Remember Mikey? Try It, You Might Like It? Life Cereal.

SOMETHING ABOUT NOTHING – published week of April 20, 2015 in the Albert Lea Tribune

Do you remember your parents telling you to eat your vegetables? They might have said, “You will like it. You just need to try it.” Or they might have told you that you will learn to like the taste.

I didn’t buy that theory until recently. Scrolling through Facebook and reading the alternative health magazines, I have contemplated joining the cider vinegar, honey and lemon craze. When I have a sore throat or a cold, my mom’s go-to remedy was lemon, honey and hot water. It seemed to do the trick if I was coughing. I wasn’t quite sure about adding cider vinegar to the mix.

I have a friend who uses essential oils along with the vinegar, honey and lemon. She swears by the warm drink in the morning. I was going to try the drink too but have been too lazy to do the mix.

One day I was browsing the health food section of the grocery store, and I came upon an already mixed cider vinegar and honey drink. It appears that all that is in the drink is cider vinegar and honey. I decided to try it. How easy was that? I just had to pull the bottle out of the fridge and pour a little into my glass, no mixing needed.

I let the bottle of vinegar and honey cool off in the refrigerator before trying it. Later in the day I took out a glass and poured the drink into the glass, only using a fourth of the glass. I didn’t want to overdo it the first time by sloshing down an entire glass of the liquid. I took a sip. My lip curled. I made a face. Those watching asked me what was wrong. I answered, “Nothing.” I took another sip. This time I didn’t breathe thinking that would help with taste. It didn’t.

I put the bottle back in the refrigerator wondering if this was something I wanted to do. It was supposed to make me healthier. I persevered day after day. I would wrinkle my nose, hold my breath and drink the concoction. And then, something amazing happened.

After two weeks of holding my nose and breath and making funny faces while drinking the concoction, I took a drink one day and my brain immediately relayed to me, “Um that was good.” I checked the bottle to make sure I was drinking the same stuff. Yup, the bottle and the drink inside hadn’t changed but my taste buds must have.

I thought about all those vegetables I didn’t like in my childhood — Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli — that are now my favorite vegetables over the corn, the carrots and the peas. In fact, now I lean more toward those I didn’t like and forgo those that I used to eat in my childhood.

Do our taste buds just adapt or do our bodies change, or what? I did some searching but didn’t come up with any scientific theory. I am sure there is one out there but I don’t hang out on the websites that actually teach you something of value. You know I am the fun and fluff person.

Why should it surprise me that something I thought was terrible actually became something good in my life? It happens all the time. It also happens with people. We form an impression and that impression stays with us. Our impression of someone might be formed by someone else’s observations or something we observe in a split moment. Because of that we don’t take the time to delve deeper and we write people off and out of our lives. Perhaps if we took a little time to try the flavor of a person’s personality we might actually like the taste.

Remember Mikey from the Life cereal commercials? “Try it, you might like it.” He was referring to cereal. Beyond liking my vinegar and honey, I have tasted friendships with people I might have turned away from after the first impression if I wouldn’t have taken another taste of their friendship. I might have missed the flavor in their personalities and how those flavors have enriched my life. So remember: try it, you might like it.

“Variety’s the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor.” — William Cowper

Repurpose Your Life!

Something About Nothing printed in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of April 13yellow chair PURPOSE

I have a case of the “I can do that’s.” My husband always tells me to concentrate on one thing and one thing only. These days he means my writing. I know he is right but my brain always has a case of the “I can do that.”

We now live in a world where it is fashionable to reuse and repurpose old things. It is popular to take pieces of one thing and put it together with pieces of something else to make something new. Having the scattered and creative brain that I do my mind cannot function well on concentrating on just one thing for my creativity. I find myself engrossed in writing a story and all of a sudden I see or hear something and an idea pops into my head. It is stuck there in a vision.

I take my vision to the sensible person in my household and he doesn’t see it. Now there are occasions where I can create my vision myself such as the wall I am working on in my writing room. I am papering it with old book pages. What better inspiration for a writer? But then, there are the projects that I cannot do by myself because I do not have the skills. I can see a bench seat made out of my old radiator cover. I see color and beauty in old dilapidated chairs and dressers. I see wall art made with old computer pieces. My heart beats fast and juices flow at the thought of old made new.

I felt very alone in these ideas until recently when a friend changed the venue of her store and another friend retired from her job. All of a sudden I have other people that get it. The store sells old and unique furniture. It is called Second Chances and it is all of that. The store has been in my community for years but recently the store has changed focus, and it values all that has been and all that the pieces could be.

Because of these new people in my life, the more conservative person is actually seeing my vision from time to time, such as when he helped me haul home an old tin kitchen cabinet that needs some indenting and some scouring and painting. I think the “aha” moment came for this conservative person when he realized there were more like me.

I bought a bed from my friend’s store. They delivered it. We asked if they wanted to take our old downstairs vanity and lights. I had dreams of taking that cabinet, putting a new top on it and finishing it off with one of those cute sinks that sits on top of the cabinet, making a new vanity for my upstairs bathroom. The vision didn’t seem to be there for my better half. As the vanity was being taken to the truck one of the women turned to me and said, “It’s not that we don’t want this, but why don’t you paint it, put a new top on it and one of those cool sinks on top of it for a vanity for you?” Can you see my smile as I describe the moment?

My retired friend has an eye for taking unusual pieces and making them into a beautiful piece of furniture that is unique. I love scouring the countryside with her to see what she is going to pick up next. She repurposes things that the rest of us would throw in the trash.

I do have another little piece of furniture that I have tucked away out of sight until I can create my magic. I actually dug it out of a dumpster. It is an old music cabinet that is sturdy but badly in need of a redo. The bones are good. Yes, people who love to make new out of old, do dumpsters.

One of my favorite things to do when I have writer’s block is to paint, either a crazy wall piece or a chair. My grandchildren request specially painted chairs for their rooms. When their tastes change they ask for a new custom chair painted with whatever their new passion is

I have never felt totally at home in a perfectly decorated tasteful home. I like to visit those perfect places such as bed and breakfasts, but my taste is a jumble and right now being jumbled is in. Things don’t have to match, and different patterns and colors are thrown together and somehow they work.

We feel guilty if our lives are a jumbled mess. Isn’t that what living is all about? We tumble through life, picking up pieces new and old, putting them together to go forward to the future. We carry the old parts of us forward in life, mix it up and it makes us who we are today.

I accept that I am jumbled, that my creativity gets in the way of doing one thing at a time. It is when I fight accepting that I cannot be the one-thing-at-a-time person that my life becomes weighted down with expectations of myself that I can’t fulfill and I get frustrated. I suspect it is the same for my Mr. Conservative.  He is the one-thing-at-a-time person. We work hard to meld the two together for a working relationship.

However you tumble and jumble, however you mix and match, reuse and repurpose whatever it is in your past and mix it with the new from the future. It will be uniquely you.


Am I Lost?

am i lost1There are days when I can’t find myself. In my new book Something About Nothing, I shared one of my columns that I wrote on a lost day. I would like to share it with you to give you a little preview of the snippets of life, my life and how it might relate to yours, that I share in the book. Here it is. If you like it click on the picture of the book to find it on Amazon.



“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” A friend sent me a card a few years ago with those words on the front. The card sits in my office where I can see it every day to give me inspiration.

Did I lose myself? Have you looked for yourself lately? A self-help guru who I listened to recently said to ask yourself these questions: Who are you? Where have you been? Where are you going?

I decided I needed to look for myself and find out if I was lost. How do I start? First, I looked to my childhood friend for answers. She asked me two questions. Do you still play with Barbie dolls? Do we still talk about our dreams with imagination? Of course, I don’t play with Barbie dolls! As far as conversation, we have our husbands, our children, our grandchildren, and our jobs to talk about now. Why would we talk about our dreams?

I called a friend of a little shorter duration. I have only known this friend for twenty-three years. I asked her, “Am I lost?” She asked me two questions: Do you dress like a clown when you entertain nursing home residents? Do we still laugh and dream about our lives after kids? Such silly questions. I have no idea where my clown costume is and we don’t have time to dream. Our work, our children, our grandchildren, and our aches and pains are all the conversation for which we have time. We are old. Dreams?

Next stop was the hubby. Am I lost? He didn’t get this question. I was standing right in front of him, although he did mention something about being more spontaneous many, many years ago before raising children. Who has time for spontaneity? There are bills to pay, children to visit, and then there is just plain tired at the end of the day.

I asked my daughter if I was lost. She asked me one question. “Where is the quilt that you were making for me for my high school graduation seven years ago? (Shh! Remember no one knows that I used to sew!)

Maybe I was lost. Maybe I am still lost. But maybe it is like the card: “Life is about creating yourself.” Who is the me I will create today?

Something About Nothing