills. You are not physically incapable. If you are complaining at work then i know for certain that you are not in jail, in the hospital or dead.
The next time you are about to complain, please think about my words. Perhaps you could say something positive instead.