Share the Love

In our neighborhood, there is a person who lives at the corner who hangs dog treats on the bushes next to the sidewalk. A small sign tells dog walkers to “Please take one.”

She is putting a little love out into the world.

The other day, I saw a woman in the grocery checkout line who was wearing a dress identical to one that I own. I thought that it looked nice on her. A few minutes later, as I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw the same woman.  She was walking to her car with her shopping cart. I rolled down my window and hollered “Hey, I just wanted to tell you how great you look in that dress. I have the same one at home and I love it.” She replied, “Thanks, I got it on sale at Kohls.” I answered back, “Yeah, I even wear it just like you do, with leggings and a jacket”.

Just putting a little love out into the world.

“I love humanity but I hate people.” poet Edna St. Vincent once famously wrote. In the same way, I often really need to make an effort to connect and engage with people. It is so much easier to talk with my family or work on my own shit rather than engage with the people I meet every day.

With that being said, it brings me happiness, even joy when others go out of their way to interact, engage, or reach out to me.

Writing thank-you notes was not taught or encouraged when I was a child (or perhaps I just don’t remember). As a teenager, I hated the little triangular-folded notes that friends passed at school to one another. As a young adult, I knew I wouldn’t keep in touch with friends after I moved.

But I’ve saved and charished EVERY note, letter, and spontaneous correspondence that I’ve ever recieved.I have a collection dating back over 40 years! I store sweet notes from friends  in a nightstand drawer. When I was dating my husband-to-be,  I printed and saved every email from that first year. I still have every love note from my high school boyfriend. Every letter my ex-husband penned are tied together with a string…in a box…in my closet. 

Happy Mail

It is time to reconcile this dichotomy in my life.  I want to be appreciative, thankful, and supportive.  (I should have probably begun this project at the beginning of the Covid shutdown.) But anyway, my sister Michelle suggested that what I was talking about was “happy mail”.

So I conducted a Google search.

I found blogs and You-Tube videos dedicated to sharing appreciation to small business customers. There are also scrapbookers and “junk journalers” who share stuff with each other unexpectedly through the mail. These were BEAUTIFUL and inspiring works of art that people were sharing with each other in an effort to “share the love”.

I found it totally overwhelming!!! Some of these creations must have taken days or weeks to collect and construct.

I don’t consider myself a fluent writer. So I write a sloppy copy before I transfer the words into a notecard. It relieves my writer’s block and prevents me from stressing about making a mistake.

What I am proposing is buying and using store-bought blank notes and writing something thoughtful and direct like this blogger.

I also don’t believe that these notes need to be sent in the mail. They can be surreptitiously stuck under a windshield wiper, taped to a house door, or placed anonymously on a co-worker’s desk.

Iris Letters

My mom calls these “Iris letters”. They are the less familiar cousin and the opposite of “onion letters”. (Glinda versus the Wicked Witch of the West.)  An Onion letter is what you might send to a business to complain about the mess the plumber left after fixing your toilet or the rude comment the customer service rep made when you returned an item at Wal-Mart. Onion letters help a business correct wrongs. Iris letters acknowledge and appreciate service workers or businesses that go above and beyond.

I should have sent an Iris letter a few years ago to my local Aldi.

After checking out all of my groceries, I realized that I had neither cash nor credit cards in my purse. Upon realizing this, the cashier volunteered to pay my $80+ bill until I returned.  She said that she knew I was a regular customer and that I’d be back.

Profusely thanking her, I instead asked her to just put my cart of groceries to the side. I zipped home. Returning a half-hour later, I had cash in hand.  Thanking her again, she smiled at my appreciation, and I vowed to myself to write a note to the manager. I intended to appreciate, honor, and celebrate her good deed.

My goal was to share a little love and bring recognition to this kind woman.

I never did.

Her name was Leah.

I’m still amazed at her kindness.

Who is Lisa

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedlisa #womenover50 #sharethelove #soul #sanity #mindset #happymail

How to Gain 8 Pounds in 8 Weeks

The day that I’m writing this is exactly 8 weeks until June 1st.

June always feels like the beginning of summer to me. Summer..sleeveless shirts, shorts, sandals (read no more covering up with turtlenecks, sweaters, or fleecy leggings). I’ve used these items to camouflage my fluffy body for a few months. Putting on weight happens soooooo effortlessly. I weigh myself every Monday (mostly) and watched the numbers creep up, pound by pound, each week. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, just trying to stay the same. But I was struggling.

poundsYou know when you’re struggling.

Slogging along in life.

You can smile at your neighbors. You take out the trash on Fridays and make sure your family is fed. Brushing your teeth happens. But you lose touch with yourself. There is no bandwidth,  no energy to do what makes you feel good and be healthy. I was in this place for about 8 weeks after Christmas and through February. Here is what I’ve learned if you want to gain 8 pounds in 8 weeks:

Livin’ the Couch Potato Life

Don’t exercise! In so many magazines and blogs I’ve read recently, I’ve heard about how you can’t easily lose weight by exercising. But let me tell you, you sure can gain weight if you don’t. I regularly walk each morning with Stella, and now our puppy Evie. But have you tried to exercise or do yoga with a puppy? I wrote about my daily routine here. But sometimes you just don’t FEEL like exercising. So I’ve been walking and when I get home, there is just so much to do. Breakfast, writing, homeschooling, making the bed, cleaning the grout on the kitchen floor…

Carbs are Your Friends

Eat carbs like a teenage boy. I have a husband, two teenage sons, and a daughter who dances 8+ hours a week. Carbs are staples in our kitchen. When I’m feeling tired, meals are served with pasta, rice or bread. (Last night, we had spaghetti for dinner and  I not only ate several slices of warm, soft, chewy Italian bread, but I slathered sweet butter on each slice…yum!)

Chug-a-lug

Drink alcohol daily. I love going to my parent’s house. Dad makes the best Brandy Old Fashioneds–sour, not sweet. (I got him this gift last Father’s Day and I have really enjoyed it!) Since my one son just got his driver’s license and needs practice, we go over and I have a couple of drinks EVERY night…I’m not driving…right?

STOP!

I’m even having a hard time writing this. I think I may be having an anxiety attack at this very moment. I am serious about how I put on the weight, but I’m not genuine about having neutral feelings about the gain.

You see, no one but me knows that I’ve put on a few pounds. I don’t look a lot different, but I FEEL different (and not in a good way). I’m stiff, my arms feel weak. There is a bike tire around my middle. I notice that it’s harder to cross my legs when I’m sitting in a chair.

Just 8 little pounds and all this fuss?!? It’s just a symptom of a larger problem, really. I’ve lost sight of myself, not taking care of ME. I’ve gotten wrapped up in the day-to-day and everyone else’s needs. Can you relate?

pounds

I’m wearing yoga pants and athletic shoes so I must be burning calories, right?

Well, we have exactly 8 weeks until the “beginning” of summer. Let’s walk a little more, ditch the sugar, and say no to flour.

Are you still with me?

Let’s drink lots of water and have some “come to Jesus” time with veggies and leafy greens!

That’s my plan. Check back on June 1st to see how well I fared.

 

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Who is Lisa

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedlisa #bodyfallingapart #weight #womenover50 #gainweight #loseweight

Lean In to Mid-Life…

I quit my job, my career, that activity that defined me as a person for 30 years. Since I’m over 55, I guess that means that I’m “retired”.mid-life

But what DOES that mean?  I was doing the responsible thing by sticking to my “chosen” path for so long. Retirement sounds like my grandma who played Canasta with the ladies every Tuesday afternoon.

For the last two decades, I’ve sacrificed my energy to a career that was dependable, reliable, and safe.

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Is It Time to Jump Ship?

How do you know when it is time to leave…

to retire…

to change jobs…

to jump ship and switch careers?

Maybe you are looking for an “aha” moment to point you in the right direction.

A signal that shows it.  is.  time…

unnamedI am a teacher. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. I’ve always known that my passion is dreaming…

learning…

teaching.

That was until the beginning of November 2015.

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Rock Your Hairstyle (for Women Over 50)

hairI got my hair cut–I mean CUT–right before 2nd grade. I was 7 years old. My mom had just gotten her 1960’s shoulder-length locks updated into the iconic 70’s shag. I loved her new do and wanted to be a grown-up who could make choices about my hair. So after much begging and pleading, mom relented. Thus was the beginning with my love/hate relationship with my hair.

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Bra Shopping – The Perfect 6 Step How-To Guide

I recently needed a change. I was feeling blah and stale. When I looked in the mirror, my middle-aged face, clothes, and body all looked tired. I smoothed my hands over my face. I ran my fingers through my hair. I looked at my self straight on and sideways. Then I saw it. The “girls” could use a lift. They were looking rather blobby and rounded. I think the terminology is “uni-boob”.   I decided that I would begin a mini-makeover from the inside out. That is, clothing-wise, with my undergarments–my bra.

I come from a long like of conservative, modest, and frugal women. My mom has never seen a new bra that can compete with the dingy, ancient one that’s held together with safety pins. Arghhhh.

Now, I have recently been intrigued by some interesting new styles and brands of bras out there on Pinterest and on Facebook ads.  But how do you buy a bra without trying it on first? (I have also never been able to buy a swimsuit–that I actually wore–without first trying it on in a store.) After analyzing strategy from the experts (my fellow Sidetracked Sisters) here are my 6 tips for a successful hunt!

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How to be a (Worst) Friend

I am well well-suited to write this post for I fulfill the top three qualifications to be the worst friend…

I’ve always loved being with friends, laughing and hanging with great women, drinking and sharing memories with others who appreciate a self-deprecating story.

family friends

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That Reminds Me…

What does it mean if I can’t tell a joke? I can’t even remember a joke. I only know one joke aficionado who, when he tells a joke, I impatiently wait for the end and try (often unsuccessfully) to NOT roll my eyes. Continue reading

Be Unplugged!

Be unpluggedI have a love/hate relationship with technology…specifically with cell phones and how people use them. It’s time for us all to sit back and see how our gadgets are also complicating our lives and putting up barriers between us and the people we love.

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It’s the Little Things

I need to call Mom!

IMG_4890 2

I want to be the mom who has kids, that when they mess up, never think “mom’s gonna kill me”. I want their first thought to be “I need to call my mom”.  Where did I hear that recently???  It makes me wonder…What builds that kind of relationship? Perhaps the following three events would qualify.

Number one…I pick up Aubrey from her dance class. She is now big enough to sit in the front seat. She holds my hand as we crank the music to the Broadway musical “Mama Mia”. We sing along to “Dancing Queen” at the top of our voices.

Two…I  sit on the couch in the living room. My laptop rests between us, our feet resting on the coffee table. We share the 20-year-old crocheted afghan my grandma made for me when I moved into my first apartment after college. Kadon made us “extra butter” microwave popcorn and we are watching a movie he thought I would like…”Wine Country”. (Amy Poehler directs menopausal friends on an eventful  and emotional weekend trip).) It was the perfect Netflix choice for a mom and her 14-year-old son!?!

And three…Luka struggles in school. He would rather clean crusty bathroom toilets than go over flashcards for a Global Studies test. But as it gets late, I grab the cards that we made together. He lays on his bed. I read the questions as I scratch his back. He gives the answer and flips the card to check the correctness. As we finish the last card, he sleepily says, “Thanks…I love you mom.”

It’s the small stuff. I think I am building relationships with my kids, block by block, one happy moment at a time.

Who is Lisa

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