Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. Living a life with young children is

a mix of the most rewarding and some of the most frustrating times of my life to date. The good far outweighs the bad but I am at times stymied by how my own offspring insight such conflict within me.

As the adult I try to understand why my child is acting the way he/she is during the times he/she is misbehaving. Like adults children are affected adversely by hunger, tiredness, and inability to communicate.

When I stop to remember that I am responsible for my children’s daily needs, have the power and the responsibility to provide for them, and drop all I am doing to meet them, my children morph back into sweet beings.

In other words, I have an enormous role in ensuring Simple Joys have an opportunity to flourish in my life as well as the lives of my children.

Hunger, tiredness, the inability to communicate, and feeling alone are also the overwhelming feelings that make adults unbearable. When we recognize these traits in our own lives we need to take the responsibility to address them immediately so our inner child is nourished.

Simple Joys need a proper mindset to occur; if we tend to ourselves and our children then Simple Joys will have room to occur.

We all know how vital Simple Joys are.

Now, without further ado, is today’s Simple Joys.

The Longest Day of the Week. Wednesday is the longest day of my week. Last week I was coming off of a particularly frustrating Tuesday so Wednesday I decided to dress up. I dressed my daughter up as well!

All day we did our chores and prepared for the long afternoon that stretches into a long night for us in “pretty clothes”.

My changed attitude, glimpse of myself in the mirror once or twice, the sight of my adorable daughter, and dedication to having a better day regardless of the length, did much to restore peace and tranquility to our day.

We ended our day smiling and laughing like we began it. That is a Simple Joy I can relish & aim for every Wednesday!

The Radio Shows. I don’t often mention the Internet Radio work I do, but it is a big part of my every week.

Over the holidays we were off air a lot so the routine was broken. Getting back to a schedule is usually a bit daunting.

Once I sit down at my desk, slip my headphones on my ears and hear the familiar voices of my co-hosts, I am deliriously happy!

I work on 3 shows at two different Internet radio stations. Whether I’m talking about sports or music, news topics, or NASCAR, I am soaking in the Simple Joys each time I am on air.

Toy Story & Toy Story 2. My daughter received a Barbie movie for Christmas that she is obsessed and demands we play every day and, if we allow, several times a day.

Last week, in desperation, I instructed my sons to put on Toy Story, praying the child was old enough to enjoy the toys talking and engaging in hilarious situations.

She did! When I introduced Toy Story 2 a couple of days later, she was mesmerized that the now-favorite characters had a new story to impart!

Bringing out old family favorites for my daughter and having her love them as much as we do is a Simple Joy that has restored sanity!

Getting the Job. I have made no bones about the fact that I am fully dedicated to make a career as a writer.

When I began Chief 187™Chatter in September 2010 I had no clearcut idea about what my future might hold. Any opportunity that arose I took and tackled with my enthusiasm and professionalism.

As my list of sites that featured my work grew longer, I simply concentrated on promoting what I thought was my best.

My best got the attention of people in motorsports/NASCAR reporting who I greatly admire. They contacted me.

Late last week I was offered a job and my first article appeared on their site on Saturday. I am overjoyed!

I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I am confident that with hard work, professionalism, and an abundance of ideas from which to construct articles, I will be writing for years to come!

Getting the “dream job” after all of the hard work is a Simple Joy that still has me flying high!

To find my newest site that I am most proud please visit http://MotorsportsUnplugged.com.

I am including the link on the sideboard of my favorite places online as well as at http://Chief187.com.

I do hope you will check out my byline which at this site is Candice Smith.

Simple Joys. At the risk of sounding redundant, writing Simple Joys is a Simple Joy in and of itself. I not only get to chronicle the best parts of my life, I get to keep perspective, concentrate on the positive, and share with all of you.

Simple Joys are ever-present, we just need to open our hearts and minds to their existence.

By giving ourselves the best conditions to find them – feeding our bodies, resting our minds, speaking up for ourselves, and taking company – we see that they can flourish in our lives.

I hope whether you write down your Simple Joys weekly like I do or by simply thinking about them, you squeeze every Simple Joy out of life!

Join me tomorrow as I wax poetic about yet another topic on Chief 187™Chatter.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Media Blog-Favorite Sitcoms

Welcome to the Monday Media Blog on Chief 187™Chatter. Television has been a huge

part of my life. It has kept me company, shaped my views, and has provided endless hours of entertainment.

Over the years my tastes have changed, broadened, and matured, but I have always enjoyed, and still do, the situation comedy.

Sitcoms were a type of program my family and I would often sit down to watch and laugh together.

My earliest memories include watching programs like Soap, Taxi, Barney Miller, M*A*S*H and The Mary Tyler Moore Show in reruns.

As I grew older I fell in love with shows like The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains, and Roseanne.

The Wonder Years was another favorite at a time when I was just beginning to understand nostalgia and how poignant sitcoms could be.

Even as an adult I enjoyed Home Improvement, Friends, Murphy Brown, Designing Women, and so many others.

Now I’ve finally discovered Family Guy and am a bit obsessed with that program.

This week’s focus is your favorite sitcoms. List your favorite sitcoms from any age – one, five, ten, as many or as few as you’d care to list.

I look forward to reading your selections and comparing them to mine!

Please join me tomorrow for the most popular post on Chief 187™Chatter, Simple Joys.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Music Blog-10 Greatest Rock Anthems of All Time

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187™Chatter.

One of my favorite things to watch on television is on VH1 Classic and is a countdown program that is titled The Greatest 100 _____.

No matter what I’m doing or how late the show is on, I am compelled to watch. I usually rope my husband into watching, too, although he’s not a hard sell. We watch as the numbers click down and debate each one.

“How could they rank Salt N Pepa lower than Queen?”

We are reminded of superb artists and their music, discuss the validity of the inclusion, and simply have a blast.

I look forward to having those discussions here.

Each week I’ll ask a question in which you rank your answers. The more who respond the better sampling we have.

Tell your friends, co-workers, spouses, and acquaintances about this so we get maximum involvement. If you haven’t watched these programs on VH1 Classic you are missing out.

Fortunately we can experience something akin to that here at Chief 187™Chatter!

This week’s prompt is ranking your opinion of the Top Ten (10) Greatest Rock Anthems.

Try to include 10 songs but at least list some if time or your memory doesn’t permit the full 10.

Every answer is vital and appreciated.

Remember to check back here throughout the day and weekend for new lists. In addition, don’t forget that weekends are an ideal time to visit archived articles on Chief 187™Chatter.

Shopping? Please don’t forget my Amazon link located on the left hand sideboard of this page. There is no cost to you for using my link but it helps me immensely!

Looking for Chief 187™ gear? Check out http://www.cafepress.com/Chief187 for over 60 items to choose!

This week saw the followers pop up to 87. By Wednesday morning the counter sailed passed 46000 total pageviews and is already well on its way to 47000! I celebrate each and every milestone with my thanks to each and every one of you, the readers!

Remember, if you have any suggestions or would like to contact me, either leave a comment on the blogs or tweet me @Chief187s.

Please join me on Monday as I begin another week of all new and original blogs on Chief 187™Chatter!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tantalizing Thursday-Lego's Birthday Party

Welcome to Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187™Chatter. As January fades into the sunset, there is no better time to plan a party. Christmas/Holiday entertaining is nearly mandatory and usually not as much fun as having an impromptu group of friends over for a get-together. The focal point could be a big game like the Super Bowl which we’ll concentrate next week, a friend’s birthday, an awards show, a race, or any other reason that pops into mind.

This Saturday my family and I will be celebrating the Lego brick’s birthday (January 28). This toy provides endless hours of pleasure to my entire family. It seemed apropos to thus incorporate its birth into our list of celebrations. We’ll festoon the house with “Happy Birthday” banners, colorful balloons, have “birthday pie” (my kids love that triple chocolate pie I featured a few weeks ago) and, of course, goody bags with at least one Lego set included.

As I’ve written about Legos several times on Chief 187™Chatter, I know that adults are as big as or bigger fans of the elements than children so celebrating the birthday of Lego is certainly something to consider even if you do not have children or they no longer live at home. Who couldn’t use an excuse to party on the last weekend of January?!

I went on an extensive search online to find clever ideas for Lego-inspired food. I wasn’t disappointed! Thanks to the creativity of these people which I am happy to share, we, too, can be shown how simple it is to make Lego-themed food! Of course, substitute and omit what doesn’t work for your family and certainly use these ideas as a jumping off point for your fantastic ideas. And, if none of this works for you (it might not for me) then serve what you like and don’t worry about the food tie-in!

Peanut Butter & Honey Lego Lunch Sandwiches


5 slices soft whole wheat bread (or desired sandwich bread of choice)
peanut butter


1. Make two peanut butter and honey sandwiches with 4 of the bread slices. Cut off the crusts and cut the sandwiches into 2 x 3-inch rectangles.
2. With the remaining piece of bread cut out small circles to serve as the top of the Lego. I used an apple corer, it makes perfect circles! Swipe the bottom of each circle with a little bit of peanut butter and press them gently on top of the bread. Serve!

*Note - I realize the picture above shows MEGA Bloks brand bricks and not Legos. I merely borrowed the picture and am not responsible for its glaring error!

From peanut butter to cheese, this couldn’t be easier and should be a winner with children of all ages!

LEGO Sandwich Stackers inspired by Living Locurto


2 slices cheddar cheese
12 rectangle crackers
3 tablespoons cream cheese


Using a small 1/2-3/4″ round cookie cutter (I used a fondant cutter) slice 8 small circles from the slices of cheese. Set aside. Spread a 1/2 teaspoon or so of cream cheese on a cracker, top with another cracker, spread and top. Use small dabs of cream cheese to secure two cheese circles to the top of the cracker stack to make your LEGO building block.

Next some fruit to wash it all down and keep things healthy!

Watermelon Legos

Cut the watermelon into small or large rectangles. Use an apple corer to make small circles to place on top. Spear the watermelon with popsicle sticks and enjoy!

*Note - Once again the use of MEGA Bloks is wrong and reprehensible, but it was the only shot available of the recipe so I took it.

Finally, a sinful dessert to sew the theme up nicely!

Lego S’Mores


2 graham crackers broken up into the rectangle shapes along the perforation
1 bar Hershey chocolate
4 large marshmallows
16 mini marshmallows


To assemble the dessert place 1 quarter of the chocolate bar on one of the graham cracker rectangles. Top it with a heated large marshmallow (heat by fire or microwave – your choice), and top with second graham cracker. Dip one end of a mini-marshmallow in water and stick it on top of the graham cracker so there are three marshmallows per cracker. Eat!

These recipes capture the imagination, provide a complete Lego experience, and delight young and old. Feel free to use one, some or all of the recipes! But, don’t let these recipes keep you from throwing a Lego Party. If your gang likes frozen chicken nuggets and fries, macaroni and cheese, or some other non-Lego looking food, don’t worry! I was thinking sushi might look close enough to a Lego brick!

When entertaining it is all about fun, being together, and enjoying so don’t let menus distract you from the goal.

Happy Birthday Lego!

Please join me tomorrow for the week-ending and popular Friday Music Blog on Chief 187™Chatter.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I have a thing for love. I always have. And, no matter neither how old I get nor how long I’ve been with the same guy, I have this starry-eyed teen-aged girl trapped inside of me. She’s not going anywhere; I seemed to have learned to incorporate her into my adult life.

My iPod is chock full of romantic songs. I adore love songs and easily put myself in the song as the one longing for my love or crooning about my love or lamenting about my love. Love songs restore my faith in love and romance. I even enjoy sad songs about love ending.

“Touch Me in the Morning” Diana Ross
“Sometimes When We Touch” Dan Hill
“Your Body is a Wonderland” John Mayer

My guilty pleasure is watching romantic movies while I’m exercising. Whether teens as the lead or young (or older) adults, I wistfully recall a time when I was that age and the whole romantic world was in front of me. A two hour escape into a world of love, romance, & mild conflict is so pleasurable.

500 Days of Summer
When Harry Met Sally
P.S. I Love You

Romance novels have long been my best vacation. I am a proud fan of Danielle Steel’s sumptuous novels and have read many books with strong romantic threads. Human relationships, especially the ones built around romantic love, fascinate me. I don’t need Harlequin Romance novels, just a great story with a love story built in satisfies me.

Anything by Danielle Steel. Seriously.
The Handyman by Carolyn See
Love Story by Erich Segal

I may be middle-aged, mother to three children and married for half my life to the same man, but I have not abandoned the young ingĂ©nue whose life yearns for love, romance, passion, sex and adventure. And while I am ecstatically happy in my personal life, am married to my Prince Charming who still treats me like his Princess, I can’t help but enjoy listening, watching, and reading about love and romance as it fills in the gaps, makes me appreciate what I do have, and keeps me connected to my younger self.

Am I the only one who loves love? Am I odd that I adore watching men and women fall in love, wide-eyed and optimistic? Is my hopeless romanticism part of an ideal that no longer exists in the real world? I don’t care, I’m staying this way. Care to join me?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. Our worlds are full of comings and goings, beginnings and endings, losses and gains, struggles and peace. It is a giant Circle of Life and we are just a part of it.

I was experiencing several challenging weeks of late; difficult to find the positive, yet determined to seek out my Simple Joys and salvage as many moments as I could to change the negative tide. Recently things just started to gel. I established a routine that is working for me, relaxed my ideas of what “should be” and replaced them with “what is”. And, as always, I leave myself ample space to find Simple Joys in my everyday life.

Now, without further ado, is today’s Simple Joys.

Playing Legos Part I. It’s rare for me to get to spend time alone with my children individually, especially the oldest child who is involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. But on Saturday afternoon, while his sister slept and his brother was at a birthday party, we were able to spend a relaxing hour together playing Legos. He had a new set to build, one he had gotten for Christmas a year ago! We talked, we laughed, I handed pieces to him and he constructed the set. He finished before his brother arrived home and was so proud. I luxuriated in an afternoon spent bonding with my son who is all too quickly becoming a young man. Simple Joys indeed.

Playing Legos Part II. After a long and joyful Christmas season we finally put away the last of the Christmas decorations and pulled the Legos from the basement to take their post-holiday place in our Library/Lego Room.

Our daughter was in the other room playing with her Dad while the boys and I played Legos. We got a bit silly and I asked my middle boy to run and show his father something I had made (a Lego guitar). He scampered off. My boy returned with a message from his father, a song lyric that was apropos to the situation. I retorted with a different lyric and told the boy to deliver the message back to his father. This game played out with our son as the runner for nearly twenty minutes amidst laughter erupting from everyone! Times like those spent with my family are the immense Simple Joys that make difficult days so worth getting through.

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. After the first glorious snowfall of the season, my husband and I outfitted our three children and ourselves, threw the sleds and tube in the van, and headed out to our favorite hill to sled down. It takes several minutes to get there so I threw my iPod on the car stereo. Diana Ross’ version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” began. If you aren’t familiar, this song runs over 6 minutes long. Long ago I taught my husband some dramatic Supremes-esque dance moves to this gem. He consistently breaks into them whenever this song appears. What I love about my husband is that he stays with the performance the ENTIRE song and has me in stitches from start to finish. He’s dedicated and his show is a Simple Joy I will never tire.

Sledding. The snow was clean and powdery. The hill was perfectly slick but not icy, hard, or overly dangerous. The children were excited, overjoyed, and ready. We sent the boys down one after the other while my husband and I took turns taking our daughter down the hill in our arms. They laughed, squealed, screamed with excitement and pleasure. No one got hurt, in trouble, or lost. It was an ideal outing that made our first snow day contain a huge Simple Joy.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion. I’m not too with it about health and beauty products. I need lotion I buy what is on sale. Usually I choose an unscented formula. This last time I needed some I stood in the aisle at the grocery store reading labels and deciding what type I needed. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion was a good price and seemed to address the symptoms my skin is showing this winter. It is now my favorite lotion of all time! Did you know Cocoa Butter Lotion smells like… chocolate?! I had NO IDEA! And is the most intoxicatingly wonderful smell I have ever adorned myself! I smell downright delicious! Delectable! Sinful! And, best of all, I’m calorie-free. I’ve found my lotion and I’m keeping this Simple Joy on my bed stand from now on!

There have been some other great things going on in my life both personally and professionally, but I’ll leave that for a later date. I just understand so much better now that everybody goes through difficult times, some times worse than others, but by keeping the heart and mind open to Simple Joys, those difficult times are seen through and better days are waiting. I encourage you all to list your Simple Joys weekly, whether written like I do or mentally, just to keep the balance and perspective positive in your life. Simple Joys do so much to enhance life; isn’t it time you take notice?!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Media Blog-Favorite Board Games

Welcome to the Monday Media Blog on Chief 187™Chatter. I received a wonderful book for Christmas that has been nourishing the part of me that always gets melancholy after the Christmas holidays are over. Reading and looking at the historical pictures have given me great

pleasure. Under the Tree: The Toys and Treats That Made Christmas Special 1930-1970 by Susan Waggoner has been a charming look back at the wondrous toys and games that made Christmas magical in the heyday of the twentieth century. I have a rather extensive collection of books about Christmas and this one is quickly becoming a favorite. It has inspired several ideas for the Monday Media Blog that I will introduce today and throughout the months.

This week’s focus is the board games that have been your favorite throughout your life. From pre-school games to pre-teen ones, and from strategic to trivia ones, make a list of your favorite board games. Be sure to include the names of the games, the company(ies) who made the games if you know, and any other information you’d like to share. I hope you can visit this post occasionally to see the selections readers add throughout the day. If you enjoy this post, please share it!

This week marks “eleven months until Christmas” and, following last year’s model on Chief 187™Chatter, I will try to give a hint, idea, or tip around this time each month to keep you organized for Christmas 2012. Remember to shop sales, especially after-Christmas and any post-holiday sales. Often prices are slashed 50-90% off of original prices after the holidays. Those items you can pick up for pennies on the dollar can be stored away and used for that holiday next year, goody bags for birthday parties, stocking stuffers, or a treasure box for your children. Dollar stores are great, but I can rummage through the clearance bin at a craft store (like Michael’s) and get tons of great items for under $.50! In addition, at apparel stores seasonal clothing gets discounted in an effort to make room for the next season. If your brother/father/son is always the same size (or ladies in your life, too), pick up a sweater, turtleneck, or great scarf at a much more reasonable price and stow it away for next year’s Christmas present. All types of stores offer sale or clearance areas. As long as the item is in good working condition you can do quite well stretching your dollars and still be generous. Remember to write all of your gift purchases down in your Gift Journal and jot down who you think the item might be for, this helps immensely when it comes time to gather your items at gift-giving time. Not familiar with the Gift Journal? Type “The Gift Journal” in the search

feature located in the upper left hand side of this page. You may have to page down through several blogs, but it will appear!

Please join me tomorrow for the most popular post of any week on Chief 187™Chatter, Simple Joys!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Music Blog-1st Purchased Compact Discs

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187™Chatter. It has been a fun walk down memory lane in recent weeks as we’ve explored music on vinyl. The older titles, antiquated machinery, and still passionate responses make me smile inwardly that we all share a strong appreciation for the music in our collections. As the historian, I always find it interesting to test our collective memories. This time I’m moving the time machine forward just a bit to the age of the compact disc or CD.

This week’s focus is the first albums you bought on compact disc. Think back and try to remember what albums you plunked down big bucks for when CDs were the newest and greatest things and before the prices had come down considerably. Did you stick to new music and move forward in your collecting or did you painstakingly rebuy your entire catalogue, praying some of it would be located in the discount bin at the “record” store in the mall?

I encourage you all to check back to this post throughout the day and weekend to see the updates to the selections by the Chief 187™Chatter readers. In addition, remember that all of my work is archived at this site and is easy to navigate. Over the weekend catch up on something you may have missed this week, an old favorite, or just peruse the recipes or movie titles! If you are particularly fond of a piece, please share it with others as the goal is always to grow in readership.

Remember, if you are going to do some shopping at Amazon, please utilize my link located on the right hand sideboard of this page. Simply use my link to get to Amazon and shop as normal; this costs you nothing extra and, if you purchase items, helps me immensely so I can continue to offer my works to you free of cost. Also, if you are so inclined, please check out the Chief

187(TM) gear located at http://cafepress.com/Chief187. From t-shirts to water bottles, journals to wall clocks, and everything in between, there is much to choose. Thank you in advance for your support!

This week we did cross the forty-five thousand all-time pageview mark. Recently We have been averaging about 1000 pageviews a week which is so pleasing to me. As I mentioned, I am aiming to

reach 50,000 pageviews by Valentine’s Day, February 14 2012. I have other goals, long-term, set for me and the site, but I like to keep my sights on the here and now. Thank you to each and every one of you for reading, commenting, posting, sharing, and retweeting my work. It is a dream realized to write this blog daily and for you all to read and support it (me) is simply sublime!

I invite you all to join me on Monday for the start of another week of fresh, new, and original blogs here on Chief 187™Chatter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tantalizing Thursday-Provencal Lemon & Olive Chicken

Welcome to Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187™Chatter. As winter bears down on the country dinner becomes an important element to warm from the inside out while it nourishes and reenergizes. Stick-to-your-ribs fare that satisfies an appetite but does not sacrifice health is the balance sought. In addition, with time always of the essence, a quick and easy to prepare meal is vital to fit in active schedules. Sound impossible? This recipe just might fit the bill!

Provencal Lemon and Olive Chicken
Recipe from http://family.go.com


2 cups chopped onion
8 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1 cup pitted green olives
1 tablespoon olive brine from jar or white vinegar
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley


Place onion in 4-quart CROCK-POT® slow cooker. Arrange chicken thighs over onion. Place lemon slice on each thigh. Add olives, brine, herbes de Provence, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in chicken broth.

Cover; cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until chicken is tender. Stir in parsley before serving.

To skin chicken easily, grasp skin with paper towel and pull away. Repeat with fresh paper towel for each piece of chicken, discarding skins and towels.

A dinner like this is easy to prepare and yields an aromatic, full-flavored end product. Simple enough for weeknight dining yet elegant enough for weekend entertaining with little work in terms of preparation. Serve over rice (brown is healthiest) or egg noodles to soak up the delicious sauce. Pair with a crusty whole grain bread and a tossed salad for a complete dinner.

It’s not difficult to make gourmet meals with grocery store ingredients (not specialty shop) that make you look like a Rock Star in the kitchen with little effort. Let the slow cooker do the bulk of the work and you sit back and soak up the compliments!

Please join me tomorrow on Chief 187™Chatter for the always popular week-ending Friday Music Blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Love Affair with Social Media

I’m having a love affair with Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, and Google + fill my day and

allow me to explore thousands of friendships without leaving my desk. For every lover of Social Media there is a critic and I try to see things from his/her point of view, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to follow the argument that Social Media is bad. In my case, Social Media has helped me break my isolationist ways, exposed my work to multiple thousands of people (dare I believe more?), connected me with people from several continents, and shown me the power of a virtual/on-line bond.

Often I see my Facebook friends imploring their friends to pray for a specific friend or relative who is suffering, in danger, sick, or otherwise down on their luck. Immediately the request is fulfilled with well-wishers offering prayers, good thoughts, and positive vibes. Believing in the power of prayer and recognizing there is power in numbers, I feel this kind of outreach program not only helps the person being prayed for but the person requesting the prayers. When we reach out to one another, even and especially virtually, we feel an immediate connection and some relief of anxiety. We are cared for, heard, obeyed, and justified. Regardless of religious beliefs, our needs are met by those who care for us. I do not see thousands of people daily or hundreds for that matter. But online my world grows exponentially. These friends are no less precious and their prayers no less effective because we haven’t met in person.

Personal struggles and triumphs are also played out in tweets, status updates, and streams. Losing weight, quitting smoking, learning to square dance, or helping a child learn to potty train are all fair fodder for these announcements and personal cheering sections spring up to support. Stories are told in kind, moral support is given, and laughs are shared getting through milestones. With more of a pool of people to express my life to, the more I find who identify with me and what I go through and vice versa. Many people find it easier to be honest online than in their “real” lives. I’m a rare bird who is brutally honest in both fronts, but understand the release experienced by many who leave honesty for their online lives. On the flip side, there are plenty of people who use the virtual world as their playground, lying to all who they come in contact using false pictures, profiles, et al. Over time you try to learn to navigate away from those fakers. I completely understand the critics who caution against internet/Social Media users because of these trolls, but I still try to see the good in all and stay alert for the unscrupulous. For the most part I have been very lucky to have come in contact with true people with good hearts, good intentions, and good character.

Information sharing is huge online. From breaking news stories to local school closings due to inclement weather, I learn much online via Social Media. Like all things, it is necessary to check sources and double check validity, but the fast pace of communication carrying vital information is staggering. Not only do I learn from this superhighway but I have been utilizing it to get my own work out there. I post a piece, begin promoting it, and, within minutes, friends and readers are sharing it with their friends and so on ad infinitum. In addition, the personalities I come in contact is mind-blowing: athletes, musicians, journalists, heads of business, and men and women who perform all types of jobs. From the famous to the everyman, I have access to the entire world!

Hackers lurk, liars prey, bad people are ever-present online as in real life, but, in my experience, they are few and far between. If you defend yourself against spam, indecent people, and cads you can find the world of Social Media is a truly wonderful place to be and belong. Social Media has changed my life for the better, broadened my social circle, awakened me to new ideas and personalities, and exposed my work to the world! My love affair with Social Media seems to be intact and strong. I invite you to stay a part of it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. This week, according to the news, is supposed to contain Blue Monday, the third Monday in January. It is called “Blue Monday” because of a combination of drastically cold temperatures, limited daylight, large Christmas bills rolling in, and New Year’s Resolutions that failed yet again. I don’t buy into this anymore.

Neither the media nor anyone else is going to have power over me to tell me when to be blue. Since writing Chief 187™Chatter and, more specifically, Simple Joys, I have been able to keep the blues at bay and channel more positive times in my life consistently. I do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) as I self-diagnosed myself years ago. By exercising in the morning, trying to eat wiser, and staying connected to friends both in person and virtually I have weakened the effects of S.A.D. in my life. Simple Joys seem to be the cure-all for what ails me periodically. Staying positive, doing the next right thing, and keeping myself constantly on the lookout for Simple Joys has enhanced my life tenfold. I hope it will help you through this week with “Blue Monday” and through the long, cold winter! And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Pictionary. At my son’s Den Meeting last week we had little business to discuss with the boys as things are winding down with the Blue and Gold Awards and Moving Up Ceremony next month. While I made sure the boys understood their responsibilities to complete their requirement to earn their WEBELOS badge, my co-Den Leader allowed the boys to choose their Blue and Gold stage presentation and table centerpieces through brainstorming. She is most creative and truly can tap into easy-to-create with huge results projects. The boys and I are so lucky to have her! Then she whipped out the idea of finishing the meeting with a rousing game of Pictionary with topics she and I wrote on the spot. The boys laughed, drew, guessed, and ribbed one another good-naturedly. My son, typically a poor drawer, eagerly took his spot at the paper. He set to work, and, when the guesses weren’t accurate, kept adding fantastic layers of detail to his drawing. Finally a teammate guessed the picture correctly. I was so very proud of my son for not giving up, not losing his cool, and for continuously adding more to get his idea across. Seeing my son participate, enjoy, and thrive in what used to be a difficult situation for him was a Simple Joy that warms my soul.

After Dinner. On Friday night my husband and I put dinner on the table for our children and ourselves, fed them, tried to converse with them, and, when food was inhaled and the children were off and running to far more entertaining pursuits, we sat back and exhaled. I’ve written about this very same thing before, but it doesn’t lose its meaning. My husband and I sat around the dining room table and really talked. We caught up on important family business, talked about my business, and then talked about NASCAR (which is part of my business). We talked for well over an hour. Finally my husband, who always has a Friday night appointment outside of the house, said he should really leave. I never try to stop him. This time, however, with the brutally cold temperatures outside, the warmth between us, and the need to stay connected, he stayed. Sharing rare nights like that with my husband are the Simple Joys that make our marriage work and last.

Girls’ Night Out Cancelled. Several weeks ago my friends and I planned a Girls’ Night Out for this past Saturday Night. On Friday night we had two cancelations due to illness. The three of us who were left still were determined to go out. After a full morning at the Pinewood Derby where my eldest placed first in Den and my middle guy finished 3rd in the Siblings’ Competition, I snuck off in the late afternoon to pamper myself. A luxurious bubble bath with my iPod blaring my mix, hair and makeup retouched, and a dazzling yet warm outfit that showcased my brand new earrings my husband gifted me for our anniversary was completed in an hour. I strolled downstairs, collected compliments from my three adorable children and my handsome husband, and… I received a text. Our third friend bowed out at the last hour (minutes?) so we were down to two of us. I called her to see about still making the evening a go, but she was battling an illness, didn’t want to face the bitter cold, and would rather stay in with her husband and kids. We agreed to reschedule and there I was, dressed to the nines (well, seven and a halves), smelling of my new perfume I got for Christmas, and ready to walk out the door, but with literally nowhere to go. My husband and children were thrilled to have me home; I slowly ascended the stairs to “de-doll” myself. With nowhere to go I replaced my pretty outfit with my softest and warmest pajamas (hey, they have a faux animal print!) and joined the family downstairs. We salvaged a fantastic evening and my husband and I were able to continue our bonding that began the night before. Although I enjoy a great Girls’ Night Out, it was certainly a Simple Joy to be greeted with rousing cheers when my plans got canceled. From extra-long cuddles from my middle boy to the extra fantastic time with my hubby, the night was filled with fabulous Simple Joys!

Movies. It is difficult going to the movies with a two-year-old. We’ve tried it a couple of times with varying degrees of success, but, as difficult as it was, I was determined to take my little girl to the movies again. I had a good feeling that the movie we wanted to take her she’d sit through and I was right! We took our little Princess to see the re-release in 3D of Beauty and the Beast. No one in our family had ever seen it so it was a big outing for us all. Our darling daughter sat through the entire show and enjoyed the film immensely. I must admit, when Belle came out in her yellow gown ("Pretty Dress, Mommy!!!") tears escaped my eyes. Sharing this movie without any interruptions was a tremendous milestone and Simple Joy!

Senna. A documentary about Ayrton Senna was made and released in 2010 called Senna. My husband and I tried in vain to find it in a local theater to watch. We’ve been waiting patiently for our opportunity to see it. Just yesterday a FB friend posted he had just seen it. I inquired how and he told me “Netflix streaming”! We have that! So hubby added it to our queue and, once we put the children to bed early, sat down to watch. I was mesmerized; I was not following Formula 1 when Senna was living so it was all new information to me. His career was incredible, the documentary was seamless and very well done, and the story was fascinating. I highly recommend the show. Finally getting to see Senna is a Simple Joy finally realized!

Not too many years ago I would have been morose, depressed, not exercising, and isolating during mid-January; a way of life that would have lasted until late into the spring thaw. But Chief 187™Chatter and Simple Joys changed all of that for me completely. I now make a conscious decision to exercise in the morning, take pride in my work, and look forward to staying in touch with my offline and online friends alike. Simple Joys are the catalyst for keeping my life humming and rolling in the right direction. Whether you write yours down or merely think about them, I hope your Simple Joys give you peace, good feelings, and the motivation to keep going when times get difficult. If it can work for me, it can most certainly work for you!

Please join me tomorrow when I wax poetic on yet another subject on Chief 187(TM)Chatter.