Yesterday we received word that John’s 91-year-old uncle passed away, so it seems like reposting a blog written in January of 2014 in which I reminded you to nurture your talents.
I’ve always known that Uncle Bud is a talented artist. In fact, one of his sketches and one of his paintings hang on the walls of our house, but when I entered his apartment, it was obvious that creating art brings him great joy.
A painting of three girls caught my attention first, but as I looked more closely, I realized Uncle Bud created much of the artwork on the walls.
Paintings of flowers and scenes from nature
as well as a sketch of his mother.It served as a great reminder that we need to make time to sharpen our skills and share our talents with others.
Paint, draw, write, sing, dance, play an instrument, take photographs, cook, sew, garden, design. Be like Uncle Bud and nurture your talent.
Turn off the television, radio and disconnect from social media. There’s so many better ways to spend your time.
Read a book or magazine.
Take a walk or hike.
Bake a cake.
Play a game.
Take a nap.
Write a letter or note and actually mail it.
Take a bubble bath.
Organize your photos…both physical and digital photos.
Listen to music.
Watch a movie.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when news was relegated to a couple of hours a day. The morning started with the local newspaper retrieved from the front porch and twelve hours later we were watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news in thirty minutes. It was a nightly ritual. Then in 1980 everything changed. Walter Cronkite announced his impending retirement and CNN started broadcasting news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In order to attract viewers, news had to be sensationalized. After all, the goal was no longer to fill one thirty minute newscast, but 48 of these thirty minutes time slots. Breaking news. Breathless reporters. Interviews by telephone from eye witnesses. And in the quest to be the first to report, anything goes.
My first experience with this around the clock reporting was with the attempted assassination of President Reagan with the same footage cycled for hours, speculation about who was responsible and why, talking heads explaining the succession to the presidency, and worst of all, the erroneous reporting of the death of James Brady, White House Press Secretary. Other big stories like the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center attack warranted significant coverage, but most days stories that are barely newsworthy are magnified into major events…car chases, the O.J. Simpson trial, missing persons and celebrity gossip.
Worst of all, political campaigns and legislative shenanigans have become unbearable due to this emphasis on non-news, and we don’t just have to deal with CNN, but HLN, Fox News, MSNBC, and dozens of other 24/7 news outlets.
And it’s not just television, but talk radio full of one made up crisis after another. Everything’s overblown and scary requiring outrage. We now live in a country filled with angry, anxious, enraged people who feel they are under attack.
Unfortunately, we as individuals have created this paranoia as much as has the media. Facebook, Twitter and other social media which were once seen as ways for people to stay connected with one another have instead served as personal outlets of rage. Social media can be a friendly place for baby animal cams, but it’s more often a platform for bullying.
With this said, I’ve reverted to pre 1980…a morning paper, a 30 minute nightly newscast, no Facebook, no Twitter. It’s time to turn it off.
If you decide to join me and take a break from Facebook and Twitter, don’t forget to sign up for email notifications from Mom’s Monday Memo (on the right hand side of this page or scroll to the bottom of the page if viewing on a mobile device). You’ll receive an email when new blog posts are published.
Early voting started this morning, and in just a few hours I’m going to mark my ballot and put this election behind me. While the Presidential election has consumed social media as well as radio and television, there are plenty of other races and issues that need our attention.
When I accessed a sample ballot on the website of the Marion County Supervisor of Elections, I admit that I found a couple of surprises. I was prepared to vote for U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative. I’ve researched the candidates for State Representative and Senator as well as Sheriff, Clerk of the Court and County Commissioner, but I’m in the dark when it comes to Soil and Water Conservation Seat…and this is important. Even Google failed to provide much information on the individuals seeking these positions. So much for an informed voter.
Did you know there are four Constitutional Amendments on the Florida ballot this year?
Amendment 1: Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice – This sounds like something every Floridian should support, BUT DON’T BE FOOLED. You may have seen the ads on TV touting this as a way to protect consumers’ energy choices, but Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente described this best as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The first clue that this is not in the best interest of consumers is the fact that it is financed by Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power, Exxon Mobile and the Koch Brothers. Their interest in solar power…money. They don’t want to lose consumers to solar and they certainly don’t want consumers to be able to sell the extra power they generate to neighbors or to the power companies. Instead, they’d want to just take any surplus and then profit from it. I can’t say this enough, don’t get fooled and VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1.
Amendments 2, 3 and 5 should also be researched prior to going to the polls. There is a lot of information on Amendment 2 regarding medical marijuana with plenty of pros and cons, but this isn’t really a tricky one, just something you need to decide which position you wish to support.
The big surprise for me was that there are two additional amendments on the ballot. Both of these relate to the reduction of property taxes for special groups of taxpayers. They both sound good, but remember, the more property owners eliminated from the tax rolls, the more tax required by the rest of us.
Meghan reminded me of the advice given by Scott Maxwell, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel: If an amendment is confusing or if you are just unsure: VOTE NO! If it’s really an important, the issue can appear of a future ballot. There’s no reason to add amendments to our state constitution just because it might be okay. This is good advice…be skeptical of all constitutional amendments. Vote No unless you are absolutely sure and as for Amendment 1 – Vote No!
I hoped this year would be the one year I wouldn’t write a post about hurricane preparation, but as the path of Hurricane Matthew moves the storm closer to Florida and the southeast United States, it’s time for another reminder to watch the news and make some preparations. So here’s a quick list:
1) Fill your cars with gas.
2) Make sure you have plenty of water. You might want to freeze some bottles in case you lose power.
3) Charge your electronics.
4) Check propane tanks for your grill and/or camp stove.
5) Check the batteries in flashlights and radio.
6) Go to the ATM and get some cash.
7) Stock your shelves with enough food requiring little preparation. (Enough for about three days.)
8) Watch the weather forecast daily to determine if additional preparation is needed, especially in securing your home and planning for pets.
A couple of weeks ago I listened to a story on the radio about the number of parents who regret the name they’ve given their child. Sources cited indicate that between 11% and 18% of parents are unhappy with their choice of a name and that 4% of parents actually change the name of their child.
At first I thought four percent seemed too high, but what’s considered a name change isn’t exactly what I was thinking…lawyers, legal documents, court decrees. Instead, using a nickname, a middle name, or initials was considered a name change as well. That still seems like a lot of name regret.
So what causes name regret? Names that are difficult to pronounce, very unusual, too common, or just don’t fit the personality of the child. Mothers that were interviewed expressed doubts about the names they’d bestowed on their offspring: a boy named Harper (in the top 20 names for girls), Zoey (a top 10 name for dogs), Evelia (a name hated by the child as she tries to teach others to pronounce it), Andrew (didn’t fit the child that looked like his dad Vinny), Danielle (too popular), Tennessee (too different).
I know I gave my brother and sister-in-law a hard time about not naming their youngest son immediately. After all, they’d had nine months to figure this out, but they were looking for the name that fit. They wanted to meet him before assigning a name, and it was a smart move…no regrets.
So after all this discussion about names, it’s not baby names that I’m really concerned about. It’s grandparent names. For seven months I’ve been tasked with coming up with a new name for myself. I know Grandma was the first choice, but as far as I’m concerned that name has already been taken. My Mom IS Grandma, and as a child, I had a Grandma and two Great-Grandmas. That name doesn’t fit. Granny doesn’t fit either. John’s Mom WAS Granny, and I had a Granny and two great grandmothers I called Granny, so that name has been taken as well. I needed to come up with a name that’s me.
Others have given advice:
Make sure you think about how the name will sound when your grandchildren are teenagers or adults. The cute name a baby calls you may not sound as cute when uttered from a six foot, two inch man.
Make sure your grandchildren call you GG. It stands for Gorgeous Grandmother. It’s perfect, and don’t answer to any other name.
Don’t worry about choosing a name. Let your grandchildren call you whatever they choose. It’s more meaningful.
Have fun! Be creative!
Well after all these months and trying out Nana, Mimi, Oma, and many others from the lists of grandparent names available online. I’ve decided on DeeDee…it’s a name on the grandparent name lists. It’s not that creative, but it’s me. I’ll recognize my name right away. And when I hear children calling Grandma or Granny I won’t be looking around for someone else like a fool.
Yes, I’ve heard DeeDee is a crazy character on Modern Family, and I’ve been told it may sound too much like I’m just being called by my name. But, that’s ok. DeeDee is who I am, and best of all, if I have naming regrets in a month or year…I can just change it!
In November of 2012, I wrote and posted my first blog on Mom’s Monday Memo with a piece of advice to my adult daughters. For over three years I’ve written and posted almost everyday sharing poetry, photos, recipes, travel ideas and other random thoughts.
Today is the last day I’ll be posting to this blog.
That doesn’t mean I plan to stop writing or blogging. It just means that it’s time for a change. I’m going to put Mom’s Monday Memo to rest as I start a new blog. This time with some help (at least occasionally) from my better half, since the new blog will focus on travel.
John and I will be writing and photographing our travels including:
biking and hiking trails
sports, festivals and special events
We’ll be writing about our adventures around the state of Florida as well as in other of the 50 states as well as documenting trips in Canada and even farther as we plan for trips to Iceland, the Netherlands and Toronto later this year.
I hope you’ll check out the new blog Empty Nest Full Suitcase. You’ll find it at EmptyNestFullSuitcase.com and you’ll also find several of the travel related posts from Mom’s Monday Memo on the new site since I’ve been preparing for the launch for the last couple of weeks.
Please leave comments with feedback or suggestions so we can make this new writing adventure even better.
Change is good. Even the calendar changes every four years by inserting an extra day. Embrace change.
It’s track season! And we’ve worked three meets so far with three more on the calendar. It’s all Meghan’s fault. When she started running track in 1999, we were hooked. Running and being part of the team brought a smile to her face, and we’ve met many more smiling teens on the track.
TBT Lesson #90: Support the things that make your children smile.
It’s easy to let your email inbox get the best of you. Anyone with an email address can easily receive dozens of messages a day and with a work account and junk mail included, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by a hundred or more emails per day.
We’ve all seen images of inboxes with hundreds or thousands of unread messages, and you may even know someone who’s snowed under with unread email. Hopefully, you’re not in that situation, but if you are, now is the time to regain control.
Last week I suggested that you empty your home of excess by taking part in the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Emptying your email can be part of this challenge. While you won’t need any physical bags to clean your inbox, you’ll need time and an organizational system.
First, set up a few folders to move emails you may want to find at a later day. Maybe something like these:
Then start cleaning out unopened messages.
Delete everything more than 30 days old. If you haven’t read it in 30 days, it can’t be that important so just select these messages and DELETE in mass.
Now open, read, file or delete the remaining messages.
Repeat this process daily so that at the end of the day no messages remain in your inbox.
An empty inbox and the mail icon on your phone without a number screaming at you to check your email is a great stress reliever since you won’t be worried about missing or losing important messages.
Open, read, organize and most of all get control of your email.
This week Sarah’s been in California, surfer’s paradise, and has even sent pictures to give the impression of surfing. This reminded me of the summer she saved her money to purchase a skim board so she could slide along the shallow water along the shore.
Unfortunately, she found staying on the board more difficult than it looked and ended her skim boarding adventures less than an hour after it began.
TBT Lesson #89: Make sure you buy a supply of band-aides and antibiotic ointment when you purchase a skim board. You’ll need it.
Every year I preach the importance of getting the flu shot, but I’ve paid the price for not following my own advice. Teaching always insured I’d receive a reminder when the flu shot was available as well as a date when I could schedule an appointment for the free shot at my workplace. Not this year. No reminder. No appointment. No flu shot. Instead, four days of fever, chills, headache, sneezing, running nose and cough. Yuck!
Wrapped in blankets in bed, on the couch and finally sitting on the porch, I wasted too much time popping pills to relieve flu symptoms.
Finally, I decided to get serious. Only by gulping the nasty stuff can you kick the nasty stuff!
Hopefully, you were smart enough to get the flu shot, but if not take the liquid stuff.