Quotation Saturday: New Beginnings and Fresh Starts

quotation saturday, mamacita's blog, jane goodwinMamacita says:  It’s the first Saturday of the new year – it’s time for some fresh starts. Let’s all try to give ourselves, and each other, a break, shall we, and start fresh with things that need a fresh start.

It’s never too late to begin again.  Let’s make the New Year a time for new beginnings.

1. If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down. — Mary Pickford

2. When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out. –David Weatherford

3. Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. –Eddie Rickenbacker

4. One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered. –Michael J. Fox

5. Above all, challenge yourself. You may well surprise yourself at what strengths you have, what you can accomplish. –Cecile Springer

6. It takes chances to make changes. –Danielle Ballentine   beginning

7. Excellence is the result of habitual integrity. –Lenny Bennett

8. Whenever you feel that something as simple as a smile or a kind act will go unnoticed, do it anyway. You never know how much it might change someone else’s life. –Erin Bishop

9. Square your shoulders to the world, be not the kind to quit; It’s not the load that weighs you down but the way you carry it. –Unknown

10. Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. –Mark Twain

11. The biggest mistake you can make is continually fearing you will make one. –Unknown

12. If I were asked to give what I consider the most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.’ –Ann Landers

13. A true hero does what needs to be done and needs no other reason. –Unknown

14. We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life. –James Van Praagh

15. The impossible is often untried. –Unknown

16. People whine, ‘I haven’t succeeded because I haven’t had the breaks.’ You create your own breaks. –Chuck Norris

17. Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. –Cadet maxim, West Point, New York

18. I have always tried to be true to myself, to pick those battles I felt were important. My ultimate responsibility is to myself. I could never be anything else. –Arthur Ashe

19. Make yourself a blessing to someone. Your kind smile or pat on the back just might pull someone back from the edge. –Carmelia Elliot

20. A successful life doesn’t require that we’ve done the best, but that we’ve done our best. –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

21. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
–Henry David Thoreau

22. Live your life so that if someone says ‘Be yourself’ it’s good advice. –Robert Orben

end-and-beginning23. Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot. –Clarence Thomas

24. Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded. — Anonymous

25. . . . isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? — L.M. Montgomery

26. The beginning is always today. –Mary Shelley

27. Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. — Meister Eckhart

28. The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. — C.C. Scott

29. The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. — Ivy Baker

30. Remember tonight.. for it is the beginning of always. — Unknown

Remember this: you can always begin again.  You can always begin again.  It’s only the end if you choose not to begin again.

Your call.

Girl Scouts, Cookies, and Why I Don’t Give To The United Way

This was originally posted in 2008, but a friend’s problem with the Girl Scouts reminded me of my own problem with the Girl Scouts and specifically with the United Way.  I’m sure many Scouts love selling cookies and I’m sure many of you depend on the United Way to help support various worthwhile agencies and clubs, but my experience with both Scouts and United Way has not been outstanding.  This is why I donate services instead of money; I target specific places I want to help support and I get in my car and drive there and work hard and support them.  But give them money?  I don’t.

Prove me mistaken.  Please?  I want you to, because disillusionment isn’t a fun place to dwell.

Mamacita says: I was looking through my jewelry box tonight and I found my Girl Scout stars and badges and pins. I was a Brownie, and then a real Girl Scout, and I absolutely loved it until sixth grade, when Scout Headquarters decided to mix ages and put together all-new troops with various levels in each.

This sucked, so I quit. All the older girls quit. It meant we could no longer go bowling, because the little kids had to be watched and taught. It meant the end of our going for the badges because we were expected to help the little girls earn theirs. It meant we could no longer hang out in the Public Service kitchen downtown and cook stuff, because the little kids had to be watched and shown how to do everything. And watched.

We were being used as babysitters and we didn’t like it.

That Public Service kitchen was awesome. We had loved going there, even though our scout leader’s idea of teaching upper elementary girls to cook consisted of “how to read the instructions on a box of cake mix.” I was genuinely shocked to discover that there were girls my age who didn’t know how! I mean, seriously, how stupid could they get? Yes, I was compassionate even in my youth.

Twelve-year-old girls who had never cracked an egg. Twelve-year-old girls who didn’t know how to measure water. I was horrified. I’m still horrified.

I still have my Public Service pin, too. I’m almost afraid to ask, but does anybody else out there remember. . . . Reddy Kilowatt?

As a lovingly handled my pins, I remembered my last contact with the Girl Scouts. It was in the eighties, when my daughter was in lower elementary school. I taught in a small rural K-8 school, one of three middle schools in a large system, and the only one that was wayyyy out in the country, miles from any kind of business. Next door on one side was a cow pasture. On the other side was a cemetery.

There really wasn’t much of anything for the little girls to do, so I thought about becoming a Brownie leader and organizing a troop of Sara’s friends and classmates, meeting every week right there in the school so their parents wouldn’t have to drive all the way to town, and re-creating the fun experience I’d had as a Brownie, myself. We were so poor that I was cutting up my dresses to clothe Sara for school, but my time would be free. I’d been giving to the United Way for years, and they would pay for supplies, etc., right?

It didn’t happen.

I called Girl Scout Headquarters and asked how one went about doing this. The woman I spoke with was ECSTATIC that I wanted to be a Scout leader. She proceeded to tell me that my list of girls would be waiting at the office, and oh, I should find a meeting place in town because that would be central, and oh, I needed to find a business to sponsor us, and oh, when could we start selling cookies?

I had a few questions. The first one was, what list of girls? I had a list of girls, well over twenty. “NO NO,” she said. “We have a waiting list of girls. Your own daughter may join them, of course, but the rest will have to be put on another waiting list.” I could feel the pulse begin to pound in my neck.

My second question was, what do you MEAN, a business to sponsor us? I’d been giving to the United Way for years; I thought that was paying for Brownies, etc. in my community. “Well, no,” she said. “The United Way doesn’t pay for anything concerning the individual troops.”

My third question: Where is all this United Way money I’ve been donating, believing I was sponsoring scout troops, paying for craft materials, refreshments, etc, actually going, then? “It all goes to Corporate,” she replied.

My fourth question: Am I buying carpet and wall art, and paying salaries and benefits and retirement, for Corporate, with my donations? Why am I buying carpet and wall art and paying salaries for an organization that then tells its individual troops they have to solicit businesses for craft supplies and refreshments?

“Um, if you’ll give me your name and phone number, ma’am, I’ll have someone call you tonight.”

You do that.

Later that night. . . “Rinnnng.”

“I feel there has been a misunderstanding regarding your desire to be a Brownie leader?” I’m hoping, so, yes. “We already have several lists of girls who need a leader, so we’re hoping you’ll agree to do that. They’re all in town. When can you start selling cookies?”

I prefer to lead a troop out in the country, right in my classroom, immediately after school. I have a list of over twenty little girls.

“I’m afraid that wouldn’t work out for the girls on our lists. They all live in town and really prefer a central meeting place. When can you start selling cookies?”

I’d be happy to include some of the town girls in my troop, but I have twenty names of little girls right here already in the school building.”

“I’m afraid that isn’t possible. We already have lists of girls right there in your town. When can your new troop begin selling cookies?”

I don’t live in town. I live out in the country, fairly near the school. The little girls on my list all live out in the middle of nowhere, and after school in our building would be perfect for them, and for me. Now, please tell me about soliciting a business to pay for what I thought the United Way covered.

“I hope this won’t in any way compromise your opinion of the United Way, ma’am. The money they collect is all sent to corporate and distributed among the qualifying agencies; they don’t support individual local Scout troops. Local Scout troops must ask a bank or store to sponsor them.”

Then why are the Scouts on the list of local supported United Way clubs and agencies?

“Um, ma’am, why don’t I have a United Way representative call you and explain?”

Don’t bother.

A frantic woman from the United Way called me the next night, but I wasn’t interested.

I give to many local charities, agencies, and clubs, but I do not give to the United Way. I had never been so disillusioned in my life. I do it all individually now. And as I said before, I usually donate services so I know for a fact exactly where my “donation” goes.

If anybody can explain all of this to me, I’d really love to hear it, because even though it was years ago, the memory still makes me furious. Is it still like this? Please say no.

Until I find out otherwise, I’m not signing up for United Way.  I’ll continue to donate services and goods to specific places.

Administrators can buy their own carpet and wall art.




Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2013, Scheiss Weekly Mamacita says: Happy New Year, dear friends.  The first day of 2015 finds me sicker than I’ve been in many a year and hoping none of you have the flu.

I’ve been blogging for over ten years now. I’ve made many new friends, some of whom I’ve met in real life. However, and I’ve said this before but that doesn’t prevent me from saying it again, my blogosphere friends I’ve never actually met are just as real to me as if they lived next door. Bloggers have redefined “real life.” There are many different levels of real life now, and they’re all real.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and positive New Year. I hope nothing bad happens to any of you, and I hope you are all safe, and healthy, and happy, every single day. You, and everybody who is precious to you.

Ah, the New Year’s song. . . .This song always makes me tear up.  Even back before I knew what it meant, something about it was both sad, and happy, and sentimental.  Harry Burns tried Auld Lang Syneto explain it to Sally Albright, but his explanation was more desperation than fact.  Robert Burns could be like that.  Remember, you’ve quoted a line from his poem about a louse crawling on a woman’s hair all your adult life:  “O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!”  (You do NOT need that translated, right?)  I thought not.

Here is Robert Burns’  (no relation to Harry Burns) most famous when harry met sally, new year's evepoem.  It was set to music years later. (traditional folk melody.)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, (Should old acquaintances be forgotten,)

And never brought to mind (And never remembered?)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And the days of auld lang syne. (And days of long ago.)

And surely ye ‘ll be your pint’ stowp (And surely you will pay for your pint)

And surely I ‘ll be mine (And surely I’ll pay for mine)

And we ‘ll take a cup o’ kindness yet (We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet) (booze)

auld-lang-syneFor auld lang syne (for the days of long ago.)

We twa hae run about the braes (We two have run around the hillsides)

And pou’d the gowans fine (and pulled the daisies fine)

But we ‘ve wander’d monie a weary fit (But we have wandered many a weary foot)

Sin’ auld lang syne. (Since the days of long ago.)

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn (We two have paddled in the stream)

Frae morning sun till dine (From noon ‘till dinner time)

But seas between us braid hae roar’d (But seas between us broad have roared)

Sin’ the days of auld lang syne (Since the days of long ago)

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere (And there’s a hand, my trusty friend)

And gie ‘s a hand o’ thine (And give us a hand of yours)

And we ‘ll tak a right guid-willie waught (And we will take a goodwill draught)(that means, take a drink together)

New Year's Auld Lang SyneFor auld lang syne (For the days of long ago)

[CHORUS]For auld lang syne, my dear (For the days of long ago, my dear)

For auld lang syne (For the days of long ago)

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet (We’ll take a cup of kindness yet) (booze)

For auld lang syne (For the days of long ago.)

To answer the question of whether or not old acquaintances should ever be forgotten, the answer is, most emphatically, “NO.”

Not till the Alzheimer’s makes me say “Oh Baby” to the nursing home orderlies.

I love you, dear friends. And I wish you were all here so we could take a right guid willie waught together. I’m really up for some good willie waught.

All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

The Glorious Christmas Mess

broken candy cane, Christmas is overOne of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day.  Don’t clean it up too quickly.  — Andy Rooney

Mamacita says:  Well, it’s over. The kids are gone again, and I’m left with the Christmas mess.  I both love and hate it.

I love it because it’s the Christmas mess, and it represents family and togetherness and fun, and it’s wadded giftwrap and bits of ribbon and shredded styrofoam and SLABS of styrofoam and empty boxes and funny-shaped pieces of cardboard and candy wrappers. It’s little (and big) pieces of cellophane, invisible on the carpet unless the light is juuuuust right. One can also find those by slipping on them and nearly (or actually) falling on one’s large butt. It’s those metallic gold coin wrappers that the kids kick under the furniture. I am still finding those in midsummer.  It’s tissue paper and tags and napkins with Coke rings on them beside all the chairs in the living room.  It’s bubble wrap under the dining room table (my feet love that!) and it’s the third dishwasher load in four hours.  What a mess.  I love it.

Christmas mess

I hate it because the Christmas mess means the Christmas fun is over.

My children have left my home and gone home.  I’m not sure I will ever get used to my kids talking about “home,” and having it NOT be my house any more.

It’s always (okay, ‘usually’) hard to say goodbye to my kids. I kissed them and hugged them and told them I loved them.  I loaded them up with clean laundry and pie and leftovers.  They’ve got parties to go to later tonight.  They got in the car and drove away.

The house is very quiet and peaceful now, but that’s not how I like to live.  Quiet homes are overrated.  I’d rather have activity and laughter and chaos.

I am not ready for Christmas to be over.  Then again, I am never ready for Christmas to be over.

You surly curmudgeons who hate Christmas and can’t wait for it to end:  You ain’t right in the head.  I mean it.  There is something missing inside of you –  something vital and necessary and wonderful

You can get it back if you really want to.

And if you don’t want to, let me repeat:  You ain’t right in the head.


Merry Christmas 2014

Mamacita says:  Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Fruitful Kwanzaa. Happy Holidays. Peaceful December. Happy Solstice.

Please pick one, or two, and apply them to yourself and to your family.

Christmas is such a magical time.  We anticipate it all the rest of the year, and then suddenly it’s here, and it’s so special, so wonderful, and it’s over so quickly. . . .

Let’s not forget how Katie, age 8, in a book I quote probably way too much but how can one help it when the book is so full of wonderfulness, What Child Is This, by Caroline Cooney, put into innocent words that the night before Christmas isn’t called a ‘night,’ it’s called ‘eve,’ and Christmas morning isn’t called ‘morning,’ it’s ‘morn.’ Eve and morn: two special words to highlight two special times.

How special are they? They are special already, in their own right, but how you make them special for yourself and for your children is entirely up to you. I hope you give them memories they will cherish all their lives, so much so that they will pass the glory along to their own children.

Children flourish with roots, but they soar with wings.

May your Eve be full of anticipation and warmth, and may your Morn be all you hoped it would be.


Twas the Afternoon Before Christmas. . . .

Christmas, quotation, quote, Scheiss Weekly, Jane GoodwinMamacita says:  I love these days leading up to Christmas more than any other time of the year. I love the planning. I love the baking. I love the making lists and checking them twice. I love the shopping, which I actually do all year long. I love Amazon Prime, which gives me free 2-day shipping.  I love wrapping the boxes and decorating them with ribbons and glittery things.  I love the Christmas music blasting (at 11, of course) from Spotify and iTunes and plain old cd’s.  I love getting out and using the Christmas plates and bowls and glasses. I love making my house look like a Christmas card. I love welcoming people into my home and sharing everything I have with them. I love watching Christmas movies, which I’m doing all afternoon, in fact;  welcome to my Dickens’ A Christmas Carol marathon.  I know the book by heart, thanks to my father (Daddy, what’s a doornail and how can it be dead?) and I’m quite critical of any movie version that takes too many liberties.

It’s quite honestly the days before Christmas, full of anticipation and preparation, that I love even more than the Day itself.

But, the Day Itself is tomorrow and I plan to love the very stuffings out of it.

I hope you have the same plans.