2018 Resolutions

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My 2018 Resolutions.

Paint more

Write more

Declutter/Organize House

Visit a new country

Quit trying to please everyone

Do the best I can in everything I do

Practice gratitude

Do things that challenge me

Try a new recipe once a month

I think that’ll do it for now. How about you? Did you make any resolutions you care to share?

 

Women’s March Signage

THANK YOU! To all the women (and men!) who participated in the Women’s Marches around the world. I got tears in my eyes seeing all the incredible images from Washington D.C. to Paris to Kenya to India! WOW. Thank you for fighting for our rights. Human Rights. And we will continue to fight. I loved all the signs – some funny, some serious and some on animals. 🙂 Here are some of my favorites. GIRL POWER.

Good Ole Saint Nicholas

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German postcard. Image from St. Nicholas Center, http://www.stnicholascenter.org

Saint Nicholas, the one we have come to know and love as Jolly Ole Saint Nick, aka SANTA. But how much do you really know about him?

Today, December 6th, is Saint Nicholas Day. A holiday celebrated in most of the European countries. Children will set out shoes with coins, hoping for a small present or Dutch children will put carrots and hay in shoes, again waiting for a gift. For me, the Christmas season starts on this day: the children’s eyes getting large with seeing a present in their shoe, the excitement of the month, the parent’s giddiness in showing surprise that St. Nick was there. Even though in the U.S.A we don’t celebrate St. Nicholas, we are still hanging the wreath on the front door, starting to put up the tree, deciding what color lights this year – blue or red, maybe white. I remember being super duper good throughout the month of December so I would get all that I wished for from Santa. Please, the Barbie Dream House!

Our beloved Santa is a mythical figure. What? Say it isn’t so! Sorry for any spoilers I just gave away. Pssst, the tooth fairy ain’t real either. But I love to see my nephew’s or my student’s faces light up when they talk about either of them. By the way, the tooth fairy in Spain is a mouse. Hehe.

But THE Saint Nicholas was a real to goodness, live person who, as legend has it, performed amazing miracles and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus. He was born a looooong time ago, in the year 270 AD and died on this date (Dec 6th) in 343 AD.

Some of these miracles you might ask? The main one happened when he was quite young. He was on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Christianity – the Holy Land and set sail on an Egyptian ship. During the night he had a vivid dream of a terrible storm that would put them all at risk. He warned the sailors of this storm but also said not to worry, for “God will protect them.” Within minutes the sky grew dark and the waves high and strong, the sailors were extremely frightened. One sailor climbed the mast to secure the ropes so the mast wouldn’t crash onto the deck. As he was coming down, he slipped and fell to his death. Nicholas began to pray over him and as he did the storm began to ease. The fallen sailor soon awoke without pain and the ship finished its journey.

Astonishing, no?

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The dowry for the three virgins (Gentile da Fabriano, c. 1425, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome).

Another tells a story of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without a dowry, would be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

There are more miracles, saving people from famine, sparing the lives of the innocently accused, one with him saving a child even after Nicholas had died. Also, bringing three children (sometimes the stories say it was three students, some three clerks) back to life after an evil inn keeper murdered them to sell as pork pies. Kinda reminds me of the Sweeney Todd musical.

Whatever the case he is the patron saint for many – sailors, merchants, children, voyagers, repentant thieves, pawn-brokers, students and even marriageable maidens. So all you marriageable maidens out there, fly your Saint Nicholas flag high!! 🙂

And that, is the true story of Saint Nick. Now where are my shoes?

 

Just Keep Wrapping

I am royally loving this. Maybe you know, or maybe not, but Kate and William were visiting New York City just a few days ago. Monday started off with Kate lending a hand to volunteers at the Northside Center for Childhood Development and later her and the hubs enjoyed a basketball game of the Brooklyn Nets vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers topping it off with a sweating hug from LeBron James, while Tuesday they spent a portion of the day at The Door (an organization that helps New York’s disadvantaged children) and later that night they attended St.Andrews’ 600th anniversary dinner at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There were even a few more things thrown into the mix between their arrival on Sunday and their departure on Wednesday – Wills flew to Washington D.C. to meet with the Prez, they also met the Clintons (Chelsea included) in NYC and a fashionable event for Kate to rub elbows with J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons and Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman.

But my favorite thing that has recently been posted is Kate giving the royal roll of the eye to a woman telling Kate to “Keep Wrapping”. This is awesome. And I believe happened on Monday at the Northside Center. Welcome to New York hospitality Kate!

All Hail the Queen!

Happy Earth Day!

Hey! It’s Earth Day, earthlings. What do you do to help save our world?

While I know I can do more, here are some things I regularly do:

1. I have a compost pile which I use for soil around my trees and new plants or flowers. I get such a strange satisfaction to throw in my leftover vegetables, fruits, etc and then mix it all up. It is amazing to see how rich and dark the soil is when I get around to using it. It works!

2. I recycle. Full stop. I recycle everything – plastic, paper, glass. If it can be recycled it goes in my recycling bin where once I week I take it to the bigger bins that Spain has placed everywhere around Mallorca.

3. I pick up litter. I definitely do this around my neighborhood. On my way to the trash I pick up things on the ground, in the lots nearby – here there are usually three big trash cans within a block or two away that the garbagemen come by to empty every day except Saturday. That’s right folks, even on Sunday. And I do try to do a monthly bike ride on the sole purpose of picking up trash around my town and dropping it in the recycling bins.

And then there are random things – recycling household things for teaching – toilet paper rolls to make into owls or whatever animal we are learning about, taking things to charity (clothes, furniture, appliances) and who knows what else.

I do try to be conscience on my ecological footprint. So, please, do the same! It is the only earth we’ve got!

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earth day

Help Frankenstorm victims

New York has a special place in my heart. Yes it is the city that never sleeps, there are a bazillion things to do there at any time of the day or night and it has the most excellent pizza. I lived there for a year in my studio apartment the size of a toothpick. It was a time I will never forget. I had always wanted to live there and I finally made it happen. I loved every single crazy minute of it.

Unless you are living under a rock, I’m sure you know Hurricane Sandy hit the area hard last week. New York, New Jersey were hit the hardest – Homes are gone, some people are still without heat and electricity, their lives forever changed. I felt at a loss when my friends were on DAY SIX! of no power, gas a scarce commodity. I couldn’t do much from here except keeping them in my thoughts and prayers. But there are things we can do.

1. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give a $10 donation. It is that simple! Red Cross has been on the front lines offering aid.

2. If you are a business owner you can start a disaster relief program by telling your customers you will donate a dollar, fifty cents, twenty-five cents (Anything!) every time they buy a product of yours. Or you can have your employees contribute to the program and you match their contribution.

3. Volunteer your help by joining Samaritan’s Purse. They are asking for volunteers of all skill levels to help with debris clean up and mud outs. You have to be at least 14 years old to volunteer. Visit their website to join a team.

4.  Give blood. Almost 100 blood drives were canceled due to Sandy, and the result is low blood supplies. Call the Red Cross and make an appointment to give blood.

5. Look towards your community, find an organization that is collecting supplies to send to the victims – Blankets, canned foods, clothing,etc. If there isn’t one set up for this in your community then set one up yourself!

I will be visiting the states in a few weeks and I plan on helping in every way possible. Much love to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Stop the bullying

Sometimes here on the island of Mallorca I feel so distanced from the real world of the USA. Whether it’s the political drama (Go OBAMA), college football games, the right for everyone to be married, Dancing With the Stars or just the everyday life can feel a bit surreal to me.

But then, something happens and I feel like I am right there. Usually it is something tragic that drags me back, like this time. Today, a thirteen year old boy committed suicide at my old Junior High School. The place of such fond memories for me of hanging out by my locker with my friends, giggling about cute boys, hanging out in the “pit”. Of course, there are not so fond memories of feeling insecure of how I looked – very skinny with braces, I was kind of in-between groups of friends – my main group seemed to be shutting me out and I was desperate to keep myself within the “cool” group, absolutely no boys thought I was cute and I am sure the list went on and on.

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Supposedly, the boy who died was being bullied. I do not know that for a fact but I could see that being possible. Being a teen is a rough time! You want to be the coolest person ever, the greatest singer, the best athlete, the most popular cheerleader but for most of us during that time frame, it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen because it is practically impossible! Those teenage years are hard. You are gangly, or fat, or have acne, or crazy hair or whatever; for the most part we aren’t cool during this time. And kids can provoke. And kids can be mean. But what you need to do is stand up.

I know it’s hard. Standing up for myself is STILL hard. But if you are bullied you need to speak out – tell your teacher, tell your parents. It’s okay, this is not being a tattletale, this is sticking up for your rights, for your protection. Bullying is not cool.

And the last part of my soapbox. Be proud of who you are. You are different! Hallelujah! Different is good. Who wants to be normal? Maybe you are being bullied because you look different, because you dress different, because you act different. Who cares. You are loved. You are loved by your parents, your friends, your teachers. The world is full of acceptance, keep striving with life. It gets better! I promise. It gets better. You are not alone. Check out itgetsbetterproject.com for help, ideas, inspiration. Because we are all in this together. Do not let life go, it is such a beautiful thing.

I contemplated whether or not to add this but I feel Glee really touches on issues and this was one of my favorite songs from them. Which speaks so much to bullying. Be a loser like me. And know you are LOVED.

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