Here is to 2016!!!

brown-background-blank-notepad-happy-new-year-holiday-62925209-1New Year…….opportunities and chances, choices and changes, a blank book to write wonderful stories. This year is no different, unfortunately, we all make resolutions and we all break them!!!

Thinking along those lines, I decided no to go the usual route. I am not going to get all worked up trying to accomplish the impossible. There had to be a better way, or ways to make this a good year.

Here are my ideas:

IMG_3566A few months ago, on Facebook……yes, I do get some good ideas from that…..I saw my New Year’s project. Going around, I found an article about focusing on the happy moments we have on a given day, week and month. It had a photograph of a jar, decorated and ready. For what you would ask? Well, to receive small notes mentioning those happy moments along the way. I thought it was just the thing because we tend to remember the difficult times more than the happy ones. So I bought three of them, decorated them very simply: one for me and one for each of my sisters. Part of my Christmas present to them.

The past year was very difficult to us. Nine years traveling back and forth to Panama, making sure our mother was well taken care of, struggling as so many other caregivers do. We had little time to focus on anything else and when we did, we discovered we have missed happy moments. When we, finally, put out mother in a home, mixed with the regret and the doubts, we were relieved. She is so much better off where she is and we deserve the rest. Christmas was a joyful family time!!!

The idea of our Happy Moments Jar was all we needed. It will give us the opportunity to stop and enjoy those moments, realize that we do have them and then scribble a small note about each one and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, we will get together and open our jars, read all our happy moments notes and remember what a great year it was. Brilliant idea, whoever had it!!!

IMG_3573Of course, I needed something else. I needed something to keep me busy the rest of the time, the time between those happy moments I was going to write about. On my last visit to Panama, I have picked up some coloring books and some Crayola crayons. Of course, the books were childish and simple. I most definitely needed adult coloring books. Mentioned this to my children in passing…….my son, Frank, got me the most beautiful one. Indian Mandalas and Henna designs….right up my alley!!!

IMG_3570Already colored my first page, randomly picking up crayons in no particular order, just the nearest. The result was very pleasing and, what’s more, it was so relaxing and uncomplicated. That, I discovered is the secret, you need to just go with the flow. Wonderful exercise in letting go!!!

These are my New Year projects, nothing complicated and stressful that would put me off. Nothing that requires a schedule, dieting, trying to get along with difficult people or a long term project that would never be completed. I think this is going to be a great year!!!

The Mystery of the Finger Splint

IMG_3145Now I can say all sort of strange things happen to me!!! Let’s start at the beginning. On December 30th, trying not to fall I held on to a shelf in my closet. I managed to hold on, but unfortunately my hand got caught and my pinky was bent out of shape.  Literally. It didn’t hurt at the beginning and Frankie and I had a good laugh looking at it. We were going out to dinner with friends, so there was no time to do much about that. I taped it really tight and forgot about it for the rest of the night.

I should have known it was not going to be alright. At our age, my sister keeps reminding me, everything that happens can cause permanent damage. Don’t even want to think what that means!!! So it was that the next day, I knew I needed help. My finger was hurting like crazy and still looking rather funny. Off we went to the Baptist Urgent Care facility near our home. After a couple of hours of waiting, several X-Rays, doctor and nurses coming and going, a metal splint was fitted to my finger. Immediately, it felt better, but the diagnosis was not good: lacerated tendon. Sounded awful and the doctor talked about a hand specialist, maybe surgery. Not what I wanted to hear the last day of the year. There was a New Year to welcome.

IMG_3153I was to wear this contraption for about 2 week, taking it off only to shower. The finger had to be taped before put back into the splint. If anything, I am good at following instructions if they would safe me a trip to a doctor!!! For the next two weeks, I was very good about this. I went to the pool, went out on a sailboat with friends, sat in the hot tub (great for the dull ache in my finger), completed small chores around the house; everything while wearing my splint.

This past Sunday, there was excitement in the air. The New England Patriots were playing the Indianapolis Colt for the AFC Championship. Boston sports teams are taken very seriously in our house. After spending time in the sun and having some light supper, Camille and I worked for a while on her closet. She is de-cluttering and getting things ready to give away or sell.

When I finally sat down to watch the game, my finger was hurting. I thought I needed some painkillers. To my surprise, I needed my splint!!! I looked at my hand and laughed, it had disappeared. Since I had not been out since we came back from the pool, we decided it had to be in the house. In between plays we all looked, everywhere. Even went through the rubbish, nothing. I knew I needed another one, so Frankie call the Baptist Urgent Care facility where they gave me the splint. He was told to go to a drugstore and get another one. He did at half-time. By then the Pats were winning 24-7.

IMG_3248He couldn’t find the same kind, but for now, I thought, it would do. My finger felt better. The Pats ended up winning 45-7…..a first class trouncing!! I went to sleep very happy, but my finger was not feeling that great.

We were convinced that the splint was somewhere around the house. Monday dawned on us and it was beautiful. Frankie and I went for a walk, Camille had to work. After my shower, we looked everywhere again. I took down things from my closet, cleaned Camille’s bedroom, swept under the beds, chairs, furniture. Nothing!!! The new splint wasn’t working, so off went Frankie again to get a different one. It feels better, but never the same; it’s bulkier and awkward. During the night it slipped off my finger and the pain woke me up. Other than that, it will have to do.

Almost a week has gone by and we haven’t found the darn thing. My house is so clean and organized, you would not believe it. My friends know I am not domesticated, so all this manual labor has taken its toll. I am exhausted. So last Tuesday, I took time for myself. I went out to lunch with a friend and walk back to my house. It was a beautiful, if cloudy day. Nothing of the splint, no idea where it went.

Strangest thing ever and it is driving me crazy. I have a doctor appointment next week to check on my finger, maybe get the right splint this time. In the meantime, I have to accept the fact that it will not be found, period. A real mystery.

IMG_3262P.D. Again, I believe anything can happen to me!!! Last Thursday, as I told you, I went to the doctor. My finger is slowly healing and I do not have to use that kind of splint anymore. I will be wearing a new  design. It’s a small piece of plastic covered in adhesive tape. The finger was gently bent upwards and the tape wrapped around it to keep it in place. Four more weeks to go. Of course, Frankie was really happy, but asked what are we going to do with the one he bought. I had no answer other than we could keep it in our First Aid box, but there was more to come.

The mystery has been solved. Yes, one week to the day, Camille found the elusive splint attached to one of her skirts, in her closet. I went through that place several times, how did I miss it? and how did it leave my finger and got itself attached to the skirt? The Universe works in mysterious ways and may the Patriots win the Super Bowl…..after all the nonsense about the “deflated” footballs!!!IMG_3264

2014 and How to keep your Resolutions!!!

It’s a New Year and as in every year, we make resolutions. We tell ourselves that we have been given the chance to start over and make things work out this time around. Unfortunately, it is a small minority sticking to their resolutions. I often wondered why…such good intentions and nothing to show for them at the end of the year. There must be a reason, I said, and what I found was: we take the big picture, trying to carry out too much and failing in doing so. Try one thing at a time, one day at a time.

There is also that we are not taking the real meaning of the word into consideration. I might be absolutely wrong on this one, won’t be the first time. Still, a small voice tells me I might be unto something this year. What are resolutions, after all? Here is the definition:

plural noun: resolutions
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
“the peaceful resolution of all disputes”

It is fairly clear, isn’t it? Resolutions are good intentions, aims we mean to meet….but wait….there is another meaning. Resolutions are actions of solving problems!!! Now things get clear. We need to take action to achieve, we need to act to solve. With this in mind, let the New Year begin.

Writing things down always helps me. Making lists is still very much a part of my life, let’s write what we want from this New Year. I don’t know about you, but I believe we must know what we want before we can have it. If you don’t know, you will wander aimlessly, wasting time and energy.

Please do not write things like: I want to lose weight, I want a new job, I want to travel. Being vague will get you nowhere. Be specific: I need to get in shape, so I am signing up for yoga or Pilates this week. Same thing applies when you want to travel: I will visit my friend in Holland in the Spring. Then start making this possible: investigate ticket prices, dates you can go. Or if you want a new job: how much you want to earn, are you ready to get into something you really love? Make inquiries about the possibility of changing jobs. Be positive and do your research!

We also tend to ignore our inner selves. We don’t pay attention anymore to what makes us happy. That is a big mistake. Our younger selves used to take risks and try new things. Nowadays, we are more serious and cautious, more careful….and not happy!! Listen and make yourself do small things at the beginning: change your hair color or get a new haircut, buy that dress that makes you feel sexy, treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure. A visit to the salon will do wonders for your self-esteem, I should know. The new me is going grey and my hair has movement and shine. Have a drink with a girlfriend on a week night…small steps. Follow your intuition.

In this time and age, we tend to be so negative. Always focusing in what is wrong with our lives, with our jobs, with our family…..maybe it is the fact that what is wrong is what sells. Everyone focuses on the negative. Toss all that: how about finding out what are you doing right that is making you healthier? or what is happening in your life that is making you happy? Seems nobody is interested, well, you should be. Sit and write these positive things. I am starting a diary about the positive changes I will be making this year and how my life becomes better!!! I will be sure I keep up my Gratitude Journal. Remember the craze about this in the 1990s? It was a brilliant idea, we should start the trend again!!!

Finally, remain in the present. There is nothing we can do about the past, except learn from it!! Some of us just don’t want to look too far into the future, it can be uncertain. That is true, but we can do things now to shape it to our advantage. Take time to get to know what you want, it’s never too late. Trust yourself and follow your passion. Enjoy every day and every moment. This year is a blank book, fill it with the best stories you have written yet and keep making memories…..