Last week, half of the sisters were out of town, so Lisa and I met one on one. These are rare occasions since we both have commitments that keep us very busy and out of trouble. I was thinking about how pleasant our visit was and then I got sidetracked (surprise, surprise).
I realized as I thought back, that during our visit, I was sending myself very negative messages about guess who? ME. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, my son, my sister and her husband, my nieces and their families, and my stepdaughter and her family. Sadly, the worst relationship I have seems to be with myself. Continue reading →
I recently reread the 1937 version of Napoleon Hills’ “Think and Grow Rich”. Mr. Hill opens his first chapter with the phrase “Thoughts are Things”. He goes on to say that when we mix our thoughts with purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects, these thoughts have the power to create what we are desirous of. Wow. That’s quite a statement.Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.
Here are six tips for having a good relationship with your mother-in-law.
Doris wasn’t just a mother-in-law, but a fabulous friend. Personally, I feel she had quite a bit more to overlook in me in the beginning as I was selfish, opinionated, and just plain stupid. Example – I had my second child and was not up to par. It was spring and, of course, flower planting time. I being the perfectionist (and this is where stupid and selfish comes in) did the unthinkable… To be nice she planted a peachy/pink bed of petunias in an area where I would usually put, I think, red. Would you believe that when I felt up to it, I actually replaced her petunias with my preferred color? When I think of that today I just cringe. She never said a word, but I’ll bet she was not impressed with me.
Tip 1 – Be thankful for the little things they do for you and be gracious
When my husband and I started going together we were of different religions. I was with a girlfriend that was Lutheran, the same as my mother-in-law, and she said to me. “Why doesn’t Art find a nice Lutheran girl to date?” At the time I was appalled. Today I think it is pretty funny as later in life I turned to Lutheran and she turned to the religion that I had been for her second husband.
Tip 2 – Don’t sweat the small stuff. There is always tomorrow and things change
The two of us came from entirely different backgrounds. She was a farm girl and I was a city brat. Her taste was totally different than mine and we had a good time teasing about my exotic, or just plain different taste than hers. One time after putting up a half-moon mirror in my family room I asked her what she thought and she replied, “I think it looks totally stupid.” O.K. then!!! I had grown up enough by this time to actually laugh it off and I still have that totally stupid mirror still hanging in my family room.
Tip 3 – Appreciate true honesty and don’t take it personally
She was always there when I needed her, or just a phone call away. She actually got a warning ticket for speeding on Center Street to come and wash my kitchen floor. I was getting ready for one of the girl’s weddings and she thought I could use some help. The officer asked her where she was going in such a hurry, 50 in a 25-speed zone, and she said to wash my daughter-in-law’s floor. He gave her a warning, but I’ll bet there were a few laughs down at the station after that. I hope none of them knew me so as to judge me, expecting this poor older lady to wash my kitchen floor?.
Tip 4 – Appreciate the things they do for you even if it is not necessary
When I planted my perennial garden I worked during the day and had to get my plants in after dark for some reason. My mother and mother-in-law sat on logs in my backyard with flashlights to help me see what I was doing. My backyard neighbor had to hang over the fence in the morning to see what the hell was going on.
Tip 5 – Appreciate the big things they do for you
I could go on and on. She has since passed on and I miss her terribly. I miss our late evening gab sessions on the phone. Her stories that went on and on, and her being there for me was so enjoyable. Sure, she made me a little crazy sometimes, but I learned to overlook her differences and she overlooked mine. When she told me that I was more like a daughter to her than a daughter-in-law that was the ultimate compliment.
Tip 6 – Enjoy their differences and learn from them
They seem to have a book of knowledge that they love to share. Remember that they also compete with your own mother on most occasions and also learn how not to tread on toes.
Mom and I went out the door hand in hand and headed to the bus stop. Mom didn’t drive when we were little so the two of us did our weekly trek to catch the bus for downtown. We would do our errands and then do our grocery shopping and finally take a taxi home with our treasures and groceries.
Three-year-old me ran up the steps and found a seat for us near the front of the bus. Most of the people that rode the bus back in the day knew each other. This day there was a man that was unfamiliar. Something was a bit different about him. I tried to whisper to Mom but my voice came out a bit loud. I asked how come that man had such a dirty face. She shushed me but too late. The man had heard my question. He told me that his skin was a different color than mine. I asked him why and he answered that he was born that way. He asked Mom if I wanted to touch his skin. She quietly declined and I climbed up in her lap.Continue reading →
I 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.
Who the hell invented bras, and who the hell says we have to wear them????
Who likes bras? Well, I don’t know many people, women, who do. On two different occasions, maybe three, I have gone bra shopping with family and friends, spending many, many hours in dressing rooms, thinking that I have found the ONE. Then a couple of days later I returned all them much to the dismay of my helpers. As you will note in some other Sidetracked Sisters’ posts I am not very popular in this department.
What do I love about myself is the question of the day. It’s a challenging question to answer because people tend to focus more on the negative aspects of themselves. I’m choosing to try to be more positive, so I’m actually having a hard time picking just one thing. That will most likely sound conceited to some. Here are a few things that I’m proud of about myself.