The Kindness Of Little Things

We read, all the time, about the kindness of strangers, about gratitude and blessings and I am for all of them and more. I did random acts of kindness even before people knew that expression. I started when my little boy was four years old, He is now 22, and has just been accepted into medical school, he still never wants to miss anything.

 

I took my little “farmer”

 

 

who always woke up at five am to a diner where we ate blueberry pancakes and drank tinny flavored orange juice. We noticed a very cranky, “mean looking” old woman sitting at the next table. He said she looked “mean.”  I explained to him “maybe she was just having a very bad day or was unhappy.” I asked him what we thought we should do, to cheer her up? We decided to pay her check and not tell her. We gave an extra twenty-dollar bill to the waitress

 

 

 

to pay for her bill and the next customer’s.

 

No way did we start this trend but I’m sure my son and I were way ahead of the crowd. Now, I decided to take another approach to kindness and gratitude.

I am appreciating those things I have or own that I take for granted. Like my pillow, not the saggy old one that is basically flat, but the newer one that has some bounce to it like the hop of a bunny on a lazy green lawn.

 

 

More importantly, I am thankful for my white comforter because it keeps me warm at night perched on top of three, sometimes four, other blankets. I get cold easily either from Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a combination of maladies.

 

 

 

No, “she” is not a down-filled comforter, I tried that. I ordered a queen sized comforter from a very well-known and expensive store, put it into a duvet cover and within three days there were feathers flying everywhere both in and out of the duvet. About 2,000 flying feathers.

 

 

I started sneezing and I couldn’t stop. I have had down comforters before with no problem but THIS company/store was quite arrogant about the problem and turned me off so much I decided not to get a replacement for it. It was horrible, it looked like the down comforter had exploded. Not a good experience with THAT company! Be nicer to your clients please. I would have stayed with you if your service people had been kinder.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, it could be a piece (or two) of milk chocolate or rainbow sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, it could be a new book or a gift card to Amazon. Most of all it could be an appreciative grin or the blink of an eye or my husband’s loud laughter when he thinks something I’ve said is silly and funny.

Appreciate all the small stuff, because you know what? It’s all small stuff and in the end, if you start noticing more and more of the good stuff? It will make your day-to-day life a lot happier.

Focus on the good and not on the bad. Hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, always say “Thank you” and “You are welcome”, if someone was kind to you, thank them.  It really IS the little things that count. Life is scary, it’s unpredictable and it is short. Families can be stressful and hard and filled with tension BUT, they are still family. Appreciate the good people in your life. Get rid of the negative people who influence you.

We ALL need reminders once in a while, that’s okay. Just come back to it.

WISHING ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

 

Advertisements

And Now I Shake

ECG complex.

ECG complex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the last six weeks I’ve felt light-headed; I’ve often brought this up to my internist and she has always said that it’s my low blood pressure ( 80/60.) “Salt your food” she murmurs, “stand up slowly from a seated position.” Then she adds: “That happens to me too!!” (Now I’m SURE we can be best friends because we have so much in common.) My husband insists that it has been happening more often and he has nagged me to see my doctor for a few weeks now, I’ve refused.

Yesterday I had an annual physical with my gynecologist who I like but totally FORGOT that she’s a worry wart like I used to be. Notice the PAST tense. I casually asked her if she thought I needed to see my internist about this small issue. She said “yes” and “that it might be a problem with my heart “valve.” The only “v” word I expected to hear from her was “vagina”( if there are any guys reading now is your opportunity to run) valve did not make me happy. I finally confessed to my husband, tried not to look at his smug face and called to set up an appointment.

I described feeling light-headed, having to bend my head down to prevent fainting, feeling very warm, getting a massive headache but never passing out. I could reach a chair or a bed and sit down and I’d be fine in a few minutes. It never happened when driving and obviously if I felt weak, I wouldn’t go out. It did happen going up or down stairs but I always held on to the banister. It was NOT, in my estimation, dangerous.

Now that I had conceded, a nurse gave me an EKG which was perfect with the oddest exception. My whole body started shaking. Once or twice lately I have noticed that my body starts shaking uncontrollably and I can’t stop it. I have asked my husband if he could see it and he has always said “no.” I think it’s one of those “guy” things. The nurse noticed it right away, I’m sure a best friend could as well.

So now, I could add “shaking” to my long list of maladies. Along with Fibromyalgia, almost passing out, Thyroid disease, Auto-Immune disease of the thyroid,  impaired hearing, I shook. I felt like one of those bobble heads except it wasn’t just my head that bobbled, it was my body wobbling. A nurse took five or six vials of blood and then the doctor told me (wait for it…) I had to go to the cardiologist for an echocardiogram and even worse, a stress test. No, No, No! Ugh, this is sweat and embarrassment  in front of others and I hate that kind of stuff. I gave my husband the evil eye, actually two evil eyes. They scheduled me in six weeks, obviously not a crisis situation to them (Thanks, honey!)

My doctor used this new phrase at least five times during my seven minute visit: “due diligence. In my language that means ” I’m running these tests to cover my ass.” For someone who used to get anxious for days, even weeks, I only got anxious for about five minutes which for me is zen-like (and that’s when they  told me I had to see the darn cardiologist.)

As soon as we got home,  I made myself my old standard comfort food, an American cheese sandwich on soft bread with butter, some salt-ridden baked sour cream and onion Lays potato chips( for medicinal reasons only) and a cold Yoo-Hoo to drink. For dessert, nothing speaks comfort more than a dish of really rich vanilla ice cream, softly melting in a red ceramic dish. No drugs of any kind were necessary. No jelly on pizza, I required nothing else. Damn, I was proud. But, I still have to do those stupid tests unless, as my sister suggested, I cancel?! What do YOU think?

Woman in Café with Yoo-Hoo and Cigarette, afte...

Woman in Café with Yoo-Hoo and Cigarette, after William Glackens (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

My Banana Has Freckles

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee (Photo credit: lightmatter)

I feel like a monkey, somewhere, somehow I have evolved into a monkey from a human being, it’s the evolutionary theory backwards. All I have craved lately are bananas. Not just bananas but banana smoothies, made by moi. I LOVE THEM. They comfort me, soothe me, and make me feel happy. I’ve had one every day for about five days now. There are no more bananas in the house anymore, I must go shopping tomorrow but waiting for them to ripen is an exhausting ordeal.

When I want them to ripen faster I put the bananas in a brown paper bag with an apple tossed in because I once read this hastens the process. If it doesn’t at least I don’t have to see green edges, which in fact, is the only way my mother and son can eat bananas. Raw bananas? Ugh. There must be a science to banana eating and yes, I have also heard that you should peel a banana from the bottom like the monkeys do. I’m flexible, I do that once in a while but eating them while they are green? No, that will never do and don’t confuse green bananas with plantains because that is just entirely different. You need bananas with freckles, especially if you are baking with them, carmelizing them or using them in a yummy smoothie. I also make a mean banana bread but so far, that’s a family secret.

I am sharing my banana smoothie recipe with you, I only hope it gives you as much joy as it gives me:

In a blender put:

3 ripe bananas (RIPE is the operative word, not okay if they are green)

a  small container of yogurt (you choose) I have used strawberry/banana yogurt, cherry vanilla or plain yogurt (I use 0 percent)

a bit of crushed ice (many people like icy smoothies, like my daughter, so feel free to add ice cubes or more crushed ice-I like them more creamy)

a dash of vanilla and almond extract to taste

2-3 Tablespoons of vanilla ice cream or low-fat vanilla ice cream (optional)

one teaspoon of brown sugar (optional)

a peach, plum, raspberries, cantaloupe or any old fruit that needs to be used (again, optional)

Blend at High for about a minute.

Take a Tablespoon to taste, adjust as needed. Pour, serve and enjoy!

Mellow Yellow Monday: Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes (Photo credit: babe_kl)

Not just any yellow fluffy pancakes but BANANA PANCAKES!

For added ecstasy, carmelize a few of the bananas

(often carmelized bananas are dessert in our

family-some add chocolate syrup to them, others, vanilla ice cream.

I just go for the sweet, sticky bananas fried (Use Pam) in a frying pan, with low heat.

In fact, I go bananas for banana pancakes.

(similar to* “I go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”)

*Cocoa Puffs, a product of General Mills

Arnold Palmer, Skinny Cows, Books, Music and Me

I never thought I had an addictive personality but now I am not so sure.  I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, in fact I don’t drink or do drugs at all. I hate the taste of alcohol (with the exception of a really good Mojito but I can only drink half of one). However, I realized I am addicted to certain things and all new products. I am a public relations’ pleasure, I am the ultimate consumer and if I find something new that I like, like turns to love and love to obsession immediately.

I am now in love with Arnold Palmer’s lite Iced Tea and Lemonade drink.  My son, 17, turned me on to it and I drink it constantly. Usually I go for months adoring the product then I get so sick of it that I stop completely. I refuse to believe it will happen to my new love beverage but I tend to say that about everything I have been in love with. What happens is that I cycle through an addiction, find a new one and circle back. It’s a harmless beverage addiction and it makes me happy, besides we’re supposed to drink more water!  Do I go through withdrawal symptoms when I don’t have some? No, as long as there is some in the house. If not, I get anxious, seriously anxious. Perhaps I should consider rehab or an intervention?

I also am addicted to books and unfortunately not the books in the library although I go there quite often. I once bought a Kindle (gee, thanks Oprah) because of the number of books I read but that didn’t last long. I missed holding the book in my hand, I missed the texture and the feel of the paper, the fact that I could not write my name in bold, script letters on the first page to claim it as my own. I devour every word, sometimes highlighting, turning the pages deliciously and slowly, one by one.

I am the same way with music, my computer practically plays “Recently Played” songs almost automatically. I will listen to these 25 songs over and over again for a really long time. It’s something about the comfort of the repetition and the familiarity of those favorites that make me happy. Sometimes I will get sick of them, (although it’s been a long haul for the latest batch and I’m still listening to them) and I will move on to the next….eventually.   For now “I Dreamed A Dream” sung by the Glee cast has been played at least fifty times, okay everything from the Glee cast has been played at least 50 times, followed by the Plain White T’s song “1,2,3,4.” and Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze’s duet “Falling Slowly” from American Idol. When all else fails I still turn to John Denver for comfort and nostalgic memories of my youth. His song  “This Old Guitar” actually  soothes me, and so much more natural than a Valium.

The third and final fave for this month are Skinny Cows Vanilla with Caramel swirl ice cream cones. Oh, the sticky sweetness of the caramel swirl and the soothing vanilla ice cream (ice milk?) too. You get the crunch of a “real” ice cream cone with fewer calories. The best to come is that silky smoothness of chocolate that comes at the very end of the cone and it’s unbelievably dreamy. Simple pleasures for hard times.

When things are going badly, like for the past eleven months or so (unemployment, health) I have to force myself, like now, to focus on the good, the tried and true, the familiar instead of being overwhelmed with self-pity, (I admit I held a pity party today). Today there was a lot of “Everybody Hurts” sung by The Corrs’. I will be over myself by tomorrow, I promise.   I need to take deep breaths and walk in the sun, with my dog at my side, instead of sitting inside with my trustworthy laptop, playing music I’ve heard a hundred times already.

*I am not a spokesperson for the aforementioned products, I wish.