Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Out of step by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink

I'm a pleaser. I never, ever want to be the catalyst for anyone being unhappy or uncomfortable or sad. I never want to be rude (although I accomplish it fairly often--sorry!) If there is an odd number and you need an even one, I'll always be the one to opt out and go watch TV even though I hate TV. I suffer tremendous guilt over hurting someone's feelings even if--wait for it--I didn't do anything. And, no, it's not always a good thing to be.

Because pleasers get hurt way too easily. They take everything personally. They dwell on things until they drive not only themselves crazy but everyone around them, too. They can be decisive but usually aren't because, after all, what if their decision affects someone else in a negative way? They are forgiving, sometimes to the point of thinking they're probably imagining the insult they're forgiving. They can literally believe they need to be forgiven for taking something wrong.

They always say, "I don't care. Where would you like to go?" or "Where would you like to eat?" or "Whatever you want to watch." When they do make a choice, they worry incessantly that it is the wrong one. Not for themselves--they truly don't care--but for everyone else.

A pleaser will remember that in the third grade, she hurt someone's feelings for no good reason other than that she was eight years old. She will regret it for the rest of her life, even after she's apologized to the person who doesn't even remember the incident.

Pleasers can't say No. Even when they should. Even when they intend to. Even when the approval they want--and yes, we do want it, much as I hate to admit it--isn't forthcoming, they say Yes all the time because the truth of that particular matter is, they want to. They want to help, to experience, to always, always be one of the Good Guys. They want to be liked, even by people they aren't that fond of. (This whole paragraph makes me wish I knew more about psychology than I do.)

They are confused by rancor, by lies that are hurtful to people, that empathy and niceness and tolerance are seen as bad things. They don't understand bullying but don't always recognize it, either--what if someone just took it wrong? They never see situations in black-and-white--there are always shades of gray in there.

Chances are good that if you're a pleaser, you're not much of a leader. You're probably more of a follower, somewhere near the back, not quite keeping up. That's part of the problem, too, when there is a problem. Pleasers hate conflict, yet they never really fit into either side of an altercation, either, so they're constantly out of step.

I think a lot about changing myself. Everyone does, don't they? The political climate has made being a pleaser even more painful than it might be otherwise. But it's also made me realize a few things. 

There's nothing wrong with being a pleaser. It doesn't mean you're weak, or not intelligent, or in any way pathetic. It doesn't mean you can't stand your ground if you need to or that your opinion is less important than anyone else's. A pleaser isn't necessarily a doormat. As far as not being a leader--I'm pretty sure I'll get some disagreement on this one--a good follower is just as important as a good leader. 

So maybe I won't change that about myself. Even if I could, I'm not so sure I'd want to. I'm glad and grateful for those who aren't pleasers--they accomplish things that people like me never will. But I think I'm happy to be in the back and out of step. All that really means is that you're dancing to your own tune--played quietly so that it doesn't bother anybody. 




Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Wishing you the merriest... by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink


If I were musical, I'd be singing, "...wish you the merriest, the merriest..." As it is, I'm wishing it for you anyway. Also the happiest of Hanukkahs, Kwanzaas, and other celebratory days. I wish you health and joy and compassion in the coming year.

Thank you--again--for visiting the Window. Thanks to Debby and Joe and Brad and everyone else who's blogged for being guest writers. 

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Both sides of the counter by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink

I wrote this a long time ago, while I was still working at the post office. While this was my favorite time of year to be a window clerk, it was also the hardest. I doubt that's changed since I retired. Merry Christmas!

It is December, the time of retail dreams. Or nightmares. It can go either way. Although my job is not precisely retail, I do spend many hours each day working with the public. December’s our busiest time, and I come home at night with both my feet and my smiler worn out. On the way home today, when I was congratulating myself for not screaming, “HURRY UP!” to a customer who wouldn’t move, I thought a behavior list would be a good idea. You know, from the point of view of the person behind the counter who has sore feet and a smile that’s fraying around the edges.

Then I thought—it’s a long drive home; lots of time for thinking—I should also make a list for folks on the other side of the counter. I was a consumer before I was a public servant. Sitting here hungry and half asleep, I’ve tried to decide which list to start with. In the interest of being fair, I flipped a coin.

The person behind the counter won the toss—winning depending on how you look at it. Therefore, if you are the clerk/cashier/whoever-else-is-serving the public, here are a few basic rules.

• Say please and thank you and smile. While you’re meeting the customer’s eyes. If you look over his right shoulder, all bets are off.
• Stay off the phone unless being on it is your job.
• If the bill ends is $5.23 and the customer gives you $20.25, know how to count the change back. Don’t wad it up and put it in her hand.
• If someone jumps the line and you catch him, tell him kindly he’ll have to take his turn. You can grind your teeth, but smile while you’re doing it.
• If your friends stop by to visit, tell them to go home.
• If you’re bored, don’t look it. Stay busy.
• If you don’t know the answer to a question, find someone who does.
• Use lots of hand sanitizer.
• If you haven’t had a complete 10-minute break since the second week of August, well, sorry. That’s just the way it goes. It’s not the fault of the customer in front of you.
• If a customer gives you a hard time, call him names in your head and hope he walks out in the rain to a flat tire, but don’t take it out on the next customer. He’s innocent.
• If you’re required by management so far up the corporate ladder they have nosebleed to ask stupid questions of the clientele, just ask them. You can’t get out of it and everybody knows you didn’t make them up.
• Don’t make fun of anybody in front of a customer. Even if you’re funny, chances are good someone will hear you who’s either hurt or offended by your attempt at humor.

And now, if you are a customer, here’s a list for you.

• Leave your cell phone in the car.
• If you’re writing a check, have it made out as far as the amount. Don’t fill out your check register while people behind you are waiting.
• Leave your cell phone in the car.
• If you have a complaint, be civil about it. Ask to speak to a manager. Chances are good the person waiting on you can’t help you, but they can help the people behind you.
• If you think you know their job, forget it. Unless you’re doing it on that particular day in that particular place, you don’t.
• Leave your cell phone in the car.
• Don’t hand over a fifty to pay for a candy bar. The cashier’s change is limited.
• If you can’t speak English, bring along someone who can. The person behind the counter can’t help you if she can’t understand you, and being multilingual isn’t on most people’s job descriptions.
• Don’t complain about the prices. The person taking your money doesn’t set them.
• The service person is not your babysitter. Don’t expect them to do everything for you.
• If you need to blow your nose, do so. Bum a tissue if you need to.
• Leave your cell phone in the car.

I’m sure I’ve left things off these lists, but they’re a good place for all of us to start. I hope you have a good week, whether you’re shopping or selling or both. Till next time.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Introducing Christmas With You by Nan Reinhardt


I'm so happy to welcome my friend Nan Reinhardt here today. Don't forget to enter to win a fun prize!


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nan Reinhardt will be awarding a set of six handmade wine charms and a $10 Starbucks gift card (US ONLY) to 5 randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

***

She’s loved him all her life… but will he be there when she needs him the most?

Disheartened and adrift after being written out of a hit TV show, actor Aidan Flaherty returns to his family’s historic winery, where he’s invested some of the fortune he’s made. As the holidays approach, Aidan becomes intrigued with the old showboat that’s dry-docked just east of town… and even more intrigued with the daughter of his former mentor, who now owns it. He decides to buy the boat and restore it to its former glory.

Single mom Holly Santos is back in River’s Edge after her divorce and she is over men in general and actors in particular. If she could only get rid of her father’s old showboat, a source of fascination for her son, Mateo. She never expects her old crush to walk into her tea shop or the fireworks that happen every time they’re in the same room. Can Aidan convince her that he is determined to restore their shared heritage on the showboat and that he’s home to stay?

Read an Excerpt

“Are you done?” He choked out, also not moving back.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, decide, because I’m going to kiss you.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I’m pretty sure I am.” Aidan took a step closer, pressing her against the railing with his body and set his hands on the rail on either side of her.

Her eyes closed and he felt her trembling. Or he was. He couldn’t tell anymore. He was confused and aching. He lifted his hands and took one step back. “Leave, Holly, because I really, really want to kiss you, but I can’t if you’re not all in.”

Holly eyed him with suspicion. “I’m not sure I’ll ever be all in with you, Aidan Flaherty.” With that she reached up and put one small hand behind his head, tugging his face down to hers. Her lips touched his, gently at first, just a whisper of a kiss. When she increased the pressure, the kiss building in urgency, Aidan wasn’t confused anymore. He knew exactly what he wanted.

He pulled her into his arms, thrusting his fingers into the soft hair on the back of her head, holding her still for his mouth while she wrapped her arms around his neck. The flicker of desire that had started when she’d walked onto the deck began to burn inside him, and he slid one hand down her spine to her hip. She was so incredibly tiny, he was almost afraid to hold her.

Almost. But when she touched her seeking tongue to the seam of his lips, he opened for her, tasting coffee and butterscotch and some unique flavor that was intoxicatingly Holly.

My review: I can't say enough about this book! I love all of Ms. Reinhardt's books, especially the Flaherty Brothers series, and I'm not about to pick a favorite, but the setting of this one--a riverboat in a small Southern Indiana river town--captured both my heart and my imagination. The cast of characters is wonderful, especially the hero with the fedora and the heroine's delightful son Mateo. Seeing Holly, the heroine, grow as a human being, a mother, a daughter, and a woman in love is pure delight. I was lucky enough to get an early read of this book, and have been thinking about it ever since.

About the Author:
Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today-bestselling author of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! Imagine! She is a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. Nan has been a copyeditor and proofreader for over 25 years, and currently works on romantic fiction titles for a variety of clients, including Avon Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, and Entangled Publishing, as well as for many indie authors.

Although she loves her life as an editor, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. Her latest series, Four Irish Brothers Winery, includes A Small Town Christmas, Meant to Be, and the newly released, Christmas with You, all from Tule Publishing. Nan is busy at work on Book 4 of the series, as well as brewing a cozy mystery idea.

Visit Nan’s website at www.nanreinhardt.com, where you’ll find links to all her books as well as blogs about writing, being a Baby Boomer, and aging gracefully…mostly. Nan also blogs every sixth Wednesday at Word Wranglers, sharing the spotlight with five other romance authors and is a frequent contributor the RWA Contemporary Romance blog, and she contributes to the Romance University blog where she writes as Editor Nan.

Word Wranglers: http://www.wordwranglers.blogspot.com/
RWA Contemporary Romance blog: http://contemporaryromance.org/2018/03/awesome/
Romance University blog: http://romanceuniversity.org/ru-contributors/
Website: http://www.nanreinhardt.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5758438.Nan_Reinhardt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornanreinhardt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NanReinhardt
Instagam: https://www.instagram.com/nanreinhardt/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nan-Reinhardt/e/B007OYDC6O?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5&qid=1570744315&sr=8-5

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YNZQCWX/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
A Small Town Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Christmas-Irish-Brothers-Winery-ebook/dp/B07HBZPKDH/
Meant to Be: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S7FW8BR/
Christmas With You: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YNZQCWX/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i7

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Kickin' the Habit by Debby Myers #WindowOvertheSink


They call it “Kickin’ the Habit.” It’s something I really haven’t tried too hard to do. My habit began the night my new boyfriend picked me up in his 1978 Mustang Cobra. Remember those? His had bright blue lettering. When I got in that car, I had that feeling. You know the one…damn, I feel cool! As we drove toward his house, he lit up a cigarette. My habit began.

In a few weeks it will be 40 years since my habit started. Forty years. It started with just a few cigarettes a few times a week. By the time I graduated, it was a few a day.

We had a big party the first weekend we moved into our place at college. Two roommates were sharing this great three- bedroom, two-bath, second floor apartment with me, complete with a balcony. It was at that party that I discovered they both had the habit, too. Great news! After all, living with a non-smoker would have made it more uncomfortable. They’d probably have made me go out to the balcony, even in the winter. People do that to you when you have the habit.

It was during that year that my habit grew into several smokes a day. I had been dating my boyfriend during that time. He had the habit, but only when he drank, which was often. We moved in together, soon learning we were expecting. We got married. I went to the doctor. She asked if I had the habit, but I lied so I wouldn’t get a lecture. I considered giving up the habit. I even slowed down. Yet I remembered the story about my grandma. She smoked non-filter cigarettes all the time. She had several children who all turned out fine. An excuse.

Soon after my daughter was born, my whole family was telling me it would be bad for her if I didn’t kick the habit. I used my grandma’s excuse. Plus, my own dad smoked, then my stepdad. They were all hypocrites. As my choices were really my own now for the first time, I made the first of many bad ones when I decided to continue to smoke. The habit had grown to a pack of cigarettes a day. I was 20, and it  has remained there since.

 I’ve had many friends with the habit over the years. I’ve also had many without it who have tried to talk me into quitting, telling me all the different types of cancer it causes, diseases, deaths. They must know I know all of that. I’d say, “The habit is very hard to break. Any habit, really. I have others. I bite my fingernails making, them look hideous, yet I love my toenails painted. For many years I’ve been addicted to sweet tea and Altoids.” They couldn’t argue with that.

Any habit is hard to leave behind because it’s the biggest form of change there is. I still don’t like change to this day. What would be the point of quitting now anyway? Isn’t the damage already done? So many excuses, 40 years’ worth.

One of the toughest challenges in defending my habit used to be defending it to my children. When my oldest daughter started to smoke, I didn’t know how to handle it. I, who handle all kinds of things with them, couldn’t handle this. They had all three seen me smoke since they were born. It was something else I’d been warned about. My grandma Betty would say, “Do you want them to have the habit because of you?” Ah, I could handle that when the time came. Not so much. Although I think the other two tried it, she is still the only one with the habit.

It’s funny how in recent years smoking has lost its cool. That was my original attraction, remember? The Mustang Cobra, the feeling…I do. Now you can’t smoke in so many places. Now I am frowned upon. Even by those who had the habit but were strong enough to break it. I’m a strong person, right? The problem has always been that I didn’t really want to. I like smoking. This time the excuse is that it relaxes me when I’m tense. Well, it does!

Heck, when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I found out one of the
causes was smoking. My neurologist saw on my record that I had been a pack-a-day smoker for 35 years. Like every doctor I ever admitted to about it, she told me I needed to quit. There are drugs now, patches, gum, support groups. She also told me she wouldn’t tell me again—it was my choice. My habit has become so expensive. I’m on disability now, living on half the income I had when I worked. Surely that $180 a month I spend on my habit would be better spent on paying my bills or buying food.

It was. It was my choice. Breaking my habit was now something I should really consider. My excuses just weren’t cutting it anymore. Smoking was doing all the things I’d been warned about and read about. It was affecting my health, my empty pocketbook, and one of my three children didn’t want me to smoke around his kids. My house, that I’ve lived in for 25 years, has smoke-covered walls and no matter how much air freshener I spray, it smells like smoke.

My mother-in-law had the habit, too. She is on oxygen 24/7 and suffers from emphysema. I might turn out that way, toosooner than I realize if I don’t quit. Now they have those commercials. You know the ones. I might turn out like them, too. So, I made that listthe one with the pros of the habit matching the cons. I knew before I did it what the results would be. I’d never considered quitting before. Maybe the time had come.

I’ve had the habit myself for 40 years, but I’ve been exposed to it since I was born. I still might turn out to have a disease. The damage might already be done. I still might die from it. Quitting would be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I still might not succeed. Despite all of that, for the first time, leaving my habit behind is on the table. I finally want to “kick the habit.” January 1, 2020 is the date. Pray for my sanity! Pray for my weight (not to grow)! Pray for my husband!