Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#19 Kisses and Hugs

Kisses come in many different forms. There are first kisses, coming home kisses, greeting kisses, good-bye kisses, kisses on the cheek, on the lips, in an elevator, blowing get the picture. Hugs are equally versatile. There are bear hugs, air hugs, can't let you go hugs, hugs for every occasion. They are part of my wardrobe.  Hugs and kisses are among my favorite things, and if we're going to discuss things that make me smile...well, I can't leave these out.  Technically, they should be two separate items but they do tend to go together, at least in my life. I mean, think about it, what's the first thing you do when your child or spouse or friend is not feeling well? You probably put your arms around them, give them a squeeze and a little kiss on the forehead. We all need a smooch now and then. Whether it's a physical boo boo or emotional pain, hugs and kisses sometimes heal better than Band-Aids or expensive therapists.
This season, there are so many people out there going a little bit crazy (or even a lot crazy). Everything seems to be extreme: too much to do; too many places to go; too many things to buy; too much money spent...and way too much stress for what is supposed to be a "joyful season".
Take a moment and hug someone you love. It will rejuvenate you. Plant a kiss on someone when they least expect it. And hey, if you are a bit shy, give someone a chocolate kiss. That will put a smile on just about any one's face.  (Feel free to send some my way, haha)

Merry Christmas!

Caren E. Salas


Friday, November 11, 2011

#18 Glow Sticks

Now admit it, everyone love stuff that glows in the dark! These days you can get pretty much anything you want in glow-in-the-dark form. Jewelry, props, stickers, t-shirts, even stars to make your bedroom look like the night sky. When my kids were small we actually got a star chart so that the stars we stuck to the ceiling would be accurate (at least somewhat). I think I enjoyed the view even more than they did.
I like to buy those little tubes full of glow bracelets from the dollar section in Target. Then, when we have a BBQ in the evening or just want to goof off with the kids we pull them out and, hey! Instant party! I'm sure some of you are probably thinking "wow, you people are easily amused," and the truth is...yes. Yes we are, but that's okay. If I can encourage my kids to hang out with the ol' man and me, using low tech, low cost toys...can you really fault me? Really. Everyone should just goof off once in a while. Get some silly string, or water balloons, or glow sticks, and just have fun!!

Caren E. Salas

Photo by William Salas (apparently proof that mom really is an alien.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

#17 Candles

I love lighting candles, and as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, I find myself lighting them more and more. There's something relaxing about the soft glow of candles, especially at the end of a day. It's nice to get away from the harsh light of day and all its worries, and escape to a world of calm.  .
I recently bought a cinnamon scented candle and lit it last night.   To me, it's that warm, inviting scent that says, "Come on in, make yourself at home!" It puts me in a holiday mood; in the mood to wrap gifts and invite friends over for coffee.
So light a few candles, if you are like me, they just might raise your spirits. Relax, smile and enjoy the ambiance!   :)

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#16 Baking Cookies

Now, I'm sure at some point I said I liked taking one holiday at a time, and while that's still true, there are a few things that for me, blend from one to the next. Food crosses all lines. As much as I like eating certain foods during certain seasons, there are no set rules. I mean, really, people eat turkey all year round right? Well, some people do.
So, the other day I decided to make cookies. Rolled sugar cookies cut with cookie cutters and sprinkled with pretty colors of sugar.  Nothing beats the way it makes my whole house smell. It doesn't really matter if you use the slice and bake kind, the tubs of pre-made cookie dough, or make them from scratch. Home baked cookies are the best, and making them, for me, takes me away for awhile. I'm focused on the cutting, sugaring and timing, with no room to think about the worries of the world for a little while. This makes me smile, and the finished product seems to make everyone else smile. It's a win/win, wouldn't you say? Whether they are for the holidays or any day, cookies are a definite on my "like" list.

Caren E. Salas

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#15 Books

Okay, I know everyone has to have a Kindle or a Nook or whatever. Information comes more from the Internet than anywhere else it seems and besides, books are heavy and awkward to carry. Still, I love books. I am in danger in the $1.00 book store. It's an addiction. I have more books than I will probably ever read, but I continue to want more. Maybe someday, I tell myself, I'll have the time.  One of the best things about a book, is that you can (if you're lucky) have the author sign it. Being a writer myself, I've often dreamt of signing books at schools, fairs and signing parties. It's kind of hard to sign some one's Kindle, I'm thinking. This thought pushes me to get out there and get my novel published before I miss out on the whole "autograph" experience. I mourn the day when books are obsolete, and the creators of fantasy are just a name in the credits. Meanwhile, I hang on to my library, in hopes that someday I will have the time. Hug a book, will you? And think of me, your favorite off-kilter author.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#14 Candy Corn

My weakness: holiday candy. Well, to be honest, I love sweet things in general, but I especially love holiday candies. I eat candy corn at Halloween, candy canes at Christmas, Peeps and jelly beans at Easter... you know what I mean, right?  There are just certain candies that go with each holiday.  Right now, my sweet addiction is candy corn. I LOVE it. I'm actually glad when Halloween is over and I have to stop. (Oh, and all that candy on sale the day after, at half price?? I must step away...) Well, I can still enjoy it for a little while, and thankfully, I don't think there is a candy for Thanksgiving that I know of, and I refuse to get ready for Christmas until after Turkey Day. I mean really. The stores are already packed with toys and decor, now! One holiday at a time, I always say, and that goes for candies too, haha. So, have a candy corn or two, and smile. It's only for a few more days.

Caren E. Salas


Monday, October 24, 2011

#13 Halloween...

When I was growing up, my mom always believed in making holidays fun. She had decorations for everything from Christmas to Ground Hog Day. She'd even gave us little gifts if she could. I've always tried to follow in her cheery footsteps and although I'm not sure I'm quite up to par, I'm proud to say I have an extensive collection of holiday decor. 

Case in point: Halloween. I have an embarrassing amount of costumes. Having had a background in theater, I learned never to throw away an interesting item of clothing, because it could be used later as a costume piece.  My husband jumped right on the band wagon and has perfected outdoor lighting for any occasion.  We have spiders, and skulls and gravestones...which will be, of course, packed away the day after Halloween to make room for the Thanksgiving stuff, and then Christmas. We want to make each holiday last more than a day.  We want to be like kids and look forward to each one. The funny thing is, the older I get, the more I enjoy the time getting ready for each holiday, because it's not the day I love, it's the season.

So...Halloween is right around the corner. My house is decorated, I'm getting my costume together, planning our party, and looking forward to seeing countless children knocking on my door for candy, dressed up like monsters and princesses. And that...brings a smile to my face.

Caren E. Salas

Picture taken at the "Old Town Music Hall" in El Segundo, CA. If you are in the area, check it out. They play old (like black and white old) and have a real Wurlitzer organ! It's a great experience!

Friday, October 21, 2011

#12 Phone Calls

Don't you love when someone calls you out of the blue? I do. We all get busy, and even if we think about it, the time slips away and we've missed the opportunity to call a friend.  I usually think about it while I'm out in my car, and by the time I get home, I have other concerns and then remember again when it's too late.  Yet when someone calls me it's amazing how special I feel. I know that someone has been thinking about me. Someone cares enough to make the time, and call me. In some cases, it's someone who loves me. How great is that? Just hearing a friends voice saying "Hello! How are you?" makes my day. It definitely brings a smile to my face. It makes me try a little harder, to make the effort and call others. In a world where e-mail and texting seem to have taken over verbal communication, I still believe we need to feel the warmth of a human voice. So call someone, maybe it'll make their day. I'm making a list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#11 Disneyland

I know there are people that don't agree that Disneyland is the "Happiest Place on Earth", but none of them are in my family. Most people have some place that they enjoy going, what I like to call a "happy place", but not the mental kind. There needs to be somewhere (for me at least) where I can forget about everything else; where I can smile at little girls dressed up as princesses, and laugh at grown men wearing goofy hats (or Goofy hats, literally).  Disneyland is filled with make-believe (like when I make believe I can afford anything in the stores, lol) It allows me to feel like a kid again, with no worries about bills to pay or laundry to get done.  Where is your happy place?

By the way, the cute little girl on the right is me, along with a few of my brothers (there's two more!) No jokes about how old this picture is!!

Caren E. Salas

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#10 Music

I know this is kind of a no-brainer for most of us. For me, music has always been a part of my life on one level or another. But how often do we stop and think about what life would be like without it?  I can't imagine. When we went to Yosemite National Park recently, my son brought along his ukulele, and we would all stroll down the paths accompanied by soft, stringed, instrumentation. His playing didn't detract from the overwhelming beauty, it was the soundtrack, and it was amazing.

So I guess I'm not talking about all music today, just music that happens, in the right place, at the right time; like when you hear a small child singing to themselves as they play with their toys, or some aspiring musician playing guitar on the corner with his case left open for "donations". I love those little snippets of unplanned, unrehearsed melody. It always brings a smile. So keep your ears open and listen....

Caren E. Salas

Photo by William Salas

Monday, October 17, 2011

#9 Clean Sheets

Mondays are the day I always try and wash my sheets. The bed gets pulled apart, and the sheets, pillowcases, mattress cover and sometimes the blankets go into the washing machine.  Now maybe it's just me, but even on a warm day, the feeling of nice warm bedding right out of the dryer is amazing!  It makes me just want to dive in, bury myself under the pile, and soak up the bliss.  As I make the bed, trying to make sure everything is even and smooth, there's just something about the way it looks. Even though I make the bed every other day, when there are clean sheets the bed is just more...inviting. Later, getting into it...ahh, it's like heaven.  There is that split second of "wow, I'm on vacation in a nice hotel" feel. I know you must be thinking that apparently I've fallen OFF the bed one too many times (and perhaps landed on my head) but think about it. You know you feel the same way sometimes. Doesn't it make you smile,slipping between clean sheets at night?  It just feels good. Sometimes you just gotta' stop and smell the Downey. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

#8 Ice

Ice: crushed, cubed, chunks, any size or shape.  For the longest time the water and ice dispenser in our fridge went without actually being hooked up. We had to use trays to make ice, which of course the kids never refilled leaving me (usually) without ice for my drinks or what have you. When we remodeled our kitchen, everything got properly installed and, wow! Filtered water and ice on hand ALL THE TIME! Amazing how fast we become spoiled. We recently had a problem with our refrigerator. One of the hoses cracked and was leaking, so we temporarily shut off the water. Nooooo! Water, well, I can deal with tap water if I must, or grab a bottle of water. But ice? No ice?? I kept running to the store for bags of it. What did people do before ice could be kept and stored? The funny thing is, the guy who started it all had to convince people that they would enjoy their drinks cold. Go figure.
Needless to say, I wanted to hug the Sears repair man when he fixed it up for us. Yay! Ice, ice, baby!!

Ever wonder about the beginnings of the ice business?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

#7 That Morning Cup of Coffee

It doesn't matter if it's espresso, or a fancy latte or just a cup o' joe. That first cup of coffee in the morning is like a taste of pure comfort.  For me, I like it warm with cream, no sugar, small cup. Why small? Because I tend to drink a little with my breakfast, set it down while I clean up the kitchen, have a little more, throw in a load of laundry, take a few more get the picture. Big cups get cold too quickly. I'd rather have 2 or 3 small cups and refill with more hot coffee, than 1 big cup that I have to reheat. Just my preference. So how do you like your coffee? Do you enjoy it, or gulp it down just to get that jolt of needed caffeine? Does anyone remember those "Coffee Achiever" commercials? Loved those. Amazing what you can achieve while amped on caffeine, lol. So that's one more thing that makes me happy, and thankfully, it happens in the beginning of almost every day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#6 Warm Showers

Most of the time we all take showers for practical, hygienic reasons. I'm not talking about those kind of showers. I'm talking about the ones when you've just come in from the pouring rain, you're clothes are soaked, and you're cold and tired. I'm talking about when you come home from camping, or the beach and you just want to feel clean and fresh. I'm talking about when you've been forced to have awkward, uncomfortable bathing experiences due to illness or injury, and at can just get in and enjoy the warm water free of restraint. It's like having clean sheets on your bed. There's just something calming about it; something that makes you feel like you can breathe a little easier.  I know there are many places that don't have the luxury of a warm shower, so I do appreciate the wonderfulness of it. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

#5 Smiles

Today is World Smile Day. The theme being, to do something to make someone smile. The funny thing about smiles is that for the most part, they are contagious, unless of course it's one of those demonic-"Poltergeist"-clown-under-the-bed smiles. Then it's just creepy and nightmarish. But I digress.  When someone smiles at me, and I mean genuinely smiles at me, it really can make my day. A kind word, a little nod, a smile: these things can change the whole mood of a day. It doesn't even take much effort.  I love when I'm in a store and I smile at a small child and they smile back, and it becomes a game almost. It lifts my spirits, even if just for a little while.
I've been trying to keep up with this blog (even though VERY few people actually read it) because I want my focus each day to be about at least one thing I'm thankful for or happy about. So, now I have another goal: to try and make some random person smile every day. Maybe it'll lift their spirits, even if just for a little while.  Hey, how hard can it be?  Even a child can do it  :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

#4 Hats

Today is Mad Hatter Day! So here's to hats of all different shapes and sizes.  I've never honestly been much of a hat wearing person, but I love to try them on, not functional ones, mind you, but big goofy hats that look like hamburgers or chickens or something Dr. Suess would have on one of his characters.  Halloween is coming up and what better excuse to wear a silly hat?  So hats ON for Lewis Carroll!
Have a great Mad Hatter Day!

If you want more info (just for fun):

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#3 Coupons

Using coupons can be a real pain, cutting them all out, sorting them, figuring out which ones to use...blah blah blah. If you are willing to take the time however, they can save you lots of money. The other day I watched a show about these people who do uber coupon clipping. It's insane. Somehow they manage to get hundreds of dollars in groceries for close to free or even free. One lady got money back. So, I decided to give it a try. I don't think I'll ever get as far as those people, but hey, I saved 44% on my last trip. Pretty darn good for a beginner, I'd say. So today's reason for being thankful, sales and specials - preferably all at the same time.  :)  Well gotta' go check out today's ads.

Caren E. Salas

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#2 Rainy Days

I love rainy days. They're even better if I don't have to go anywhere and I can just cuddle up and watch movies (like that ever happens) but still, I love the sound of the rain, the smell of the air, and searching for rainbows when the sun comes out.

Caren E. Salas

Monday, October 3, 2011

Things to be Thankful for: #1 Family

I recently watched a video about a man who had no arms and no legs (Nick Vujicic). He was so inspiring. It was like there was nothing that he couldn't find a way to do. He was talking to some grade school kids and saying that the secret was to stop looking at what you can't do and who you can't be, and be thankful for what you have. So that's why I'm starting this blog. Hopefully I'm going to write here everyday and just pick one thing that I'm thankful for and write about it. Sometimes they'll be big things, sometimes not. They won't be in any particular order, just however I randomly think of them. So here goes.

I'll start with the big things, like my family. The whole crazy lot of them. And when I say a LOT I mean a LOT. My husband Bill and my 4 beautiful children to start with. Then there is the extended family. I'm from a family of 8, Bill is from a family of 9. Once you count all the brothers and sisters and their wives, husbands and children, aunts, uncles cousins...If we got them all together we'd have to rent the Staples Center. So there it is:

Things I'm thankful for...

Item #1 : family

Caren E. Salas