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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Little Things

Up With People pin.

People always say it’s the little things that count.  I think that’s true.  A pleasant greeting, a smile, or offering a mint when someone is coughing are all things that make daily life more pleasant.  A small gesture or kind word can keep you going through your day.  I know someone who recently was surprised with a gift of candy and some kind words from a coworker.  It made her day, and validated that she is doing a good job.  These things say to the other person, “you are valued”, and “you are appreciated”.  We all like the feeling of being noticed for our contributions to the smooth running of the workplace and home.  We go through our days trying our best to accomplish what needs to be done, while getting along with others and trying to help each other as we can.  Surprise acknowledgements of our efforts go a long way toward keeping everyone moving in a positive direction and working together.  Sometimes when we are getting frustrated with a task, it’s nice if someone asks if we need help with it.  Even if we don’t need help, when someone offers to assist us it’s as if they are saying, “I see your struggles, we’re all in this together”, and it may be just the thing we need to help us refocus and finish satisfactorily.  Of course, there are times when we get more annoyed by the offer of help because it feels like an interruption or a criticism; as if we are not capable of doing our job.  I think those are feelings that we read into other people’s words and not what was behind the offer of assistance, which then leads us to be out of sorts and ungracious.  We need to remind ourselves that an offer of a helping hand is not an indication that we are failing, it is simply another person’s desire to support us in that moment.  I am one of those folks who sometimes feels insulted by the offer of help, and I’m trying to remind myself that someone holding out a hand to help is a good thing, a sign of respect and care.  Responding to that offer with a smile and either grateful acceptance or gracious refusal is something I’m trying to remember.  It doesn’t mean I’m inadequate, it means that maybe I have too many tasks for one person that day and allowing another to do part of them is a good thing.  Then when things calm down I can return the favor, or do a little thing such as bring her a cup of coffee.  After all, it’s the little things that count.

Monday, January 9, 2017

January Days

I'm not sure what day this is,
Am I the only one?
The only thing I know for sure is
A new year has begun.

What is open? What is closed?
It is quite confusing
If I remain confused like this
At least I'll be amusing.
Last week was a short workweek, but those are the ones I find that I never seem to know what day it is.  Throw in a holiday on a Sunday and then try to figure out what businesses are observing the holiday on Monday, and which ones only closed on the actual holiday if at all, and it gets confusing if you're used to running on auto pilot.  I run pretty much on auto pilot, at least as far as the day of the week is concerned.

Dreary January days
Have us dreaming of the summer
Then we see they forecast
More cold and wind
Geez! What a bummer!
Well really, even though the days are getting slightly longer it seems that there are more cloudy days than sunny, and frequent forecasts for some type of frozen precipitation, freezing temperatures and wind.  When it's below freezing in temperature even just a light breeze makes it so much worse.  How much we miss those warm sunny days of summer when we are bundled up against the cold and expecting icy and snowy conditions!

January settles in with cold and snowy threats,
Those days when we complained of heat last summer we regret,
We don coats, hats, scarves and gloves and go about our lives,
Feeling sluggish as the worker bees hibernating in their hives.
Again, we were whiners last summer about the heat and humidity; right about now we would welcome that heat with open arms.  Oh to be relaxing in the shade of a big tree with a nice cold glass of iced tea and a good book right now!  I would miss the seasons if I moved somewhere that it was always hot, but the piercing cold and threat of bad weather do have me longing for that climate sometimes.  Being bundled up in winter wear loses its allure after a few weeks and coats, gloves, and boots make it tough to move freely; and I don't know about you but the lack of sunlight makes me tired.  Some days, in spite of lots of coffee or tea, I just don't feel fully awake.  This is a long month and it has settled in to a cold, gloomy, set of weeks.  The bright spot is that somewhere toward the end of the month, maybe after the 20th, the days seems noticeably longer and things start to look up a bit.

I hope you find something that comforts you and warms you during these cold, gloomy, sleepy days.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Farewell 2016! Welcome 2017!

The Christmas rush is over and I can't say that I'm sad about that because as much as I like Christmas and all that goes with it, things tend to get a bit stressful.  We hosted Christmas Day, as usual, which I love doing but somehow I didn't get as much done ahead as I had planned.  So my brothers and their families arrived and I was still in the kitchen trying to get those darned mushrooms stuffed and into the oven.  The dining room was not decorated nor were the tables for the buffet arranged, dishes weren't out, napkins still in their packages, glasses not out, but my daughter was trying her best to get things done when the first of them arrived, followed shortly by the rest.  Did I panic?  Nope, not me; I'm used to people arriving before things are ready because it happens nearly every day at work.  It actually worked out really well.  As soon as "Merry Christmas"es were exchanged and coats laid on our bed my sister in law and teen-aged nieces helped my daughter finish the dining room.  Among the laughter and chatter I heard as I worked diligently at the mushrooms, lights were strung, table cloth and placemats as well as chairs were arranged and any food that was ready was placed on the table.  The men, and Hillary, stayed in the living room talking amongst themselves until told that food was available.  Later, after everyone crowded into the living room for gift exchanging, we ladies gathered in chairs in the dining room to play games which included holiday charades.  The hours passed quickly and once coffee, tea, ice cream and cookies topped off the day everyone left and the house was quiet once again.  I love remembering these happy times and when my home is filled with the chatter and laughter of those I love.  It makes for a very Merry Christmas indeed.
This perplexing year is winding down
Our heads have not stopped shaking
As if we're experiencing a wild dream
From which we're having trouble waking.

So let's face it, 2016 was no picnic.  It wasn't horrible, well the end of the year, beginning with the end of August was not the best for our family, and my eldest brother especially had a terrible end of the year with the passing of his beloved wife Alison who battled a chronic, painful and debilitating illness for most of her adult life.  He and his two teenaged children are trying to find their balance and learning to live with the grief that the loss of the gentle woman brings. 
As far as the rest of the year, there were many ups and downs in our house, expensive things that had to either be fixed, replaced, or in the case of our beautiful  old maple tree, removed.  It was the year that I had to decide whether to look for a new job or find a way to enjoy it as I used to.  I chose to find a way to enjoy my time there by focusing on the good things about it and  accept but not dwell on the annoying aspects of it.  I think that probably I did that in regards to many things last year.  Well it's good to reflect on the past twelve months and realize that over all I had a pretty good, productive year.
Now here we are at 2017 and I can't believe that is what year it is!  I don't think when I was younger that I ever thought about this year, what it would be like, what age I would be, and what I would be doing.  I've always tended to live in the moment and not look too far ahead.  I also have not ever been one to make New Year's resolutions.  I'm not making any this year either, (why change now?), but I will set one goal for myself.  I want to be more courageous. Yes, I want to be brave in trying new things.  Not a lot of new things, and really improving current or past things is more like it; but it will feel like doing something new to me.  Some of that has to do with writing, and submitting my work, and some of it has to do with going places, and some is house related. 
I don't know what this new year will bring my way, challenges for sure, happy things, and most likely some unhappy ones as well.  Hopefully the good will be more plentiful than the bad for everyone.
Happy New Year!