Happiness Is…. A New Day

When I went to work at my current employer, I was greeted with open arms by a group of smart, strong women who supported each other. Each accepted me as one of their own in some way as mentors or simply through their friendship and support.

That was ten years ago and, one by one, they have retired and left. The last of them will retire today.

I am over-the-moon excited for my friend as she has so much waiting for her in this next chapter. She has a wonderful family and farm chores and hobbies she enjoys. Best of all, her first granddaughter is due soon.

Life is good.

She and I both enjoy Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. The Snoopy calendar, pictured here, used to sit on her desk. Now it’s on mine. She gifted it to me a few weeks ago as she was cleaning her office.

I will treasure Snoopy as I have treasured her friendship. Today we’ll have a party for her and then she gets to spend her days taking walks, caring for her animals and being the best grandma ever to a new baby.

As Snoopy says, happiness is a new day. Congratulations and best wishes, Monica!

A Library With A View

One of the treats of being in Pittsburgh at night is a stroll along the Mount Washington Overlook. You can take the incline up the 450 feet or you can drive up and park along the street.

While you’re there, pay attention to some of the architecture. I’m especially fond of this Carnegie Library. The Mount Washington community formed a library association in 1882 and a reading room six years later.

Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie supported the efforts to build a proper library, funding this nice building which opened May 31, 1900.

The Pittsburgh titan of steel funded 1,689 libraries in the United States and more in other countries. Along the way, he created a revolutionary new self service model. Before this, library employees would retrieve requested books rather than allowing the patron to browse and select their own.

This reduced operating costs and opened a new world of accessibility for readers. He actually introduced this model in Pittsburgh’s neighborhood branch libraries that were built after the city’s main library. It appears this was one that used the new self service model.

I have such respect and appreciation for Carnegie’s support of access to books and reading. Where would our society be if not for the resources provided by our libraries? It’s one of the last places in the world where you can exist, use materials and find enrichment completely for free.

He died in 1919. In the final years of his life, Carnegie gave away $350 million dollars. In modern money, that would be about $5.5 billion. The man was filthy rich but he thought it more important to use his money for philanthropic interests rather than hold onto more money than he could spend in a lifetime.

When you think about the good he did for small towns and neighborhoods across the country, the good he did for the masses is awe inspiring. The next time you pass by a Carnegie library, be sure to pause a moment and say a word of thanks.

Kate Spade Zebras

These snaps come from a browsing expedition at the Kate Spade Store at the Oculus – the high end shopping center located at the World Trade Center in New York. This particular display is one of the oddest I have seen in person.

However, it certainly got the job done given that I’m still thinking about it all these months later. It’s whimsical with lots of varying heights, textures, colors and shapes.

I don’t necessarily like everything they sell but appreciate the classic pieces like leather gloves and this vintage inspired floral adorned bag.

I won’t pretend to understand the zebra masks. Maybe they’re just a fun way to play up the zebra prints found throughout the store. However, I prefer to think there’s a deeper meaning as the zebra represents determination and empowerment.

Nonetheless, all the colors and shapes make this boutique feel like a candy store for the grownup eye.

Summer Travel Plans

People have been asking about my summer travel plans and I’m a little surprised to say I don’t have any. Not yet, anyway.

I typically travel some with friends. Due to reasons beyond anyone’s control, I suspect they will all mostly be unable to do that this year. So I’m thinking this will be the year of mostly solo travel.

And that’s fine. I like my own company and always enjoy my solo trips. So stay tuned! There’s adventure to be had!

Have you read my tips for solo travel? Click here to read Solo Travel 101. What are your summer adventure plans? Spare no detail – I want to hear it all!

M&M’s in Times Square

Reading blogger M.B Henry’s recent post about the history of M&M’s candies jarred loose a memory from my whirlwind New York City Christmas trip.

In Times Square, there is a place called M&M’s World. Consequently, the M&M’s characters could be seen in advertising throughout Times Square and I grabbed a few snapshots of the cultural icons.

Here’s the store sign. I still wish for a better picture but we were being jostled down the street in a mass of humanity at this point so this is about as good as it could get.

And here’s just one of the giant digital ads I noticed. This one was on their building.

What I wouldn’t give for just a fraction of their marketing budget. Marketers everywhere would probably fall over if they knew how much this brand spends in a day. The advertising geek in me would love having colorful little mascots to play with in ads.

Anyway, this store is a popular stop and likely a sight to behold on the inside. There was a long line just to get in so we kept moving. Imagine all the presentation opportunities for these colorful little candies. You can even print your own specialty M&Ms.

If you get a chance, read M.B. Henry’s story “M&M’s: A Crunchy Colorful Story.” I didn’t realize the candy was inspired by a British product and had totally forgotten the 1995 shake-up of replacing the tan M&M with a blue one! It’s a fun and educational walk down memory lane.

Lazy Saturday

Yesterday was a rare lazy day but it didn’t really go as planned.

This week hasn’t been restful so I was grateful for a day at home. I stayed in bed, finishing a Simone St. James page turner, before doing a few chores. Bob the Shark cleaned the floors while Scout periodically reported back that the monster was a menace and needs to go.

It was too windy to be outside. The sunshine beckoned me to the woods but it didn’t feel safe to be under a canopy of tree limbs likely weakened by winter storms. So I turned off the furnace and opened the windows to let the fresh air in. Leftover soup made for a tasty lunch. I had made it Thursday using about-to-expire ingredients and was quite smug when I didn’t have to cook.

And then the wind picked up more and the power went out. So I laid down in bed with a book and promptly went to sleep for the next two hours. Honestly, I think I slept for over two hours and it felt amazing.

The last time I checked the power company was reporting 14,000 customers in the dark with over 300 outage incidents. They’re doing their best but it’s hard to combat Mother Nature’s tirades when they lead to massive tree damage.

And so, I’m writing this at 8:13 p.m. with no hope of seeing electric again for a while. I’m headed back to bed with another book and a flashlight. Here’s hoping all those linemen are safe on the job this weekend while I’m cozy in bed.

Every day can’t be a grand adventure. Sometimes you can make bad circumstances better by leaning into them and accepting them for what they are. For me that means resting up and coping with the circumstances in preparation for better days ahead.