Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Special: December Book Feature: Week 3

Week 3 of the December Book Feature brought children's fiction along with some serious non-fiction for adults. In case you missed it, here's who visited:

Michelle Weidenbenner
A. K. Frailey

Ellie Gustafson

Patti Maguire Armstrong

Laurie J. Edwards & Alexis Moore
All of the books above can be found on Amazon.
I'll be continuing this feature through Christmas Eve, because after all, books make great gifts! You'll find blurbs, cover photos and maybe even some giveaways. 

And, if you have a book you'd like to recommend, leave me a comment here, or there. Let's share our favorite reads in time for the holidays. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Freebie: What I'm Reading in Ten Minutes or Less: How to Go Gray Naturally

A while back, I wrote a post about letting go of the monthly ritual of dyeing my hair. When I was young enough that the thought of gray, ahem, highlights on my own head seemed a long way off, I believed that I’d just let nature take its course.

I was in my mid-to-late forties when the gray really began to encroach, first at my temples, then taking over my roots. Still working in a field where most of my colleagues were a decade or more younger than I, I quickly changed my mind about that whole nature taking its course thing and began making the monthly trip to the salon.
At first, I could go six weeks between appointments, but eventually, the gray began to take over. My stylist told me that some gray is actually resistant to dye. Oh goody. More chemicals, more frequent trips, less time, less money.


Shortly after I retired, I decided I preferred the time and the money I would save to the color that, increasingly, failed to resemble my natural color. And so I bit the bullet.

I don’t know if reading this article from Next Avenue would have sped up the process for me, but as a still-graying 50-something, I appreciated the helpful hints about the other adjustments that need to be made as nature takes its course. 

Now if only an article could help me to make the necessary mental adjustments that come with losing the color battle.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Want it All -- Especially if it's Free! (Free Shipping Day!)

Yesterday, I wrote about wanting it all. Today, I'm back with a little something to help you get it all a little cheaper.

Today is Free Shipping Day! Participating retailers will ship for free today, with guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery.

For more details, including special offers and a list of participating retailers, go to

Happy shipping -- er -- shopping!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Want it All!

As I careen toward my second post-"retirement" Christmas, I find myself wondering if perhaps I've finally done it. Perhaps I truly have bitten off more than I can chew.

As I was mulling over this depressing possibility, a song lyric from a show I did years ago popped into my head, nudging me to find a recording (on YouTube, as my CD, like so many other things in my house at the moment, has gone missing) and select just the right verse, which, ironically, belongs to a college student:
"I've been sitting here making decisions, just like you have. And so the thing that I did was to make myself a list. I put what I want on this side, and what I don't want over here. It was quite a bout, but I've worked it out. And now the answer's very clear....
          ....I want it all!"

And her "all" encompasses (among other things) "adventure, love, career, kids large and small" along with
"a quiet, simple life and some glory. And Steven Spielberg filming my first story."
Yup. That's about right.

Though I should be the older woman -- the voice of reason ("Oh no, my friends. There's no two ways to slice it. You must choose, my friends...."), well, I'm just not.

Or maybe I am. Even as she counsels that there are "things any grown-up, practical woman gives up if she's wise..." she, too, arrives at the same conclusion, with her ultimate war cry against settling and practicality coming at the end of the song: "I could get used to this!"

Well, it's been two years. I've gotten used to a lot of things. Never did I think I'd find myself getting used to a schedule that was even crazier than the one I left behind, but there you have it. As I've noted before, for me, retirement didn't "take."

Although those first few months of peaceful planning were nice, as I look at the "all" that comprises my life right now, I can't imagine what I'd part with. (Though not parting with anything does lead to parting with things like sleep and order...) It's easy to look at commitments and think that if I eliminated just one, I'd have a lovely open space on my calendar (that elusive thing called "free time" that I've heard others speak of), but in my crazy "I want it all!" mindset, I've actually chosen all those things that keep me leapfrogging from one calendar square to the next. (Except for things like cooking and cleaning...but I think others would object to my elimination of those).

Besides, I'm an optimist. I keep thinking it's all going to work. Achieving balance takes time, after all, and it's complicated by the fact that just when you think you've got it, something comes along that knocks everything off-kilter.

But on the good days, things come along that remind me why I keep juggling. As I was typing this, my daughter came home from school. And I was here. Exactly where I wanted to be.

And I've definitely gotten used to that.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Patience and Gratitude

'Tis the season...for patience! After a lovely, long Starbucks visit with a friend this morning, I set out on my short list of errands, hoping to get home in time to grade a stack of papers while the house was quiet.

Silly me. Even though my friend warned me that today was the busiest day of the year at the post office, that did not dissuade me. Not checking that item off my list would actually be more stressful than the long line I was sure to encounter, so I braved the satellite post office at the grocery store where the clerk is kind, but methodical and unruffled -- all good traits, but none of which advance the line with alacrity.
Sure enough, the line stretched beyond the counter and wound back toward the bread aisle. So with errand #1 transferred to a different day (the shop was closed) and errand #3 still ahead, I settled in for a long winter's nap -- no, wait -- a Monday afternoon lesson in patience.

A funny thing about patience -- it tends to materialize when I'm prepared to need it. I knew there would be a line, so I figured I'd entertain myself with my phone and indeed I did -- I wrote the beginning of this blog, grateful that I was able to stand in line without worrying about finishing in time to race off to work. 

I got to the counter 26 minutes after I got in line, and made it back to my car (mission accomplished) in almost exactly 30 minutes -- about three times as long as it usually takes -- but not before the patience I'd so carefully exercised began to fade. 

Another thing about patience -- it runs out at funny times. When I was resigned to waiting in line, I relaxed (more or less) into the waiting game, typing on my phone and engaging in conversation with those around me. But once I was finished, that patience was gone and I was ready to sail on to the next thing on the list.

And so when I encountered an older couple meandering along on their way out of the store, did I remain behind them, matching their slow but steady pace?

I did not. Instead, I paused momentarily, then strode full speed ahead into a passing lane of my own creation. I passed safely, staying in my own lane, careful not to bump or collide, but nevertheless cruising ahead at my own speed. On another day, I might have meandered along behind them, taking a moment to be grateful that I had the option of traveling slowly or traveling quickly, but today, errand #3 loomed.

And so I'm taking that moment of gratitude now. I'm grateful to have enjoyed time with a friend this morning, and to have accomplished two (soon to be three, once I post this) things on my to-do list. I'm grateful that patience materialized when I needed it, and I'm grateful that I'm still young enough to have a choice of speeds, not only behind the wheel of my car, but under my own steam behind a grocery cart as well. I'm grateful for blue skies, temperatures that aren't too cool and the fact that, unlike my daughter and my former colleagues, I don't have to report to school again for more than a month.

Now I just need to work on being grateful for all the things I still have to do between now and Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Special: December Book Feature, Week 2

Last week was Week 2 of the December Book Feature on my Facebook page. We branched out into non-fiction, with a couple of novels in the mix as well.  In case you missed it, here's who visited:
Mary Beth Sammons

Cerella Sechrist

Jake Frost

Chaunie Brusie

Michele Howe

In addition, I included a couple of bonus posts: a 99¢ Kindle book....

Michelle Weidenbenner

 and two book picks from my Facebook page followers:


The Pendergast series

I'll be continuing this feature through Christmas Eve, because after all, books make great gifts! You'll find blurbs, cover photos and maybe even some giveaways. 

And, if you have a book you'd like to recommend, leave me a comment here, or there. Let's share our favorite reads in time for the holidays.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Freebie: What I'm Reading in Ten Minutes or Less: Things to Know Before Growing Up

One of the best parts of teaching psychology is teaching about things that can positively impact people's lives. In keeping with upcoming December commencements, this week's article talks about Three Things Everyone Should Know Before Growing Up.

What was fun for me in reading this article was connections I could make. Dr. Nicholas Epley, whose research is discussed in the first item about how people judge us (better than we think) spoke at York College this fall. Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, was recommended to me by my former voice teacher, and is one of the books I'm including on a reading list for the fall. And the third item about kids and play?

Something great to remember this close to Christmas.