Sunday, December 31, 2006

One final post for 2006...................

I am pretty proud of how my blog and I have progressed throughout 2006. Both are not where they started out at the beginning of the year, and this is good. Even if one wouldn't call it progress, it is change, and change always leads to growth and growth is always good.

No matter how many great things happen to me during a past year I never seem to be sad to see a year come to an end. I believe this is because I am so easily enticed by the promise and the potential that comes with a new year. A new start, a "do over" if you will. THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE fresh days to correct all those little things that we want to be different in our life. Three hundred and sixty-five potential miracles (if one will only notice them). Three hundred and sixty-five days to make dreams come true. IMAGINE!

Thanks to all of you that have touched my life in 2006. I appreciate each and everyone of you and how you have made a postive difference in my life and world. I am blessed beyond measure, and the people that surround and love me are definitely my greatest blessings. This means you! May love, peace, and prosperity be yours throughout 2007. It is going to be a GREAT year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ready for the new year, cut toenails and all..............

Cutting one's toenails is not a big deal right? So why do I make it into one (nearly) EVERY SINGLE TIME it needs doing? I hate it when other people touch my feet, but that doesn't mean I can't. I like to wear polish on my toenails, but when I do cut them, I butcher they because I know it will be a long time before I get around to cutting them again. The shorter the better right? Only this leaves me with only the tiniest of a little toenail and only a slit of a line of polish, which looks ridiculous, so then I try and paint directly on my toe to improve the look, but I am not an artist so I end up with a smeared mess. So then I just don't paint my toenails, but then when I look down they look all sad and naked. Oh the neglect is more than anyone should have to endure!

You think I would learn...Last time I went to a memorial service I left early to run errands so I put on my running shoes when I left the house and took the sandals I was changing into for the service. As I am sitting in the truck changing, I noticed that most (but not all darn it) of the polish was off most of the toes, which only enhanced the ragged, hacked, cutting job that had last been done on them. What was I suppose to do, I needed the heel on the sandal to keep the pant leg from dragging on the ground (rolled up pantlegs at a memorial service is too tacky even for me).

I really do have the best of intentions. I repeatedly plan out how I am going to learn how to take care of my feet and set aside time each week to do just that. I even got some of those funny looking spongy things that fit between your toes while you are painting them (they hurt when they are in place, but beauty is painful so I tough it out for as long as I can). I have an orange stick for pushing back the cuticles, a pumis stone to get the rough spots off the heels, an emery board for filing/shaping the nail (that reminds me of being in the dentist chair and having that yucky polishing thing done. Any vibration feeling makes me nutty).

Like I said, I have the best of intentions. It just seems that whenever the time to focus on my toenails comes along I find something better to do. What is the deal with that? How can I make myself care more about my toes appearance when I have gotten this far in life without doing so? Why am I writing an entire post about my toenails? Why am I jealous of other people's beautiful looking toes and feet? Why does my youngest take after me in this regard? Isn't it strange the things we pass onto our children?

Just in case you care, my hands are as much of a wreak as my toes. This doesn't bother me because since becoming a massage therapist I have had to come to terms with the fact that long nails just don't cut it in my business. Actually long nails do cut (and scrape and scratch as well) which is exactly why I can't have them in my line of work. This is a good excuse, so I can get away with my nails looking like crap. Somehow this puts even more pressure on the toenails to look good. I have a responsibility to all those shoes I own, and I am failing them miserably.

Maybe 2007 will be the year that I overcome my shortfallings in regards to my toenails. If anyone has any good ideas to help me with this problem, or a good book to teach me care and handling of toenails, please pass it along. They say admitting one has a problem is the first step in solving it. I am typing before you all now to do just that. Do you think there is any hope for me?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cleaning out the fridge...................

In other words, there is no theme (at this point at least) for this post, just to catch-up (get the pun..catsup) on a varity of items.

First, my oldest called me after reading my post yesterday (peak below if you haven't visited in a while). She informed me that when she left home on Christmas night, she was "only thinking about using the personal day, and what was she suppose to do call me and tell me she had decided to use a personal day instead of going to work?" I told her, "No, she should figure out how to get my e-mail excempt from her out of office reply and then I would just think she was too busy to answer me and we would both be happy and content."

Seriously, looking at it from her perceptive, it would have been silly for her to call me. She also would not have known how I was feeling if I had not said something, and gone on thinking that she had been deceptive (or is she being deceptive now? KJ!) The lesson to be learned from this is the old "two sides to every story" one, and just because you see things one way, does not neccesarily mean that is the way that they are.

We ended up having a nice chat, blubbering and caring on about how important having a good relationship is to both of us. I felt a little bad when I found out (because she said, "People are starting to stare at me now.") she was caring on her side of the conversation in an airport waiting to catch a flight. Wonder what tragedy they thought she was discussing? Like I told her, "it is in the working out of little things that we learn how to work out bigger issues."


I officially started running again yesterday, if you can call the thirty or so really slow, chunky steps I took running. There is one little spot on my left side that is not happy with picking up the pase, but it felt better yesterday than the day before so things are coming along. While I continue to mostly walk, those first steps are a start, and my first goal is to be able to go a half mile without having to stop by the end of next week. My next race is not until the end of February, and I know if I have to I can walk the 13.1 miles. I am just to lazy to want to do that as it will take longer.


How are you all doing with the holiday eating? I have had little bits of sugar here and there, but I am not concerned about it because it just doesn't taste like it used to. Fat has been my enemy the last several days because it seems that every traditional dish I make has either heavy whipping cream whipped, or simply heavy whipping cream added. Last night I made an alfredo sauce with the last of it, and have thrown out all the other leftovers. My liver is already thanking me.


Speaking of holiday eating...Anyone making resolutions for the new year? I am liking the path that I am traveling, so my hope for the new year is to keep on keeping on, making adjustments as they are pointed out to me rather than start a whole new set of blueprints.


Regarding my blog for next year, I read an idea (I think it was from
Random,) about posting a different picture of one's self every day for three hundred and sixty-five days. RELAX! I couldn't stand to get my picture taken that many days in a row, but it got me to thinking about what if anything I could commit to do every day next year.

My first thought was to just forget it, as I am sure I would miss at least one day. How is that for positive thinking? Then I jumped right to the, "Does it count if I miss a day but make it up the next day?" Miss Legalistic says "no way!" Miss Relax and go with the flow says, "It is the thought and intent that counts. It is the process you are going after not the product." While the chances are exteamly high (based on the past ten or so years) that I will get out of bed everyday of next year,can I count on it? I could get a bad case of the flu (nope that wouldn't stop me), or brake a leg (nope I would be up hobbling around I am sure), or...okay! You get my point! There are no guarantees.

I think that it is interesting that I am afraid to commit to doing something every day of an entire year. I think it is interesting that if I overcome this fear then I go right into what could I do that is difficult enough to be a challenge, but not so difficult that I would be setting myself up for failure? This is where you come in...

What would you my reader like to see me tackle in my posts next year? I could take a cue from my title and post a daily perpective (yawn!). I could write down what I did at a certain time every day of the year (double yawn!), I could keep you informed on what I had for breakfast (which might be a good choice as I have been skipping breakfast again lately. Maybe this would keep me accountable, but gosh WOULD IT BE DULL!). See my plight? If there is something out there that you would like to se me tackle I would love to give it my best shot and see where the year takes it. Thanks for your help.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The problem with withholding the truth............................

Do you ever do that? Not tell someone what you are really thinking or feeling? Of course, we all do it, on all kinds of levels.

Who in their right mind is going to tell their boss the holiday tie they wore was the tackiest tie ever worn in the workplace?

Who is going to share with grandma that you have to wash ALL the clothes in your suitcase everytime you visit (not just the ones you wear) because they reak of mothballs?

Not sharing these things, is not going to destroy any relationships, and is in my opinion a type of respect. What worries me is when I hear about something that was with-held because the withholder was afraid of what the withholdie would think about them. This totally has the potential to destroy many things.

Just because one manages to not let someone know something, does NOT change the facts of its existance. What can happen is the withholder can let the information fester into a much bigger deal than it othwise might be. I think we withhold our truths because we are afraid to own them. It really has nothing to do with how we think the other person will react, but what it changes for us when we say the words outloud.

How do we form these notions that there is a right and a wrong way to be? If you have children, you might have noticed that when they are one and two they have no trouble admiting anything they are doing or feeling. By the age of three or four however, they have somehow picked up on the notion of fibbing, or trying to get away without ownership of problem. I guess we parents feed into this by time outs and other punishments, and of course society cannot survive without some basic order. My question is what is damaged in the process of conformity?

When my kids were little, I thought I did a pretty good job about letting them be independent by giving them choices. I also know that I would do things like insist they wear blue socks with the blue outfit (instead of say, the orange ones). Did I somehow give them the notion that there was something wrong with them for wanting to wear the orange socks in the first place? Did I unknowingly feed into the making them believe there was ONE better way to be?

Regardless of what contributes to it, the reality of adulthood is that most of us struggle with the notion of who and what we should be as oposed to what we think we are. If one grows up in a family of avid hunters, it might be difficult to share with dad that you have become a vegetarian. It might seem easier to move the disgusting hunk of flesh around on your plate and sneak it into a napkin when no one is looking (I did this with liver once upon a time at someone's house. Who in their right mind would serve liver to company unless they knew the company liked it?), then have a frank talk with dear ole dad about your changing views.

It is certainly your right to follow this path. Just be aware of what you are loosing by doing so. Even though dad has no idea (and maybe, just maybe he is more aware than you think), you know and that is enough to make a difference in the relationship. It is always harder and more stressful to hide a truth than it is to own it. It is also much more work to undo the hurt of a truth withheld then to stand up for your choices in the first place.

Since I know you are all dying to know what promted this post, and since the mind has a way of blowing things all out of porportion, I will let you in on the truth...

My oldest came home for Christmas, and told me she had to go home Christmas evening because she had to work the next day. Turns out that while technically she did have to work, she planned to and did use a personal day and didn't go to work. I really don't get why she would not have just told me she wanted to go home to be able to hang out and relax. She is twenty-seven years old and I know she has made her life elsewhere and only visits us now. I am okay with that fact of life. I am just wondering why she is not okay with it, and why she thinks I am not? Are you disapointed that it wasn't something much juicier? Sorry.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Governmental hoop jumping........................................

I don't know about where you live, but in my state it seems like the more that big corporations figure out how to get around things the more ways the government finds to control us small business owners. Let me talk about what I know, senior living.

A couple of days ago I got a letter in the mail stating that they had passed some new something or other (I honestly didn't understand what they were talking about, but I have learned that there will be a constant flow of paperwork to follow that will eventually get around to explaining things so I didn't worry too much about my lack of understanding) and they had set up a (as in one) manditory training date that I would need to attend.

I am really okay about the need to regulate my business, but what they fail to understand is it is not always easy to just drop everything for a day and run to a training. They forget that some of us are running these businesses by ourselves and it is easier said than done to get someone to fill in so we can learn this valuable information that will be repeated ad nauseum in that trail of paperwork that I was mentioning above. I REALLY am smart enough to be able to figure out and apply any new rules that are passed regarding my business. Honest!

Big corps have actual positions that do nothing but attend meetings all day long (gosh I would hate that job!) so this training is no big deal to them. When they have their trickle down and in-service all the staff, again management will not suffer. Who will suffer is the one staff member that is left on the floor to answer all the call lights and the residents who will not be able to get to the bathroom in time because every body but one staff member is in a stupid in-service meeting. This brings me to my real beef about the current system.

The big thing in my state lately has been the Governer passing this law requiring all people that work with seniors to be finger printed. This is her idea of assuring quaility care in nursing home and other establishments. Do I have a problem with fingerprinting? Since I don't plan on commiting any crimes in the near future, not at all. What I do mind is the Governer thinking that this is actually a solution to elder abuse. It might be a start, but no way does it assure quality care. Take this example below, told to me by a Hospice nurse:

One of her patients (living at "one of the nicer" nursing homes in the area) was in the end stages of dying, and obviously bed bound. She had morphine orders PRN (which means whenever she ask for it). When the nurse went to visit her, she was moaning in pain. The nurse went to find the staff nurse and ask why she had not been giving any morphine to control her pain. The staff nurse replied, 'Well she didn't ask for any, and I can't be running down there to check on her to see if she needs it." I am sure this staff nurse passed the finger print test with flying colors, but in my opinion she was abusing this lady by causing her needless suffering.

And did you know that in a nursing home staff ratio is something like six (or ten, or whatever) to one resident, but all of the people that are employed count in that ratio? What this means is that there can be one person on the floor providing direct care to twenty or more residents while the director of nursing, the social worker, and the dietician are sitting in their offices doing paper work and the nursing home is in total compliance. How can any legislator think that this is anything but elder abuse? But hey! We know that they don't have a criminal record so we are not going to bother to look at what really needs to be changed.

I looked, AND I changed what needed to be changed in my small little corner of the world. Unfortunately, because I am not a big corportation, I get no governmental assistance to provide the best possible care in the world, while the nursing homes get five grand a month to provide sub-standard care at best, by people that are already stressed by life in general, and yet get very little of the five grand per resident they care for. I also drop everything and figure out a way to get to whatever training the government wants me to go to so I can continue to provide quaility care to as many people as possible, why the big corps continue to spend lots of money on lobbying and other endevors to keep the rules and regulations tipped in their favor. What is wrong with that picture?

So, as 2006 draws to a close, pray that 2007 will be the year that our legislators catch on to what our seniors that can not speak up for themselves really need. Fingerprint as many people as you want to, but look deeper into what really needs to happen to a system that has failed so many in the past, and will continue to fail many in the future if someone in power doesn't open their eyes to what is really going on. Thanks for letting me vent!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

GONE SHOPPING; The Sequel........................................

You really didn't think I was going to buy shoes and not share the joy now did you? I know I can be mean, but not mean enough to do something like that. Sooooooooo...

We were about five minutes away from the shoe store when I said to my youngest, "Man! It is 8:09, they have probably made their first sale and we aren't even there yet." Imagine my astonishment when he arrived at the parking lot and there were only about twenty or so cars in the lot. Thirty percent off clearance AND TRIPLE points, I thought there would be a line of people waiting to get into the store, but I guess people don't sense a great deal when they are shown one. I have to admit that I was not unhappy that I didn't have to deal with crowds.

My youngest was a great helper, getting me the boxes off the bottom shelf (it is still a bit painful to bend over, especially with the belly brace on), and carrying all the boxes over to a place where I could try on the shoes. Since my addiction to What Not To Wear, I have been dying to buy some pointy toed heels to make my legs look longer. I found some perfect ones today; (short) brown boots, (short) black boots, slate blue, camel snake skin, and black heels! All with pointy toes and two or so inch heels that I swear to gosh are comfortable (I know this for a fact because I had to wear the brown boots right away, and did the rest of my shopping in them), who would have thunk it? I got those five pair for me for $135.00, and two pair of loafers for (my) Mister for $100.00. BUT I SAVED $538.00, and don't make light of the TRIPLE points that I earned. I know guys shoes HAVE to be more expensive because men buy less shoes in general, but I feel a little bad that that is the way things are. Do you think the price of men's shoes would be lower if they all had twenty or more pair in their closets like many women do? Anyway, I am a happy, happy girl, with happy happy feet!

After the shoe store, we had time to go to the fabric (craft) store and I found some containers that will work great for next years Christmas presents. I was also able to re-stock my wide ribbon supply at seventy percent off, and this is a good thing.

After this I had a doctors appointment and he took my other drain out! Are you getting the happy, happy, happy theme that keeps running through this post? Not so fast...

You know those coupons that they put in the ads for so much off a purchase of so much to get you in the store? Well, I ran into Macy's while my youngest went to Wet Seal, to see if they had any good sales. While I was in there, I saw one of my resident's sons, and he ask me if I wanted his coupon as he didn't find anything to use it on. You know me and coupons, of course I took it. I couldn't read the fine print(my eyes are old I guess), and I had a couple of questions about it, so I left the item I wanted to use it on on the shelf and went to a check out line to ask my question. It was a time sensitive coupon, and by the time I got to the front of the line it was to expire in about three minutes. Before asking my question about what it could be used on, I first ask if it would still be valid after noon since I had used my shopping time to stand in line. The person at the register told me she did not know, so I ask if she could page a manager and ask them that question. I then stepped over the the side and waited for my answer.

About three minutes later, the cashier whipped around and out of nowhere says to me, "You know the managers are all back up right now." Blame it on the pain medicaton I don't know, but I felt as if she had slapped me. I replied, "I'm just waiting. I didn't think I was being intrusive standing here." It wasn't what she had said to me, but the way in which the words were delivered that made me feel as if asking my question was wasting a manager's precious time. But I am the customer, right? So taking care of my needs is a great use of time isn't it?

A couple more minutes go by and another cashier comes up. Not knowing if this was a manager or not I began to ask her (her identity) and the other cashier cut me off to say to this woman, "She's standing there waiting to talk to a manager to see if she can use a coupon and she doesn't even have anything to purchase She hasn't even shopped for something, and she wants to know if she can still use the coupon." I tell you I felt down right dirty listening to her talk about me in the tone of voice she was using. She had played judge, jury, and prosocuting attorney, and boy was I guilty of some crime in her mind. Right at that moment, a manager called, said yes I could use the coupon over the next several minutes, and I went and got my item and went to a different cashier to purchase it.

While I was standing in line to make my purchase, I was still disturbed by the way I had been treated and decided I needed to share my experience with a manager. I went to customer service, and when the manager arrived to talk to me I began by saying, "I wanted to let you know how I was just treated," and then burst into tears. Totally blaming this on the pain medication too! The manager was very sweet and understanding, waiting for me to calm down and then listening to me with her full attention. I felt a thousand percent better after getting it off my chest. Maybe because she agreed with me that I should not have been treated that way, but mostly I think because I felt heard.

I am sharing this adventure with you for a couple of reasons. I have no idea what the cashiers story was. Was she having a bad day? Does she hate her job? Was her behavior her nomal personality? Did she have any idea her delivery of what she said would wound me as it did? Would this same exchange have bothered me as much on a different day? Did I unknowingly come across to her in a way that pushed one of her buttons? Whatever the answer to these questions, the point is that when feelings are involved there is the potential that things of this nature will happen. We all need to be on gaurd as to the way we are presenting ourselves, least we be the one inflicting pain on someone knowingly or unknowningly.

Beyond that, remember that if you don't like the way someone is treating you, you have the right and responsibility to stand up for yourself and your feelings. You have the right/responsibilty to say, "I don't like the way your behavior makes me feel, and this is what I don't like about it." How else can we expect anything to change?

BTW... Yes! The discounted shirt I purchased WAS worth the adventure. It makes my new boobs look really, really, good, so I ended up with happy feet AND happy boobs!

And don't forget the (bonus!) TRIPLE points.
GONE SHOPPING!...................................

Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ideas please...............................

Since the passing of our beloved Cecil, our other cat Andy has been sad and lonely. I get that some of you non-cat-lovers out there might think this can't be so, but trust me it is.

Andy and Cecil used to spend hours laying together and grooming one another. Since Andy was the older cat, he did most of the grooming, along with teaching Cecil the ropes of our family. Now he is stuck with only us to love and pet him and for those of you that have lost a special someone you know this is just not the same.

If any of you have gone through this problem and have any ideas we might try to make Andy a happier kitty I would really appreciate hearing about them.

Of course our youngest thinks we should get a kitten. This sounds good in the moment, but practical ole' mom has to go beyond the moment to the cost and time investments a new pet creates. I do feel a bit guilty that Andy is out numbered by the dogs two to one, but not enough to give in to another mouth to feed. How much can a teenie tiny kitten eat one might ask? Around here, the answer is a lot, and again you are just going to have to trust me on this one.

The big problem with getting a new pet is time management. My youngest is already so busy she has difficulty spending quality time with the pets she already has. It isn't fair to throw a new one into the mix when you know it will make the quality time with the other pets suffer. That just is not a responsible thing to do, though we people tend to do it all the time.

Once upon a time (all those years ago), when Internet dating was just coming into vogue, I happen to be single so I gave it a whirl. I cannot tell you the number of guys that would write to me and feed me the line that, "Yes, they happen to be married, but were extreamly mis-understood by their wife." My answer to them was always the same: "Treat your wife like she is the most important person in the world to you for one entire month, and I bet she will understand you better. If not, write me back and I will consider talking to you further."

Interestingly enough I never heard back from one of them. I like to think they took my advice, but more likely than not they moved on to someone with similar views, as that is always easier than working to fix a problem. Having been a dumpie, as well as a dumper, I might not have space to talk about this. I prefer to think I have grown and come to see the error of my ways.

We live in a disposable society, where everything and everyone can be tossed into the trash. Things (and people) that we JUST HAD TO HAVE no longer hold any importance in our eyes. These are facts of life, and go along with change, which can lead to growth, if done right.

Yes! There IS a right way and a wrong way to move things (from a beloved pair of jeans to a significant other) out of our lives. One way is a selfish, rip and tear, don't care who gets hurt, I only care about me way. The other way is to do so with compassion, kindness, patience, and love. Think about how you would like to be treated if you were the one being ask to move along so that you might treat accordingly if you are ever the one asking for someone/thing to move along out of your daily world. Remember that one person's trash is another person's treasure, so treat your trash as a treasure to help it be so when it finds the way to the next stop on the journey. If you do a good enough job of this, you might just find some value you had not noticed in a while and want to hang onto it for a bit longer. Wouldn't that be great?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rough day yesterday..................................

I went to see the surgeon on Wednesday afternoon. (Of course) he said that he wished all of his patients were like me, nurturing this over achiever's ego pretty darn well. I was only able to get one of the drains out, but I will live with that. He also wanted me to take an antibiotic since there was one little area that was a bit red. Again no big deal... Nope, that's not right...

I ended up having a reaction to the antibiotic, being dizzy, sick to my stomach, and just plain yuck! I told (my) Mister that now I felt like I had had surgery, as the way I felt yesterday was much more the way I had invisioned feeling. Our thougths are powerful, and maybe I brought it on myself. The lesson I am choosing to take away from my experience yesterday is not to take even a simple thing like feeling good for granted.

I think we all do that a lot. I know I take the great blessings I have been given (like electricity, water, health) for granted much of the time. When do we most appreciate electricity? When we have a power failure of course. The same it true for lots of things (and people) in our daily lives.

I worked my butt off to prepare and get ready for my surgery so that I might have the easiest recovery possible. I just didn't appreciate how easy it really was until I couldn't stand up for more than a few seconds without feeling sick. You had better believe that I am going to be much more grateful for feeling good after yesterday's experience.

While most of us don't tend to invite the negative into our lives, it shows up anyway from time to time. Like with everything else, it isn't about what shows up, it is about what you do with what shows up. Every experience we are given is designed to provide growth if we choose to look at it in that way.

Okay, I'm sad that I slept through (my favorite Christmas show) Rudolf last night, and missed family time. Fortunately for me I have the video so we can watch it again over the next few days (or in July, which we sometimes do). Also fortunate for me, I have an understanding family that assured me I didn't miss much, and that, YES! Santa did pick up the misfit toys from the island. That part always makes me cry. Do you think it is because I can relate so well to being a misfit? Me too!

So, today is a new day, get out there and make the most of it. Appreciate not only what you have, but what you can do for others. When you are out there doing your last minute shopping, and some idiot steals the parking spot that clearly the entire world knew was yours, turn the other cheek and be thankful for the car that at least got you to the outer edge of the parking lot, which is better than having had to walk from home. Right?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last minute gift idea...............

Ben went to the groomer yesterday. He is so darn cute when he comes home, and his groomer said he was especially well behaved yesterday. Gotta ya! You thought I was going to write an entire post about Ben's trip to the groomer didn't ya? Or maybe that I was going to go into all the great reasons to bring a pet into your life this Christmas (since I used the words gift idea above)? Wrong again...

Ben brought a present home from his groomer. It was a little bag filled with a bunch of different things. My youngest said it looked like the groomer had gone around and picked up different things from her office and put them in the bag. I ask her what the tied up note inside the bag said. Of course she had not read it, you know how kids are they NEVER read the cards first, or who a gift is from. Below is what the note said, and I thought it was special enough to share with all of my blog friends:

Everyday Survival Kit
Toothpick - to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.
Rubber band - to remind you to be flexible; thing might not always go the way you want, but
it will work out.
Band Aid - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, your or someone else's.
Pencil - to remind you to list your blessings every day.
Eraser - to remind you that everyone makes mistakes and it's okay!
Chewing Gum - to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything.
Candy Kiss - to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug every day.
Tea Bag - to remind you to relax daily and go over that list of blessings.
To the world, you may just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.
Isn't that wonderful? I couldn't figure out a way to send you the things in the package, but I am sharing the thoughts behind the items that you might use them to make your world and the world around you a better place, and that you might pass them along to others that they might gain the same benefit. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

She is so beautiful.............................

We finally picked up my youngest's senior pictures last night. Yup! The ones that she had taken last June. There was a time in my life that this could have been because I didn't have the money to pay off the balance. I am extreamly blessed that this was not the case. There was a time when I wouldn't not have had the time to attend to the matter. Again, I am blessed that this was not the reason. I have "me" time now, on a daily basis, and I love it. Nope, this one is totally being blamed on the kid!

She has had an extreamly busy fall, and we could never coordinate a time when we could both go in and set down with the staff to figure out what we wanted. If you don't believe me, let me remind you that this is the same daughter that thought she lost her purse thus cancelled her debit card and two months later had still not made it to the bank. So mom finally called and ask why they could not just mail her a replacement card which they did and now it has been another month that she has been using the bank generated code because she still has not had time to get to the bank during a time that they are open. This doesn't concern me that much because 1, I have seen her car and it is so trashed that no thief is going to bother to look for anything important like a scap of paper with a bank code on it in that mess, and 2, when she loses it (and she WILL lose it eventually) this might move her into action on getting into the bank and putting her own code back on the card. One of those win win thingies.

But I was telling you about the pictures. BEAUTIFUL! Yes, I know a mother is suppose to think that, but really folks. She is so beautiful (how beautiful is she?), she is so beautiful that I even considered breaking my rules and posting a picture for all to see. She got this little composit deal (because I ordered so damn many poses, but she IS the baby so I AM entitled) and I had decided that the pictures where small enough that they might be okay to post, but then I realized since the middle shot is of her posing around her name in big letters that would be a dead give a way of who we are so no can do. She is so beautiful that I am seriously concerned that her siblings will be upset at having to hang on the wall beside of her for the rest of eternity (I know I took my picture down, but then it is my wall so I am allowed right?). She is so beautiful... ENOUGH! I settled for showing her boyfriend her picture and then bugging him until he agreed with me that she was so beautiful, she looks just like her mother.

So we have the picture thing over... Now onto the DVD. (Again because of the size of our order) she gets this DVD made of all of the (200) poses. For this she had to pick out three songs for them to use. She knew she wanted our funeral song, but not what else. Funeral song you ask? This is a song that I want played at my funeral. It is by Collin Raye and called "I Wish I Could" and is about a dad that wants to always protect his daughter and yet knows that it is is not possible. Back when my youngest was maybe 8 or so, I was going out of town for a couple of days and left her little gifts to open in my absence. This song was one of those gifts, so that made it special. The fact that we ALWAYS cry when we listen to it makes it even more special. I have totally lost the point of what I was talking about... Oh, yes! The rest of the music... I spent some time yesterday picking out other potential songs for the DVD, and in the end we were only able to limit it to seven potential songs. Keep your fingers crossed that they are able to work them all in as we already gave up twenty contenders and just can't cut anymore (what a whiner!).

One of them that had to be cut, in my youngest's opinion, was "If I were brave," because as she put it, "Any kid that can go talk to the Superintendent of schools is brave so we can't use that song, right?" WHAT! I didn't tell you about her talk with the superintendent?

Did I tell you about the senior shirt, that sports a Jack Daniels label, that was changed AFTER the kids voted on a different shirt, by a few select "in charge" students, which when it arrived my youngest was told by said student, "since you ordered a shirt you have to pay for a shirt," which she did and then tossed in a drawer since she wasn't going to wear it. I found out about the shirt from another parent and voiced my displeasure to the principal who said to me, "Lots of kids are unhappy and didn't buy a shirt. Tell her to bring me the shirt and I will get her money back for her. Which she did the next day, and which insued a campaign on her part of bugging him to attend to the matter over the last month, and last week promted him to say to her, "If you don't stop bothering me about this, I am going to give you the shirt back and do nothing about it" which I found to be a TOTALLY inapropriate thing for a principal to say to a student, SO...I suggested she take the matter to his boss so that his boss knew how he was choosing to interact with the students.

She decided to do so, but being the fair minded individual that she is, talked with the principal one more time before her meeting. In that discussion the principal told her he NEVER told me he would get her money back which is a total lie, but also typical of his character. She told him (and the superintendent) that is was never about the money, but about the way things had been handled from the beginning. While she didn't feel things would change after her meeting, she did feel great about standing up for herself, and felt that the superintendent was compassionate and heard her concerns so this is good.

P.S. In one of those "be careful what you wish for" lessons, this is the same principal that two years ago called me all concerned because my daughter refused to speak to him when he said hello to her in the hallways (she is like an animal... they know instinctally to avoid rotten characters). All I keep thinking now is he HAS TO BE saying to himself, "Why is it I wanted that kid to talk to me? Now all I want is for her to shut up and leave me alone!" Like I said, "Be careful what you wish for."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

If you thought I had a great guy before, just wait until you read this.....................

Before being layed up, I had been making video tapes to pass the time during recovery. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, they had an all day What Not To Wear marathon so I taped six hours of the show. Believe it or not I am getting (my) Mister hooked on the show with me. He told me a couple of days ago that he had never noticed before how many women wear pointed toed shoes these days.

Okay, so yesterday I snuck out of the house with my youngest (yes she was driving) for a quick little trip to the fabric store as she needed to get some fabric for the present she is making her boyfriend for Christmas. I HAD to go along, as I was feeling left out of her project planning, and I was DYING to look at patterns for my new little black dress. You know, the one that every hot looking babe HAS TO HAVE! I had been looking for the perfect dress in the stores for a couple of months, but I have not seen exactly what I want. Long story short, I found, found, FOUND it. While getting the fabric cut I was so busy showing off my new boobs that I didn't buy the right amount of lining as the dress has an underpinning AND a lining. Since it was on sale through today (99 cents from $3 something) I wanted to get the rest of what I needed. This is where (my) SUPER Mister comes in.

Not only did he go to the fabric store for me to get the extra lining, he took one of the new What Not To Wear blouses I got (on clearance for $12.00, 100% silk), found a pattern to match the blouse so I can make a couple more in this perfect for me style, AND took another pattern and picked out some fabric for me to make a top out of. How many guys do you know that would do that for you, no matter what you were recovering from? Not only did he do this for me, before he left, he let me dress him up in one of the What Not To Wear outfits that I got for him last week, just so I could get that "You look so good you take my breath away" second when he got back home from the store. It TOTALLY worked!

I am up to twenty-five minutes of walking on the treadmill, and did a mile and one quarter in that time period yesterday. In the afternoon my youngest worked on her present. So as not to give the details away on the very slim chance that a certain boyfriend wanders onto this post, I will just say that part of it has to do with forming the letter O. It took the three of us much longer than it should have to figure out exactly how to do this, but that is okay because we laughed a lot at the results along the way to completion and had some nice quality family time during the process. All in all a really great day and weekend. Hope yours was the same.
Angels at Christmas, and all year long.......................

One of the twelve days before surgery present I received was a coffee cup with a snow (woman) angel on it. As I was drinking my coffee this morning, I began to think about all of the angels that cross our path each and every day, and how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

I am sure that the rest of you are not like me, and always pick up a cart or basket on your way into a store. Even though this has NEVER been my reality, I continue to convince myself that I am only getting one or two things so I don't need a basket. A few weeks ago, I needed a bag of carrots and a bottle of juice. Absolutely, positively, I was not spending another dime. After all, I had just been in the store shopping for real the day before. Of course, by the time I reached the juice isle I already had four or five small items, and then I noticed that Verners soda was on sale.

I had been watching for it to go on sale, because one day while talking to a customer service rep regarding our mortgage account, I found out that she used to live in my state and the one thing she missed the most since moving away was Vernors. I told her I would send her some so she could have a little taste of home. So, here I was, hands full of items, juggling two twelve packs of soda on my right hip, working my way back to the front of the store. I kid you not, a very nice person stopped me and insisted I put my stuff into her cart, took her few items out of the cart, and went to find another one for herself. Now if that isn't an angel at work, I don't know what would be.

I not only have many friend angels, that are there for whatever without being ask, I also have some great relative angels. One of my sister-in-laws called me last night to see how I was doing. She was all apologetic for not having called sooner because of work and getting ready for Christmas. She has a busy life, as do we all, and yet she made checking in on me a priority. That made me feel really good, and also meets angel requirements.

The last time I chatted with my other sister-in-law, it was back during campaigne time. She works in a high school as a hall monitor (do they still call them that?), and the kids love her. She treats the students with respect and consideration while maintaining high expectations for their behavoir. Because of this, her students for the most part work up to her expectations, and the students love her. She is definitely a gaurdian angel for all of them...But back to my story...

One of the people running for a political office came into her school to talk with one of the classes. Though he was a well known figure, my sister-in-law insisted that he follow protocol, and go to the office for a visitor pass. By not letting this "big wig" bend the rules as many other might have been tempted to do, she was not only protecting her students, she was showing great respect for them as well. Isn't that what angels do, love, protect, serve, and look out for our best interest? Those students are as lucky to have her in their world as I am to have her in my family.

As you are finishing up your holiday shopping, or enjoying the angel decorations around your home, take a moment to give thanks and praise to all the angels in your world. Maybe even take a few minutes to let them know how important they are to you. Doing so, would make you an angel as well now, wouldn't it?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Continued self-involvement..........................

Since I have taken this week to be selfish, I thought I would share another hospital story for today's post. I think you might enjoy it...

As I told you, I ended up staying one more night than I had mentally prepared for, and was more, more, more than ready to head for home. As soon as the nurse took the IV out of my arm, I was dressed and packed up in under five minutes. An hour later, I was still waiting, when the lady came to clean my room. To help her out, I moved out into the hallway with my little bag, and took my hunched over posture with me. After waiting for another ten minutes or so a nurse tech finally took pity on me and found a wheel chair to take me downstairs in.

For whatever reason, as we entered the lobby of the hospital I started tearing up and told the tech, "I can't wait to see my husband. I missed him so much." The poor thing, what can she say but, "How long have you been married?" When I replied, "Almost seven years," she really didn't know what to say. She came up with, "Is this the first time the two of you have been apart for over night?" When I replied, Oh no! We always take seperate vacations" (she didn't know about the business), I am sure it confirmed to her that I had had to much medication.

Now to the best part of the story...

By this time we had made it through most of the lobby and I could see (my) Mister sitting in the cab of the truck. Yup, that's right, just sitting there. I am sure the tech was expecting him to be waiting impatiently, pacing, throwing things in anger, I don't know, but he was just sitting there! She had me through the revolving doors and onto the sidewalk before he noticed and got out of the truck. What are the first, loving, devotional words out of the man's mouth? "Oh! I didn't recognize you." Is it any wonder that when I declined the offer of further assistance from the tech she was back inside the hospital in record time? She probably went right to my chart to read what the psychological work up said about me.

Thinking later about the reason for the tears (besides the drugs in my system), I decided that it had nothing to do with lovey/dovey/gushy/ love. The other times that we have spent extended times apart, we had prepared in advance and and figured out ways to stay connected. It isn't like we didn't stay connected this time, after all, there was a phone in my room. Like the time I told him I would call him at 7:30 on Thursday morning, and read the clock backward (20 minutes to 4 am). He didn't get angry or anything, just said not to worry about it and went back to sleep. Isn't that just the sweetest thing?

The lesson to be learned from this story?

It isn't about the grand jesters, or how much a gift costs. It's the little considerations, the putting the other's feelings ahead of your own, that makes the strongest connections in relationships. Do these things for your loved ones every day of your life and you are sure to turn heads as you blubber your way through the hospital lobby after your next operation.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A pampered princess.....................

That is how (my) Mister is treating me. I feel like I am on vacation. I got up this morning, caught up on the blogs I follow, got on the treadmill for fifteen minutes (at a very slow speed, but it is a start), washed up, chatted on the phone, and am going to go take a nap when I finish up here. I am feeling a little guilty, but not much. I will make it up to him with my new perky figure when I am recovered, if you know what I mean. I took the support bra off to wash up, and kept expecting my boobs to fall back down into their regular place. They stayed right up where they belong! Both (my) Mister and myself were amazed by this fact!

Thrilled to be home, I can't help but continue to think about my hospital roomate. She was a young thing, in her early twenties, and from what I gathered has had a less than stellar life. She has been having belly pain since Monday, and as of yesterday the doctors had still not discovered the cause. This young girl wants what we all want, to be loved and cared for. Please send good thoughts her way, for a full recovery, and for a dream come true future for her and her two year old daughter. Thank you.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

There's no place like home........................

As ORA posted in her comment (thanks by the way for doing so ORA), surgery went well, and I am finally home.

I had planned on staying one night, and was a model patient during that time period. At two this morning, my stoic act wore off and all I could do was cry to come home. I was never so happy to see my floors (that needed to be swept) and smell my house smell (a good smell, not at all stinky, at least not to me)

Okay, are you ready for this?

The surgeon took off fourteen (14) inches of skin from the area between my pubic area and under my breasts. AND I AM SHORT WAISTED! That is a lot of skin. He said he took off more than he had planned (if you watch all the surgery shows you know they mark you all up before you head into surgery) so I joking tell people he cut outside the lines (instead of colored outside the lines for those of you that don't work with little kids). And my breasts look great as well. For the first time ever I think, I have to look over the little buggers as they no longer hide under my armpits when I lay down.

The surgeon was extreamly impressed with how well surgery went. It took him less time than expected and I didn't need to have any blood transfused. I totally attribute this to all the love and prayers that everyone send to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The letter to the surgical staff was a big hit as well. A couple of the staff even told me afterwards that they had spotted a couple of angels in the surgical area.

Lucky, blessed me, I was prepared for much more pain than I have had, but I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I am amazed at how good I feel. Again I know this is because of all the good thoughts from everyone. I am taking it very easy and sleeping a lot. I just couldn't resist saying hi and letting you all know everything is going very well. Thanks for caring for me so much, it means a lot.

Monday, December 11, 2006

In Memory of Cecil Kitty..............................

Born on a fine day in May 2002...

Died on December 11, 2006

He was a great kitty, that always brought a smile to our face and a special warmth to our heart. He was not a cat that would have been happy being sickly, and we are happy that his illness was a short one.

We will miss him, but have many fond memories to see us through.

Rest in peace dear Cecil.

Patty’s BIG event……………………

Most of you have heard the history of the “get healthy” journey I have been on over for past two years. I have come to enjoy exercise, and accomplish physical goals that I would have never dreamed possible at the start of my quest. Along the road I have learned so much about myself, and I have come to believe there is NOTHING I can’t achieve if I want it bad enough.

Starting out wearing a (tight) size sixteen, I have reduced myself to a size fourteen, then a ten/twelve, and since going off sugar and processed foods to a size eight/ten. What is left behind is a saggy, flabby, hanging skin tummy and still too proportionately large for my frame breasts. Besides the fact that it just plain looks gross and in no way makes me look as healthy as I am, it causes problems for me when I run and exercise. Anytime I run over five miles (sometimes shorter distances, and I CAN hear you guys out there saying, “Well just don’t go that far then,” so cut it out) I get rashes, welts, and other uncomfortables that I won't discribe. To take care of these problems and to make me look and feel better about myself, I am going to have a tummy tuck and Breast reduction/lift tomorrow.

I have been planning and preparing for this for a long time, but I didn’t want to share this idea until I was pretty sure it was a reality. Do you have dreams like that, that you prefer to keep to yourself? I first saw a surgeon to discuss the possibility last May, then again in October when we set the date.

That was when the real planning began. Theoretically, one can put in for time off work, and that pretty much takes care of things. If one is a mother, this makes things a bit more difficult since there are additional plans to be made for the children. Well, for me, not only are there children, but Ops, and all that goes into that. Oh, yes! Let’s not forget what is happening on December twenty-fifth. Lots to be done for that special day. I will not bore you with the details, just believe me when I say I have been busy.

I have had presents purchased, wrapped and under the tree for weeks now. All the baking is done, and some of that has been delivered as well. I have two weeks worth of meals and detailed instructions written down. Durable Power of Attorney papers signed and witnessed, and letters written to my children and (my) Mister. Don’t think this is morbid, surgery however minor comes with risks, and I could not stand the thought of something happening without leaving these letters. I have actually been going to do this for years, but have never gotten around to it. Now I had a the perfect reason to write them, I plan to up-date them every December.

Last Tuesday morning, I had my pre-surgery phone interview. After that, I was letting myself get excited, and had almost convinced myself it was okay to share the news with all of you, when the phone rang. It was my surgeon’s office letting me know that unless I had a full cardiac work-up and a nuclear stress test, the anesthesiologist was canceling my surgery. Everything I had worked for was slipping through my fingers. I called my primary doctor in tears and told her what was going on. Miracle of miracles she was able to get the two part test I needed ordered for the next day and the day after. How often does this happen? Oh! NEVER! I am truly, truly blessed!

This was the test that I referred to in an earlier post, the one that spoiled my night out with (my) Mister and youngest that they never complained about once. I want to take a minute to brag here. Not only did I pass the test with flying colors, I got up to fourteen mets this time (from ten last time, someone my age should be able to reach eight), and went for twelve minutes on the treadmill. Of course I could have gone much longer, but twelve minutes is the full length of the test. I got the word last Friday afternoon that I have cardiac clearance and the surgery is on. I am in great shape, and have been eating as if in training (extra, extra healthy) and doing meditation and breathing exercises to help me deal with the pain after surgery. (my) Mister has liked this part because it is his job to pinch me while I listen to my relaxation music and block out the pinches. Sort of like Lamaze training. I am ready, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I even wrote up this little note to give to the surgical staff. It reads as follows:

December 12, 2006

Dear surgical participant,

Don’t worry if the operating room feels a bit crowded during my surgery today. I have invited my guardian angel/angels/ and spirit guides, as well as your guardian angel/angels/ and spirit guides to attend my operation. Feel free to call upon yours as needed, and please request that mine assist me if need be as I will be unconscious and unable to do so for myself.

Thank you in advance for your attention to detail during my surgery, and for doing your best work. I am confident that I am in the best of hands and absolutely certain that everything will go just the way it is meant to.


While I am serious about the content of the note, I am also hoping to generate a laugh or two, since laughter is the best medicine. How often do you think they get ask to read a note such as this before beginning their work day? Oh! NEVER!

One other thing I want to share… On December first, my youngest came up with a GREAT idea that we do the twelve days before surgery, instead of the twelve days of Christmas. This means that each day leading up to surgery (and since we like presents so much, we are doing the day of as well) we all give one another a present. Almost all of the presents my youngest have given to me and (my) Mister have been service gifts, the hardest ones to give, but the best to receive. I also have to say that both myself and my youngest have been extremely impressed with the gifts that (my) Mister is giving us. I do believe that after seven years the man is finally figuring out how to listen to us. For example, I was mentioning that I needed to get some more of the new bold fruit flavored tic tacs that I like, and the next day that was what I got for my present. Good job honey! We have all decided we should make “the twelve days before __________” a regular part of our lives since we had so much fun doing it.

Doctor says I can’t lift for two weeks. I can however begin walking the day after surgery and begin running again when I feel ready to do so. I am planning on being extra good and cautious for the first two weeks (at least), as I don’t want to do anything that will keep me from a full recovery by the time of my half marathon the end of February. I hope to be back to blog world by the end of the week, even if I have to dictate to (my) Mister. In the meantime, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Keep (my) Mister there as well since he is going to not only be running the business by himself, but taking care of me.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I adore snowmen.........................

And have this really great snowman/snowwoman collection that makes me smile everytime I look at them. Yesterday, while cleaning the house, my youngest had an acident with my set of sports playing snowmen. Don't be alarmed, he only lost his football carrying hand (the snowman silly, not my youngest...youngest is a she remember?).

The exchange went something like this: (Youngest), Oh, Sssssssss! Me: You'd better not finish that statement. (Youngest)I didn't know there were any snowmen up there. (In her defense, the four of them were sitting in a window that is mostly covered by the big plants we have to bring in each winter.) (Me) Well now you do. (Youngest) Well, at least it is a clean break. (Mister) Ya! That is the hardest kind to repair. (I would not have thought that to be the case). (Youngest) Well, at least his nose was spared. (Can you tell she does not play football? All you football lovers out there are cringing at the thought that this snowman's playing days are behind him, and how he won't be able to make a good living, since his catching/throwing hand is damaged... Also, my youngest speaks from experience. Snowmen/women noses are usually pretty delicate, and are normally the first thing to go. When the collection is out, and I have my youngest clean, it is fairly normal for me to be washing off the counter and find a little orange something?. Upon investigation, it often turns out to be a snowman nose). (Mister, with a resigned sigh!) Put it up there and I will see what I can do to fix it. (Yes! He HAS done this type of damage control a time or two before.)

Anyway, since I talk about death and dying a lot, I thought it appropriate to post this picture on my blog. Did you know that statistically speaking, Snowmen/women expire more in late winter, early spring, then any other time of the year? Snowmen/women have families too!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Laughter, the best medicine...........................................

I was listening to a radio program yesterday, and they were talking about laughter and the role it plays in healing. When one uses humor to get through difficult times, they term that as being a "humor-being," (as in human-being).

Making fun of things, especially myself, comes pretty easy for me. Making light of difficult times is a technique I have employed for most of my life, not knowing it was benificial or in vogue. The way I saw it, was I had to laugh at the circumstances or else I would cry. I used to hate to cry in front of other people as, way back then, I used to think crying was a sign of weakness. Now I think of crying as an emotional release, and I am much more comfortable letting the tears flow at will. But to get back to laughter...

These two docs were talking about how laughter is physically beneficial to us. When one experiences a side spliting, gasping for breath, tears running down the face, bout of laughter, it exercises your insides and gets things flowing in a good way. Who would have thunk it?

So the next time you are in the middle of a grave situation and the urge to crack a funny come on, go for it, even if you do it silently to yourself (though I find things far funnier when I share them with others and the others agree with me that they are funny).

My challenge to you today, is to look for/create a reason to laugh long and hard and then take note of how you feel physically. Better yet, make it a point to have a good laugh session every day for a solid week, and see if you feel better at the end of the week then you did at the beginning of the week. My money says that you will! Be the best humor-being that you can be, and your life will change for the better.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I need to be more like them...................................

Earlier in the week, everything lined up to present an opportunity for my youngest, (my) Mister, and I to go out to dinner. It is so rare that we all get to go somewhere at the same time, and we were all really looking forward to it. The afternoon before we were to go, I received some news that I would have to take a test the evening we were to go out. No problem, I figured we could manage to fit in both.

The two of them dropped me off to take the test, and they went to run a couple of errands for me. The test was a breeze, and I was excited that it had taken such a short time, until the person administering the test informed me that I needed to complete a second part in an hour and a half. This would give me just enought time to take the two of them home and get back to the test site. No fun night out for us. I was upset, as I am sure the other two were, but that is not what came out of their mouths.

The only thing they said is it was okay, and they were behind my goals that required this testing, If it had to be done this night, then it had to be done and we would just have to find another night to go out again. I can't tell you how much I appreciate their love and support. Both my youngest and (my) Mister are very un-selfish, much more than I am. I am so lucky to have them by my side as I get closer and closer to a goal that I sat for myself two years ago. I would not be as close as I am to reaching it without their constant love and support.

I am almost ready to share the details of this goal with the rest of you, just a couple of other things to fine tune, and then I will let you in on the details. Have I piqued you curiosity?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A new place to rest my head.....................................

(my) Mister and I have changed rooms again... Sort of...

Last June, when we gave up our room to add an additional resident, we moved all of our stuff downstairs and started sleeping in my sister's room. She only uses the room when she visits summers and holidays, so this wasn't a problem. I never knew how hot that room gets with the door closed, but it was way more than I was comfortable with. If I were to leave the door open, the cats would visit in the middle of the night and wake me up. Once I am awake, I am up for the day, so this system didn't work to well.

I figured if I was going to have nightly visitors, I might as well be comfortably cool, so I decided to move our bed into my craft room.

First you have to understand that the term room is far from accurate. What it really is, is an area of the basement that stores all of my craft items, my sewing machine, ironing board, seasonal clothes, books, and anything else that I don't want others to mess with. That is on the far end of the basement. Before you reach that part, is an area called my "exercise room." This area has my treadmill, ellipical trainer, weight bench, free weights, and a couple of cat litter pans because I can't figure out a better place to put them. This area also houses the furnace, washer/dryer, and freezer. I tell you this, because it makes the next part of the story more interesting.

My sister's room housed a double bed that found it's home when we purchased a queen size Tempur-pedic matress. This is a bed that has a motor under the box springs to make both the head and the foot of the bed go up and down. It also has a vibrating system to relax one to sleep. Bottom line, the dumb thing is HEAVY! In order to give us more sleeping space, I decided to move the Tempur-pedic into the craft room. I don't know why, after all these years, I still can't have the patience to wait for help, but I convinced myself that I could move the bed myself. Once brain has talked the rest of me into something, there is no turning back.

Twenty minutes, several bleeding knuckles, buckets of sweat, and a multitude of swear words later, the bottom portion of the bed was in place as good as it was going to be. Problem with this, was there was no space to move in the area, so I had to move the dumb thing back. Why do I do these things to myself? Had I waited for (my) Mister to get home, he would have ignored my nagging why he patiently measured the space, the bed, the walls, ceiling, and anything thing else he could think of ()kay, maybe not all of that, but when one is nagging not so patiently, it would seem like it), to save us from all the trouble I brought onto myself. Me, being me (once I got the bed back where I started), let brain convince me it wasn't a total waste of time because I got a really good work out moving the bed twice in one day.

So the two of us began sleeping on the double bed in the craft room. While better than the queen size there still was little walking space around the bed. When I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I had to creep around the end avoiding a shelf and a chair (not to mention several cords on the floor). Then the tricky part began. I had to reach out and find the pole of the weight bench, duck so I didn't hit my head on the lats attachment, immediately curve my hip to avoid the pole that stuck out from the chest press weights, while at the same time reaching out in front of me to move the punching bag out of the way so I didn't smack into that, and then be sure and not take too many steps before turning or I would stub my toe on the laundry basket. Since I sometimes get up several times in the night, I got pretty good at this whole thing.

This lastest a couple of months before I had the great idea of moving the bed into the living room. Again, room is somewhat of an over statement. Part of this area really used to be a bedroom for my son, and the other part was (my) Mister's den. When we started the business, we tore the wall between the two area out so we would have room to have a sofa, TV, etc... as our place to get away from the business. Once we moved the bed into the living room, it was a quick right from the bottom of the stairs, thus anyone coming and going went practically past the foot of my bed. My youngest also had to pass whenever she entered or exited her bedroom which is in the far corner of the basement (and has walls, two doors, an emergancy window exit, a ceiling, and flooring since spring in case you are interested). The good news is while I had farther to travel to reach the bathroom, it was far less hazardess to my health to do so.

With the remodeling done upstairs, we finally got to bring the big screen TV up from the basement. This left a big empty space in the corner of our downstairs living room. Two days ago I got the bright idea to move my bedroom into that space. Now I have walls on two sides of me, and a privacy screen at the foot of the bed. This is the most seclusion I have had in months. When the animals try jumping up on the bed, I yell at them to "get out of my room." My youngest told me last night she like the way I think of this space as my "room." I explained to her that sometimes one just has to work with what they have. This is where one's mind comes in.

I feel blessed to have any space to call my own. Some people only have a cot in a shelter, a space under a bridge, or a park bench to rest their heads. While they rest, they still must protect their few belongings least someone steal them from them. Forget having a toilet a few feet away, and what about a place to shower and/or brush one's teeth? There but for the grace of God go I.

I like to think that I am not all about possessions, and yet I am extreamly grateful for having a house that is comfortable, a husband that works hard to provide for us, and a family that loves and appreciates me. Count your many blessings today, be thankful, and pray for those less fortunate than you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pillow fight.............................

Yup! The pups and I are facing off with the pillows again.

When we did the holiday decorations, the day after Thankgiving, I sat out the holiday pillows on the sofa. They are made from gold lame' to match the tree skirt, and have/had a big bow tied on them (like a present) that matches other bows in the room. They looked a little tired this year (three years is pretty old in pillow age), due in part from the dogs HAVING to lay on them.

A day or two after they were out I came into the room to see Ben wrestling with one of the pillows, tearing the bow off from it, having a blast. Here I have to remind you that Ben is a rescue dog, and the family he was born to apparently never taugh him to play. We have tried, from time to time, to get him to play with toys, but he rarely shows an interest. When he happen to think it great fun to play with my holiday pillow I was so pleased to see him playing that I didn't have the heart to yell at him and take the pillow away from him. Once he worked the bow off the pillow, he had a great time tussling on the floor with it.

Bottom line is I decided to make new pillows this year, and these were in place on the sofa yesterday. In place that is for all of about five seconds before Emma was re-arranging them to suit her cute little bottom so she might be more comfortable. I left the old pillows out, and have tried to explain to them that the new ones are for my enjoyment and the old ones are for them to use any way they like, but like many of us, they prefer the novelty of the new. It would seem that while the old ones did in a pinch they are no where near as comfy as the new ones. I guess I have trained my dogs to desire only the best mommy has to offer.

This training has given me a new goal of getting the pillows to stay in place just long enough for me to leave the room and return. So far I have not reached my goal, but I am working diligently towards it, replacing and fluffing each and every time I come back and find the pillows out of place (unless, of course, my youngest is around, then I yell at her to fix them as "it is her dogs that are messing them up" don't ya know?). It is a good thing they are so cute or I might just have to kick their little butts out in the snow to keep the pillows where they belong.

How lucky am I that this is all I have to complain about? Have a great day!

Friday, December 01, 2006

(my) Mister's creative creations! Posted by Picasa


I tried to import this picture into the other post, but as you can tell I was unsuccessful. Be sure and read the post below so you get why I posted this picture.

Since I know you are all dying to know if (my) Mister took my (not so subtle) hint and brought me a surprise, I will share with you.

He did really, really good this time. I have a cutting board made from the sink cut-out Corian counter top. I guess from putting hot stuff on it, the dumb thing buckled and when I would try to use it it spins around and is not at all efficient. Well, (my) Mister brought home these little things that go on the bottom of the cutting board and now it is nice and sturdy/steady, and doesn't move at all when I use it. Isn't that cool?

I don't know about you, but it is the little things like that in life that drive me nuts. I feel like a pampered princess now everytime I use the cutting board. The "present" part of (my) Mister fixing it is that he thought it up all on his own. I didn't have to nag/plead/beg/all of the above. He took it upon himself to find a way to make my daily life a little better, and that makes me feel really loved and cherished. A gift isn't about the price tag attached, it is about the thought and effort that went into the gift. Thanks honey.

Since I am sharing wonderful things about (my) Mister, let me tell you what he did last night...

He helped me decorate sugar (holiday) cookies. You know the ones that are messy because the little sprinkles stick to evertything EXCEPT the frosting on the cookies. Normally, I bake them and it is my youngest's job to frost and decorate them. This year, we have a cookie deadline. My sister is not coming home for Christmas this year (I will not cry thinking about it), so I have to ship her cookies out to her. Sugar cookies would not have been on my list, but apparently they are her favorite. I had everything else ready to go, but my youngest had no time to decorate. The dogs would have been happy to help, but I wanted a few cookies left, so that left only poor Mister to be recruited for the job.

After I sat him straight on the fact that I hated the job MUCH more than he did, he not only was a good sport, but he got his creative juices flowing after a bit. Not an easy thing to do with only red, green, red/green, multi-colored sprinkles, and those little red-cinnamon thingies. Thanks Honey, you're the best!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Loving my ordinary life....................................

Maybe it is Thanksgiving day leftovers, but I woke up this morning filled with gradtitude for my simple little life. Cold and rainy outside, I was comfy, safe, and warm in a house filled with love. No surprises awaited me as I meandered through my morning routine, another great comfort to me. Besides my pleasant surroundings, I have ample clean water, heat, lights, and nourishment. Who could ask for more than that? Me, of course. It is my wish that everyone in the world be able to have the kind of life that I have.

Growing up, I heard my share of "starving kids in Africa" stories, and the nightly news reports are full of horror stories. People all over the world are managing to survive without ample food or water. Every day people are enduring all kinds of abuse. And then there is me, often taking all the blessings in my life for granted, whining and caring on about how bad things are when I don't get my way.

My intent for this post was NOT to be a downer, but rather to put down in words that I DO know I am blessed beyond measure. Much of the time I take all the good things in my world for granted, expecting that they will be here for as long as I want them to be. Today I am acknowledging the fact that life can change in an instant. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow never comes, today is all we have. Rather than get all caught up in planning for someday, I am taking this day to appreciate all the good that has come my way. Today I am even willing to look at what some would call the negative and see the positive in it. Today I am here, in the moment, strong, content, and loved. Today I am blessed with magnificant grace. What about you?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The BIG day has finally arrived................................

Today, Wednesday November 29, 2006 is my youngest's first anniversary of starting to date her boyfriend! Aren't you excited for her?

Sometime in late August, she started making noises about what her plans were for the big event. I managed to put her off for a few weeks without really paying attention. Come on... The kid has ADHD, who would have thought she could stay focused on one subject for such a long time? Certainly not my experience when I ask her to do something around the house.

By mid September she had decided she was taking the whole day off from school. This kept her in school every single day until today as (in her words), "I am saving my day off for the twenty-ninth." I assured her she could miss more than one day, but in her mind it would have made taking today off less special. Boy, she is just like her mother! And just for the record, she has decided to go to the first two hours of classes, as the big event doesn't actually kick off until early afternoon so she, "doesn't want to sit around and get anxious" about the rest of the day.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am pretty un-orthodox when it comes to most everything. I am not sure whether or not I told you that (my) Mister and I "hung out together" rather than date, and it wasn't until after we were engaged to be married that we went on our one and only "official" date. There is a point to this tangent that will tie in in a minute. I promise...

(my) Mister's birthday is in September, mine is in October. We had decided to get married and were ring shopping in late summer. Not wanting traditional wedding rings, (come on... we had each been married before, and done all the traditional stuff. We all know how well that turned out for each of us) I picked out a diamond ring that had a wide band to use for both engagement and wedding. I would have gotten a much smaller diamond, but (my) Mister didn't want people to think he was a cheapskate so he insisted the main stone be at least a carat. He assured me it was an investment, but everytime I try to sell the ring for cash he has a fit (because he knows how much I really do love the dumb thing) so while it might be an investment for one of my heirs, it isn't making me much money. Some investment! Back to the point... (my) Mister picked out a ring with a saphire in it (his birthstone), again not traditional, but he really liked it. The plan was for each of us to pick up and surprise the other with the rings at some point in the future. With his birthday right around the corner, I planned a little treasure hunt for (my) Mister. His clues directed him to a couple of stores, where he recieved a small gift and another clue directing him to the next place. One of the clues directed him to the jewelry store where his ring was waiting, along with the final clue which sent him back to his apartment (which at the time was an hour away from where I lived) where I had invited his family to a birthday dinner surprise. I was pretty proud of myself, because I had never met any of his family before (we had only been "officially hanging out" for a couple of months at this time), and yet managed to get his mother's phone number and plan everything without him finding out about any of it. (Must be my sneaky gene at work.) It turned out to be a really great surprise for him.

Now, to tie this back into today, my youngest totally stole my idea and has planned a treasure hunt for her boyfriend. We have had lots of fun picking out the stores, getting the presents, wrapping them, and then giving them back to the store clerk to hold until the hunt begins. She even improved on my idea by making an authentic looking treasure map. Fotunetely she DID NOT set off the smoke alarm when she was burning the edges of the paper to make them look old. She has also promised to warn me the next time she decides to set something on fire inside of the house so I don't think the place is burning down.

I LOVE that she still needs my assistance with these things. I love the fact that she thinks it is strange that her friends barely talk with their moms, let alone spend time doing things with them. Her boyfriend is getting used to the fact that "she HAS to tell me everything that happens in her life, it's just the way she is," (her words, not mine). I am thrilled with that fact since it keeps the young man in line regarding my daughter. Nothing wrong with someone being "afraid of you" is there?

Instead of letting young love have all the fun, use her celebration to get you excited about planning your own. Remember why you fell in love with your special someone and do something fun and special to let them know you still feel that way. (Yes, (my) Mister, I AM talking to you too!) Enjoy this special day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A new twist on an old tradition.................................

Twenty-eight years ago I took my oldest daughter (then almost six months old) to sit on Santa's lap for the very first time. That photo of her red faced and screaming, arms outstretched, squirming on a big bearded strangers lap, trying to get away, is burned into my memory forever. Every year since then pictures with Santa have been an annual tradition.

I know some of you stopped doing this when your children reached the age of ten or so, but we didn't want to give up the fun. Like the time we were standing in line when my youngest was sixteen or seventeen and she saw some girls from her school walking around in their cheerleader uniforms. She was so embarressed for them, thinking people would be making fun of them walking around "dressed like that." I pointed out that she was, after all, standing in line to get her picture taken with Santa. Her response, "So, what is wrong with that?" reinforces my belief that the apple doesn't fall far from the mother tree.

After my oldest moved out of state, it became a little more tricky to get the annual picture, having to cram it into the weekend after Thanksgiving, but the kids always managed, and I always got my picture under the tree on Christmas morning. This year, we were sanwiching the picture in between running errands and making enchaladias for my oldest (one of her favorite meals) before she had to return home to get ready to fly out of town on a business trip. When we got to Santa's chair in the mall, all that we saw was an elf, and a sign that said Santa would return in half an hour.

Being on a time crunch, we decided to improvise so I sat in Santa's chair with the sign in front of my face and the kids gathered around me. As we were walking away, each storing the memory into brain's file system, my oldest came up with a great idea. She suggested that in future years we continue to see how we can twist the traditional Santa picture in a new way. We all agreed this would be lots more fun than doing things the old way, so that is what we are going to do in future years. Who says traditions can't be updated and changed for the better? It isn't about the tradition, but about the feelings of closeness and togetherness the traditions bring out in those participating. What are some of your favorite Holiday traditions/memories?

Monday, November 27, 2006

An attitude of graditude is a matter of choice..........................................

I feel a little like I am selling out when I use someone else's words for a post, but as they say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," so I thought I would share the better part of this article I came across. It states what I have come to not only believe, but practice over the past couple of years, and I couldn't say it better myself. Comments in red are my thoughts on the article.

For a little background, Victoria was a mom, sick with many alergies, with an over-weight, out of shape husband, and two couch potato children, one which developed very serious diabeties. In her plight to save her son from a life of insulin injections she discovered a raw food diet. Within weeks of eating only raw food her son's blood sugar levels dropped from being in the 400s (VERY life threatening) to normal. They have been on a totally raw diet for the past ten years (or more). Read more about the family on their web site if you are interested. I think it is really neat how a mother's quest to make her family healthy has not only helped many others, but also turned into a family business. Us women can do anything we put our minds to.

By: Victoria Boutenko Copyright 2006 by Victoria Boutenko. Please reference this
source when sharing this information:

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of
all others.” -Cicero

When we adopt a raw food lifestyle, we may feel deprived
of our habitual pleasures, especially when we watch
others enjoying cooked delicacies that used to be our own favorites or in my case sugar and processed stuff.

We all have different perspectives on life. Some of
us feel that life is becoming increasingly more frustrating, especially
considering all the natural cataclysms and political
challenges. At the same time, others view life as a totally
beautiful and enjoyable experience. Initially, I thought that
our opinions on the fairness of life depended on the level of
our material wealth. Later, I met some poor people who were
content with their lives and wealthy persons who were deeply
upset about their lives. While watching many people caught
in a material pursuit (including myself) I developed a strong
interest in the true origins of people’s contentment in life. I
came to the conclusion that there are two opposite perspectives
on life: the materialistic perspective and the grateful perspective. Which one are you? Since I have a roof over my head and a full belly, I like to think I am the second, but (gratefully) never having been homeless, how can I know for sure?

The materialistic approach to life guarantees discontentment
and frustration, as there is no objective limit to the
acquisition of personal possessions. There is no constant
measure that could be marked as “enough.” At the same time,
only the very basic possessions that satisfy our essential needs
such as food, clothes, and shelter, can bring us a sensible feeling
of contentment. The majority of the items beyond the basic
needs convey very little enjoyment to their possessor. That is why it is up to each of us to set limits on when enough is enough, rather than let ourselves be driven to keep up with the Jones.

Contrary to this, gratefulness inevitably leads us to
becoming aware of the unlimited wealth that life holds for
every one of us. (Had my washer not broke, I would not be celebrating my ability to wash clothes hassle free with as much gratitude as I now have.) Grateful people tend to be happier, more optimistic,
more satisfied with their lives, than their less grateful
counterparts. Michael E. McCullough, a professor from Florida,
provides experimental evidence that gratitude leads to
improvements in psychological and even physical well-being.
McCullough’s groundbreaking research demonstrates
that “people who place too much emphasis on materialistic
pursuits – people for whom obtaining wealth and material
possessions takes priority over meaningful relationships,
community involvement, and spirituality – tend to be unhappy
people. In general, they are dissatisfied with their lives, and
tend to experience high levels of negative emotion. They are
at risk for a variety of mental disorders. In contrast, grateful
people – people who readily recognize the many ways in
which their lives are enriched by the benevolent actions of
others – tend to be extraordinarily happy. They experience
high levels of positive emotion and are generally satisfied
with their lives.” Hey! That is how I feel about all of you out there reading this.

Being constantly exposed to a vast variety of advertisement
and financial challenges, we may increase our materialistic
perception of life. According to McCullough’s research,
gratefulness is such a powerful approach to life that it
may reduce people’s materialistic strivings.
I invite you to apply this valuable information about
the power of gratitude to any situation in your life. Below, I
am presenting two different approaches to watching another
person consuming a cooked delicacy.

The materialistic approach:

What is that heavenly smell? Oh no! It’s pizza! Look at how
they are enjoying it. How come I am not allowed to enjoy it?
Am I a monk? They don’t look as if they are going to die. Can
it be true that I will never again in my entire life be able to
partake of such a pleasant meal? Oh, how lucky these fellows
are! I wish I could enjoy pizza now as they do! What torture,
poor me. Oh that aroma… it brings tears to my eyes. So many
of the sweetest memories come to mind, the best times. Now,
they are over. E-eh. For health reason's we have decided to limit out consumption of pizza to once a month. My youngest is counting down the days for all of us, as the big pizza event rolls around this coming weekend.

The grateful approach:

That smell is oddly familiar. Wow, pizza. I had a lot of it in
my life! More than one could dream of. Now it is time to take
care of my health. Yeah, health is my priority now. All these
people eating pizzas will be delighted to discover a healthy
diet in their time. I am grateful that I am on a healthy diet already.
I do feel a lot better. I am so glad that I will not have to
be sick again. In only fifteen minutes I will be home. What do
I have in my fridge? Those hass avocados I bought yesterday
should be perfectly ripe today. It will only take a couple of
minutes to prepare guacamole with lemon, tomatoes, and jalapeno.
Uh, my mouth is watering! I have fresh romaine lettuce,
tomatoes and a giant organic mango that will be so yummy
and nourishing. Oh, I am looking forward to my raw dinner
that will leave me feeling light and wonderful. I greatly appreciate
what the raw food diet is doing for my body and mind.
How fortunate I am! What a blessing life is. Wow! I am not at this level yet, but on a lower scale, this is exactly how I am beginning to view healthy foods in relation to not so healthy foods. I AM grateful that I am making healthy choices and enjoying them. I am extreamly grateful for the way those choices are making me feel, and the way they are positively effecting the rest of my life.

To develop a grateful attitude, we need to practice
one simple activity— notice the positive sides of events in our
lives. The very best way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal.
Buy yourself a notebook and start writing three to five
grateful notes daily. I think that we should be grateful not
only for the positive but also the negative experiences. Often,
it is the most painful events in our lives that shape the qualities
in ourselves we value most. Mmmmm... I think I might think about giving this a try.

Practicing gratitude can make your life on a raw food diet (or any healthy lifestyle change) more enjoyable and will have a positive impact on your
health, your mood, and your life in general. What do you think?