Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

A Queen for All Ages September 10, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:31 am

Waking up today without a queen. It’s all still sinking in. It’s so very weird to think I’ll never see her again in that carriage or on that balcony. She was never considered a classic beauty like Princess Diana or Grace, but she proved beauty is way more than skin deep. Oh sure, I never met her and I’m clearly not from Great Britain, but like much of the world, I am sad. And for any of you who live under a rock or simply don’t stay informed, here’s why: Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday. She was 96 and was the world’s second longest-serving monarch. (France’s King Louis XIV reigned for 72 years, ranking him numero un.) In a word, she was living history and today I’m celebrating her life.

 

 

It was a life filled with joy and sadness and she has valiantly been at the center of so many historic events. As a young woman she witnessed the horrors of WWII and as a mature monarch she lived through the challenges of a pandemic. Perhaps 1992 was among her most challenging, a year she famously described as an “annus horribilis” as her family fractured and Windsor Castle caught fire. Princess Diana’s death is 1997 was a tough one too and you could say she’s not been quite the same since Prince Phillip’s death is 2021 and Megzit, when her grandson Harry and his American bride Meghan turned their backs on Harry’s royal background and family and fled to Hollywood. And yet, she handled it all with grace and dignity. She never complained and was a remarkable loyal servant. She was devoted to serving her people and duty was of utmost importance to her. She apparently had a wicked sense of humor too!

 

 

 

Time out here. Any of you who know me know I love royalty, particularly the British Royal Family (with the exception of a few). You also know I was and still am a bit obsessed with the late great Princess Di. Many of you called, texted, and messaged me yesterday saying you were thinking of me. So sweet! Today though, it’s all about Queen Elizabeth II, whose death officially brought an end to the second Elizabethan Age. It was a historic reign and yesterday was a historic day. Funny thing though, the longest reigning queen was never really supposed to be one.

 

 

 

Getty Images

It was her uncle, Prince Edward, who was next in line to the throne after his father King George V. But, in true scandal fashion, Edward abdicated the throne when he was not allowed to marry his American socialite love, Wallis Simpson, who was twice divorced. They ended up marrying but were considered persona non gratas in “The Firm,” which is what the House of Windsor is often referred to as.

 

So, in comes Elizabeth’s father and Edward’s younger brother, King George VI, who was named king. But he ultimately died at a young age, and so Elizabeth, at an even younger age and as his eldest child, became Her Majesty the Queen in 1952 at the age of 25. Even the beginning of her reign is the stuff of legends.

 

 

Young Elizabeth is crowned Queen in 1952. Let’s think about that for a minute. 1952. Harry Truman was U.S. president and get this; Joseph Stalin was head of the Soviet Union. And she was 25! What were you doing at 25 and could you have led a bevy of nations and done so with poise? Her amazing reign spanned 15 British prime ministers, 14 U.S. presidents, and seven popes. She is the last surviving head of state to have served during WWII and she reigned for roughly 30 percent of U.S. history. Again my friends, we’re talking history here.

 

 

What we’re not talking however, is ruling. You’ll notice “reign” is what she did. Queen Elizabeth never “ruled.” Even as Her Royal Highness, she was more of a ceremonial leader than actual ruler. The power to govern rests with Parliament but the Queen did appoint the nation’s Prime Minister and met with him or her weekly, as seen in “The Crown.” Fittingly, this monarch for life worked until the very end, appointing new Prime Minister Liz Truss just two days before her passing. Her official title was “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, and Defender of the Faith.” Whew! That’s a mouthful even in a beautiful English accent!

 

 

The last part means she was also head of the Church of England, which has been the case for each sovereign since 1534, when Henry VIII’s divorce debacle led him to renounce the Catholic Church and basically start his own.

 

 

To be sure, the Queen of England wasn’t just queen of England, She was also Queen of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which make up the United Kingdom; and Queen of nations that make up the Commonwealth and include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, and others as well as a host of other territories, including Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, and Gibraltar. At her death she was also head of state or recognized as Queen in wholly independent sovereign states too many to list here. Trust me, it gets confusing so I’m not even going to try to hash it all out.

 

 

Pretty big job for anyone, right, much less a young sheltered lady living in the 1950s? It was a man’s world and yet she mastered it brilliantly. You could say she was the original working mom and that’s just one of many reasons why Queen Elizabeth was voted one of the top three most respected women in the world for years on end. Amazingly though, you never saw her being bossy or arrogant. She likely despised today’s “all about me” and “my feelings” mantras and very well could have been the last dose of sanity in an ever growing insane world. She was the constant steady and stable amid constant changes even when her family and the events around her weren’t. I’m confident that we will never see another like her and that yesterday marked the end of an era.

 

Note: You hear the terms “UK” and “Great Britain” thrown around a lot so here’s the proper particulars. Great Britain is an island on which most of England, Scotland, and Wales are located. The United Kingdom is all of Great Britain plus Northern Ireland and is a country and sovereign nation that exists as a political union between the four countries. These countries have their own local governments and autonomy but are not considered sovereign nations, meaning they can’t negotiate international treaties or declare war. Basically the UK is a political term and Great Britain is a geographical one.

 

Good to know, right? Here are also a few fun facts about the Queen. She was the first monarch to be featured on British bank notes, never took a driving test and wasn’t required to have a driver’s license, and could travel the world without a passport. Oh to be queen!

 

Queen Elizabeth fittingly passed at her beloved country estate Balmoral Castle in Scotland. An outdoorswoman at heart, she loved riding her horses and roaming the grounds. And I love that she loved dogs! Princess Di, on the other hand, notoriously hated going there and it was where Charles learned Diana had been killed in that car crash in Paris. I wasn’t happy with how the Queen handled Diana’s death but I do admire how she allowed it to soften her stiff British upper lip and monarchy just a bit. She was steadfast in tradition but knew when it was wise to change with the times. It all comes full circle at a castle in Scotland.

 

Charles had to once again leave Balmoral under somber circumstances and now we have King Charles III who upon his mother’s death, immediately became king although no specific schedule has been announced for his official coronation. This will take me some getting used to as will “Queen Consort” Camilla. I cannot help but imagine what a glorious Queen Diana would have been if Charles had been the husband she deserved and just can’t stomach Camilla actually being queen.  It will likely be a short reign for the two lovebirds as, at 73, he became the oldest to assume the throne. Fingers crossed that he continues his mother’s style of reign and if anything, stays politics-free even though he hasn’t as the Prince of Wales.

 

So here we find ourselves, mourning along with Britain again. It won’t hit me like Diana’s death did, but it’s a mourning unlike many will see in their lifetimes. Charles delivered a touching and beautiful address to the nation today as he called the Queen “muh-mah” and appeared emotional at times. I LOVE that he named William and Kate Prince and Princess of Wales and concluded his address with words that gave me chills and brought a little tear to my eye. In part, they were:

 

“To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to thank you. May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.”

 

I’m pretty sure angels are rejoicing and welcoming an angel of a queen to the ultimate castle and throne. Well done Lilibet. Beloved mother, matriarch, and monarch you’ve earned a well-deserved rest. God’s speed your highness.

 

 

 

NOTE: As monarch, the Queen will be given a state funeral. Per Buckingham Palace, “Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it is His Majesty The King’s wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after The Queen’s Funeral.” It’s expected the Archbishop of Canterbury will lead the service and in the days prior, the Queen’s body will lie in state and the public will likely be able to pay their respects. What I would give to be there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Mountain Highs…and Lows August 24, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:15 pm

I wrote this as I sat in Ruidoso, NM gazing out the window watching a majestic rain storm pound our outside deck and clouds slowly blanket the mountain peaks normally in full view. This charming small town in southcentral New Mexico is special and it’s long been special to my husband and me.  It’s where we met. Long story short: I was working at a TV station in El Paso and he had moved from Boston to Houston. One of the sports anchors I worked with went to college with my hubby in New York so he came to El Paso to go skiing with him. A bunch of us from the station tagged along and the rest is history. I broke up with my college boyfriend of four years who was back in Oklahoma in law school, chose the boy from Buffalo, and all these years later we venture back to Ruidoso as often as possible. We love that it’s a true escape and still somewhat authentic.

 

 

 

In the summer, it’s a somewhat secret hamlet of warm weather pursuits such as golf and the famous Ruidoso Downs race track. There are also plenty of casinos, outdoor activities, family fun, and a handful of excellent restaurants. Peek out the window of the house we stay in or drive along the beautiful route into town and we see deer, turkeys, and a giant and massive antlered Elk we’ve named “Bucky.” At night we hear coyotes howling and our house has a sign alerting us that we’re in bear country and all that that means. In a word, it’s all beautiful and blessed.

 

 

 

Ruidoso’s main street is home to many darling and unique yet for the most part, affordable, shops and restaurants. In the winter, the Rocky Mountains’ most southern ski resort, Ski Apache, opens up to downhillers and shredders alike. Still, with all its amenities and beauty, Ruidoso remains somewhat under the Aspen and Santa Fe radar. As a native Santa Fean, I know exactly what that means. As a long-time Texas resident though, I also know Texans love Ruidoso as it’s a fairly easy drive from most of the Lone Star State. In fact, the vibe here is much more western then southwestern.

 

 

Montana by Ben Adkison

As I sit here watching the rain outside and golf on TV, I’m also reading an interesting magazine article in “Town & Country” that confirms our decision to head west and not northwest. The article details how Montana has become anything but a quiet get away. Go to Montana. Post on Instagram and Facebeook. And go on to the next destination. So much for chilling, practicing some soul care, and just taking in God’s landscape. But, good to know as we actually considered going to Big Sky Country this summer but it all became stressful and complicated to plan. Instead, we decided it’s much easier to pack the car, the dogs, and drive to our quiet little slice of heaven.

 

 

As with anywhere it seems, America’s Wild Wild West is sadly morphing into anything but. The magazine article, written by Antonia Hitchens, details the timeless dream of home on the range has been inundated by travelers and land buyers. In fact, 1.2 million acres were sold in Montana last year and Bozeman is now unaffectionately called “Boz Angeles.” Rumor has it that a California developer bought almost all of the remaining land around one town and Rupert Murdoch’s Montana ranch had a selling price of $200 million last year. With the median asking price for a single-family house in Bozeman now topping $905,000, many Big Sky realtors are telling potential buyers to buy any house or land they see as there may be little left very soon. It seems a ranch out west is the new house in the Hamptons. Oy.

 

Blame Keven Costner. His hit TV show “Yellowstone” has created a deluge of interest in places to escape to and feel the fantasy of the American West. Blame also the work from home craze. Post-pandemic workers realize they can indeed work from anywhere. Why not Montana? The owner of Ranch at Rock Creek…what many consider the most expensive ranch in America… put it simply to “Town & Country” when he said, “The match was lit and Montana is on fire now.” It’s happened in Colorado; Rockefeller’s Jackson Hole; and Hemingway’s Ketchum, Idaho and now in addition to Montana, Spokane, Washington and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho are cold weather hot spots. But it’s different now.

 

 

Gone are the days of packing the fam and renting or buying a rustic little place in the mountains or valleys. Small town charm has big bonuses but tell that to Aspen. Today’s buyers want exclusive and private enclaves that those in lines in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park can only dream about. For example, the uber-exclusive Yellowstone Club in Big Sky not only boasts expansive and expensive homes and a golf course, but also the world’s only private ski resort. “Five-star living dressed up as frontiersmanship” as it is now described. Not exactly frontier authenticity but fabulous I’m sure.

 

So massive are many of the new developments that the gates to them rival those of entrances to nearby national parks. Elk antlers are all the rage and real Montanans reportedly consider Big Sky the Monaco of Montana. Who knew Montana and Monaco would ever be uttered in the same sentence.

 

So what is it? What is making these “billionaires in Wrangler jeans” as Hitchens describes them, long for a western paradise but one stocked with Whole Foods and Starbucks? Many are just tired of their day-to-day struggles and stresses and to get away far away is something they yearn for and can afford. Oddly enough though, their quest to be alone is proving more and more crowded and the impact all the building and development is having on the once pristine environment goes against many a climate change advocate’s chirping.

 

It’s all very similar to “Yellowstone’s” ranchers versus developers plot lines and as realtor Bill McDavid says, “People fall in love with authenticity but then wonder where they’ll get organic hummus.”

 

I’m not a fan of hummus and truth be told, neither my husband nor I are big outdoors people. We love walking along the streets near the house we stay in in tranquil Ruidoso, but hiking and the like are not in our wheel zone.  And, after reading Hitchens’ article, I’m certain we’ll continue to choose New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest over all the hype up north and out west. We’re just hoping it stays a secret. Shhhhh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hottest Court in America August 13, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:00 am

Photo courtesy Doug Kapustin

As I wrote about in my previous post, the popular word game Wordle got its start during the recent pandemic. Something I dabbled in during the lockdowns and shut downs was Pickelball. I’d heard about it and since I love tennis, I thought I’d give it a shot. Just like Wordle, it’s taken the country (and some of the world) by storm.

 

When I first played Pickelball back in 2020, my neighborhood club had tennis courts but not official Pickelball courts so our pro improvised like many do and converted a couple of the tennis courts into Pickelball courts. It was so much fun and really easy to learn. Think of it as a brilliant combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis aka ping pong. It’s a blast and it’s the fastest growing sport in America! It’s also a game for all ages and the whole family so it’s only fitting it was invented by a “mature” dad and his family.

 

 

The game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington state by three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – whose kids were complaining they were bored and had nothing to do. Like all good dads, they put their heads together and said “challenge accepted!”

 

Returning home after a game of golf, Pritchard and Bell hit a hole in one when they looked at the property’s old badminton court but couldn’t find any badminton equipment. So….they improvised and began playing with ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. What fun they had and the next weekend McCallum joined them and soon the three created rules for their new game; rules that relied heavily on badminton.

 

Fast forward to 1990 and Pickelball was being played in all 50 states. By 2019 the newly formed USA Pickleball Association had nearly 40,000 members, representing a 1,000 percent growth since 2013. Maybe they should be in charge of our economy! Two years later membership reached the 50,000 milestone and the sport’s popularity continues to explode. So what is it? Why so popular?

 

 

For one, like I mentioned earlier, if you can walk and bend you can play Pickelball. It is fast paced, but you get the hang of it fairly quickly. That’s the other thing: it’s easy to learn. The spread of its popularity is also attributed to the fact that it’s thriving at community centers, school PE classes, YMCA facilities, and retirement communities; the latter of which you could call the major league of Pickleball. It’s the ideal sport for those aging into or in retirement age as much like golf, it can be played at any age. Just be careful.

 

With the rise in Pickelball popularity has come a rise in Pickelball injuries – especially among Baby Boomers. In fact, experts say the popular pastime is leading to a rash of injuries amongst the senior set. Overuse injuries like tendonitis, arthritis, muscle contusions, and sprains are common and issues like patella; and ankle, wrist, and elbow fractures that require surgery are not uncommon. This older yet ambitious demographic is more likely to have weak bones, putting them at a greater risk for fractures considering the sport’s notorious repetive quick starts and stops. Loving the camaraderie and activity it brings to their often secluded lives, retirees picking up the Pickleball paddle may start slow but many get the bug and begin playing several hours a day and several days a week. I know the feeling. A tennis player at heart, I took the sport up again in 2020 after many idle years and before you know it I was at a pain relief doctor complaining of lower back and hip pain. I thought I was active enough to become my beloved Chris Evert again, but my body said no way. Enter Pickeball…the perfect competitive yet friendly game.

 

Played either inside or outside, Pickelball brings people together and is always played in doubles, meaning you play with a partner and have less court to cover. It involves both a cardio health aspect and requires strategic and quick planning that keeps the brain engaged. Just be sure to stretch before playing and work on balance, stability, and cross-training. I’m thinking yoga and long walks.

 

 

Play is done on a court that’s the same size as a doubles badminton court and it’s striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts. Excitement is added with the non-volley zone in front of the net called the “kitchen.” Rule #1: stay out of the kitchen as volleys are not allowed!

 

Pickelball paddles are smaller than tennis racquets but bigger than ping-pong paddles, although their handle is short like their table tennis counterparts. The balls are unique in that they have holes throughout and come in fun colors; colors that must be a single color to meet International Federation of Pickell specifications.

 

 

Yes, there is an international governing board as many new clubs are forming worldwide. Many European and Asian countries are witnessing Pickelball mania and courts are popping up everywhere. Do I foresee a future Olympic sport?

 

And to answer the question of all questions, how did Pickelball gets its name? Well, not from the food product and not after Pritchard’s dog whose name was Pickle. Many theories presume that the dog was the game’s namesake but sweet Pickles was born in 1968, years after the sport was named and being played. So then, what’s the real story?

 

Although I love the idea of Pickelball being named after a dog, it really got its unique moniker from Pritchard’s wife Joan who was a loyal crew fan and thought the fact that Pickelball was a thrown together game made up of parts of other games, it was much like the just-for-fun “pickle boat” races that regattas often hold for non-starters in a separate competition. I know, not the greatest of tales, but that’s the truth.

 

Our neighborhood club recently constructed designated Pickelball courts and play has commenced. I recently returned to the court and gave it a shot but with our 100+ degree weather, it was just too dang hot for me; even in the evening. I plan to return to play as our temperatures subside and can’t wait to dink it over the net and win the match. See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

Word Up! August 11, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:55 pm

It’s not often that I jump on board anything trendy, but two things currently have my attention: Wordle and Pickelball. I’ve been working on blogging on both for a week or so and then I saw the Pickelball feature on “CBS Sunday Morning” (and thought…they stole my thought!) last week so I figured I better get a move on! First up…Wordle.

 

 

I was kinda late to the game but this wordsmith is obsessed with Wordle. I’d heard about it and then one day early this year a fellow golfer talked about it after a tournament and raised my curiosity. I looked into it but it seemed a bit confusing so I let it go. Then, my good friend got me hooked. Now, I look forward to doing it every day and share my results with her and another friend who I got hooked on it. I gotta say…I love it!

 

I also loved learning that it was developed by a software engineer who made it for his girlfriend as a pandemic distraction during lockdowns. I guess Wordle is one of very few silver linings to come out of it all!

 

 

Brooklyn-based John Wardle, the guy behind it all, is actually Welsh and originally created the game for him and his friend to play. It all went public in October 2021 and players started posting their results on social media. In January of this year, more than 300,000 people played the game, up from a mere 90 players in November 2021. By mid-January, more than 2 million people were playing it daily. This success didn’t go to Wardle’s head however. In fact, all the sudden attention left him uncomfortable so on January 31, his little game was purchased by The New York Times Company for an undisclosed low seven figures and the game was moved to the company’s website.

 

 

AP/Michael Dwyer

IYKYK, but if you don’t, here’s the gist. Every day a five-letter word is chosen and players try to guess it in six tries. You simply enter any letters that make up a legit word in the five squares and go from there. After every guess, the letters are marked either green, yellow, or gray. Green means that letter is in the word and is in the right position, yellow means it’s in the word but not where you put it, and gray means it’s not in the word at all. It’s amazing and fun that some days you get it in two or three tries and others you’re hoping your sixth guess is the right one. All players worldwide guess the same word and there’s only one word per day.

 

So how are the words chosen? They are randomly picked from a list of just over 2,300 English words; a list that was pared down from the approximate 13,000 five-letter words in the English language by Wardle’s wife. It’s important to note that even though Wardle is Welsh, he is a long-time New York resident and all Wordle words use America spelling. That stuff that makes up fabric or your digestive system healthy? It’s “fiber” not “fibre” on Wordle. This doesn’t sit well with some foreign players, but no worries, Wordle has been adapted into other languages and now there are at around 350 different variants in some 91 languages. As for offensive words? They’re out. You’ll never guess “lynch” or “sluts” as the daily word, along with a few others.

 

There are some fun knock-offs out there, including Tradle, in which users guess a country based on its exports, and Airportle that involves guessing airports IATA codes. There’s also Heardle where listeners guess songs and that was acquired by Spotify just last month.

 

If you’ve played it, you might notice that Wordle’s mechanics are nearly identical to Jotto, the popular “write it down” game of the 1950s as well as the TV game show Lingo. Its method of playing is also similar to the board game Mastermind.

 

 

And speaking of board games, The New York Times and Hasbro have partnered to create Wordle: The Party Game, a board game set for release this October…just in time for holiday giving! Lots of clones have also appeared including many that incorporate the “le” suffix to appear connected with the original, but imposters have been removed and The New York Times filed a trademark application to protect its intellectual property. (Remember trademark info in my previous color blog?!)

 

It all almost didn’t happen though. Wardle had been doing his puzzling for roughly five years when he lost interest in 2014 and promptly set his prototype aside. Then, the pandemic hit. That’s when he and his friend became obsessed with The New York Times’ Spelling Bee and daily crossword puzzle. Wardle had created two online social experiments called The Button and Place while working for Reddit and in January 2021 he published Wordle on the web. And yes, he named it that as a play on word of his surname. It’s perfect!

 

The rest, as they say, is history. Today even Wardle himself plays it and says he doesn’t know each day’s word so he’s guessing right along the rest of us. He’s adamant about keeping it to one puzzle per day as a way of keeping players wanting more and also as a way of only spending mere minutes on it each day. In short, he just wants it to be fun and what’s a five letter word for fun? Wordle!

 

In Living Color August 9, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:16 pm

College football is almost here and being a huge fan, I cannot wait. But, since I promised a follow up blog to my one yesterday on color, the game of football itself has to wait but color does play a big role in the sport so let’s kick off this blog with a fun football story.

 

As I discussed previously, color has a huge effect on us and the color pink is often thought of as passive and calming. That, sports fans, is exactly why the visitor’s locker room at the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is painted pink! LOL right? It’s the brainchild of former coach and psychology major Hayden Fry who ordered the locker room painted pink. Everything is pink. The lockers. The walls. The floors. The toilets. Everything! It’s actually an interesting idea that I love almost as much as I love the Hawkeye’s tradition of waving to children in the next door children’s hospital during every game.

 

I’ve also heard of prisons using the color pink to calm their populations and there’s a reason why airplane seats are often blue. The fact that airlines across the board incorporate various shades of blue in the cabins is no accident or coincidence. In fact, it’s not so much about comfort but also about psychology.

 

 

Airline execs have researched it and found that blue is associated with the positive qualities of trust, efficiency, serenity, coolness, reflection, and calm. In today’s world of airline struggles and flight cancellation madness, we all need a little bit of calm on board, right?

 

 

 

 

You’ll also find a lot of blue when you visit Santa Fe, specifically on doors, windows, and gates. Not only does the color go beautifully with the city’s signature tan and brownish adobe structures, it is believed to keep evil spirits from entering your home when painted on entrances to it. This custom most likely came from early Spanish settlers when they established the city but their Native American brothers also come into play. It is said that blue indicates one of the four sacred directions of local Pueblo life; the direction of the southwest. If you’re wondering, red signifies the southeast, yellow the northwest, and white the northeast. Whoever gets credit for it, I think it’s a beautiful tradition.

 

 

We’re not done with blue just yet. Many companies use blue in their logos, either front and center or in the background. Just look at your phone or tablet’s desktop icons. Facebook. Twitter. Explorer. Venmo. Blink. LinkedIn. GroupMe. The Weather Channel. PayPal. They’re all blue in some way or another.  Blue is considered a rich and subtly bold color and is often associated with freedom and openness and a University of Illinois study found that people who worked against blue backgrounds scored better on tests that required imagination and inventiveness. (If you’re looking for detailed work, the study found red backgrounds are your best. No wonder I like red so much!)

 

 

Another fun fact regarding blue has to do with something you might have on right now. Did you know the iconic jeans we all love and affectionately call “blue jeans” may be as American as apple pie but the material they were originally made of was a French fabric probably in the Middle Ages. Levi Strauss may have received a patent for reinformcing his trousers with rivets in 1873, bu the twill weave fabric often using indigo and white yarns that defined them was originally called “serge de Nimes” after the French city where it was woven. That long French name morphed into “denim” but the indigo yarns still attach to the cloth’s threads giving us those blue jeans we so love.

 

 

Color also plays a big role in the medicines we take. It comes as no surprise that pharmaceutical companies are aware of the association colors have and incorporate the data when developing products. We all know what the “little blue pill” is, as Viagra is famously known, but did you know blue is also best known for sedatives? Look in your medicine cabinet. Check to see if red and orange ones are stimulants, cheery yellow ones are antidepressants, soothing green ones are to reduce anxiety, and white ones suppress pain. Not only do these color choices ensure manufactures don’t mix them up during packaging, they also are thought to help patients recognize what they’re taking. And yes, the drug makers ferociously protect their designs but you may find that generic versions somewhat resemble the originals.

 

 

 

And our last “did you know” color tidbit? Purple posts and trees. Huh? Yep, many states allow landowners to paint trees and posts on their property purple. Why? To warn trespassers. Think of them as pretty “No Trespassing” signs. I actually pass one big one as I go about my daily life. Why purple? Well, for one, it shows up well outdoors and it’s one of the only colors that colorblind people can easily identify.

 

 

 

Interesting, right? So is the fact that the color of your office impacts your productivity. I realize many of us are working from home and not going into an office, but look around anyway. What color is your WFH area? You might want to know that a University of Texas study found that gray, beige, and white offices induce feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women, while restful greens and calming blues improve efficiency and focus. Yellow is the best choice for artists, writers, designers, and developers as it is believed to trigger innovation and creativity. Don’t think you have to go crazy with these colors though; you don’t necessarily need to paint an entire room yellow or blue, but think of ways to powerfully pop it in the room.

 

 

Lastly and when all else fails, stick to colors close together on the color wheel if you want a calm setting and colors that are far apart on the color wheel if you’re looking for drama. And, did you know Sir Isaac Newton invented the color wheel in 1666? Who knew the creator of the law of gravity and reportedly calculus was also a color connoisseur?

 

Well now you know more about color then you probably ever wanted to. I hope you liked some of these interesting and fun facts and that next time you see a blue window or purple post, you’ll know why. If nothing else, happy coloring!

 

 

Color Our World August 8, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:00 pm

Walking into Home Depot the other day I noticed a row of John Deere lawn mowers parked out front. I knew they were John Deere long before I read the name on them because of their distinct green and yellow paint. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought John Deere owns that green and yellow. Come to find out they don’t but it’s not for a lack of trying.

 

In fact, the farm equipment giant tried to trademark their signature green but was shot down by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But…many other companies have been successful in “owning” a color. Surprised? So was I.

 

Then I learned something very interesting but not all that surprising. Those brown delivery trucks, blue jewelry boxes, and yellow sticky notes? Yep, UPS, Tiffany, and 3M have all trademarked their famous brown, blue, and yellow shades in. the idea all started back in the late 1950s when Owens-Corning sought to distinguish its fiberglass insulation from that of its competitors. Rather than go with the standard tan hue, Owens-Corning decided to make their insulation pink and went all in. They adopted the slogan “Think Pink” and used the Pink Panther as their mascot and in advertisements. It worked, and after a five year battle the company became the first in American history to successfully trademark a color in 1985. Since then many have tried and failed but others have succeeded.

 

Quick quiz: what’s the difference between trademark, patent, and copyright? For starters, copyrights are registered by the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress (D.C.’s most stunning building interior IMHO) while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants patents and registers trademarks. In short, a trademark can be a phrase, word, or design that identifies a company and its goods and services (e.g., Campbell’s soup labels) while a patent is a granted property right to the creator(s) of a new, unique, and useful invention, discovery, or process that allows one to bar others from making, using, or selling their invention. Copyrights are different in that they protect original works of authorship including songs, books, movies, articles, and much more.

 

Enough school though; let’s have some color fun.

 

 

 

Get Tested

I love taking little quizzes. Personality quizzes. Likes and dislikes quizzes. Travel quizzes. The gamut. I recently took one on color and it got me thinking on how much color affects our lives, our world, and even our moods.

 

Textile designer Lori Weitzner identified 10 palettes in her book Ode to Color and then teamed up with a psychologist to develop an 18-question quiz that shows you which palettes suit you best. The quiz, which is available on Weitzner’s website, asks you about things like movies, books, music, sentimentality, personality, risk-taking and other interesting touch points. Again, I loved it and my results showed the “Fragrant Woods” palette suits me best followed by “Earthly.” Hmmmm…let’s look into those and the others.

 

Maria Flanigan

Shades like those found in a pine grove…think greens and browns…make up Fragrant Woods, are described as the colors of homecomings and hues that are nurturing and personal. They are all about slowing down, wellness, being present, and sensoring experiences like using a paper calendar or nurturing a houseplant. OMG. That’s me! The Earthly palette consists of colors like clay, sienna, and terra-cotta.

 

When it comes to my home décor, these pretty much hit the spot. I’ve always said I prefer coloring with the spices: paprika, saffron, basil, and cinnamon. I also love a splash of salt and pepper/black and white and tend to stay away from florals, opting instead for stripes, plaids, and checks. I also like a homey, traditional, and personal feel. Don’t get me wrong, I love home décor and design, but oddly enough when it comes to our home, I care more about comfy and cozy than trendy and styled. But that’s just me. What about the rest of the world?

 

Come to find out phrases like “seeing red,” “feeling blue,” and “green with envy” have some scientific back-up. In fact, study after study has shown color and mood are intricately linked and many of us actually have personal relationships with particular colors. In fact, our brains respond very powerfully to colors and one interesting study in Switzerland gave us some literal “food for thought” when it revealed people who use red plates tend to eat less. The thought is red is often associated with words like “stop” and “danger,” so our minds may put on the eating brakes when we see that color. Excuse me while I go buy some red plates…

 

The color red also increases your heart rate and evokes powerful emotions like fear, anger, and passion. Think red flush in the cheeks, fire trucks, and even “red light” districts. It also exudes strength and leadership, as well as confidence, ambition, and an outgoing personality.

 

 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to chill out, opt for blue, which psychologically lowers blood pressure. Think blue skies and tranquil blue oceans and if you’re looking to convey a calming presence on a first date or interview, wear something blue as it is associated with trustworthiness, strength, and dependability.

 

 

Jean Stoffer Design

Green is considered earthy, understated, and balanced and is part of the color family chosen by Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Behr as Color of the Year for 2022. Rather than a bright emerald however, the paint experts went with more warm, muted tones like olive, sage, moss, and eucalyptus. On the other hand, global color authority Pantone went with Very Peri as its color of the year. The periwinkle blue lends itself to relaxing vibes and tranquil feels and boy are we all in desperate need of both this year!

 

“Mellow” yellow is anything but as most consider it joyful, fun, and bright. Orange is considered a combination of yellows sunniness and red’s depth. It evokes action and is said to stimulate enthusiasm and creativity. I personally don’t wear orange but I do wear purple now and then and come to find out the rich color is associated with royalty and luxury. It evokes and can even instill confidence and can make one appear more sophisticated if handled well.

 

Brown and gray both symbolize practicality and sensibility as well as a certain kind of down-to-earthiness and a more low-key personality.

 

Then there’s black. Think making you look slimmer and that famous little black dress. It can indeed be slimming and is associated with elegance and high class. Can you say limousines and black tie affairs?

 

Finally, white. Pure white. A symbol of purity and simplicity. You can do so much with it!

 

So there you have it; a roundup of all things color. But there’s more!  In my next blog I’ll share some fun facts and tidbits regarding color as well as how it can affect productivity. Stay tuned!

 

Winging It July 29, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 1:19 pm

 

Editor’s note: I wrote this back on a Super Bowl Sunday but it bears repeating today, National Chicken Wing Day. Enjoy!

 

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us tomorrow and I, along with millions of others, will be eating my share of wings. Chicken wings that is. Buffalo chicken wings.  As a matter of fact, it’s estimated that Americans will eat a record 1.4 billion of tasty wings this weekend. But what are they exactly? And I mean exactly?  Yes, you will find teriyaki, BBQ, and a host of other flavored chicken wing options, but there’s really only one real wing: The Buffalo Chicken Wing. When made right, they are uh-mazing and they have an interesting history as I learned many years ago from my Buffalo born and raised husband.

 

 

No, Buffalo wings aren’t buffalo meat (buffalos don’t have wings), and no, Chili’s didn’t invent the wing nor did Pluckers or Buffalo Wild Wings. That honor belongs to Frank and Teressa Bellissimo. Here’s the story: Frank and Teressa established The Anchor Bar and Grill in downtown Buffalo, NY back in 1935 and had quite the popular neighborhood watering hole. But, it wasn’t until 1964 that the hole-in-the-wall became historic.

 

It was on a Friday night in 1964 that their son Dominic and a group of friends told mamma Bellissimo they wanted a late night snack. Teressa looked around and saw some left over chicken wings, which were usually tossed or reserved for stocks or soups. Knowing she needed something fast and easy, she deep fried the wings and then tossed them in a cayenne hot sauce. She served them with celery stalks and bleu cheese dressing because she also had extras of them lying around and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

Teressa’s wings were a hit that night and it didn’t take long for word to spread that the Anchor Bar had a great new dish. Today, the original restaurant at the corner of Main and North Streets is considered the birthplace of wings and still serves up its famous fingerlings, as do restaurants around the world.

 

I will say however, that nowhere in the world are the wings as good as what you get in Western New York. And I say “wings,” not “chicken wings” or “Buffalo wings,” just “wings,” as that’s what they’re called by locals. Finding them elsewhere is a bit like looking for cheesesteaks in Oregon, Tex-Mex in Maryland, or gumbo in Iowa. They just aren’t comparable or even close to the real deals.

 

Wings in Buffalo are so delicious that I truly can eat a dozen of them all by myself. They are most often accompanied by drums and are big, crispy, never greasy or runny, and just the right amount of spicy. If you want them hot, you can but be careful, as your mouth will be on fire. My husband says he remembers eating wings so hot that he’d run outside and put his lips in the snow. I don’t know if that’s totally true but it makes for a great story!

 

 

Deep-fried chicken wings are nothing culinary new and have been a southern staple for years, but most of those wings are breaded. Buffalo chicken wings are never breaded. You simply fry them up and then then coat them with a level of hot sauce to your choosing. Simple, classic, and delicious. And please, no ranch dressing on the side. Bleu cheese only is the way to go.

 

 

No trip to Buffalo is complete without a stop at the Anchor Bar but if you can’t make it to the original location, not to worry, there’s one right inside the Buffalo airport. So, as you make your way out of the airport on your way to perhaps Niagara Falls, be sure to stop and get you some wings before heading out.

 

 

Wings are so sacred in the Buffalo area, that friends and family actually argue over which neighborhood spot has the best ones. The most popular one in my husband’s hometown village of East Aurora (where Mr. Fisher and Mr. Price started Fisher-Price toys in their garage, where America’s Arts and Crafts movement began more than a century ago with the original Roycrofters and thinker Elbert Hubbard, and home of The Millard Fillmore House that was once the residence of the 13th president of the United States), called the Bar-Bill Tavern takes no reservations, accepts only cash, and only recently began offering take-out wings. It also always makes local and national “Best Buffalo Wings” lists.

 

In 1977 the city of Buffalo issued an official proclamation celebrating the Anchor Bar and its owners and declared July 29, 1977 “Chicken Wing Day.” Frank Bellissimo died in 1980 at the age of 84 and Teressa died a year later in her apartment above the bar. They both passed at the age of 84. Dominic, the son whose late night cravings resulted in his mom’s famous wings, later owned the restaurant. He died in 1991 and in 1999 the franchising of Anchor Bar restaurants was established. An Anchor Bar bottled sauce line launched in 1999 and today can be found in more than 3,000 retailers. The world-famous brand was even included in a “Simpsons” episode.

 

I’m not quite sure how wings became so entwined with football watch parties but maybe it’s because they are a popular bar food, they are a filling finger food, and they are so dang good.

 

So there you have it, the story behind those wings you’ll be munching on during the Super Bowl and above you have Teressa Bellisimo’s original recipe. Now you know they’re not only yummy but truly a beautiful thing. They are bellissimo!

 

Winging It

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 8:00 am

 

Editor’s note: I wrote this back on Super Bowl Sunday, but it bears repeating today, National Chicken Wing Day. Enjoy!

 

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us tomorrow and I, along with millions of others, will be eating my share of wings. Chicken wings that is. Buffalo chicken wings.  As a matter of fact, it’s estimated that Americans will eat a record 1.4 billion of tasty wings this weekend. But what are they exactly? And I mean exactly?  Yes, you will find teriyaki, BBQ, and a host of other flavored chicken wing options, but there’s really only one real wing: The Buffalo Chicken Wing. When made right, they are uh-mazing and they have an interesting history as I learned many years ago from my Buffalo born and raised husband.

 

 

No, Buffalo wings aren’t buffalo meat (buffalos don’t have wings), and no, Chili’s didn’t invent the wing nor did Pluckers or Buffalo Wild Wings. That honor belongs to Frank and Teressa Bellissimo. Here’s the story: Frank and Teressa established The Anchor Bar and Grill in downtown Buffalo, NY back in 1935 and had quite the popular neighborhood watering hole. But, it wasn’t until 1964 that the hole-in-the-wall became historic.

 

It was on a Friday night in 1964 that their son Dominic and a group of friends told mamma Bellissimo they wanted a late night snack. Teressa looked around and saw some left over chicken wings, which were usually tossed or reserved for stocks or soups. Knowing she needed something fast and easy, she deep fried the wings and then tossed them in a cayenne hot sauce. She served them with celery stalks and bleu cheese dressing because she also had extras of them lying around and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

Teressa’s wings were a hit that night and it didn’t take long for word to spread that the Anchor Bar had a great new dish. Today, the original restaurant at the corner of Main and North Streets is considered the birthplace of wings and still serves up its famous fingerlings, as do restaurants around the world.

 

I will say however, that nowhere in the world are the wings as good as what you get in Western New York. And I say “wings,” not “chicken wings” or “Buffalo wings,” just “wings,” as that’s what they’re called by locals. Finding them elsewhere is a bit like looking for cheesesteaks in Oregon, Tex-Mex in Maryland, or gumbo in Iowa. They just aren’t comparable or even close to the real deals.

 

Wings in Buffalo are so delicious that I truly can eat a dozen of them all by myself. They are most often accompanied by drums and are big, crispy, never greasy or runny, and just the right amount of spicy. If you want them hot, you can but be careful, as your mouth will be on fire. My husband says he remembers eating wings so hot that he’d run outside and put his lips in the snow. I don’t know if that’s totally true but it makes for a great story!

 

 

Deep-fried chicken wings are nothing culinary new and have been a southern staple for years, but most of those wings are breaded. Buffalo chicken wings are never breaded. You simply fry them up and then then coat them with a level of hot sauce to your choosing. Simple, classic, and delicious. And please, no ranch dressing on the side. Bleu cheese only is the way to go.

 

 

No trip to Buffalo is complete without a stop at the Anchor Bar but if you can’t make it to the original location, not to worry, there’s one right inside the Buffalo airport. So, as you make your way out of the airport on your way to perhaps Niagara Falls, be sure to stop and get you some wings before heading out.

 

 

Wings are so sacred in the Buffalo area, that friends and family actually argue over which neighborhood spot has the best ones. The most popular one in my husband’s hometown village of East Aurora (where Mr. Fisher and Mr. Price started Fisher-Price toys in their garage, where America’s Arts and Crafts movement began more than a century ago with the original Roycrofters and thinker Elbert Hubbard, and home of The Millard Fillmore House that was once the residence of the 13th president of the United States), called the Bar-Bill Tavern takes no reservations, accepts only cash, and only recently began offering take-out wings. It also always makes local and national “Best Buffalo Wings” lists.

 

In 1977 the city of Buffalo issued an official proclamation celebrating the Anchor Bar and its owners and declared July 29, 1977 “Chicken Wing Day.” Frank Bellissimo died in 1980 at the age of 84 and Teressa died a year later in her apartment above the bar. They both passed at the age of 84. Dominic, the son whose late night cravings resulted in his mom’s famous wings, later owned the restaurant. He died in 1991 and in 1999 the franchising of Anchor Bar restaurants was established. An Anchor Bar bottled sauce line launched in 1999 and today can be found in more than 3,000 retailers. The world-famous brand was even included in a “Simpsons” episode.

 

I’m not quite sure how wings became so entwined with football watch parties but maybe it’s because they are a popular bar food, they are a filling finger food, and they are so dang good.

 

So there you have it, the story behind those wings you’ll be munching on during the Super Bowl and above you have Teressa Bellisimo’s original recipe. Now you know they’re not only yummy but truly a beautiful thing. They are bellissimo!

 

 

 

 

Call Me July 26, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:45 pm

I’m scurrying through “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a popular book I’ve not read but want to before going to the new movie.  In one part, a family sits down to a dinner of hamburger patties described as “thicker than a small phone book.” Oh phone books. Who remembers them?

 

 

The free and delivered to your doorstep books are shocking when you think about it. Not only were they never recycled, in them every person in your town was listed as was their phone number and address. Can you even imagine that information going out to anyone and everyone now? Weird right?

 

 

We are so incredibly private today and live in fear of someone “out there” finding our address and personal info that it’s no wonder phone books for the most part no longer exist. Oh sure I occasionally get a small business “yellow pages” businesses type of book in the mail but it immediately goes in the recycle bin. We have the internet now for all that info. And we have our phones.

 

 

Those phones have sure morphed through the years. Some former coworkers and I still laugh about how excited we were to get one of those “brick” phones pictured above. They were indeed big and clumsy, but they were mobile. Flip phones were cool but whatever happened to Blackberries? Whatever kind of cell phone we now have, they fit nicely in our purses and pockets and easily go everywhere with us.

 

 

Funny thing is, no one ever seems to answer those phones even though we all know we all have them right beside us virtually 24 hours a day and are always on them; even in a crowd and surrounded by people. Some of you even have a watch that serves the same purposes so you basically ignore two devices. You know who you are and so does everyone you know!

 

 

 

Growing up, I remember yelling “I’ll get it!” anytime the phone rang and running to it hoping I beat my sisters to the punch. It was so exciting to get a call even if the call wasn’t for you. If it was for you, you’d drag that long coiled cord into another room so you could have privacy. The actual phone you see, was mounted on the wall. My mom’s still is in the house I grew up in.

 

My mom also still thinks I have a “machine” as in “I called you and left a message on your machine.” Remember those? Answering machines? They were the bomb when they came out. A whole new way to get calls and screen calls. Then came voice mail and the machines were out the door. Call waiting and caller ID were also game changers. Except that is, when you were on the internet through your phone line and got a call. Off goes the connection. Sounds so weird to think now that I would have to disconnect call waiting whenever I got on AOL.

 

 

When I think of my mom and my childhood home, I also think of “the red phone” just like the one above. When our daughter was little, she loved that phone. Not sure why; she just did. I cherished and still do those pink Princess Phones. Still have one.

 

In their own way, phones were just as important back then as they are today and I can actually remember many a phone number from my childhood. Friends. Neighbors. My grandma. Friends of my parents. Restaurants my parents frequented. I can recite many of them to this day. Dialing them on a rotary phone day after day or pushing those “new and improved” push button phones made sure the numbers remained in our brains. Today, we push a button or contact. I couldn’t tell you anyone’s phone number on my phone now except for my husband’s and daughter’s. Even those I call (or text) frequently.

 

Whatever number we call today, it will include an area code. Back in the day, that wasn’t the case. I don’t remember exactly when the area code requirement came into effect, but it wasn’t all that long ago. A dear friend of mine from back in my TV news days recently shared an old press pass request I’d submitted that included my office phone number, sans area code. It looked so odd and naked on paper, clothed only in seven digits. Jenny would agree with her 867-5309 famous digits.

 

Today area codes are a type of calling card in some parts; excuse the pun. Ask Carrie Bradshaw. The “Sex and the City” character was devastated when she got a new phone number that didn’t have the legendary 212 New York City area code. In Austin, 512 before your phone number is coveted as is 214 in Dallas. No one wants to be the newbie in town and heaven forbid you have one of those California area codes. And BTW: all three of them were three of the original 86 North America area codes established in 1947.

 

 

So what is it; what’s changed so much in that we all have to have phones but don’t really like talking on them? Have we become that private? That’s kinda hard to believe being that we post anything and everything on numerous social media sites that are anything but safe and private, enter our credit card numbers willy nilly online, and track locations of friends and family.

 

Could it be that we’re overwhelmed and overstimulated? Information and requests come in constantly on the phones we own, which are really small computers and not merely phones. Having to talk to someone maybe stresses us out as does being “on call” 24-7. It’s a struggle and it’s a lot. Maybe we should bring back the “busy signal” to ensure callers know we are just to busy to answer the call.

 

 

I took this photo sometime back in an airport. Many of you know what it’s of while others have no idea. Spoiler alert: it’s a wall of what used to be pay phones. Yes, we used to have to pay money on the spot to use a phone in a public place. And I’m not talking waaaay back. In fact, I was recently watching an episode of “Friends” and Joey ran out of coins while making a call.

 

 

Guess I’ll go back to reading my book, which by the way is a real book; not one I read on my phone. I’ll save it for texting, scrolling, Googling, photographing, and just about everything but calling and talking. If you want to force me, do what another blast from the past Blondie would say, “Call me.” Maybe I’ll pick up.

 

 

 

 

Halfway Done July 9, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:29 pm

One week ago today we were officially half way through 2022. Often called “Halfway Day,” the day is seen as a good time to assess the first half of the year and to plan for the second half. It seems to have come very quickly, as the months have flown by. At least for me. Let’s look back and look forward.

 

Courtesy Max Lucado

 

I personally have had a fairly quiet year, save for the aging of my mamma and the loss of our sweet Beagle, Nikki. Our other Beagle, Barry, tore his ACL and had to have major surgery followed by weeks of PT. Minor as it may sound, it was not an easy road. My husband and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary this year, which is something we celebrate big. In this day and age, we are so very grateful for our commitment and the little life we’ve created.

 

My year has been blessed with friends who I’ve come to appreciate more and more this year. Monthly lunches, weekly golf games, theatre and events outings, dinners, visits, and things like book club and bible study have enhanced my year and my life. I can only hope the rest of the year proves the same.

 

I was so lucky to enjoy fabulous trips to Punta Mita and Sedona, visited my mom in her new assisted living facility, and enjoyed reuniting with my dear college friends during a wedding in Nashville. Both the visit with mom and the wedding weekend were equally joyous and heartbreaking though, much as the year itself has been.

 

 

Our country started the year with somewhat high hopes, only to see inflation and crime skyrocket, our southern border virtually disappear, food shortages hit the shelves, gas prices surge, loss of confidence in elected leaders, damages inflicted in our schools and to our military, right to bear arms and right to life debates, and more protests and more division. Our country is not in good shape. Things can get a lot worse but let’s hope and pray they get better. November is right around the corner.

 

 

Something else to consider as we hit the mid-year mark is how we’ve done with our New Year’s resolutions. In a blog earlier this year, I suggested New Year’s “Intentions” rather than resolutions as the word just seems more user-friendly. I sent an intention for having more discipline, but sadly I now, at the mid-year mark, find that I really haven’t upped the discipline ante. There’s still time to do so this year, and maybe six months in is the perfect time to reset intentions and goals.

 

Looking back and examining the first part of this year, I will say one thing I’ve stuck with is having a “word of the year.” The word I picked back in January was “pause,” and I gotta say it has served me so very well. This over-thinker and over-planner sometimes just needs to let it go and telling myself “pause” has worked wonders. Woohoo! Accomplishment done.

 

Other than not increasing my discipline in certain areas of my life, I do have other regrets and intend to work on them as the year winds down. I regret gaining some of the weight back that I worked so hard to lose three years ago. Blame it on being locked down for months on end; blame it my own lack of discipline. Either way, I’m determined to get back on the plan and take those pounds off once again. I’ve also learned that hopes and dreams are rarely in my control so I’m learning to stop wishing so much and releasing part of the fantasy. Life is good and it’s time to accept it as is and be grateful for my blessings. Perhaps “acceptance” should be right up there with “pause” the rest of the year.

 

As I’ve written many times, one goal I have every New Year is to learn something new. I feel I can somewhat check that box as I learned to boogie board in Punta Mita. Completely out of my comfort zone, I found it to be so much fun and quite empowering. Keep learning people. Always keep learning.

 

So as we head into the last six months of 2022, take some time to reflect on the first six months and assess the highs, the lows, and everything in between. What are your accomplishments? What are your regrets? What might the rest of the year hold for you?