Out of My Feelings and Into My Happiness

happy post

 

I decided to be happy.  I made this decision a couple of years back after hearing Dr. Phil say to a guest: “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Although the doctor was not talking to me, I was intrigued by his inquiry. So much so that I repeatedly mulled his question over in my mind; do I want to be right or happy? Well, if you read the first sentence of this post, you already know that I chose the latter.  Choosing to be happy is easy enough, right?  All you have to do is start being happy.  NOT!  The fact of the matter was choosing happiness, for me, meant changing my perceptions about others.  To be more specific, I would need to stop worrying about what other people thought about me.  Better yet, I would need to stop worrying about what I thought other people thought about me.  Sound convoluted?  Don’t worry; I’ll simplify it, just stay with me.

Basically, I used to be easily offended.  I would analyze every little thing that someone said or didn’t say.  I strongly studied a person’s facial expressions looking for the slightest physical cue that he or she disapproved of me.  Believe this; I could detect a person’s ‘disdain’ a thousand miles away.  Then, suddenly, the shoe jumped onto the other foot!  No seriously, one day a casual friend approached me and told me that I had offended her.  Before I responded, I immediately scanned my mind in an effort to mentally locate my last interaction with her.  Ding, Ding! I found the scene in my mind but I couldn’t find my ‘offense.’  At any rate, my friend proceeded to say that she was offended because I ‘brushed her off’ when I told her that I needed to get someplace.  In essence, she took umbrage at my need to cut our conversation short (Thanks to Mr. Marion Wash, I can use “umbrage” in a sentence :-)). Back to my point, truth be told, my first mind said to ask her if she had lost her damn mind (Thanks to Ms. Eva, I can also use “damn” in a sentence :-)).  But instead, I listened to her vent and apologized for the ‘error’ that she had imagined. Do I sound salty?

Anyway, my friends, I had an epiphany that day.  I instantly realized that I had spent most of my life finding offense where there was none-just like my friend had done.

After thinking more about my friend’s accusation and my own internal madness, I learned five valuable lessons:

 

Lesson 1:  My friend’s issue with me was more about HER than it was about ME

 

Lesson 2:  Analyzing and studying people is tiring as hell and I simply cannot

 

Lesson 3:  Most people are NOT really thinking about me, her, him, them or you

 

Lesson 4:  Even if I can prove that a person is thinking about me in a negative way, who gives a shit? (There’s Ms. Eva again!)

 

Lesson 5:  I can be mature and grant any ‘offender’ a pass; but if they keep it up, I MUST banish them from my Queendom!

In short, I have come to realize that there’s no telling what factors might be influencing a person to act the way that he does.  Maybe someone failed to offer a greeting because he was engaged in deep, serious thought-not because he doesn’t like me. One thing is for sure, while I can’t control the thoughts of others, I can control mine.  Once I fully understood this, I was well on my way to happiness.

As an aside, if you are married, or in a relationship, the sooner you learn these lessons, the better.  Also, phrases like “yes, honey!” and “You’re right baby!” can buy ten tons of peace and happiness in your home.

So, with all that said, I am into my happiness.  How will you get into yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ron’s Time Tunnel: A Comet’s Tale-‘Gramp’

comet pic

 

As I stated in last week’s post, “Halley’s Memories,” comets come and comets go. Some comets, like Halley’s, come close enough to be seen by the naked eye, then travel back into parts unknown, only to return eons later. But! No matter which of these types they represent, they all have one thing in common; they leave “tales” in their wake. Oh yes! You are correct, they leave tails too, but my focus is on the “tales.” Scientists have found that the tails of comets contain “stardust”. Well, a comet’s “tale” contains “stardust” as well, the stardust of memories.

My grandmother, “Gramp,”was one of these comets; not like the ones who burn brightly and then just fade. She was/is more of a Halley’s type of comet, for although she is no longer physically with us, her “stardust” remains in the form of her stories; stories told and retold by those who had the honor and privilege of sitting in her kindly presence as she told them. My brother, sister and I were among the honored few. We often review them in our conversations, trying desperately to cling to the details; not just for our sakes, but for sake of our posterity and even the world.

As I stated last week, in “Halley’s Memories”, there are; “long period” as well as “short period” comets. Well, memories have similar characteristics for there are; “long term” memories as well as “short term” memories. Long term memories are the memories of those things that happened long ago but you still retain them in detail. They can be recalled with little or no priming. As Gramp ascended the stairway of life, the rungs of her memory began to creak and groan with the pressure of each step, but the amazing thing was that the “long term” memories were completely intact while the “short term” memories were vaporous.

For example: Her best dish was her fried chicken. Her chicken was always the first to disappear at church functions. I always relished the occasions when she made fried chicken and biscuits for supper on Saturdays (talking about some syrup sopping, ooh wee!) and fried chicken and “the works” on Sundays; however, when she started to lose her memory, she made fried chicken EVERY day! She would forget that she’d made it the day before, but we ate it, DAILY. For you see, she didn’t forget the recipe just that she’d made it yesterday! Later on, we had to stop her from cooking altogether, before she burned the house down!

Gramp had six brothers and three sisters; one of which was named Verlin.  She was the one that my siblings and I called Aunt Vulla.  We didn’t know her name was actually not Vulla and her kids and grandkids—my second cousins—didn’t know that we called her “Vulla”. I thought her name was Vulla until I tried to do some family history using Ancestry.com. I found that I was having trouble locating Vulla in any of the historical records.  I knew she was also called Flossie, but, I couldn’t locate a Flossie until the 1940 census. There, she was listed there as Flossie Carter (Carter was her married last name).

In earlier censuses, I found a Verlin in the Smith household. So there I was with no Flossie and no Vulla and an extra child whom I’d never heard mention of named Verlin. Then one day, like a light coming on in a dark, dusty room, I realized that Verlin was Vulla.  Someone, at some time, possibly me and my siblings with a little help from Gramp, had transmogrified Verlin into Vulla. These sisters seemed to have a language all their own; a language like the language that some twins are said to have although, they themselves, were not twins at all. One of the words in this language was the term, “STORNADO”. If you come back next week, I’ll tell you about “STORNADO”! See ya next week!

 

 

Around The World on a Plate

I am so sorry but, my God,  I love a good Prince reference!  For those of you who are confused, the title of this post is a play on Prince’s “Around the World in a Day.” Of course, die-hard Prince fans knew this instantly.

Sorry for the digression!

Today I am sharing pictures of dishes that I prepared in the past year or so.  I will admit that I got pretty jazzy!  Meaning, I opted to cook things that are out of the norm for some of us Southern folks.  You see, around these parts, it’s best to play it pretty safe!  You know, stick with the usual suspects like fried, baked or barbecued chicken, pork, steak, etc.  You will soon see that I chose NOT to play that game!

Check this out!

etouffe
Shrimp Etouffee!  Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Cher!

In other words!  “Let the good times roll!”  Yass baby!  I made this myself!  I learned how to make it by watching a family friend who is from Zachary, LA.

shrimp fried rice
Shrimp Fried Rice

I mean…what else do I need to say about ANY kinda fried rice?  One word: “Bomb!”

Pork steak and shrimp
Kitchen sink shrimp and Grilled Pork Steak

I used everything but the kitchen sink to season these skrimps! Yes, I meant to spell it that way!

Okay, for those of you who like more traditional foods, I got you too!

grilled vegs
Grilled Veggies

The veggies were cooked to death! But still good!

turkey
Thanksgiving Turkey

Baby, this turkey was browner than I am… and that takes some doing! It was juicy too!

dressing
Dressing-not stuffing

 

Sorry for the IPhone shadow, but I think you get the gist! Melt in your mouth!

collard greens
Collard Greens

All of the ham hocks were gone by the time I took this picture; yeah, we ate ’em!

Buttermilk pie
Buttermilk Pie

I couldn’t leave you without dessert!  Google any recipe for buttermilk pie; you can’t lose! Succulent!

Bonus:

bruschetta
Tomato, Garlic and Basil on Toast Crackers

My daughter had this for lunch today; she loves it!  If my mom had packed this for my lunch, I would have cried all the way to school and back!

At any rate, I hope you enjoyed checking out my work!  By the way,  I am sure that my dear cousin Annie is snoring by now since she has already seen these.

No matter, I thought the rest of you might like a quick gander at my culinary projects!

What’s on your plate?

Where is My Shamrock?

shamrock photo

 

It’s only 9:00 am and my day looks like it’s heading to Crazytown!  If this morning is any indication, I am in for a real doozy!  It all started with elementary Math homework (remember, I have a little one)  then proceeded to a frenzied search for my car keys. Oh, but it didn’t end there!  Hell no!  How about this…I get in the car and it promptly tells me that I am low on fuel.  Lunacy at its best!

I am clairvoyant so I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking that I could have avoided these problems had I been more proactive.  Frankly you are right! Yes, I should keep my car keys in a designated location.  Yes, I could have gotten gas on my way home from the last trip.  Yes, I could have settled homeworkgate last night. However, at this point, all of those solutions are completely academic.  So what do I do here and now? The answer?  I go get my shamrock!

Allow me to explain.  According to DNA ancestry reports, I am 2% Irish.  Clearly, that’s not much at all!  But let me tell you…these Irish grandpappies are VERY vocal for their number!  In fact, they have been chattering in my ears for years.  But, to be honest, all of their yacking likely led me to find, not one, but two four leaf clovers in my lifetime!  While I can’t be sure of a causal link, I have noticed that things usually work out well for me; despite this morning’s events.

Anyway, one day while shopping, I noticed an alabaster kelly green shamrock at a nearby store. It reminded me so much of those lucky four leaf clovers that I found all those years ago.  Needless to say, I immediately bought and kept it close ever since.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize that this shamrock probably can’t really make ‘good’ things happen, but it does remind me to believe that ‘good’ things can happen. Maybe that’s what my couple- two Irish ancestors were trying to tell me 🙂

Now, I need some good things to happen so where’s my shamrock?

 

*What reminds you that good things can happen?