Gratitude Challenge Days 1-9

During November, I have a tradition. I think of one thing I’m thankful for every day. I then post my thankful messages on social media. It’s a good tradition. I’ve done it for  6 years now.  Here’s what I’ve written so far this year.

Thankful day#1: Clean water.

Thankful Day #2: My family and friends.

Thankful day #3: Employment. It’s good to have a job.

Thankful #4: I’m grateful for my parents for encouraging me to keep working on my goals.

Thankful day #5: I’m thankful for delicious food like salmon.

Dinner

 

Thankful Day #6: I’m thankful for my Ricks family. (Yes, that also includes my former spouse.) I’m never going to be one of those people who stand up at Church and announce to everybody that they are grateful for their trials and it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Nope. It really  hurts to get divorced and anyone who says otherwise is selling you some thing. (Can you name that movie line?) I did wake up today though with a thankful thought. I am thankful that when I go grocery shopping and run into a Ricks that I can say hello and feel peace in my heart. That is a heaven sent blessing. I can praise God for peace.

Thankful day #7: Bowling was fun last night. I’m thankful for my bowling family. I’ve seen some league friends every Wednesday for 6 years. They’ve become adopted cousins to me.

Thankful day #8: Sunsets are beautiful. I took this photo a few days ago.

Thankful day #9: I’m thankful for flowers. I buy flowers for myself a couple of times a year and put them on my dresser.  Flowers brighten up a room. It’s fun to wake up and see beautiful flowers smiling at me.

20191109_205157_HDR

What are you grateful for today?

What’s in a name?

I swished my broccoli from one side of my plate to the other side with my fork. I normally loved broccoli with cheese but tonight I didn’t have an appetite.  I had serious information to share with my parents and I was afraid they wouldn’t like it.

“I’ve made a decision”, I said solemnly. “You didn’t know how to spell my name when I was born. I’ve fixed that problem though.  I will no longer be Amy spelled ‘A-M-Y’. You may now call me by my real name which is Amee spelled ‘A-M-E-E’.

Mom and Dad didn’t smile.

My younger brother John put his fork done and starred at me.

“Amee spelled “A-M-E-E” is better, I explained. “I just made it up today and I like it”.

“A-M-Y is your legal name”, Dad replied. “It’s on your birth certificate and you might change your mind and want to use your real name. It’s the name your loving parents gave you at birth”.

“We gave you that name, because the baby book says it means love”, Mom jumped in.

I was unmoved by their pleadings.  I liked my spelling better. I knew I wasn’t going to change my mind even when I got older.

“Henceforth now and forever, ” I  declared,  “A-M-E-E is the only  proper way to spell my name”.

My parents smiled and gave me the ‘Oh, aren’t our children cute’ look. Then they went back to eating dinner.

My brother John had more to say about it. He scrunched up his little face and pounded his hands on the table. “You are not allowed to change your name without consulting all of your younger brothers. We say no”.

“I can do what I want”, I cried.  ” I’m 11″.

And so 11-year-old me changed my name. It wasn’t legal, but all of my real friends and family knew how my name was  spelled. I told every school teacher at the start of each  school year how I spelled my name.  My coworkers knew that HR would give me a paycheck with A-M-Y but A-M-E-E did the work and spent the money. This is how it went for the next 30 years. I never went back. I was A-M-E-E, because I said so.

During the divorce process, I decided to finally make the real spelling of my name official. I legally changed the spelling. I am ‘A-M-E-E’ henceforth now and forever.

My sister Jenny threw me a Name Reveal Party to celebrate with decorations, cake and presents.

My name

She got me a big box and filled it with balloons. The nephews and niece went crazy when I opened the box and balloons came flying out.

A Big Box

It was a great day.

 

Wrinkle Prevention

I was in a doctor’s waiting room the other day reading a magazine. There was an article that caught my eye. It was all about preventing wrinkles. Apparently, you can do face exercises to counteract wrinkles. This really interested in me, because as a 40-something year-old I’ve started to develop some laugh lines. The face exercises  involved frowning like this.

Frown Amee

I looked so funny that it made me laugh. Oops. Mission Defeated. I guess I will just have to live with the wrinkles.

 

 

Decision Overload

Have you ever noticed how many styles and brands of toliet paper there are at the store?

TP

15.  There are 15 different options.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that. I just recently learned that myself.

Yesterday, I was at the store staring at toilet paper.  I had made decisions all day at work and all day in my life. I was tired. I couldn’t make any more decisions.  So, I didn’t. I just stood there and started looking at all the options. I even read the backs of the different toliet papers.

After agnozing for what felt like forever, I finally picked the brand on sale. I went to pay for my purchases and a little candy bar found its way into my shopping cart. I don’t remember analyzing that decision.

I’ve been thinking about my decision overload experience. At first I  thought I was crazy. Does it really take 5 minutes to pick out toliet paper?  I did some research though. It’s actually a real thing. It’s called decision fatigue. Decision fatigue can cause you to either not make a decision or to make a rash decision. Universities have studied it and they have found people make worse decisions when they are tired, hungry, overwhelmed, stressed and worn out from working all day. Yep, that makes sense.

What has been your experience with making decisions?

 

 

 

 

 

Book Bag: What I’m Reading Right Now

Book Cover

I just finished reading a book called Le Ménagier de Paris. I don’t speak French so I had to read the English translation The Goodman of Paris. It has been absolutely fascinating to read this primary source document and ponder on the social realities of medieval Europe.

Here’s the plot. It’s 1393 and a rich, older man of 60 decided to get married again. His bride is around 20.  The modern woman in me is a bit shocked with the age difference. The historian in me understands it was common practice for men to be older than their wives.  As a present, he writes a book for his new bride on how to be a good wife, take care of the house and live without him after he dies.

The first few chapters are all about religion and how to live a moral life. It paints a picture of the role of faith in medieval Europe. Christianity and religious festivals were their life. The next chapter discussed how his new wife can make him a happy man in the bedroom.  I’ve read the Bible enough to understand exactly what the Goodman of Paris was talking about when he said his bride needed to “know him”.

This man had a lot of opinions on everything. The rest of the book explained how he thinks his manor should be organized.  He explained how to to boil water, cook soup, skin a chicken, hire household staff, argue with temporary workers, do needlework, prepare medicinal herbs, keep the pots clean, get stains out of clothing, keep the gossips in town from ruining her reputation and a bunch of other things that were critical for life as a 1393 young woman.  Some of the advice was actually pretty sound and still applies to modern-day life. For example, there was one section that said tradesman like to take advantage of female buyers. He recommended that his wife get two opinions before agreeing to any household repairs. I’ve had car mechanics try to cheat me before so this advice is still valid. Some of the advice was ridiculous. I rolled my eyes when I read the section on how to wear pious, black and white wife clothing in public. Really? Why can’t a 20-year-old wear purple?  I love the color purple so I would have made a terrible medieval wife.

I got a little teary-eyed when I read the chapter on why the The Goodman of Paris wrote his book. He expected to die before his bride did. He wanted to make sure she could make it in a world ruled by men.  He may have been a man of his time in many ways, but I got the impression that he did love his wife and desired her happiness.

Overall, I would recommend Le Ménagier de Paris. It was very informative. I got the added benefit of feeling like a scholar while reading it.  I also learned a few useful skills that will come in handy in case of the Zombie Apocalypse. For example, I now know how to skin a chicken and hire a maid to do my laundry.

What’s in your book bag?

 

The Alarm Clock is Against Me

I think my alarm clock is against me. Take a look at this picture.

Alarm Clock picture

The Snooze button is huge. It’s larger than the button I press to get going for my day. My alarm clock does not want me to get up. It wants me to keep sleeping. It wants me to be late for work. This realization made me giggle this morning. I added it to my joyful list.

The conspiring alarm clock is my #311 joyful moment since I started this blog. What made you joyful today?

 

 

A Royal Wedding: The dollar store version

My Aunt and I went to the royal wedding this morning. You might have heard about this wedding. It’s been on the news for months. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle  forgot to send us an invite, we did our best to enjoy the festivities on a teacher’s and an artist’s salary. (In case you didn’t know, I’m the teacher and the Aunt is the artist.)

We watched the ceremony on the TV while sitting on my hand-me-down couch. We wore  plastic tiaras that I bought from the dollar store. We ate pastries on my thrift store china and toasted the new couple with sparkling apple juice that was purchased with a coupon.

We both oohed over the wedding dress. It was simple and beautiful.  The news said the dress is estimated to cost 100,000 pounds which is around $135,000 US dollars. Given that the average American worker has an income in the $40,000’s, you would have to be pretty rich to afford a dress like that. The social justice side of me started calculating how many school lunches you could buy for disadvantaged children with that kind of money. The “Happily Ever After” side of me started imagining that it was my wedding day with a beautiful dress, adoring groom and enough money to never have to worry about paying the bills ever again. The last part about having enough money to never have to worry about bills sounds very nice.

It was a lovely wedding. The couple seems to really like and love each other. I enjoyed watching the little glances between them. There’s something sweet about watching a couple in love. You feel hopeful for the world. The real star of the show was the Episcopalian minister. He was delightful. Reverend Michael Curry gave an amazing sermon. I said Amen a couple of times when he was talking. I completely agree with him. God is love and we can make the world a better place by treating each other like brothers and sisters. He was also just plain fun to watch. He was so animated and passionate about the word of God. It was like I was sitting in a revival meeting and not a wedding.

This is what the Esteemed Duchess of the Dollar Store looks like at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I’ve got frizzled hair, bags under my eyes but I’m still smiling.

1 am photo

Her Royal Highness Princess Aunt Marla declined to have her 3:00 a.m. photo taken for this blog. There are some benefits to being an average American at times. Privacy is one of them.

food for the party

It was a memorable royal wedding even though it was dollar-store style. I’m a little tired. I think I will go back to bed now for a much deserved nap.

 

 

 

What I learned the Day I Marched

I don’t like confrontation. I’m usually the one at the social event who finds a way to change the subject once a controversial topic comes up. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on whatever issue you are discussing. I do. I’ve just lived long enough to see good people stop being friends with other good people just because they voted differently than them. I don’t want lose my friends so I bite my tongue.

The last few months my  state has been in a huge debate about public education. I felt strongly about the topic of educational funding and I wanted to participate.

Picture of teacher walk out

So, I marched. I participated in some of the events at the AZ State Capitol and the Stand Out to Stand Up event on Baseline Road.

I felt a change when I went to the Capitol. Yes, the rally was fun. The crowds had energy but the change inside of me was more than the change in the state budget.  As I stood there with my sign and red shirt, I decided it was okay to talk about the hard topics.

Changing the subject may not always be the best idea. Especially if it is something you believe in.

You may have a different opinion than me on the Red For Ed movement. That’s okay. We can have an open and honest dialogue with each other and still be friends. That’s what I learned the day I marched.

 

 

 

A poem about a busted water pipe

Pipe pictureThis is the girl who was peacefully sleeping

Unaware that disaster was silently brewing.

This is the pipe that leaked in a wall

Where water was collecting  for who knows how long.

This is moment the girl walked in the room

And felt a river of water and saw a gushing typhoon.

This is the valve in the front of the yard

That the girl pulled and then sat by to cry really hard.

This is the husband who was out of state at the time

Who got the phone call that the house was now slime.

These are the fans and the bills and  demolition holes

This  whole experience is vexing to one’s soul.

(A Note for my family and friends:  Nate and I were able to file an insurance claim. We  will be able to fix the damage. I am always happy to accept homemade dinners though.  Just kidding about dinner. You are not obligated to cook me dinner. I know how to order pizza.  Life is never boring around here. I hope I never see water again. It’s a mess to clean up.)

 

 

 

Joyful Moment #305

As most of you know, I have been tracking my joyful moments the last few years. I write them down in my little journal. The really funny ones I put on this blog.  I just had joyful moment #305.  I was doing my weekly shopping and I saw this.

Raisin Bran

That flake is gigantic. It looks a menacing alien who is trying to take over the Earth. It made the joyful list.