Gift Giving and Receiving Suggestions

I was listening to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin.  She was talking about how she feels awkward sometimes receiving gifts.  Her sister, Elizabeth, said that she gave her mother-in-law a foot care package and her mother-in-law was a bit put off.  “It was something that I would really like which is a common measure of a gift.”  I say, “Forget something you would like.”  Give quality that you would like but gifts should be something the receiver likes, not you.

In the book, “The Love Languages” some people really like to show love by gifting and receiving gifts.  That person is listens and is aware of others.  My daughter’s new boyfriend is a great gift giver.  He listened to how much we liked our home town while he visited and gave us a book about the history of our town with great black and white photos.

I have another dear friend  that is the total opposite. She loves tea and tea parties.  For my birthday the past two years she has taken me out to high tea and presented me with a lovely single tea pot.  I only drink tea if instant coffee  or no decaffeinated coffee is available. I will never make myself a single pot of tea. I put the beautiful tea pot on a shelf in my office with travel mementos to think of her long time friendship.

My late mother used to ask for gift ideas.  She expressed love by giving the right gift.  She also enjoyed receiving a thoughtful gift or one she would use/enjoy.  Her mother would battle with her sister because they gave each other gifts they felt the other “should” enjoy.  Pastries to someone trying to lose weight; purple to someone that had gorgeous white hair but hated purple but– loved blue and red.

Lastly, if someone gives you a gift that you would never use or don’t like, smile graciously-thank them for taking the time to shop and wrap for you.  Having someone be able to give you a gift when people don’t have basic needs being met is a blessing.

In the Magic Art of Tidying Up, she said the most freeing of advice.  You don’t have to keep something just because it was a gift.  The gift giver gave it to you and then it becomes your property to do with as you wish.  You can  display a tea[pt tjat if you never will make a pot of tea and think fondly of your friend when you see it.

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But I would walk 500 miles And I would walk 500 more Just to be the man who walked a 1000 miles To fall down at your door –The Proclaimers

On Sunday, over 100 people went on a brief hike to enjoy a waterfall in Oregon.  Some hiked in bathing suits, other trail runners planned a quick dip.  A wild fire started by a 15 year old without a fully developed frontal cortex playing with fireworks.  (He didn’t think about his actions.) Suddenly over a 100 people couldn’t access the trail back to their cars.  They had to hike out the other way.  A veteran and medic had people number off and had the strongest hikers go in front and back.  If someone needed assistance the group would stop.  Sparks ignited plants on the trail and people put them out with water bottles.  A forest ranger hiked in to meet them.  Darkness fell, the temperature dropped. The group stayed at a waterfall for the night because of space and safety. Food and space blankets were dropped.  The next morning everyone got a number on their hand because they would have a long, fast hike to get out.  Fleeing the smoke and flames the entire group hiked to safety and was transported back to the trail head where friends, family, and cars were waiting.

A family from my town were some of the hikers.  Only one hiker was prepared to spend longer than an hour on the trail.  So even if you go for a short hike, take a flashlight, extra food and clothing, water, matches, first aid kit,space blanket and a map of the area. Good items to have in a car too.

My hiking group collected 84 pairs of wool blend hiking socks for the fire fighters to use that will be delivered by an EMT working the fire.  Even when something awful happens, people can overcome it with acts of love and compassion.Morning on the Columbia River- Stevenson, WA looking toward the Oregon side- April 2017

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Tips and Tricks from my Daughters

The earliest one was parking for the local movie theater.  My daughters found a spot in the parking structure that most people miss because it is on the way out.  It is the same level as the ticket machines and ticket sellers.  Save the ticket and get a discount on parking.

How to use the updated movie theater.   The movie theater now has assigned seats and seats that recline.  It takes an additional 10 minutes to go downtown but getting the seat you want and being able to sit with your feet up and no one behind you will kick your seat trying to get comfortable is sheer joy.

Swifters for mopping.  I always used a mop and water but with laminate floors, the wet Swifters work great and don’t streak.  We get the generic from Fred Meyer because they are fragrance free.

Bicycle shorts make spin classes survivable.  I got a pair as a gift and felt like I was 7 ago on the spin bike.  Biking is more fun too.

I Phones allow you to access the world that you couldn’t on a cheap Nokia Smart Phone.  I can use Uber, Lyft, sync my Fit Bit, and more importantly Facetime and Text my daughters.  Also many of my family members would rather text than make a phone call so my text messages aren’t broken up and randomly compiled.  Although the Nokia Texts could be entertaining.

Don’t get a grocery cart on wheels if you are going to be walking.  Only use a basket that you can hold on your arm because you will be carrying the groceries home.   And get a folding re-usable bag that is the size of a wallet if you shop in Portland or Seattle.

The World of Podcasts is expanding and a great way to get the daily news.  I listen to Up First and Just a Minute for news.  Entertainment is the Paula Poundstone Institute,  Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, and Happy Hour all on NPT. To expand my knowledge would be How I Built This, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Ted Talks, and The Moth.  I know there are others I need to explore.  Walking Mr. Carson becomes longer and longer as I want to finish a podcast.  Chopping and preparing food is a joy.

I can load podcasts on my I Phone so I don’t have to carry to devices.  I can wear earphones so I don’t have to share my podcast with everyone in my neighborhood.

I am sure I will pick up another tip or trick this weekend while they are both home.  isla mujeres family

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Life Tips and Tricks or now known as Life Hacks

My husband and I were talking about some of the things that we have learned through life through either experience or ideas passed on from family and friends.  Here are a few:

Make extra house keys.  Give one to someone nearby in case you get locked out.  Carry another one in a different spot that you would take to work.  I carried an extra key in my sales binder.  Others keep one in laptop carrier.  Getting locked out has happened to:

someone working in the yard that tossed the keys with weeds/someone working with a manager and the manager locked the car with the keys still on the drivers seat/someone checking the keys in the suitcase and the bag was delayed

Have extra plastic cutting boards, measuring spoons, wooden spoons and  measuring cups.  I started buying at the dollar sales but now with the Dollar Stores, no one has to wait.  Cooking is so much easier if you don’t have to stop and wash utensils needed for the next step.

Still carry maps and printed directions.  GPS signals fail, roads change and have construction.

If you are hiking–have a map.  Have a Map!  4 young people recently had to be rescued locally because they went hiking using their smart phones and couldn’t get back to the trail.

Have flashlights, batteries, matches, and candles.  You don’t want to run down your phone using it as a flashlight.  Carry a flashlight and first aid kit in your car.  A blanket is a good idea too.  Blankets are good for first aid and checking out car issues.

Post a grocery list-add when you notice something is getting low and buy before you run out.  Especially helpful for condiments and baking supplies.

Buy stationary supplies, a file box and manila folders. Grown ups have rental agreements, work documents, health bills, credit card receipts, tax information. File it, don’t pile it so you can retrieve when necessary.

Purge your files in January. Especially important if you own a home. We’ve had directions for coffee makers, hair dryers, etc.  that we haven’t owned for years.

Keep an “old school address book” and calendar.  Cellphones and computers break. Also it can be so much faster to look up a date/birthday/commitment on a hard copy than loading/scrolling.

Doing something energizing when you have mid day energy slump.  Working, I would call on a fun account or take a walk.

Keep moving and make new friends. In the book, “Younger Next Year”, people that exercised and had social connections lived healthier, longer, and happier lives.  Friends leave our lives at any age and after leaving school,  we have to work to stay physically active.

What tips do you want to share?  Leave me a comment.








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It is More Important What you do Everyday than What You Do Some Days—Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I have logged over 8 miles and the week is just halfway with a 5 mile walk on Thursday evening.  I had a large glass of tonic water with a lime last night and read.  The siren call came at 9 PM after Steve stopped working on the deck and settled in to watch TV for 1/2 an hour.  I almost finished my 14 day book. Yippee Skippee!

I had a great piano lesson yesterday.  30 minutes a day does result in improvement.  I have a promise to increase this week because I want to master Cannon in D and The Entertainer.  Both are the “Easy Version” but have challenges for me as an advanced beginner.  My teacher takes August off so Tuesday will be my last lesson until the fall.  Then back to the routine of scales, theory, sequential techniques, and lesson music books.

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Make Life Easier By Starting New Habits

I have started reading the book by Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before.  It was recommended by my daughter.  I had read her other books, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.  She examined how people can make the changes that she identified in her earlier two books.  I talked with Beth about how I made one change and struggled with another.

I like walking in the morning when the weather is cool with my new dog, Mr. Carson.  I was waiting to read the paper and have a cup or two of coffee.  Often it would be too hot or I had some other time commitment.  Instead, I get out of bed and immediately get dressed to walk outside.  I do the morning chores like open windows and blinds, and bring in the paper.  Then I grab his leash, and plastic bag and start walking.  We make a quick bathroom stop and and I leave the bag near my house and start again.  I listen to a podcast on my phone and start off.  With this new routine, I am averaging walking 8 to 10 miles a week.

I wasn’t getting in my piano practicing with the nice weather.  I talked with my husband and we identified that I eat my lunch watching something on the computer.  I could use the time to read and not get “hooked” finishing a TV show, etc.  And immediately go to the piano.  I had the goal of an hour but he said, “30 minutes per day is better than 0 minutes per day.”  And the system is working.

Trail of the Coeur D’ Alene’s Summer of 2013

My next new habit is not having a snack the last hour of the day watching TV.  We only watch TV usually the last hour before bed.  We reinforce each other to have a small snack.  When we are on vacation, we seldom watch TV and don’t snack.  I always say when we return from vacation that I won’t watch TV at night but read.  But I never do.  I give the excuse that I am too tired from all the chores once we get back in town.  I need to start breaking that habit at night.  Also I will end up getting more sleep because I won’t spend time reading longer in bed.  I think I will see two very positive results–increased weight loss with no hunger and more sleep resulting in more energy.

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Are You a Foodie Quiz

1) Do you have White Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, Cider Vinegar, and White Wine Vinegar in your cupboard?  (4 Pts)    Give yourself a point for every type you do have in the cupboard.

2) Do you have both white and dark balsamic vinegar?  (2 points)

3) Do you have more a colored salt or specialty salt like truffle?  (1 point per salt)  Kosher doesn’t count.

4)Do you have dried mustard and Dijon Mustard? (2 points)

5) Do you fresh garlic?  2 points  garlic any form 1 point

6) Do you have specialty Asian sauces like fish sauce, oyster sauce, tiger sauce, Thai Chili sauce, bean paste, Sriracha sauce?  1 Point for each sauce

7) Do you have quinoa, faro, bulger, and orzo on your shelf?  4 Points  One point if you know how to use them in cooking.

8)Do you have bleu cheese, feta cheese, a Mexican Cheese like queso fresco or cotijo,  Boursin, goat, or sharp cheddar?  1 pt each

9) Have you used frozen puff pastry?  2 points

10) Have you combined recipes because you didn’t like the components of the recipe?  2 points

11) Do you grow herbs or vegetables for use or go to a farmer’s market and get them?  5 points


1-10 Points – You need to learn to cook at home

11-20 Points – You cook but you could be more adventureous

21- 25- You like to try new dishes but may not be cutting edge

26 Plus–You could work in the local cutting edge restaurant.  You may need help with pork belly but most dishes will be fun to create!

I thought of this quiz when I was looking for rice vinegar and Terakiyi sauce the other night.  I also had recently cleaned out the cheese and meat container in the refrigerator.  I don’t have goat cheese currently but I left off Tiger Sauce from the list.  Maybe I should get my Food Handler’s license so I can go to work for someone in town.





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