Sunday, December 30, 2007

Did I tell you....................

That we were going on vacation after Christmas? We have been spending our days laying in the sun on the beach sipping a variety of cold beverages. Yesterday I met someone that lives 20 minutes from us and they reported snow in our city, making our vacation all that much sweeter.

I am not going to spend much time on the computer since (my) Mister and I are having so much fun being alone together. I just came in to check on things at home and thought I would check in here also and give you a peek of what is to come when I fill you in on all the details of vacation.

The veiw from our roomThe swim-up pool barTwinkle toes

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true loves gave to me...............

A precious snowman ornament with a bucket hat to hang on my little snowman tree.

And some new flossing supplies. Ya, I am that obsessive compulsive about flossing my teeth! One of my favorite memories of (my) Mister's mom was the time I innocently confessed to flossing while driving. First the look of shock (YOU WHAT?), followed by the roll of the eyes (she was not a roll-the-eyes-kind-of gal) kept me smiling for weeks.

And Sheri, I promised you a peek at the hot little number I got (my) Mister for one of his gifts...

Boxers that are monogrammed "Handsome Devil"

Complete with horns and a tail...

We think Ben is a handsome devil too!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true loves gave to me.............

A little wall hanging that says, "Snow glad it's winter," and lottery tickets, which I let my youngest scratch off for me (she gets a much bigger thrill out of it than I do) AFTER making it clear the winnings were ALL MINE! (my) Mister had told me he had infused the tickets with good energy, and as a result we won $15.00! Of course, I had to point out that between the two of us (my) Mister had spent $14.00 on tickets, so once you took that out of the winnings (a total of $16.00 it wasn't nearly as much as it sounded. I really have no problem with people gambling responsibly, I just prefer to not spend my money that way. I'm taking my fifteen bucks and buying something practical. Like a new pair of (clearance) heels.
Best Christmas surprise ever!..............................

My oldest (who lives out of state) came home last night to surprise me. Normally she goes to her dad's house for the day before the day before and Christmas eve (the day before in case you were confused) and I don't see her until 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve. It was such a great gift to have her home just to hang out. She may be grown and have a life of her own, but she is still my baby and I feel wonderful when I have all my little chicks under my roof again, if only for one night.

When her sister got out of work the three of us went to the new bar and grill in town (the old bar burnt down sometime last year) which was suppose to be upscale from the old place. It was the first time any of us had been in, and it was kind of sad for the oldest (she had worked there for a second job during her summer vacations while she was in college) but the place really is very nice.

The grill has a chef that has worked in New York city so I put him to the test and requested that he make me something raw for my dinner. The waitress brought me a lettuce wrap, and I felt like a celebrity when the chef came out of the kitchen to explain the dish to me, and make sure I liked it. He told me that I had caught him off guard with my request (I am so good at catching people off guard with things that I say and do) and that he hasn't been ask for a raw dish since leaving the Big Apple. Then he came back to our table after I had time to eat to make sure he had satisfied me. Coupled with being with my girls it was one of the coolest dining experiences I have ever had and I only had to drive two blocks from home for it. Pretty cool.

The dish, in case you are interested, was fairly simple, but his addition of fresh herbs and the way he seasoned it created a taste out of this world and mouth thought she had died and gone to heaven.

We came home and sat outside in the hot tub to continue our girl-talk ending the evening with lots of extra hugs and promises of a combination of good (fresh veggie juice from my new juicer) and bad (french toast made with home made cinnamon bread) carbs for breakfast. Who could ask for more?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the ninth day of Christmas my true loves gave to me..............

The matching trash can to the tissue holder. Unable to contain herself any longer, my youngest said, "Okay. I know it's improper, but that is a $25.00 basket and I got it for $5.00. It totally doubled my enjoyment!
And this cute little snowman candle. I know (my) Mister reads my blog, not because he ever says anything about any of the post, but because of what he said as he was handing me the gift. "Notice that it is wrapped?" To which I replied, "You spent money on a bag?" Puffed with pride he says, "Nope! I re-gifted it to you." There is hope for him yet!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas traditions...........................
Now that my children are adults, it is time to tweak some of our family Christmas traditions. On the chance that you are looking to do the same, I thought I would share what we have done.
For as long as I can remember, it wasn't Christmas until the picture with Santa was acquired. Great children that I have, they continued to comply with my wishes, all through high school, college, real employment... Last year when we showed up at the mall for the annual picture, Santa was on a coffee break. Not wanting to hang around waiting, we came up with the idea that I would be Santa (a MUCH cuter version of course), so I sat in his chair, the kids climbed up beside me and we had a stranger snap our picture. That is when we decided we would move from the traditional mall Santa to more adventurous ones each year. This year we went to Home Depot and posed with one of those blow up lawn Santa perched high on a shelf. I cropped out the faces for blog safety, but here is what a kind stranger captured for us:

It's that great? We are already thinking up next years adventure.

Also, for as long as memory serves, my Christmas Eves included the reading of the traditional Christmas story of Baby Jesus's birth, and being able to open one gift which ALWAYS happen to be new pajama's so we would look good in Christmas morning pictures (took me years to figure that one out on my own). Over the years I maintained this tradition, passing it down to my children, regardless of what I did the rest of the evening with my various partners. Last year I added one more piece that I hope my grand kids pass on to their kids (Wait! Dogs and cats can't talk...Maybe someday...)

About six weeks before Christmas (so no one could come up with the excuse of not having the time) I told everyone that between the reading of the story and the opening of the presents that we were starting a new tradition of sharing a memory from our past. I picked the year the memory was to have occurred in, and the only rules was that it needed to be something that none of the rest of us knew about the person. It was wonderful listening to each other bust on themselves. I totally blew my kids minds when I shared my one and only experience of trying a cigarette. Not their mother! This year I have picked age five, and totally plan to gross my kids out with what I am going to share. It will be great!

On the eighth day of Christmas my true loves gave to me...........

A sweet snow-family picture holder. I told my youngest that we would take a pic of the two of us on the beach (this vacation) for it and see if it made them melt. Not because I am such a hot babe sillies, because of the air temperature.

I actually have another snowman picture frame and it holds a picture of us three girls all bundled up for a winter race. I love unpacking it every year and recalling the details of that fun day. If the beach scene does melt the little guys I will have to get another shot before spring for them to hang onto.

And now onto my gift from (my) Mister...

Remember how the cat laid on my vacation clothes? As I was packing them, I came across a pair of black running shorts that were covered in cat hair. (my) Mister was being extremely helpful WATCHING me pack so I said to him, "Do you know where the lint brush is?" "No" was his reply and in a few seconds he left the room. To go find a lint brush? When he had not returned a nano-second later (I am SO impatient), knowing I had a lint brush packed, and who cared what my running clothes looked like anyway, I rolled up the shorts (cat hair to the inside) and commenced packing. That was the last I thought about a lint brush until I opened the bag last night.

And as an aside to the story, MY presents are delivered wrapped! The day before day one the question was, "are we wrapping," IE:what are the rules for this silly contest? My reply, "I did" was met with groans. Day one from Mister, real wrapping paper. Day two and three, hand decorated computer paper. Since then, plastic store bags. The youngest has hidden her presents in her clothing until handing them over from day one. Guess who the over achiever is in this bunch?

I pulled it out of the bag and said, "What a functional present" ( as I thought "to hit you over the head with." JK!). (my) Mister's reply, "Well we don't have any." (me) "Ya we do. About six of them, on the shelf above the laundry tubs." (mister) "Oh."

Ya! The two of us communicate that good! But like I said, it is functional, and will get used (by the year 2011 maybe), and (my) Mister is spot on in knowing I will take function over style any day. Except when it comes to shoes that is.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On the seventh day of Christmas my true loves gave to me.......

A refrigerator magnet that, in case you can't read it says, "All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen." My youngest said that for some reason, and she wasn't sure why, this magnet just spoke to her, and reminded her of me. WHAT? I am choosing to take that as a compliment as it is my present and I can take it any way I like.

Okay, Another confession. I actually bought this gift for myself and gave it to (my) Mister to give to me. An unknown fact about me...I have a thing about sea salt VS regular salt. This will be the fourth kind that graces my counter now. I also have grey, (light) pink, and (dark) pink. Not only does it have better minerals, and less sodium so is better for you, the taste is out of this world. Last night, after he gave it to me and I was tasting it with my youngest, (my) Mister says, "Your eating it! I thought it was bath salts." See why I had to buy it for myself?

If he would just take his cue from the refrigerator magnet...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves gave to me................

Taken care of from head to toe!

Either (my) Mister re-gifted me the socks or he knows me better than I thought. My money is on the latter.

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the fifth day of Christmas my true loves gave to me..............

A sweet little snow woman, named after me

And a bag of chocolate bliss. I confess that I immediately re-gifted the chocolates to my youngest so I would only eat some of them and not the entire bag, which I am quite capable of doing.

About other things.........................

Can anybody explain to me why no matter how many other surfaces are available for my pet's comfort that they ALWAYS choose to lay on my clothes?

That is our cat Andy, comfy as can be in the middle of the things that I had laid out to pack for vacation. The fact that he is laying on all my tops instead of my running shoes speaks to his intelligence don't ya think?

TOTALLY BRAGGING HERE (Random are you sitting down?)... My youngest and I are only taking five pair of heels on a seven day vacation. First words out of (my) Mister's mouth, "that's five each right?" NO SIR, five pair total for the two of us! Unbelievable I know! Another three or four vacations and I think I will have it down to everything fitting into a knapsack. Now that would be unbelievable...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the fourth day of Christmas my true loves gave to me...................

A wonderful little snowman charm, complete with poem. I plan to add him to my running pouch (knock it off guys, he hardly weighs anything at all). Who knows, maybe he will cool me off on my hot, summer runs.

And a headlight to add to my running gear. My next run is going to be a trail run, up north, on January 19. Did I mention that it starts at 6:00PM? Head AND tail lights are mandatory. It is going to be so cool! I am just praying I don't meet any wildlife in the woods, because I know I will scream like a girl and totally ruin my reputation as a stud runner.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On the third day of Christmas my true loves gave to me.................

This adorable tissue box cover...
Have you seen anything cuter???

And a little triangle stand to hold my guitar so I don't have to put it back in the case to keep it from tipping over. Now I can just grab and play. I am soooooo spoiled!
On the second day of Christmas my true loves gave to me...............

A fabulous snowman for my collection that also happens to be a deviled egg tray. Is he not the cutest thing you have ever seen? As my youngest was giving it to me she said, "We still eat deviled eggs, right? I told her we could, but I could already see the snowman holding little healthy, raw delights in place of the eggs. For health reasons I am encouraging my family to eat less cooked food, and avoid products that once upon a time had a mother (or with eggs, the potential to have had a mother).

And a nifty little digital guitar tuner for my new hobby. It occurred to me as I write this that maybe this gift is a reflection on my playing. Naw, I usually only play it when no one is around to hear me mess up. I hope I am not tone deaf so I can use make good use of my new gadget.
On the first day of Christmas my true loves gave to me................

Some silicone muffin cups so I don't have grease the muffin pans anymore, and a pair of headphones for my winter runs.

I got some great headphones for my portable XM radio that have a built in antenna, but when I put on scary spider hat it smashes them into my ears and I can't stand to wear them. These fall out on their own, but with the hat they work perfectly!

Modern day wrong number........................

This summer, while up north, I discovered a great little yarn shop. As most places do these days I was ask if I wanted to leave my e-mail address and receive the store's newsletter. I did, and have been getting a monthly "group" e-newsletter. Yesterday I received this e-mail, addressed just to me (as opposed to the entire group):

Looking into doing Chris Bsylma who designed the Crayon Box sweater for 2009! What do you think?

(insert name here)

Just like I would call the person back if I received a answering machine message that I didn't think was meant for me I responded.

My reply:

I think I don't knit enough because I don't know the person, or the sweater you are referring to.
I have much to learn from you, and I am looking forward to it.

Patty (add last name here)

This morning I got this note back from her that read:

Patty, this is weird I don't know how you got this question from me. So just ignore and have a happy holiday season!

Sincerely, (name)

Funny right? Almost as funny as the time I listened to a message on my cell phone from a stranger to a surprise birthday party. I called him back to let him know the number he had called was not the right one, and it turned out that my number WAS the number listed on the invitation. He called the person throwing the party to let her know, and she called me to tell me she had transposed two numbers on the invite which made it my number and not hers. I promised to let her know if anyone else R.S.V.P.ed to my phone and ended up passing a couple more calls about the party to her. Made me feel like I was involved in pulling off the surprise for this woman's husband. I guess it doesn't take much for me to feel needed does it?

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Falling Apples Report... They continue to cling to the base of the tree.........................

I have three adult children, ages 28, 26, and 18. Not so surprisingly they continue to show aspects of my personality, something that I am getting better at accepting, but also makes me want to remind the parents out there that the eyes are watching and learning. Here are the latest examples of my offspring acting just like good old mom...

My oldest received an offer to take another step up the corporate ladder, and she has decided to accept. The most exciting part to her...They will be "blowing up" the current system and building a new one from the ground up. As do I, the girl loves a good challenge, and has strong opinions in just how the new build should go, for the betterment of mankind of course. She is also not afraid to ruffle feathers of "important" people to assist them in seeing and understanding her wisdom as to the way things need to go.

My youngest came home the other day unable to contain her excitement. What was so great in her world? She had been watching for a certain comforter to go on sale enough to be a reasonable purchase, and it finally had done so. In addition, she had a gift card to purchase it with, AND the store had undies NINETY (90) percent off so they ended up being fifty CENTS a pair. Her commentary, " I wanted to buy them all it was such a good deal, but really, how many pairs of underwear does one person need?" EXACTLY! P.S. Upon checking Saturday's early sale prices she discovered the comforter had been further discounted for a few, "door buster" hours. She didn't have time to get the price difference herself, but she sweetly convinced her boyfriend to pick up the receipt and get to the store before 1:00 PM so she could get an additional twenty-six dollars off the comforter. That's my girl!

My middle child, my son, continues to believe that life must be a struggle and stay in a frame of mind that keeps these thoughts his reality. I spent so much of my twenties living the lie that life HAS to be hard. Being in chaos was the only time life felt normal, so if there wasn't chaos, it wasn't long before I was (subconsciously) creating some. When there was a fleeting moment of peace I would find myself holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to fall. Eventually, I found a way out of this mind set, and I am confident that my son will also, in time, discover his own path to inner freedom and acceptance. As I tell him, "he has everything inside of him that he needs to live whatever life he chooses to live, and I am confident in his abilities."

I find it interesting that while I have/had one parenting style the three of them picked different parts of me to emulate. I guess that speaks to the different personalities and needs of my children, and proves that there can be no such thing as cookie cutter parenting, no matter how much I tried to keep things equal between them as they were growing up.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Eight on the Eighth...........................

Background for the readers that don't follow the running blogs, Nancy put together a cyber race in which anyone that cared to participate could log eight miles on the weekend of December eighth and then report back to her with the results. Here is my report, and remember this run/race was also Wild Woman's first venture out.

I woke to a couple of inches of new snow Friday morning, so I shoved the driveway in a short sleeve T-shirt and flip flops to help me gage the outdoor temperature. It didn't seem that cold to me, and by noon the roads were clear of snow so I opted to do my run Friday, having heard on the television it was a whopping 30 degrees outside, and not knowing what the rest of the weekend might bring.

I started layer dressing for the race around two in the afternoon, and as I was tying my shoes, I realized I had not eaten anything beyond my morning coffee and four or five radishes. I guess I am out of training with paying attention to what I eat on race days. I threw a mini box of raisins and a Prana bar in with my water and Wild Woman and I were out the door and on our way.

The first couple of miles is always a warm up for me but by the end of mile two we found our running legs and were singing out loud. Our harmony seemed to drive the dogs crazy, but the couple of cows we passed in a field didn't seem to mind at all. By mile three (35 minutes) Wild Woman joined me in a funky dance around the corner to the song Sonar Girl, and we were having a blast, and laughing out loud.

I had not listened to my race play list since the first part of October so this added to my enjoyment. Having used the same songs for some time now several of them bring back memories of past runs so I used the reminders of hot weather runs to keep me warm, gently told the ache in my left leg to knock it off, and we arrived at the five mile mark at 1:05.

I found these really great fingerless gloves that have a mitten part that goes over the missing finger area. I wear these over another pair of gloves and they help me regulate my hand comfort. If I am feeling warm I can take off the mitten part and cool down. If my hands get cold I add the mittens and I have toasty warm fingers in seconds. If my hands are comfortable the rest of me automatically follows suit. The wind was only a problem at miles four and seven, and I solved this by pulling my wattle up over my cheeks and nose. Like my food processor is the one kitchen appliance I would want with me on a deserted island, my wattle is my MUST HAVE for winter running.

As usual, I didn't break any speed records, but I was happy because I felt great and only walked a couple of times while I was having a drink. Having only done short distance runs since completing my marathon, I was thrilled to see that I could still do a longer distance run without it knocking the snot out of me. My final time was 1:45 (not sure how accurate this is as I just looked at my wrist watch at beginning and end and didn't use a stop watch, so if there is a tie timed with me in my age division go ahead and knock me to the bottom).

After the race I thawed out in the tanning bed (and worried just a tad about a suffering from a heart attack from heating up too quickly for a few seconds until I drifted off to another thought) for twenty minutes and then celebrated my accomplishment with a six inch veggie sub (no cheese please) from Subway, along with a handful of cheddar cheese potato chips since I had burned all those calories .

Since no race is complete for me without a finisher's picture here are a couple of pictures of Wild Woman and I at the finish line (it is drawn in the snow, no banner so you can't really see it in the picture so you will have to trust me that it is there.

Thanks Nancy for putting the race together. I vote we do our next one on New Year's day since I will be in Cozumel and it will be warm, warm, warm there.

Friday, December 07, 2007

(a) Wonder(ful) Woman.......................

For months and months I had driven by a store in town while ignoring my inner voice telling me I HAD to stop for a visit. What finally got me inside the doors was my marathon training, one more reason I am grateful I received the desire to run one.

During my mileage tapper, I decided it would be good to go to a massage therapist for stretching instead of massage. Knowing massage services were available in this store, I went in to inquire about having the therapist stretch my leg muscles.

From the moment I stepped inside of the door I felt welcomed and nurtured, and this was before I even talked to anyone. After talking with the owner, ((this)WW) I had that feeling one gets when finally making it home after a long, driving, vacation; "Finally I can stretch out, relax, unwind, and get renewed."

So for the last couple of months I have been exploring the services offered at the store and have come to find that the staff is as loving and caring as (this) WW. I always come away feeling nurtured and spiritually fed. Yesterday (my) Mister and I took a Reiki class together. Reiki is a form of (spiritual) energy healing/work, delivered kinda like Polarity massage therapy by holding one's hands just above the person receiving the treatment, but with the spiritual componate that you ask your higher power energy to enter into the person that they might accept the healing energy. It was a great experience and if any of you have the opportunity to experience Reiki I would strongly recommend doing so.

After our class, (this) WW handed me the crystal pictured below and ask me how it felt to me.

Here I will (sheepishly) admit to (subconsciously) wondering if it were one of those trick questions, with ONE right answer that you don't want to get wrong, so I held the crystal and replied, "It feels okay." WHAT KIND OF AN ANSWER IS THAT? Since you ask I will tell you... The kind of answer that when I get it from (my) Mister or my youngest I tend to shoot back a "just okay. What does that mean?" (this) WW did just the opposite. She graciously said, "Well I would like to gift it to you and I wanted to make sure it resonated with you before doing so." I melted into a pile of mush right there at the counter. Isn't that just the sweetest thing ever? I told you she was very loving and nurturing.

On my short drive home I held my present and it began to take on a personality of it's own. I had not noticed "his nose" when I first held it, and it was a couple of hours later that I discovered he is wearing a hat. Maybe he appears this way to me as I absolutely adore snowmen. My youngest thinks he takes on more of an owl form. What do you see? That is the cool part of crystals (and other jewelry), the pieces either speak to you or they don't, and you get to decide to invite them into your heart and home or not, and they will bring you as much joy and happiness as you decide to take from them.

Before I go, gotta share one more thing I discovered at the store:

She is a little pin and I was unexplainably drawn to her. HAD to have her. I don't wear much jewelry besides my wedding ring and a watch (remember my $5 dollar watch from Wall Mart that I bought four or so years ago, that they replaced the dead battery and sized down for free? Still one of my best deals EVER!), so it is kinda strange that I would HAVE to have a pin. I actually thought I would give her away when I brought her home, but the more I looked at her the more I knew she was meant to go on my runs and races with me. I will pin her on my water pack and the two of us will run with the wind and have a great time letting our inner wild woman explore whatever she wants to. Her debut run will be tomorrow as I join in with other runners that are doing a cyber race of 8 (miles) on the 8TH. Be sure and check back as I will be letting you all know how much fun we had.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What does your inner child want for Christmas?.............................

Thinking about what I wanted to post about today, that was the question that came to mind. Kind of stopped me in my tracks. Guess I haven't been paying enough attention to my inner child lately. After thinking about the question for a while this is what I came up with:

I want to snuggle with someone that I feel safe and secure with and watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, while munching on REAL movie popcorn. Ya! I'm spoiled that much.

Rudolph was on television last evening, but I gave it up to attend a Christmas party with (my) Mister. Noble of me wasn't it? Luckily I have the show on DVD. When I want popcorn, (my) Mister runs up to our local movie theater and gets me a large (with butter) for $1.50. I totally have to have the large so I have enough to share with my youngest and ALL four of the pets. None of them eat or want popcorn until I get some they they all cluster around with that hopeful look on their faces and I can't resist sharing.

My inner child would also like to make a snowman, and snow angels and then come inside and drink hot chocolate with big fluffy marshmallows floating in it.

To finalize the season, my inner child and I have almost talked my youngest and (my) Mister into doing the twelve days of Christmas with us. We really love that. Gifts should not cost much, homemade or service gifts are the best, and you get one gift, every day for twelve days. Lots more fun than opening several gifts on one day.

Now it's your turn. Share with me what your inner child told you s/he wants.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My new love.........................

This is a mandoline, and it is for slicing fruits and veggies in various thicknesses and sizes. I have wanted one for some time, and have been selling my old kitchen items that I no longer use (like my deep fryer and pasta maker) to earn the money to buy new things to make my raw food prep easier. I found this in one of the many kitchen stores I went into at the outlet mall last weekend.

This little fellow is fabulous, a true wonder. I diced all the veggies in my fridge (I need to go shopping so there were not that many, but it was still fast), in about ten minutes to make a yummy healthy lunch. Since it was still morning, I tossed them with a little bit of ranch dressing and threw it in the fridge. My youngest came home before I ate it and I told her she could have some if she wanted. She brought back an empty bowl, which totally supports my theory:

If you want to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies prepare them AND tell them they are for YOU (the second part of the theory is the important part). Don't we all covet what the other guy has?

I has some radishes and baby carrots left that my youngest sliced last night so she could try out our new toy, and I have been munching on them for breakfast as I type this post. Maybe not your typical breakfast, but I enjoyed it, and that is the important part. Right?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Winter camping.......................

So (my) Mister and I set out Saturday morning for the woods, making one small detour to an outlet mall to do a little Christmas shopping, and arrived at our home away from home about four in the afternoon.
After unpacking, we made a pot of coffee and settled in for a nice, uninterrupted, catch-up-chat. A few hours later I noticed that it had started snowing; WITH A VENGEANCE!

It was then that is occurred to me I had never gotten around to finding my boots. I had taken great care to find, and pack my warm weather running clothes but had neglected to bring snow boots or a winter coat. The coat is no big deal as I rarely wear one. I knew I would be toasty warm with my layered shirts and windbreaker, but running shoes are not designed to keep the cold, wet, snow out of ones ankles. Guess I know where my priorities are.

Lucky for me (my) Mister takes extraordinary care of me and had thrown in a pair of boots for me to wear. And they were even cute in that clunky-rubber-functional-counts-for-something-they-are-so-ugly-they-are-cute way. Bonus! Okay! So they didn't actually belong to me. I think I might have bought them for the youngest when she was in middle school or high school, but they are like brand new since everyone knows that one doesn't wear boots in middle or high school. NOT COOL! So now mom had some really great snow boots to go tromping through the snow with. Thanks honey.

So, after a sleepless night (the good kind of sleepless night, wink, wink), we fired up the coffee pot again and had a muffin. Not wanting to drag my kitchen with me camping we had went to the local grocery store to get supplies for the weekend. I ended up eating maybe a third of what I purchased for the weekend. I am still amazed that food no longer has the pull that it once did for me. Even though vacation is still a license to eat all those things that you don't eat on a regular basis, I no longer do this (or do so to a MUCH lesser basis than I once did). If you have never had an addiction to food the way I had for most of my life you won't get the significance of this, but to my health and well being it is huge.

After breakfast (my) Mister left to take care of winterizing our trailer and I dressed and headed off for my run. It was fabulous. My first snowy run of the season. There is a skill to running on snow and ice to keep from killing ones self. Okay, maybe not skill, but at least a technique. It works best to find tire tracks or other disturbed snow as pavement can have those black ice patches that can send one flying. Not sure exactly how far I ran, somewhere between two and three miles, but I worked up a good sweat and had a blast so the run was very successful.
Shortly after I got back to the campground, (my) Mister finished with the trailer so we went to the club house to play a couple of games of pool. As usual, I won by cheating so we were both happy as we clomped back through the snow to pack up and head home, happy, content, and looking forward to the next time we get to go camping together.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Gettin out of Dodge............................

Yup, (my) Mister and I are heading north for some winter camping in about an hour. Time alone for about thirty-six hours. I hope there is lots of snow (with the roads cleared of course so I have a place to run), and that the cabin is warm. Who am I kidding, I know how to warm up the cabin if need be, so I will focus all of my energy on the snow.

Must go find my boots. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mini Miracle.............................

Sometime in early October, when my life was still consumed with marathon preparations, I had an interview for a respite resident, his wife/caregiver wanting to take a vacation to see her daughter. The resident's wife called me day before yesterday to confirm his placement and ask me if I might mail her the paperwork she needed to fill out for admittance so she didn't have to pick it up.

On my way to tan (I know it is bad for me, but so would be burning on the first day of our vacation), I took the package to the post office. Standing in line I thought I saw the wife getting her mail out of the P.O. box, but having seen her only once before I wasn't totally sure so I ignored my instinct and took the package up to the counter. Reminder, I live in a small town. The postal worker looked at the package and said, "Isn't she still here, getting her mail out of the box?" I replied that I thought it might have been her but I wasn't sure, thanked the worker, and took the package over to the wife.

Fight me if you want to over whether or not this constitutes a true miracle, it made my day, not to mention saved me the couple of bucks in postage it would have cost me for the postal worker to walk the ten steps to the box for me. Besides, miracles are in the eye of the beholder. I like to think that there are forces much greater than I at work fine tuning our activities and every once in a while we get a glimpse of the well oiled machine some call fate.

If you don't think that is astounding, listen to this...

With the purchases I made at the Kohl's store the day after Thanksgiving I "earned" $30.00 in "Kohl's cash (KC)." My oldest earned $20.00 and gave it to me as she had to travel this week and didn't think she would have time to redeem it. I took my $50.00 in KC to the store last night and got (regular priced) merchandise worth $180.00 for $3.50! No it isn't a typo, three dollars and fifty cents after redeeming my KC. Thrilled is an understatement of how I felt leaving the store.

Not impressed yet? Well it's your turn then. Tell me your idea of astounding miracles... I'm all ears...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Memories of my father...........................

Catching up on Sheri's blog, I read a post in which she shared seeing a bottle of Corn huskers lotion at her sister-in-laws home and bursting into tears because it reminded her of her father and how much she missed him. Of course this got me to thinking of my father, so I thought I would share...

For new readers, my parents died five months apart when I was eight years old. My way of coping with that was to block it out, along with the first eight years of my life. My memories of my father are few and fairly traumatic. The first one is the night he had a stroke and my mother and uncle rushed him off to the hospital in the family car. We lived in the country, and I doubt 911 was even around in the sixties.

The second memory of my father was being handed the phone and told to talk to him. No one explained to me that the reason his speech was all garbled was because of the stroke, and it frightened and confused me. My final memory of my father was being lowered into his casket by my sister and told to kiss him goodbye. I was so freaked out that to this day I have no idea if I actually kissed him or not, I only remember wanting to get down and away from there.

Intellectually, I think of these things and feel really, really sad for this poor little fatherless girl. Emotionally, I have no connection to these things; self-preservation at it's finest. Growing up, being parent-less was my norm rather than something to get upset about.

The first time I cried about not having had a father growing up, was about five years ago. My sister was visiting and for some reason I came across my one tangible keepsake from my father:

The box his company watch came in for years of service...

Not the watch mind you, my oldest brother got that (as it should be), just the box. I have no idea how I came across it, or why I thought it important enough to hang onto at the time, but over the years it has gained in value to me. Ya, there is the, "that used to belong to my father aspect," but the box is getting pretty old. If you look at the close-up you can see it was mailed one month after I was born, and postage at the time was only twenty-three cents. You can also see there is only his name, a city, and the state, no street address or zip code. WOW!

Anyway, my sister looked at the box that day, started to cry, and then got mad because one of the reasons I don't have more things of my parents was because the foster family we moved in with had a big auction and sold off all of my parents things and pocketed the money. I joined her in her tears that day, and it was the first time I was healed enough to mourn my loss. I'm calling it progress.

I share this stuff with you, not to make you feel sad or sorry for me, but to show you that memories are what you make of them. I guess I could have chosen to live a different kind of life and blame it on early childhood events rather than take what was available and make the most of it. I also share this with you to say, rejoice in your memories, whatever they are, and embrace the emotions they bring out in you. Instead of trying to hide them from yourself and others, see them for what they are; little pieces of time that helped to form the person you are today.

Of course, not all memories are pleasant, and hurtful memories can have a negative effect on us if we let them. This is where forgiveness comes in to help us move away from the pain and into a place where we can function the way we choose to.

So as not to end on a down note I will share one more bit about my father. One Christmas my sister gave me a album she had made with copies of the few family pictures she had. Here is a picture of me and my father. And remember folks, this was before the age when it became vogue for a dad to share in child care responsibilities. This picture also might explain why to this day I don't see the need for sitting down at a table for a meal...

Am I not the cutest baby ever?!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

P.S. ..............................

My mind must have been tired from compiling the lists because I meant to invite
Tiger and little dragon to participate in the tag. They are new to blog land so I thought it might be a nice welcome. Check out their blog, especially if you need practice reading German. Unfortunately, I can only read the posts written in English, but maybe I will learn German one day, and then I will know where to go for practice. Being well written, and thought provoking, a peek at their blog will be time well spent.

Tiger and Little Dragon, give the tag a try. Simple use the 8 categories and fill in your 8 answers to share with the rest of us. If you want you can then ask other bloggers to make their own lists to share.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tagged by Sheri, Lists of eights..............................

8 Things I am Passionate About

1. Making a difference in the world around me
2. Every person's right to have the type of death experience they desire
3. Never using credit again
4. Running
5. Making my home a peaceful place to come home to
6. My pets being a part of the family
7. Accepting people where they are at in life
8. Love is all that matters

8 Things to Do Before I Die

1. Learn to play more songs on the guitar
2. Complete my home remodel (losing hope on this one)
3. Complete a half-marathon in every state(halves are much more body friendly than fulls)
4. Celebrate my fiftieth wedding anniversary (cheating on this one by adding his, mine, and ours
together to be sure I get to have the party. Only five more years to go)
5. Write one of those books that are living in my mind
6. Be financially secure enough that (my) Mister can retire for the second time (ten years
should do it so hang in there honey. You will only be 67, that's still young)

8 Things I Often Say

1. Sit down/stay
2. Stop barking
3. Go out and go potty
4. Get in here, NOW!
5. Stop knocking my pillows off the sofa
6. You're so cute
7. Bad dog/ Good dog (do these two cancel one another out)
8. Go lay down

Maybe I need more human companionship

8 Books I've Read Recently

1. The Medicine Woman's Inner Guide Book
2. Raw Health - Pathways to Natural Healing
3. 50 Uses For Your Dog
4. Meditation In Action
5. Gotta Run - Life is a Marathon...So Double - Tie Your Shoes
6. Entering The Castle
7. New Pathways for Sock Knitters
8. Tempting Faith (not quite finished with this one).

8 Songs/pieces of music I could listen to over and over

1. Anything by the Cure
2. Color My World (Chicago)
3. Question of Lust (Depeche Mode)
4. Pachelbel's Canon
5. Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
6. Breakfast at Tiffany's (Matchbox 20)
7. Theme song from Terms of Endearment
8. Alleluia Chorus

8 Qualities I Look for in a Best Friend

1. Honesty
2. Integrity
3. Balance
4. Commitment
5. Love of shoes
6. Accepting of others
7. Qualities of loving kindness
8. Ability to laugh at one's self
A good kind of confusion..................

Usually (my) Mister is in charge of the television regarding OP viewing. Last night, he was busy doing something downstairs so I thought I would be helpful and put on Lawrence Welk, the Saturday night must watch around here.

I turned the TV to the correct station, and left the room only to return a few seconds later to some woman talking news-speak instead of Lawrence directing his orchestra. I (sadly) proclaimed to the OPs that Lawrence must not be on tonight, only to here wafting up from the basement, " Isn't it only Friday?" Good thing one of us can keep track of things like that.

Me, I get to live Saturday all over again, and plan to make the most of it. How often does one get a Saturday do-over? Not often enough that's for sure. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A conversation with a telemarketer....................

Earlier today I received a phone call from a woman selling ad space on place mats for a local restaurant. For $150.00 I could have an ad on 15, 000 place mats that will last from six to nine months. As reasonable as this sounds I explained to the nice woman that in my line of business I had found that paid advertisements never paid off. I went on to explain to her exactly what I did and how people don't tend to pick a place to take care of mom/dad/grandma/grandpa from the yellow pages. Sure, lots of the big places use advertising, but mostly these are big corporations. I have had virtually all of my placements come word of mouth and if my resident's are not related, then they are related to friends that recommended me. One big happy family.

Anyway, the first point of my post is to say how nice the person on the phone was to me. Even after I made it clear I wasn't going to buy an ad we continued to talk about the best ways to get my name out into the community and my dream of having a system in place that will list premier places that have passed certain standard of care items above and beyond getting a license. As I told her, this is important to me in the event that I will one day need to access the service from the other side. (second point of this post) If we don't work to create a system of quality care for the elderly when we are able to work for changes, those much needed changes are not going to be there for us when we need them. Think about it, and start putting money away TODAY to pay for your care tomorrow so you have choices and don't end up at the mercy of some poorly funded government program.

Sure, you might be in your twenties now, and old age seems ages away. Having just turned fifty I have to tell you that it seems like just yesterday that I was in my twenties. Time goes much faster than we think it will. The younger you begin to save, the less you will have to save to end up with more because the money will have time to sit and grow. Even if you can only save the cost of one large pizza a week it can add up to be a significant amount by the time you are in your eighties if you are consistent with your deposits and keep an eye on your investment.

No matter what your age, delay a bit of the instant gratification we all love, and invest in your future. The geriatric in you will be extremely thankful one day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Before the holiday madness begins....................................
I thought this a perfect thought to start this week with. As it says, feel free to post on your blogs or send it out to others in any way you choose.
Thanksgiving Day Blessing Circle

From our house to yours
this Thanksgiving Day,
grateful blessings are sent.

Please give them away.
Pass them on forward,
give them out to your family & friends.
Let's start a blessing circle
and hope it never ends.

A "Thank you" from one,
Here you go ... to another,
continues the circle
from sister to brother.
Let the love you receive
be given away,
as a grateful tribute
to Thanksgiving Day.
~ Penny Parker

Friday, November 16, 2007

With gratitude for my new BFF, Abigail............

Before I get into the details of my gratitude, here is a little anatomy lesson

Deltoid Muscles
The deltoid is the triangular muscle of the shoulder that forms the rounded flesh of the outer part of the upper arm. It passes up and over the shoulder joint. The wide end of the triangle is attached to the shoulder blade (scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The apex of the triangle is attached to the upper arm bone (humerus), about halfway down its length. Its strongest point is the central section, which raises the arm sideways. The front and back parts of the muscle twist the arm. The ligaments which connect the muscles to the bone endings are called "deltoid ligaments." Deltoid comes from the Greek word "deltoeides," meaning shaped like a (river) delta.

Back when I was on left arm restrictions for my wrist fracture, I was still working and doing one armed transfers with my right arm (yes I am super human, but didn't you already know that?) Over the last couple of weeks my middle deltoid began to let me know she didn't appreciate me abusing her like I had. Softly at first, a twinge here, a mild ache there. After the marathon it was easy to ignore the early warning signs. Last Friday, she decided to take matters into her own hands and like a child throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, she balled herself up and started screaming. I couldn't sleep, couldn't move my arm in any direction without pain, was having trouble lifting and holding things because of the pain.

Still not wanting to listen I tried masking the pain with some of the left over pain medication from my surgery. Didn't touch it. Then I pulled out the big guns my last muscle relaxer left over from I am not even sure where. While it made me feel relaxed enough so I didn't really care, it did nothing for poor middle deltoid. Enter Abigail.

I could have called the doctor, paid someone to cover for me here (Mister still being out of town at the time), paid the twenty percent co-pay for the office visit, got some more medication (that I had already proven wasn't working), paid the co-pay for that, just to end up at the starting point. Instead I called Abigail and made a thirty minutes massage appointment. Cost, $30.00 (plus tip), results; priceless!

I told her the problem and then crawled under the covers and started focusing on my breath. Thirty minutes later I could move my arm through all of it's range without difficulty. That night Miss middle deltoid and I both slept well. The following day I felt like someone had punched me several times in the shoulder, but general movement and use did not increase the pain. Knowing muscles like I do I had made an additional thirty minutes appointment for a follow up massage to the area. Yesterday the muscle acted up a bit, but never got to the previous level of discomfort. Tonight I will have another thirty minute massage to the area.

Maybe I will need one more massage after tonight's, but even so the total out-of-pocket cost will only be $105.00 (including tip). Because of my insurance plan, I could have only spent the cost of one massage for out-of-pocket expenses, but I would still have the problem, and be taking drugs (which to my body isn't a good thing). The insurance company, on the other hand would have been out at least $300.00 between office visit and medication costs.

It is incredulous to me then why they refuse to cover massage services, or even other healing energy work for that matter. Not only would it be better for the patient, it would be much more cost effective for the company. A win-win in my opinion. I guess they don't operate from a common sense perspective.

Again, I am blessed. I can afford to take a $100.00 out of my budget to pay for the kind of care my body appreciates. I understand that not everyone has this luxury, and how sad is that? Why can't we have more say in how our allotted insurance benefits are doled out? Maybe some people would try to work the system, but most of us only want what is best for our bodies and would act responsible towards them if given the chance. Insurance companies appear to love studies, so why don't they look at body work studies to see the benefits as well as the cost effectiveness of this type of treatment?

In the event you find yourself with bunched up muscles and no insurance there are a few things to consider when looking for a massage therapist. Make sure you go to someone that does therapeutic work, and not just fluff and buff feel good massage. The discomfort of the muscles being worked on should be tolerable, but if it feels good the entire time the only benefits you will get will be relaxation on the table. The first car that pulls out in front of you on your way home from the massage will undo any benefit because muscles can be stubborn and they need someone that can literally put them into their proper place. A good massage therapist will understand the body and be able to share that understanding with you. A good massage therapist will be able to find the trouble spots in the body without you saying a word. Often the point of pain is not the problem and the true source needs to be uncovered and dealt with for the body to work in harmony. A good massage therapist will have confidence in their ability and in the body's ability to heal itself with proper care and feeding.

Remember to take care of your body so it can care for you and provide somewhere wonderful for you to live.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This weeks "quote of the week" is on my favorite subject so I had to share it with you.

Quote Of The Week:

love yourself

"The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people
judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to
gestures of love. They think about love, and express their
love in every action. They know that love is not a mere
sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart
of the universe."
~ Deepak Chopra

Surface seven different answers to this sentence completion,
"I love myself because…"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One more reason I hate painting..........................................

Have I mentioned the downstairs bathroom remodel that has been more off going than on going since we started it last April? In (my) Mister's absence I thought I would be all cool and get it painted as a hint that he get his butt in gear and finish it. After nagging our friend that is doing the drywall for us to come finish the tiny bit of sanding we were ready to prime the walls last night.

I had requested the paint and supplied be located before the start of vacation, and have been tripping over the pile of crap for days now. Finally looking through it to find supplies I found two rollers, both in plastic bags with (still) moist paint on them. Since it has been MONTHS since anything was painted around here my first thought was, "WHAT THE _____?" My second was, "Maybe I should take pictures and send them into the plastic bag people so they can use them for a commercial as they really did keep the air out."

Next onto the primer. Upon locating the can it was NOT heavy at all. In other words, ALMOST EMPTY. Yes, the space we are painting is small, but come on people the man knows that new drywall sucks up the paint and needs more than one coat. Please note: I am not always this bitchy, it is my hatred towards painting that brings it out in me.

With my few drops of primer located it was time to move onto the paint pan. The first one had left over dark maroon paint in it from when we painted our bedroom two years ago. My other choice had deep grooves in it. Trying to conserve the little primer I had I decided that pan would work if I propped it up so the primer stayed in the end of it. The first thing available was too lightweight and kept falling off the toilet every time I tried to put the primer on the roller. YES! I could have put it on the floor, but then I would have had to bend over and I had already completed my exercise for the day.

That is when I spied the brick. That should be heavy enough right? I forgot to take into consideration that the toilet seat is curved so with the first try the brick came crashing down onto my foot!


And you know, I was so frustrated at that point that I didn't even swear. I also didn't put the brick back or keep trying to prop the pan up. I just slapped the primer up and tried to finish so I could take a picture of my foot for this post. I will say that pain is a good way to get your mind off of a task that you despise.

And now it is me against the bathroom walls. My youngest will get more primer today after work and I will take on those walls again this evening. Do or die! If I am lucky this will spur (my) Mister on towards finishing the tile work when he returns from vacation. If not I think I have earned the right to nag, at least once or twice.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Creative vacation shots..................................

Nothing beats a great game of hide and seek with your grand kitty.

Andy: "Okay kid. Just do what I do...Close your eyes, stretch out your paws, and r-e-l-a-x. We'll be asleep in no time. You'll see."

Two heads are better than one so let's put ours together, OR, I've got your back so lean on me.

Franny: "You're the best big sister ever." Emma: "Don't worry Franny, I'll watch over you. Even if you are a pest at times. At least you're a cute pest."

Franny "helping" Grandma knit.
Running happiness...................................
It is finally cold enough outside that I was able to wear my new spider hat. It had an original price of $15.00, but I found it on end-of-the-year-clearance for ONLY $4.00. That made me happy when I found it, and all the joy came rushing back when I put it on last night.
Getting a late start, I only ran three miles. I have not made a practice of running at night so I don't have any reflective gear and didn't want to get ran over by a passing deer. My running enthusiasm waned while waiting for my aid to arrive, so I did my little procrastination trick before finally getting out the door. By the time I had ran a 1/2 block I couldn't remember why I didn't want to run. The weather was perfect, I had not listened to the play list that was on my XM so that was fresh and enjoyable, and with my new spider hat I was feeling playful and silly. As I got going I would jump over cracks in the sidewalk, run sideways, sprint to the next tree. This isn't exercise, this is F-U-N!
I traveled a route I had not done since the tornado, but what I saw mimicked what I have been seeing all over town. Several people had hand made signs in their yard expressing thanks for the assistance they received with clean-up after the storm. The few days right after groups of men went from house to house with their chain saws and cut up and cleared debris from yard after yard. Not because they knew the homeowners, but because they were helping their fellow man. The people they helped could not thank them directly as they didn't know who they were beyond angels of mercy, thus the door to door fliers expressing thanks and/or the yard signs. Seeing these along my running route did my heart good and swell with pride that I live in a city that still cares about others. What a blessed woman I am?
I completed the three miles in what seemed like no time at all. I guess I am still on marathon time and a little over thirty minutes is W-A-Y short compared to over six hours of straight running.
Speaking of the marathon...I mentioned yesterday that I went to the dentist this week. I have mentioned in the past that I have known my dentist for over twenty years and used to provide child care for his children. One of those children did the Detroit marathon last year so I took my medal in to share my story of the marathon. I was overwhelmed at the response I received from my dentist and his entire staff. I have showed a few people. They look at it, tell me how great it is, and maybe ask if I will do it again. This group ask very detailed questions, and showed genuine interest in the details of the race and true excitement for my achievement. I felt like a guest of honor at a party. And to think I had a moment of hesitation about sharing with them. Follow your gut people. It will lead you to many blessings.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

On vacation without leaving home.........................

Last Friday (my) Mister left for a boat building vacation. Yup, he will be home a real, functioning boat, called a nutshell pram. Or at least in theory it will be functional. This has been a lifelong dream of his, and I finally found a place that could make his dreams come true. In his absence I have been basking in the single life. If you can call twenty-four seven care giving the single life that is. I did make it out of the house long enough to go vote and go to the dentist (no cavities), and my care giver's helper is going to come today so I can go for a run, but other than that we have the home bound taking care of the home bound and loving it!

With (my) Mister gone I don't have to care about what I look like, if my legs are shaved, or if I have spilled food on my clothes. Oh wait! I don't care about these things when he is around, but I do sometimes feel bad that he doesn't have a more glamours wife. But then I think about just how great of a wife I am and being glamours pales in comparison to that. After all, am I not the wife that sent him off on a dream vacation while I hold down the fort? Told you I was great!

Hibernation has been great and somewhat productive (I am starting to win more and more when I play Sudoku). Since I work at home I have just as much time as I usually have and yet it somehow seems like I have more time and more energy. It must be that I spend way more time e-mailing and talking on the phone with (my) Mister than I think I do (hope his boss doesn't read this) because now that he is somewhere in a woods without cell phone reception I have spare time. Go figure.

It is snowing out as I type this. First flakes of the season. It has been wonderful donning the extra layer, gloves, and hat for a run instead of worrying about heat stroke. Now that cross country season is over I have the roads mostly to myself again. Not many people around here run in any less than stellar weather conditions. It makes me feel really powerful when I run in the rain, wind, snow, and cold.

Hope all is well in your worlds and that you can all figure out a way to have your own little working vacations. It is good for the soul.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Natural resources...............................................

The other day I overlooked a bargain while in the grocery store. I had purchased two for four dollars, but the clerk told me it was also buy two get two free, so while I finished paying my youngest went back to get the two free items. While waiting for her to get back I saw a customer purchasing those new energy efficient light bulbs. In (another) typical "out of body" experience of mine I went over to him without thought and thanked him on behalf of Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants for being so helpful and responsible to our natural resources.

Of course he (and everyone around within hearing distance) looked at me like I was some sort of weirdo (Moi?), but his reply said it all, "Well. It was time to start changing over."

We are doing the same thing; changing over as our old bulbs burn out. The new bulbs are expensive, so to go out and replace every light bulb in the house would not only break the budget, it would be wasteful. Picking up one or two every week or so is much more friendly on the wallet and we will still be changed over in a few months.

Yesterday, in talking to a resident's daughter who was calling to check in, our conversation jumped over to our natural resources and the fact that they are finite. From "mom's fine" to "Our leaders really need to start looking into alternative energy sources" just like a fast car zooms from zero to eighty in a few seconds. Someones sending me a lesson...

And since I really don't think the lesson would be to run for office so I can appoint someone to study energy conservation, or invent the answer myself, I think it is a simple reminder to do my part in the overall conservation of our planet's natural resources. Not even because they are running out, but because it is the right thing to do.

For centuries mankind has been abusing planet Earth, in the name of progress and growth. The gifts of the Earth seemed to be endless, plentiful, and ours for the taking. We created the concept of land ownership as well of ownership of all the gifts that the land could produce without a second thought.

Least you think I am preaching, let me say that I am a property owner, and my property has it's fair share of material goods on it. I have made countless purchases over the years without regard to where they came from or what was taken from the Earth for my personal gain. Even while being grateful for the item, it never occurred to me to include gratitude for everything that went into the creation of the items.

We can't change the past, or go back and be kinder to our natural resources, but we can begin to be more aware today and move towards a kinder, gentler treatment of them in the future. After all, their future is our future. If we want to continue to use energy our only option is to take care of what we have. One way to do this it to practice gratitude.

Are you a collector of stuff like I am? How much of that stuff has been packed in the Attic and not seen or used in a long time? What about the stuff that you do see on a daily basis? Do you love it, or is it just something else to dust? Look at all of your possessions through the eyes of love. If an item no longer holds value for you then move it along. Give it away to someone that can give it value and be grateful for it. This is another way we can save resources as well as clear space for items we do love and value.

With the holiday buying season here (those of you that were done with your Christmas shopping in August can skip this part) I have been turning these above thoughts into gift ideas. There are so many things I DON'T need. I actually think the perfect gift this year would be for my loved ones to come over and take something I no longer use. No shopping hassles, no wrapping, NO MORE DUSTING! What's not to love about that gift idea?

I have actually already put my order in to my oldest as to what I want from her this year. Let me start by saying my family hates to hear the words, "I figured out what I want you to give me for Christmas this year," as it is NEVER something that can be purchased. Strange as it might sound, the gift I have ask my oldest for is for her to put together her durable power of attorney/medical power of attorney papers in the event that something happens to her. Is she sick? Heck no. She finished her marathon in 4:19;52. This doesn't mean that something won't happen, and I truly believe that everyone over twenty-one should have these documents so there is no question as to THEIR wishes in the event that they can not make decisions on their own. She has been putting it off so what better pressure is there than "mom's wish list" to get something important taken care of?

Now how in the world did energy conservation turn into Christmas gift ideas? Just following my thoughts folks...Going with the flow...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Under construction.................................

We are having more brick work done on the front yard to turn the side yard that has become a mud-hole-parking-pit into a functional parking pad. Watching the guys work has been an interesting inner lesson.

First the ground had to be assessed and the plan for development laid out so everyone knew the direction things would be going in. Then they had to dig out the non-solid surface (the grass and dirt) and haul that away. While useful to someone else it is no longer valuable to the overall construction plans.

As the old surface was hauled away, two inches of rock-solid limestone was brought in and tamped down. On this was laid a that black fabric stuff (similar to the stuff used to keep weeds at bay), followed by several inches of limestone gravel, tamping, more fabric, more limestone gravel, more tamping. And this is just the foundation. The pretty stuff that everyone sees is still many man hours away.

While the work only comes with a two year warranty, with a foundation this sturdy and secure the odds of the property having a structurally sound parking pad for years to come are pretty high.

How many times have I gone off on some new venture unprepared and wondered why things collapsed around me? Too many to count. I am all about jumping in and taking a risk, but that doesn't mean that it's okay to forgo the planning and the preparations needed to increase the odds in our favor first. Most people don't try and jump from a ship in the middle of the ocean without a life jacket, thinking "it will all work out."

If you happen to be in the middle of a sinking ship, don't think you can't fix things. Keep bailing until you can get to dry land, catch your breath, and figure out how many layers of new wood, nails, glue (can you tell I know nothing about boat building?) you need to fix the foundation of the boat so you can take it back into deep water without future trouble.

Some of our greatest lessons are learned when we break something down and then build it back up better than it was before.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mind control................................

With the marathon behind me my focus can now turn more completely on re-tooling for my new career. I have not fully formed exactly what that new career is going to be so if any of you are feeling inspirational and have ideas for me feel free to share.

The reading I was doing yesterday was talking about the power of one's mind, and the ability to create the world one wants through positive/right thinking. What one wishes to create is what one should focus their minds on.

I get how this might seem impossible when you are drowning in debt, or are miserable in your job, marriage, fill in the _______. These things ARE your current reality, you may not have any idea how things can be different, but if things are really that bad, then the odds are in your favor that it won't make things worse to change the way you think about them. Right?

I have said before that the first step in me getting control over my money was to stop saying, "I can't afford it," and whenever that thought came into my head change it to, "I choose not to spend my money on that right now." Did it immediately get rid of my debt? Of course not, but it did change my attitude, and a little over four years later we have knocked $104,000.00 down to $24,000.00. And, I have to add, had we been more disciplined with the money coming in it would have been paid off by now. The needed money came in, however, still being works in progress, we choose to cash flow some items by justifying their importance.

Back to my reading........................

Some ways to change your thinking around include:

1. Create/picture/ think/ the best possible world for yourself.

2. Fill your mind with ideas that please and inspire you.

3. Give definition to health, wealth, and happiness.

4. Prepare for that which you hope.

5. visualize and fill your mind with the way you want your life to be. In other words, it's okay to

6. Act on the impulses that seem to put you closer to your goal. This would translate to
intuition. Listen to your gut. If it tells you to change something, go for it.

Don't let fear or complacency stop you from making the needed changes. You have all you need inside of you to have the kind of life that you want. All you have to do is believe in yourself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting back to normal.........................

Last Thursday we had BIG storms in our little town. Many, many huge trees where lost to winds, that (I think) was confirmed as at least one tornado. Tornadoes just don't hit here, so it was a pretty big news story. I was overwhelmingly sad about all the trees that were lost. About 80% in our main city park. It was also interesting to have to show identification to move about the city streets and get back into town after venturing out. Strange it somehow made us feel important. I guess some people will take any sort of fame that comes their way.

I often talk about gratitude, and being protected, so I have to share our own personal miracle. On all four sides of us neighbors lost (a) large tree(s), and there was fairly major damage two blocks away, and all that we lost was one small tree branch and one of our cherubs gave up their existence (literally lost it's head) to keep us safe. Pretty wondrous! The other cool thing...We were without a phone until last night. Sorry, Alexander Graham Bell, but when the lady from the phone company called me today to see if I were having any problems with the phone, I told her, "Only that it keeps ringing." Took her a minute to get my meaning, but then she laughed and didn't take offense at all.

Yes, the marathon was this past Sunday, and yes, I FINISHED IT! Took me six hours, twenty-one minutes and forty-five seconds (6:21:45), but I did it. Funny, I imagined myself bragging about it more, talking about it more, wanting to share every single detail of it, and I am finding it hard to talk about it at all. The first twenty-four hours all I could do was cry every time I thought about it, or anyone ask me about it (good tears), and now the satisfaction seems to have been in the completion of the goal rather than the re-living of the goal.

Somewhere, in the last couple of miles of the race, a lady passed me on a bike, smiled and said, "keep going, and know that only one in ten thousand people complete a marathon. At the time I was freaking out about meeting the cut off deadline of 6.5 hours and I couldn't revel in the wonderment of that statistic. And I guess, if you consider how many people there are in the world that may not even be that great of a statistic, but it is mine now, and just like all the other growth that I have achieved, no one can ever take it away from me. I am very proud of my accomplishment, and can't wait to see what I do next.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Yippee!

Friday, October 12, 2007

New post.............................

Last night (my) Mister informed me he was getting sick of seeing the tomatoes on my blog and inquired as to when I planned on updating with a new post. Anything to keep harmony in the marriage honey (I heard that Mister!).

After my two weeks off from running, I decided to do one last long run last Saturday. Silly me, in the heat (I am sure you all heard about what happen at the Chicago marathon the last Sunday), and two weeks before my marathon, I maybe shouldn't have, but I went twenty-four miles. And it kicked my butt! I was walking normal by Wednesday, but I am still exhausted so I have been conserving energy, and spending my time visualizing and getting mentally prepared for my marathon.

I also turned fifty years of age since I last posted. Would love to tell you all that I am a mature, wise woman now, but no...I am still just me, full of flaws and learning as I go along. I will say I am looking forward to the next fifty as the best years of my life as while I don't know everything, I know a heck of a lot more than I did when I was twenty. The most important thing I learned...that I don't know everything. And that is okay!

My wrist is doing fabulous, and I am gaining increased range of motion every day. I even started knitting again for short periods of time. Woo! Hoo!

And since I am bragging, I will let you in on my latest endeavor. This summer I was able to cross off donating my hair to Locks of Love from my "things to do before I die" list. I am confident that finish a marathon will be crossed off on October 21, 2007, so I thought it time to move on to something else on the list. I am learning to play the guitar. Maybe the timing of this could be better with the wrist and all, but I think it will be good for my rehab in the long run, and since it is my list I get to pick the order in which I complete it. I have learned six notes already, three on string one and three on string two. My oldest can't wait until I can play songs around the campfire. I can't wait until I build up calluses on my fingertips and they stop hurting when I practice. Once I get full use of my wrist again I think I might take a few lessons to boost my progress so I can actually play around the campfire BEFORE I turn seventy-five.

Okay honey. Hope your happy with the new post. Beware the tomatoes continue to lurk below. The things I do for love!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Haven't seen this before...................................

No! It's NOT worms...
It started to sprout!
Upon cutting into this tomato yesterday, that had been setting on my counter for several days, I immediately noticed it looked funny. Upon further inspection I could see that the tomato seeds had started to sprout. I smelled it (everyone knows what a rotten tomato smells like. Right?) and it didn't smell rotten, but "sprouty."
The hospice nurse was here at the time and she concurred with me. Then she said if I started seeing Jesus in the tomato she was turning me in. Nope! No faces emerged in front of my eyes, but I still thought it was cool enough to share.
I am going to try and get it to grow, since it seems to want it so badly. I will let you know what happens.