Monday, November 26, 2012

Motivational Monday #73 - Being Thankful is So Last Thursday!

I saw a picture on Facebook last week that said something about the Untied States being the only place where we have an entire holiday to be thankful for that which we have, and then we wake up early the next morning to race around like crazy people to buy all the things we don't have.  Good point.  In fact, the news reported this morning that the average shopper spent more than $430 on Black Friday alone.  Wow!

So now it is cyber Monday, and they are expecting record breaking sales.  While that is fabulous for the economy, and economists everywhere say this is a sign we are pulling out of a recession, I have to wonder if it is anything more than people just being tired of feeling scared to spend money.

I remember living in Texas in the 1980's.  The economy there was scary.  People were losing their jobs daily.  Even as a child I can remember the tension that filled our home.  We didn't spend any money we didn't have to.  There were no frivolous expenses and big ticket items were put on hold indefinitely.  While I know things have been far worse in the past, it was still a hard time, mainly because of the uncertainty. 

Now we are facing this "fiscal cliff" and no one seems to have an idea what that really means.  People have been scared to spend money for about five years now, and they are getting tired of it.  Economic uncertainty is the norm for an entire group of young people who have headed out into the work force, and they don't see that as a reason to worry.

So what do we do?  We spend!  Last week we celebrated family and friends, and took time to be thankful for the good things in our lives.  This week we throw ourselves head first into spending money and decking the halls.  I can't say I am immune to this tradition, if I am being honest I will tell you my shopping started weeks ago.  For some, this time of year is all about finding the best deals.  For others it is the thrill of the hunt.  Still others find comfort in the annual tradition.

For me, buying gifts is about taking the time to think about the people I care about and determine what small object will put a smile on their face.  I think about what I can do to help them or entertain them.  I am a practical girl by nature, and Christmastime is no exception. I find gifts they can use.

Guess what?  Here is my annual shameless plug.  Prepared Binder is a wonderful way to give your family members something useful, something they may not think about on their own.  It is your chance to show them you are thinking about them and the things that could make their lives easier.  It is a practical gift, and one that can benefit their lives.  The best news is that they will use it more than a reindeer sweater, and they will enjoy it more than a fruitcake.  So go take a look.  If you buy this week, you can use code FB2012 for a 20% discount.  (Offer ends December 2, 2012) 

Enjoy your Cyber Monday, and may your shopping be fruitful, your deals be amazing, and your wallet be plump!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Motivational Monday #72 - Prepare Every Yummy Thing

Today is the day I start cooking for Thanksgiving.  Yep, days ahead.  I make the goodies and prep the tasty treats.  From here on out it will be a smorgasbord or yummy smells and giggles of delight.  You may or may not see me with crumbs on my chin after I consume a metric ton of cranberry tarts.

You might wonder why I get started so early, but then again you may already know I am nuts!  Actually, I start now so that I may enjoy my time on Turkey Day itself.  If everything is prepped and ready to go, I have a better chance of enjoying the company of my guests and the mellow vibe of the season.

So there you go, preparation isn't just for emergency preparedness, it is for turkeys too.

I do hope this week is calm and productive for each of you.  May your turkey be juicy, your pies be flavorful, and your clean up minimal!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Motivational Monday #71 - The Change in the Weather

Every year about this time we see a change in the weather.  For those in the north east, they saw a HUGE change last week in the form of super storm Sandy.  It looks like they will now have to face a lovely nor'easter coming to freeze up all the water in their homes and dump snow on people who still don't have electricity.  Gotta love the onset of winter weather!

Here in the desert we are experiencing a less dramatic cooling trend.  Today will be in the 90's, but by Saturday we will be a cool, bring out the snow parkas, 63 degrees.  I am already dusting off my electric socks to make sure I don't freeze in my bed.  (What can I say, I have been a desert rat for a long time now!)

It seems like every year at this time people start discussing the weather.  It is either warmer than they can ever remember, or the coldest/wettest/nastiest winter on record.  It doesn't seem like there is much in between.  Even though we all have these same conversations each year, we keep on having them regardless of what this year's weather really happens to be.  It is as if the conversation itself is a time honored tradition on par with summer BBQ and Monday Night Football.

After years of listening to different versions of this conversation, I am struck by one interesting fact.  People tend to still be surprised by the weather.  I have to admit this is a little confusing.  When it snows, they are surprised.  When it doesn't snow, they are surprised.  When it rains, they are surprised.  When it doesn't rain, they are surprised.  As far as I can tell, the earth has had weather as long as it has existed, thus as long as human kind has existed...yet we are still surprised!

So here are a few spoiler alerts:
  1. It is cold in the winter.  This may in fact mean snow and all manner of icy icky-ness.  You may be required to use chains on your tires or stoke a real fire to stay warm.  You may lose power.  You may be trapped in your home.  You may have to shovel snow.  It happens.
  2. It may not be super cold this winter.  You may not get the snow you expected, and that may be a problem for the snow pack the crops rely on.  The ski resorts may not open on time.  It happens.
  3. It may be dry this winter.  There is the possibility that you may not get the rain you need this winter.  You may be worried about wildfires later in the season.  You may be concerned about reservoir and water table levels.  ( I bet you guessed it...) It happens!
Yep, indeed, these are just a few of the conversations we have each year, but it all comes down to not being able to control the weather, and thus needing to be prepared for whatever happens. Farmers have to plan for early and late freezes.  Cities have to plan for low water levels.  The travel industry has to plan for fewer winter vacationers when the snow is late.

How do you plan?  What do you do to make sure you have what you need to weather the storm, or the lack thereof?  How do you make sure you are ready?

This happens more than we would like to admit.  As much as we talk about it, we tend to forget how often our friends, family and neighbors are impacted by the weather.  I remember the ice storms a few years back which had tens of thousands displaced.  Now we have the fallout from super storm Sandy ahead of a large winter storm.  Who can forget the huge wildfires we have seen in the west, or the drought throughout large areas of the country?

Having a weather plan does not make you an extremist.  Knowing how you are going to take care of your family during extreme weather just makes good sense.  Mother Nature doesn't always send us a tidy memo with explicit instructions, so we need to make sure our plans are broad and flexible.

So there you go, the Motivation you need this Monday.  It really is time to get a plan.  Take that plan and put it into action.  You will feel better when you do.