How Have Greeting Cards Changed?

Today is National Electronic Greetings Day. It’s the right time of year for Greeting Cards, that is for sure! The research is unclear as to who named this day, and I don’t know how long this observance has been on the books. I do know, however, that a woman by the name of Judith Donath sent the very first electronic greeting in the form of a postcard, in late 1994. The program she designed was similar to an “app” of today, and she wanted the users to submit improvements in exchange for free use of the program.

When I began looking into this National Day, I didn’t see a whole lot of information about it, and wondered what direction it might take me. The results are fascinating. First, I thought about Electronic Greetings and how I use them, how I feel about them, and how they have changed our culture. As with most things, I wondered if my thoughts and feelings are similar to other people’s. Finally, I dug a little bit deeper into pros and cons of Electronic Greetings, and not surprisingly, found both.

I will start with Judith Donath, the very first sender of an electronic card. I was struck by the fact that she’s not much older than I am, so that means she was in her early 30’s when she developed and sent the first Electronic Greeting. In the beginning, only a few cards were sent, but within the first year, the number of cards sent was in the millions. She has since expanded her work into studying how communication technologies, such as social media (conceived in conjunction with the electronic postcard?), change society. Perhaps that’s another reason she interested me so much. One ripple creates another, and her work contributes to our understanding of the culture we live in, with respect to social media and artificial intelligence.

She has published many articles and books related to the subject. I’ve put one of her books, “The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online” on my reading list because after reviewing the description I know it will be worth the time. I am always interested in why systems exist, why people do the things they do, and especially how we can influence our own lives without being a “victim” of society. In my mind, knowledge is key to understanding, and the more knowledge that is shared, the more perspective is gained. The fact that a simple search about electronic greetings brought me to this place proves my point, I suppose, that there is always more to learn and more insights to be gained. I am glad there are people like her in the world, delving deep into her passion and sharing what she’s learned from her unique point of view. I wonder, as she looks back on her career and her accomplishments, how she feels about the fact that she pioneered the phenomenon of electronic greetings…?

Today, Electronic Greetings are commonplace, and there are many options to choose from. Like the brick and mortar Hallmark stores I would frequent a few times a year, there are a plethora of programs and applications that allow us to send cards, GIF’s, Meme’s and more, to individuals and groups. For a comprehensive list from a fellow blogger, visit this site: The Top 7 Sites for Free eCards! I’m partial to Hallmark, because I find the funniest cards there, and some cute knick knacks and chachkis, so for my Electronic Greeting Card needs, I am pretty loyal to this company. As a matter of fact, I am completely TERRIBLE at sending birthday cards, Christmas cards, other holiday cards, sympathy cards and all cards and letters, in general, so if you ever get a card from me, it will definitely be an e-Card. I sometimes go to Hallmark, look at a bunch of cards, laugh a little, look at the price, decide I’m too cheap to buy the card, and go back to the computer to find something similar. Sad. And true.

Some of the pros to using electronic cards (in my mind) are price (as mentioned above, physical cards are pretty pricey these days), ease and speed of use, including the ability to send to multiple people, and the ability to keep them in the cloud should I ever want to re-visit cards I’ve sent or received. As for the cons, there is a chance that your email address could be compromised, leading to spam in your inbox, computer viruses or malware, and even theft of more sensitive personal information. That’s why it’s important, when choosing an e-Card company to do business with, you choose one that is secure and has good privacy practices.

The ability to communicate via the computer and the internet has changed everything we know about relationships, and it continues to evolve. I am excited that I am here to witness these changes, and to be able to use these tools to increase my knowledge of our universe. I hope this short dive into Electronic Greeting Cards has broadened your understanding a little bit, too! To celebrate this National Holiday on social media, use #ElectronicGreetingsDay

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a kid, I especially loved trick-or-treating in our Pasadena neighborhood. My brothers taught me to use a pillow case as my treat bag, because it holds more candy! There were several houses that decorated in a big way, and one who hosted an annual haunted house. There were lots of kids in our neighborhood, from very young to mischievous teenagers, so it made the night really fun for a school-aged kid like me. I remember my brothers taking me through the neighbor’s haunted house (which they helped build) and being terrified! I don’t love to be scared, but the creepy mysteriousness of the chill in the air, the long night, people dressed as monsters, walking through a garage with unknown horrors lurking behind hanging sheets, and knocking on people’s doors asking for a treat made me feel adventurous and alive.

There is much debate about where this holiday originates, but most believe it was a Pagan holiday adopted by the Christians to honor dead Saints. As with most Holidays, there are usually pieces of ritual from both Pagan and Religious customs. It is often associated with communication to the dead, fortune-telling, and protection from evil. The wiki article on Halloween offers more information and some cool photos of this mysterious holiday.

This year, we have a new baby in the house, our Granddaughter, Tauriel. They say having Grandchildren is the greatest thing, ever. There are lots and lots of reasons given for this statement, and I believe that one of the many reasons is because as adults, watching a tiny human experience the world and see things through completely unbiased eyes gives us a refreshing perspective and helps us to experience, once again, some of the joy we might have forgotten.

I hope this Halloween finds you amazed, amused and full of joy for the past, present and future.

National Taco Day!

Today is a day to celebrate one of the greatest inventions in the universe, Tacos.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “I don’t like tacos.” You can choose your meat, fillings, and shell. If you don’t like ground beef, make a roast and shred it. If you don’t eat beef, make a chicken taco, or a fish taco, or a taco made with pork. Even when you’re “watching your carbs” you can enjoy a taco wrapped in a leaf of romaine lettuce!  If you’re vegan, (I’m at a loss here), you could put some tofu in it. Or guacamole!  Some people like lots of lettuce, others like none. There is no limit to what you can do in the middle! It doesn’t end there, next you choose your shell! Maybe you like ’em crunchy, maybe you like ’em soft. Some like corn tortillas, others prefer flour. There’s a taco for all tastes. Nobody needs to be excluded from the taco frenzy.

As a kid, Taco Bell was the fast food taco of choice for me. Del Taco didn’t measure up. When I worked at Taco Bell, I still loved the tacos. Back in those days, our store had the meat delivered from a local farm, and we cooked it on site, added the seasoning and made it homemade. It was GOOD! Just ask any Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student how good our Taco Bell location was!  It was epic party, study and hangover food.

Of course, my experience with tacos, being of Anglo-American descent, is truly limited. In Mexico, the street tacos are nothing like the tacos I’ve described above, and are even more delicious and varied. When you see people eating tacos at a street stand, they are all smiling. You can’t be mad when you’re eating a taco!

Click HERE to see the wiki history on TACOS!

Sometimes, life is so busy and there are so many distractions that it can be difficult to find comfort in the little things in life.  Tacos are one of those little things.  Take time out today and enjoy a taco with a friend or a family member, or stop at a street truck and try a taco you’ve never had before. Even as I write this, I’m planning my next taco attack!

Spring! What new beginnings mean to me.

In day to day life, the only thing we can be sure of is that everything changes.  After the cold of winter, (unless you live where I live, in which case it is just a little bit darker), spring brings hope of new growth.

I’ve been listening to books during my working hours, as I drive from patient to patient, and I heard something today that made me nod in agreement, and talk to the book as if it could hear me.  The author was discussing how people cope, and that when too much changes, it puts us in a state of CHAOS.  He said, to paraphrase, that the most growth happens in humans when we keep one foot rooted in the familiar, while taking the other foot and putting it into something unfamiliar. This way, we can feel comfortable, yet alert, and open to learning.

It hadn’t occured to me that this is a recipe for growth. although I was introduced to this concept by Sheldon, in “The Big Bang Theory.”  Season 8, episode 13, “The Anxiety Optimization.”  In it, Sheldon realizes that if he is in a state of mild anxiety, he solves problems more easily.

So, now you know that not only do I watch the Big Bang Theory, but I am what you might call a ‘superfan” of the show. The writers of that show are ridiculously creative and I am fascinated by the characters.  They each bring a special quirkiness to the group, they are all extremely tolerant of one another’s “issues” and they interact in a hilarious way. If you’ve never watched it, it’s worth it, and if you don’t like it, I don’t understand.  At all.

Now, back to reality.  And chaos.  And Spring.

Nurses see chaos all day long, in their patients, the families, the ever-changing culture of medicine, the demands on their time, and in the need to keep going, no matter what horrible thing just happened.  In order to thrive in such an environment, a person has to be adaptable.  There are certain things that are always the same, like the patients.  Although everyone, not unlike the characters in my favorite sitcom, has his own quirks, nursing is a cookbook approach.  But it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the details, and fall into a state of chaos.

I suppose it’s the same in any profession, whether you’re a stay at home Mom, or the CEO of a billion dollar company.

And in life, with friends, family, spouses children.

But after the rain comes, the sun shines again, turns the hills green, causes the flowers and the trees to bloom, and new growth begins. You can enjoy it, take in the beauty of it, marvel at the way the once baren tree is now blossoming with sweet smelling flowers, or you can ignore it, complain about the pollen’s effect on your sinuses, and continue in your self-made misery.

Either way, the new beginning happens, with or without your participation.

The reason this matters to me is because I want to be better.  I want to feel better about spring, a time of year that made me an orphan, and caused me to feel pain. If I look at spring from my parent’s perspective (the parents I lost, all in the spring), I see a new beginning, an end to suffering, a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

I want to learn about new things, experience different adventures, hear another person’s perspective, feel someone else’s joy, see things in a different way, and realize that there is much more to appreciate in this life than there is to detest.  When I look at myself, I want to see a better me today, than I saw at this time last year.

This spring, I challenge you to see the beauty, begin again, and develop a sense of wonder with the world around you. Don’t get caught up in the mire of the detestable.  Make the most of your new beginning.

 

 

Do You Have Audacity?

Audacity is a cool word. It’s not a word used by many people, or in many situations. I first heard it when I was a kid, probably from Dad.  Here we are in the early 1980’s. Dad liked to throw around big words from time to time. He was a bit of a “smart ass,” you might say. The word, the way it’s usually used, has a bit of negative connotation, because it describes something or someone who is extremely “nervy,” or “cocky,” but I see it as a positive thing because it is also “brave,” and “bold.”

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun
  1. 1.
    the willingness to take bold risks.
    “her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”
    synonyms: boldnessdaringfearlessness, intrepidity, braverycourageheroismpluckgrit;

    Which is why I changed the name of my blog to “Endless Audacity.”  I want to be fearless and bold. I strive to have courage and grit. Of course, my beautiful dream horse also shares the name.

    This is Princess Audacious V. She is only four this year, and she is so smart, and extremely brave. She has excellent breeding, and takes on the characteristics of her parents in many ways. Much like people, horses have certain traits bred into them, from physical appearance to demeanor.

    And like my father, I too, am a bit of a “smart ass,” you might say.  As I grow older I try harder to temper my sarcasm, because it can be quite off-putting. But it’s always there, on the tip of my tongue. Sarcasm is tricky, because sometimes it is seen as self-righteousness and cockiness. It can be disguised as “speaking the truth,” but it can also be just plain mean. So in my quest to better myself, I often wonder, what am I trying to accomplish by being sarcastic? Am I trying to get a laugh? (That’s what I HOPE I am doing) Or am I just being a bitch?  It’s a sticky wicket. (A term derived from Cricket, meaning a difficult situation)

    Therefore, on this beautiful February Throwback Thursday, as I reflect on my life, Dad, who passed away 14 years ago this month, and my future self, I am committed to being audacious in a good way. Brave, fearless, heroic, and daring.  Just like my favorite Bible verse of all time: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

What’s the Periodic Table Got to Do With Me?

Today is National Periodic Table Day!  This particular table shows how each element is used.  The blank ones on the bottom, are only used for research at this time, according to science alert.  As I’ve learned about chemistry throughout my life, I’ve gone through a range of feelings toward it, from apathy to fascination, and if I had the attention span, it’s definitely one of the subjects I would explore more deeply.  As a High School student, it was a requirement, of course, but I was lucky enough to have a teacher who was good at transferring his enthusiasm for the subject.

Practically speaking, the only elements I ever paid attention to during my life and career are Na, Mg, K, & Ca.

Sodium (Na) has an atomic number of 11 and is my favorite element.  It makes my food taste good.  But too little Na in the body will cause confusion, lethargy, malaise & dizziness.  Too much can cause confusion, muscle twitches and seizures.  Grandma and Grandpa are more prone to deficiencies, while the kid who bumped his head (hard) while riding his skateboard will be more prone to excess.  The normal range for Na in a blood test is between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).

Magnesium (Mg) has an atomic number of 12. This element is extremely important to the proper functioning of the heart muscle.  THAT definitely makes Magnesium important to you.  Signs of too little Magnesium include muscle twitches and cramps, weakness, high blood pressure, and irregular heart beat.  Too much can cause diarrhea, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, and irregular heart beat.  The normal range for Mg in a blood test is 1.7 to 2.2 mg/dL. Some Mg rich foods are spinach, whole wheat, almonds, cashews, avocados and bananas.

Potassium (K) has an atomic number of 19.  Like Mg, K is extremely important to the proper functioning of your heart muscle.  Some symptoms of too much K are muscle weakness, nausea, tingling sensations, or slow heart beat.  Critically high levels can cause the heart to stop beating entirely.  This is one of the ‘drugs’ used on death row inmates when their day to die arrives (after the sedative is injected).  Low K is also life-threatening, and can cause muscle cramping, nausea, vomiting, and life-threatening irregular/fast heartbeat known as Ventricular Tachycardia.  The normal range for K is 3.5-5.0 milliEquivalents per liter (mEq/L) of blood.  This is not an element you want to mess with, as too much or too little can literally kill you.  Think: Mr. White in “Breaking Bad.”  You want him to be a good guy, but just under the surface is some serious murderous rage.

Calcium has an atomic number of 20.  We’ve all heard about Ca, from the ads on TV, at the doctor’s office, and on the milk containers. Of the four, this one is the most forgiving, when it comes to threatening your life.Too little Ca can cause cramps in the legs, scaly skin, brittle nails (over time).  Too much can cause digestive problems, and if left untreated can eventually cause coma and death.  In practice, I have seen more issues with too high, or too low Ca in patients with kidney disease and cancer, and generally with a good diet, sunshine, and exercise, Ca regulates itself well in the body in otherwise healthy individuals. The normal range for Ca is 8.5-10.2 mg/dL of blood.

These four elements keep you and me feeling well, moving well, and our hearts beating normally.  I hope this highly simplified practical guide gives you a new appreciation for the periodic table as it relates to your well-being!

 

 

Live Your Dream

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I have been reflecting on what “Live Your Dream” might have meant to Dr. King.  He was committed to his goal 100%.  It took unbelievable courage.  Mind boggling courage.  He might not have even realized the impact he would have for generations to come.

It’s hard to believe his famous speech took place only 54 years ago!  It’s even harder to believe that we still haven’t learned how to treat each other with dignity and respect.  I suppose we have made progress, but I also suppose it’s relative to where, and who, you are.

From my way of thinking, if I even have one millionth the courage that Dr. King had, I can accomplish any goal I set my mind to.  Since goals are usually things we haven’t actually done, setting a goal and doing things to reach that goal inherently takes us out of our comfort zone.

Outside the comfort zone is where the courage is needed.  And all we need is 1/1,000,000th of what Dr. Martin Luther King had to accomplish our starting goals.

 

 

 

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

I had a lesson on Audie Sunday, and I was having a difficult time following instructions.  Imagine that, ME having a hard time following instructions.  The older I get, the more stubborn I become.  This is not a good thing.  It’s a bad idea to be stubborn, because like my dear old dad always used to say, THE ONLY THING IN LIFE YOU CAN TRULY COUNT ON IS EVERYTHING’S GOING TO CHANGE.  He didn’t mean it in a pessimistic way, he was trying to teach me to go with the flow.

When I get in a funk, or when I stop listening, the only thing that comes out of it is exhaustion.  My friend, Ruth, was watching from up above.  Audie, unlike my little Belle, thinks it’s a good idea to conserve her energy, so I was working REALLY HARD to get her to go forward.  I was so focused on my task, I wasn’t listening to my trainer who was telling me to take a break.  I heard Ruth holler, “You look tired!  That doesn’t look fun!”  My knee-jerk reaction was to scowl at her, but her comment was meant to snap me out of it.  I finally stopped, took a few deep breaths, let Audie take several, and pondered what had just happened.

I was the problem, not the horse.

After I reset my brain and let go of the intense need to accomplish THAT EXACT TASK, I remembered that not everything goes as planned, sometimes communication breaks down, and sometimes you just have to go back to the basics.  Whether it’s training horses, building a business, dealing with a coworker you don’t connect with or getting along with your spouse, nothing good comes from a lack of ability to laugh at yourself.  Or just laugh, period.  Laughing literally relieves stress, and is well documented.  Here’s a short article from MAYO CLINIC illustrating this point.

If you don’t want to read another article, I suggest Bob and Tom in the morning.  Locally, they are on The Beach, 95.3 every morning.  They are nationally syndicated, so find the radio station in your area and give them a go.  If you don’t laugh at them, I don’t know what to tell you.

Week One 2018 in Review

The first week of the year has FLOWN by!  Have you taken the leap into 2018?

I talk a lot about Fear & Goals (even if the goal is just eating a sandwich).  Something I learned from Corporate America is that goal setting is essential.  It helps not only to stay on the right path, but also to evaluate whether you’ve actually gotten anywhere at all (toward the desired result).  It’s easy to think that we’ve made NO PROGRESS when we don’t set goals (especially if you’re a pessimist) and it’s also easy to FOOL YOURSELF into thinking you’re making progress when really, the data hasn’t changed.

The first week of the year for the Oliver Family has been filled with grinding toward our goals.

Me, personally, I’m working on turning my almost 4-year old filly, Princess Audacious V (Audie) into a willing and confident partner. My plan is to enter her in the local show circuit this season. We will probably do trail trials, for the obstacle experience, and dressage schooling, because I like the training process of starting with easy maneuvers and working toward more complicated ones.  My other MAJOR goal for 2018 is to scale my business to a level that allows me EVEN MORE time freedom.

This year, I turn 50… which gives me pause. The good news is, my BFF Kellie & I are planning a trip to ITALY!!!!  We were in Europe together in High School in 1984, and we thought it fitting that we spend our 50th year in Europe together again.  THIS time, we’re dragging our husbands along (and they are pleased).  We will spend time in Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Pompeii, and Rome!  This is BY FAR the most fun goal we have for the year.

Kellie understands how to create SMART GOALS and stick to them! We have had monthly meetings to plan our Italy trip, and now that we are only five months away, we are meeting every other week, to make sure we do everything we want to do, see everything we want to see, and do so in a relaxed and organized manner. I told her she should turn her love of organizing trips into a business.  She’s not completely convinced. 😉

Drop a comment below and tell me what your goals are this year!  And if you know Kellie, give her some encouragement to organize YOUR trip!

National Sandwich Day

Sandwiches are one of my favorite foods.  Simple to make and versatile for anyone’s tastes, you can almost count on your guests enjoying a sandwich.  Well, unless your friends are Paleo, Ketogenic, or another low-carb program.  In that case, you can substitute the bread with lettuce. In my opinion, though, a sandwich is not a sandwich without the bread.

During the Middle Ages, stale bread (called “trenchers”) was used as a plate, and after the food on top was eaten, the soaked bread was fed to a dog, or a beggar, or a poor person (1)…. Sad that all of those things are listed in the same category.

The point is, sandwiches have been around forever.  And why not, they are delicious.  I enjoy my sandwich a lot more when someone else makes it for me.  Strange, but true.  Today, I think Jersey Mike’s is the winner.  What kind of sandwich is your favorite???