Category: Notes

When you’re unsure what’s right in front of you

JustKeepGoingI’m sitting in the family room, catching up on Dance Moms (yes, I admit it). It’s a breezy night so the sliders are open. It’s nice. It gets dark, but I didn’t turn the backyard lights on. Why should I? That’s rhetorical. But I should have.

We had a visitor. And Louise (the cat) was not too happy about it. Here’s the thing. Louise gets very protective of me. It’s to the point where she hisses and takes swipes at me. She wants me to stay away from the predator. It’s very sweet, really. Until she actually delivers on one of those swipes and then I have a bloody hand.

Like I mentioned, the lights weren’t on. I didn’t know what was out there. My guess? Another cat. So I took the cup of water I was drinking and launched it through the screen door.

I’m really lucky it wasn’t a skunk at our back door.

It’s tough. Not knowing what’s out there. What’s coming for you. Tough not being able to see something so close. Something that has such an effect on you. But that’s life, right?

The best we can do is keep going. Cautiously, yes, but keep going nonetheless.

You know what I’m talking about. For instance, a new job. You have an idea of what a new job will be like. What it entails. What’s expected of you, etc. But you can’t really be sure what will happen. You have to wait and see. You hardly know this new job.

You just keep going. Showing up every day. Finding out what’s right in front of you and what’s beyond that.

Or when life throws a crazy medical/financial/emotional curveball at you. We’ve all been affected by one of these things. Sometimes you don’t know what the next day will bring. But that doesn’t mean you will it away. You meet the rising sun and find out.

So what’s the point?

I’m not sure what the point is, but mine is this. We can’t know what’s ahead. Can we plan for what we think lies ahead? Yes. Can we make educated guesses? Sure. But in reality, you never know what will happen. Just do what you can to help you see what’s coming next.

My point is that you don’t know if something, good or bad, might happen to you today, so do everything you want today. Just in case.

And my last point is this. Always turn the lights on in your backyard. Who knows — it could have been the skunk.

10 things to do this week rather than be bored

I was never that child who was bored. It’s simply not in my DNA. It made for some hefty carry-on bags, still does, but I’m seemingly never lacking for something to do.

It seems hard to believe that with all the media, gadgets and to-dos anyone could be bored these days. And we’re probably not bored with “nothing to do.” More likely bored with what we do have to. Or what we are doing — staring at screens all the live long day.

Here’s a few thoughts on how to not be bored this week. Turn off. Unplug. Tune out. And do something different.

1| Read a book. it’s the cheapest way to be transported somewhere.
2| Go on a walk. it’s another cheap way to get somewhere.
3| Make something. anything.
4| Have a conversation. connect or reconnect with someone who you haven’t spoken to in the past month.
5| Clean out your car/your closet/your attic. and donate or sell those things you no longer need.
6| Write a letter. not an email. a letter. and send it.
7| Fix something. it’s been broken for a while, and it hasn’t fixed itself yet.
8| Rearrange. The furniture, your bookshelf, etc. Get a new perspective.
9| Do that one thing. scan the photos, shred the mail, transfer your VHS to DVD… the one thing that you keep putting off. do it.
10| Do nothing. and embrace it. 

How else can we turn off the screen — and boredom — this week?

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Dealing with snow (& other unexpected things in life).

SnoJoke_Now that baseball season is officially underway, I feel like I can talk about the winter that was. During the season, it would have been like talking about a no-hitter while a no-hitter is happening — you just don’t do it. But, now that it appears we’ll be breaking 60° for a few consecutive days, I feel like I can talk about the whole thing.

First, let’s rewind a little bit.

At the beginning of January, we had no idea what the jet stream had in store for us. There was little snow at the beginning of the winter season. And then, that quickly changed. By the end of January, the Boston area was suffering from what an op-ed in the Times called a “slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions.”

There was snow. And more snow. And more than enough snow. And enough snow, already. The birdbath in our backyard is evidence. These four shots from 1/27, 1/28, 2/8, 2/9, respectively, perfectly capture that progression. And while it only took a couple weeks to amount to the snowiest winter on record, it took longer than that to melt. As I sit here, mid-April, there are still piles of snow resting in shadowy backyards across the area.

So, how did we get here? To April with our now snow-free commute? What are the tips I put into practice when dealing with the unexpected?

1. Learned a new thing or two.
In January, I had no idea what a snow rake was, let alone that a snow rake even existed. I didn’t know what an ice dam was. And I also didn’t know that you could put ice-melt in pantyhose and place it on your roof to help alleviate the aforementioned ice dam.

When you’re forced to deal with a physical (or emotional) situation, you learn how to get through it. How to survive (relatively unscathed). How to learn and grow and become smarter and stronger because of it. That’s what you do. That’s what I did.

2. Practiced patience. In all things.
From the day after our first snowstorm (1/28) until as recently as March 30, the commuter rain line that I ride suffered from massive delays, cancellations and a so-called “recovery schedule.” It left us standing in the cold (literally). It left us driving to other train lines. And one week I didn’t make it to work until noon every day.

Eventually, one way or another, we all make it to some end point that we expected to be at or that we’ve accepted we’re at. We don’t give up, pitch fits or whine about it though — that doesn’t do anyone any good at all. It’s easier said than done, but having a little patience with ourselves, and with others, goes a long way.

3. Turned the frown, upside down. 
You have never seen a group of people more upset than the collective greater Boston population was this winter. But hey guys, we were all in it together, amiright?

Unexpected situations are much easier to face with a positive outlook. And while it’s easy to say “everything happens for a reason,” it’s sometimes much harder to actually believe it. I’ve found that finding the reason (or reasons) sometimes make dealing with the tough shit harder at first. But in the long run, it’s somewhat soothing and definitely easier to get behind with rose-colored glasses.

4. Looked ahead.
Spring was on my mind’s horizon since January.

Yes. I knew that official spring wasn’t for 60-some days. And I knew that unofficial spring (aka warm weather) would be several more days past that. But I didn’t let that get me down. It goes right along with that positive outlook. Listen,

You’ve got to weather the storm to see the rainbow.

In seasons, in life, in the expected and the unexpected, it’s so true — you have to weather the storm. Life has thrown me plenty of curveballs of all speeds, but I’ve managed to foul them off and keep this thing going. (baseball metaphors all the way.) I/You/We have to. That’s how I’ve managed. I’d like to know how you get through the big, small, crazy, ugly and everything else life has thrown at you recently.

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Why I love Mondays.

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It’s Monday, you guys! And I gotta say. It’s my favorite day of the week. I know it’s not a popular opinion but it’s the one I got. Here’s why.

Monday: Awesome.
Tuesday: The worst.
Wednesday: Stuck in the middle, but not awful.
Thursday: Almost the weekend!
Friday: Fun, but filled with pressure to check off all the things.

Now, a little more on why Monday, gets that one word I hold so dearly, “Awesome.” Monday is a fresh start. A clean slate. On Mondays, I don’t have time to have a “case of the Mondays.” I come in blazing, riding that weekend high. Looking to stir up trouble. To make something. To start fresh.

My favorite thing about Mondays is the chance to begin again. Why wait for a new year to start something new? Make a new week resolution. Heck, make a new day resolution if you’re into it. As humans, we look for a set time to start or end something. Monday is a perfect time for that. It can be a small goal, say, I’m going to eat a piece of fruit with lunch everyday. Or a bigger goal, like, I’m going to start training for a 1/2 marathon this week.

Me? I’m doing neither of those things this week. This week, I have no goals. I just have a fresh week to start filling with memories, meals and moments, big and small. ( + it’s the week of my spring show, so I’m sure it will be filled with many sequins and smiles as well.)

Do you make weekly goals/resolutions/lists? I want to know how you make Mondays the best day of the week. Or, maybe it’s just me? Tell me what day I should consider giving another chance.

A Folder Full of Drafts

Oh hey, Kelly here. Peeking out from under my rock to say hello to spring and the internet and especially to you. It was a LONG winter, but I’m finally ready to come out of hibernation and take on some longer days and warmer temps.

Although I haven’t hit the publish button much this winter, I do have a folder full of posts drafted and almost ready for primetime — or morning time or whatever time it is that you read time. Posts full of mostly random thoughts, daily musings and ideas that I find somewhat interesting. Short, sweet notes about things I’ve been thinking about a lot this year. And long, rambling stories about what I’ve been up to.

Look for those to come. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking warm thoughts until we here in Boston can climb out of the 40s.

Five Reasons to Give Blood

10808609_846362772072449_1573638740_nWhat was the last donation you made?  $1 in the cup of someone on the street? A larger amount to a friend running a marathon, dancing a dance-a-thon or your alma mater who just won’t stop calling?

Maybe a blood donation? Or maybe not. While I realize there are some who cannot give blood, many of us can. But many of us choose not to. I know, I used to be one of those choosing not to. That was before someone I loved dearly needed blood to live.

There are many reasons to give blood. Here are just a few reasons that I’d like to convince you to do so as soon as possible.

1. It’s free.

2. It’s just as painful, or even less painful, than dumping a bucket of ice on your head.

3. You never know when you, or someone you know, might need blood.

4. It’s easy—you can even play Candy Crush while you do it.

5. You can save lives.

Not sure where to start? No sweat. Find a blood donation near you.

On a personal note, many folks have approached me saying, “let me know if there is anything I can do for you” in recent months. The answer took me many months to figure out. What you can do is click that link above, find a blood drive and do the thing.

On drinking tea & journaling

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So, now that universal letter writing week has ended, it’s time to find something new to celebrate. Why not “national hot tea month“?

Growing up I remember hot tea as a special treat. I’d have a cup with my mother or one of my grandmothers and we’d talk about who knows what. Probably my favorite color, or snow, or school, or toys. I can only imagine the conversations that 10-year-old me could hold.

In those days, I took my tea just like I took my conversation—light and sweet. Today however, I’m open to talking about almost anything and I’m stepping up my tea game too. I now take my tea almost as unfiltered as I take my conversation. And I’ll drink the black, the green, the white… whatever you throw my way.

For national hot tea month, I’ve cracked open a new journal (a gift) and at the same time extended the holidays with Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea.

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea

For starters, those polar bears with the candy canes. Super cute. And while it’s no longer “the holidays,” this peppermint tea still hits the spot for a cold January day.

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My go-to hot tea is usually black, strong and unsweetened. But, as I whip through the pages of this journal (and three other journals I’ve recently received as gifts) I’m open to sipping new brews. Let me know your favorite in the comments so we can celebrate for the second half of national hot tea month.

I was not paid to write this post, however, Influenster did send this Celestial Seasonings Tea to me to taste test for free. Join Influenster now if you’d like to share your opinions (on free product samples) too.

Writing Letters Gets Me Every Time

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Did you know that we are smack dab in the middle of Universal Letter Writing week? It’s true. The second week in January (January 8-14) traditionally marks this wordy week. It seems like there is a day or a week or a month to celebrate almost everything, so why not take a few days to write some letters.

I don’t know about you, but I do love to get real, actual physical letters in the mail. You know, the kind you have to go to the mailbox to get. The kind you get to tear open and read as many times as you wish.

I must admit I’m a few days behind in this year’s Letter Writing Week, but I am planning on sending some real, actual letters by the end of the week (more by the end of the month.) If you’re thinking you would like to as well, here are a few prompts to get you going.

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Now, sit down with a nice pen and some paper—or at your keyboard—and get to writing letters. You just never know how receiving a letter might change someone’s day. And, you might be surprised how sending one can be just as gratifying too.

P.S. Want one of those real, actual, mailed letters? Share your address with me now and watch your mailbox. (Then, if you would, send one in return!)

2015 Predictions

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There’s a lot of talk about New Year’s resolutions every year around this time. But there’s another trend I spotted on social media at the end of 2014 that’s even more fun. People were predicting what would happen in 2015. Most of these were in a particular field—for instance, what would happen in the world of marketing, or dance, or sports.But what’s going to happen in just everyday life?

I’m sure a lot will happen that will make headlines, break hearts and convert nonbelievers. Here’s my predictions for our year ahead.

– People everywhere will continue to confuse “they’re, there and their.” (don’t be one of them.)
– Your cell phone will run out of storage. (use the cloud & backup your photos every once and a while, why don’t ya?)
– Someone will accidentally hit “reply all”… I really hope it’s not me.
– New Year’s resolutions will fall by the wayside faster than you can flip the calendar to February.
– Your summer will fly by in the blink of an eye. (You know it always does. Go ahead and plan your vacation now.)
– An unexpected expense will arise when you least need it to. (So go start that rainy day fund.)
– And Disappointment will crush us all when October 21, 2015 is nothing like Back To The Future II.

What predictions do you have for the new year. What does 2015 hold for you?

P.S. One of the changes I’m making as I switch from GetsMeEveryTime.com to KellyMcAuley.com is the new structure of post titles. “Gets Me Every Time” will always be a part of KellyMcAuley.com as it’s part of the legacy of my online blogging life. Look for new “Gets Me Every Time” posts on (most) Mondays.