I decided late yesterday afternoon to make a rather fancy dinner for the family. All ingredients were bought. I snuck out of work a little early. And then it happened. One by one each child called or stopped in with their reason that they weren’t eating dinner. Hubby quickly chimed in that he would be happy to eat leftovers. Hmmm, why do you have to have a lot of people to have a fancy meal? You don’t and we didn’t. I made the dinner (quantity scaled down) anyway. Why do we always put off what we like to do just because it is for ourselves?
Of course, I’m not always in the mood to make a fancy dinner. Sometimes I want to just eat out of the pot. It usually is no big deal, but what if it really makes you happy?
What in your daily routine really makes you happy, or, prevents you from finding your bliss? To figure it out, you have to be fully present in all that you do. I for one, am usually not. My mind is always racing to the next thing. When I do catch myself and force myself to slow the brain down, I find that more things than not bring me a smile, I’m usually just too busy to notice!
Today in my email I received my domain renewal notice. 24 domains (of which I have done nothing with) were set to renew. If I acted now I would save 30% so I decided to check it out since they were set to renew within a week anyway. I checked all and continued on only to see that it was going to cost an exorbitant amount of money to complete the transaction.
First to go were the .nets, .biz, .mobi, etc. Then I had to look at the .coms I knew I wasn’t going to do anything with. I cut a few more and finally decided on those that I just couldn’t cut loose. It was a tough decision, and I acted on a combination of what I knew I had to do and the physical pain of losing those that I wanted to keep.
It was a good exercise in evaluating my priorities, looking back over the past year as to why I didn’t do anything with these domains. I remember how excited I was and the plans I had for them when I purchased them last year. What will this year bring? Do I have the time to getting any of them up and running? Are they worth holding on to if I don’t? Hmm, more tough decisions. I go back and cut some more.
In the scheme of things, this wasn’t very earth shattering, but it was a reflection in how I make decisions. Assess, reflect, assess again. Walk away and repeat the process. I’m comfortable with the end result. How do you make tough decisions?
I had a dream a couple of months ago. It was the first time I had dreamed about my dad since he passed away in July. The fact that I was not dreaming about him bothered me because the thought of him hasn’t really left my mind, so why – - when I was sleeping, was I not thinking about him?!?
This dream was exceptionally vivid. He was dancing with my mom. It wasn’t a long dream, in fact, it was a pretty quick clip. But it was clear as could be. He as happy, he was healthy (he had ALS so dancing was not something he was capable of doing for years), and he was clearly head over heels in love with my mom. When I woke up that morning, I had the most incredible feeling of peace. In the book The Secret, there’s a part that says when the dead visit you, you remember it as a dream. I’ve always liked that idea. I’ve also heard some people’s version of heaven as the happiest place you’ve ever been. I’m one of those that subscribe to that way of thinking. It is a combination of those two thoughts that I’d like to attribute to that dream. It was my dad letting me know that he is dancing with my mom — that is his heaven. This gives me comfort because my mom is still alive. Kind of like the last episode of the series Lost… everyone heaven (or limbo or whatever their reality was) was made up of the people important to them — regardless of whether those supporting players were alive or dead. Last night on an episode of Desperate Housewives (are you seeing a theme here? Yes – I watch a LOT of TV), Susan Delfino says that her newly departed husband Mike “is in a better place. He is having hamburgers with his family, fishing at a waterfall, watching football with his son.”
Why do I mention all of these things? Today, the last day of winter… is a new beginning. I want to be conscious of creating those moments of “heaven” right here on earth. I’m sure as I think about it, those moments will include family– but what other moments? Sitting at the water at dusk? The morning I woke up early on our Mediterranean cruise to see the lone fisherman off the coast of Italy?
I am SO excited by this thought that I’ve actually put it to print — the first time I’ve blogged in a year. It’s a new beginning.. I have a purpose.
Looking for those heaven worthy moments. What is your idea of heaven?
This year I hit a milestone number. I have been planning the way I was going to celebrate for about a year now. The plans have been many, and sometimes they change monthly, weekly and several times a day. It’s not odd to have someone reaching a milestone plan their celebration, but you have to understand my history with birthdays to know the angst this particular one brings me.
My birthday is the day after Christmas. Yes — the day after! After a month of preparation and partying for Christmas, who wants to celebrate the day after. I have grown up with “combined gifts”, the obligatory birthday cake after Christmas dinner, or gifts forgotten. No school parties because everyone was on vacation, and for most of them – leftovers for dinner.
Now – not all of my birthdays have been the woe is me kind, as I got older, I started planning them myself. I’ve done the day after Christmas shopping (because doesn’t everyone want to fight crazed crowds trying to get a bargain?!?), hitting the road to make the trek down to FL to see the parentals, and just staying in bed while everyone else cleans up the Christmas mess. On and off the last couple of years, we’ve started going to sushi restaurants because that’s the only food we haven’t eaten during the month.
Yes — the day after Christmas is quite the day to celebrate. We even had a suspension of the day as 8 years ago our first dog died on that day. My daughter refused to acknowledge the day as anything but the day Gizmo died for a few years. Thank goodness we’ve gotten past that!
That leads us to this year. The plans (all by me) have run the spectrum from taking a trip with the girls, taking a trip with the family, spending a week learning to be a rock star (yes – you can purchase this gift for me for $10,000), taking a limo to spend the day in the city, going to a spa, doing Karaoke, to planning my own party (complete with Pommery Louise champagne & purple M&Ms). Included in this plan is to wear a tiara the entire day. (We’ll address that in another post).
Oh — that brings me to the cake. I want one of those fancy schmancy cakes. @CakeBossBuddy keeps ignoring my tweets. And…….. it needs to be chocolate. My favorite. The one I’ve never gotten.
So what are the plans as of today? To spend the month celebrating in some small way. Doing the things that I love so that on the day it’s no big deal. Or maybe, celebrate the month after. As for the actual day? Sleeping in and realizing it’s just another day! I’ll keep you posted!
As you guys know, customer service is a huge part of what I do online. I pride myself in being able to turn around a volatile situation, always keeping in mind that the customer is always right, even when I know they aren’t.
Last week I went to dinner with BFF @TwittyWoman and the guys. We went to a local restaurant (which, after much deliberation I have decided not to mention — although if you follow me on 4sq…). Lets call it TR for That Restaurant. I don’t frequent the restaurant much because years ago we had an incident there. We were out to dinner with another of our BFF couples and in the midst of a really good time, the appetizers were brought to the table and my husband immediately turned his away. The 3 of us looked at each other, perplexed, as we watched him adamantly insisting that the waitress take away his appetizer. When asked what was wrong, he pointed out that there was a big huge ROACH in his dish. As grossed out as we were, my husband insisted that we didn’t have to leave – and that it happens and we were sure that management would apologize. Dinner came and went – we even ordered dessert and then asked for the check. We dawdled expecting the manager at any time to offer us an after dinner drink, something in appreciation of us not making a big stink about the cockroach. NADA. Okay, lets see if they comped us drinks, a dish — anything. Again, nothing. We were really shocked that they could be so silly as to not even mention the incident. We still didn’t make a big deal, we just made the decision to stay away, and away we did for a couple of years.
Fast forward last month when my hubby had to meet a client. The client suggests TR as a meeting place and he says fine. The restaurant was closed for a private party, and the manager gave my husband a $20 gift certificate for his inconvenience.
Fast forward again to last week. BFF texts to say, “How about TR at 7:30.” I type out, “J will never go to TR” but before sending it, text J instead to tell him about proposed venue. I am surprised to see him answer, “TR is fine.” “Perfect” I text the BFF. We start out at the bar and we have a drink and we only wait about 15 minutes past our reservation before we are taken to the table. We’re ready for another round of drinks so we order 3 glasses of wine. 10, 15, 20 minutes and the waitress finally comes over to tell us that our wine will be there “shortly” but they have run out of clean glasses. We laugh at the absurdity of it. Another 10 minutes before we get our wine and our dinner. Thank goodness the dinner was good because the service was slow and slower. Each time our waitress came she seemed to give us less and less attention.
The bill comes and we put in the $20 gift certificate that we had along with $130 that was our part of the check. We joked about the waitress being able to figure everything out. When she comes back with the receipt to sign she tells us that only $9.00 could be used and only for one of the sushi dishes we ordered because it was only for sushi and the least expensive one at that. I was confused. Three of us had sushi, couldn’t we use $18 of it if that were the case? We look at the certificate again and surely it says $20 Gift Certificate with some really small writing on the other side that could only be read with a magnifying glass. This coupled with the really bad service is making me kind of mad.
The guys leave, but TW and I decide to stay and try to make things right. I want some satisfaction. We talk to the hostess who tells us there really is nothing she can do except get the manager on duty. Out walks this guy, and you know when you can tell someone is already on the defensive? I proceed to explain the gift certificate and how hubby got it and how I am only getting $9 out of a $20 gc. He says, “Well at least you are getting something.” And yes, I am — but that’s not what the certificate says! He goes on to say, it’s not really a certificate, but a promotion to get people to try to the sushi. Well, okay, but 3 of us had sushi. so why not use the entire certificate? He can’t really give us a reason except to say basically, “It is what it is.” I say to him, “I’m in customer service and it’s really not about the money, it’s about the principal of it all.” Look buddy, just say you’re sorry, there’s nothing more you can do — but he never does apologize. What he says is, “It’s not our fault we were closed, and goes on to tell me something that I know for a fact wasn’t the truth, that my husband had to have gotten it on March. NO — he got it just a few months ago… my point to him is that why give it out at all? My husband didn’t ask for it! I tell him that for a measly $10 he could have made a good faith gesture and we would have come back. Instead, he is losing two customers FOREVER.
TW now tells him that her husband always has his Christmas party there and surely, he doesn’t want to lost that! Apparently he doesn’t care about that either. I tell him that I write a blog, Magnanimous Musings of Lu — he should look it up because I will be blogging about this. He is unimpressed. And I am unimpressed with him.
SO… after even more deliberation, I think it’s only right that I tell you that this is a restaurant in Smithtown… on West Main Street…. and they serve sushi, but they aren’t a sushi restaurant but a seafood restaurant… and their name? Well it’s the chemical equation for WATER.
BTW — TW went back there to talk to the manager since her husband really does have his Christmas party there. She spoke with another manager, explained everything and said, “You know, really all my friends want is an apology.” Never once was she asked for our name, her name or any phone numbers and she never wrote anything down. Needless to say they are looking for someplace else to party!
This weekend is a journey to small town USA – otherwise known as Ludlow VT. A jaunt that I didn’t want to take because I was too busy and too jaded to be away from it all. My bff owns a condo here and she invited us. After much deliberation I decided to break down and go with hubby and youngest.
This afternoon we went to a rope swing. How much more quaint can you get than that? A rope that leads to a lake. Very Norman Rockwell. I thought I was going to watch the kids have fun. Instead, I got a lesson on life — on facing your fears — or being comfortable enough in your skin not to.
There are thrill seekers and there are those who play it safe and there are those who fall somewhere in the middle. I know that I am not a thrill seeker, and I am quite comfortable in that knowledge. Never was — never will be. I am a thrill seeker in other ways, but not in the physical thrill seeking kind of way.
I don’t do rides that dip (I once freaked out on Epcot’s Norway exhibit). I’ve never been on Space Mountain and the thought of bungee jumping or sky diving make me ill. I don’t climb mountains or ski, snow or water. I can get up and talk in front of 1,000 people, but that physical thrill seeking just isn’t my cup of tea. But I digress…
So off we went with 5 teenagers: 3 thrill seekers, 1 middle of the road, and 1 play it safer. C, the bravest of the thrill seekers and only boy present (my son – a play it safer, chose to go hiking rather than have to say he didn’t want to swing) quickly took the rope and swung right in. He continued to do so until his twin sister A took the rope, hesitated a bit, and away she went. Thrill seeker #3 (K), who had never swung before, took the rope….. hesitated a bit, and decided she wasn’t ready. She handed off to her sister N who is middle of the road (although I didn’t know it at the time, I figured she was just like the other 3). N hesitated, swung, but didn’t let go and swung back, barely missing a tree, and gave the rope back to her sister K. K took the rope, swung and away she went. Exhilerated, she was hooked. This gave N the courage to go, swing and as she let go of the rope, held her nose and went into the water.
In the meantime, C, getting braver with each swing, was twisting and diving off of the rope into the water. K also started twisting with gusto, and A followed suit, although a bit more reserved. N just did her swings bravely in, but had no desire to twist and turn.
(See the kids jumping here: http://www.facebook.com/louisedicarlo)
Each one of them clearly demonstrating their outlooks on life by the way they approached the water. I asked the oldest M why she wouldn’t go in. “Oh no Aunt Louise, I’m not sure I could hold onto the rope long enough, and I’m afraid I’d let go too soon and fall into the rocks.” I totally identified with her. Even as a child I would have never swung the rope.
The difference between now and then is that then I would have felt defeated, feeling inferior for not having the courage to face my fears and have fun like the others. Today, in fact, right now as I am typing, the adults have gone back with the kids each to have a try at it. When one adult asked if I was going to go, I thought about the fun I had watching, knew there was no way I’d do it, and thought about how inspired I was to write about it. “Nah” I said, “I think I’ll stay behind and write.” I feel good about my decision.
As a side note, M and my son went with them, both saying that they didn’t want to swing. When M came out and had on her bathing suit I asked her if she was going to try. “We’ll see Aunt Louise.” I’ll keep you posted!
Just in…. Son (who insists that I report that he has swung before) and M did not go in!!!
Today I was doing some customer service work for one of my clients. I had written a blog post for my business site awhile ago about online etiquette. I have been doing customer service online for close to 15 years (don’t try to do the math – you know how old I am!) My experience is that people are extremely brave behind the face of anonymity. I have been in charge of teams of people and had otherwise intelligent people say the nastiest things to me – as their supervisor – and then expect no ramifications. They always stammer when confronted on their rudeness and when pointed out that they would never speak to a superior, or anyone, like that in person.
That brings me to today’s scenario. My client happens to send a decent amount of marketing emails. I am not expected to answer people who send nasty rude emails because they think our emails are stupid or they wish to be removed from our email list. I usually just remove them and do not even answer since they don’t want to hear from us anyway. Today was different. I am tired of people not using the same manners they would use face to face OR even worse yet, maybe they don’t have any to speak of. It is time for me to do a little Miss Manners!
I am plowing through the weekend worth of emails when I come upon the following, sent yesterday:
“Go and f*** your mother you a**h**e STOP sending me s**t
I want to reply (which is my favorite reply to rants like this) Your mother must be so proud… I think it, but I don’t dare type it. I remove this member from our list and, still bothered, reply with the following:
“Thank you so much for your kind words about my mother. You have been removed from our mailing list.”
Feeling good about my response, I continue along the emails when I find another email sent hours later from the first email yesterday saying…
“just f*** your mom a**h**e”
Ahhh I see they were having a good day. Knowing that I replied to the first email and don’t want this email to go unanswered, I continue the “kill em with kindness” crusade. I reply again saying,
“Again — thank you for your kind words.”
As I’m ready to sign off, I see that I have a new email from my favorite buddy…
“look brother or sister i am trully sorry about those words i mean it really sorry”
I giggle and know that I have made a dent in teaching this person a lesson. I decide to continue the lesson.
“Apology accepted. Have a great weekend.” Before I even hit send I receive another email saying,
“no problem ma’m sir”
I feel good that we’ve seen the light. This person will think twice before sending an email like that to an “anonymous” person.
I decide this is worthy of a blog post and I start typing. Wanting to use the exact exchange I sign back into the email to start copy & pasting and see one more email from my friend…
“ohhh thank you so much and you have a great weekend as well
i am happy you accepted my apology”
Ahhhh – their mother would be SO proud!
I am a Capricorn. Capricorns by nature tend to be pretty serious folk. I don’t appear that way to the outside world – I am outgoing and vivacious. But inside my head – I am pretty serious. I over think way too many things. The flip side though is that I am sometimes incredibly impetuous. That was very much the case with my latest purchase (doesn’t it always involve a purchase?)
On the morning of June 24th, I decided to get up early so I could quickly get in and out of the Apple Store to pick up my brand new iPhone4 which I dutifully pre-ordered on the morning of June 15th (yes – I remember the day because I put it on my calendar so I wouldn’t forget). I live seconds away from the Apple Store so I set my alarm and set out to get to the store a few minutes before it opened. I figured between setting it up and a few people in front of me, it would take no more than an hour.
Imagine my surprise when I actually saw a few cars ahead of me turning into the mall parking lot. I got worried when I saw a LOT of cars in the parking lot. I was horrified when I got into the court to find two HUGE lines.. one for unreserved, and one for pre-orders. I made my way to the end of the pre-order line and tried to assess the waiting time. From my calculations I figured 2 hours. Right!
Armed with my coffee I was looking for someone I could begin to talk to. There was no way I was going to be able to do any amount of time without striking up a conversation. Luckily, the young guy behind me (Anthony) was up to the challenge. We compared our iPhone usage, computer usage (I fibbed and said I was a mac user because I thought it made me sound cooler – there is a macbook pro in the house and I have used it so it wasn’t an all out lie) and other musings. After 90 minutes we had made it to the beginning of our wall- but was no where near getting in. At that point, I was interviewed by patch.com who needed people who were in my neighborhood http://threevillage.patch.com/articles/three-villagers-line-up-for-new-iphone
2 1/2 hours in and not even inside of the mall yet, I called in sick. I figure, at what point do you decide to give up the wait. I was making the commitment to stick it out. By this time my circle of friends had increased, mostly because I butt into people’s conversations. I had finally made it to the next group to enter the mall when a guy holding his new bag emerged. I wanted to find out what was the hold up. I called out to him – “Yo – blue guy (yes he was wearing a blue shirt). BLUE GUY!!! No acknowledgement. I leave the line and grab him and ask him what the deal is – WHY is it taking so long. He explained to me that people were asking a thousand questions once inside the store. WHAT? How could that be? Buy the stupid phone and leave the store. I return to the line and report back to my constituents. They are asking questions!!! A boisterous guy, one who had been holding court all morning, about 20 behind me says, “Ya know, if you were brave enough, you’d go inside and tell everyone to not ask questions.” I laughed and then he said, “Yeah, but you’re probably not brave enough.” Impetuousness set in again – I tend to be brave around strangers – and I left the line and went inside. I found 3 boxes of lines… I get to the first box which is right outside the Apple store. I look at them and yell, “NO QUESTIONS! Get your phone and leave the store so the rest of us can come inside.” I get to the next box about 3 stores down and yell the same thing, to which some guy said, “Oh yeah? I’m asking 100 questions.” I give him the evil eye and say, “I hope your phone crashes” lame I know, but it was all I could come up with. I also dub this guy “Grumpy” because he has a Grumpy hat on backward. I get to the 3rd box of people and say, “You guys aren’t even getting in – no reason to yell at you.” I triumphantly return to my line. I instantly become the line hero.
We finally get inside (3 hrs in) and are thrilled to be making progress. The manager in the green shirt, who remembers my little rant to the boxes, says to me - “Now that you are inside, no trouble! and winks.” I laugh. Now in our little box we start to increase our friendships since it is easier to talk to a larger group of people. We are acknowledging the absurdity of giving up our day, we are also impressed by the amount of food Apple keeps giving us – they literally fed us every 30 minutes. After about 2 hours in that box I make it to the front of the line, but decide I need to leave the line and get my eyebrows threaded at the station that is a tad down from the Apple store. I leave the line not worrying about my spot because we are all great friends now. I also really needed to sit. I hang out at the threading place about 15 minutes and return to my box to find we haven’t moved at all. Finally the manager comes over and we are being moved to the first box.
With victory within reach and exhaustion setting in, we get even giddier. People are leaving the line to shop, go to the bathroom (camels would be proud of me — I held it in) and get food other than what we were being offered. At 1pm, I had to leave the line for a conference call, praying my phone would hold out. I found a little nook in a store and took the call. When I returned to the line, my group of 20 or so is a buzz because 2 girls cut the line by about 30 people. They are quick to report this to me. I ask who is going to report this and everyone falls quiet. Unbelievable. I do not like people who try to take advantage of my friends – especially since I was pretty sure they weren’t with us from the beginning anyway. I leave the line and go to 2 Apple employees and ask them what they do about cutters. They say that they are unaware of that happening, I tell them that it is, I point out the 2 girls — they tell me they will handle it and I get back in line. If I was a hero before, I am a celeb now! 10 minutes go by and nothing – they are still in line. I see the manager in the green shirt and I call him over. “Oh no” he says, “Not more trouble.” “No no no” I say and proceed to tell him about the cutters. He thanks me and before we know it, he is over and pushing the girls to where they were (which I’m later told is still further up than they were.) Another hour and 45 minutes and I am 5th in line to enter the store. The manager in the green shirt comes over and now that we are great line friends counts off 1 — 2– 3– 4– Oh I’m sorry, we ran out of iPhones. We both laugh and all of a sudden, from 20 back the ringleader yells, “No way – MAMA GETS A PHONE!!!” Mama? Me? Aren’t I one of the cool kiids online? LOL oh no, apparently not – but beloved Mama of the pack.
We are now chanting and cheering wildly as each one gets to go into the store……… 5…. 4….. 3….. 2… and with that, an Apple clerk walks up to the manager in green and he smiles as he escorts her over to me. He gives me a wink and as I leave my posse they begin to chant NO QUESTIONS, NO QUESTIONS. Ringleader yells a last “GO MAMA!” and in I go.
I ask NO QUESTIONS, I give my info as quickly as I can. I already had my credit card out before I entered the store…. and I am literally processed in 10 minutes and I am heading out the store. Who do I pass as I am leaving? Grumpy — who has been in the store for over 2 hours. As I leave the store, my friends start to cheer wildly for me and I leave them with “NO QUESTIONS!”
I ended my digital cleanse on Friday and I thought I would be up and online at 9:01. The truth is I was exhausted from the night before and didn’t rush back.
I don’t know what I was expecting. I got a good amount of welcomes and ribbings (and a nasty comment said in jest that I chose to ignore), but it was very non-eventful. It made me think about an article from one of my favorite bloggers/writers Gretchen Rubin (author of the new best seller “The Happiness Project”). Many months ago she wrote an article on Unconscious Overclaiming. “unconscious overclaiming; i.e., we unconsciously overestimate our contributions or skills relative to other people’s.” I think this is especially true with our time online. So I guess I expected my return to be memorable.
I’ve been asked a lot about what I thought my digital cleanse accomplished. I didn’t learn anything new… everything I experienced I had already known.. maybe I had just forgotten about it since I have been enamored with social media since the mid 90s. That’s a long time and, social media has been my “mistress” since day 1. I thought I would accomplish a lot more, and I thought I would do a lot more without the distraction of social media. I did however, become re-introduced to a lot of things that led me to the computer in the first place. This is not unique to me – I’m sure everyone can relate…
1) A wife and mother is not supposed to expect remote control time. The family was not pleased to have someone else requesting tv time.
2) I do not have enough seating area in our den and my “presence” during group time made things even more tight. My kids did survive sitting on the floor just like I did when I was little.
3) I think I have adult ADHD. I cannot complete a project from start to finish without numerous distractions. Without social media, I just found other things to use as an excuse.
4) I do not need to let people know what I am doing every minute of the day. It is fun doing things and enjoying them by yourself.
5) As much as I enjoy my virtual friends, my family and IRL friends are pretty awesome and I need to make the same time for them as I do for everything else.