Friday, March 31, 2006
Seems that someone finally clued Mother Nature into the fact that the temperature is suppose to be above freezing, and I have been taking full advantage of that. As I was waking up with my coffee in our "look at room," (Most people call this room a living room, but that would imply one could actually do something in it. I want my family to look and not touch/move anything in this room, so I have a place to impress visitors. Now if the dogs would leave the throw pillows alone.........) when I realized that one of the windows (in the room) had been open for almost a full twenty-four hour period without anyone noticing or complaining that they were cold. It's a miracle!
I was not so lucky with the french doors in my bedroom. I waited until everyone was up and out of the bedroom end of the house, and then I opened the door in our bedroom. Fifteen minutes later, I was busted during a potty run. I shut the door upon request. (and opened the window a crack....Shhh! Don't tell.) Ten minutes later I looked over at the french doors in the TV room, and there was our older cat, in a total panic, because he had gotten locked out when I shut the door! Poor thing! It took half a can of kitty treats to calm him down. (Now that I think about it, maybe it was all an act so he could end up making me feel guilty so I would give him half a can of kitty treats. Do you think? Maybe I should file the expression on his face to use in the event that I ever find myself in the position of having to fight for the last half of the box of expensive chocolates?)
Speaking of expensive chocolates.............. When hubby got home last night, I was explaining that I felt duty bound to get some chocolates from both of the sites that I have talked about but not really tried as of yet. I went on to say that it was only fair to my readership that I try what I had promoted so I could be sure I had given a good recommendation. And, in order to be totally fair, I needed to have a box from each place so I could do a side by side taste compairison in order to give the most accurate report. Good, sound, argument for my side, right? HE TOLD ME NO! Do you believe that?
It could have had something to do with the fact that just two minutes before I had shared with him that I held him TOTALLY responsible for us being in debt, because he could never tell me no. For some reason, he couldn't understand my logic regarding that one either.
Never having learned to take no for an answer, I ask him why he objected, and he told me that I could have the chocolate if I "let him" get a metal lathe. Talk about chocolates and squash! (or was that apples and oranges?) How does one relate to the other? I would say they are both things that we want, but this was the first I had heard of his longing for a metal lathe. I ask him why he needed one of those, and he said "To fiddle with, make..... " I guess I wasn't listening, because I don't know exactly what he said he would use it for. (As I was too busy forming my rebutal, right?) "What happen to the Legos you had to had to fiddle with? (And that I searched for, for two Christmas seasons before actually finding.) I don't see you spending time making knots from the assorted knot making books I have found for you." "When do I have the time?" Was his response. He saw MY point! ......... I promised him that he could have his metal making thingy as soon as he finished all the leftover remodeling things from the past three years. And then went on to point our that since I had finished all the chocolates I had purchased over the past three years, it made perfect sense that I got to get more.
Next, hubby moved onto, "What would what's his name say?" as he gestered towards the stereo. (What's his name,) Dave would say " Is it in the budget?" "Well?" Hubby tried again. (My turn.) "Mmmmm, were those pizzas in the buget? Or the marshmallow bunnies/Hersey nuggets/Keebler cookies?" (His turn.) "I've been meaning to talk to you about that. Stop buying me those things, because I eat them when you do." DUH! Isn't that the point? And what does that have to do with my chocolates? Hasn't he figured out yet that when it comes to chocolate I have a one track mind, and changing the subject isn't going to derail me away from my desire? Hubby, "Okay! But don't spend over fifty dollars." What kind of a taste test would that be...... Two pieces from each company?" (Hubbies response,) "Fine! Get what you want." "Are you crazy?" I replied. "I don't have THAT much budgeted for chocolate!" I said, ducking as the pillow wizzed by my head. (He missed by the way......)
Don't you feel sorry for those couples that have the boring "How was your day dear" conversations at the end of a work day? I know that I do, but I'm not sure Hubby would agree with me!
Thursday, March 30, 2006
My Today Show experience..................
Remember I told you I planned to be on the Today Show while I was in New York? What a fun experience it turned out to be!
We arrived about an hour before show time, and there were only about a dozen people in front of us. The first people in line commented on how we had been smart to sleep in, and in reminded me of when we tried out for the Amazing Race and got there about twenty hours early to be sure we were at the front of the line. (No one else showed until about ten hours after we did.)
When they let us into the filming area, I saw this sign, and my intuition told me to stand there, but of course I didn't listen, so we decided to pimp out baby Lilly (In above photo with her daddy..... Gazing adoringly at me....... I knew I loved babies for a reason!) as EVERYONE knows babies ALWAYS get on camera. On the other side of us were a couple of women who (as it turned out) were from the same town that the camera man's dad lived in. NO WAY could we miss out getting on camera.
So....... Every time the camera guy picks up his camera, the crowd goes nuts, and he says "Not yet." And he looks through the lens, and we go nuts, and he says, "Not yet." And the wind flutters, and we go nuts, and he says "Not yet." And the TV monitor comes on, we go nuts, and he says, "Not yet." TOTAL COMPLETE IDIOTS we all were......IT WAS GREAT!
Finally....... The camera guy says, "Okay! Give me lots of energy." Counts down on his fingers, (five, four, three, two, one,) and WE REALLY GO NUTS! And it is over in like thirty seconds. As the news started, cell phones started going off, and the ladies next to us told us we were on, as people from home had just saw all of us, so we were really jazzed.
We watched the show from outside the window, matching the voice to the lips moving inside, patient for about five minutes, and then not so patiently until the next pan of the crowd. It is pretty interesting what people will say and do to try and get their fifteen minutes of fame. (The top story of that day, was about the minister that was shot by his wife. Hubby is hopeful that I didn't get any ideas, and will choose something a little less dramatic the next time I want to be on the news.)
About thirty minutes into the show, I again check out the crowd, and spot Lenny. Now, for those of you that are not regular Today Show watchers, Lenny is a guy that has been coming to the show every day for several years now, and EVERY DAY is on camera. So, there he is, in the flesh. STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE SIGN THAT MY INTUITION TOLD ME TO STAND BEHIND. Had I listened, I would have not only been on camera, I could have stood beside a celebrity. Of course I had to have my picture taken with Lenny, and the camera guy assured me that the crowd would let me through so I could meet him. He said "Lenny! You've got another fan that wants to meet you." And Lenny was very gracious. He shook my hand, told me it was a pleasure to meet me, and posed for a picture with me. What a sweetheart!
At the start of the eight-thirty segment, Cambell and Lester came out. Of course they stood right in front of Lenny and that sign. Let that be a lesson to us all, to listen to the little voice inside our heads. (Unless, of course, it is telling you to do something illegal, or eat something fattening!) No matter! I got to be on TV, and I got to have a fun time in the big apple. What more could a girl ask for?
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
My latest chocolate find....................
This wonderful little chocolate shop was nestled in right by the Today Show studios. It was a pretty classy joint, where you could do chocolate tasting, by reservation only. Of course, we had no time, and were not eating chocolate before the race, but I got recommendations as to what was best.
Check out their web site La Maison Du Chocolate It is a Paris company, but you can click on English. (Unless you want to practise your French that is.) Again, this is not priced for us budget minded folks, but the next time you need a little pick-me-up........ Even if you don't buy any, it is still nice eye candy.
After I looked at the web site, (Okay, WHILE I was looking at the web site.) I called my husband to ask when he planned on buying me my next present. He said, he had just been thinking that I deserved a present, what was it I wanted? I told him the price of the box I was thinking of started at sixty-one dollars, and he started kicking himself for being quick thinking enough to say the time was now for buying me a present. (Okay! The last part is a total lie....... I thought it made for a better read than what he really said which was "Wow!"........... Don't you agree?)
Feel free to use my husband's willingness to buy me chocolate as a weapon in getting yours........"Patty's husband said he'd buy her some no questions ask." Just don't let on that he knows he can offer to do so without worrying, because I won't let him spend money until all the bills are paid. (Like that ever happens!) Happy chocolate hunting.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A FABULOUS TIME HAD BY ALL....................
Maybe it was a good thing that I had all those nervous thoughts before the race, as everything turned out better than I could ever have imagined.
I ran exactly the race I wanted to run. I began at a slow pace, and kept that consistant for the first six and a half miles, then picked up the pace, and not only finished, but FINISHED STRONG! During mile eleven, all I could think about was how good I felt. Granted, I didn't break any speed records, (You should have seen some of those women fly by me.) but then that was not the plan. The plan was to have a good time first, finish second, and be able to move when finished third. I did all of those things with no problem.
After the race, we walked back to our hotel, rested for a bit, and then decided to go out for a walk. My daughter had been wanting a hotdog, but of course didn't want it before the race. We set out in search of a dog, and at the first corner we turned onto, there set LINDY'S. (The world famous Lindy's cheesecakes, Lindy's. In case you have never heard of it.) In my own little circle of the world, I am pretty famous for my cheesecakes, so taking a picture of the sign was not good enough. I had to buy a piece to compare to my own. I got it to go, and we continued down the street to find something my daughter would like. Within one block there were at least six stores selling deli and/or bakery type foods. We went in every one of them, ooohing and ahhhing over how good everything looked. The stange thing is, neither of us really wanted to eat anything. It was stangely satifying just to look at it, and imagine how good it must taste. It was like we were rewarding ourselves with food, without injesting one calorie. Very strange........... We ended up getting a piece of Oreo cheesecake and a yummy looking brownie, and headiing back to the hotel.
One of the cool things that happened, was our room was upgraded so that we had access to the executive lounge where they had a continental breakfast in the morning, and hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon. After getting back to the hotel with out sweet treats, we went to the lounge so my daughter could watch the basketball game. We had a little to eat while we were there, but neither of us had any real interest in food. For dinner, we ordered what ended up to be the worst pizza I have ever tasted (And we all know that I have eaten LOTS of pizza over the years.) because we had been dreaming about getting pizza after the race. We ended up throwing over half of it away, splitting the brownie, and going to sleep.
We each had about half a piece of cheesecake on the plane ride home, and ended up giving the rest to the folks at home. It was okay, but frankly...... Mine is much better!
In the weeks leading up to the race, I focused so much on eating well, and staying well hydrated, that to tell the truth, what I am really looking forward to is slipping back into the old habits of not eating for a day or two before getting back on track.
Don't worry though, I did find a new chocolate store in New York. Since I couldn't eat any before the race, I got the info to find it online. I will be sharing it with you soon. Today, I need to get things back in order from my absence, as well as go with a resident to a doctors appointment, so I am out of blogging time for now.
I did miss talking to you all, and am happy to be back........... Enjoy your day!
Monday, March 27, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Well! This is it! I am almost ready to leave for the airport. Thought I would take just a minute (or twenty) and make sure I have everything.........
Running shoes, check. (And double, and triple check.)
Cell phone charged, check (What did we do before cell phones? When I go somewhere, I check in on the OPs way to much I am sure, but I don't want whoever is caring for them to have to worry about things, like where do I hide the sharp knifes. (Or bread.... I came up with this cool idea of making use of the wall space next to the garage, so we put in a built in oven, draw warmer, small fridge, trash/recyling containers, and bread drawer in that wall. No one ever thinks to look for bread in the wall. Imagine!.... Wait! this is suppose to be a check list.....
Camera, check (It is my daughter's digital one, I plan to learn how to use it on the plane.)
Lime green race socks, check. (With my first race, I started a tradition of wearing a fun pair of socks.)
Banana's, grapes, apples, oranges, Gatorade, water, tuna, dried fuit, nuts, Ezekiel 4:9 bread, peanut butter, instant oatmeal, check, check, and check. (Okay! So maybe this is over kill, and YES! I am aware that one can get food in New York City. I just want to be able to have what I want when I want it. (spoiled princess that I am) And besides, since I cut down on the amount of clothes I am taking, I HAD to have something heavy to lug around or I wouldn't feel like I was really traveling. Focus Patty! Check list.......
Ipod, pre-programed with a playlist of my favorite running tunes just in case we need to pick up the pace for the last few miles, check.
My favorite orange shorts, check. (Okay! So the weather man says it will not get out of the thirties, a girl can dream..... Or else wear tights under them. One of the best parts about NYC is that us weirdos blend into the crowd really well. The last time I went there, I did some shopping. So much, in fact, that one of my purchases was a suitcase to haul the junk in. I was wearing a really bright multi-colored shirt to start the day. I bought this puffy elephant vest and matching hat. (Yes! the Elephant had stuffing behind it so it puffed out, also LOTS of sequins and bright colors.) I was wearing the vest and hat over the shirt, (It TOTALLY clashed.)pulling the red suitcase behind. NOT ONE PERSON LOOKED AT ME STRANGLY! (For a change.....It was great!)
And you thought this was going to be a short blog......... Haven't you learned anything about me yet?
Pillow...... Oh! That's right. I had to leave that behind because I am taking all that food. I'll be fine, don't worry. I am taking a pillow case to put over the hotel pillow case to put an extra barrier between my face and the last (Heaven knows who's) face that touched the pillow. I hope they weren't a drooler......I will be fine....... As long as I don't dwell on it too much.....Check.
Lime green elastic braclet with a charm that says "succeed" on it, check. (A good friend of mine gave it to me, and I like to wear it when I am working out to remind me that if I push hard, anything can be mine.)
Mom's silver bracelet, check. (My husband's mom passed away a week before my first race last year. She was one of my biggest supporters. As part of the estate, I was given a silver bracelet that used to be hers, and I have since worn it during my races. It makes me feel like she is right there with me, cheering me on. (Which I KNOW she is.)
My Delsol sun glasses, (the frame turns color in the sun, my present to myself on my last vacation.) that make me look "just like a runner." (I heard you say apperances can be deceiving!) CHECK!
I think I have all the important stuff. I probably could type three more blogs with the stuff that I have left behind, but I WILL BE FINE with what I have. (Sorry. Practicing my mantra for the first time I realize I don't have something I want.)
You might have noticed that laptop is not on the list. I am not taking my computer, and a tiny part of me feels the same as if I were leaving my left arm behind. (I am right hand dominant, so it would only have been a bad thing if I had said "leaving my right arm behind.") I have ask my husband if he would post psuedo blogs for me, but I don't think that will be happening. (Mostly, because after my post about right fighting, I offered him rebuttal time, and he passed. He said "You know I don't like to write. What would I say anyway?" I offered to tell him what to say, but for some reason he didn't want to take me up on my kind, considerate offer. Go figure.
My point is that you may go through a little withdrawl not hearing from me for a few days. (Do I have a big head or what?) Just pretend you are on a diet from my blog, and any hunger pains for a word from me will feel normal, and be a good thing.
Thank you for all your support during my training time. It has helped me to be my best for this race. Keep those positive thougths flowing my way, for a fun, wonderful adventure, and remember to get up early tomorrow to watch for me on the Today Show. OH! That's right....... You did not see my snorkle mask on my check list, so you probably wouldn't recognize me if you did see me. You might as well sleep in. See ya on the flip side!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Hastobeme called ME a Fitness Freak. Can you believe it? I AM SO PROUD I COULD SHOUT FROM THE ROOF TOPS! All my hard work is paying off. Thank you Hastobeme! And thanks too for asking for my advice.
Our resident that moved in with us last November, has diabetes. I thought I knew a lot about food, (Now that I think about it, mostly what I knew had to do with taste!)but keeping his sugar levels under control has been an extreamly educational adventure. The first thing I learned, is that there is much more to controling sugar levels than simply not giving him sugar. It is much more important to have a good balance of carbs and proteins at each meal, not letting too much time go between meals, and not consuming a really large number of calories in general. Just this last week I have been relying on the addition of a little protein powder when he has oatmeal and rice (These are the two biggest culprits that send his numbers soaring) and this seems to be working well. NOTE: The suggestion to try this came from his visiting nurse, and I ran it by the doctor before trying it. Please, don't take this as medical advice. I am just trying to make the point that we can be really helpful to our bodies, by the food choices we make. By making postive food choices most of the time, we won't do harm with an occasional "killer" treat.
I have also decided, at least for me, wanting un-healthy food is really a mind thing. Last week, they had Keeble cookies on sale, so I bought them for my family, because they count them among their favorites. I don't particularly care for them, but the last three night, those ____ cookies have been taunting me something terrible. Logically I know that if I did eat one, it would never taste as good as my longing and imagination has made it sound. Silly brain just feels compelled to complain because I have changed the routine on her. You should have heard her last night when I went to the store to pick up a container of dried cranberries, and my eyes came to rest on the chocolate covered dried cherries. It was embarrasing the things brain was able to get out of mouth before I could quiet her. I tried to explain to brain that if it was not a forbidden fruit (get it?) then she wouldn't even want it. Lucky for me, brain has a short attention span, and I was able to quickly distract her with the "eye candy" that was walking down lane eight.
About young kids and junk food....... When I had my first baby (Oh! Has it really been twenty-seven years ago?) I was pretty heavy into diet pepsi. She used to toddle around and help herself to my soda if I left it sitting around on the end tables. I thought it was so darn cute that I even sorta encouraged it. Probably not a great thing, but what did I know?
Ten years later, I thought I knew lots more. My last baby was born at home so her siblings could participate, (Along with nine other adults. What a party that was!)and it would be more "natural." I breast fed her until she was eighteen months old, she had NO meat or sugar until she was two. She used to throw her mac-n-cheese on the floor and beg me for my spinach. Yesterday, I was checking on her bank account (to make sure she had recorded all of her debits, in her check register) and noticed that she had a debit for the day. (Made after school, on the way to track practice.) She had bought skittles (at least she purchased enough to share.) So, inspite of my early efforts, she is not a non-sugar vegan. At least I got her off to a healthy start, and for the most part she does make good food choices. Growing up, my kids were pretty good about listening to my beliefs that there were better times to consume junk food. For the most part they saved the soda and sweets for the weekends rather than school days. As much as I like chocolate, is it really a surprise that they also list it up high on their favorite foods list. Kids learn from our example; good, bad, or otherwise.
My suggestion re: your three year old and coke........ First I think you should determine why he likes it? Is it because mommy likes it/is having it. (Please refer to last sentence of previous paragraph.) Maybe his brain is like mine, he wants it because he's not suppose to have it? My guess is it is all about the fizz. Three year olds are all about fun, and what is more fun than fizzy pop? Maybe you could try some sparkling water laced with fruit juice. (Put into the coke can for added effect.)
The big thing to remember (I try to tell myself this on a daily basis.) is ALL THINGS IN MODERATION, whether we are talking food or activity. (This out of the mouth of someone that is heading off soon to run thirteen miles in one stretch. Go figure.) If your son's diet is made up of healthy real foods for the most part, his little body should be able to handle a little sugar now and then. (Maybe he would eat a cheese stick or peanut butter cracker along with his coke? The protein would help balance the sugar.) I think doctors get concerned when kids eat SO much junk that they don't consume enough good carbs and lean protein. Their little tummies can't hold very much at one time, making it important that a large portion of what they do eat be high quality goods.
Each child is an individual. This is what makes parenting so challenging and so scary. No matter how many books one reads on the subject, we are still pretty much wandering through unknown territory, trying to do the best job we can do. Our best is all that we have to work with. Lucky for us, children are very resilient, very loving, and very forgiving.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Remember when I mentioned that I thougth I was creative, but not artistic? In my reading the other day, I came across a statement that speaks to that point:
"Normally when we think of creativity, we think of artistic skills such as writing, drawing, or painting. But facing an obstacle and coming up with another way to reach the goal is creativity at its finest."
The above quote is from the book "Flipping the Switch," by John G. Miller. It is his follow-up book to "QBQ! The Question Behind the Question." The QBQ book (as well as the new one) is about personal responsibility. Turning your thoughts around so that you say, "What can I do to help the situation right now with what I have." Instead of "When am I going to get _______ from _______ to help the situation?" If you want to know more about the books go to QBQ.com Both books are quick little reads, and contain tons of good information about stepping up and fixing a situation instead of waiting for the other guy to do so.
What is the most creative solution to a problem you have ever come up with? How was it received by others? Sometimes wondering what the answer to the second question will be, keeps us from acting on our creative ideas. It can be hard to go against the flow, or risk speaking out against something that "has ALWAYS been done that way," even when it is clearing no longer working. I believe, if I want the right to complain about something, then I have to be willing to participate in changing it.
This week my (youngest) daughter has to take mandatory state testing. The school made this big deal about "making sure your child is on time and has had a good breakfast." They also said a snack would be provided between tests. This morning my daughter told me the snack that was handed out yesterday was sugar cookies and Junior Mints. This didn't set too well with me. Give a kid a bunch of sugar and them tell them "Okay! Sit down and focus on this test for two hours. WOW! I called the principal and shared my concerns, and told him that in my opinion, a protein snack might be a better choice for the kids, to which he said he thought they had also had milk. (Which my child will not drink because of all the added hormones, but I let that go.) I then added that I didn't know about him, but given a choice, most of us would go for the yummy tasting candy over the nutritious milk any day, and maybe in the testing environment offering candy was not the best thing to be doing. I went on to inform him that I had sent a more appropriate snack for my daughter, and would appreciate his facilitating her having it if the teachers gave her a hard time about having something not handed out by them. In addition, I offered to send in healthy snacks to replace the candy. (And that the candy might be handed out at the END of the testing. Okay! I know it is a food reward, but keep your eye on the big picture here.)
I am pretty sure that my name is well known around the school, though not necessarily in a postive way. That evil part of me kind of likes this fact. I think that actually I am good practice for them. Because I am a parent, they have to listen to my concerns, and say all the appropriate things, even when they really just want to get me off the phone, and get on with their day. The vice-principal got off easy today, I just called him. Last time something like this happen I printed off a bunch of articles on nutrition and made him read them and get back with me to discuss them. Pretty creative hu? They may be sad to see my child graduate, but probably not as much as they will be happy to have me out of their hair. Maybe I should be grooming another parent with younger children...... Mmmmmm..... Who do I know with kindergartners?.........
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Most of the time when I sit down to post a blog, I really have no idea what I am going to write about. I tend to just start typing about one thought, and then just relax and let my fingers do the typing. Not much of a writing style I guess, but it seems to be what I need to do. I am amazed at the discoveries I have uncovered while posting a blog entry. Posting has become a sort of therapy for me.
This morning, It occured to me that I have transfered this style to my e-mail responses. (Those of you that have gotten a few of those long-winded e-mails are probably saying "It's about time, she figured that out.") I received an e-mail from a friend wondering how my training was going, and letting me know that she was thinking good thougths for good weather, happy body, and lots of fun. (Paraphrased) The following is an except from my reply to her:
I am proud to be trying something new for this trip. Going with only carry-on
luggage. I know it is no big deal, but I am a HUGE over packer. When we went
last summer, I took seventeen pair of shoes, just in case! Last trip I was proud to have narrow it down to six, and I actually wore four of them. I still took too many
clothes, so this time I am whittling even more. I am taking one extra pair of running shoes, as I have to wear a good shoe for support so my feet don't get tired before the race, and I am not going to chance just wearing the shoes I will race in the day before and then get them wet before the race. (Or get them stolen off my feet like Carrie did in one of the Sex and the City episodes....... Okay! So they are not Milano-Blanca-whatevers. They are MY favorites, broken in just right!) Under-packing makes much more logical sense than my old line of "I have to take all this because I am not sure what I will feel like wearing and of course if I take this shirt I need to take these shoes, this shirt/these shoes/this......." You get the point. I think somehow this is part of all the junk I am shedding in my life. Being able to get rid of this over packing thing is going to be like peeling back another layer of my onion, on the way to the real me. Just keep your fingers crossed that I don't end up wanting something I didn't take.... It could be a real set-back.
WHAT HAPPEN to "Things are going great, thanks for the kind thoughts, and for asking"?
When I came up for air after typing that paragraph, my first thought was "that sounds like blog material." The second thought was "THAT SOUNDS LIKE A BLOG ENTRY!" YIKES!
So, I plead guilty of complete blog emmersion, and ask forgivness. Blogging has crept into all aspects of my life. I have no immediate plans to decide if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. It just is........ I probably won't work too hard on reducing my e-mail relpies, but give all of you that receive them at work/home/in the car/at the airport, permission to delete me and/or break up the reads during all of your coffee breaks through-out your day. Or.... You could file them in a folder titled "Something to do, as a last resort,when I am really really REALLY bored." How's that for a win win solution?
For me, it is enought that I blog...... Of course..... Having a readership, is the frosting on the cupcake, chocolate of course. The peanut butter on the toast, crunchy or smooth. The dressing on the salad, light for me please. The cheese on the cracker, BOY! have I missed that! Oh! Look! It's time for breakfast...... Gotta go!
Monday, March 20, 2006
Can you relate?.......................
When I came home from shopping Saturday night, my youngest came running to meet me at the door, shouting, "Mom! Wait till you see what I got you." With pride lighting up her face, and a grin from ear to ear, she showed me the above magnet. "Isn't it perfect for us?" She beamed. The fact that she is perfectly accurate did not stop me from wondering what her therapist might think about it!
The saying on the magnet pretty much sums up life around our house. Not that any of us are unhappy with that fact. It is just, if you ever come to visit, don't expect the home sweet home atmosphere that you would find at Grandma'a...... Not a doily in sight. Althrough, I do have a collection of tea cups I inherited from Grandma.
I have made a practice NOT to be normal. When my kids were younger, I steered them away from wanting "the most popular toy of the moment." (I heard those stories of people spending days/weeks/months standing in line for a Cabbage Patch Kid, or getting literally beat up fighting over a Furby. I might be crazy, but not THAT crazy!) Maybe that is another reason why I like to listen to Dave Ramsey? He says that being in debt and using credit is "normal," and it isn't good to be normal if you want to have money when you get old instead of having to rely on the book "One Hundred Ways To Fix Alpo." (You know, the dog food.)
I believe the fun part of being a family is the "un-normal" stuff. Where else do the giggles come from? Don't we all have those relatives that think they are great cooks, never being aware that the rest of the family not only disagrees, but snickers through the entire meal as everyone takes turns lavishing the him/her with outrageous compliments. (If anyone is doing this to me........ Just don't let me find out. Okay?) We all have an aunt/uncle/parent/grandparent that drives us nuts..... But if anyone outside the family mentions anything negative...... WATCH OUT!
As we sail through Lent, Easter will be here before we know it. As you get together with your loved ones, keep track of your most un-normal family traditions. Maybe we will have a contest, just for fun, to see who's family gets voted "MOST ADJUSTED!" (Please refer to saying at the top of the page.) Have a great day!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Yes! It is a fact that I love my husband. In fact, there is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that he is the sweetest, kindest, nicest man I have ever married. (There were ONLY two others.) Or dated for that matter. He is a really great guy, and yet there are times when I'd like to _______ him. (Better not kill, I mean fill in that blank in case a young person wanders onto this site.)
My husband and I are BOTH well practised, seasoned veteran"right fighters." What is a right fighter you ask? A right fighter is someone that must be right at all cost. There is a statement that I read years ago, and have tried to apply it to my interpersonal relationships, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be loved?" (Being truthful........ Good as it sounds, during confict,the way I usually use it is to throw it at the other guy. There have even been times where I have given it a threatening edge. "Okay! You are right...... But you sure aren't loved!" Shame on me! I still have much work to be done!) The problem with right fighting comes in when in your quest to be right, you don't listen to the other person's point of view. (To busy formulating you rebutle in your head waiting for them to take a breath so you can start firing back.) You can't let go of your position long enough to see their point of view. (They might sneak in something that makes sense to you and weaken your defensive stance. Once that happens, all might be lost. God forbid you lose an argument!) A right fighter has a "take no prisioners, win at all cost" attitude. Take yesterday for example....................
I went down to do my weight lifting in the basement, and there was all kinds of stuff out of place. Two of those things I had previously ask my husband to take care of. (Trying to get you on my side with that.) There was also three cases of canned vegetables sitting on a chair from a shopping trip a couple of weeks before. I called him downstairs and ask why he had STILL not taken care of the mirror. (thing one) He said "I don't know?" THEM-THERES FIGHTEN WORDS PARDNER! ME: How can he not know why he didn't do something? (Vote for me.) HIM: No matter what I say it is going to sound like an excuse, and that is really going to piss her off. (You understand don't you guys? Vote for me.) Being a fair judge, I would have to give that round to him. I do (tend to) accuse him of having lots of excuses for the things he didn't do. Ninty-nine percent of them do piss me off. I don't let myself have excuses, so I guess I expect those around me to operate on the same premise.
After saying he didn't know, he patiently waited in silence for me to let him have it. Of course, after a couple minutes of silence I willingly gave him what HE wanted. I have no problem letting other know my needs or expectations of them. I have told him countless times that I hate it when he just stands there saying nothing. Translation....... If he isn't talking, he MUST be doing it to piss me off because I have told him it does. (Another point for me?) Silence on his part is more akin to what a trapped rat might feel as he sees the cat getting closer and closer, knowing there is NO WAY OUT! (Go ahead and vote for him........ Traitor!) Moving right along............
I next addressed the stack of canned veggies on the chair. His response was "I didn't bring them in the house." (WHAT?) ME: Well! I don't pee (or worse) on the toilet seat several times a day, but I clean it up. I don't throw used tissues on the floor by the basket, but not in it, forty-five times a day, but I pick them up. I don't shed cat/dog hair, but I sweep it up. (Or at least make my daughter do it.) I don't wear your clothes, but I wash them. I don't eat what you eat, (except for the salmon) but I cook it. You get the point........ (Now you're on my side. Right?)
That is what I was talking about with the right fighting..... Right to the defensive.......
HIM: I didn't bring them into the house, therefore they never entered my consiousness, so I never thought about taking care of them. (If you are able to find the logic in that statement, then I URGE you to vote for him...... I don't want your vote....... Just kiddin!)
At that point, I remembered (Thank you angels!) that I was trying to avoid stress before my race, so I just told him to go away, I wasn't going to let him ruin or interfer with my work-out. (I know..... he gets that vote.) Of course, just because he left, I didn't stop thinking about what he said, nor could I let it go. (Are you nuts?) After I finished lifting, I picked up the three cases of vegetables (YUP! All...... Let's see...... Twelve cans to a case..... Times three cases..... Two plus two is four, carry the one......Twenty-four plus twelve........ Thirty-six cans of them.) and carried them up the stairs, through the kitchen, down the hall, into our bedroom, and dumped them onto HIS side of the bed! Of course, it would have been more dramatic had I made it all in one trip....... Something was lost when four of the cans fell as I was making my way through the kitchen and I had to go back, retreive them, and add them to the pile. As I walked back out to the kitchen I mumbled something like, "Now there's an example of getting even, not angry!" (I know..... No points for "fair" fighting now.)
When my husband "noticed" what I had done, he said "You're being silly." (Told you he was a nice guy.) My reply was, "Not at all. I am doing you a favor. I'm making sure the cans get into your consiousness, to help you remember to take care of them." Now I could let it go. (Is there anyone out there not yet convinced that I am a total bitch?)
When I was relaying the events to my sister, (Sisters always take your side! In fact she told me it almost made her want to be married just so she could think of cool ways like that to get revenge.) she ask a valid question. "How far away from where they were suppose to be where the cans located?" Well..... Only about three steps...... Don't ask me why I choose to haul them all the way up and across the house instead of just taking care of them? I guess it was more important for me to be right. (Do ya think?)
Fast forward.... Hours later, I was out doing some shopping, and called hubby to tell him I had (finally) found the weight bench I wanted to get (At a price I was willing to pay.) and that he would have to assemble it for me. He said okay, and proceeded to tell me what he planned to feed the OPs for dinner. With a smile (in my voice) I said, Oh! Really! What to have for dinner never even entered my consiousness." He laughed and called me a big liar. (Affectionately of course!) I called him back about an hour later and told him I bought him a present. (Found it on the two dollar rack at Kohl's...... They have the best deals of all the stores in our area) It was one of those "Happy Bunny" items. "A hat," I told him, "That says 'I just don't listen'." When I got home, I gave it to him to try on. He looked disapointed as he was doing so, and said, "I thought you had gotten me a baseball cap." (What am I going to do with that man! I am trying to punish him, and it goes right over his head!)
I am sure none of you have ever had any arguments that played out even close to that one. (I am a ONE OF A KIND kinda gal.) Believe it or not, compared to the dysfunction way I was brought up, I have made lots of progress when it comes to arguing with my loved ones. I am still working on learning to pick my battles. I tend to get all bent out of shape about the little things, and am much calmer when dealing with bigger more important issues. I am very fortunate to have been blessed with a husband that is willing to put up with my little temper tantrums for the most part, and continues to love me inspite of them. (He took care of the cans by the way. I am sure most of the rest of us would have been tempted to at the very least simply move them to the other side of the bed, and/or at the very worst throw them at the other person.) I am very blessed! (even if I'm not right!)
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I went to our grocery store up town the other night, (We are always out of some staple) and as I was leaving a lady ask for my help with her survey. Seems they were plotting out where their shoppers came from. As I told her my address, she said "That's where _________ lived, right?" I answered, "Yes! In fact our subdivision used to be his families farm, and our street is named after him family." I then went on to tell her I had not seen this gentleman out and about lately, and she informed me this was due to the fact that he has suffered a stroke, and was still pretty ill. This is sad news indeed, for his family and friends. It is also sad news for our entire town.
You see, this man has been blind since he was a child. In spite of his handicap, he has lived a full rich life. He always managed to figure out a way to do the things he wanted and needed too, and did so with a cheerful disposition. Whenever you went up town, you could pretty much count on seeing him walking either to or from his home. Whenever you spotted him, it was a given that he would either already having someone assisting him in crossing the street,offering him a ride, or making sure he had been able to complete all his errands or else within minutes someone would be doing so. Everyone in our town from small children to his peers looked out and after him. What a gift he has been to our town!
The fact that everyone wanted to help him speaks volumes about his character. (Nobody went out of their way to help Ebenezer Scrooge now did they?) This gentleman is at least in his eighties. Generations of parents have been teaching their children valuable lessons without saying a word as they helped him cross the street, or simple treated him with courtesy and respect. As generations of children have grown up, they in turn have passed those values onto their own children. Our town is a better place for having had him choose to spend his entire life here.
I am positive that if you sat down and talked with him, he would totally disagree that he was any kind of hero. He would say he was just an ordinary guy getting through his day, doing what he could to help out others and take care of himself. He would probably disagree that his willingness to accept help is a very big deal. And yet this is something that most of us have lots of trouble doing. (In case you haven't already figured this out..... My hand is in the air.... Guilty as charged!) We somehow get the notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness or inferiority, that another will use against us in a negative way. We tend to over look the value of being willing to accept help from others. I am always looking for ways to help others, and know how great I feel when I am able to do so. Why then, do I find it so difficult to be an opprotunity for someone to experience that same great feeling by denying them the pleasure of helping me out? Possibly it has to do with low self-esteem and feeling unworthy of other's help. Could it be I am still trying to over-come the "You'll never amount to anything messages of my past? It is sooooo yesterday's news! Get over it Patty!
Case in point........ A few weeks back, one of my resident's relatives sent me a very large (to me anyway) check. I was unable to accept this, and had all kinds of valid reasons for doing so. (Just doing my job, it was no big deal, we agreed on a fee for service, nothing else is neccessary, etc...) The next time she came to visit I forced her to take back the check. Two days later it suddenly occured to me that I had done what I just finished discribing in the above paragraph. I had denied her the pleasure of giving me an over the top gift. In my quest to be (I am not even really sure what I was trying to be?) I could not even see what I was taking away from her. I had had the pleasure of giving over the top gifts a time or two, and I felt terrible that I had refused to be the recipient of one.
The plan was to write her a letter and apologize once I woke to the error of my ways. I never got around to doing so, (too much time spent blogging I guess) but the next time she came to visit I shared my insights with her, and ask her forgivness. (Of course she was very understanding about the whole thing.) What a great lesson I learned. I am hopeful that I will find it to be a break through, and the next time I am faced with a similar situation that I behave more graciously.
So...... The next time you are quick to brush off help, or dis-credit your worth, (You know you do it!) look at it from the other person's perspective. Maybe they are in the process of learning how to offer help, and/or put others ahead of themselves. Maybe being able to be of service to you, or help you to get something you might not other wise be able to have/do will make their month. Who are you to take something that great from them, just because of the junk you are working through? (Talking to myself here.......) I am a firm believer of "what goes around comes around." I have to just keep my heart open to accepting the gifts that come around my way. I plan to give new meaning to the phrase "Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth." I will let you know how I am blessed as a result of my new found attitude.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I have been having trouble staying asleep again. Not a good thing in general, before a big race, REALLY not a good thing. Maybe it is the excitment (or did I mean terror?) of it all? Maybe not.
The last time I went to my doctor, (For non-regular readers, that was some time ago) it was because I was not sleeping. No! I don't have sleep apnea according to the sleep specialist. No! I don't nap during the day. (Are you kidding me?) Yes! I have established a regular bedtime routine. (Heck, it is my favorite time of the day. I want to enjoy the entire process.) Yes! I go to sleep at pretty much the same time every night, and wake up at five am whether I need to get up or not. No alarm clock needed. Yes! I have tried earplugs/dark room/sleeping mask/white noise/moving to a room far away from the other sleepers. (And husband who does have sleep apnea and the noise from his machine rivals the noise he used to make snoring. As least with the snoring I could reach out and slug him and he would change position and there would be quiet for a minute or two.) I have tried presciption sleepers/over the counter sleepers/herbal sleepers. (All with and without a glass of wine.)
In case you also suffer from sleep issues, let me tell you what finally worked,. For me anyway.
One day, I stopped into the health food store across town from where I live and they were having a live/raw foods tasting party. (No! There were no pigs, chickens, or cows in attendance.) I did think that the food was pretty tasty, and the concept of eating the way cave men used to before someone stumbled into the (concept of) fire "inflamed" my interest. I did some reading, bought a dehydrator, (the timing worked out that I had some gift money just waiting to be spent. Note: There are lots of things one can eat straight from the store, but a blender or food processor is a must by the way.) and ate only raw foods for two months. After the first couple of weeks, I discovered that I had more energy, a better attitude, (Boy! did my family appreciate this fact!) and I WAS SLEEPING THE ENTIRE NIGHT THROUGH! Another thing that totally disappeared was my restless/jumpy leg thing. I had had that problem for years.
My take on this entire experience, was that I am extreamly sensitive to sugar and highly processed foods. I have discovered that when I have the jumpy legs now, I can ALWAYS trace it back to having had sugar earlier in the day. I know, I know....... why do I continue to eat something that I know is a problem? Either (and I like this one the best) I am a classic addict with sugar being my weapon of choice, or mouth is totally running the ship no matter what brain wants to think.
If raw foods is such a wonder diet......why am I still not eating that way. For me, it turned out to be too time comsuming in addition to planning, cooking, and serving three regular meals a day. More importantly, I was wasting too much food to justify it. Most of the recipes made servings for more than one. I truly enjoy leftovers, but more than three or four days in a row is too much even for me. (And remember the whole make-up of raw foods makes it much more perishable than cooked and/or proccessed foods.) When I didn't feel like "cooking" a meal after just finishing cooking a meal, it was easier to grab an apple and some carrot sticks, and I found myself throwing out many unidentifiable mushy green things at the end of each week. Not a good use of my money in my opinion. So...... I find that for the most part I eat about seventy-five percent raw foods. For the past couple of years that has been enough to keep the symptoms away. (My family may not agree so much that the attitude thing is under control ALL of the time, but hey!) It is a lot more convenient to cook gains, or open a can of beans instead of soaking and sprouting for days before hand. To be truly successful, you have to be an organized pre-planner, with dedicated time to meal prep every day. If you can't devote the needed time and energy, I suggest you try fruit and salad for a couple of weeks and see how your body feels. Then you can decide if the commitment is worth is to you. Note: For those of you that eat out a lot, never fear. I ate out several times during my full raw diet days. This is when I discovered that cooks like to create special dishes. Chiness buffets are the easiest. They have all those veggies un-cooked in the back, and will just bring you a heaping plate of them right to your table. Since most people don't know the value of veggies, you will be surprised how much cheaper it will be eating out raw. Most places will bring you whatever they have that is raw, and then just charge you for a dinner salad. Maybe I should have put this on my ways to save money list?
Fact is, except for the hot chocolate the other night, I have not had sugar from any source except raw honey or fresh fruit since Lent began. Last night about seven o'clock I had a protein shake with fresh orange juice. I went to sleep fine, and woke up wide awake four hours later. As I lay thinking about why I was awake, I wandered by the juice, and decided maybe, so we will try no fuit after six and see if that helps.
One thing about not sleeping, waking up from a dream you have lots of time to go over it in your head, so you remember more details of it. Last night I had two dreams about our up-comming race. In the first dream, the race took place IN my home, (?) and I was having a hard time getting my shoes on. (Remember high quality footwear is extreamly important when running.) It always seemed there was something else that needed my attention more than taking the two minutes it takes to get the shoes on my feet. We all did a two mile warm up, (still in my house, me in bare feet apparently) and I was still trying to find the time to put my shoes on. I finally was sitting down, shoes and socks in front of me, when I heard someone saying "Help! I can't breath." As I was trying to decide if I should be selfish and put my shoes on, or go help her out, I woke up. In the second dream when we stopped for a water break, I got seperated from my daughter and kept waiting for her to show back up. I didn't want to leave without her, but I also didn't want to be waiting if she had gone on ahead. WHAT TO DO? As it turns out, I waited and she went ahead, finished, and came back and found me. (Dream time remember...... She is fast, but not that fast!) We were both sad that we had not finished together, so we ask for a "Do Over" and they gave us one. That time we not only finished together, WE WON! (Don't ya just love dreams?) BTW daughter, I know the plan is to run the race together, but if we do get seperated, keep going and we will meet up at the finish line. Okay? (I find that when I plan for things, it helps them to NOT come true. That is why I ALWAYS take an umbrella on vacation.)
In conclusion...... If there are any readers out there that also dabble in dream interpretation...... Feel free to have at it....... I would LOVE to hear any and all opinions. (About my dreams, and/or anything else for that matter.)
Thursday, March 16, 2006
When I got up yesterday morning, I felt great. Until I went in to assist a resident and squated down to help with shoes. OUCH! My quads let me know they didn't think too kindly of that position. I did some streching during the day, and that seemed to help. I was scheduled to run four miles yesterday, and decided to run to the post office and back because I had a letter that had to be postmarked by yesterday. (A friend and I were signing up for a race in April, and if postmarked by 3/15/06 you saved two bucks off the entry fee. That is two bucks that now goes into the found money fund.) It is actually close to six miles round trip from my house to the post office, but I figured I could walk after I completed the first four.
Things went as planned until I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a get well card. Walking the last mile home my quads felt really tight. Shortly after I got home, I went down stairs and discovered my quads had seized up on me. You know, like a car's engine does? (Not that I know the details of what really happens when your car seizes up, but it sounded descriptive of what had happened to me, so I borrowed the phrase.) My quads just stopped functioning. If it wasn't so painful, it might have been funny.
I could manage walking okay, it was/is transitional moves that create problems. Like sitting down to go to the bathroom..... I have never been one of those women that think guys have it so much better than we gals do, but let me tell you...... Last night I was pretty envious of a guy's ability to be able to stand up to tinkle. Okay! Enough said about that one.......
I fully understand that you don't have to squat in order to make dinner, but I just wasn't in the mood to cook last night. (Note: I had already made one meal for the rest of the gang, before going for my run.) I also didn't feel like eating junk food. I wasn't willing to give up all the gain I had to have made with my quads feeling like they were feeling. What I ended up doing was calling one of the restaurants in town and asking them to make me a special order. This is another of the blessings I get from living in a small town, they were more than happy to do this. I told them I wanted a salad with whatever they had in the kitchen that was raw, with a grilled chicken breast from the grilled chicken breast sandwich on the menue. They happily filled my request and even though I would have happily paid extra for the whole special order thing, they charged me the price of one of the menue salads. Talk about great customer service!
Even though I ended up not eating the chicken, (It tasted funny, and I have a hard enough time eating meat as it is. I guess it was okay though, as my daughter ate it with no problem.) the rest of the salad was wonderful. There was a mountain of fresh food. (Two of us have eaten from it, and there is still some left.) In addition, it was very artfully arranged, the bright green brocolli nestled next to the brilliant orange carrots, with splashes of red radishes and red-purple onion circles tucked here and there among the greens. (How's that for a descriptive sentence?) I think in this day of pre-prepared foods, the cooks in our eateries enjoy a chance to express their creativity. So, not only did I get my needs met, I did so while breaking up the potential monotony of someone's job. I love win win scenarios, and this is a reminder to always ask for what you want. The worst that could happen is that you are told no, (like that hasn't happen before.......) and you have to figure out another angel to get your needs met.
Speaking of getting needs met......... I am being summoned....... Enjoy your day!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I had my monthly check-up with my trainer yesterday. The good news is I didn't cry.......Not one single tear. (I am thinking he would agree that this fact was good news too.) Two weeks ago, when I had my respite resident, I didn't work in three days of lifting, but only one. Since that time I have felt like I was really weak during my lifting sessions at home. The good news is my trainer did not agree with me! We did lots of new things, such as three sets (instead of two) increasing the weights each time, while decreasing the reps. (by two) We did this plate loaded (something or other........It is sorta like doing a squat laying on your back.) which is for you legs. (He says really good for runners as it hits all those target muscles.) By the third set I was pushing ninty pounds! Pretty impressed aren't you? Bottom line, is by the end of our session every single (major) muscle in my body was shaking (and it wasn't because I was laughing, though I do tend to ingage my entire body when I laugh.) but I felt really good. Both physically and mentally. That work-out was just the boost I needed the week before my race. I am feeling pretty proud of my efforts. (Right now anyway!)
Before I move on, refering back to ways I save money......... I know that one could think I am spending lots of money on a personal trainer. The bottom line is....... Not really. I joined the Y for three months and hired the personal trainer to teach me to lift. I think that cost about five hundred dollars, but think of the potential savings in avoiding doctor visits because I am fit, in shape, and know what I am doing to avoid injury. (I also spaced my training visits out so I had two left for the month after my membership ran out so It was almost like having a four month membership. That works out to a little over one hundred dollars a month, which is less than some of us blow eating out each month.) At our Y, non-member training visits cost sixty dollars an hour (or if you buy five, you get one free.) I have been going once a month. Not only does this keep me on track, (we all know how I like that accountability factor!) it is a way to make sure I have not gotten sloppy with my technique and I always walk away having learned a new move or two. This helps me stick with things at home, and not get bored. I don't know about your doctor, but when I have to visit mine, an office visit costs one hundred dollars and my insurance doesn't pay for this. (Which I cannot understand because I have Blue Cross traditional, which is suppose to be a good insurance. Apparently they are not good enough to see the benefit in preventative care..... Like they don't pay for birth control, but they will pay for a kid on ones plan for twenty something years if you have an unplanned pregnancy..... Don't get me started.....) Don't tell anyone, but I haven't been to my doctor in over three years. The last time I went was when I was approaching two hundred and twenty pounds and I ask her for some pills to help me lose weight (Hey! I was so grossly out of shape what would chemicals have hurt at that point?) She suggested I join weight watchers (A good suggestion by the way!) and that was the end of the discussion. Her response pissed me off (Don't ask why?) and I pledged I would lose weight on my own, without her help. I also decided (Don't ask how I came up with the number?) that I would not go back to see her until the scales reads one hundred-forty something. Since I have been hanging in the one-fifties for some time now, I guess it is a good thing I don't get sick often. Isn't it?
Getting back to my previous mention of "the bad"......... In my defense, I could have done worse........... I had a half of a mug of hot chocolate last evening. Man! Was it good! I made it from scratch with both dark chocolate and semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate, and just a little bit of sugar. (The white, not even the tiniest bit good for you, totally processed, kind.) And of course milk. I made it in a double boiler (a pan over a pan of boiling water) so as not to cook it too fast. It took me about twenty minutes, and though it sounds weird, it was as if I started consuming it when I started making it. (You know how they say it takes twenty minutes for your stomach to get the message you have eaten...... Well, stomach was feeling that kind of satifaction by the time it was finished...... Mouth, not so much.) I think it was because I made such a process out of the whole deal. Anyway, I poured only a half of a mug and put some light redi-whip on top. (Opting for this over marshmallows...... My daughter had both on hers. She is skinny enough to be able to pull that off.) Then I drank it one iced tea spoonful at a time. IT WAS SOOOOOO GOOD! And I was totally saftified by the time the mug was empty. (And yes! So was mouth!)
Just in case you are still in the dark about "the bad........ The bad is that I gave into temptation during this season of Lent. This is quickly followed by the good fact that Lent is ALL about forgivness and grace, so that slip is behind me never to be held against me again. I will (MORE than likely) have to wrestle with this subject (of poor eating choices) again. (And again, and again and......) What is important to remember is that I have friends like forgivness and grace to help me wrestle with all of my demons (no matter what they may be) until I am able to gain control over them. If I choose too, I can always rely on grace and forgivness to get me through a tough time, rather than choose to beat myself up and attack my fragile self-esteem.
As I was typing the last paragraph, two phrases continued to run through my head. Both of them were things that the priest at the church I used to attend said often. "If you are going to sin, sin boldly." And (after receiving absolution after confession) "Go forth, and sin no more." Translation........ I made that hot chocolate with full awareness that I was breaking my choosen Lenten fast without a valid reason (I couldn't come up with any good reason that it would be beneficial for my training diet, though let me tell you brain gave it the good 'ole college try!) Once I decided to do it, I put my full effort behind it. (My interpertation of sin boldly also contains being able to admit/own/fess up to/ your sin.) Somehow, doing so, gave me great confidence that I can continue on with the spirit of Lent without further slip-ups, stronger than I was before. This is real growth over all those times that I exhibited a similar behavior only to say something along the lines of "Well, I blew it. I might as well admit defeat and keep on ________now." This time I choose to react differently, and I am pretty proud of that!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Yesterday afternoon, I took my Jack Russell Terrior with me on my three mile run. She loved it! For her it was a nice easy jog, but it was so windy on the way out, that her ears were blowing towards the back of her head. I pretended it was because we were running so fast. On the way back, the same strong winds were tripping us both up. We had fun just the same. A little mommy/daughter bonding time with the pup. Her brother (being an old dog in dog years) would have loved to come, but I can't control both of the leashes and keep my pace steady, and the male dog tires easy. When we go on a five mile walk we usually end up carrying him the last mile or so. When I take my female dog on a run, I tell her she is working. This means she is not allowed to stop and smell every spot where some other dog has stopped before, tug at the leash to chase a squirrel, or stop to squat every two seconds like she does when we take a pleasure walk. When I tell her she is working, she doesn't stop running until I do. How does she know the meaning of the word work? I would love to say that I trained her, but if I am honest I have to say that she has me trained. (Remember that earlier blog?) When we are home, and I tell her to "earn her keep and bring me my slippers or remote" she just looks at me, plumps up the pillow or throw she is laying on, and settles back down as if to say "Don't interupt my nap unless it is for a worthy cause like a treat or a play session." Maybe it is because she is a Jack Russell? (maybe......) I think it is more her just being female......... Sorry guys...... I couldn't resist!
Did I mention that it was so warm outside that I was running in shorts and a tee shirt? Of course, living where I live, yesterday was just a little teaser. I woke up this morning to find twenty degree weather, as well as snow on the ground. What is that about? March is our give and take month in which Mother Nature likes to remind us just who is in charge, and she will send full fledged spring when and only when she gets ready too. In March I try and maintain the attitude that "If you never have down times ie.. snow, you can't really appreciate a balmy spring day." Now you all know I am lying through my fingers on the keyboard........ I am sick of cold, and I am dying to open up my windows and let some fresh air circulate around the house, get out in the backyard and play in the dirt, give my house a good spring cleaning. So............ Two months from now I can complain that I am too hot, listen to the residents complain that they are cold as I sneak a window open to let the fresh air in, have to find extra time to weed the flowers and garden, and wipe up muddy paw prints everytime a bird or squirrel wanders into the yard and the dogs erupt in noisy barking fits to get out, only to want in five seconds later with muddy feet. (I know you read this blog husband dear...... Where is that doggie door I ask about last spring?) Will you ever learn to be content woman!......... (How did my husband get me to type that?..... Just kidding dear!)
Boy! I really wanted something chocolate last night. The only good chocolate in the house currently is that box of Sees that I told my friend she could have and she has never picked up. I had totally put it out of my mind until two nights ago when my daughter (the littel vixen) reminded me of it. I threatened her life if she opened it before I left for my race. Blamming it on hormones, I was willing to settle on a few Oreos.....truth be told they sounded like the perfect food at the time! I even went so far as to check out the cookie drawer, and there were none to be found. My daughter was on top of things and had either taken them to school or hidden them. (Good girl....Sorry I called you a little vixen!) Of course there were several un-opened packages on the shelf downstairs, but to open a fresh package seemed, well..... seemed like cheating (YOU THINK!) so I had a handfull of stale carmel corn and went to bed. (YES! The rest of the carmel corn is safely in the dumpster now.)
Well, the Podiatrist (foot doctor) is coming in just over an hour, so I'd better get some feet up and shuffling....... Have a good one!
By the way...... Did you notice I changed my picture. Vacation pictures are in...... That is me holding a real starfish in the Atlantic Ocean! Pretty great hu?
Monday, March 13, 2006
As I was thinking about the post I would write today, I didn't really have any concrete thoughts. (That's a new one........ I always have something to say!) I have been wanting to share something that I wrote for an internet writing class I took back in 2002. I came across the paper below, and it really surprised me (in a good way) that all the ideas are still valid today. Some of them I have mentioned, some will be new to you. The assignment was to draw a timeline of your life, and then expound upon it. Enjoy!
Graded Paper # 5—The Rest of My Life
October 27, 2002
The Rest of My Life
I have just drawn my lifeline, and I am now sixty percent along the pathway of my life. After thinking about what I have accomplished to this point, I will write my thoughts and plans to guide me through the rest of my life. These thoughts and plans follow:
When I think about the future, it is not in regards to making more money, or gaining more material things; I am content in that regard. I have worked very hard to become who and what I am today, and a part of me would be satisfied living the remainder of my days just coasting. Fortunately, it is only a small part, and by and large I have the desire to continue to strive towards growth, and change, so that I may make an even greater impact on the world and the people around me.
I follow my life’s mission each and every day. That mission is to give something positive to each person I encounter, and to live each day without regret. By staying focused on these two things, everything I wish to do and be is accomplished. I have absolutely no desire to be famous. Many of the good deeds I do are done anonymously, to avoid embarrassment for the recipient. "Whatever you do unto the least of thee, you do unto me," is just one belief I have used to steer my past, and will continue to use, to navigate my future.
Another thing I will continue to do with the rest of my life is to always do my personal best, no matter what the undertaking. In regards to my official employment, I do much of my work alone, but I ALWAYS do my job as if my supervisor was right there looking over my shoulder. In my dealings with friends and family, I do not waste time on manipulation and guilt. If I have something to say, I am honest, out of love and respect for the relationship. I will also continue to be openly affectionate. One never knows that the last hug is the last hug, until there are no future opportunities.
I am entering the time in life when I am beginning to "reap what I have sown" in previous stages. It gives me great joy to see my children venturing out into the world, being healthy productive members of our society. I see this as my reward for all of the effort I have put into parenting, and helping them to develop positive self-esteems.
Planning to live out our days in our current home, my husband and I have spent many nights and weekends remodeling our home so that it is handicap accessible. It is very rewarding to see the finished product, with all of the little extras. It is very comforting to know that if one of us ever needs a walker or wheel chair, we will not have to resort to putting a bed and commode in the living room because we can no longer access our bedroom and bathroom. It is also very reassuring to watch our mortgage get paid down, and our IRAs building up, knowing that the days of retirement are no longer that far away.
One of my on-going life projects has been planning my funeral. I began this several years ago when I was cleaning out a drawer stuffed with old cards and letters. Not being able to part with these items, so precious to me, I wanted a way to place their true value on them. The idea I came up with, was to save and organize these mementos of my life into a "funeral box," to be used in place of the traditional funeral service. When I die, my daughter is to invite the authors of the cards and letters to a celebration of my life. During this gathering all of the cards and letters will be read out loud as a way of highlighting not only my accomplishments, but also the fact that I was indeed loved. It will be my way of saying "thank you" and "you were important to me," one last time.
A major item on the "rest of my life to-do-list" is to provide care and service to people in the end stage of life. Dannion Brinkley is a man who was hit by lightning not once, but twice, and lived through both near-death experiences. Since his recovery, he has focused his life work around helping people, at the end of their lives, to participate in a life review. A life review is a means of looking over your past and coming to terms with it. Reading about this technique, I think it sounds like a phenomenal way for people to make peace with the past, and as a result have a more peaceful transition from life to death. It is a dream of mine to be able to study under Mr. Brinkley, and learn his technique, so I can use his methods to assist people. (NOTE: I have not taken the training yet..... They are on the west coast far from my home, BUT I did get the opportunity to to hear him speak in 2004. Fabulous! His web link is http://thetwilightbrigade.com/ end note.......)
My strong belief in a Creator, and in life after death, is a comfort, and it affords me the support I need to continue toward my life goals. My belief in Angels and other spiritual beings, living here among us on Earth, assists me in marching forward without fear, and with confidence. We are never alone!
As a way of making older people continue to feel productive, I have always joked that one was not old until he or she turned one hundred and six. Through some of my reading, I was encouraged to ask my Angels how long I would continue to live on Earth, and I was a little freaked out when the answer I "heard" was one hundred and six. Who wants to live that long? Is that really part of my Creator’s plan for my life? Will I be able to continue to have an influence on the world around me for an additional sixty-one years? Living to be a certain age is of no importance to me; making a difference in the world around me is. When I no longer feel I am making a contribution to the world around me, I will be content to be finished with this life, and ready to go on to the next one. Until such a time, my life’s mission will continue on, one day and one person at a time.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I did my long run yesterday. Well, seven miles,(remember, I am tapering now) and I did it in around seventy minutes. I think it is great, and I felt good running it. In spite of this, for over half the distance, I kept having these thoughts of failure. How strange is this since, I have no doubt that I will finish the race distance and have no set time goal in which to finish it in. This morning, it occured to me that these thoughts were akin to what I used to put myself through when I was taking a test in college. I was an obsessive over-studier, and would beat myself up for days afterwards when I would miss one or two questions.
Why do I put myself through this?
It isn't to make myself try harder, I already give things my all. On Dr. 90210 the other night, (Okay! Laugh all you want, watching this show is one of my weaknesses.) Dr. Ray was going for his black belt in Marshall Arts, and he had to break two bricks with his hands. (In case you missed the significance of this...... He is a surgeon, his hands are his livelyhood.) As he was preparing to do this, he too was having self-doubts, and was talking about how his father was emotionally abusive telling him he would amount to nothing. As he broke the bricks, he said he pictured his father and as he was successful felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. I know my parent' death have left me with abandonment issues. (As irrational as this is.... They did not die on purpose, and still.......) The foster family I was sent to after my parent's death was a less than ideal place. (But I always make sure and let it be known that they were willing to take all four of us so at least we were able to stay together.) A place where I felt neither loved or cared for. The treatment we received, probably has much to do with my wobbly self-esteem, but I am a firm believer that now that I am an adult I can no longer blalme childhood mis-treatment on current behaviors.
Maybe I will never come up with a good reason for being so hard on myself. Probably, even if I did, I would still practise the behavior. So........ I will just chalk yesterday's self-doubt talk up to pre-race jitters. The next time they creep up to my consiousness, I will remind myself that I am ready. I have trained well, and continue to do so. I am working diligently to keep my stess levels low, and my family is really pitching in to help with this one. I am eating the best I have ever eaten. (Thanks to Lent, I have been eating only raw foods. Now that race day is drawing near, I have added consumption of quality grains and lean protein. My body is soooooo happy not having to deal with junk/high fat foods, and believe it or not mouth hasn't been complaining too much...... When I lay off the processed high sugar foods, mouth is completely content with fresh fruit for it's sugar fix.)
Having done all of this, there is nothing more to do except to relax and enjoy the experience. Did I tell you the race is an all women race? Thirty-five hundred women ran it last year. WOW! I AM GOING TO BE ONE OF THEM THIS YEAR! (Do you think I'll get lost in the crowd?) I have never ran an all women's race before, but have read that it is a totally awesome thing to experience. I will probably get all emotional, as I teared up just writing the last few sentences. As you have probably already guessed, you will hear all about the race and my experiences regarding it after March twenty-sixth. Aren't you excited?
Saturday, March 11, 2006
2. Share your last piece of pizza/cake/chocolate/etc...
3. Drive all over town shopping for the perfect outfit/present/shoes.
4. Work a second job to provide for your family.
5. Let a non-relative move in with you/let a relative move BACK in with you.
7. Participate in career day at your child's school so they can have bragging rights. (Even thought you HATE getting up in front of a group.)
8. Partnering up with the Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/Santa Clause.
9. Going all out with your birthday celebrations.
10. Letting the other person pick the movie and/or restaurant. (Even though you have been DYING to see and/or eat at the other one.)
11. Being brave enough to hold a dying person's hand.
12. Reading the same bedtime story thirty days in a row, because "It's my favorite."
13. Dressing up for Halloween. (One year my youngest and I dressed up like tomatoes. I was a Beefsteak, (Picture that..... Big, round, and red!) and she was a Roma.
14. Writing a love letter or poem, when you HATE to write. (That ones for you honey.)
15. Helping a friend clean before and/or after a party.
16. Tell the truth about "How do these _____ make my _____ look?"
17. Lie about "How do these _____ make my _____ look?"
18. Cook meat when you would prefer your family eat beans/tofu/veggies/fruit, and then keeping you mouth shut as they proceed to smother it in so much catsup none of the meat is visable. (You didn't want to watch them eat the meat anyway, AND according to the school lunch menue, Catsup IS considered a vegetable.)
19. Get in shape, no matter how much you hate it, because you know it will keep you around to care for your loved ones longer. (Does this make you an enabler?)
20. Laugh at jokes that you don't think are funny and/or refrain from laughing when they are taking something way too seriously.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Believe it or not, I used to hate dogs and cats. Over the years, I had a few pets, but things always seemed to go wrong. Like the year one of them got on the table (while we were gone to church) and ate all of the cream puffs I had made for our Easter Celebration. Since I had been eating only bread and water the two days prior to that event, let's just say I was a bit testy. Rather than kill him, (which, truth be told, is what I fantasized about doing the entire time I was making a new batch of cream puffs!) Instead, I did the noble thing and banished him to a friend's farm for the remainder of his days.
When I started doing home care, I came in contact with many dogs and cats, as well as much dog and cat hair. In the beginning I tried to ignore them/it, while at the same time trying to look interested enough to be polite. As time went on, I began to note what a postive impact pets had on their owners sense of well-being. In certain instances, these pets were the only interaction some of my clients had during the day. Caring for their pets gave them something to focus on besides being lonely and alone. I decided these little critters might have a useful purpose after all, but I still didn't want to have one of my own.
One day, my friend shared the joyous news that "Porch Kitty" had just had kittens. (Again!) It seemed one of the kittens had a funky looking paw. I went to check it out and determined the paw was internally rotated. I fashioned it a little splint, and started giving it physical therapy of a sort. Now probably, it would have corrected on it's own, but by the time the little fellow was walking on his own I had bonded with it (sneaky little thing!) and we ended up inviting him to live with us. (In the picture this is the dark colored cat)
Time passes, as it always does, and (through no fault of my own )I began to want a dog. Was I nuts? A friend of a friend of a friend told me about a dog that was being cared by someone because when she tried to get his owner to put some straw in his outdoor house the owner had his kids bring the dog to the lady and tell her "My dad said if you like this damn dog so much, you can have it." She already had several dogs and was out of room. (Enter the white dog in the above picture.)
The yellow cat was a reward for my youngest being brave when she had to have several teeth pulled at the beginning of her orthodontic work, and the black and white dog is purely the result of me being a softy. I even paid money for her, but my youngest assured me it really wasn't that much because the other three were free so if you divide the cost of the one up between the four they were all pretty cheap. (Total and complete mush I was........)
So! How does one go from dog hater to someone that now let's them in her bed, eat off her dishes, (Don't worry, I have a dishwasher.) cuddles them when they get sick, buys special treats for them when I go shopping, allows them on all of the furniture, (and to mess with my throw pillows) cleans up after them, actually pays more for a hair cut for one of them than I pay to get my own hair cut, etc...? Partly it is because I started making an effort to stop cutting my feelings off just to avoid getting hurt. The more I was able to do this, the more I discovered there really is lots of love in the world, our for the taking. I also found that the more I learned to love and be loved by my pets, the more love I had inside of me to share with others. The more we give love to those around us, the more love comes back to us. Dogs and cats have figured this out. (Along with how to sit, beg, and look so darn cute that we have to get a second job just to aford all the treats we feed them.)
If you want to learn how to wrap someone around your finger study a dog for awhile. Their trade secrets: Always appear to be listening, and never talk back. This way your victim gets the sense of being heard as well as never being wrong. Come when called most of the time, but part of the time get them to call you a few times before coming, so that when you finally do show up they think it was somehow something they said or did. You also increase your chances of being rewarded every time you do come when called by implimenting the "don't come every time on the first call" rule. If you do irritate them by making a mess and/or barking too much simply look up innocently at them with sad puppy dog eyes filled with love and devotion, and instead of being mad at you they will end up giving you a treat. If your victim has a favorite chair be sure and always be sitting in it when they are ready to, and remember not to be too quick to jump out of the chair. By holding out, they will either give you a treat to get rid of you, share the chair as you move to one side as they begin to sit down on top of you, or best of all let you balance on the arm while they sit, and then let you stay when you plop down on their lap. Finally, no matter how crappy your day has been (cooped up in a cage all day, or completely bored secondary to having had no one to play with all day long) always greet your victim at the door tale wagging, yapping about how glad you are that they are home. Before you know it, your victim will be totally at your beck and call, even as he/she thinks that they own you, and are completely in control of you!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Several days back, I watched a segment on the Today Show, about this lady that was obsessively tidy. Boy did that bring back memories! This lady has it all figured out, and feeds her eighteen month old lunch IN THE KITCHEN SINK so she can keep him and her kitchen clean. (I have to tell you, there was a part of me that thought "Why didn't I think of that?") Watching this story got me to thinking about how we draw lines between normal and compulsive behavior? Like every thing else, I believe it is up to each of us to determine if a certain behavior is helping or harming our day to day journey through life.
There was a time (long long ago) that having a clean house was all tied up with my self-esteem. I would sweep, vacume, dust, and clean the bathrooms AT LEAST once a day, often more. (Right now, reading parents are saying to themselves "This must have been before she had kids." Sadly it was before AND after.) During that time frame, I took a psychology class and one of our projects was to pick a habit, record how many times we performed it in a specific period of time, and figure out what benefit or detriment it had on our life. Believe it or not I picked fluffing the throw pillows on my sofa. While I can't remember how many times a day I fluffed, (It was a lot believe me) one thing I did discover was that fluffing (for me) was akin to feeling in control. When I would have a babysitter, the first thing I did (maybe the second, I wasn't that bad of a mother) was tidy up the house, moving items on the end tables a fraction of an inch, fluffing the throw pillows, scooting a chair back into the indentations it made on the carpet. I discovered this was my way of taking back control of my domain. Sounds weird, but it was true.
The idea that this kind of behavior of mine might be interfering with my life came the night that we had people over and I found myself taking peoples forks BEFORE they had finished eating, an asking them to lift their feet so I might vacume beneath them. (Don't ask me why I couldn't pospone this activity until after they left for home? That is why they call it an obsession I guess.)
Getting divorced turned out to be my cure to this obsession. (Maybe a cure for one of many things?) While married, we had an unspoken rule that I took care of the inside of the house and he took care of the outside. After he moved out, I had to find the time to do yard work, and (fortunately for my children,) I decided I would have to let go of some of my daily chores to fit in the new ones. Know what I discovered? The world did not end if I didn't vacume every day! Wow! I can't begin to tell you how freeing this was for me. In a variety of ways.
Some days I think the pendulum may have swung too far towards the messy side, but when someone comes to visit they can usually find a chair empty enough to sit in. (Just a cat or dog here or there. Haven't we all been to those homes where they invite you to have a seat and you glance around wondering if they mean on the floor because all the chairs are full of books, papers, clothes, etc...?) While way back in the dim recesses (A scary scary place I might add.) of my brain it still sorta bothers me if my throw pillows are not just so, but for the most part I have let that go. Even as I type, I can see three of the four pillows mass-piled up on one end of the sofa, while the fourth lays flat on the other end; the throw wadded up on top of it. The dogs like to use them to make a comfortable bed. (Did I mention that ALLOWING the dogs to get on the sofa was also a huge breakthrough for me?)
I find it interesting that out of my three children, one carries on my past obsessions, and two are total slobs. I went to a conference with my oldest and after checking into our hotel room I did what everyone does....... Kicked off my shoes and laid down on the bed. I could sense a bit of tension in the room. About three to five minutes after we got there my oldest jumped up and said "I can't stand it anymore!" and proceeded to straighten up the shoes we had kicked off! Chill out! Having just recently returned from sharing a room with the other two (on the cruise) I can assure you that neither of them cared if shoes (OR ANYTHING ELSE) was neat and tidy. So, which one wins........ Heredity or Environment?
As with all things, balance is the key. As we go through life, we will put different emphasis on different things. If you are wondering if any of your behaviors are bordering on the obsessive, keep track of them for a few days noting your feelings, actions, and reactions to participating in the behaviors. If you determine a behavior to be a problem, Lent is a great time to focus on changing a behavior. Just remember to subtitute a positive behavior in place of the one you want to change. Our brains are not fans of empty air space. Also, they say it takes two months of participation for something to become a habit so hang in with your desired changes and give them enough time to become your new habit. Before you know it, you too will be turning your back on messed up throw pillows to continue blogging peacefully away!