Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer


Keeping It Simple

Stress-busting ideas for simplicity. Or simple for me: just a thought or quote

Holy Holidays!

1320885969y6i5ExThose of you that have been reading for awhile will recognize this as the cheap and easy ploy that it is – the holiday rerun. That’s right, I said holiday. It’s never too early. Retail stores tell us it’s that time. Kmart began advertising their Christmas layaway plan well before Halloween. This year, I will be prepared.

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 I’m not prepared. Either mentally or physically. I have no money, no time, and very little good cheer. Not that I’m a Grinch. I’m not. I’m as pleasant as usual. But it seems this time of year requires extra pleasantness when all I really want to do is be left alone to don my sweatpants and eat a big plate of Christmas cookies. Baked by somebody else, of course.

I attempted to commiserate with a friend a while ago. I should have known by the carol music playing in her car well before Thanksgiving that I was barking up the wrong Christmas tree. Turns out she’s Martha Stewart’s fourth cousin twice removed. She’s had her shopping done since October.

If you’re also kin to Martha, then by all means, bake, shop and decorate away! The season is what it is because of you and your 10-foot trees and chocolate rum balls. If, however, you’re more like me — here are a few of my survival tips:

One for all. This year, almost everyone in my family is getting the same thing. It isn’t unthoughtful if you put a lot of care into picking that one item. You’re really just taking a great idea and duplicating it. I have a standard wedding present that gets rave reviews — delivered champagne and chocolates. A friend has a favorite bereavement gift that includes a comforting, soft blanket and beautiful engraved wind chimes. Giving in mass works for friends and co-workers too. A variety of teas, cocoa and a candy cane with a nice bar of chocolate in 20 mini-stockings and you’re good to go.

Bag it. Do yourself a favor. Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Avoid the hassle of needing the scissors, tape and bows. Or better still, opt for gift wrapping if it’s free.

Just say no. Don’t feel obligated to do everything. There’s a reason more people get sick this time of year and it usually involves burning the Menorah at both ends. I’m not suggesting you skip the office Christmas party and all of the good gossip that entails, but you don’t have to R.S.V.P. yes to every invite in the mail. Speaking of mail, one thing I’m forgoing this year is holiday cards. Skip the stress of that terrible moment when you open a card from the neighbor you left off your list. And I’ve never been the family newsletter type. I find that when you write a blog, people you’ve never met know your life story anyway.

‘Tis better to give … Instead of buying one more anything for the person who has everything, why not experience the joy of giving to someone who really needs it? Let the people on your list know that this year you will be doing something charitable with your holiday budget. Who can gripe about that? I found so many organizations online and ways to give, it’s hard to pick just one. Help nationally through the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots or Make a Wish Foundation. Or research programs in your area. Provide presents for a low-income family, shop for children with a parent in prison or give to the victims of domestic violence. How about helping make the holidays brighter for the family of a fallen military soldier? Pick what tugs at your heartstrings the most.

“Get it yourself!” Let them buy what they really want. Gift cards are quick to purchase, easy to redeem, and can be slipped in a stocking. Plus, you avoid the risk of buying the wrong thing in the wrong size.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, there’s always egg nog. Sane animals usually hibernate this time of year. So, take a tip from nature: unplug the phone, stay in your pajamas, and don’t come out till it’s 2012. It’ll all be over soon.


dreamstimecomp_17842892Yesterday, two friends stopped by, separately and unexpectedly, and the blog post I had half-finished stayed that way.

This is something I find particularly difficult – letting go of my plans, giving up a measure of control. But life is more fun that way.

When was the last time you veered off a pre-planned course? Took a left turn instead of a right? Try not following the map for a change and see what happens.

“The fun stuff comes when someone is not so strict on sticking to the script. You’re allowed the spontaneity, and great moments can happen.”

 ~Jennifer Aniston

“Humor is a spontaneous, wonderful bit of an outburst that just comes. It’s unbridled, it’s unplanned, it’s full of surprises.”

~Erma Bombeck

“Our spontaneous action is always best. You cannot, with your best deliberation and heed, come so close to any question as your spontaneous glance shall bring you.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!”

~Jane Austen, Emma

“If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.”

~Will Borden

Max Out Your Humanity!

thI love Oprah. I have yet to figure out why everyone doesn’t feel the same way. Is it because she’s a powerful, black woman? She’s out there doing all this good in the world. Really making a difference.

Check out the commencement address she gave to Harvard’s Class of 2013. My favorite bit is the last ten minutes. About living an authentic life. She says theologian Howard Thurman said it best when he said don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. It’s an inspirational message for us all.

Happy Summer

I have a serious case of the lazies. If I could wish myself into this picture, I would. 1Seriously though, the view’s not bad from the pool in the backyard. And there’s something about an afternoon thunderstorm that’s perfect for napping. So, in honor of Friday’s official start to summer, I hope you’ll enjoy these summertime quotes. I couldn’t decide on just one — it’s like a whole field of sunflowers.

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

 Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
  ~Sam Keen
A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. 

~James Dent3

 In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

~Albert Camus

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

~John Steinbeck

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.

  ~Celia Thaxter2

 It’s a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it’s light out.
~Bill Watterson

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.

~John Lubbock 4


Digging My Digs

Several people have suggested to me that I post pictures of my new place. Since I have been preoccupied with decorating and not writing for awhile now – I’m going to go with that. I’m keeping it simple. Perhaps next week I’ll get back to the business of writing a proper post.

130519_0002 The headless moose greets visitors at the front door. This tragedy occurred sometime during the move. The responsible party has not come forward. The head was located days later and the moose awaits reconstructive surgery.130519_0014

My art looks much better here and I have more wall space.  The painting on the right, done by a friend of mine, Lora Davis-Henningsen, hung at my mom’s and was blocked by some furniture. Here, it gets the attention it deserves.130519_0013

The kitchen is a work in progress. As you can see, I can’t wheel under the sink so it’s not exactly handicap accessible, but it suits me just fine for now.130519_0019

Judging from reactions, the bathroom seems to be the piece de resistance. I transfer using a pole, not the typical grab bars, or else with my ataxia, I’d be banging my head against the wall. The pole at my old place had a medical look to it. This one is pure stripper pole. The contractors asked me if I’d be dancing around in there. I responded with, “Kind of, but nothing you’d want to watch.”130519_0020

And let’s not forget what really makes a house a home.130514_0011

Love on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to my biggest fan and cheerleader.

Me and Mom '89?If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.  ~Robert Brault

The Inevitable

photo_2I thought that once I became disabled, my exciting times were behind me. I no longer entertained thoughts of touring the countryside by RV, living abroad or learning a foreign language. That’s nonsense. I may stay put in Jacksonville, but look at the new life I’m about to begin! As I move this weekend, I’m reminded that everything changes, even for me. I may even start slurring some Spanish.

“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” ~Robert C. Gallagher

Update on the Air

130423_0012Bella’s worst fears were realized one night when I shifted to the opposite direction and rolled the entire mattress on its side. I dumped myself, Bella and all my bedding straight to the floor. Note to self: air mattresses can topple. They don’t just feel like they will — they’ll do it.

Frankie had already moved into the office to sleep on my power chair, but he did come over to check out the situation, wondering, I’m sure, why the heck I was on the floor. Bella leapt from the bedroom, never to return. Seriously, it’s been days and she won’t even enter the room except to pass quickly through it on her way to the litter box, let alone touch paw to mattress ever again. Frankie promptly curled up in my bedding.

The fall was in super slow-mo, very gentle. It didn’t even hurt. After all, I had the wherewithal to take a picture, didn’t I?

Cardboard Chaos

dreamstimecomp_22291750“Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.”

~Steve Martin

Let me tell you, becoming disabled is one big lesson in giving up control. I haven’t quite gotten it, but I’m getting better.

Silly me, I envisioned my pictures frames in the box of picture frames and the nightlight together with my lamp and stereo in a box marked “electronics.” (This is the freaky part of being a control freak.)

But when you don’t pack or unpack the boxes, and can’t even write the word electronics, you’re at the mercy of someone else’s organizational skills. And seriously, why should I care? I’m trying hard not to.

So while last week was about embracing my rolls, this week I’m embracing the chaos. Let the silverware get thrown in with my old albums from college. I’m throwing caution to the wind. It will all get there anyway. And really, I’m lucky to have friends offering to help. I’m taking a deep breath and trying to let go. C’mon June.

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