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Moving Forward

 

 

For far too long, I’ve been in the “selling” mentality.  I’ve had an Etsy shop for over 5 years with my paper roses and when I think of the amount of time, energy plus the supplies I have amassed over the years…it is daunting.  I’ve had over 200 orders over the years…bridal bouquets, toss bouquets , and boutonnieres(especially the comic book ones).

It all started when my daughter was in college and wanted something special for her favorite English Literature professor.  I had just started playing around in making the paper roses(watching the various instructional videos and perfecting it along the way0.  I made a bouquet of Pride and Prejudice book paper, wrapped the stems in ivory lace and ribbons.  It was primitive in regards to what I do now but it was lovely anyway and both my daughter and her professor were pleased.

My second project was making the rehearsal bouquets for the wedding my daughter was in that summer…for the bride and all the bridesmaids.  Since then I’ve made the rehearsal bouquets for all of the weddings of her friends along the way..

Working with brides(and grooms) holds a special spot in my heart since I worked in the Juliette Bridals in Pottsville years ago as a bridal consultant.  You are working with a dream and although there have been “bridezillas” along the way, the vast majority of them were a pleasure to work with.  Like everything else, the time I spent on the roses has not been wasted…the pleasure I’ve had developing the technique is never lost and the many brides and grooms who wrote back to tell me(and show me with photos) of how special the flowers made their day.

My roses have gone to many places over the years…US, Canada, Australia, England and Europe.  Some hairy incidents with the postal service…such as the time the box had been held in the clearinghouse because of flooding and made it to the bride on the day…she had gotten a back up…just in case.  The bride who needed it in time before she left for her destination wedding.  Comic book boutonnieres for the groom/groomsmen who refused to wear flowers.  The  bouquet that we finally got figured out…over 50 emails!  The entire bridal party’s bouquets, wands and boutonnieres that went to the Netherlands…5 boxes worth…and the bride sending me gorgeous pictures of the whole affair.  The brides needing something within the month.  The bride who told me I charged too much…I very nicely told her that there were plenty of Youtube videos showing the process and that she could get her bridesmaids together and do it as a group project.  She thanked me.  Two weeks later, I received an email telling me she had done that, they all each made one miserable rose and her bridesmaids told her, “order the flowers cause we aren’t doing this!”  All a learning experience.

I’ve decided December 31 to close my Etsy shop…the realization came that for far too long, I’ve focused on items to sell and make.  For far too long I’ve left my love of mixed media art, art quilts and upcycling clothing behind…I’d think about doing it and then thinking…oh no,  you need to concentrate on making more bouquets to put on the shop… This is the year for  me to focus on what I used to love to do and leave the selling mentality behind. Who knows, I might even get back to my doll making/repairs again.

A new year is coming up…time to spend a little time thinking about what is and what is not working in your life…I’m not talking about resolutions or goals or anything like that…I’m just saying that maybe it’s time to spend a little time and see if you are focusing on things that really don’t give you the joy anymore…just a thought…

til next time…Eva

Animal Friends Don’t Disappoint

There is one thing I must say about my animal friends…they never disappoint me, unlike their human counterparts.  They are always honest with their feelings and don’t hold grudges plus they allow me to be my silly self.

I have been taking care of my friend’s cats while she is away visiting her son for Thanksgiving weekend.  When I arrived there today, all of them were waiting up at the top of the stairs…Simba meowing, Maggie and Jackie rubbing against the stair posts and purring, and Olive peering through the railing.  When I got up to the kitchen, I realized why…their dry food bowl was totally empty.  I can’t remember that ever happening before…it’s been close to being empty but never totally.

I had my orders to give Simba a pill and 1/3 of a can of food for Olive and Spanky.  I put the food on the plates and left the tin with 1/3 left in it.  When I came back upstairs, the tin was on the floor…empty…don’t know who jumped up there but I am willing to bet it was Simba!

I filled their bowl of food and water and the necessary talking and petting.  There is a new cat there at the moment…a kitten by the name of Spanky.  Olive isn’t happy about it because Spanky has now taken over the downstairs bathroom(that has always been the “official” room for the “new” cat or “ill” cat. )   Spanky is about 10 weeks old, black and gray striped with lovely gray eyes.  He was attacked by something unknown and has multiple wounds on his abdomen and legs…gratefully they are healing.

When you lay Spanky on your lap so that you can tend to his wounds(has a special honey salve), he watches your face intently and if whatever you are doing hurts, he touches your face with his paw…as if to say…”be gentle with me. ”  What a little sweetheart…reminds me of my little Beastie.

I didn’t have my catnip treats along today though and they were not happy with me.

I also saw my dog friend Rocky today(he’s a Yorkie).  When I come to his house, he is always waiting right by the door as I come in…tail wagging and tongue in gear.

His family had gone out Black Friday shopping and I was there cleaning. Whenever I use the vacuum cleaner, he comes from wherever he had been napping and sits in front of me…”excuse me,  but you woke me up.”  This happened 4 times(he never used to do this).  When something exciting happens outside…whether it’s the mailman or someone walking their dog down the street…he comes running out and expects me to go into the room with him and look out the window.  I do and then tell him what it was…plus praise him.

I am grateful for my little animal friends…I always know where I stand with them and can always be myself.

til next time…Eva

Update:  12/13/16  My friend texted me a week ago to let me know that little Spanky had a massive stroke and crossed rainbow bridge.  I cried buckets.  Little Spanky was a kitten I would have adopted in a heartbeat had I been able to.

To Make A Difference

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

“We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”             Mother Teresa

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I’ve  been thinking a lot about a conversation my daughter and I had a couple of weeks ago.  She made the comment about having a “dysfunctional” childhood – which made me laugh and respond, “Everyone had a dysfunctional childhood…no perfect lives out there.”  She laughed and said, “that’s probably true” and we dropped the topic.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, especially with Thanksgiving looming and then Christmas/Hanukkah/ New Years soon afterwards.  This next month and a half is one of expectations, aspirations, hopes ,despair, depression or panic.  (“it’s the most wonderful time of the year”).

I hear so many people focusing on the decorations, the gift buying, the cookie baking, the parties/dinners, various holiday activities, etc.  The magazines/tv/pinterest/facebook, catalogs all add fuel to this madness.  They bombard us with how to have the “perfect holiday”, the “perfect meal”, the “perfect party”…and you know, most often it falls short.  We are being subjected by media from all directions to buy, buy, buy…causing our children to become brainwashed to needing the most expensive new products.  The foods we tend to eat are over sweet or over rich and too much of it.

I have been questioning this madness for years…many years.  I started asking myself some serious questions and thought maybe you might like asking them of yourself as well:

a.” what do I really want and need from the holiday? ” (I found that I didn’t need to do many of the things I thought I “needed” from the holiday.  What I derived joy from were simple things…making the cemetary wreath and house wreath early in December …a solitary task that I learned from my Dad; realizing that I didn’t need to bake a storm…if I bake my Dad’s holiday bread recipe, I’m content.  My husband and daughter get one request each for what they “really, really  need to have in food”; the tree doesn’t have to be massive…it’s the special ornaments and the lights; candles; and music.)

b. “I know we’ve always done it this way but it no longer brings joy…what can be done to make it more joyful?”  Sit and think about your whole holiday routine…what parts of it are a real hassle/pain?  What areas just don’t make sense anymore?  What can you simplify?  What can you eliminate?

c. “How can I make someone else’s life better?”  (suggestions may be visit elderly who have no family close by, help out/give needed supplies to a local animal shelter, contact the homeless shelter and ask what they need, contact the local food bank and ask what they need, toy drives, coat drives, food drives.  Talk to others and ask them to join you in this venture.

Churches usually know of families who are struggling.  “Adopt” a family and bring food/toys/clothing.  It can be anonymous and your whole family can partake in this activity…involve your children early and make them a part of the entire process.

Elderly neighbors, homebound, lonely widows/widowers, someone with no family closeby…

If you belong to a group and you have a Holiday function where you normally buy a “token” gift, forego the gift and have everyone donate the money for one of the ideas above.

d. Rethink how much you spend for family members.  Have a family meeting early and discuss what you would like to do instead.

You can make a difference for someone else’s Christmas.  It’s still early enough to talk to your family, friends, organizations you belong to and direct your thoughts, ideas and money elsewhere.  You can still have the parties…just downsize it a bit and you will make someone else’s holiday a lot brighter.  You never know how great a difference you can make in someone’s life…the child who wouldn’t have had anything for Christmas, the individual who wouldn’t have had anything special to eat, the individual who didn’t have a warm coat, the animals who wouldn’t have had food or warmth and the individual who felt totally alone and unloved.

All I ask is that you think about this…if each of us just does something, what a difference it would make.

PS: please contribute any ideas you have…I know my list is by no means a complete one.  Thank you!

til next time…Eva

 

The Inner Nasty Voice

A friend and I were having coffee the other day and she was telling me about her latest visit with her therapist.

Between having had a somewhat abusive childhood and a verbally abusive ex, she asked her therapist…”how to still the nasty voices in my head?”

Well, yes…don’t we all have those little nasty voices…not necessarily from abusive individuals but just from life itself…nasty comments from classmates, hurtful comments from teachers and others we looked up to,  nasty comments from work colleagues and bosses… how DO we still those nasty voices?  I was all ears on this one.

Response from her therapist…

a. Give your “nasty voice” a name…it could be a real person’s name(the boss, the     teacher, the classmate, the ex…or a made up one that instills nasty to you…)

b. Every time you hear a comment from the nasty voice…”you never do anything right”,”You look fat in those pants,” “You are a lousy (insert whatever here)”, etc.

Stop the voice right then and there…using whatever you need to…say their name first and then your comment…if you are a gentle soul, stop, go away, to the comment my friend needed to use…”shut the f… up!”  She used her ex’s name as her nasty voice…”Sam, Shut the f… up!”

You know, I thought that was pretty clever…we all have someone who is the epitome of nastiness in our lifetime and mine was a former boss…so for the past two days I have been doing this technique every time something nasty comes up…and you know, I do believe it’s working!  It’s shutting that monkey brain off and it’s letting me focus on what I need to focus on.

I urge you to give it a try…it may work for you or someone you love…and please let me know!

til next time…Eva

 

 

 

Resisting the Pigeon Holes

“Put your awareness on the distance that you have already traveled in this one lifetime, and let all of your accomplishments sink in.  There is so much to come but there is always time to celebrate.” Archangel Michael channeled by Daniel Scranton 9/23/16

 

It’s interesting to decipher various messages we’ve received during the past week.  Society as a whole tends to pigeon hole us via sex, age, race, religion, education, wealth, jobs and social status.(plus the many more categories).  You’re “expected” to be and act a certain way in each of the above categories.

This apparently has been my week to experience the “age” category…and it has not been a pleasant one.

I fully realize that it has been a “youth culture” for quite some time now and having a 20-something daughter makes me fully aware of it.  Open any magazine and basically after age 50 you no longer exist in the  interesting  advertisements.  Anyone over 50 and the advertisements gravitate towards the “age-isms”…multi-prescriptions, assisted living, burial insurance,  medical alert systems, walk in bath-tubs, walkers,  stair elevators.  It’s as if you are automatically required to self destruct at a certain age and become weak, feeble and ill.  If you don’t have any strong role models, I can well imagine it is difficult not to gravitate towards it.

I hear comments from my age group that tells me they are buying into the old age- isms.  I have recently found myself mentally thinking of some of them and counteract it with a youth-ism.

I was recently forwarded a website/blog done by Ellen Wood by a friend of mine.  Ellen apparently had been a neighbor of hers when she lived in New Mexico years ago.  Imagine my surprise when I read a blog post by Ellen that she was originally from my hometown and that her father was the shoe repair man we used to go to!

Ellen is the author of a book(Think and Grow Young) and has a website/blog(http://howtogrowyounger.com/).  She is presently 80 and looks 50.  I eagerly have been reading her book and doing her suggestions…and I note that I am gradually absorbing the “youth-isms” again.

I will say, it also helps that I have positive role models…”Aunt Frances” at 103, Angie at 98, Mr. B at 89, Inga at 88…all of them still positive, vibrant, active and enjoying life the way they want to…not how society wants them to.  Resisting being pigeon holed…sounds good to me!

til next time…Eva

 

Why we have Pets

WHY WE HAVE PETS  by Eva Andrew, 2016

 

There are some people in your life

Who don’t really care

About anything you have to say

Anymore.

The “safe” topics to talk about

Dwindle down to a paltry few

And you are at a loss.

Not really knowing how to

Regain your power.

The years passed so quickly

and you’ve forgotten whether

You ever did have power.

Before the Dementors took over.

Zapping your joy and your energy.

Not an easy power to regain

But you must.

One day at  time.

Eliminating one Dementor at a time.

Loving yourself first again –

Then attracting others who enjoy

being with you and who care.

Being cherished rather that merely tolerated

Once again.

This is why we need and have

Pets in our lives.

 

Case of Pot calling the Kettle Black…

An old friend of mine has gradually been gaining weight over the last 10 years.  We used to walk every night after dinner until she couldn’t anymore due to her job.

Gradually the health concerns arrived…sleep apnea, pre-diabetes, acid reflux, high blood pressure and then she started having trouble walking…knee and hip.  I was with her when she picked up a new medication…I read the side effects first.  “Have you read the side effects of this?”  “No, I never read them…they scare me.” ! ! !

I’d been telling my husband for quite awhile now that if she doesn’t start being serious and losing weight, she will develop even more issues. (Her doctor has been after her to lose weight for years now…she finally said to him, “if you don’t stop harassing me about my weight, I’ll have to go somewhere else.”)

Two weeks ago we went to our yard sales.  She’d bought a few items for her sister and we dropped by her sister’s house to give them to her.  Her sister had gained weight over the past two years and different issues have developed with her knees and hips.

We needed to go down to her basement for something…she was first…limping and hobbling, my friend was next…limping and hobbling, and I was last…did I mention that I was limping and hobbling as well?

As I am looking at the three of us hanging on to the bannister and walking carefully down the stairs, it hit me.  It really hit me.

Definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Last summer, my husband had a health crisis.  At that point in time, I was just 8 lbs away from my goal weight…the closest I had been in over 20 years…closer to 30.

When I am anxious, I pace and I eat.  Since it was summer, I ate ice cream…mint chocolate chip…1/2 gallon in 2 days.

Not paying attention/caring, my eating habits reverted back to my former habits of eating at night, wheat products(the peanut butter cookies from Dollar General…a pack disappeared in one day) plus the ice cream.

It got to the point that after my husband would go to bed at 9 pm, I’d be at my computer and the thought “hmmm, what can I eat?” would pop into my head and I just didn’t think/care.

During the winter, I realized that my clothes were tighter and my winter coat didn’t fit like it had the year before…but it didn’t hit me.

In the New Year, I began having trouble with my Achilles in my left foot again and my multi times daily heartburn was back…and it still didn’t hit me.

March..my Achilles(I thought it was my shoes), my veins in my legs were hurting, heartburn and I was getting foot/leg cramps often.  Nope…didn’t hit me.

Until that afternoon walking down the basement steps…limping and hobbling after two  others who I have been saying they needed to lose weight…it finally hit me.

I’d been avoiding the scale pretty much all winter and spring…so it was not a happy sight.  Instead of being within 8 lbs of my goal weight, I was 30.  No wonder the Achilles, the knee, veins, leg cramps, heartburn and headaches.

I went cold turkey.  No gluten whatsoever, no eating after meals, back to my protein/vitamin shake daily, up the water intake, no ice cream…

Within 2 weeks, the heartburn is gone, 10 lbs disappeared quite quickly(am quite aware that is majority  of water weight and also from the gluten).  So now, it will be slower going…but that wake up call really hit me this time and I seriously don’t believe I’ll ever return to that point.

I really wonder why it took that long…and why that was the point…to finally realize I was just as guilty as I’d said my friend was and I couldn’t see it.

Now I am extra observant of other things that I am not presently seeing…is what we criticize in others what we are guilty of ourselves?

til next time…Eva