Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just had to share..............................

I just spent close to forty-five minutes on the phone to get fifty (50) cents credited back to my bank account due to their error.

Either I have way to much time on my hands, I am w-a-y too OCD, stubborn, insane (pick one), or I've taken the "Dave Ramsey get out of debt by watching where every penny goes" philosophy to the extreme.

You decide...
Earth angels, a continuation................................

So, here I am standing on a sidewalk watching my truck being driven away, and it occurs to me part of this weekends blessing had become known to me earlier. Remember that I was to stay at a hotel and it ended up that there was a cancellations at the school? Had this not been the case, I would have had to figure out a way to get to and from the hotel or sleep on the street. I was so grateful for not having that worry. I sent up a quick prayer of thanks and burst into class (with all my crap I sorta fell through the doorway) only an hour and a half late.

Since there were actually four instructors I was able to be brought up to speed on what I had missed, and soon the class was ending and I was meeting my roomies for the weekend (up to three people could stay at the school). One woman was a massage therapist, that had an incredible intuitive nature about her, and the other woman, I have to call a girl as she was young enough to be my daughter, had discovered marshal arts and this had led her to go to Japan to teach English for two years. She was full of wonderful stories about her experiences there and all the places she had visited while on that side of the world.

I had called (my) Mister and told him what I had done with the truck, gave him the info for the body shop and ask him to contact them in the morning so I could focus on the class and not worry about missing phone calls, etc... A moment for an aside... (my) Mister grew up locking car doors, and in an environment where cars being stripped for parts was not that foreign of a concept. All he said to me was not to worry, he would call the guy in the morning, and everything would work out. When I got home, my sister told me that when he was telling her about my adventure his comment was, "She is so trusting." I know he said this partly in admiration of this ability of mine to trust, but I am sure there was at least a hint of IS SHE NUTS? in there somewhere because of his background. I applaud him for the great job he did of putting his personal feelings aside and supporting me in my time of need. Thanks honey.

So, next morning, I called home before class and got the news that the truck should be fixed by noon. I have to say I felt a wave of relief flow over me hearing that the truck had not only made it to the intended destination in one piece and could be repaired, but WAS being repaired. The morning class flew by and at the lunch break I called the shop to be sure the repairs were finished. This was my first encounter with my second earth angel of the weekend...

The truck was indeed finished, and the mechanic (Sarge) offered to come and pick me up and drive me back to the shop to get the truck. No, you don't need to clean your glasses, he came and picked me up, no charge, just because that was the kind of person that he is.

The alternator was what had gone out on the truck and the cost for parts and repairs was under three hundred dollars. I had had visions of it costing thousands, with me having to take funds out of my brick project to pay for the repairs. This amount wasn't much more than I had originally planned to spend on a hotel so I was thrilled. When we got to the shop and I had completed the paper work, Sarge gave me directions to get back to the school and sent me on my way. I later found out that when I left he called (my) Mister and told him that I was on my way back to the school with the truck, and then gave me a follow-up phone call to make sure I had made it back and had not gotten lost along the way. Since I am sure every single one of you have received crappy service in the past I know you can appreciate that again I got an angel that went above and beyond what his job description entailed. Unbelievable!

Are you calling me lucky right about now? Thinking about how terrible this might have turned out? I prefer to call it being loved and protected. I also like to think that my being open to the notion that the weekend had been given to me to move me along on my life path assisted in the outcome. One of the things I have had trouble with (left over from my childhood) is an ability to put my well-being in another's hands. I can be fiercely controlling and independent and not let others help me with problems. Being placed in this situation the control factor was pretty much taken away from me and in the end I was sweetly rewarded with a renewed faith in my fellow man.

I believe what we put out into the world is what we get back. By trusting, I received trusting people. By striving to do good deeds and go above and beyond in my daily interactions with others I was blessed with the same behavior being shown to me. I am blessed beyond belief, and I am filled with gratitude for this experience.

Before you get the impression that I think I am the new Mother Teresa, let me jump in to say that is not the case at all, and if you don't believe me ask someone I live with on a daily basis. I am not perfect, I really don't even want to be. I screw up, get mad, sad, jealous, etc... But I am trying folks. I am working to foster the right spirit in my interactions with others. Working on me, and working to let them be them. I am trying to keep my heart in the right place and see the world through the eyes of love. Even when I take one step forward and then four steps back, the intention is there and the universe can sense this and sends things to me to assist me with my quest.

Most of the time it isn't the big things that change our lives even though that is often where we keep our focus. It is the little things that reach people. Waiting a few extra seconds to hold the door for the person with their arms full. Letting the person with two items jump ahead of you in the check-out lane. Or how about this one...

On my way out of town last Friday, I stopped at the coffee shop to get a cup for the road. At the 5K I had done the weekend before I had received a coupon in my goody bag that was for buy one coffee, get one free. Not needing two cups of coffee I had ask a little prayer on my way into the store for someone to be in line that I could surprise with a little treat of a free cup of coffee.

There she was, right in front of me. I ask her if I could buy her a cup of coffee, and she looked at me like I was nuts. As I explained about the coupon she agreed and then told me I had saved her from getting her favorite (calorie heavy) drink. Seems she didn't want to cause me to spend too much on her. I insisted she get what she wanted, and let me have the joy of giving. It was apparent that this was a woman who normally was the giver. This was a woman who had become expert at doing for and putting others ahead of herself, and had forgotten how to let others do something nice for her for no particular reason. Sound familiar? Now remember, I was buying coffee for me anyway, with the coupon the coffee didn't cost me a penny. And yet the act of kindness to this woman appeared to make her month, if not her year. The joy and smile it brought to her face gave me a high that lasted for hours. Talk about a win win situation!

Again, I am not saying this to brag about how good I am, but examples from my life are handy tools to make a point. Don't fool yourself into thinking you would be more giving and loving if you had more income or more time. Set the intent and desire to be this way and you will receive the tools you need to make your desires a reality. In the process you will end up being the one that is blessed beyond belief!

Next post I promise to tell you all about the actual massage class and the things I learned.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My very own Earth angels.....................................

I know everyone is dying to hear the details of the big finish of my continueing education quest, but you can't be half as excited as I am to share with you...

I got on the road only twenty minutes behind the schedule I had set for myself with everything at home completed and ready for my stand-ins. The first two hours of the trip were uneventful. At that point traffic stopped dead and after the bold people got out of their vehicles to check things out it was reported back that the stop was due to a fatal motorcycle accident. After we got going I could see there was another accident on the other side of the highway, most likely due to someone gawking at the one on our side of the road. Why do people have to do that?

According to my map quest directions I went around Chicago, but it sure felt like I was in the middle of it. I drove for well over an hour going no faster than five miles per hour, stop and go. About forty-five minutes in I noticed that my gas gage was in the red, so I gave that problem over to the angels and keep my countdown of the exits going. I was looking for exit 39B, and around exit 47 I went to change lanes and the truck wouldn't accelerate, but then took off. Most of the exits had an A and a B, but (I think it was) exit 42 also had a C and a D. By this time I am trying to fight the urge to panic, sure I was about to run out of gas right in the middle of the road, yet afraid to get off and try to find a gas station.

Just short of exit 41B the truck stalled. I was in the lane closest to the exit (not sure why since I had been traveling in the far left lane for the previous part of the drive. I coasted with a stalled (5000#?) truck the final distance to the exit, up a slight hill to the top of the off ramp and came to rest right at the end of the off ramp, to the side so as not to block traffic. Believe in miracles people!

OK, out of gas. I can handle this. In this modern age of cell phones one simply dials 911 and they send someone out with a gas can. In my case it was only ten minutes when the police officers, in the big green rescue truck showed up with my specific rescuing in mind. I was thrilled since I had forgotten about the time change difference and could still make it to class with time to spare.

The put some gas in the tank and gave me a jump. The truck started right up. AND DIED. They tried it again, same thing. The officer says, "I hate to tell you this, but I don't think you were out of gas. I am going to have to tow you off the ramp to get you out of traffic." Mmmmm, time for plan B. Not that I had a plan B, but I am resourceful. I could handle this.

AND I have AAA. Once the officers had me safely parked on a side street I gave thanks yet again for my cell phone and called for a tow truck. Since the estimated time of arrival of my tow would be after the start of class I tried to call and let them know. No answer, left a message, but when would they get that? Now my problem solving techniques (and a great husband) kicked into high gear. I called (my) Mister and told him to get into my inbox, find an e-mail from the school and send them an e-mail letting them know I was stranded and would be late. Within five minutes someone from the school called and left a cell number and said they would pick me up once I had the truck taken care of. Then he lmapquested directions from the place AAA said to take the truck for repairs to the school, and gave them to me over the phone. I now knew I where I was, and how to get from point B to point C. Now I just had to wait for the tow truck, and wait I did...

And waited... And waited. Did I tell you I am not a very patient person? I think the fact that I had headed out at 4 AM that morning to run 18 miles (doing 17 of it on an ankle that I twisted during the first mile), the long drive, and my strong hatred of being late (or less than perfect) for anything had something to do with making the wait seem much longer than the actual thirty minutes that it was.

The driver finally showed up and after introducing myself told him he was my own personal angel, sent to take care of me. He seemed flattered with my compliment. Little did I know the magnitude of that statement at the time I made it. He told me he would drop the truck off at the shop and then give me a ride to the school.

After loading up the truck he took the two of us to the repair shop and it was closed. An angel helper just happen to be walking down the street and told us the shop was not open on Saturdays. At this point, My angel, Melvin, could have simply unloaded my truck and left me to fend for myself having done the job he had contracted to do. Instead he whipped out his cell phone (If you ever hear me say a bad word about cell phones again shoot me) and called a friend to make sure another place he knew about would be open the next day.

I can't begin to describe how grateful I was for his assistance, but I was also worried about the class time I was missing. I ask him how far away the other place was and when he told me "about twenty minutes" my face must have fallen because he said, "Would you like me to take you to class and then take the truck to the shop?" Hope springs eternal! "Could you do that? That would be awesome!" Plan C was born!

Fifteen minutes later I am standing on the steps of the school, surrounded by the belongings I needed for the weekend, waiting to be buzzed in, waving goodbye to my angle and my truck. I will admit to having the thought that there was a chance that I was sending my truck off to be stripped and left for the police to find up on blocks somewhere, but I opted to trust. What other option did I really have at this point?

And this is where I am going to leave you for now as I have to get some things done. I will continue with my (non-Hollywood) true story in my next post. Don't ya just love a good suspense tale?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Continued blessings.........................................

I went to the health food store to get some food for my trip to Chicago this weekend. As I was standing in line to purchase my items the lady behind me ask me if I liked the raw food bars (think energy bars) I was getting. I told her I had not tried that kind as of yet but tried to eat mostly raw foods and was getting "convenience foods" for my trip. She first told me that she is trying to go raw, and then went on to tell me how she has faithfully eaten a green smoothie every morning for the last two years (talk about dedication!) but it was making her pee too alkaline. She wanted to know if that happen to me. I told her I didn't check my pee but instead listened to my body and gave it what it wanted (for the most part...remember how mouth likes things that are not always good for her), and that I only have green smoothies occasionally. I went on to tell her that my current fixation was for steel cut oats ( more good for you stuff than rolled oats) soaked in some water with a few raw walnuts and raw almonds. Drain the water off, add a banana for sweetness and you have a complete meal. She ask me if I would show her where they were and we had a really nice conversation on the way to get her some. She was very appreciative and we had a nice little encounter that was good for both our souls. If I wasn't taking this class, I wouldn't have been in the store, and I would have missed out on being helpful.

On a different note...........................

I received a few e-mails today from friends with variations of the same message, "Hey! Don't you have one of these?" They were referring to the news story about the cat that predicts the death of the residents in the nursing home that made headlines today.

For those of you that are new readers the e-mails I got were talking about our dear Cecil cat that passed away earlier this year. He did indeed pick up on when it was close to passing time of our hospice residents and would take up residence in their rooms, coming out only to eat and pee. Never obtrusive or in the way, he was just a calming presence along with the angel music and gathered loved ones. As soon as the person passed he would go about his business until it was time for the next one. The news story today gave me opportunity to remember our time with Cecil, and I felt blessed all over from the memories.
We miss you buddy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TEN (10) INCHES!!! It's okay for me to die now.............................

Some time ago I may have mentioned that I wanted to grow out my hair to donate it to Locks of Love, once, before I died. See above picture...

I needed to change my Saturday appointment to last night, so maybe it is because I caught my hair stylist (isn't that the politically correct term for "the girl that cuts my hair"?) at a weak moment. I insisted she measure my hair to see how much longer I needed to drag it around with me and the next thing I know she had scissors in her hands then I had a clump of hair in mine! HOW COOL IS THAT?

I am very proud of the amount of hair I have to send in. It should be able to be used to make someone very happy.

Ya! I know you are all just dying to see what the after pictures look like so I won't keep you in suspense any longer...

She could have gone even shorter as far as I am concerned... Of course I will be growing my hair out again by the end of the week! It is just what I do.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The mastery of love...............................

The following is from one of the books I am currently reading, entitled, The Mastery of Love By: Don Miguel Ruiz.

"We can talk about love and write a thousand books about it, but love will be completely different for each of us because we have to experience love. Love is not about concepts; love is about action. Love in action can only produce happiness. Fear in action can only produce suffering.

The only way to master love is to practice love. You don't need to justify your love, you don't need to explain your love, you just need to practice you love. Practice creates the master."

I found these words very comforting, as they take the magic formula out of loving. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the what and how of something that we never get around to the actual doing of something. This is simple. If you are happy when you are around someone, then you are practicing love.

Note: The other person's behavior doesn't come into play with this formula. If your boss is being a jerk and you continue to smile and do your job to the best of your ability you are practicing love. If you get cut off in traffic by some insane idiot and you don't let it ruin your entire morning by replaying it over and over in your head, you are practicing love.

For me, I have a little harder time when it comes to loving children in this fashion, because sometimes we have to stand by and watch them (or other adults we love) struggle with doing things, out of love, for their own good. Watching this does not necessarily make us happy, but allowing them the opportunity to learn and grow on their own is also a loving practice.

Along these same lines I want to share a blessing I received yesterday...

Just before lunchtime there was a knock on my back door and it was a friend that I have not kept in contact with for the past several years. It was one of those times where one person makes some life changes, moves on and out their prior daily circle of friends. There was no fight, no anger, just a moving on in my opinion.

Visibly upset, she says to me, "I need to talk to you about something." I honestly thought she was going to tell me that a mutual friend was in serious trouble or had died. What she said instead was, "I am so sorry for the way I treated you, when you have always been such a good friend to me." My response, "I thought you were going to tell me someone had died." Maybe not the kindest first thing to say, but my head had never gone to the place where she had wronged me in the past and I was (selfishly) relieved she was not bringing me painful news.

I went on to tell her that I had not felt that she had been a bad friend, but she disagreed, and again told me she felt she had been. At that point I stopped offering her reassurance and instead offered her verbal forgiveness. The pained expression on her face immediately vanished once I did this.

A perfect example of how our fear and unhappiness is never tied to the other guy, but always our junk. We didn't talk about what it was she had been thinking or feeling, there was no need. It had never been there for me in the first place, and my spoken forgiveness allowed her to let what ever it was stop torturing her.

So if someone comes to you with their heart on their sleeve and confessions of wrong doing, say the words of forgiveness that they need to hear. Say it for them, with love, and know that you will also be rewarded with good feelings and peace. Happy loving!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Check this one out folks.................................

Sheri's husband created this song and video, FROM SCRATCH! I happen to agree with the message, but even if you don't I think you can agree the time and effort he put into creating this video payed off in a pretty fantastic piece of art.

The subject of support/non-support of the war can be a touchy subject, but what I heard in this message is that human life is valuable. The loss of a human life, be it from war, gang fights, or a reckless drunk driver, should be mourned by us as a society. It is often easier to look away, thankful it hasn't touched us directly, and pretend it doesn't effect us. Being that we are all interconnected on a soul level it does effect us. The next time you hear of a tragic ending of a life please take a moment and send a prayer of peace on their behalf. Thank you.

Friday, July 20, 2007

All that hard work is paying off yet again................................

Several years ago I was working one full time job and three part time jobs. Yup, all in the same time frame. Why? Lots of circumstances, but the big answer was to take care of my children.

Flash forward to the current week. My youngest started her nurse aide job with the hospice company this week. She still has her night job at the pizza place, so has been going to work with the sun and completing her day long after it sets. She received a call from the school she got her CENA degree from and they wanted to know if she wanted to pick up a shift at a nursing home on Sunday. I am thinking there is no way she will want to do that. I am sure she doesn't really want to, but what she said is, " I have a kid that I am responsible for now. She needs to be declawed and the sooner I can make the money to do that the better. Of course I am going to do it."

One more example of how our children learn much more from our example than they do from what we attempt to teach them. Along those lines...

Sheri, when you get upset/outraged/vocal at people's ignorance you are teaching your children to be compassionate towards people that are different than they are.

T-girl, when you face life's difficulties with your sense of humor Little J is learning to roll with whatever life might throw her way. Okay, so sometimes us being fellow smart a$$s will come back to bite us as our children will pick that up in the process as well, but for the most part humor can be of aid in most all situations.

Random, when you look into Daisy's sad eyes begging to go for a walk and you drag your butt off the sofa to comply you are teaching her about love and sacrifice.

One4JC, When you make hard decisions in the best interest of your school children you are teaching them dedication to doing their best work as well as about personal sacrifice. Sometimes one ends up not being liked when they do the right thing, but one should always do the right thing anyway.

Jenna, The way you put your children's best interest W-A-Y in front of your own teaches them tons about guts, grit, and determination to honor commitments.

Maynard, keep turning that other cheek in regards to the ex. The strength and stability your daughters are learning from you will serve them extremely well in the future.

Dee, Even when you and Ricky needed to alter your living arrangements your continued love and dedication to his well being teaches him about trust and security.

O.R.A., we both know the (most) powerful lesson you taught your daughter...ALWAYS match your bra and panties! As terrific as she turned out I know she learned many things from you in addition to the afore mentioned, but that one is my favorite. I always felt guilty when she had a potty accident during day care and I had to put non-matching ones on her. Somehow we all three managed to survive the trauma of those days!

Therapist, the kindness and understanding you show your child patients is possibly their first exposure to that kind of treatment. That you get what an honor and a privilege it is to be able to make a difference in these kids lives is huge! Really HUGE!

To all of my blog friends that have yet to become parents I am sure that there are many people your actions touch in positive ways on a daily basis.

Thank you to each and everyone of you for doing your part in making our world a better place in which to exist. Know that even when you don't notice, you are making a great contribution, and a very important difference.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


After deciding on taking the massage class the next step was finding a hotel room to stay in. The one with vacancies close to the school was over two hundred bucks a night. While I can afford this, I choose not to spend that kind of money on a room, especially since watching one of those Dateline exposes about how the expensive hotel rooms have just as many microscopic bugs as the cheaper ones. I ended up taking a room that would require thirty minutes of driving around Chicago. This one stoplight town gal was not looking forward to this.

Long story short someone ended up cancelling for one of the spots at the school (they can house up to three people) so I won't have to drive and it is only $40 bucks a night. Feeling better and better about good things happening from taking this class. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 13, 2007

No living things were harmed during these life experiments...............................

When my two older children moved out on their own I forced them to take a houseplant with them on the journey. The reason; to help them see and understand how much effort it took to nurture another living thing before they jumped into relationships and/or children.

Their two very polar personalities emerged immediately. My oldest, Miss type A personality, not only gave her plant a name, but gave her plant a prominate location in her new home where she could "keep an eye on her," and brought her some "friend plants" so "Greeny" wouldn't be lonely. We used to have weekly (bi-weekly when Greeny was "sick") phone conversations in which she would brag about Greeny's accomplishments. It wasn't long before Greeny was having babies (Greeny was a spider plant) and my oldest was sharing the joys of parenthood with all of her new friends.

My son, on the other hand rolled his eyes at me ( his way of saying, "another of mom's crazy ideas"), as he grabbed his plant on the way to his new place. Once his music and video collection were perfectly positioned for ease of access, the plant got picked up off the floor and placed on the end table where it was easier to use as an ashtray in a pinch. On a good note, knowing how I felt about his smoking habit, his plant did get aerated a lot, as he moved the dirt around in an attempt to bury the ashes, after hiding the real ashtrays and spaying the room with air freshener when he knew I was coming to visit. Don't get me wrong, he loved his plant, talked to it in a nurturing way, and tried repeatedly to get his plant on a regular schedule of feeding and watering, but in the end realized that his plant did okay with the hit and miss approach that was more often the norm, and this was good enough for my son. The two of them bonded in their struggles towards making their way in the world, and finding their own personal niche, one step forward, two steps back. Did the plant like being someones ashtray? Not sure, but I do know it figured out a way to survive while being one, just as my son figured out how to survive during his own personal struggles.

Now to move on to my youngest... Remember Francesca Belle?

My super mature, super serious, youngest has taken "mom's caring for experiment" to a whole new level. The same kid that I was constantly yelling at to clean the cat liter box is now scooping twenty or more times a day, or each and every time Franny uses the box. I guess this just goes to show two things; yelling is NOT an effective means of communicating, and when something is important to someone they will "get it" without your assistance.

My youngest has been dating the same boy for close to two years, and they have decided to co-parent Franny. My youngest talked everything over with the BF before committing to raising a kitten, insisted he be here to help her pick from the litter of kittens, and settled on her name only after receiving approval from the BF. Like lots of relationships, the youngest takes on the bulk of responsibility for the care and feeding of Franny, but when the BF is over makes sure that the two of them are spending lots of quality bonding time together. I love eaves dropping on their conversations in which the youngest is describing in Minuit detail all of Franny's latest accomplishments. I have to say that the BF is EXTREMELY patient with listening and viewing the hundreds of pictures the youngest takes of "their little girl."

Yesterday, Franny had her first doctors appointment. Thinking I was being a Smart Alec I said, " So, is the BF meeting you at the Vets?" She gave me that look that says, "you are so behind the times mom" and said, 'Oh no! He's picking us up!" Of course he was, as that's what "involved" fathers apparently do.

It did my heart good to see and hear the pride that my youngest had when reporting all the details of Franny's vet visit. Seems the doctor was VERY impressed with Franny's social skills. (I ask my youngest if she had told the vet that Franny must take after her grandmother since she is cute AND social.) They LOVED her name, and for the most part Franny was well behaved; seems she did want to sit still so they could weigh her. Franny had such a good report, and my youngest had such pride in the job she and the BF are doing as parents, the $142 dollar bill hardly fazed her.

My point?

I feel so fortunate and blessed to have children that are taking their time to grow up and not rushing into life experiences that carry greater responsibility and consequences if done the wrong way. Makes me feel like I did something right.

My oldest and I had a great conversation last night about the pros and cons of having a fall semester of hell and being done with grad school classes by Christmas, or have fall AND winter semesters of purgatory, and not be done with class work until next spring. She is very well equipped to make the best choice for her on her own, but I love that she listens to my input regarding these things.

My son has chosen to take a hiatus from mothering and do things on his own for a while. I honor and respect his decision, and know that he is quite capable of taking care of himself and his needs without my involvement. After all, I raised him to be a Strong, independent man, so how can I object to his taking a path, just because it is a path I might not want to be traveling?

Not all of parenting is grins and giggles, but all of it is a wonderful learning experience and so very worth any of the pain. If you don't yet have children, get a plant or a pet and find out what I am talking about.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry Potter, with a twist....................................

I have not read the Harry Potter series, or seen any of the movies, but my youngest has and is impatiently waiting for the last book in the series to be delivered to our house, so I know a bit about dear Harry.

This morning, "Harry" was being interviewed on the Today Show. As I was escorting an empty bowl back to the sink I glanced at the television and saw "Harry's" VERY hairless, VERY young naked upper body wrapped around an equally young, equally appearingly naked young lady. My first thought was that it looked like (mild) child porn, and (as disgusting a thought you might think) my second thought was, "thank goodness this image doesn't hold any sexual appeal to me."

I am not sure how old Harry is in the books, but the "Harry" on the television this morning is not yet eighteen. From what I know of the storyline I don't think Harry's character is overly sexual, so my question is, "what role does that picture play in promoting the movie?"

I will say that I was NOT listening to the interview, and for all I know the picture could have been related to something totally different, but since he was on the television to promote the movie are not the two interlinked? For what reason?

I love the story behind the story, of how the author of the Harry Potter books was a single, near destitute mother that is now a multi-millionaire. I think it is great, and I applaud her success. Certainly, being a mother and all, it was not her idea to parade "Harry" around naked on morning television to try and sell a few extra tickets. Besides, what teens are up at 8:15 AM during the summer to catch a peek?

Have we, as a society, become so immune to the idea of sex in advertising that we so easily accept things of this nature as the normal course of events? Again, this might be a slightly perverted thought, but I am sitting here thinking what is to come next??? Franklin the turtle without his shell? Sponge Bob Square Pants, pantless? Is there not a line to be drawn?

I feel the need to say that I enjoy sex as much as anyone, and I have never thought of myself as a prude. It is just my belief that there is an appropriate time and place for sexual content, and it is not appropriate to be directing sexually charged marketing at children. Maybe the marketers were directing this image at the target audience of sixteen to twenty year olds, and I would probably be okay with this if they could show me how they guarantee ten to fifteen year olds are not seeing it. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

In my opinion, our society grows children up way to fast and they miss out on a lot of happy and innocent activities. I was at a meeting the other night in which there was a debate over the value of competitive baseball for nine year olds! Children have many years to learn about cut throat competition, and sexual experimentation. Might it not be a good idea to give them time to mature enough so these things do not become a burden that they are too emotionally young to handle? It couldn't hurt, could it?

Getting off my soapbox now...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Destiny or Desperation?..............................

I will be the first to admit that time has a way of getting away from me. When I hear things on television about this or that anniversary I am always blown away that that much time has passed, even though one might think I would have come to terms with it and instead think, 'Wow! I've gone and lost track of time again."

So a few days ago I get the notice that it is (ALREADY) time to renew my physical therapist assistant license. This happens every two years, and it seems like I just did this a couple of months back. Notices don't lie, so I guess not.

Right after graduation I sat for the exam and got my license from a neighboring state. My state does not require a PTA to be licensed, but I have this insane test anxiety and I figured it was better to take the test when the learned info was still with me than risk the day that my state demanded licensing and I wouldn't be able to pass the test. I have been keeping the license current since 1996, just in case.

I have not officially practised as a therapist for close to four years now, and have no plans to do so anytime in the future, but I want to keep the option open to me in case. Two years ago instead of simply paying a fee to renew the license the state added a requirement of continuing education credits. While I am not object to this addition, and do believe in and participate in continuing education, the problem comes in that none of the classes I take in my state meet the other state's requirement. I need to take classes on their list which means extra travel and hotel expenses above the cost of the classes.

Long story short, I found a class of interest but is it worth the time and money just to keep a license that I don't plan on using? The class is a Thai massage class, and the best part is that in one three day weekend I can get seventeen of the twenty needed credits. The class sounds interesting, and will certainly build on the massage degree I already have, but how valuable will it be if I take the class and then don't use the skills?

Since I can't logically justify the expense for something that MIGHT come in useful SOMEDAY, I am choosing to take a more Zen approach that maybe this is an answer to the new career that I have been thinking of beginning to tune up for, so when I am finished with OP care I am ready to move on with my next hearts desire. Maybe I will take this class out of desperation, and end up finding my next destiny. Maybe the universe has thrown me a crumb and I am to follow it to my next life path. Maybe this class will be the best thing to EVER happen to me.

Or maybe, I am about to shell out big bucks to quiet the fear of the slight possibility of having to take a test somewhere in the future.

The only way I am going to find out is to do it. So I will.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Outing myself....................................................

Fake snake skin, black leather Coach wedges! Fabulous!
Coach tennies... They are so pretty it will be a shame to wear them and get them dirty won't it?
70% off, on Visa debit ...Finally a pair of black shoes that my youngest just LOVES...Priceless!
Guess who couldn't resist these little beauties. Wrong... They belong to my youngest.

In my last shoe post I ask Dee to share some of her bag collection to me and her reply was that to do so would in some way be "outing" herself. In that same post I stated how I didn't need designer shoes and was perfectly content with great priced, cute warehouse brand shoes. The very next day my youngest and I went to a store to check out the seventy percent clearance racks as she needed some new shorts. What did we find but two pair of Coach shoes, sixty percent off with an additional store coupon for another fifteen percent off. We got these $178.00 shoes for $66.00 (and that is with tax).

Two reactions I had while in the store that evening, both really surprised me. First I had an actual physical rush thinking that I could add these shoes to my collection without breaking the bank. I honestly think had I checked my blood sugar it would have been elevated because about twenty minutes after purchasing these shoes I had the come-down that often accompanies eating a sugary candy bar and couldn't stop yawning and feeling sleepy.

The other reaction I had was that since my pleasure at getting these shoes was so high I sorta felt I had (unintentionally) lied about my feelings regarding designer shoes and having done so I would need to come back to you all and confess my sins. How strange is that?

But in my defense...

If you look at the a fore mentioned post, I did say that I would LOVE to get a pair of Jimmy Choos if he would give them to me at eighty percent off. I also have never before been in a position of being able to acquire a really expensive (to me anyway. I know this stuff is all relative) pair of shoes, so prior to the actual experience I was going on my perception of how I believed I would handle a situation that I had never actually had. Everyone has found themselves in this position at one time or another. Right?

The bigger lesson in all of this is to be careful when passing judgement. It is easy to imagine how one would handle a certain life circumstances. How often have we heard a horrific news story and thought, "I can't believe they could do _______. I would NEVER have been able to be/act/do ________."? Unless, and until a person can duplicate the exact same life circumstance/reactions to circumstance, one can't really speak to what they might do or how they might react. Since each of us has a slightly different slant on things on mutual life events we can never really speak to how we would have handled another person's actions. What we can do is be grateful that we have not reacted in a way that is against social norms/behaviors, and remember the line, 'There but for the grace of God go I."

Man, some people will go to amazing lengths to justify their shoe purchases now, won't they?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cookie memories.................................

This afternoon is the big "Dog Days of Summer" up town and I made some cookies to give out to people when they visit my petition table. As I was baking, I was thinking about how each of the three types of cookies I made had a special memory attached to them.

The molasses cookie recipe came to me from a former home care client. It was a cold winter day and I went into the warmth of the home as well as to the wonderful aroma of baking cookies. Eventually we got around to working on the therapy on his knee, post knee replacement, but first came a couple of wonderful, warm molasses cookies. YUM! The client's wife was gracious enough to share her recipe with me and when she gave it to me at my next visit, she had written on the top of it, "Molasses cookies from the White House." White was their last name, and each time I get out the recipe to use it I can't help but smile at the title and in memory of the sweetness of the couple.

I also made sugar cookies today. This recipe has been in my collection for almost twenty-eight years. My oldest daughter turned twenty-eight on the fourth of July, and being the first grandchild of the group my first husband and I hung around with she had many surrogate grandmas when she was a baby. One of them gave her (this recipe of) sugar cookies decorated with pumpkin faces for her first and second Halloween. I have a picture of her eating the cookies (the second year around since she was still on total breast milk her first Halloween) but I don't need to take it out and look at it, because the picture of her sitting on the kitchen table, next to the pumpkin we had carved for her, dressed in the little lion costume I had made for her, happily munching on her pumpkin cookies, is engraved on my mind where I can look at it anytime I choose.

The third type of cookie I made today was traditional chocolate chip. Who doesn't have a memory of either baking or eating hot out of the oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies? I used to make chocolate chip cookies for my instructors when I was working on my child development degree at the local community college. I would bake up a batch every couple of weeks and make the rounds during office hours to pick their brains about class subjects or just general life topics. Back then I was still molding who and what I wanted to be and to me these people seemed to have their lives all together and were living a dream life. Of course, looking back on it, I know my perceptions were only what I wanted to see and they probably had totally different ideas of how things were in their lives. Regardless, I enjoyed all of those chats and they really helped me to grow as a person.

Funny, how the simple act of stirring up a batch of cookies ended with much more than just dough being stirred up. It is good to look back once in a while from where we came, check in, and make sure we are heading where we want to be heading. Even if it isn't where we thought we would want to be going once upon a time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Marketing life...........................

On my morning run today I was listening to a recording of Dr Oz and his guest, Susan Linn. The show was about marketing to children and talked about how marketing is being targeted to younger and younger children and the inherent dangers of this. Did you know that in the United States nineteen percent of children under the age of one have a television in their bedrooms? The reason...because parents actually believe the notion that they are providing early education to their children by placing them in front of the television. Maybe they are, maybe not. I am not picking sides on that topic. Something else Ms. Linn said got me thinking...

We all have either experienced or heard of children who watch commercials and before the last bar of the catchy jingle is over they are expressing a desire to have the product. How can we as parents fight this million dollar marketing? By being good roll models. It seems that how into labels and name brands you are sets the stage for how into these things your children will be. Your values become your children's values. Not really news is it? But do you really pay attention to this on a day to day basis?

When you are coveting that new electronic device because it will make your life easier all your four year old notes is "mommy/daddy wants it." Is my youngest's love of shoes an inherited gene (that the other two kids didn't get) or did it develop as a direct result of my obsession with shoes? If it is due to the second reason her future spouse might just have a right to hate me, especially if her motto becomes, "Will work for shoes, nothing else." Hopefully, in addition to teaching her to love shoes, I have also taught her the concept of working for security, and BUDGETING for shoes. I enjoy high quality clothing as much as the next guy/gal, but hope I have given my children a positive message regarding this topic by refusing to purchase items at full price as well as making thoughtful purchases rather than impulse shop. While I can appreciate the workmanship that goes into a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, I don't obsess over owning a pair. Chinese Laundry (the brand of the plaid shoes) makes me truly happy and content. I probably shouldn't mention the plain truth that I can purchase several years worth of CL brand shoes for the price of one pair of JC shoes, or one might think I am into the quantity game. Just stating the facts folks. Remember what a great bargain shopper I am. The day Jimmy offers me a pair of his shoes 80% off might just be the day I have to snap them up, but I am totally getting off topic.

Taking a slight turn off subject something else I heard the other day is that one can't be truly happy until they are as happy for another's successes as they are for there own. This falls under the premise that "we are all one." It is easy for us to be happy when good comes into our world. It is exciting when it happens to our friends and those we like and/or admire. How easy is it for us to be joyful when our perceived enemy strikes it fortunate? I will admit to feeling perceived pleasure when someone that had hurt me, "got exactly what they deserved," and I am not talking a positive something. While I might have been justified in my feelings, what benefit did it serve me to nurture my perceived hurt through their apparent misfortune? Surely, it did not make me the better person. It did not serve to teach the kind of "Do unto other's lesson," that I desire to teach my children. What then is the point of this behavior?

I guess what I am trying to say is just be aware of what your actions are and what they are "saying" to others, especially the others that are our responsibility (our children). Call it a silly twist of fate, but we all know that the things we don't want our children to learn from us are also the things that they pick up the quickest. Some of the greatest lessons my children have learned from me stem from the way I handled my mistakes. For every negative we have an opportunity to create a positive. What can you turn around in your life today?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Shoe shopping.......................................................

DSW was having up to eighty percent off clearance and triple points day yesterday. I HAD TO GO! I was pretty well behaved and bought mostly flats (first picture) with two of the three pair being eighty percent off, three pairs for forty dollars. The fabulous red ones in the second picture insisted on coming home with me. I sat on the floor of the store for a good twenty minutes trying to talk them out of it, but they were not listening so I finally gave in and let them jump in the bag with the other shoes. What? You think I am a softy for a cute pair of shoes do you? I bet you wouldn't have been able to say no to the either! Just look at them!