Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Happy Factor

If you are acquainted with the oft used text and Twitter anagram IRL (= In Real Life) then you may be a great candidate to read the following entry. My idea for this came from the fact that I am too often passed off or tagged a Pollyanna because I’m usually counter to negativism by using positive statements. Everyone needs to deal with sadness and depression at times in their lives but the quicker that you deal with the causes and decide to be happy, no matter what, then you’ll never have to be a part of the worldwide epidemic of depression. If you could use your mental and physical powers to lift yourself out of a funk rather than take a pill wouldn’t it be worth it? Here goes:
     1. Social media friends may be the worst source for help with depression. You are more affected by the people in your immediate environment than you realize and the sooner you come to grips with this the faster you’ll be on the road to happiness. In the Bible, one commandment reads: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Even if you don’t even talk to your neighbors you can be affected by the things they do, how they conduct their affairs in and out of your area. Your home is a sanctuary and they affect it. When you make peace with this consequential circumstance most of your work will be done. However, your next door neighbor isn’t your only neighbor. Where you work and who you work with is included into this and even people you see on a regular basis elsewhere is also a neighbor. That means on a plane seat, people in your car pool, etc. Teach yourself to see a bit of yourself in these people. Once you can truly empathize then you can get a handle on dealing with other people’s problems. It doesn’t mean you have to solve them- that’s in their area- but you can at least come out of your own skin and make some peace out of what can too easily become chaos.
     2. One sure way to clear your head of negative, unhappy moods and mindsets is to get some fresh air every morning. Get your body moving to aid your head from fogginess and forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is a symptom of depression. Go for a brisk walk every morning where there is mostly trees, other walkers, pets on the move and children running about playing hopscotch or whatever. It’s the finest and quickest mind-clearing exercise known. It works. Do it!
     3. Form an actual group of likeminded people (outside of social media contacts, unless they are people you see everyday in your real life). The best way to get happy and stay happy is to seek out those types of individuals. My experience in trying to cheer up people with serious depression issues is that misery loves company. They will bring you down unless you are determined to get and stay happy. My suggestion is to start dropping something positive into conversations with people you know are prone to depression. Do not hang around. Just call it your ‘happy bomb’ and move on. You’ve got too much of a great day to have to hang around for the excuses. Who knows? You may get them on your happy team eventually.
     4. Happiness is as much a sport as an actual sport. You’ll need to exercise it everyday and in every facet of your life. It’s a good and healthy habit and you won’t be taking any kind of pill unless it’s one of those placebos which debunk, often, even the biggest of naysayers. If you think you need a reason to be so happy then make a little happiness here and there for others. A key to all of this is that you need to get out of your own head and get a larger view of the world. The news can, too often, create a depression that you are unaware of so determine that each incident is just that- an incident, and not the entirety of life.
     5. Make sure you do something for yourself everyday. There’s no better way to keep a lighthearted and upbeat attitude than to be good to you. If you’re a person who tends toward self-criticism you’ll need to use this therapy on a regular basis. The objective is to get out of your own way and stop treating yourself like an enemy. Learning to really love yourself is a way to give peace of mind to everyone in your environment or neighborhood which includes you. You don’t have to spend money to do this by the way. Once you get a little creative you’lll find how inexpensive this advice really is and that it is essential to a happy life.
      There is more I could say but I think you can take this advice and run with it now…

Happiness is what you make it. Just like the song. 


Friday, December 29, 2017

Don't Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle!

     What a year 2017 has been ! Mine has been up and down like a yo-yo but with victories being prevalent I’ve decided that this is life for now, not forever. If getting those victories means I have to deal with different problems for awhile then everything is working out for the better. Momentum might just get me a homer. Well, it’s easier to go with that rather than focus on bad stuff which will eventually just work itself out, anyway. My mother’s influence was always positive and she very seldom became unhinged over anything. Positive thinking and living is the better way. Also, Mom always said, “Whatever everyone else does- you do the right thing, anyway.”
     My greatest victory this year was defeating debt that looked impossible to surmount through 2015 and 2016. That is a big sigh of relief you just heard in the background. My rule of thumb has been never to get into more debt than you can pay off on any given month. It may sound strange to some but building credit is just as important as clearing the deck of finances. Having a good credit rating is akin to having those lines of credit with the bank. Those are good to have but generally a bit low especially for the needs of an average homeowner today. If you wanted to start a business, would you be able to finance it with the type of credit that is available to you?
     I have had clients tell me they have filed bankruptcies with a gleam in their eyes like they got away with something. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Just wait until they desperately need a loan or have to do something drastic like mortgage their house because of an emergency! The perceived risk factor by the potential creditor may put you into such a high interest rate that it could put you in the red for the rest of your life. And that’s if you get such a break because bankruptcies are usually anathema to creditors. Any credit counselor will tell you that because it’s true.
     There is no worse feeling than knowing that you worked as hard as you could only to find that because you made bad financial decisions there is no way out of a rut. I can certainly testify to that because I have spent most of my life literally working on clients hand and foot! The only creditor who will esteem your hard work is yourself- i.e. do you give yourself credit? - and maybe a friend or two. So your financial decisions are crucial to your life and livelihood in the long term. You may win the PCH sweepstakes but if you make financial decisions based on those suppositions you could really get yourself in a bind. You may as well gamble with loaded dice in Vegas!
      Being realistic, prioritizing the needs from the wants and plain old budgeting will back up your hard-earned cash. Being thrifty, couponing and going for the discounts on your i-phone also help but if you put too much or too little on your credit card you’re missing out on the best way to get control of your finances in a very real way. Only multimillionaires and billionaires can spend money like there’s no tomorrow. All those making $12,000 or less per year better learn their math and how to budget especially if you’ve started to spend money in an adult fashion. Your future financial status depends on it.

The Castle Lady

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Olaf's Frozen Adventure

Like everyone else that is a romantic I thoroughly enjoyed the first Frozen movie when it came out along with the wildly popular songs and even the merchandising of it- well, most of it anyway. I’ve never been one to go so far as to buy huge amounts of promotional products even if I really like a movie, group or T.V. sitcom, etc. Maybe it’s because the licensing companies always over-do it and everyone gets burnt out on anything that gets pitched to that degree and manner. Two weeks ago, while watching this new T.V. version, I suddenly realized I had my Olaf pajama pants on and my Frozen box of tissues beside me and was pasting Frozen stickers on a few of the Christmas cards I was addressing and started to laugh a little to myself. When the commercials came on I consulted my Frozen 2017 calendar while packaging patterns for Elsa’s and Anna’s outfits to send to my long-time friend in Russia- my Russian pen-pal, if you will.

I suddenly realized I’d overbought, perhaps, without even trying. These were items I had to buy anyway and it just seemed to me that it would be nice if they depicted my favorite characters from the movie. The Olaf pants are the warmest I’ve ever worn and we’ve been getting below 20 degree weather since the day before Christmas in Denver. Okay! The patterns were quite deliberate and so were the Frozen stickers but you have to remember that I’ve never carried on this way so you’ll have to cut me some slack if I have perhaps gone overboard.

     Let’s face it, Frozen Disney characters may be the most irresistible that they’ve ever created. Walt would definitely approve because he was a proven romantic. If you haven’t seen Olaf’s Frozen Adventure you missed out on something really special on T.V. that happens very rarely these days. The premiere of a Disney movie on T.V. rather than in the movie theaters first! I’d be willing to bet that Frozen may be the most watched since The Wonderful World of Disney first aired more than 50 years ago. Now there’s a program they need to bring back!

     At any rate, if they show it again before we go into the new year (they’ve shown it twice before Christmas!), please watch it with your kids or any you can pull off the street and get them to sit still long enough to watch it all the way through. This may be the best Disney has ever offered on T.V. and this particular Frozen installment was very heart-warming and just plain fun. The humor works for both children and adults and contains a great message for both, too. 

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The Castle Lady

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

It’s Just Another NBA Christmas !

I love the back-to-back games they have every year now on a regular T.V. network. This is the third year in a row now. It gives fans a chance to see what the potential championship runners for the year are up to and what’s what concerning the roulette wheel of trades and free agent changes. Kevin Durant’s move last year to the Golden State Warriors took everyone by surprise including myself but I’ve been aware of his talent as a player for quite some time. He’s actually a peer with LeBron but has chosen the humble road for quite some time. My how things can suddenly change! Humbleness cannot be faked, in my estimation, so my thoughts are that Durant needed a little more recognition and respect. Good for him. It doesn’t make him any less a hero but it makes him quite human- as we all are- and I nod my head in agreement. No one has ever earned MVP quite as much as he did last year and under the current circumstances I think he should receive the award again. Of course, that would be a contingent on whether the GSW make their way to the championships again. Judging from the last five games I think they can do it.

Stephen Curry has been curiously over-absent from quite a few games now and the camera spotted him in the audience about midway through Monday’s game (and very near the end) on ABC looking quite peaceful, happy and idle. Hmmm. As usual, all the Warriors were in their best form and won the game against their fiercest rivals, the Cavaliers. To be honest, when I watch these particular matches I’m torn because I like as many players on the Cavaliers team as GSW. There were a handful of rookies on both teams so it was particularly crucial to watch.

  Something I haven’t understood at all is the reaction that Kevin Durant is getting in his old hometown- OKC. What’s up with all the sass from former fans last year? It appears to me that Russell Westbrook is carrying a grudge but he should be quite happy with his line-up these days and they did win over the Houston Rockets by a five-point lead. When I saw that Carmelo Anthony had joined up with the Thunder earlier this season I went into shock because I know how much he persevered to join up with the Knicks years ago after being with our own Denver Nuggets for so many years. Conversation about him never stopped while he played for Denver but he also caught some flack by Nuggets fans when he signed on the dotted line for the Knicks. While watching that game on Christmas Day I noticed that his average shooting had gone down more than ten points since his Denver days. That made me sad because he was the holder of the highest shooting average in the NBA while he played here.

     Overall I liked most of what I watched and am looking forward to this season’s wrap up. I’ve learned to just enjoy the games because I truly don’t have favorites but I do appreciate a good, difficult basketball game full of three pointers, pass-arounds, ally oops and jump shots but very little dribbling. It’s too long of a road to Little Dribbling and wastes too much gas. Speaking of gas- whatever happened to Birdman? Oh, I almost forgot. thumbs up to Draymond Green for his sly-fast 3-pointer from downtown in the beginning of the last quarter on Christmas! 😜  

Monday, November 13, 2017

I Don't Like Friday the 13ths

     It wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact, most of my life I have had the audacity to enjoy almost all Friday the 13ths with exceptionally good luck, prosperity and grand enlightenment. When I look back I recall seeing many a raised eyebrow and/or funny looks from people when I told them so. I’ve never been a superstitious person (and probably never will be) so I would regale people with my experiences with more relish than was appropriate but I like to be different- because I always seemed to be, anyway- and disappointing superstitions give me a grand buzz. Who-hooo! Another one knocked down like a stacked domino!
Why have I changed my tune? Well, my experiences have taken a turn for worse. My eldest brother died on Friday 13th back in 2006 and the whole family misses him because he was one of our outstanding members. Everyone liked him on a very basic level and he was our go-to person any time we had a problem that needed either more smarts or willingness to tackle an issue or work that seemed impossible or particularly difficult. He was also the most fun to hang out with or be around. Pat was generous sometimes to a fault and when someone is like that you come to depend on it, eventually. He was well-loved by so many people, very much like my mother.

     The most recent disappointment with this calendar pariah was November 13, 2015. Doesn’t ring a bell? That was the day that five separate explosions and a massive shooting ambush at Bataclan Arena took place in Paris. For all those who have never visited Paris I can only say that the horrific attacks couldn’t have been perpetrated on more unlikely victims than the people and normally lucky visitors of Paris. A parallel equivalent would be the school bully telling a brother that he’s going to rape and kill his beautiful five-year-old sister. Devastating. 

     There was no warning, however. In addition, the nearly synchronized attacks, perpetrated by only seven actual assailants were carried off in the coldest and most calculating manner I can recall among the myriad of attacks which have occurred before or since- both internationally and in our own country. The attacks in Paris made my blood run cold but not with fear. Details only make it more insidious but even if it looks as if the terrorists are winning I can tell you that in truth they are not. I hope we are all preparing ourselves for these possibilities and many people will be ready if it should continue the way it has for far too long.
     Peace cannot tolerate such cataclysms for long. I place all my faith in a God who is bigger than everything we experience as humans, material or immaterial. He will move, when He has allowed as much time as possible for us to wake up and face His sovereignty, omnipotence and most of all His omnipresence. He will move and will not wait even a split second to intervene when the enemy rushes in for what he believes to be victory but will be his final defeat. Remember, it’s always darkest just before dawn.

The Castle Lady

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Fall Leaves...

Fall, leaves, fall
by Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Love it!

The Castle Lady 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yesterday was National Food Day...

     I made spaghetti last night and it made me think of this particular strip. Mind you, I tend to be a neatnik so I always manage to keep things pretty clean and I never slurp up a whole pile of spaghetti no matter how hungry I am. I always use my fork to wrap the spaghetti around and make a good mouthful of each bite. I also can't have spaghetti without Italian sausage. It doesn't seem right without it. So I have it going on when it comes to proper eating of this classic dish.
     To be honest, it's cleaning up after that is the real rigamarole. It's crazy what it takes to make a simple dish. I end up cleaning just about every pan, colander, frying pan etc. I own! Not only that but I promise you that if you do spaghetti dinners right you will be cleaning your kitchen for days if you're conscientious like me about getting everything clean. I don't have to wonder why I have never made a habit of eating a lot of spaghetti meals. As much as I love them I have to have my energy up to get to that! 
     I have to say this also: It's always worth it, anyway! Umumum um!

Just ask Addie!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Is Summer Over ?

Not to worry. We have an interesting seasonal possibility in Denver called Indian summer which often comes when we most seem to need it. Indian Summers were more prevalent during my young years in this city but they seem to be making a comeback, especially this year. If you’re from back east or a part of the eastern states of the Union you may be wondering just what an Indian summer might be and it is simply this: A period of mild, warm hazy weather following the first frosts of late autumn, especially on the North American continent. At least, that’s the first definition according to Webster’s New Universal.
Denver has very early Indian summers and they can be quite pleasant in all honesty. Our summer evenings, as a rule, do not remain hot even if we hit high 90 to 100 degree weather but Indian summer evenings are quite cool and make air conditioners irrelevant through September and October. We never know how long they might last but sometimes clear up to Thanksgiving or even Christmas. No kidding. I think it’s because we have an arid climate, as a rule. Whatever we get you can bet it will be crisp. This entire year has been arid and I counted our snowfalls on one hand for 2017. I’m sure it would’ve affected the grapes if I hadn’t watered them quite a bit. Interestingly, I’m harvesting them now and after the fact of critters like raccoons, squirrels and various neighborhood filchers who leave messes behind.
I was still able to make 2 quarts of juice off of what they left me. Nice.
     At any rate, I can’t think of a better time to make the most of an Indian summer and just bask in it until I see it really is finally over. We’re so lucky to have the weather we have in Colorado and so I’m going to make the most of these so-called

…The Castle Lady

Friday, October 06, 2017

Smile though your heart is breaking...

Today is World Smile Day so if you're feeling a little blue or it's been difficult all day just remember that everyday should be World Smile Day. My grandmother used to say,"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone." There's a lot of wisdom in that and it happens to be true. So let's use that as a springboard to put a little more happiness in our lives.

Also, remember that it has been said that it relaxes your face to smile even if it doesn't feel like it at first and it's been scientifically proven that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Sounds like it's a good idea to smile. Try it tomorrow. Why not ?


Monday, September 04, 2017