Babci’s Mottos to Live By

by Sandy L on December 22, 2010

Today I thought I’d share some of Babci’s favorite sayings. Since many of the sayings I have in mind rhyme in Polish the translation to English may seem a little funny.  It reminds me of the time I was in Israel and one of my friends was describing a must see movie called “How a Woman Smells.”  She was actually trying to describe “Scent of a Woman” but something got lost in the translation.   What the heck, I’m going to try anyway.

How They See You is How They Write About You

What she means by this is that first impressions matter.  Although most of my clothes came from the Salvation Army growing up, Babci would go nuts if I left the house with a shirt that wasn’t ironed, pants with holes in them, or anything that was dirty, especially if my shoes were scuffed up.  She often said I looked like a bum in high school.   I was rebelling so I didn’t care.    Then, in college, I was doing a co-op at a small company and the GM pointed out my scuffed up shoes. It was extremely embarrassing and it was then I realized BABCI WAS RIGHT yet again.  People do actually notice if you’re a big sloppy mess and they definitely notice if you’re wearing a totally out of style outfit.

The other thing that Babci would nag me about is to never leave the house without lipstick. She said that with no makeup I looked like I just got F&!@=ed.   So now, even if I am just going to Walmart, I make sure I at least have a pair of clean jeans on, lipstick and polished shoes.  The times I’m too sick or lazy to do that, I always end up running into someone I know and I hear Babci’s nagging in my subconscious saying “I told you so.”

My Winter Tip for Northerners is to get yourself a nice woolen car coat.  I have a Red one that I love. All I need is my coat and a cute scarf and  I always look dressy no matter what’s underneath it.

It’s Better to Carry Something than Chase After It

This is the classic don’t forget your umbrella or coat mantra.  If you have a car, it’s easy to just stick the extra potential stuff you need in the trunk and not worry about getting stuck somewhere without the essentials.   I now keep my coupon book in my wallet at all times. I organized it in a little pocket accordion folder, so I don’t ever have to feel guilty about stopping at the store on the way home and saying “darn, I had a coupon for that.”

Buy One but But a Good One

Babci would rather not spend any money at all than buy something that is cheap junk.  She never had heartburn over spending money on comfortable shoes because she didn’t have them growing up.  She just doesn’t get people who buy junky stuff that they end up resenting later. She’d rather wait an extra year and pay double or triple and buy something nice.

If You Burn Someone’s House Down, yours will be Burnt Down 3 Times Over

I call it Karma, but Babci really believes that good deeds do multiply on themselves and bad deeds do as well.   Bad People are Losers and will never be happy in life. What more is there to say?

One Person working is like Working Lefthandedly (unless you’re a lefty)

Whenever I help Babci in her yard or to hang a curtain or something, she always says this. What she means is that it’s always easier and faster to do things as a team.  1+1 = 3 in this case. Berry picking comes to mind. It’s a slog trying to do it single handedly, but if you have a gang you can whip through it in an hour.

One Hand Washes the Other

This one is related to the last item but some other things that fall into this category: Rotating Pot Luck Dinners, Sharing Babysitting, Helping Each other Remodel, Helping People move.  In general donating time or food to your friends and/or family results in them doing the same for you.  The cool part is that people have different talents, so one gift of jelly comes back as a delivery of horse manure or a dozen eggs, or baked goods.

Don’t Complain about Not Having Something Done if You Can Do it Yourself

This one is my absolute favorite of them all.  I can’t tell you how many people nag their significant other or family member to paint a room or whatnot. In many cases it would have been faster and easier if they just did the thing themselves. If something is really important to you but not a priority for your partner, don’t get sad by their lack of caring. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just they see it as a different level of importance than you do.  Take matters into your own hands and do it.  My cousin loved to complain how her dad never put the outlets in her apartment in the places she wanted. I heard the outlet story countless times.  If it was really that important to her, she should have just called an electrician and got her outlets exactly where she wanted them.

I hate the feeling of powerlessness.  If you’re passionate about having something done, then get empowered and take matters into your own hands.  It’s such a great feeling.   Everyone has competing tasks jockeying for the next item to be tackled on the to do list. It’s often the case that your top 5 isn’t the same as your significant other’s top 5. There’s nothing keeping you from having two lists.

Okay, that’s the end of Babci-time for today.  Do you have Mottos to Live By that you want to share? Do you also live by any of the above ones?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole December 22, 2010 at 7:54 AM

Very nice! Though I must always look like I just got out of bed as I never wear lipstick.


Everyday Tips December 22, 2010 at 9:01 AM

I am not a lipstick wearer either, so I imagine I must have quite a reputation by now! 🙂

As always, great Babci post. She is a very wise woman.

Isn’t it funny how the scuffed shoe comment stuck with your for life? I find it so interesting how some small things stay in the back of one’s brain for so long. It is usually something insignificant, but I am sure it made an extra impact since it corrrelated with what Babci taught you growing up.


Sandy L December 22, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Nicole and Everyday Tips – Since kids I almost never wear makeup unless I’m visiting customers. Babci’s always giving me crap about it.


Lindy Mint December 22, 2010 at 9:13 AM

I wasn’t raised with too many motto’s, but this post makes me want to create some of my own (or maybe just steal these ones) 🙂 – there is something about putting a lesson into a bite-sized piece that makes it stick more, though probably doesn’t make it less annoying to rebellious teenagers.

The last one is my favorite too.


Sandy L December 22, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Lindy – The good news is that lessons do sink in eventually. We should make up some fun rhymey ones.


Little House December 22, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Babci is very wise. I struggle with the whole un-ironed shirt and scuffed-up shoes dilemma. I’ve always been a slouch when it comes to dressing. My husband has said, “Is that what you’re wearing?!” too many times to count!


Sandy L December 22, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Little House – the shoe thing is always an issue with me because I have a bad habit of standing one foot on top of another and it always makes them gross. I’ve been trying to do it less, but I still gravitate to that stance when I’m not thinking about it.


Aloysa December 22, 2010 at 11:05 PM

You know… maybe because your Babci is from Poland and mine is from Lithuania, they sound very much alike. Everytime I read your posts about Babci I really miss my grandma. Great post!


The Biz of Life December 23, 2010 at 7:40 AM

A personal integrity saying from my grandparents— Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of the newspaper.


Money Reasons December 23, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Drat, I hate to admit it, but Babci is growing on me! I know she was a very wise woman, but she should like she has a lot of charisma too. I know see why you blog about her so much!

Lately, I mostly have been embracing the viewpoint from “Fight Club”… “Just slide” But 2010 was a lousy year for me. I think I’ll try something different for 2011…


Sandy L December 24, 2010 at 5:22 AM

Aloysa – Yeah, eastern europeans are very similar and lithuania is very close. I’m glad I can bring back some memories of your grandmother through my stories of babci. I hope she has a lot of years left to keep writing about her.

Biz of Life – yeah, that one has been used at work a lot. My company is huge into integrity and they say this all the time. It’s a very good motto to live by. I wonder why politicians don’t heed this advise because so many of their escapades do eventually end up in the newspaper.

Money Reasons – Yeah, I am starting to admit to myself that stories about Babci are way more interesting than stories about myself. If I go too long without a Babci story, people start Jonesing for them. Sometimes your parents are cooler than you.


Invest It Wisely January 3, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Haha WTF! My girlfriend doesn’t wear lipstick either… 😉

I always love reading about Babci’s sayings and wisdom.


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