Gratitude 28November16 The Letter X

imagesToday’s blog is brought to you by the letter “X”.

Huffington Post announced today that the’s word of the year is  — wait for it — xenophobia. The word itself means “xenos” or stranger and “phobia” or to fear.

On the site, it is defined as follows: noun 1. fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.

“Xenophobia and other words tied to global news and political 583c4ce61800009314310328rhetoric reflected the worldwide interest in the unfortunate rise of fear of otherness in 2016, making it the clear choice for Word of the Year,” said Liz McMillan, CEO of, in a statement. **photo credit Tzahiv via Getty Images

The article goes on to say that given the rhetoric of the United States presidential race and the Brexit vote internationally, this should not come as a big surprise. We are a society that is becoming less welcoming of those who don’t look or think like us.

As a lover of words, it is quite disheartening that of all the words in the world, this one would be chosen as word of the year. A word that reflects the world we live in. Think about that.

Today I am thankful

  • The invention of Puffs with lotion tissues.
  • The Hallmark channel constant reruns of their holiday movies. I don’t have to think, just watch.
  • I found my Apple earbuds that I have been searching for.

As the holidays approach, remember to pay-it-forward to someone who may not be as fortunate as you. It could be paying for a cup of coffee, a donation, or as free as sharing your smile.

affectionately yours, Laura



Gratitude 27November16 Credit Card Drama

This long weekend has been spent on my beloved blue couch amongst Puffs plus lotion (love them) puffsfilled bags, random Hall’s wrapper’s, and the smell of Vicks permeating the air.

To add to the excitement, I got an email from PayPal to let me know there was suspicious activity on my account. My account had been frozen and I should contact them. Followed by another email that said my password had been successfully changed. I called them only to get a closed for Thanksgiving message.

I got online and was able to access my account, change my password credit-card-1to a new password, and happily discovered that a no longer valid credit card and billing information from 5 years ago was on file. I forwarded the emails to a site recommended on PayPal’s site for further fraud investigation. I thought that was the end of this credit card drama story.

This morning I woke up to an email that said a new phone number had been added to my PayPal account. It was an international number. This time when I called into PayPal, I requested that they cancel my account. If someone had my information there, I wanted it closed down.

credit-card-2I started to do some research. With the invention of the chip in the credit card, it is making that a bit of a fraud challenge. And criminals have turned their sights to internet fraud in a big way. Online spending or what is called “card-not-present” spending is the new “hot spot” for criminals.

“Aite Group LLC, another consulting firm, estimated in May that so-called card-not-present fraud will rise to $4 billion this year from $3.2 billion in 2015. It expects that figure to jump to $7.2 billion in 2020.” Credit-Card Scammers Flock to Online Shopping by Robin Sidel, Washington Street Journal

Today I am thankful

  • I don’t have to leave the house all day.
  • My cold is on the mend.
  • I am going to work on crafts and watch Christmas movies.
I did what was recommended online for credit card fraud. I checked all my banking and account statuses. I will continue watching them. I assigned new, different passwords to each. I went through my social media sites to make sure all of my information was locked down and not opened to the public — this is where criminals get a wealth of information through posts and pictures.
affectionately yours, Laura



Gratitude 26November16 The High Cost of a Cold

I woke up Wednesday with a tickle in the back of my throat. I went to bed with a horrible sore throat. I woke up Thursday still feeling miserable. However following my Thanksgiving tradition of Bailey’s in my coffee and the Macy’s parade, I felt a little number and took a long nap. As the day went on, I felt worse.

img_2629Friday I went in for a strep test, which happily was negative. But the rather unfortunate diagnosis was a viral cold. The physicians assistant told me I could expect a runny nose and cough to follow. On my way home from the doctor, I stopped at Target, totally forgetting about Black Friday, and battled my way to the pharmacy section. I picked up a ton of stuff I might need so I would not have to leave the house again this weekend.

As if on cue, I started to sneeze and cough at Target. It costs a lot of money to have a cold. I got throat lozenges, more ibuprofen, 2 boxeschris-rock of Puffs with aloe, a large bag of Halls Honey Lemon cough drops, a generic decongestant, saline salt solution in case my nose got too dry, Vicks VapoRub, Robitussin DM cough syrup (Chris Rock recommends it), Mucinex DM (just in case), chapstick, 2 large bottles of orange juice, 12 pack of Smartwater, a new historical romance novel, and cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup. And a box of novelty mint ice cream Christmas trees.

fullsizerender-1Whew. I slept for a long time when I got home and settled in. I gathered my amethyst rocks in my favorite dish for healing and my frog and Santa to stand guard. I am weird like that.

Just to make sure there hasn’t been any rocket scientist research since my last cold, I have been on Google. Just as always — rest, fluids, and take it easy. The average viral cold now lasts seven to ten days. No problem, my Christmas shopping list has been completed and checked twice!

Today I am thankful

  • I am getting a lot of work done on my grandbabies ballerina cross-stitch picture.
  • I watched season one of Grace and Frankie. Hysterical.
  • I am sending love to those I miss and love so very much. I am thankful for you in ways that are hard to put into words.

I read on Pinterest that if you put Vicks VapoRub on the bottom of your feet, it will stop you from coughing. I will report on my research soon.

My word of advice — Wash your hands often. That is the number one transfer of cold germs. Wishing you good health.

affectionately yours, Laura



Gratitude 24November16 Always Grateful

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  Melody Beattie

Today I am thankful

  • Snuggled on my beloved blue couch
  • Baileys in my coffee
  • Macy’s parade on television 
  • Time with family later today

I am grateful and thankful to each of my readers for taking a moment out of your day to read my words. I wish each of you, a blessed and safe Thanksgiving. 

affectionately yours, Laura 

Gratitude 21November16 Nothing Personal

4-agreementsEvery so often I dig out my book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is when I need to refreshen my fundamental core values of how to deal with people. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I thought this was an opportune time.

Don Miguel Ruiz is a best-selling author who defines himself as a spiritual teacher. He teaches and writes about merging ancient Toltec wisdom with modern philosophy. My favorite of his books, The Four Agreements, focuses on what he considers healthier agreements to live by: Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, and Always do your best.

I need a tune-up on Don’t take anything personally. I need it on 4-agreeeverything from my new haircut, the presidential election, folk’s negative anticipation of winter, and just in general family drama.

Ruiz belief is that people’s perception of you is not your reality. What they may state, even if it is personal, is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. We all are a collection of agreements from when we are babies. We are taught what to agree with and what to disagree with. These agreements carry with us into adulthood. They are reflected in our choices, behaviors, and those who we associate.

When we encounter someone who was raised with different agreements, we either learn to compromise or impose our agreements onto others. There are positive and negative ways of doing that. We are not born knowing how to love or hate. We are taught agreement to that. That is reflected in how we treat others.

Ruiz states “But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.”

Today I am thankful

  • Very happy I have a warm coat, hat, and gloves. Baby, it’s cold outside!
  • Tonight is my second Paint Nite.
  • Still smiling from a wonderful weekend.

Stay warm out there MinneSNOWtians, we are finally feeling winter!

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 20November16 Starbucks Drama Continues

The following is a blog I wrote last year to the day. The ironic thing is, last year, Starbucks drama was because it dropped its traditional holiday cup, so people were having barista’s call out “Merry Christmas” as their name in protest.

This year Starbucks controversy is due to the presidential election. Trump voters are protesting against Starbucks because of an incident between a supporter and a barista. So, to get back at Starbucks, they have started a movement called #trumpcup. Go buy a cup of coffee and have the barista’s call your name as “Trump.”

Starbucks has seen a surge of business, which means money for them. And barista’s have begun to say “Trump” and quietly “lost the popular vote.” Which technically does say the name, Trump.

Me, I am still saying Marilyn Monroe.


I lucked out during my check out at Target today. The computer gave me a coupon for a holiday drink at Starbucks.

While I had been aware of the “red cup,” controversy — for those of you who don’t know — Starbucks this year decided to go with a generic red cup rather than it’s usually “holiday” decorated version.

Waiting in line, I heard a woman several people up from me tell the barista that her name was Merry Christmas. The next person did the same. The next person did the same.

peppermint mochaThe first person who did it got her order and was upset that the barista had abbreviated her cup to the initials M.C. So, the barista took her cup back and drew a Christmas tree on it complete with little bulbs. Everyone in line nodded and oohed and ahhed their approval and wanted the same.

When it was my turn to place my order, I ordered my grande Peppermint Mocha, and before she could ask my name, I responded, “Marilyn Monroe.” The barista whispered I was her best customer all afternoon!

Today I am thankful

  • I could afford a fancy cup of coffee
  • My car warmed up quickly in the chilly weather
  • I am happy and content

At $4.55 a cup, without a coupon, you would think there would be something better to focus on than a red cup. Like the fact you can afford it when there are people less fortunate.

affectionately yours, Laura

*reprint blog from 20November15

Gratitude 18November16 My Hair

I have never been a set my hair, style it, kind of woman. The desire to get up and stand in front of the mirror for a half-hour or so to blow dry or curl my hair never appealed to me. I have always been in awe of the women who can do amazing things with their hair. A pin here, a clip there, twist your hair into a messy bun on top of your head, and it looks good enough to wear to the beach or the club.

My brother once told me my need for therapy must have started with 00000006the Buster Brown haircuts my mom would glamour-shots-2give me. Even as a child I never had long hair. It was always a pixie cut. I can remember two times in my life I had long hair and ironically both correlated with the birth of my children. But I have always liked short, wash and wear hair.

I went through the coloring my hair phase. I prematurely grayed beginning in my early thirties. By my forties, I was coloring every six weeks. Part of that was working in corporate America and not wanting to look old. In my fifties due to health problems, my hair on its own just refused to be colored anymore. I just let it go naturally gray and haven’t turned back. The blessing in all of this is — I am blessed to have a lovely silver colored hair — thank you, Mom

hairSeveral times in my life I have shaved my hair off completely. It was a freeing experience. It had nothing to do with punishment of self; nor did I connect it to my feminity. It is more about individuality and the freedom of choice. My choice to do as I chose with my body.

I feel we most often look and dress for others. What is acceptable to society. I smile when I see women outside the norm with colored hair, tattoos, and dressed as they please. The older I get, the freer I feel just to look as I please.

Today I am thankful

  • A delicious egg bagel sandwich for breakfast.
  • I got my Netflix kind of working.
  • My new heart ornament Santi picked out for my holiday tree.

This blog started because I am going today to get my hair cut off. I can’t wait to see the hair fall to the floor.

affectionately yours, Laura