Thursday, February 28, 2013

Every day can be everyone's appreciation day...

It seems like there's a variety of appreciation days- for mothers, fathers, teachers etc-it's probably what helps keep Hallmark in business. Anyway, I feel like every day could/should be appreciation day. I think it's worth appreciating that people get up every morning and go about their day, after all, sometimes it takes a bit of strength to get out of bed. People can do so many great and awesome things for others and for themselves. Maybe its holding doors for someone, or giving a donation, or spending more time with family, or just enjoying the sunshine. I believe that there is a bit of good in everyone and all things that are good seem to me to be things to celebrate! So here's three cheers for everyone: Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

10 Valuable lessons I learned from the movies

As previous posts might suggest, I really like movies and contrary to the belief that they can rot one's brains, I've learned some valuable things from the big screen. Here are a few:

 1. Try at all costs not to travel in storms and most of all don't stop and take shelter in abandoned buildings, from what the silver screen shows, it just leads to a rather sudden and bloody end to one's existence.

2. Resist the urge to eat an apple if it's offered to you by an old crone-unless of course there's an obliging prince nearby to resurrect you from the dead with a nice big kiss! 
3 When in doubt about cleaning/fixing something, spray it with Windex. (The father character in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" swears by it so that means it definitely must be useful/effective!)

4. When in doubt in general, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

5.  If you are on a tour in Egypt and find the Book of the Dead don't open it and read it for goodness sakes, from the sound of it it's not a very good read-accord to the movie "The Mummy"- The Book of the Dead just seems to bring back disgusting dead people who plague the earth. Now, I'm all for living dangerously and having some adventures now and then but seriously,  folks, having a bunch of mummies bent on world destruction on your hands is just way too much mess to deal with. That is, unless you have Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz by your side to save you (and the rest of the world too of course). 

6. If you have to be a nanny/governess to 7 or more kids, get them to sing and dance a lot-it seems to make them significantly less unruly.

7. A bit of chocolate can solve multitudes of problems-especially if you live in a French village with Juliet Binoche and Judi Dench.

8. Never underestimate the power of the dark side (e.g. evil but in the same way, never underestimate the power of good as well!)

9. If zombies take over the earth the best thing to do, according to Will Smith in "I am Legend" is to go to Bethel, VT where apparently, the last haven for sane individuals is located. 

10. Life really is like a box of chocolates-you never know what's coming next-I suppose that's the beauty of it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How trying new foods has stuck with me....

My parents have always firm believers in stamping out picky eating amongst their children and they took action by getting us to eat new things at an early age. Some of this "trying new things" deal involved the following methods:

Often my siblings and I weren't allowed to leave the table until the new food was eaten or we wouldn't get dessert until we ate everything on the plate. Side story: I always hated peas and even now I still have a bit of difficulty eating them I think it's something in their consistency I don't like. Anyway, in order to get rid of the offensive peas I used to try to feed them to our dog which didn't go so well as the dog didn't like them either. I then resorted to scooping a bunch of them into my mouth and swallowing them down with a big gulp of water or milk. It got the job done quickly as long as I didn't get too ambitious and try and fill my mouth with too many peas at once. The habit has stuck with me to this day.

Pretending a new food was a food we already liked
My parents at one point decided they wanted us children have us try something unique and cooked up some mussels. When we first looked at them my siblings and I didn't feel to keen about eating them but that changed when my parents told us they were just fried up mushrooms which happened to be something we all did like and we happily ate the mussels.. Then, when we did eventually find out we'd been slightly tricked, we still felt they were good and we still like eating them today and so I don't think any of us were really that upset with our parental units for stretching the truth a bit. 

Simply not telling us what we were eating 
My parents typically chose to tell us what we were having for dinner but if we were eating something that my siblings and I were unfamiliar with and we suspiciously asked about it, my parents would resort to resolutely stating "just eat it, it's good"-and most of the time it was. I think abiding by the philosophy of just not asking what I'm eating helps me enjoy it more as I can't have any preconceived notions of what I'm eating should actually taste like. Case in point, I was at a Chinese restaurant with some friends and one of them passed something to me that looked like a fairly think chicken drumstick and told me to try it. I did so and found it tasted sort of like a drumstick just with more bones than meat. My friend watched me and when I'd finished eating she clapped me on the back and said "congratulations, you just ate a chicken's foot!" For a second I was grossed out and then I started to laugh with her. 

Sometimes I really do think that in the case of food at least, ignorance can really be bliss since that idea has helped broaden my appetite and I think it's improved my life in the process. Granted I've made a pact with myself that I'd only be adventurous if I knew and trusted the person who cooked the food but for the most part I've managed to thrive on the philosophy of: when in doubt.... still dig in!

Monday, February 25, 2013

On Love and Marriage

Marriage and love at least to me, are some of the nicest and happiest things that humans can share with each other. My parents have been married for over three decades and to me they've symbolized what a fairly stable marriage is. When I think about them and how happy they have been I also think of how horrid it would be for them if they had been denied the ability to get married. Simply because my mother is a woman and my dad's a man their marriage is socially acceptable and not disputed. Furthermore, if I, being a woman decided to marry a man who I love very much, (and I hope to do so one day) I don't think people would think less of me for doing so. What I feel is so unfair is if two men or two women want to marry each other, suddenly loads of people get all up in arms about it and laws are passed to ban the practice. 

What's interesting is that some of the same arguments people use against gay marriage were once used to ban interracial marriage. One argument that does bother me more than most is the religious argument against gay marriage and interracial marriage. For interracial marriage, opponents touted the idea that such marriage was against God's law. Then there's the argument that gay marriage is a sin. From what I've read of the Bible in general, I feel that the Bible can be interpreted in so many ways. To me, the Bible and religion in general promotes (or should promote) love and the idea that it damns the love that can exist between two people just because they are of different races or because they are both male or both female seems to go against that idea.   It makes me sad to think that while the church embraces interracial marriage with open arms and baptizes the children of such marriages, gay couples don't seem to be welcomed at all unless they agree to conform and somehow "stop being gay"-which is probably as easy as preventing oneself from being heterosexual. The idea that gay people reject religion stands to reason in that sense, after all who wants to be a part of something that actively persecutes you?

I write all this because I want to stand for what I believe is right and fair and to provoke thought. I love people and so, at least in the instance of gay marriage, it would make me happier than anything to know that such couples can get married and love freely without fear of persecution. If interracial marriage can be promoted and legalized without really any harm done to society, I hope that gay marriage can be legalized as well. In short, I hope that love can overcome the large amount of hatred surrounding these issues.

1. Ramos, C., Goldberg, N. G., & Badgett, M. V. (2009). The Effects of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts: A survey of the experiences and impact of marriage on same-sex couples. The Williams Institute. Retrieved 12/25/13 from
2. Reeve, E. (2012).  How Arguments Against Gay Marriage Mirror Those Against Miscegenation. Retrieved 2/25/13

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I would like to thank.....

Since it's Oscar night I thought I'd say some "thank yous" of my own even though I don't particularly feel like thanking the Academy. So, I'd like to thank the following individuals (as I don't think they get thanked enough and they should be thanked!):
  • God: for always being there and watching over me.
  • My family: for taking the time to teach me the important things in life all while putting up with me and standing by me no matter what.
  •  My friends for being really awesome and sticking it out with me. 
  • AU's Gospel Choir: for showing me that when we sing God sings with us.
  • My church group who have been like a second family to me and have helped me get through so much. 
  •  My teachers/professors over the years: for taking the time to teach me and help me grow academically  although I still strongly dislike maths and science.
  • Doctors for helping keeping me healthy both physically and mentally (even if most of the time my interaction with them hasn't been nearly as exciting as Grey's Anatomy makes it appear.)
  • Police officers for keeping everybody safe and for giving me directions when I'm lost (which happens more frequently than I like to admit.)
  • EMS/ambulance drivers-for driving around with sirens blaring which I'm sure must give them headaches every now and then but they help so many people including me.
  • Drivers/operators of planes, trains, buses etc. even though I might get really ticked at them every now and then for being not exactly on time, I'm still grateful they help people get where they need to be.
  •  Servicemen/women: In honor of my grandad who flew planes in WWII and was shot down twice over the Pacific and survived. Also for my father who served in the Army Corps of Engineers in the Vietnam War.
  • Generally everyone who has touched my life: I feel like everyone who I've come into contact with has shaped my life in some way and I'm grateful for that as I feel it's made me the person I am or perhaps the person I hope to continue to grow into. (Then again,  growing up is overrated!)
I realize if I read out this list I'd end up thanking people for doing what they do on a daily basis anyway but I'm still grateful for all of it.  Even if the people from the Grand and Great and Powerful Academy would start playing background music and shepherding me off the stage before I got through the whole list I'd put up a good fight to get every word out before that! So thank you all and good night!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feel Good Movies

As their title promises, feel good movies, well, never cease to make me feel good inside. Although they might be really corny, sometimes it's nice to watch stories where by the end of the movie, things fall miraculously into place and all is right in the world again. The plot is predictable, yes but still, it's nice to come out of these movies feeling pretty happy in the end. So if you're into feel good movies here is a list of some of my favorites. This list is in no particular order as I like all the movies equally as much.

1. Miracle-US hockey team beats the USSR
2.  Tea with Mussolini-it's about a little boy who grows up in Italy and is basically raised by a group of British ladies-it's cute and I love it!
3. Chicken Run-A group of chickens try and escape from a chicken farm to save themselves from being turned into chicken pies ("I don't want to be a pie!" either!)
4. Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken-a girl who dives off a diving platform on horseback goes blind and overcomes her disability to ride again (why she chose a career in diving on horseback is beyond me but I still like the movie!)
5.Houseboat-Cary Grant plays a man who goes to live on a houseboat to live with his 3 insanely  cute children and eventually falls in love with Sofia Loren who plays the kids' nanny-lots of singing and dancing involved!
6. Beauty and the Beast-A tale as old as time-with lots of chipped cups of tea to watch it with!
7. When Harry Met Sally
8. Music of the Heart-Meryl Streep plays a woman who helped a group of school children learn to play the violin and they eventually all go on to play at Carnegie Hall.
9. Swiss Family Robinson-A family with 3 sons gets stranded on an island, builds an awesome treehouse, meets a beautiful girl and fights off pirates-all in about 2 hours! Gosh life as a shipwrecked family is so exciting!
10. Cool Runnings- A bobsled team from Jamaica goes to compete in the Olympics 
11. The Sound of Music-singing and dancing with adorable children and Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews dancing the ländler-(which seems like the most romantic dance ever when they dance together!)
12. Remember the Titans-Football team in the South gets integrated by Denzel Washington and they go on to win everything!
13. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory-the 1971 version as the newer version scares me-no offense to Mr. Depp!
14.  Dr. Doolittle-the 1967 version with Rex Harrison-I love the music!
15. Charade-Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant work together to solve a murder mystery and fall in love in the process.
16. How to Steal a Million -Audrey Hepburn plays a woman who persuades a "thief" played by Peter O'Toole to steal a "famous" statue that is a forgery created by Audrey Hepburn's character's father, before the statue can be evaluated-comedy ensues!
17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone-I liked the first movie best because the characters are so young and cute and the ending is happy!
18. The Railway Children-1970-A British family goes to live in the country after the father/husband gets mysteriously taken away. Its all about the kids' adventures with the local railway and how it transforms their lives.
19. Finding Nemo-A fish called Nemo goes on a quest to find his dad.
20. Shrek-An ogre has to save a princess-FYI-Ogres are like onions-deep creatures with lots of layers!
21.  The Chronicles of Narnia the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe-  Siblings go to an imaginary world and with the help of a talking lion and an assortment of other amazing talking animals have to fight off an evil witch to end Narnia's eternal winter and bring back Christmas!
22. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-a group of British people go to India to retire and have lots of adventures along the way.
23. It's a Wonderful Life-I love Jimmy Stewart!
24. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day- The life of a woman down on her luck gets transformed when she goes to work for a glamorous stage beauty that she helps to have a happy life in return.
25. Young Frankenstein- the son of Frankenstein follows in his father's footsteps.... walk this way...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Maggie's Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

Since I'm all about helping people to be happy, I'm trying to recruit people to join me in that mission!  To that end, I've decided to start a "Kindness Challenge."  The mission (should you choose to accept it, that is) is to find ways to do random acts of kindness. It doesn't have to be anything major, just something nice for someone else that you wouldn't ordinarily do. It doesn't have to be every day either (although it would be cool). How often you do it is up to you but my hope is that you'll do something at least once a week. Maybe it's holding doors for someone or visiting people who live in a nursing home-whatever you decide to do I hope that you have fun with it and that it helps you feel as much joy as you can help others to feel in turn.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Version of "If"

In a previous post I posted the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. Since I like that poem a lot I decided to try my hand at it too. The following version is by no means as good as Kipling because to me his poem stands in a class of its own. Anyway, the poem below is a tribute to "If". 

A Version of "If"

If you can keep your chin held high
And not let things get you down
If you can hope with everything that’s in you
And never let that hope drown
If you can help people
And view doing so only as a labor of love
If you can “do without” so that others don’t have to
And yet not see your actions as “doing without”

If you can do all of these things
And take pride and pleasure in doing them all
The logical conclusion would be
That you’ll be happier than you were before

The truth though is that everyone has the capacity
To do so many great things
And to be happy
And help others to be happy in turn
Therein lies the real beauty in humanity
It’s a light in all of us A light that can grow
A fire that can burn within
To outshine the darkness when it threatens to win

If you can hold onto these things
And gain strength from them all
Then I hope you’ll let nothing stop you
From standing tall
And taking the awesome ideas and hopes
You have inside you
And realize them
For every dream is worth pursuing
No matter how small


Monday, February 18, 2013

Daily dose of inspiration courtesy of Mother Teresa

"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing."- Mother Teresa. So go out and spread the love today folks!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Maggie Goes on a Quest to Get Fit!

Since I joined the YMCA as part of the deal of joining I got 3 free personal trainer sessions of which I took full advantage. In one of these sessions the trainer had me lifting weights. This was in my 2nd session with the guy and he prefaced the weight lifting by saying "Maggie, I think you might have trouble with this but we'll try anyway." So he set me to work doing bench presses. (which was indeed hard for me to do but after he said I'd have trouble with it I decided I'd be damned if I let him know I was having trouble!) So I started shouting "I can do this! I can do this!" Lo and behold suddenly it miraculously got easier. I thought to myself "Hah! take that you 'o ye of little faith' trainer!" I was feeling pretty pleased with my little self until I looked up and realized the trainer had been helping me the whole time and I hadn't noticed because I was too busy yelling away about how I could do it! Ah well, I reasoned, I'd still done it anyway really. 

Since then I've graduated to taking an actual class (although not in weight lifting.) I've started taking a spinning course which I go to about 3 times a week. Spinning basically involves riding a stationary bicycle with a gear on it that increases or decreases resistance to how fast you can peddle based on which way you turn a knob controlling the resistance. The nice thing I like is that although the instructor urges you to increase resistance at certain points, you do it at your own pace so you basically are in charge of how hard it is for you. Not that I didn't exercise before, but spinning has actually helped me like exercising. Yes, sometimes I do wonder if I'm slightly masochistic as I always come out of that class sweating like no other and although I feel like hell when I'm in the class, I do feel pretty good when I finish. It's a nice sense of accomplishment. Maybe if I get really good and fit I'll try and graduate to real bicycle racing and win something fun. Tour de France here I come!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why Shakespeare is responsible for Hallmark Cards

Because it's Valentine's day and I love researching odd facts,  I found out that Shakespeare apparently made little handmade cards with his poetry on them to give as gifts. I don't know whether he specifically gave them out on 2/14 during the Middle Ages. I guess Hallmark took that idea to a modern-day even more commercial level. The company actually started making Valentine's cards in 1913 and now, voila! We have a holiday! So now you know how Shakespeare helped Hallmark make it big! Still, why a naked boy who shoots arrows at people for fun, just to make them fall in love, is still used to symbolize Valentine's day is puzzling to me. I don't know about the rest of you but if I saw someone (especially a naked kid) coming at me with an arrow, I'd run! (even if my future love life would be destroyed by doing so!)

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day y'all!

Happy Birthday to my Dad

It's my Dad's birthday and so I'm writing this in his honor. My Dad is someone I really admire. He taught me how to drive a car with a manual transmission and a tractor (as we live on a farm). He's also taught me how to dance and to love jazz. He makes the best pancakes (to the point where I can't eat pancakes without comparing them to his), and he gives great advice when I'm having a rough time. ("Keep a stiff upper lip!")

I love my Dad very much, not just for the things he taught me or for the things he does, I love my Dad because he's my Dad and I'm proud to be his daughter. Even though we may have had our differences my dad and my mum have always been there for me and my siblings. So happy birthday Dad!

Just Because It's Valentines's day.....

Thoughts on love

Love is one of the most beautiful and confusing things
It's in much of what we do and say
Hellos, goodbyes, hugs and kisses
In holding doors, giving up your seat to someone in need
Just a smile even, is enough
To show someone you care
There's love in all that 
Which is why I believe, even if it's cliche 
That love really is everywhere

Love is something that can be everlasting
So even though I may not know you personally
And not just because it's Valentine's Day
I send my love to you through this poem
because it's a gift I can give anyone
And gift giving is fun 
Plus, one of my New Year's resolutions is 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ah, if only life were a musical

Although I haven't gotten swept up in "Glee" fever, I do like musicals very much. I think that things would at least be a lot more fun if more things in life were set to music. Just think of how entertaining an argument could be if people broke out into song in the middle of it. Case in point: there's a scene in the musical Rent where two women are arguing about how one of them wants an open relationship and the other woman doesn't (to watch the clip click Here.) I realize it's a musical which is why they start singing randomly in the middle of yelling at each other but even yelling sounds so much better in a song. I really believe that, as long as one has  the desire to do so, anyone can sing. I think it's just a matter of finding the right key and even if it's just singing in the shower, it can be really fun. When I was very young I heard a song on Sesame Street and for some reason it's stayed with me.  I still like it. It's called "Sing" and it goes like this:

Sing Sing a song 
Sing out loud Sing out strong  
Sing of good things, not bad  
Sing of happy, not sad
Sing Sing a song 

Make it simple To last your whole life long  
Don't worry that it's not good enough  
For anyone else to hear 
Sing Sing a song

Bob Marley once said: "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” (Source: Even if you feel like you can't/don't want to sing, I still hope that there's music in your life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

British to "Americanish" Dictonary (or at least all the words I can think of right now)

Because my mum is British and my dad is American (which makes me and my siblings half Brits e.g.-we're really from somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic), we've been to the UK a few times to visit my mum's family and friends. When I'm there I've always been interested in the fact that the US and Britain although share a common language have a few unique words. So, for the sake of increasing people's knowledge of the unique language of the UK I've made the following list of words/ slang terms I  can think of that seem to be unique to the British Isles. If any of you can think of others, feel free to comment/correct me if I've written something in error. (Please note some of these words might be old fashioned but I liked them so included them anyway.)

British Term                                      US Translation
999                                  Emergency number for police/fire/ambulance (911 in US)
1. Anorak                  1. Winter coat (usually furry)
2. Beastly                  2. Cruel/nasty/awful
3. Boot                       3. A car's trunk 
4.  Buck up your ideas  4. Exclamation (Get going! Cheer up!)
5. Bugger                   5. Exclamation (damn/crap/etc)
6. Car Boot Sale      6. A garage sale but in someone's car rather than garage
7.  Cheers                 7. Thanks
8. Chemist's              8. Pharmacy
9. Chips                    9. Fries
10.Crisps                 10. Potato chips
11. Cuppa                11. Cup of tea
12. Elastoplast         12. Band Aid
13. Hell's Bells          13. Exclamation (e.g. damn/crap etc)
 14. Jumper                14. Sweater/Sweatshirt 
15. Lemonade           15. In addition to traditional lemonade can also refer to a soft drink like 
16. Love                   16.Term of endearment (equivalent of dear, honey,etc- Example: Hello love)
17. Motorway            17.Freeway
18. Mustn't                 18. Must not
19. Newsagent's shop    19. Newsstand
20. Nappy                   20. Diaper
 21  Oi!                         21. (exclamation) Hey!
22. Pavement             22. Sidewalk 
23. Petrol                    23. Gas 
24. Posh                     24. Fancy
25. Rubber                 25. Eraser (in addition to being a plain substance)
26. Rubbish               26. N) Trash; Adj: Ridiculous/terrible (example: what rubbish/I was rubbish)
27. Rummage Sale     27. Garage sale
28.  Salad Cream      28. Salad Dressing/mayonnaise 
29. Shant                     29. Shall not
30. Shirty                     30. Grumpy/rude
31. Sod/bugger/clear off!   31. Leave/get lost! (not nice)
32. Specticals/Specs  32. Glasses 
33.  Sweet(s)/Sweetie    33.Candy
34   Swish                  34.Fancy/sophisticated
35.. Tea                    35. In addition to a drink, tea is a light meal, usually before an evening meal 
36.Telly                    36. TV 
37. Torch                  37. Flashlight
38. Trainers             38. Running shoes/sneakers
39. Underground     39. Subway/metro     
40. Wellies                40.  Wellington Boots/Rain Boots

Some words like "zebra" and "again" are said differently in British English. For example zebra can be pronounced "zehbra"-as z can be pronounced like "zed"in the UK and "again" can be pronounced as "a gain". Also certain words have different spellings. Words like "theater" and center are spelled "centre" and "theatre". Words like color that end in "or" end in "our" in British English. (Example- colour). Words that end in "ze" in US English end in "se" in the UK, (examples: generalise and socialise).

Sunday, February 10, 2013

You Do Not Know The Power of the SNOW...until you've experienced Blizzard Nemo!

Having grown up in a state with cold winters, I thought I had a fairly good idea of what the concept of snow meant-that is until I moved to New England.  Snow in New England (at least this winter) is kind of like scary drivers with road rage. The latest storm didn't just run the stop sign by my apartment, it left it, as you can see, looking like the sign version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As you can also sort of see form the picture, the sidewalk is completely buried and in parts, the snow was blown into drifts up to my waist. Because I'm short, walking on the sidewalk was kind of like walking in a tunnel with no ceiling. It did make me think a bit about the part in the movie Star Wars Episode V  where Luke Skywalker is chased through horribly deep snow by this equally horrible animal that is my everlasting image of what the Abominable Snowman should look like. So as I walked back from the store, although I do like a good bit of adventure now and then, I was infinitely glad that I wasn't being chased by a dirty great furry white monster, as I'm sure he'd gobble me up in 5 seconds flat, groceries and all. Anyway, my friends and I made the snowman below and I thought about naming it The Yeti, but now I think it's too cute to be abominable!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why getting older is awesome!

I never understood why people are so afraid of getting older which is why I love the anonymous quote:"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - wine in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride!" I plan to live by that idea and part of my motivation to do so came from my experiences reading to a 94 year old woman. She was the wife of a high ranking Navy officer. She had traveled all over the world with him and she had a multitude of stories to prove it.  To make a long story short, she taught me how important it was to live life to the fullest. Like her and in many ways to honor her memory,  I fully intend to have awesome stories to tell people about fun and unusual things I did, the people I helped (and continue to help), and just about life in general!

To me age is a beautiful thing and I want to embrace that. After all, laugh lines just show that there's been a lot of laughter in my life and what's a life without laughter? Gray hairs would seem to indicate a life of adventures-even if they might also indicate that times have been a tad stressful and difficult-but then who has ever heard of an "easy, no-stress-involved adventure?" So I say fooey on all those anti-wrinkle creams! As I get older I'm going to keep my wrinkles dang it!  I'll be dang proud of them because they'd show I'd done a lot of living and that I still have a lot of living to do! My ultimate goal: to be able to look back on my life and think: "it's been a wonderful ride and I still have enough spunk left for more!"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why blizzards are fun

Since my area is in the midst of a massive blizzard I'm trying not to think of it as a bad thing despite the fact that they can be rather destructive. As with anything, there are some benefits to blizzards. Here are a few:
  • Lots of snow allows for making lots of snowmen and there's always snow angels to be made too. Plus, if you're creative, they can be most excellent works of art.
  • It gives one the opportunity to watch movies and play board games (ok so I don't actually own any board games and being that there's a snow storm out, the odds of me getting one are very slim, but I will be watching movies anyways.)
  •  Lots of snow calls for hot chocolate which never ceases to make things better
  •  In blizzards I'm tempted to eat "blizzard" ice creams which are very nice in my opinion (Yes, I do eat ice cream in cold weather, it equalizes everything out.)  
  • Not as if an excuse like a storm is needed, but blizzards do make me want to curl up under my covers with a good book. Since they've shut down public transportation and I don't feel like walking anywhere this seems like an awesome thing to do. 
Regardless of what you decide to do I hope that you're somewhere that's nice and warm! Stay safe!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My memories of chocolate

Today I had a hankering for something cholatey. For me chocolate symbolizes many things, most of which involve my family and how we are close-knit. The following are some of my favorite memories of which chocolate plays a major role:

1. My dad was (and still is) very enthusiastic about fixing up old cars (mostly old British cars) and making them run again. When I was very young my dad would take me out in his red MG and since we lived in the country and no cars would come for ages, my dad and I would go whizzing down the road to on some Saturday mornings. He'd take me to a bakery/diner by our house that I only knew as the doughnut shop. I loved the wind blowing through my hair as my dad drove and when we got to the doughnut shop I always got long johns which were long doughnuts with lots of chocolate. I loved going there with him and spinning around on the bar stools until I got dizzy while we waited for the doughnuts to come out and then we'd go home. When I think of that time, it makes me think of how much I love my parents.

2. Also as young children, in the summers my siblings and I would set up lemonade stands by our house, my mum would help us and we'd make the lemonade ourselves. I'll never forget once we were all sitting outside at our stand and a woman came by on her bicycle and stopped. She said that she felt she had to stop as she'd read somewhere that kids would be psychologically damaged if no one stopped at their lemonade stands. I guess our stand didn't look particularly prosperous to her ( and I don't think we really understood what "psychologically damaged" meant anyway.) She said she didn't have any money but she did have a Snickers bar which we accepted as payment and we were pretty pleased about i! (I guess it didn't occur to us to heed our parents' warning never to take candy or anything else from strangers but it really was harmless.) Ah, if only chocolate could be used as currency!

3. My mother's father was a lovely man who spoiled me rotten! He used to take me down to the village shop where newspapers and sweets were sold, whenever my family and I came to visit my grandparents. My grandfather would buy a newspaper that he'd take to an old lady who lived a few doors down from him who had difficulty getting out of her house due to her age. He'd then let me choose some chocolate and as we walked to his neighbor's house he used to recite poetry and Shakespeare to me as he seemed to love doing that. I think those walks were part of what helped me gain a love of Shakespeare and English literature in general. 

So you see, chocolate isn't only special to me because it tastes good, it's also a little taste of home. It reminds me of the good things in my life. It's a constant reminder to me not only of my family, but also of the fact that life is sweet!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Maggie's amazing crisis plan

I took a class in crisis management in school and as part of the class and based off of what I learned in it, I created a plan as to what I'd do in a crisis. Since a blizzard is headed my way this weekend I thought I'd post it in the hope that  it helps give some people ideas as to what to do to prepare for all hell to break loose!  The list read as follows:

What Maggie Will Do if she's in a crisis

1-I'll pack a bag with basic necessities: warm clothes to last 3-5 days, granola bars, flashlight, blanket, trail mix (essential), tooth brush, toothpaste, and other vital necessities to be decided later . (If I manage to plan ahead before the crisis hits) I'll get a gallon of water and take enough money out of my bank account to last a few days in case I have to walk somewhere far and need supplies (in case credit card/ATM machines aren't working.)

2- Since I don't have any relatives living near me to go to, and most of my friends live in the same city with me (thus meaning they'd probably be evacuated too) I'd find a shelter (which will hopefully be set up close by her apartment. If it's not close by then I'll try and take public transport to it. If public transport isn't working then I'd try and take a taxi, if that fails then I'll walk-I can be tough!)

3. If I couldn't get to a shelter for some reason, I'd batten down the hatches in my apartment (e.g. try and tape down the windows, unplug all appliances except maybe the fridge as I'd hold out hope that the power might miraculously stay on so my food doesn't get soggy. I'd then proceed to camp out in my bathroom, with my flashlight and a big container of trail mix for comfort and pray to God and all that's holy to deliver me out of the storm in one piece!

4. Modes of communication: If cell phone service and internet go out I do have a battery powered radio that I might be able to use to send a message (I have to read up on this as I'm not sure if that's possible.) Another slightly problematic factor with the radio is that I managed to break it recently and now also have to figure out how to fix it. Come to think of it, if a crisis strikes tomorrow things aren't looking so good for me in terms of my ability to communicate with the outside world. It would be at that point that I'd wish I had an owl like Harry Potter's owl or some similar bird. I think they would be very handy in a time of natural disaster to send messages if the postal services, internet and all that were out of commission. (Then again I'd have to train the owl and although they're pretty cool from a distance, owls do tend to intimidate me. Plus, the poor thing might die/get blown off course in a strong wind. Also where can one get a nice owl for keeps these days?). I thought about trying to get a passenger pigeon/homing pigeon but I think they might be sadly extinct-not much hope for me on that front then.

Anyway, as you can see, I think I have a halfway decent plan worked out-hope it serves as inspiration as to what you all could do. Stay safe, and if all else fails, get some trail mix and camp out in the bathroom!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How my voice mail could be more entertaining

I'm very intrigued about how creative one can get when setting up voice mail box answering messages. I've settled with the old, rather dry and slightly boring: "Hello you've reached Maggie's cell phone. I'm sorry I  can't take your call but if you leave your name and number and  a brief message I'll get back to you as soon as possible."  message. However if I let the more creative side of me out, here are some messages I might give serious consideration to using instead:

1. (This is a message I'd use if I was in a slightly bad mood or feeling slightly sassy) Hello you've reached Maggie's cell phone I can't come to the phone because I'm too busy to deal with your business at this moment. However if you leave an entertaining message after the beep I might seriously consider calling you back-as long as you leave your number along with the entertaining message that is.

2. (This is a message I'd use if I was feeling like educating people.):  Hello you've reached Maggie's cell phone, before you leave a message, did you know that tomatoes are a fruit? This was established by the European Union as two countries got in a fight and went to court about it and the fruit loving country won. So now you can leave a message as long as you don't use it to try to get in an argument with me about the difference between a fruit and a vegetable!

3. (This is a message I'd use if I was feeling like being especially nice and sugary!) : Hello you've reached Maggie's cell phone I feel terrible for missing your call as I'm sure you're a really awesome nice person. But if you leave your number and a message (which I'm sure will be as nice as can be,) l will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. I hope you have the best day ever!

 4. (This is a message I would leave if I was feeling especially British.): 'Ello love! Oi! I can't chat roight now love as I've gone up the road to the pub to watch Man United play Arsenal. But if yeh leave yeh name an' number I'll ring yeh when I get 'ome-just as soon as I've 'ad me tea! Cheerio and God Save the Queen!