A Change of Pace

Or, a shift in media can make a huge difference.

I’m one of those people who grew up listening to the radio. Which, when you consider where I lived at the time, was a feat in itself. Way back in the mid to late 1970s living in Northwest Arkansas, getting signals for TV or radio was an iffy proposition. And that was before all the build-up that would impede them even more than before, not to mention waaaaaay before that thing called ‘cable’.
I was lucky to be able to get the CBS radio affiliate out of Chicago, which meant that I was able to listen to the “CBS Radio Mystery Theater” when it began. Awesome!
It also meant that we had 3 – yes, three – TV stations: CBS, ABC, and NBC. PBS was on the UHF band and not so easily acquired.
Radio was an interesting collection of a variety of music genres, some occasionally off the wall commentary (think ‘Bob and Ray’) and the occasional treasure of Old Time Radio shows. I have a vivid memory of sitting down to a Sunday lunch while listening to an episode of “Fibber McGee and Molly” coupled with an episode of “Jack Benny” that was broadcast from somewhere in Kansas.
I still listen to the radio. Today, however, my tastes seem to run more toward vintage radio shows or quieter easy listening stations. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed American OTR, but when I discovered Pumpkin FM from the UK, I found a huge variety of material that I’d never heard of before combined with a few things that had come to our shores via PBS and the Britcoms they carried.
For example, I’ve recently come across the British version of what we know of as “Three’s Company” and “Sanford and Son”. Both series were developed from the UK shows.
I’m also dipping my toe back into the world of Podcasts. A few years back I listened to a great one that focused on quilting. Another favorite was a limited series that focused on the history of food via the spice trade. Fascinating!

What are you listening to?

Giving Yourself Permission

Bella Cat is having A Day.

After the last couple of days full of rain and noise outside, plus some Serious Playtime inside, today Bella can be found in her spot by the window in the Library, one paw draped across her eyes, dozing.

She is tired. In need of quiet. And who could blame her?

I find myself envying the ease at which she takes on her own self care. She is very capable of announcing when she needs a cuddle and a hug – something she has had a lot of lately. But there are times when enough is enough and she finds a nice quiet spot to just be.

I think we could all take a lesson from such a cat, or dog if you are lucky enough to have one around.

So many things we do are by habit. They are the routines we live by, or at least attempt to. 😉

Sometimes, however, those habits are not fulfilling, not pleasing, not even enjoyable. A few simply are not necessary at all.

As we enter the Holiday Season it is well worth rethinking some of those habits, aka: ‘traditions’. “But we always …”

Be honest, those last three words just popped into your head and/or out of your mouth, right?

I know. Been there, done that. Really.

Habits and traditions can be fraught with all sorts of emotional landmines. They don’t even need a pandemic to emphasize them.

What would it be like to have one holiday season without all, or less of, the drama and trauma and stress?

The funny thing about traditions is that many were started not by a choice but by a need. There is an old story about how every Thanksgiving just had to include Great Granny’s ham made in Just The Right Pan. The grandkids had no idea why, they just went along with it for, well, decades before someone asked about it. Turns out the extremely special pan was the only one that the original ham would fit in.

When I was growing up, my mom and her sisters hosted the Christmas gathering at each home. They each took on a year with everyone meeting at that house. There were lots of people (adults & kids) around for an insane 48 hours and then people went home to meet at the next aunt’s home the next year, etc. This made sense in a way to keep the holiday together but after the kids grew up and people passed away, the tradition also died out.

What was served never changed, either. No matter the health issues or age or whatever. The Meal, huge as it was, never changed.

That couldn’t fly far with some of the food allergies and other health issues around today.

Whatever else this year has provided, it has given us opportunities to revisit the things we do, or wish we did.

So why not take the opportunity to give yourself permission to make a change or two and see how that goes? Want to try a new recipe? How about setting up the tree earlier or later, or not at all? Why not rearrange the furniture?

It might seem strange at first, but with each tentative step, you will discover what does and does not work for you.

The reality is this is your life and you have the right to choose how you live it. If you want your space to be more comfortable for you, it is up to you do make that happen. If you don’t want to do something just because it is a tradition you don’t particularly enjoy, you can choose not to do it. If your family wants to change the way you celebrate (or not) your family can make those choices. No one else should have a say in that, or at the very least, very little.

Give yourself permission to live the life you want to live in the way you want to live it. You might discover a lot less stress and frustration.

Reflections

You are reading this after Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. From my perspective prior to the holiday, I am contemplating the year that has passed and looking forward into 2021.

To the surprise of many (most?) of us, we’ve made it this far. Back in March there was concern that we wouldn’t. Many didn’t.

I’ve often found myself thinking about our ancestors and how they addressed situations that they had never experienced before. Some came across great distances just to get to our shores and start new lives. Some found themselves crossing the continent to start over in a new place. None knew with any certainty that they would survive, let alone succeed. Many did neither.

I’ve heard it said that you don’t know your own strength until you go through difficult times. I find that I have to agree.

Life is not guaranteed to be easy. There are always things that happen to turn what has been routine and potentially mundane upside down. Perhaps Humans need that to inspire them to move forward and grow?

What I do know on this cold and rainy November day is that there is a lot to be thankful for. There is something to be looked forward to. It may not be what we would prefer, but still, there is Something.

It is easy to get caught up in the angst and negativity that abounds. I’ve always maintained that the negative emotions are addictive – possibly more so than positive emotions. I think, however, that now is a good time to take a few minutes to look around – make a focused effort – to see the positive. Make that a habit.

This year has been full of opportunities to see and do things that we never made time, had time, thought about or even attempted before. We’ve discovered things that we can do – things that many of us didn’t believe we were capable of.

We have rediscovered ourselves.

Like pioneers of old, we are finding out what we are made of and building on that foundation to make a better future.

One step at a time.

Game Shows: A Few Thoughts

Or, I tried not to think very much about the passing of Alex Trebek and failed. Miserably.

There is an odd sense in our house lately. Alex Trebek, the faithful visitor every Monday through Friday when we watch Jeopardy!, passed away and while we can see the taped games, there is a touch of bittersweet where before there was none.

Oddly, I have the same sense when I watch the original Password on Buzzr. I grew up watching Allen Ludden host that show and, in later years, altered versions of the game.

Oddly, I don’t have quite the same response watching Gene Rayburn on Match Game. When I watch (rarely) one of those mid 1970’s shows, my initial reaction is “Gene, you need a haircut.” <shrug>

Ah, but Trebek and Ludden presided over shows that celebrated knowledge. Curiosity. Adventure. Fun. They encouraged us to actually think, not just observe.

One of the things that always surprises me is discovering that I know something I had no idea I know. Those connect the dots moments when the parts of the clue come together and – voila! – magic happens.

The day I learned that Ross Martin, one of our premier character actors, did the New York Times Crossword in ink, it blew my mind. In Ink! It takes courage to do that. Work the Times Crossword. In ink. Take your pick. 🙂

Both Trebek and Ludden shared a passion for their games and a joy working with contestants.

If you want to do a bit more time travel, visit What’s My Line with John Charles Daly at the helm. The panelists were often witty and urbane but the amazing Dorothy Kilgallen was awesome. She was the one to watch because she rarely missed anything.

Who would have thought that what was basically Twenty Questions to guess a person’s occupation could be such a lively and entertaining show? Even today.

I feel as if I’m avoiding facing the fact that these people I admire and enjoy are but memories.

I am grateful for the opportunity to watch their work and learn from their example. There can be great joy in games. There can be great joy is learning, even by accident.

Regroup, Refresh, Restart

I don’t know about you, but 2020 has been a millennia-long and not nearly as interesting as it should have been. Not to say it hasn’t had its moments.

Like many people, I’m trying to find a new path, a new way of being. I’m looking for interest catching things that get me engaged. The same old, same old just isn’t enough right now.

I am enjoying and appreciating content from people who are actively looking for ways to find positives, or at least an upward direction.

Cathy Hay has been offering thoughts on self care and self healing that, for me at least, provide not only a sense of calm, but a positive vibe that is sorely needed right now.

I’m looking to my U.K. folks, like Mr. Carrington, Luke Catleugh, and Hermione Chantal to show me not only their daily experiences but the areas they visit. I’m still keeping up with “Escape To The Country” as a way of seeing the U.K. that isn’t as a tourist.

The amazing Mary Fons is currently in the U.K. with her husband, Eric. Thanks to Mary’s blog and posts, I am able to get a different view of the country from someone whose perspective is one I admire and enjoy.

And, as if there is an overload of U.K. content, I’m once again enjoying Australia via Better Homes & Gardens.

The armchair tourist aside, I’m also looking at crafters from many areas who bring their own personal touches to different projects. I recently discovered the Quilting Marine who took up the craft after 20 years of service and a need to battle PTSD. The paper crafters I’ve been following are bringing some interesting ideas to us, many using tools that are relatively new to a lot of people.

Over on the book table, I’ve been enjoying new additions to ongoing series. Thanks to Audible’s expanded programs, I now have loads (tons?) of free books in additions to my monthly credits. It is a great way to stretch the budget, discover new authors and continue enjoying great storytelling.

In the kitchen, I’m working to get out of the rut of the same old, same old. While the budget might not be unlimited, the opportunities might be. When I inventoried my library this past summer, it became obvious that I have a huge (!) collection of recipes, ideas, options, and opportunities. I want to take advantage of that.

I keep coming back to the old Julie and Julia blog. I think the idea of focusing on one particular cookbook or chef interesting, but I haven’t quite made up my mind if I want to go that route or not.

I do own Mastering The Art of French Cooking (Volumes 1 & 2) and find the work not only amazing but homier than many might think. I also have a couple of Jacques Pepin’s books, with a similar thought to those books. This doesn’t begin to include the other volumes of cookery books, magazines, pamphlets, etc. that I’ve collected – and actually used – that I want to revisit.

Speaking of food, Mind Over Munch has been looking at personal relationships with food. The newsletters have been thought provoking, something that I might not have seen, or said, prior to this year.

It all comes together in what I am perceiving as an opportunity to revisit connections to life in ways that enhance and encourage, rather than to just get by.

I’m thinking that as we work our way through 2020, we are presented with opportunities to make sure that the way we are living our lives is one that provides the most opportunity to be happier, more content, more productive in ways that are fulfilling.

What do you think? I’d like to know.

Unexpected Consequences

“Be careful what you ask for.”

I chuckle because the lesson was a difficult one to master – and, no, it hasn’t been.

I learned from a young age that people heard things you didn’t realize you’d said and if you weren’t careful they’d make things appear (Like Magic!) when you weren’t expecting them to.

I have a dear friend who spoils me rotten. Around 3 decades ago he discovered I preferred Sees Dark Chocolate Marzipan rather than just a box of Sees candies. (If you haven’t tried them, you don’t know what you are missing – and that applies to all of Sees candies) Further, he discovered that I absolutely love York Peppermint patties.

That Christmas I was overwhelmed with both. Really!

I used to be able to get Cadbury chocolates at Target. I say ‘used to’ because it was decades ago and I’m not sure when everything shifted.

Anyway, I mentioned that I would love some Cadbury chocolate again.

Well, wasn’t I surprised (YEP) when I discovered a neat package in my mailbox all the way from England stuffed with an assortment of Cadbury chocolates?

If you love chocolate and are looking for something particularly luscious, I urge you to check out what you might find. My friend found mine on Amazon. These are not high-end fancies, but regular bar types similar to what we might find in a candy counter in America. Also, these aren’t cheap, either. Keep that in mind.

Make the Most Out of Limited Space

I’ve been following DIY Danie for a while now and have to say that I’m impressed at her creativity and expertise. This lady knows how to think through a project. Check out her blog at DIY In Progress or settle back to enjoy the adventure of her DIY projects over on YouTube.

Speaking of which, her current project is the creation of her brand new She Shack and it is Awesome! Check it out here:

Taking what is essentially an old garden tool shed and transforming it into efficient workspace is one thing, but upgrading it using paint and flooring is fabulous.

Danie has lots of other projects on her channel, so don’t be shy about checking out what she has to offer.

If you are contemplating updating one of your spaces or looking for ideas to make better use of your space, here are some things to think about:

  • What do you want to use the space for?
    • Will this be a high traffic area?
  • What kind of furniture is required?
    • Will you need to make special purchases OR can you create your own?
  • Will this be a multi-purpose area?
  • Is traffic flow an issue?
    • If you are mixing functions you may need to consider traffic patterns.
  • Do you need to make special arrangements for heating and cooling and lighting?
    • Some areas have full service, while others may need to upgrade or add services.

I hope this will inspire you to try your hand at something you’ve put on the back burner or thought you’d have to hire out to get done. If this post has been helpful, please let me know by clicking on the “Like” button and/or leaving me a comment. 🙂

Odd Thoughts And Ponderings

Came across Wil Wheaton’s Instagram post about the anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the impact that show had on his life. (His story is quite a tale, BTW.) I remember when TNG was announced and the most prevalent thing I heard was the complaint that it wasn’t the same as the original series. <Sigh>

TNG was the first real foray into other areas of the Star Trek Universe and it opened up a lot of doors for additional shows and movies. Personally, having lived for decades between any Star Trek show, I welcomed it back with joy. There are many aspects to the franchise that I enjoy – much to the frustration of the group who seem to have to have something to complain about.

One thing that has slowly (very slowly) become clearer and a bit more understood in my corner of the universe is the world of cosplay. Truthfully, I had no understanding of the whys and hows of this phenomenon. Thanks to some gifted folks who share their love of history, fiction, and vintage (all in various combinations), I’m starting to get an understanding and appreciation of the effort to create a character or re-create a version of a character in homage to the original work.

In its own way, it is Time Travel on a vastly different stage.

Diana Gabaldon posted a <cough> ‘snippet’ on her Facebook page that (as is usually the case with her gifts) brought out the wistful, will-you-just-hurry-up-and-finish-the-thing! in me. It is bad enough her books take at least 2 years to complete, but when there are additional delays and not much else to fill in the gaps, the wait becomes interminable.

Speaking of books, Audible has expanded the membership extras to include unlimited free works in addition to the monthly credits. I’ve been indulging in some vintage Ellery Queen. Part of the free listings include podcasts. Something I’ve been tempted to try out, but so far haven’t quite gotten organized enough to indulge in.

Heading into October has brought a reminder that the year is actually slowly coming to a close. Imagine that!

As I worked on my new calendar today, I thought about all the things that we used to do without thinking. Things used to be so much less complicated. A few years back, for example, giving food gifts was a no brainer. Now, with food allergies and health issues lots of options are (forgive me) taken off the table.

Allergies have created havoc across the spectrum. I had one friend who was deathly allergic to perfumes. For her, a short elevator ride could be hazardous – this was back in the day when some folks apparently either poured the scent bottle over their heads or filled a tub with it. Thankfully, I haven’t encountered that phenomenon much in the past few years.

I think back to the year 1999 and the trepidation as we headed off to January 1, 2000. Would the world come to and end? How would things be once the clock/calendar flipped?

Who would have thought that 2020 would be the year that we literally started looking back (hindsight) at what we used to do and begin the process of rethinking what we thought we knew?

I think this has been especially difficult for folks who tend to live their lives on automatic pilot.

One thing seems to be certain, as we move forward in our lives, we find ourselves encountering change, growth, experience, understanding along with a host of other issues. How we maneuver through them and if we choose to embrace them or not is an indicator as to how well we will survive life’s journey.

Like Wil’s Star Trek journey with his ST Family and the Time Travelers that look at cosplay, history and such, the journeys are complicated, simple, profound and interesting.

Taking A Breather

Or, A Change is as good as a Rest.

Hard to believe that it is almost October. I caught Rachel Maksey’s video about her version of the Strawberry Dress and her contemplating a list of Halloween videos and it got me to thinking. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.

I don’t think I’m ready!

Not to mention really in the mood.

The dress, by the way, turned out with Rachel’s usual flare. An interesting take on an Internet Phenomenon.

Came across a video channel called “What’s For Tea?” that is produced by a lady who lives in Scotland. She and her husband have 2 kids and live in a lovely corner of a lovely country. She, Cheryl, shares the recipes and weekly shopping she does for her family. I have to admit that as much as I enjoy just hearing her talk, she has lit a flame to try out hot water pastry. She did a version of Mary Berry’s Lemon Drizzle cake that made my mouth water, too. Yum!

Mr. C scored what we think is an original Louis Vuitton bag recently and I have to admit that as much as I’m not enticed by designer bags, this one is a bit thrilling. <shrug> What can I say?

Thanks to an upgrade that Audible did to their service recently, I’ve been enjoying some original Ellery Queen books in addition to my usual monthly haul. The series originated back in the late 1920’s when two cousins worked together to write a story for a contest. I’ve enjoyed the books off and on over the years and the magazine was a favorite find at second hand stores.

Audible has worked hard to make the service more accessible and appealing to a wide variety of ages and preferences. If you are like me, and love being read to, I strongly urge you to check it out.

I’m currently working my way through the latest entry in the “St. Mary’s Chronicles” series. Who knows where I’ll go next?

Jeopardy! returns with new shows on 9/14!

Think I’m in the mood for a bit of Hanna Barbera this afternoon. Ciao!