Category Archives: Thoughts

The Healing Properties of Amber

Amber Jewelry

Whenever I think I’m coming down with a cold, I run to my jewelry box and take out every piece of amber I own. That would be two rings, an amber brooch on a silver chain and a bracelet with a dangling amber charm. One of my daughters even asks to borrow my necklace whenever she feels a stuffy nose coming on.

I know it doesn’t make any sense. After all amber is nothing more than fossilized tree resin, but I’m in good company when it comes to believing amber has strong healing powers. The Egyptians, Phoenicians and the Greeks were among the ancient cultures  that valued amber, and many American Indian Shamans wore the stone for protection and for enhancement of their healing abilities.

Although it’s healing properties have never been validated by any scientific study, some crystal practitioners believe amber can draw out negative energy. I don’t know about you, but I’m good with that. I’m still going to sprint for my amber whenever I’m feeling low.

Royal Wedding

She would be so proud.

I wished throughout the entire regal wedding ceremony that Diana could have been there. It was hard not to think about her while watching her two handsome sons do her proud.

Kate was beautiful as she made her entrance and walked down the aisle. One can only hope that she and Prince William will enjoy many happy years together.

Diana, you did a fabulous job making your sons approachable, yet dignified and dedicated individuals. Your legacy lives on.

10 Women I Like — A Lot

As with my list of men, I won’t be listing any American presidents–oops, we haven’t had any female presidents–no American politicians, or religious leaders. This is a random list, no ranking intended.

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt – Human Rights were her passion. She fought for the youth of America, for the poor, for black Americans and for women at home and abroad. She was a suffragette. (Yeah, Eleanor!) Her accomplishments are too vast to enumerate.
  2. Audrey Hepburn – For me she will always be My Fair Lady, but her glowing achievement was working as UNICEF’s Ambassador. She traveled the world, gave countless interviews and appeared before Congress, working tirelessly to make children’s lives better.
  3. Gloria Steinem – Where would women be today without Gloria and Bella Abzug?
  4. Lena Horne – I think she was probably born 50 years too soon for Hollywood.  But in spite of some really Stormy Weather, she clung to her star status throughout her life. Her sultry voice caressed. Her music should be cherished.
  5. Margaret Thatcher – Britain’s first female Prime Minister. History will decide her successes and failures. All the same, I loved listening to her speak.
  6. Jackie Kennedy – She entered my life as the wife of a president and she enchanted me for the rest of her life.
  7. Ginger Rogers – For the many hours I spent at the movies and in front of the TV watching her dance effortlessly across the screen with Fred Astaire.
  8. Pauly Perrette – Plays Abby on NCIS. This seems like an unlikely choice, but what many don’t know about Pauley is she uses her celebrity to help children, animals and the homeless. She is active in so many foundations, it would make your head spin.
  9. Rosa Parks – Where does this type of courage come from?
  10. Sandra Day O’Conner – First female member of the Supreme Court. She was a ground-breaker from the minute she graduated from law school.

Ain’t women grand?

Do You Poop Or Do You Poo?

When did the word poop change to poo?

When I was a small child and I had to poop, I told my mother I had to do a #2. That was really a poop, except my mother didn’t want me shouting poop in the middle of a store, so her code word for poop was #2.

Now I’ve been hearing the new-improved, shortened version of poop being used, which apparently is poo.

I don’t know about you, but I have poo-pooed an idea or a piece of advice from time to time, but I’ve never pooed on a toilet, as far as I know.

Typewriter, Dictaphone, Mimeograph, Email, Laptop

I bought my first laptop today.

It got me to thinking back to my first secretarial job. Back then the qualifications needed to land a job were a good typing score (on a typewriter) with a knowledge of shorthand, or the ability to transcribe from a dictaphone or ediphone.

If copies were ever needed, you used carbon paper. Suppose you needed fifty or sixty copies? Then you had to rev up the mimeograph machine, but first a stencil had to be typed. Lots of good fun there!  See Boomer with a View.

I remember the first time I used Email. The system was installed into every employees’ computer in the company. Voila! I could actually send a message to someone on the third floor from the first floor. Believe it or not, it was only a test run at our company. The CEO didn’t see any future in it. When the test period ended, Email disappeared from my workplace. Wonder where that guy is working today?

Anyway, I wrote this post on my new laptop. Welcome to the 21st century.

View From My Balcony

It’s important to get rid of your mental noise once in a while, and you don’t need a balcony or a pier to do that. We’re all so busy, it’s hard to remember to take time out for quiet. Fortunately, it takes very little forethought to take an adult “time out.” For instance, try this some Saturday morning. The moment that you wake, but before you open your eyes, roll onto your back. Imagine yourself in your “happy place.” (You have one, don’t you?)

My serene spot is always by water. Maybe yours is in the mountains, or remembering sitting on your grandma’s lap with her arms wrapped around you. Whatever, or wherever–allow your imagination to drift away. Stay there for ten full minutes. What do you hear? Nothing, if you train yourself to do it right. This is where I go.


Don’t be afraid to daydream sometimes, either. Release the stress. Some people do that by writing a poem. This Daydream Haiku was written by Brigitte

The forest daydream,
Wherein I pick blackberries,
And find inner peace.

… inspired by daydreaming with a friend about moving to the mountains

DAME, too, suggests slowing it down a bit when things get too crazy.

…’today’ I’m a tad stressed. Generally I’m a go with the flow kinda girl but today the next few months seem positively overwhelming. Somehow just daydreaming about trouncing about in wool and bloomers carrying a feed bag, picking the flowers, baking the pie, and listening to the wind in the trees, is enough to catch a little mental relaxation.

No matter what you call it: time out, daydreaming, or mental relaxation–we all need it.

DO NOT Keep a Diary

About a week ago, I sent an email out to several friends asking them to share a favorite childhood memory with me. Many of those who replied were the same people who have been telling me they can’t write.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I strongly feel everyone should be writing something –anything– so that the only thing one leaves behind isn’t just ashes. What would be the point of your being here if that’s all you leave?

Don’t even think about keeping a diary. Because you probably won’t. However, having a notebook sitting on an end table, a pretty one with flowers or something on the cover, might be just the thing. If it’s there, maybe you’ll write in it once in a while. I guarantee someone from the future will thank you for it.

From time to time, I’ll show some of the responses I received to my question. The ones I’ve chosen to share today probably took a mere five minutes (if that) for the respondents to write.

Here’s one from Judy H. It’s only two sentences long, but it says a lot about how kids entertained themselves before computers, and about the lack of crime in our neighborhoods.

I think my favorite childhood memories were playing games in the street – like “giant step” and neighborhood games like “Cops and Robbers”. Those were the days when you could run around the neighborhood without being afraid.

This one is from Judy C. Again, very few sentences. This one is a whopping three sentences. Who knew before there were Good Humor trucks, there were Good Humor bikes?

Let’s, see, I think it would be when my grandfather was a VP with Good Humor. I used to visit the warehouse where all the Good Humor Ice Cream bicycles were kept and riding them around the warehouse, not to mention eating the Good Humor ice cream birthday cakes he used to have made for me. Wow, that was a looooooooooooonng time ago!!

It doesn’t get much more succinct than this from Denise O.

When my sister ;o) got me Tony the Pony
>Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox LOVE THAT TONY!!!

For the record, Denise is my sister and I bought the Tony the Pony for her birthday when she was four or five years old. Tony is a legend in our family. But who would know the story of Tony if we didn’t write about him?

Trust me, you need to buy yourself a notebook.

Things My Mother Told Me

My mother would say to me,”Don’t spray cologne on your neck.”

Here’s her rationale. The skin under your chin, the “front” of your neck, is thin, delicate skin. It is one of the first places where people show their age. Since the first ingredient in cologne is alcohol, this is NOT a good thing to spray on your neck year after year after year. Her advice–spritz a little to the “back” of your neck, your wrists and the inside of your elbows.

This was another of her favorites.  “Is there any reason why you have to look in the mirror at yourself while you brush your teeth?”

At the time, this seemed a little peevish to me, but I wasn’t the one cleaning off the tiny specks of dried toothpaste off the mirror. I am now. I don’t look into the mirror while brushing anymore.

Here’s another. “Always make sure you have money in your purse.”

Notice she didn’t say a “dime” (which way back when, that’s how much it cost to make a phone call in case of an emergency). She meant “real” money. To this day, I never leave the house with less than $10.00. And I have experienced my share of little emergencies when I was glad I had that money with me. Especially one night after midnight, when I got a flat tire and a good samaritan stopped and changed it for me. I forced that $10.00 on him, he didn’t want to take it, but I had it to give, and at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, I wished it could’ve been more.

She had some kooky ones, too. “Always make your bed in the morning.”

This had to do with one of her many “what if” scenarios. What if you went to work and there was a fire, (The firemen would see my unmade bed?) or what if you forgot something at home and had to send someone to your house to fetch it for you. (They would look through my house mainly to see if my bed was made?) Believe me, she had several more freaky reasons why my bed should me made, but I think she just liked the idea of a home that was always in order. This was her way of scaring me into being orderly.

Evidently, she was not alone with this last piece of motherly advice. I have friends whose mothers told them the same thing. “Always wear clean underwear.”

I will spare you the “what if” scenarios that go along with this one.

Many people recall insightful advice they’ve received from a parent. The young mother over at Verlanderville remembers an admonition from her mother.

Growing up, my mother told us that we were not allowed to use the word hate for things like vegetables, songs, people, etc.  She said that it was a very strong word and that we should only use it for things like sin, injustice, math, etc.

Clearly, dads can give good advice, too. See Mom & A Microphone

It was my 7-year-old’s first flag football game of the season. I was secretly dreading it, since my mother and father were always sitting on the sidelines at Griffin’s games, cheering him on. This year, Dad wouldn’t be there. Dad was Griffin’s biggest fan. Last season, when I expressed concern that I “wasn’t sure this was his strongest sport,” Dad told me, “be patient. He’ll get better with time.” And just like all the other advice my father has given me, he was right.

Makes you smile, doesn’t it?

Text Messaging Is Bad, I Think, Maybe

I don’t text message. What I mean is, I don’t send them and I don’t receive them because I don’t use a cell phone. I don’t own one,  I don’t want one, and I hope I never have to rely on one. That said, I do understand why people feel they need to have one.

It’s been a boon to parents, allowing them to keep tabs on the whereabouts of their young children. (I understand that, but my children are grown now.)

If you work in any type of service position, the cell phone allows your customers/clients to reach you 24/7. (I only partially understand this one, since the only persons that really must be on-call at all times are doctors, and even they employ professionals to screen their calls.)

Then there is a more recent phenomenon. People are exchanging their landlines for cell phones. It’s no longer cost effective to pay for both. (I understand this one, too, although I have chosen my landline over a cell phone.)

But this post isn’t about cell phones, it is about the brain-cell-devouring, punctuationless abbreviations that go hand in hand with text messaging. Anyone who is a lover of words, as I am, cannot help feeling threatened by this newest polyglot of hideous jargon.

Last week a friend of mine handed me her cell phone and said, “Read this cute message I received from my son.”

I could barely decipher what it said. Not only that, my stomach started to ache and if the message had been a little longer, I probably would’ve doubled over and retched. Don’t get me wrong. It was a cutesy message, but the lack of punctuation, and the insertion of unfamiliar abbreviations made my head spin.

It got me to thinking about an English professor I had many years ago. One day upon entering the classroom and before returning graded papers to the class, he said, “This is a sorry batch of essays. I have taken off for spelling mistakes and all grammatical errors. It’s most unfortunate because some of your stories were actually commendable, but as for the rest…”

If he thought those papers were atrocious, I hate to think about the papers he would receive today from kids who have spent years writing shorthand sentences because that is the most expedient method used when text messaging.

One other thing that puzzles me. If you’re holding a cell phone in your hand, people, why are you text messaging? Make the call, connect with your friends, and leave the precious English language intact.

[For those who are interested in Astrology, I’ve finished the Chinese Zodiac articles over at The last in my series was Year of the Pig. I’ll be starting a series of articles on the Sun Signs. You might enjoy reading the first one, Aries Woman .]