pen rainbow

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Holiday Special—Happy Easter!

Happy Easter  ✽  Happy Spring



happy easter 2013

Sunday—A New Week of Productivity


Ben Franklin's daily schedule


The guy who said, "Time is money," "A penny saved is a penny earned," and "Never leave that till tomorrow what you can do today," placed a lot of value on productivity.  And, here's how he did it...

Ben Franklin's Daily Schedule

I love that he started each day with a morning question...

"What good shall I do this day?"

Isn't that wonderful?  He started every day with a positive sense of purpose.

Then, he ended every day with personal accountability...

"What good have I done today?"

He got up early:  5 a.m.

He got to work a little after 8 a.m.

He went to lunch at Noon and took a two-hour working lunch break.  I like that.  It was probably an hour to eat, then an hour to go over his morning activities.

Back to work at 2 p.m. until six when he knocked off for the day.  That's 4 hours in the morning, followed by a 2-hour working lunch, then 4 more hours of work.  If you don't count lunch, that's an 8-hour work day.

6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Dinner & diversion

10 p.m. to 5 a.m.  Sleep (7 hours sleep)

Alright, so could this work for me?  How close am I to it to begin with?


dsmp daily schedule


Well, Ben got up earlier...and I'll bet he didn't have cats.  And, because he got up at 5, he was able to fit that hour and a half that I do at night into the beginning of his day.  I could do that!  

Make up your own Ben Franklin-style daily schedule and see how your routine stacks up to old Ben's!  

Have a productive week  ✽

Saturday, March 30, 2013

tHE SaTurDAY sTorE—1966 Flintstones Comic Book

For the Flintstones fans! 

Cave Kids #12 c. March 1966
I was such a huge Flintstones fan, and I know some of you were, too!  This comic was purchased at Broadbent's Drug Store in Boulder City, Nevada, by my husband, the original owner.

Description:

Comic book adventures of kids living in the Flintstones' era. This issue features "The Great 
Grotto-Potamus Battle." Issue also has one-page text feature "Do or Diet," the Gruesomes 
in "That's the Way the Crystal Ball Bounces," Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm in "Tots on the 
Town," Sheepy Shale in "The Bewitched Apple," and one-page strips. Last page features a 
pin-up and whimsical poem on the Swampasaurus in the Cave Kids' Zoo. No story/art 
credits given. 

On cover: 10044-603, March 1966. Cover price $0.12.

Publisher:  Gold Key

Title:  Hanna-Barbera Cave Kids with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm — Cave Kids #12

Condition:  Good (unsealed) *  Click HERE for a detailed description of this comic book grading code

Price:  $22 (includes shipping + insurance + delivery confirmation)

Price comparison:  

mycomicshop.com  $42.50 + $1.10 shipping  (Near Mint condition)

ebay  $39.95 + $3.95 shipping (Near Mint condition)

CONTACT:  troi.nelson@comcast.net



inside back cover

back cover

bent corners

loose center page (back)

signed Brad 659 Ave

loose center page (front)


back page + Brad signature

front cover (note tear in Gold Key icon)

general condition:  good

good color, readable

inside front cover

issue notes:  Cave Kids No. 12, March 1966

Cute Swampasaurus poem


Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery

My pix from this week_Still learning to use my Panasonic Lumix micro 4/3

Click HERE to go to my flikr gallery


Purple tulips from Safeway with a beautiful Leslie Nicole texture (French Kiss Collections)

One of two white poms trees in our yard in WC

A very busy carpenter bee found a patch of lupins in the back yard

Beautiful Easter calla lilies in the back yard

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Mini-Post—AT&T Werewolf

AT & T struck gold with this series of commercials

I really don't like ads on blogs, and I hate it when they pop up in advance of a YouTube vid, but this "It's Not Complicated" series by AT&T makes me want to watch these ads over & over.



I love 'em.  The moderator, Beck Bennett, has experience interviewing kids.  He has a YouTube series called, Fresh Perspectives, where he interviews a panel of kids about global economic issues, along the lines of John Stewart except with kids as the panelists.  He's a natural, a modern day Art Linkletter, and the kids are so funny.  



  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday—Good For You, Good For Your Playlist



Free music streaming from Playlist



Plug in to Playlist!

Check it out!  

This week, I've been having fun creating playlists on Playlist.com!  It's free because the songs are being streamed and not downloaded, and the website pays a licensing fee to share the music.  

It is super-easy to use, and it will run on your iPad!  Isn't that great?  It's easy to add songs, delete songs, and search for new ones.  And, you can share an entire playlist or just a song directly to facebook from the website. 

Here are my playlists.  I'll be adding another playlist for All Things Zen and a few more for holidays.  Maybe one for show tunes?...One for Photoshopping...Hump Day?...so many possibilities!  Click on any song to start listening.

Enjoy!


   




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday's Cupboard—Homemade Thin Mints

Everybody's favorite Girl Scout cookie made in your own kitchen!


designed by moi

I'm going to be lazy with this post and just put up a link for you since I haven't tried this recipe, yet.  I'll post my pix when I do!

Averie Sunshine's Thin Mints recipe, 29 July 2012:  Averie Cooks

This recipe has all of the things that I look for in a recipe.  

1.  It's easy! 

2.   It simple with just few ingredients

3.  It's fast!  

4.  No cooking 

5.  It's fun!

6.  It's relatively healthy...well, let's say that it IS healthy!  Chocolate is good for you, and a Ritz cracker won't kill ya.  :)  

7.  It's vegetarian & vegan


Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday—The Reading Corner: Xericity

First things first...
Xericity


Of, pertaining to, or adapted to a dry environment

My novel got a new home and a new name!


For the sake of continuity, I've moved the book to its own website, so it is now all in one place.  Because the domain name was not available for The Meadows, I had to change the title to something else, so I chose, Xericity, which means, "of, or pertaining to, or adapted to a dry environment."

It's a private blog, so if you are interested in reading it, please send me your email address, and I'll be more than happy to put you on the reader list!

troi.nelson@comcast.net

It's a complete work of fiction, btw...you'll see why as the story progresses.

Meanwhile...

I have a fun movie that I'd like to recommend!  We watched it last night on Comcast.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  ★   ★   ★   ★   

The story of a group of British retirees who travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel.  Wonderful character development, fantastic actors, and just a great, heartwarming story!  


Released in 2012, directed by John Madden, PG-13

Cast:

Dame Judi Dench

Maggie Smith  (Downton Abbey's Violet Crawley, among many others)

Bill Nighy

Tom Wilkinson

Dev Patel  (Jamal from Slumdog Millionaire)

Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey)

Ronald Pickup

Celia Imrie

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A New Week—Battling Cultural Famine with Music

Rap musicians in Mogadishu bring messages of peace to Somali youth

baby elephant at Disney World

Do you remember what you were doing in 2009?  If you were in Somalia, you were living under the brutal control of the Al Shabab, a terrorist regime linked to Al Queda that was so threatened by the freedom of music and dance that both activities were deemed un-Islamic and banned.

Think about it.  A population of 9 million (in 2009) with a culture is so deeply rooted in folklore and so renowned for its poetic fluency that scholars refer to it as a "Nation of Poets," and no one was allowed to sing.  Pretty incredible.  It was in keeping with the more than 20 years of devastating conflict and suffering triggered by the fall of Mohamed Siad Barre's ruling dictatorship to extremist Islamic insurgents in 1991.

But today, things are changing.  Although Al Shabab is still trying to recruit young Somalis into violence, it was driven out of the capitol city of Mogadishu by African Union forces in 2011.  Terrorism's influence over Somali youth has lessened, which in the country of Somalia represents 45% of the population between the ages of zero and fourteen.  The message of peace is making inroads through rap music.

Lihle Muhdin, a member of the Somali rap group, Waayaha Cusub (English translation, "New Era" or "New Dawn"), was 11 years old when he was forced into combat by the controlling militia.  15 years later, he is part of the group whose members reflect the amalgamation of the Somali people and their long tradition of interaction between the neighboring countries of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda.

In the words of 25-year old Sudanese rapper, Ahmed Mahmoud, "The spirit of hip-hop is to speak up when everyone is silent."


Remember, we are talking about children and music here, two things that most Americans do not associate with cruelty and oppression.  But, the Somali Reconciliation Festival which happens this week is bringing hope for those who live in countries like Somalia where the average life expectancy is 50 years old.  Mogadishu's first major music festival in over two decades will take place at different venues at different times over six days.

The purpose of the festival is to help stabilize the community, to give song to the peacemakers, and to reach a generation of kids who have never known a world without violence.  Perhaps, it's time to listen to rap a little more in this country.

The message is simple:  End the culture of violence.

To read more about the positive effects of Hip Hop music, click HERE 

An article about the Somali Reconciliation Festival from the Los Angeles Times, 30 March 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

tHE sAtuRdAY SToRE—Beatles Memorabilia

A neat curio for a Beatles fan!

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Music Box with Dome


John, Ringo, Paul & George

The Franklin Mint Beatles ™ Product
© 1993 Apple Corps Ltd 
Limited Edition No. XV?2?

Condition:  Used

There are a few condition notes, but this is a neat virtual garage sale item, and you won't be able to beat this price on Ebay.  The certificate of authenticity is missing, but it looks & sounds great!  

Plaster sculpture
Colors are bright & clear
No chips
Clear sounding music "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
Original dome 
Size:  3" W x 5" H 

Price:  $30 (free shipping + insurance + delivery confirmation)

14-day guaranteed return in original condition

Contact:  troi.nelson@comcast.net

Condition Notes:

1.  Invisible repair—George's right hand holding the flute has been glued back into place (see photo). 

2.  The edition number is partially rubbed off:  "XV?2?" (see red arrow in photo of bottom)

3.  One of the pads on the bottom has chipped off.  I hadn't noticed this until I took a close look at the bottom (see highlight in photo).  This does not seem to affect the balance of the item.

4.  Small 1/2" scratch on top of the dome (see photo).   

Photos:

Approximately 3" W x 5" H

Condition notes:  missing pad (yellow circle) & partial Limited Edition No. XV?2? (red arrow)

front without the dome
About 3" wide at the base

George's repaired hand (an invisible repair)

Original dome & music box figures

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery

My pix from this week...

The first one was done entirely in Photoshop.  We were given a source photo to play with, so I sunk it behind some really big text, added a yellow background and a grunge texture, plus that cool date stamp (June 6 for Caralee's birthday), and saved it as a jpeg.

Let's Go To The Beach

Then, I dropped the whole thing into that neat grunge frame created by Leslie Nicole of French Kiss Collections.  Super fun!

This second photo started out as the key photographed against a white piece of poster board.  I added a black chalkboard background and lightened it up, erased the texture from the key, the string, and the tag, making sure to keep all of the natural shadows.  Then, I added the George Eastman quote in white text. 


Key 2 Photography 

The assignment was to follow a tutorial on creating a chalkboard effect with text, so that it looks as though the text were written in chalk.  Pretty cool, huh?  And, fun too!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for March Madness

I'm catching up, so even though this is a Wednesday post, I wrote it on Sunday during the third round


I'M OUT !!

Here are a couple of good links for those of you who are still in it.

Printable bracket

March Madness Team Mascots



My Blown Brackets

Betrayed by the West!

Sadly, my bracket was blown when Harvard lost to Arizona, because I chose Belmont over Arizona.  There is a certain amount of poetic justice to this.  I am being punished by the college basketball gods for a.) going against a Western team in the Western region and b.) going against a neighboring state to my home state of Nevada.  Belmont had 13 straight wins, and they beat Duke earlier in the season.  Even though they were ranked in the bottom half, it was no more unreasonable to expect an 11th place team like Belmont to upend an 8th place team like Arizona than it was to expect 10th place Iowa State to blow out No. 2 Notre Dame.

Rewarded in the East, but still blown

I was rewarded in the East with CAL over UNLV.  I know, it was a toughie choice because I'm a CAL grad, and UNLV is my home state team.  But, it is a college tournament, and I gotta go with my college team, so CAL was it.  One thing about CAL, though, is that the Bears will always break your heart (in basketball and in football), so you can only go so far with CAL, and I picked Syracuse to win.  So far, so good with Syracuse and yay for Indiana today!


But, here's where I got knocked out of the East...last night's game between Butler and Marquette.

Gahhhh, what can I say about that one?  Butler got flustered and Marquette held it.  I had Butler against Miami with Miami beating Illinois, and I think I'm still for Miami.  I like all of the Florida teams, and I'd love to see Florida play the Mighty Manatees.  That's what I call Florida Gulf Coast, which needs a better name than the Eagles, or FGCU.  No team should make the mistake of putting "F" and "U" in their collegiate acronym.   It's too easy to drop the middle letters and just call it, FU.  

Otoh, a lot of people (especially Floridians) would like a team that was called, FU.  Anyway, I like manatees and Florida teams, so even though I have family ties to Ilinois that go back for 33 years, I also have family ties to Florida that go back to the 16th Century, and I love Disney World.  So, there you go.

None of that matters, however, because I picked Butler in the Final Four.

I'm out of the East and the West, but still alive in the South and Midwest, which is the most interesting region, imho.


My remaining predictions:

Midwest:  Louisville

South:  Florida

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday's Cupboard—South of the Border Pizza

Use premade cornbread pizza crusts available at Whole Foods for these delicious & easy homemade pizzas!

Adapted from Weight Watchers Pizza, Pizza © 2003

Serves 4 (1/2 pizza each)

Use any leftover cooked chicken in this recipe.  Store-bought tomatillo salsa (also available at Whole Foods) and a pkg of shredded cheddar-jack cheese makes this super easy and so delicious!


South-of-the-Border Pizza

Start with Vicolo organic cornbread pizza crusts

Ingredients

•  2—8" organic cornbread pizza crust (Vicolo)
•  3 or 4 boneless & skinless split chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
•  6 T. fire-roasted mild tomatillo salsa
•  1 red bell pepper, chopped
•  1/4 c. Best Foods lite or regular mayo
•  1 pkg. shredded cheese (your favorite Mex-blend or cheddar-jack blend)

Make it!

Mild tomatillo salsa

1.  Prebake the cornbread crusts for about 10 minutes (follow package directions for cooking temp).  Vicolo crusts bake on 425°F.

Chicken + tomatillo salsa + fresh red pepper + mayo = the topping

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the following:

-- cooked, cubed chicken
-- salsa
-- chopped red pepper
-- mayo 

3.  Top each crust with half of the chicken mixture, spreading evenly to the edge.

4.  Sprinkle half a bag of shredded cheese on each pizza.

5.  Dust with paprika & freshly ground black pepper.

Ready for the oven!

6.  Bake for 12-15 minutes on 425°F until cheese is melted & toasty.

Serve with chipotle sauce and a fresh, green salad with avocados & cherry tomatoes.  

Enjoy!  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday: The Reading Corner—The Meadows


Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas design by Betty Willis erected in May 1959

The Meadows


Click HERE to read last week's chapter

Click HERE to start at the beginning



Chapter 2 - Arkansas


Fletcher Absolem Walters was born in Lonoke, Arkansas, in 1910, the son of a Methodist preacher and a tenant farmer’s daughter.  He was raised by his mother's relatives in Prairie County after his father abandoned the young family a month after his youngest brother was born.  His mother brought her three young sons back to the family farm, an arrangement that suited her father since her mother had succumbed to influenza the year before.  Fletcher and his two brothers grew up in rural poverty like all of the other tenant families, but they learned to work the land, raise livestock, and make the most out of what they had.  


He was thirteen when his Uncle Roy gave him the daily chore of milking Daisy, their Jersey cow.  While his mother fried thick-cut bacon and fresh eggs in a large cast-iron skillet in the kitchen, he sat alone in the barn on a low, yellow milk stool with his forehead propped against Daisy’s slow, heaving side.  She munched contentedly on mouthfuls of dried corn while he squeezed rich, warm milk into a large metal pail.  He sang tunes to the little black and white barnyard cats who sat on their haunches waiting for streams of fresh milk to come their way.  Despite the predawn hours and the frosty walks to the barn on winter mornings, he valued the solitude.  It was also a convenient way to avoid his grandfather.   

Walt, as he came to be called by his extended family, matured into a lean and powerful young man.  At 6 foot 4 inches tall, he had no trouble pitching hay into the high rafters of the barn.  His physical strength made him valuable as a farm hand, and he enjoyed tinkering with the tractor when he wasn’t busy with his other chores.  His imposing stature made him intimidating, which he recognized as not only an advantage around other men, but also a benefit when it came to young women.  

His confidence, easy-going temperament, and practical ways made him popular with his peers.  Female acquaintances at school were drawn to his rugged good looks and his sense of humor.  His woodworking and construction skills improved, and by the time he quit high school, he had developed a solid reputation throughout the county as a reliable craftsman.  

His attitude toward women was shaped by his grandfather.  As far as the old man was concerned, it was his responsibility as the patriarch of the family to educate and prepare the children to become husbands and wives.  Walt’s mother was always the first to minimize her father’s conduct.  As the only girl in the family, she had been her father’s favorite, up until her fifteenth birthday when she met the preacher from Iowa and married him six weeks later.  

When she moved back to the farm, Ester warned her boys to stay away from their grandfather and to avoid spending time with him alone.   Their older cousins tried to protect them when they first arrived.  George, Harry, and Wesley showed them all of the safe places around the farm where they could hide.  But, like all pedophiles, their grandfather was crafty and managed to find opportunities to trap them, sometimes right under the noses of their parents.  His wandering hands were always chalked up to the loving embraces of an affectionate grandfather.   

During his teen years, Walt began to seek out jobs that kept him away from the farm.  After the stock market crash in ’29 followed by two more years of crippling drought, he hitched a ride into Oklahoma and found work as a machinist and wildcatter in the booming oil fields around Tulsa.  Two years later, he married a naive sixteen-year old named Agnes Goodnight, and within a year, the first of their three daughters was born.  

Twenty-five years later, no one was surprised when their eldest daughter, Ethel Mae, swallowed a handful of sleeping pills two weeks before Christmas.  She had been depressed for most of her life.  Six months later, their youngest daughter, Syble, a raven-haired beauty like her mother and a well known party girl, was killed instantly when she lost control of the pickup she was driving and rolled it on the newly paved highway leading out of town. 

A month after Syble’s accident, Agnes Goodnight Walters finally took a stand.  Her older brother, Jim, was a rodeo man, but not just any rodeo man.  He was a champion bronc buster, and his two strapping sons, Raymond and Cliff, were champion bull riders.  After Agnes appeared on his doorstep one Thanksgiving with a loose tooth, a black eye, and bruises around her neck, Jim’s wife, Jennie, had to physically restrain him from rounding up the boys and beating the living daylights out of his brother-in-law.  They tried to convince Agnes many times to leave Walt, but the prospect of being on her own with three young daughters was more terrifying to her than dealing with a drunk and abusive husband.  Now, with two of her three daughters gone, Agnes wanted to end the nightmare.   She called her brother and asked for his help.

As he drove down the dark, empty highway toward the farmhouse, Walt wondered how Agnes’s brother would choose to handle the situation.  Agnes and their 23-year old daughter, Dorthie Sue, had been gone for two days, and Walt was well aware of her family’s reputation for protecting their own.  

Jim and the boys were waiting on the dimly lit porch when he drove up the dirt path and parked his light blue Ford under the big bur oak in the front yard.  He turned off the headlights, opened the door of the truck, and stepped out into the yard.  Cliff and Raymond were seated on the low bench next to the screen door holding their Winchester rifles.  Jim was leaning against the post next to the steps with his arms crossed.  Walt could see that Jim was wearing his vintage Colt with the carved ivory handle.  Walt slammed the door of the truck and strolled confidently across the moonlit grassy lawn.  When he got to the edge of the porch, he put his right boot on the first step.  He tightened his jaw and glanced at Jim’s hulking sons who were now standing up with their rifles pointing toward the ceiling of the porch.  Jim moved his right hand onto his holster and slid his left thumb over the top of the gun belt on his hip.

He looked down at the white wooden planks on the porch and said calmly, “Walt, I think you know why we’re here.”

Walt glared at him defiantly, his gray eyes flashing angrily in the moonlight.

“This is none of your goddamn business, Jim.  It’s between me and my wife.  Now, git on home and take care of your own problems.”

Jim ran his fingers through his wavy black hair with his left hand.  He adjusted the toothpick he’d been gnawing on since dinner, looked up at Walt, and casually wrapped the fingers of his right hand around the ivory grip.  Raymond and Cliff were as attentive and focused as pack wolves.  

Then, in a firm and steady voice, he said,  “We can settle this now, Walt, and you can leave peacefully.  Or, me and the boys...Well, we’re gonna take you out one way or the other.  I’m givin’ you an hour to pack your things and go.  It’s your choice.”

An hour later, the three Goodnight men were escorting Walt back to his truck and away from the house for the last time.  Walt pushed an open case of Jack Daniels into the bed of his pickup and slammed the tailgate closed.  Jim and the boys watched as Walt slid in behind the steering wheel, turned the ignition, and gunned the engine.  With his foot on the clutch, he yanked the gear shift into reverse, turned toward them, and spat out of the open driver’s side window.  

“This isn’t over.  I’m coming back to get what’s mine.” he growled.  

Jim lunged toward the cab of the truck and thrust his hand into the open window.  He pressed the steel barrel of his gun against Walt’s graying temple and said in a menacingly cold tone,

“If you ever, and I mean as long as you’re alive, come back here to bother my family again, we will hunt you down, chop off your nuts, and leave your worthless carcass so far up in the canyon that only the buzzards and coyotes will find you.  Is that clear?”  

Walt listened and clenched his jaw.  He stared ahead, nodded once, and waited for Jim to lower his revolver.  He had hidden his Smith & Wesson underneath his seat, but he knew that he was no match for all three of them. 

Jim released his grip on the door, slipped his Colt back into its holster, and stepped back into the sparse grass.  Walt slowly pressed his foot on the accelerator and turned the steering wheel to the right.  As the truck began to angle backwards, Walt could see the raised barrels of two Winchesters aimed directly at him.  Jim, flanked by his two sons, watched the red tail lights of Walt’s pickup disappear into the darkness.  Agnes’s 25-year marriage was finally over, and Betty’s ordeal was about to begin.  


Chapter 3 — Hacienda

Walt had always dreamed of moving out West.  He was tired of drilling for oil, and he had heard about the construction boom in Las Vegas.   He would be turning fifty soon, and he was confident that he could find a new wife within the year, preferably one with daughters.  So, he followed Route 66 out of Oklahoma, across theTexas panhandle and into the beautiful high desert of northern New Mexico.  He drove on through the majestic Painted Desert in Arizona and past the Grand Canyon.  

Walt loved the vastness of the open playas, the spruce-topped red bluffs, and the layers of purple mountain ranges stacked up against the horizons.  He turned north at Kingman and drove across the Hoover Dam into Boulder City.  On July 2, 1959, a newly erected neon sign flashed, Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, as Walt’s light blue Ford pickup cruised down The Strip for the first time.


The next morning, he was sitting in a booth at the Hacienda Hotel waiting to order a $2 steak and eggs breakfast plate from the buffet.  An attractive dark-haired waitress approached his table.

“What can I get for you today, cowboy?”  the waitress asked cheerfully as she pulled an order pad and a hotel pen from the skirt pocket of her gold uniform.  She cracked her gum, clicked the end of the ballpoint, and waited for him to begin.    

Walt smiled and looked at her over the top of his menu.  She looked younger than Agnes, and she probably had kids.  He checked her left hand for a ring and was happy to see that she was not wearing one.  Her white employee badge read, “Betty.”

“Well, beautiful,” he crooned in his most seductive Southern drawl, “I’ll have the steak and eggs and a side of hash browns.  A cup of black coffee to start with and a glass of tomato juice later on.”

Without looking up, Betty chirped, “Would you like a short stack of pancakes with that?”

She waited while he closed his menu.

“Sure, doll...whatever you say.”
  
Betty stuffed the pad and pen back into her pocket and hastily reached for the menu.  Walt tightened his grip when she tried to retrieve it.  He looked up at her, cracked a sly half-smile, and winked.

“Well, aren’t you an old fart!” she laughed as she yanked the menu away.

He admired her small waist and shapely behind as she turned and hurried away from his booth.  He reached into his white shirt pocket and pulled out a half-empty pack of Camels.  He extracted a cigarette with his teeth and reached for the book of matches sitting in the hotel ashtray next to the salt and pepper shakers.  As he blew his first lung full of smoke into the air, he smiled at his luck, and waited for Betty to return.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday—A New Week of Luck

Snowie, our good luck charm

Luck has been described as a set of events or circumstances (good or bad) that happen beyond one's control.  

Like the 57-year old guy in Missouri who (in 2010) hit the lottery twice in three months.  He won a million dollars in June, then another cool $2 million in September.  I'd say that was pretty lucky, even if it were a matter of probabilities—the number of lottery tickets, the number of tickets purchased, and the number of draws.  Still, I'd call winning $3M in 3 months lucky.   

The appearance of white animals seems to be a sign of good luck in a number of different cultures.  But, it's not a matter of luck as much as it is simple genetics.  White elephants, white buffalo, doves, white kitty cats who raise one paw up in the air...all signs of good luck.

As it turns out, some people really are luckier than others because of a very specific set of personality traits.  Last week, I put together a happiness list for real people with real imperfect lives, and because today is St. Patrick's Day, I'm putting together a How To Be Lucky list.

How To Be Lucky

1.  Cognitive & behavioral flexibility
Serendipity tends to happen to people who have a more relaxed and flexible approach to life.  The more relaxed you are, the more open you are to possibilities.  People who are open to lots of possibilities tend to also be risk takers, and risk takers are more inclined to explore new opportunities.  A willingness to experience new situations increases the chances that something good may come of it. 

2.  Friends
Lucky people tend to have more friends and acquaintences.  The more social connections a person has, the more opportunities there are to be in the right place at the right time.

3.  Confidence
Confidence and a sense of competence makes a person more likely to take advantage of happenstance.  A confident person is more likely to frame situations as successful experiences.  They are more likely to engage in new activities, meet new people, and take on new challenges.

4.  Low on Neuroticism
Lucky people spend less time on negative emotions like anxiety, anger, guilt, and depression.  People who perceive themselves as lucky generally have a happier outlook on life.  They don't spend a lot of time worrying about all of the ways that something can't work.  And, they brush off disappointment and move on to the next opportunity pretty quickly.  

5.  Take it Easy
There is such a thing as trying too hard.  Lucky people know when to ease up and take a break.  Good luck often happens when people change their normal routines and notice things that they would have missed if they hadn't changed their plans.  A chance encounter often leads to a fortuitous outcome.

6.  Be resilient!
Lucky people tend to bounce back from failure.  They pick themselves up and move onto the next adventure.  I know that this one sounds easier said than done, but resiliency is a key factor in setting and pursuing goals.  Lucky people take defeat with grace and a sense of optimism toward the future.

Have a lucky week, my friends!