Monday, April 30, 2007

Out of touch, but not out of heart............................

Sorry I have not been in and about blog land the last couple of days, but this great weather is taking up lots of my time with activities that I had to put on the shelf all winter.
One of the things I did over the weekend was participate in the annual "Race for the Cure" 5K, Completing the run in 32.32. The event was more like a festival than a race with all kinds of businesses giving out freebies. Had I known, I would have gone earlier and stocked up. I will know for next year. The above picture is after the race. I am with my dear friend ORA, who is a breast cancer survivor of eight years now and going strong.
I have also been spending time planning my youngest's up (and quickly) coming graduation party. I started finding recipes this morning so I can make a shopping list, blah, blah, blah. The party is only 20 days away so I guess it is time to kick it into gear and get moving on it don't ya think?
Time to go change the laundry, decide what to make for dinner, do dishes...Woe is me! Don't you wish you had it so easy?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The latest in "wanting it all".......................

I try hard not to get to political on this blog, because I really do believe that everyone has a right to do what they want to do, as long as they are not doing anybody else harm.

Having said that I MUST speak to something I heard on the Today Show.

They did a segment about a trend that is happening in which moms that are too busy to nurse their babies are paying other women to do the job for them. They actually call it outsource nursing! Are they nuts?

Okay! I nursed my baby. Once (and only one time) I even nursed a friend's baby when he refused to take a bottle and wouldn't stop screaming, but this was an emergency situation I felt(and prior to this time she and I had talked about this so I sorta had her permission).

I agree that breast milk is the perfect food for an infant, and there are many benefits to nursing (for me the number one was convenience. It was faster than fixing and warming a bottle), but these benefits become liabilities (in my opinion) when another woman is supplying the breast milk long term.

Lots of things pass through breast milk. Yes, they screen the wet nurses, but do they do this prior to every feeding? What if the wet nurse decides to binge drink one night after they pass screening? Or eat something that makes baby gassy? Or need to go on pain killers and baby doesn't latch onto the fill-in wet nurse? Or...Fill in the blank.

Lots of studies have been done about the bonding that takes place during the nursing experience. Is it really okay with these moms that this happens with someone else besides them? If it is good to breastfeed to create this bond, is is beneficial then to create a bond that will be broken around age two when nursing stops? Is it beneficial for the WN to try to supply the breast milk without creating the bond? Would that be possible? Is there enough benefit to breast milk (and not the act of breast feeding) to justify the potential separation anxiety and possible long term bonding issues when the relationships ends once baby is weened?

Millions of babies have grown up on formula and in fact done quite well. As much as we try to kid ourselves we cannot have it all. Why do we even think we need to have it all? All (again in my opinion) is one of those words in the same category as never and always. The more one strives to fulfill their meaning of these words, the more they desire and rarely does satisfaction ever arrive. How will these women feel ten years from now in the event that this new trend turns out not to be such a good idea? One can strive all they want and not change the past. The point will come when peace must be made with a choice. Might it not be better to get this out of the way the first year of the kid's life and then move on? Just a thought?

Do I think that these mother's don't care about their babies welfare and are only out for themselves and their best interest? Of course not. I am sure in their minds these mothers are making a good choice for their child. Who am I to say that my way is the only right way? Who am I to make judgements about the way other people raise their kids? I sure didn't want anyone telling me how to raise mine. But are these mom's best intentions going to create worse case scenarios down the road? How do we tell before it is too late?

And now it is your turn. Let me know what you think of this idea. Has anyone reading actually done this practice or know someone that has done it and been happy with it? I really would like to hear other thoughts on the subject. Not so we can choose sides and get into a big debate, but so I might understand the other point of view, because right now, I just don't get it!
20/20 vision intact.........................

If you count the corrective lenses that is. Went to the eye doctor yesterday, and my vision has not changed over the last two years. This is a good thing when you are getting up there in years as I am. JK! I am sure I have a week or two to live yet.

I have been going to this eye doctor for seventeen years, so you might say I have become friends with he and his staff. Going for a visit is like going back to your hometown and having to catch everyone up on the latest happening in your life, as well as hear all about theirs.

I am not sure why (and I didn't realize it until I got in the office), but I was weepy for some reason yesterday. As we were going through the exam, we got on the subject of kids, and that turned to us sharing some of the moments that we felt terrible about (his was a time when he felt his son should have been more aggressive on the field and he didn't talk to him all the way home. Mine was the story of when I was so broke I could only afford one gallon of milk for the kids for the week) and that our children don't even remember. I always cry when I think of that time in my life and this day was no exception.

So, I go back to the waiting room to give my eyes time to dilate and to pass the time I start reading the book I had with me. The title of the book is: Last Rites, Rescuing the end of life from the medical system, and is about dying in today's society. I start reading this (made up) story about one fella who is at the end of a battle with cancer. His best friend from work had been struggling with how to handle everything, afraid to visit, afraid not to. One evening he goes to the guy's house and they end up watching a Celtic's game. The guy shares that one of his life regrets is he never got to see his team play in person. The friend arranges this "last wish" type of surprise and takes his buddy to a game with floor seats, meeting the team, the whole shebang. What a great memory for both of them.

Are you crying? That is a very condensed version of what I was reading, but I was sitting there in the waiting room crying, almost blubbering out loud, it is so touching me. Like I said, this group of people are like family to me. The receptionist simply brought me a box of tissues and let me have my moment. The eye doctor simply reassured me that "No! I had not cried all of the chemicals out and he would be able to finish my exam just fine and then did just that.

Changing subjects, I has a second interview for an additional resident yesterday. Very sweet woman, 94 years old and in really excellent health considering her age. Of course, she would prefer to live in her own apartment (a recent fall is what has sent the family down this road to assisted living) but she figured that our place could end up being the second best thing.

I has talked with the sons and showed them around the day before, and yesterday the son was sharing D/C papers from the hospital with me. I noticed a couple of names written on the paper of other AFCs and I started to go into my spiel about what I knew of the places (had done therapy services at both. I try and get people to visit several places so they have reference points to work off from when considering our home) and one of the son's stopped me in mid-sentence to say, 'Well to be honest, we didn't even consider looking anyplace else after visiting with you yesterday." I was extremely honored by this and told the family so. Do I think this was said because I am so special? Well, maybe a little, but mostly I think it was because of what they observed when they were here the previous day.

I am sure they noticed a cobweb or two, and for sure that the glass shower needed to be cleaned (I finally broke down and bought one of those new gadgets that is suppose to do the work for you but (my) Mister hasn't had time to install it yet. After I showed them around, the phone rang and I left then to chat and check out the family pics on the walls while I talked with another resident' family member. The dogs barked, the cat wandered in, the country music station was on in one room, the TV in another. It was evident that they were in a real home and not a sterile, medically oriented, commercially fabricated place. Seems they liked the way this felt. I believe the homey atmosphere, cobwebs and all, is what really makes our place stand out from the rest. Maybe my skills and sense of humor (not to mention my good looks and charm) help to round out the total package. One can only hope!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tattling on (my) Mister............................

The man totally cracks me up, and why you might have to have been there to find the funny in the following situations, I can't help but indulge myself and share with all of you.

Sunday, I am in the front yard and (my) Mister was going back and forth between working in the front with me and tending to the needs of the OPs. I suggested to him that he might want to clean up the little buds that fell from the maple tree and were all over the deck, as he could do this and see the OPs at the same time. Last week when I ask him to do this he couldn't because, "They were too wet to sweep." I went on to suggest that he use his little vacuum machine thingy that can either blow or suck stuff like leaves up.

He leaves to do this, and I proceed to go back to picking up pine needles. A few minutes pass and he comes out and says, "vacuuming them up isn't working too good." In typical Patty style, I respond with a "well why not, it should,"without even looking up. (Poor) Mister just turned and went back to the task at hand. Several minutes later, he comes back to the front yard to empty the bag in the yard waste dumpster, and again says (almost apologetically) "It really isn't working too good." I look up, all set to argue with him, and he is head to toe orange. I almost fell off my stool I started laughing so hard. Apparently "it isn't working too well" translated to "the damn thing turns the buds to powder and spits the powder all over me. As I am dying from laughing so hard, my sweet Mister says," I'm glad I can be here for your amusement."

The thing is, he really is happy to be here for me in any way he can. He loves to make me smile and laugh and understands while I am laughing at him, I am not really laughing "at" him.

Like later that evening. Unbelievably we found a few minutes before the sun set to lay in the hammock together. We are laying there, listening to the birds sing, not thinking about anything (or at least I wasn't), when out of the blue, (my) Mister says, 'Damn those (name of company) people." Without a clue as to what he was referring to, I am like ," Hu? What are you talking about?" "You know the job I applied for," he said. "Oh, that."

Without us having four full time residents for some time now, we have not had extra income to apply to our credit card debt, and it is looking like it will be the end of the year instead of our original August deadline before we are debt free. In one of my brilliant strokes of genius I told (my) Mister that one of us really needed to pick up a second job. I went on to share that I wouldn't mind being the one, and I would do it if he wanted me to, but my fear was my families would not be that happy with me going out to work when they were paying me to work for them 24/7 (and NO! this wasn't my sneaking way of getting out of being the one, it is how I think I would feel if I placed my loved one somewhere like our AFC).

So, (my) Mister agreed with me about a second job, and volunteered to be the one to get it. The very next day I found him an ad for a cleaning job, two hours a day, Monday through Friday, that paid $12.00 an hour. He applied, and has never heard anything from the company.

So, back to the hammock... He precedes to tell me their not hiring him was totally, and completely age discrimination. Sorry, but I laughed in his face, and told him how did he know, and that it hadn't been that long since he had applied, maybe they hadn't hired anybody yet. So then he goes into this long explanation of how these companies don't want to hire someone like him, someone "mature and successful." Again I roared with laughter. Don't get me wrong, I agree that (my) Mister is extremely mature and successful, but he was truly offended that this company might not want to hire him. I just didn't get this and told him as much. If it were me that had applied for a second job I would be praying they DIDN'T call as it would just be one more thing to have to fit into my schedule. I would been thrilled to have made the effort to be the hero without actually having to end up taking the job. He is too good of a guy to think this way I guess.

Though I might not say it out loud often enough, I do appreciate the great lengths (my) Mister is willing to go to that I might be taken care of and happy. He does a fabulous job of bringing joy and sunshine to my days, and making me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. Thanks honey! Love you more!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A pretty productive weekend................

Now that the white trash (that would be us, receiving that title from my oldest when she saw that we duct taped the side mirror back on the car, which BTW worked really great in winter, not so hot is summer when the tape got hot, the sticky melted, and the mirror slid back into it broken position) on our street have gotten most of their front yard cleaned up, the neighborhood is looking pretty pretty. The last couple of years a couple of the houses had some sort of lawn disease and the homeowners spent the summer trying to get grass to grow (Grass is so over-rated...that is why we went with bricks), but this year everything is green and healthy looking. There is some kind of camaraderie that happens when you are out in the yard working along side the other homeowners. Except, of course for those die-hard grass guys (who have, in so many words, told me they think I am nuts for not having grass in the front)who cross w-a-y over the line and can't stand to be out-mowed.

One of them happens to be right next door to me (Poor thing)and for years there was another one across the street from him. The second guy moved a couple of years ago, taking the pressure off grass guy number one. Well, now that the grass disease seems to have been conquered, he has a new competitor, right next door to him.

The face off goes something like this...One of the two decide it is time to mow the lawn. You can put money (lots of money) on the fact that within ten minutes (given the fact that the other guy is home at the time) he will start his mower and be out there. Doesn't matter if he had just mowed. Doesn't matter if they have company (like guy #1 did yesterday). It is like watching Pavlov's dog experiment only with the sound of a lawnmower instead of a bell!

I find this very entertaining (doesn't take much to amuse me), and wish I could find a betting pool I could cash in on. I would be a rich, rich woman! Just because I don't understand the need for a perfectly manicured lawn, doesn't mean I can't be happy for them, and I am sure it isn't hurting the property value in the neighborhood. Wouldn't want them taking that position away from me now would I?

I ended up putting close to fourteen hours into the front yard over the weekend, and that doesn't include my youngest's two hours and the several hours (my) Mister put in. He didn't work as consistently as I did, because he got the fun job of checking on the OPs because I am a much more efficient weeder than he is (not to mention picky, so doing more myself means having to go over less that he did to get right, IE.. how I want it). I am estimating that another eight hours should finish up the job. The good news is the rubber wood chips we put down last year are doing a great job and there are very few weeds coming up. Once all the dead leaves and pine needles are removed (have a shared how MUCH I hate the neighbors pine tree? Thought so) I think it will be an easy up-keep this summer.

After doing the yard yesterday, and running a couple of miles, I got cleaned up and relaxed in front of TV to watch some of the shows that I taped last week.

One of the shows was the latest ER. Part of it was about a guy with Alzheimer's. His son is brought into the ER with congestive heart failure. They get hold of the father and he is in the room when his son dies. A bit later in the show they go in to tell the man they have found a place for him to stay (he had been living with the son and it is apparent that he can not live on his own) and the poor man has no memory of having just watched his son die. They tell him again, and a third time. Finally, the fourth time he begins to talk about needing to go home as his son will be worried about him, Luca begins to talk appropriately to him. He doesn't lie to the man, but focuses his words to comfort and reassure the man that his son wants the best for him and right now it is to go to this new place. The guy says something about the son being able to find him so they can have dinner together and Luca says something to the effect that he is sure the son will know where his father is. By this time I was cheering out loud. When dealing with someone with Alzheimer's, it is imperative that you enter their world not try to orient them to yours. The show demonstrated this beautifully, and we so need education on this subject.

And now the other lesson. If your parents are getting on in years are they prepared in the event something happens to you? In this story (which is often true in real life) the son was the guardian, DPA, everything, and there was no other family. Upon his death, the father was not only homeless, but penniless. The son's estate would be tied up in probate for a year, and in the meantime who was to look out for this man that could no longer look out for himself. The show had a parallel story about a young boy that ended up needing foster care and at one point the social worker made the statement, "It is easy to find foster care for a child, for the older man it is almost impossible." Those are the facts people. As a society we get that children can need to be taken care of or watched over if something happens to their family, but once we become adults it is just assumed (WRONGLY) that we will always be taking care of ourselves. It is believed that everyone is out there doing the things that need doing to assure they will be taken care of if the time comes. This father and son thought they had done so, but they didn't factor in the son's death.

Most of us do not want to think about death, specially ours or a loved ones, but I want you to consider that you are not doing anybody any favors by ignoring the fact that everyone dies, and not only when they have had a long happy life. If you happen to be an only child, make sure you find a second person to step in if you are unable to do so. If you are the sibling in charge, keep the others up to speed, and legally able to step in so mom and dad continue to have their needs met first and foremost. If you know a neighbor that is in need of help, risk being nosy and make sure they have things covered.

Turning fifty this fall, I can tell you first hand, old age (not that fifty is old, but wasn't I just going to the prom the other day?) creeps up on you and you don't see it coming. From talking with many clients I have learned that it is a very real possibility that one day you can manage your own shopping and laundry and then, just like that, you can't make it up and down stairs. Then, because none of us want to admit we need help, you spend all your energy covering up the facts and our needs go un-met. It is only the lucky ones that are "found out" before some negative event happens. Check on your loved ones, and get those legal papers in order...Theirs AND yours!

Okay! I'm stepping off the soap box now...enjoy your day!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Much more than expected..........................

The weather has taken a turn for the fabulous, just when I thought our extended winter was going to last forever. I am getting so hopeful that winter is finally over that I am thinking about moving my big plants out onto the deck, their first transition home towards their final summer home out in the yard, on the patio. What is my point? I have been back to gardening instead of blogging. Don't ask me why I didn't just say that? My only answer is I am more of a War and Peace kind of story teller instead of a Reader's Digest Condensed Book one.

If you read my previous post, you know I was/am looking for runners for the team I am putting together to pace me and celebrate with me as I run my first marathon to celebrate turning fifty. Well, turns out I got much more than a member for my team, I got a full fledged partner.
Random has signed on to run the full 26.2 with me. Isn't that terrific! She is turning thirty around the same time I am turning fifty, so we are going to have a blow-out birthday bash compliments of the Detroit Marathon! We are both very excited and ready to get out there and log the miles necessary to complete the race. Do you know how great of shape we are going to be in six months from now, when we cross that finish line? BTW, there is still one, possibly two spots left on the team if anyone else wants to join us.

Well, I need to go wake my youngest up and get her going. She has committed to helping me with the front yard for a couple of hours. Ya, she is a great kid, but the real reason she is helping me is because she wants to earn extra money so she can go tanning to get rid of the tan lines she acquired at her track meet yesterday so she doesn't have a funky tan in her prom dress. Prom is less than two weeks away so she is getting desperate enough for extra cash that weeding has suddenly become tolerable, if not appealing. I tell you parents, this commission idea is one of the greatest things ever invented!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Volunteers needed..........................

I think I have mentioned in the past that I plan to celebrate turning fifty this fall by running my first, full marathon. I received some info on a sort of local race that is being held on October 21. The really cool and exciting part is that in addition to the marathon, and the half distance, they have a relay marathon made up of teams of five people. with each person on the team doing a portion of the 26.2 distance. So...This is my plan...

I will do is the full marathon, but have a five member relay team that will break up the distance and run with me to be my running buddy. Having a partner to run with will keep me going, especially at the end when I am tired and am wondering if I will see the finish line. It will also be great to be celebrating each and every step towards the finish line with someone that is special to me.

If you would like to be a part of this fabulous opportunity let me know soon as the relay and half-marathon slots are said to fill up fast. (my) Mister and my youngest have already claimed two of the spots (if truth be told, (my) Mister semi-reluctantly let himself be talked into it after I assured him it was all I wanted from him for my birthday. He sooooo wishes I could be like other wives and want something store-bought!) That leaves three positions currently available though I am sure they will go fast because of the fact that I am so loved and so many people are just going to be dying to celebrate with me. Will you get to be one of the lucky ones? Maybe we will end up having to draw straws? Anyone out there know how to draw straws cyber style?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Me and "M" at our junior prom... Check out the bottom ruffles on the dress and the shawl. What a classic! Here's the hair in all it's false glory. How about that puritanical neckline!Another of those forced poses (I talk about later) I HAD to include this one, look how skinny my waist looks in it!

These pictures are from my Junior prom, as I didn't get to attend my Senior prom. You see, my then boyfriend (later first husband, currently first ex-spouse) refused to take me because his brother was in my class and he (first husband) told me he thought it might be awkward for his brother if he was there. Of course this was a total crock of crap as he (again, first husband) hung out with his brother and his friends all the time, and as it ended up (his) brother didn't even go to the prom (I always meant to ask (his) brother's wife what excuse he gave to her. I think the two of them cooked up a plan so neither of them had to attend, but I can't prove it). At the time I was so smitten I just lied and told him I understood and that I didn't mind missing my senior prom. Another crock of crap, but my excuse is at the time I was desperate to be loved and didn't want to screw up my chances of that.

Anyway, in typical Patty style I ended up getting back at him by hounding him endlessly (ONLY after I found out his brother didn't go so it is completely justified in my mind) about having to miss my prom for no reason, missing out on getting dressed up, and not having the memories to look back on in my old age (is it here already?), until he finally caved in and took me to the opera to make things up to me. Never mind most of the opera was in a foreign language and I couldn't understand any of it, I had a great dress and a fairytale night to remember, so I forgave/forgive him.

Boy! Do I ramble... on with the tale of my junior prom.

Back in the day (class of 1975), at least in the small town I grew up in, the prom was far different from the proms of today. It was pretty much just like all the other dances, held in the school cafeteria, from eight to midnight. The big differences were that we dressed up in more formal gear and there was a photographer present to capture the event for eternity. Oh! And we all got to stay out an hour or two later than our normal midnight curfews so we could go out to eat after the prom. That made us feel real grown up let me tell you!

How I got my date is also classic high school (okay, maybe more junior high, but we were not as mature back in those days). One of my friends found out that I had a crush on "M" and set out to get him to ask me to the prom (remember, this was before terms like "hooked up" where invented). Several days, and close to a thousand passed notes later it was all arranged. I don't think he and I had spoken more than a dozen words to one another, but we were both excited. Almost as excited as my sister was.

Remember, at the time I lived with my oldest sister, and she loved to relive her life though my life. We went shopping for the perfect dress (looking at the picture, don't you agree we found it? While it isn't anything I would wear today, it fit my personality back then), and made an appointment to get my hair done. At the time, my hair hung straight down my back to my waist and all I did with it was wash it once a week, and get a trim every couple of months (though shorter now, the care regiment is exactly the same today except I have let my hairdresser talk me into coloring it to hide the gray that is starting to creep in, as she says, "before people begin to notice that I color it"), but of course it had to be all curly and fancy for the big occasion. The fall (or fake hair if we are calling it what it was) was all my sister's idea, I take no responsibility for it! Gosh, looking back I can't believe the mousy person I was, but believe me when I say that back then I really never spoke up for myself and ALWAYS did what other people thought I should do. I am sure (my) Mister would love it if I were this way just once a year, but don't hold your breath honey. It ain't gonna happen.

Back to the prom...

I can still recall the mixture of excitement and butterflies I felt as I waited for my date to pick me up on prom night. I didn't really date much, mostly because it was just easier not to. No feelings to get hurt, no third degree from the brother-in-law (much tougher than a father ever thought of being), no steady beau to keep happy. Needless to say, a lot of hopes and dreams were pinned on the up-coming evening. But first we had to make our way through the endless round of pictures and get on our way to the dance.

As I was looking back on the pictures I couldn't help but laugh at some of the poses. Last year, snapping a trillion pics of my youngest, forcing her to comply with a litany of staged poses I had told her to "smile and deal with it." When I looked at my pictures for the first time in twenty or so years I had to show her and say, "now you can see where I get it from." In checking out my pictures don't you agree that my date was very cute and we made the perfect couple? How do you like his blue velvet tux? At the time I thought it was to die for gorgeous!

The prom itself was absolutely great and we had a wonderful time. If truth be told, I think we might just have fallen in love that night, even though it turned out to be what most people call puppy love, and we went on to marry other people. Thanks to our one magic night we will always have a special place in each other's heart. How can I be sure of this? We talked about this fact at our five year class reunion. Isn't that something, how important one silly little dance can continue to be all these years later? I guess that is the reason why the tradition of spring prom continues to this day. While I would never want to be a teenager again, it would be great to recreate the specialness of that evening. Oh! Wait! I have done this from time to time over the years with other friends and family. Maybe these nights did not contain prom magic, but they were nights filled with love and specialness all the same, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.
Thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane.
A different sort of tag...........................

Last month when I was sharing the adventures of prom dress hunting with all of you,
T-girl made a comment about having to share the details of her prom with us all in a future post.

I have been holding onto the comment until it was closer to prom time, and now that Prom time is just around the corner I thought it might be fun for everyone to share their prom memories, and pictures if you have them. If you don't write a blog, use my comment section to share (this means you Mister, you know how I LOVE to hear all about your old girlfriends). If you do write posts make sure you cue the rest of us in when you write your prom memories so we can go to your blog and check them out.

I will write my memories up for tomorrow's post...wait until you see my glasses and hair (which is fake by the way) and my date...Boy! Did I think he was hot!

Can't wait to read all of your prom stories...I'm excited!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Me and my race buddy toasting to our success with a nice cold bottle of water
Ready, set, RACE.................

The day dawned cold and crisp, not a snowflake in sight (darn it all!). As I waited at the start line, I couldn't help but look around at my competition checking out the amount of gray hair and wrinkles. Comparing theirs to mine I saw several that I placed in a higher age group, and one woman that I figured could go either way so I threw up a quick prayer during the national anthem that she be fifty. She was one of those people that just looked like a runner and I knew she would be kick my butt as well as most of the twenty-year-olds lined up beside the two of us.

I remembered to start my watch as we started out and I kept up with the above mentioned "stud-et" until we turned the corner and I started wheezing to the point that I wished I had a sign that read something along the lines of "NO! I don't smoke!" "Don't worry, I am not as bad off as I sound," or "I'm okay, I don't need the paramedics (but keep them on stand-by for me)." Since I didn't have a sign I opted to slow my pace a tad and focused on running my race and NOT hers.

A few minutes later a guy came up on my left and kept pace with me. This really helped to steady me and get into a good rhythm, and when he was still beside me a minute or so later I told him to stay right there as he was being a great help. Two or three minutes later I introduced myself and he reciprocated. I had myself a running buddy!

We completed mile one in nine minutes and a few seconds. Yes I came out too fast, but nothing to be done about it at that point but keep going, around the curve/loop, back onto the main drag and up a hill. " I LOVE HILLS! Keep thinking this! Dig into the hill, we can rest on the down." My new bud probably thought I was talking to him, but I always talk out loud as I am doing a hill. It makes it more fun and lots easier.

At the bottom of the hill we turned off into a subdivision and began our wind-through. I was thinking mile two was just around the corner (recall from last year must have been a bit fuzzy), and when it wasn't mind wanted to start to complain, but before she could eyes spotted the volunteer with the stop watch just around the next corner and told her to be quiet. Mind listened for a change. How about that?

After we crossed the two mile point my buddy really started to slow down. He told me to go on ahead and I tried to encourage him to keep up the pace by saying, "Come on. Keep going. I know CPR and I promise to stop and use it on you if you need me to." Another ten steps or so and he waved me on and slowed to a walk.

Time out to tell you that when I was chatting with him after the race he shared with me that this race was his first in twenty years and he had told himself he was going to make it through the first two miles and then see what happened. This is a perfect example of how powerful our minds are in everything we do. He reached his goal and not having planned what to do next he kinda fell apart. Keep this in mind the next time you are goal seeking. Set them high and your mind can and will help you achieve them!

Even though I was running this race to race, I could not fully keep myself from interacting with the crowd. As I run by people on the sidelines mouth brings all kinds of attention to us by shouting things like,"I can't hear you! Cheer louder," or "Aren't you proud of me? I am!" With my partner beside me mouth had held the comments to thanking the volunteers for showing up, but left to myself, she couldn't contain herself during the last mile. Maybe this slowed me down a bit, but I know myself well enough to know that if I am not having fun I will not be doing the activity for much longer so the benefits for the long haul completely out-weigh the short term losses.

As I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line up ahead I was passed by two women. One was definitely younger than me so I wished her Godspeed and focused on the other woman. Quite simply, this woman out kicked me, and my thoughts soon became the reality that she placed third (BY A LOUSY THIRTY SECONDS OR SO!) and I came in fourth (out of eight people in my age division). Since only the first three winners received "official awards" I ended up getting HONORABLE MENTION from myself during the awards ceremony. Boy! Did that feel good! My official race time was 30:49, which by the way is a PR (personal record). I like PB better - personal best -, but (my) Mister says they can't use those initials or people will think they are referring to peanut butter so PR it is.

I felt so good after my race that I drove home, got dinner in the slow-cooker, made and served lunch, and then went out and ran another 3.1 miles to celebrate! What a great day!

Friday, April 13, 2007

A little of this, a little of that.......................

Man this week went fast. I say that a lot, but this week really seemed to fly by. How was yours?

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in my chair, listening to the radio, doing something on my computer when I heard a noise at my feet. I glanced over at the sofa and both dogs were sleeping peacefully. Even though I haven't seen a mouse in my house for years, I am deathly afraid of them (totally irrational I know, but still true) so this was the first thought that popped into my head. I looked down, all prepared to scream, only to see smoke curling out of the power cord to my computer. I instantly yanked the cord out of the computer, and since the computer didn't do anything funny I don't think anything internal was injured. The big problem is not being able to use the power cord to charge the computer, thus making the computer un-usable. Fortunately for me, I have a great family that will let me use theirs until mine is fixed. The bad news is I won't have access to my favorites list so I might not be keeping up with all the sites that I usually visit. Life could be much worse I know!

Even though Dave says not to, (my) Mister purchased a service plan on my computer when he bought it, so the cost of the repairs will be covered, but they told him it might be up to three weeks before it is returned. TO GIVE ME A NEW PLUG? Are they nuts? The other thing (NOT covered by the service plan of course), is they charge $150 to back up the data. Again, ARE THEY NUTS! Poor Mister, trying to make me understand why they would lose anything if they are only working on the plug. That there is more involved that simply putting my files on a disk. What happens if I don't have things back up...WHY? EXPLAIN THAT ONE AGAIN, please. Have I mentioned how patient he can be with me?

All I kept telling him was, "I don't like that option, give me a different one. I choose not to spend $150 to have them do something so simple, come up with a better solution." He is going to back stuff up himself before sending the computer in. Don't ask me for the specifics of the backing up. I stopped listening after he said he would do it and it wouldn't cost anything. Am I spoiled or what?

Speaking of spoiled...

It is trail run training time again. To make sure you are all up to date, the second weekend in June we are running a 78 mile trail relay run with a team of six runners and two drivers. Last years experience went on my "one of my best life experiences ever" and I can't wait to do it again.

Our team is made up of myself, my two daughters, two of my oldest daughter's sorority sisters (actually one of the two is the twin of the actual sorority sister, but close enough) and the "new guy". Last year we were going to run the race with just the five of us and the week before the race, our team leader was talking to the head of the race program and he told her there would be no way we would ever finish with just five of us. He gave us some names of people that did not have teams but wanted to do the race and we were able to pick up a team-member that had ran the race before but had not gotten his team registered in time and they had lost their spot. We bonded immediately, and felt like we had known him for years. And just for the record, we NEVER would have finished without him on our team. This year he is going back to his old team so we needed to get a new member. Our team leader found us someone, we have been getting acquainted through e-mails, and he fits in perfectly with the rest of us.

I have been sending out "Monday Motivation" e-mails (never mind that this weeks didn't get out until Thursday) to motivate myself and get us all pumped up for the race. In this weeks note I included the info that the 5k I am doing tomorrow will be the first ever that I will actually be running for time (to win...GO PATTY GO!) and that I had been praying for a huge snow storm so everyone in my age group will stay home and my chances of winning will be greatly increased, Everyone sent me back encouraging messages, making me feel so very loved and cared about. I feel like a winner, even before I line up at the starting line, and totally inspired to do my very best.

The "new guy" sent me this message..."We’re all behind you – and so will be everyone else in your age group be (behind you, that is!)." Isn't that fabulous!

Have a fab weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Parks meeting playback.......................

The meeting went very well last night, and my idea was extremely well received. Who could ask for more than that?

Being a small town and all, it turns out that I provided day care for the head of the committee's grandson (who is a junior in high school now). He recognized my face and that broke the ice for the rest of the presentation.

Though there was one comment of, "What do you mean presentation? You gave us a book." everyone was pleased with the information that I supplied for them to move forward with.

Now they begin doing the things that a committee needs to do before taking the idea to the city council, and we all wait and see what our next move is to be.

I gotta confess that during the meeting when they were doing all their "motions, seconds, and for the records" I was kind of relieved that there was no open positions on the committee. Being my own boss I have gotten used to just doing things the way I think they should be done without having to run it by anyone else (except the resident, family, and doc, but that isn't really the same thing). When it was mentioned that last months meeting was over three hours long, I was downright thankful not to have signed on to be a part of the committee. (Ya! I'm selfish with my time!) Still, I had a good time speaking to the group and being part of a discussion, sharing some things and learning other things. My idea of a really fun night.

CHANGING THE SUBJECT.........................

My baby is eighteen today, at 10:27 AM. I tried to get her to agree to signing herself out of school at lunch saying she needed to go buy her first official lottery ticket, but she said she has missed too much school and needs to be there. As I have often said in the past..."If she hadn't been born at home, I would swear she was switched at birth!" JK... She is a really great kid, and I am very proud!

Of course, she had a couple of appointments yesterday (one of which was getting her TB test read as she needed to be tested to live here upon the age of eighteen. Interesting that she could have had TB before the age of eighteen and that wouldn't matter, but once she is an official adult...) Anyway... The point is I HAD TO CALL HER IN TO EXCUSE HER FROM SCHOOL one last time yesterday. I thought last week was the last time, but no! She managed to sneak one more in on me. The moral of that lesson:


IT - IS - OVER!!!!! One more "last time" crossed off my list. Yippee!

You don't think this is some great denial system that I have devised because I simply can't cope with the notion of having all my children gone and out on their own do you? Maybe I am going to have some huge meltdown two years from now when she graduated from Community College and I force her to move into the dorm or an apartment for her own good (and my selfishness). And maybe I could get hit by a bus between now and then so I am not going to spend any time worrying about the possibility of said meltdown in the meantime. Good plan, don't ya think?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Life's little pleasures.................................

Yesterday, being a holiday and all, both of our residents went out to spend time with their families. (my) Mister ask me if I would like to go out and see a movie while they were gone. HAD HE GONE NUTS? I haven't had the chance to be alone in my house in forever and he thinks I want to leave it? Not on your life! We ended up having the house to ourselves for almost FOUR WHOLE HOURS! It was great...

Before our last resident made it to the end of the block the dogs and I were singing at the top of our lungs. Usually when we sing we have to go outside so as not to disturb anyone else. With the house to ourselves we could howl till we were hoarse, and that is just what we did.

Then (my) Mister and I took the dogs for a walk...TOGETHER, as in AT THE SAME TIME. I think the last time we managed to do that was last summer some time.

I won't bore you with the details of how we spent the next couple of hours (or embarrass (my) Mister by sharing with you all how I got him to make some noise), but trust me... it was time well spent.

We ended the day with Chinese take-out. Did you hear that they did some study and the good news is that Chinese take-out is no more horrible for you then it was found to be years ago? They actually stated it that way, as it being "good news." Go figure that slant, but what better way to end a forbidden afternoon than eating forbidden bad-for-you-greasy-yummy tasting- take-out?

Hope all of you had as great of a holiday as I had. It is the little things in life, the ones we take for granted until we don't have them anymore, that make life worth living. Be happy for those moments and embrace them for all you are worth.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Winter running in April..............................

I have had the roads to myself again the last couple of days as the temperatures have dipped into the thirties and the snow and blowing winds seemed to have returned with a vengeance. I ended up getting the XM portable MP3 player to replaced my misplaced Ipod. What is great about this is I can record the talk shows I like to listen to and then listen to them on my runs. Having this to look forward to helps to entice me to get out there, while everyone else does the sane thing and stays inside.

The other good thing about snow in April is that it is giving me a break from the yard work. Maybe someday I will adapt the same attitude of weeding no matter what weather as I have done with my running, but that day is not today. My low back is extremely thankful and votes for no yard work in crappy weather EVER! We shall see...

In addition to my new running entertainment system, I also purchased a waist CamelBac (CamelBac is the brand name) which is a watering system that straps around my waist and rides on my low back area and has a tube that comes up and clips on my shoulder so you can either run with it in your mouth and drink as you go or get the tube without effort while running. I have tried different hydration systems and have found something wrong with all of them. I am hopeful (after the first couple of uses) that this is the one for me. In addition to the water spot, it has pockets and clips to hold the other things that I take with me on longer runs. I feel a little silly taking it on short runs, but I do so, so when I use it on the trail run I will be used to it and won't be wasting effort on figuring out how to use it or anything other than the churning out the miles.

My last new gadget is a heart rate monitor. This is the coolest little thing ever. As I run it tells me what my HR is as well as how many calories I am burning and keeps track of how long I have ran. If I ever figure out how to work all of the features I will probably be able to learn lots of other stuff about my training efforts. Currently, I am learning to determine how fast I am going by what my HR is, which should translate into my pushing myself a little harder some of the time which should translate into my being able to run a faster pace overall as time goes by. The main reason I want to go faster is to push into the next level of health. If one does not continue to change things up with their fitness program the body gets used to the effort and the fitness level stays the same. Or in my case, the thighs continue to be huge! I am confident that the HR monitor is going to help me to ignore the pleas of my inner child to slow down and enjoy the scenery, and instead doing what is best for the both of us.

The only problem with all my new toys is the amount of time it takes to get ready to run. It is quite comical all the straps, snaps, pouches, and paraphernalia that is gathered and engaged for a little three mile loop around the block. So what? It gets me out the door and off the couch, as well as going a long way towards adding years to my life so I can stay around and torture all those I love long into the future. I would say that is a fair return on my investments of time and money wouldn't you?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Is there ever "one right way?"

Besides my way of course...that one's a given...

"Be Aware of people who tell you what to do.There is no one pill, no one herb, no one diet, supplement, or food that is right for all people. We are each so unique. If there were one right way for us all life would be so simple, wouldn't it?"

The above in quotations came from this months Raw Gourmet newsletter. She was referring to things we put in our bodies, but I think her comments should be broadened to include all facets of our lives.

People L-O-V-E to give advice and tell other people what they should do about a vast number of things. Sometimes this advice is ask for, other times it is not. Over the years I have given out my fair share of advice. With friends, I am pretty good about not giving out unsolicited advice, with my family not so much. Okay, not at all!

I will admit to thinking I know what is best for my family and am not at all shy about sharing this with them. Lately, I have really been working on not being so over the top with this behavior and trying to shut my mouth more if I observe any of them doing things in a way different from the way I might do them. With the exception of my youngest that is. I have one more week until she is an adult and I am still in charge of her. This is why I am forcing her to do three-a-days.

A couple of weeks back I watched her stress out for a solid day and a half doing all forty of her political cartoons for her Government class because she is a natural born procrastinator and had not been doing them over the course of the term. She has forty more due later in the year so I am making her do three a day while she is on spring break and then one a day until they are completed. Am I really hoping to break her procrastination habit? I am well aware that that ain't gonna happen, but it will assure that I don't have to listen to her stress out when they are due and not completed. That is if she can keep track of them until it is time to hand them in. With her that is not necessarily a given, so I guess I had better check on where she is storing them.

To get back to the original topic. Is it the responsibility of the advice giving relative to back off, or is it the responsibility of the receiver of the advice to tell the giver to back off and let them live their own life? The way that I handled that with my sister (the older one, that was my parental figure) was to listen to her and then go home and do as I pleased. I listened out of respect for her (and because it was much easier to just listen than it was to stand up to her), but believed that I was ultimately responsible for my life and my life choices. Sometimes I did as she suggested, often times not. Either way, I always took responsibility for my actions. Do you ever hear someone saying, "Why did you tell me to do that? Now look what has happened." As if someone else is to blame for their choices?

When things work out, it is easy for us to take all the credit, but much harder when things don't turn out as planned. As much as we would sometimes like to believe it, none of us are pawns in someone Else's game. One cannot be manipulated/get angry/sad/happy unless one allows themselves to be. There is always a choice about how to react to any given situation. Each individual not only has the right, but the responsibility to live their life in this manner. There is no one answer, or no one right way, only the way that is right for us at any given moment. Even that will be ever changing as we move and grow along the road of life. Good luck, and best wishes to us all, we're gonna need it!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

So you all know I am still alive...................

And well I might add. I have been working on my youngest's quilt, trying to get it ready for her open house next month. You know about the quilt right? One square from each of her first days of school that are now being fashioned into a double size comforter.

We also had spa day yesterday, and I have to tell you that I had the best massage of my life. The girl was totally fab and even said she would come to my house and give one of my residence a massage. I also had this thing done called a mini eye-contour. I am not sure what the girl did to me but I swear to God the bags and dark circles under my eyes totally disappeared. Talk about a feel good moment! I can see myself collecting returnable soda cans from the streets in order to have that done again.

I have also been trying to memorize my little pooch speech, but will probably choke in the end and read off the cards out of nervousness. Part of me likes to talk to strangers, but there is always a little part of me that gets nervous about public speaking.

Anyway, I hope to be back to creative blogging in a day or two. In the meantime have fun and enjoy the journey.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Patty's Park Presentation..............................

Not only am I on the agenda for the Parks Committee meeting on April 11, but I also found a terrific proposal that a city in CA put together and gave permission for others to modify and use to create their own dog parks. Below is what I plan on saying at the meeting and wanted to get your input and make needed changes before beginning to commit it to memory.

The post below this one is another idea I had. I put quotes with pics of the dogs to help make a connection between the people on the committee and the dogs, as well as provide them with some food for thought after meeting us. I plan to hand these out as people are filing in for the meeting.

Okay, after introducing myself this is how I begin...

I have heard that dogs have the mental capacity of a two-year-old, and if you know, or have known any two-year-olds you know that one of their greatest life pleasures is to run, and play with anyone and everyone they meet. Observing this behavior is to me one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I get this same joy from watching my dogs meet and greet other dogs.

In my opinion, the best place for these meeting to take place is a “dog park.” These parks are fenced in areas set aside for dogs to meet and play under the watchful eyes of their owners. With current leash laws, it is difficult to find places where dogs can fully stretch their legs canine style. Dog parks solve this problem, and go a long way in solving others as well.

It is no secret that physical activity is good for both dogs and humans. It has been proven that
people with dogs exercise more. In today’s multi-tasking society a dog park can provide not only the benefits of exercise for humans and dogs, but provides these benefits in an environment that fosters social interaction. Imagine being able to engage in an activity that is not only good for you, but also loads of fun, and filled with terrific health benefits.

A dog park can provide the perfect outlet for a dog’s pent up energy. That extra energy that translates into noisy, jumping, obnoxious dogs who bother neighbors and non-dog owners on the streets. A dog that has an outlet for their pent up energy is usually a dog that is much less bothersome to neighbors, cutting down on the number of complaints and bad feelings.

Of course one cannot discuss the possibility of a dog park without discussing the PPI, poop problem issue. I will confess to many an unclean thought after an encounter between my shoes and stray PPI. A dog park can provide the number one and two behavior modification techniques to address this PPI, which are education and peer pressure. Responsible owners pick up after their pets and normally have little issue with asking others to do the same. Creating an environment where picking up is the norm rather than the exception will go along way in dealing with the PPI.

Not everyone is a dog owner, or a dog lover. The same can be said about soccer, baseball, and football, and yet we have designated areas for those activities in our city. I am here tonight to ask for equal consideration for those of us that do own and love dogs to assist us in nurturing them, as well as provide a way to express our gratitude to them for all the unconditional love and attention they so freely lavish on us daily.

Some things have to be believed to be seen - Ralph Hodgeson -

To believe with certainty we must begin with doubt - Stanislaw Leszczynski -

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the other side of - Ogden Nash -

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole - Roger Caras -

To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act - Anatole France

The things that one most wants to do are the things that are probably most worth doing - Winifred Holtby

Do something. If it doesn’t work do something else. No idea is too crazy - Jim Hightower

When defeat is inevitable, it is wisest to yield - Quintilian -

It is by acts and not by ideas that people live - Anatole Frances

Sunday, April 01, 2007

First of the month...Time for the Krialu online newsletter.............................

Nothing original in this post, yet lots and lots of gold nuggets for you to explore and benefit from. Check out the following and let yourself be drawn to explore something that jumps out at you. Enjoy!

Spreading the word...

National Day of Climate Action, April 14Join in a nationwide call to combat climate change. Hundreds of rallies will urge Congress to step it up by cutting carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. Bill McKibben, author and environmentalist, invites everyone to be part of the movement. Learn more and find out about action events in your area at

TV-Turnoff Week, April 23-29According to Neilsen Media Research, the average American spends over four hours a day in front of the television screen. “Turn off TV and turn on life,” says the TV-Turnoff Network. Use this week to cut back on TV time, freeing you up to get outside, exercise, read, or pursue creative endeavors. Click here to check out facts, essays, tips, and organizing materials.

April Is National Poetry Month, T. S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruelest month,” but we beg to differ--it’s a great time to immerse yourself in the language and rhythm of your favorite poems, discover new poets, or dip into poetry for the first time. Learn more about National Poetry Month from the Academy of American Poets and check out their “ 30 Ways to celebrate.”

And if you are looking for something new to read...

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, trained in family medicine, psychiatry, and clinical psychology and has been on the faculties of several medical schools. The author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and Coyote Wisdom, a trilogy of books on what Native American culture has to offer the modern world, he is of Cherokee and Lakota heritage.

Dr. Madrona says...

The trilogy of books I’ve written on Native American healing practices are called Coyote Medicine, Coyote Wisdom, and Coyote Healing. Coyote is the teacher who reminds us to be open to everything, including change. He is the clown, the trickster, and the survivor, reminding us to shift perspectives, to be willing not to know, and to laugh at ourselves and our shortcomings. Coyote reminds us that medicine is anything that works.

All of our ancestors, no matter where from or how far back, used stories for healing. Every one of us can draw on this past, however distant and however forgotten. An encoded memory of this ancestral past is embedded within our DNA. All who are alive today carry the wisdom of our ancestors within our genetic code.

As I wrote at the end of one of my books: “If I had to choose one single idea, it would be: Don’t give up. Don’t stop trying. Help is always available, whether inside or out of the halls of conventional medicine. Don’t give up until you’ve tried everything there is to try. Help yourself to a little coyote medicine, and thrive.”

Find out about Lewis’ two upcoming programs at Kripalu this May (Coyote Wisdom and Cherokee Bodywork) (and read his piece on Native American bodywork).