Friday, February 28, 2014

Good News Friday 2/28/14

This Good News Friday is going to be a little different.  I had a revelation this week.  All this thinking positive, being nice is starting to pay off.  This post is going to be a bit discombobulated.  Patience, please.

About two weeks ago,I came across this video on facebook.  (click on "post" here and open from there:  Post by Bardakas.)  This struck a chord with me.  I showed it to one of my kids.  The look on her face said a lot.  I do a lot of things I probably shouldn't do.  Maybe now is the time to change.

I told A that I wasn't going to yell at cars any more.  No more calling them stupid, douchebags or anything else.  I will wish them well and hope they don't kill anyone.  Nearly two weeks in, I'm doing well. I don't want my girls to learn to be mean from me.

The funny thing is, when the girls are in the car with me and they see someone driving like an asshole, they just look at me now.

Aren't you going to say something??
Yes, I am.  I hope they live through the day without hurting anyone.
That's it??
Yes.  That's it.

This baffles them.  My friend, S, has this "relentlessly positive" attitude she takes when people around her piss her off. I'm trying to adopt that myself.

I'm starting to see a difference in people.

Last week the girls, bf and I went to the travel expo at the convention center.  When it was my turn at the ticket booth, I asked the man there how he was doing.  It was simple.

Hi!  How are you today?
Um, I'm good.  Thank you very much for asking.  How are you?
I'm doing well.  (I hand him my paper confirmation and he hands me the wristbands)
Thank you very much.  Have a nice day!
You, too!  I hope you enjoy your day here!

It was the look he gave me when I asked him how he was that made me realize not too many folks ask him that.  It's something so easy to do.  Take a second, look at people.  Acknowledge them.  I learned that from an interview I saw with a homeless person.  He said one of the hardest parts of being homeless was he became invisible.  No one should feel like that.

People smile at me more.  Drivers wave to me and say thank you when I let them turn in front of me.

You get what you give.  I like my friendlier world.  My kids will learn how to be nice and friendly from me.  No more nastiness.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Good News Friday 2/21/14

I was emailing with my brother recently and he told me about Good News Fridays.  I have been having a particularly stressful month between my tween angst girls, mom, work, etc.  I've been bitching and feeling sorry for myself and sharing those feelings with my brother and his wife.

Then a few good things happened.  So to balance out the bitchiness I've been sharing, I sent a "Good News!" email.  He told me the story of what it was like to work in a travel destination business in the months following 9/11 when no one was traveling.  He and one of his managers, looking for any bit of good news. would have Good News Fridays to review the positive things that were happening.  I think that's what I need to do.  So at least sporadically, you'll see Good News Fridays (GNF) posts.  Feel free to share your good news here as well.  The more, the merrier.

So what was my good news?  Well, I won't share it all.  But I'll share enough to tell you why I'm smiling.

1.  My kids passed their skating tests.  Both were happy but A was just beside herself.  It was nice to see her happy again.

2.  We know where they're going to camp.  Whew!

3.  A client that has been stringing me along for the last 6 months finally paid.  Big whew!

4.  I received a nice and very unexpected birthday gift.

5.  The tornado warning of earlier today produced nothing.  Very good indeed!

I hope this good news trend continues!  Oh, tomorrow will be good.  More warm weather and a day trip to Baltimore will make for a fun day.

Friday, February 14, 2014

What's In a Name?

This is one of those things that goes around facebook.  I like it and it got me to thinking about name, which I didn't really like growing up.  I never met another child named Judi/Judy.  There were adults - but they were old.  In the townhouse complex I lived in for most of my life in Lansdale, there were six houses in our row.  In houses 2, 4 and 6, there were Judys.  I was one.

I started out Judy.  I changed it in 5th grade.  JudY didn't make sense.  Where did that Y come from? My full name is Judith - there's no Y in there.  So I got rid of it.  Then I became known as "Judi-with-an-I".  When I spell my name out people still say that.  It's weird.

Let's discuss what these folks say about my name.  "Praise to the Lord".  I first read that as "Praise to the Lord Judi" which I really liked.  Take that name out and the meaning changes a bit.  I'd be even more impressed if it said "Praise to the Queen Judi".  

"Emotional Spectrum - Her happiest times are with her loved ones."  Eh, maybe.  I guess that's true if you include my family of choice in that category of loved ones.

"Personal Integrity - She will fight for her good name."  Damn skippy.  

"Personality -  A closed mouth catches no flies."  No truer words have ever been said.  Yep.

"Relationships - Not many people are as giving as Judi."  I had to think about this one for a while but I'm going to agree with it.  I'm willing to give (in and up) a lot for certain people and it makes me batshit crazy when that is not reciprocated.

"Travel and Leisure - Judi knows how to relax."  Dead wrong.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to live to see age 90 because I can't relax.  Also makes me nuts.

"Career and Money - While there may be obstacles, Judi will overcome."  Oh hell yes.  Proven time and again.  I believe Chumbawumba said it best - I get knocked down but I get up again.  Ain't nothing gonna keep me down.

"Life's Opportunities - A go-getter, Judi knows what she wants."  I wish.  I'm a go-getter but I'm never sure what I'm getting.

You don't get any say in your name - it's just given to you.  My mom told me that had I been blonde, I would have been an Amy.  I'm better with Judi.

I once knew someone named Zenobia.  That name stuck with me - such a strong name!  She lived up to that name.  I wanted my kid to be named Zenobia - she would be strong and have great long hair.  That was vetoed.  Instead we pick two beautiful names - also strong names that have personality.  My girls have made mumblings about changing their names over the years.  Then they realized they are the only ones with their names (spelled the ways we do) - they're unique.  

There's a lot to a name.  Different is good.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Power of the Pen

I learned long ago that written words carry power.  I was probably around 7 or 8 years old when Channel 48 in Philly took Shirley Temple Theater off the air.  That wasn't okay in my world and I told them so.  The reward?  They put it back on the air and thanked me (by name!) publicly for it.  Not a bad lesson to learn at a young age.

I'm an equal opportunity writer.  That means, I write when I'm pissy with something and I write when I'm happy with something.  I had great service a few years ago at a clothing store and wrote to the district manager to tell them of my experience.  Reading the very pleasant response, it was easy to tell they were quite surprised that someone had taken the time to write to them for a positive reason.  It was worth the 10 minutes of my time.

I inherited this tendency to put my feelings in writing honestly.  I remember my mother telling me a story of getting mad when she bought a package of hotdogs from the grocery only to find they were spoiled when she went to cook them.  She sent the whole package of hotdogs and a letter to the company and received a sincere apology and a coupon for fresh hotdogs.  Success.

I think the power of words is sometimes underestimated.  In the mid-90s, before the internet was what it is today (yes, I am aware that I just sounded like my grandma), I had AOL.  I would get pinged regularly from boys seeking a quick hook up and ignored them all.  Then there was that one different guy.  I knew he was different because of the words he wrote.  He wasn't a kid.  He wasn't a douchebag looking for a quick lay.  He was different.  It was his words that gave it away.  The story ended sadly but it all started because that guy could write.  It worked on me.

Fast forward nearly 20 years and again I fell head over ass for a guy because of his words. He was witty and charming and completely fascinating to me - before we ever met.  Words and the way one uses them are important.

I was reminded of that fact when I wrote a note - quick and hand written - to an interpreter who works for me on occasion.  She had done a particularly good job on an assignment so I got her a small token of my appreciation - a Starbucks gift card - and wrote her a note.  Her response was memorable to me.  She commented on the fact that I took the time to write to her.  She didn't mention my handwriting (which resembles that of my children when they were in second grade), for which I was grateful.  She mentioned that it's rare to receive a note that is personalized and hand written.  Since then, I've done it several times.  It seems like I'm not the only one who likes personalized messages in writing.

I have almost every card sent to me that has held meaning to me.  I love when someone takes the time to write their feelings or thoughts down.  Of course I love to hear I love you or whatever.  But reading it is very different.  I love that stuff.

I hope in 20 years or whenever I'm dead and buried, my kids enjoy reading my words.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Letting go....

Anyone who knows me knows I like things.  Things hold an importance in my life.  Strange things -things that provoke memories.  I love those long squished pennies you get at tourist places.  I like stuff like that.  I kept a cracker (in an airtight box) that Alan M. gave me at the skating rink when I was in 8th grade.  Oh, I liked that boy so much.  I have boxes (not too many) of that kind of memorabilia of my life.

After living in this house for about 15 years, it's full of things.  The time has come to let it go.  Not all of it, certainly.  But a lot of it.  I don't need my grandmother's hope chest when I have one of my own.  I don't need my mother's piano when I don't really enjoy playing.  I loved my victrola - past tense.  It's time for it to go to a new home.

My boyfriend has been great about this.  He nudges me along without pushing me.  He handles my tears as I say goodbye to the things that once brought me comfort.  It's odd, once the tears are gone I'm okay with it.  Lots of things have been donated.  Lots has been put to the trash.  More will be sold this spring in what promises to be the mother of all yard sales.  Part of me is sad.  Most of me is excited.

I did this to my girls' room.  I removed everything from the room. thing. I went through it all and made their room into a place they could feel at home.  Now I'm going through every room in my house and trying to do the same.  It's a slow process.  It's a hard process.  I remember buying this with my husband during happy times.  My daughter made this when she was in first grade - oh, I miss that time.  My mom couldn't bear to part with this when she moved to MD so it's in my possession.  Goodbye all those things.

Hello new, free life.  With each trip to the thrift store donation place and each bag of trash that leaves, I can breathe a little easier.  Inhaling now....