Tuesday, September 07, 2010
I had a physical last week - and of the many tests run, I had a cholesterol reading. I've never had a cholesterol test in my life, and knowing that I have always loved to eat junk (LOL) I really didn't know what to expect.
The nurse called me with my results and said everything was just where they want it to be. My LDL is 97, HDL is 48 and overall reading is 159.
I'll be honest - I don't know what those numbers mean. And since I'm all factoidy, I looked it up.
For LDL, less than 100 is optimal. (I am 97)
For HDL, 40-59 is optimal. (I am 48)
For overall reading, less than 200 is optimal. (I am 159)
So - science confirms what we already know. I am pretty close to perfect. ;)
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Riding in Proverbial Cars with Boys
Based on that last point alone, there's not much more this girl could ask for in a chick movie. I mean look at that. Come on.
The Hub likes to tease me. He will sometimes suggest that he wears his Captain Jack wig to bed. (Hmmm ...) I think he considers my modest (ahem) collection of chick movies akin to a porn stash. I fail to see his point.
Is it so wrong for us girls to
Personally, I consider it simply appreciating the art of the human form. If you have a chest and/or face that seems carved out of marble by the angels, it's practically a crime against nature NOT to notice. Don't you think?
I'm just doing my civic duty.
Obviously these poor boys are crying out for attention.
I'm just the girl to help them out with that. I figure it's the least I can do.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Stickin' It to the Man
I don't know about you, but saving some money always gives me a kick. Since you can often find better deals this way (and a little because I live in what the upper crust might refer to as "BFE" and sometimes it's just easier to shop while I'm sitting on the couch than driving all over creation), I often order online.
A while back I heard about this site called "Retail Me Not". It's a user-contribution site, where people from all over can share their coupon codes. You simply plug in the site name or URL in the search bar and it will pull up all the available codes in its database. Some are for free or upgraded shipping. Some are for incentive goodies or services. Some are worth a percentage off certain products, or even your entire order. You can also find grocery and other printable coupons here. Expiration dates are usually provided, and there is user feedback so you can see how successful the codes worked and how much savings others had using the codes.
Most often I refer to this site for my insatiable scrapbook supply
If you ever order anything on line, I just wanted to pass this little reference on to you. Bookmark it and check it next time you want to buy something - you just might find some free money. What's better than saving some cash in the process of whatever you're doing? :)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
My First Thursday Thunk!
Welcome to this week's (and my first) episode of Thursday Thunks! They pick a subject, and my job is to interpret it anyway I want. This week is going to be easy... just one question. Ok, well maybe not so easy. Take each letter of the alphabet and describe something in your life... don't skip any!
Arbitrary. To the outsider, I probably seem like I'm really big on free-association. I'll relate things that will make total sense to me but I'm probably the only one - and I usually won't bother to explain why because it's too time-consuming to find a descriptive bridge for it before my busy brain moves on to the next thing.
Boys. With a husband, son, and male dog - as well as working in a heavily male-dominated business - my life is chock full of boys. Which is fine with me because boys are totally fun to hang out with anyway.
Caribbean. I would just love to rot away on the island of St. Somewhere in the Caribbean for the rest of my life. Breeze in my hair, rum and fresh pineapple juice in my glass, butt in a hammock between two palm trees, steel drums making up the soundtrack of my days and nights. Plus the off-chance that I might run into this guy ----------->. Ohhhh, my. *Sigh*. That'd be the life, baby.
Dog. Everybody knows how much my Most Beautiful Dog means to me. He's the furry peg of my heart.
Embellishments. I love to scrapbook, and what's scrapbooking without embellishments? Just a photo album, that's what! For those who aren't into it, embellishments are all the little extra things you add to a page to make it pretty and shiny and artsy. Stickers, fibers, brads, whatever. Fun stuff! Pretty stuff! YAY!
Frogs. Incrediboy is really into frogs right now, which means that by default I have frogs on my mind all the time. Which is cool, because I think frogs are pretty cute too.
Graveyards. I enjoy exploring old graveyards and seeing the awesome craftsmanship of stone carvers past. I detest visiting the gravesite of someone I knew - in fact I'll avoid it at almost all cost. But apart from that, graveyards can be serene places.
Humor. I can be a real
Ink. When I got my first tattoo 20+ years ago, not too many women had them. Now they're everywhere. That's kind of a bummer, because it takes my rebel edge off. But I still love my ink.
Jeopardy. I need to go on this show, or else my huge collection of useless knowledge and trivial facts & statistics will have no value whatsoever.
KISS. My favorite band since I was 6 years old. Sophisticated?
Not a bit. Good, fun, old fashioned rock 'n' roll and good times? That's my guys.
Lake. I love the water. Always have. We live less than a mile from a lake and there is where we spend as much time as we can in the fair weather months. "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." ~ Kenneth Grahame
Music. My life's always been heavily entrenched in music. More than any other cultural influence. Music has the power to become one with places, emotions, and experiences - providing instantaneous recollection and time travel. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. But I wouldn't trade it.
Nachos. Man, I love Mexican food. I'm not even sure if nachos are "real" Mexican food, or they're just Mexican food-associated. You know, how they say pizza isn't really Italian, even though you think of it as Italian? But you know what I'm sayin'.
Outside. I like to go outside and explore the big world with my boy. We are lucky to have a nature preserve near our home and we love to go for walks there. I'm also a bit of a shutterbug, and I love photographing nature's little details. Outside is a good place to be.
Patriotism. I love my country. I love freedom.
Quiet. As a general life rule, I love it loud. But since becoming a wife and mom, I really relish quiet. When anyone else is in the house, there are televisions, radios, video games and toys making all kinds of racket. If I get a rare chunk of time to myself, it all goes off and I bask in the sweet sound of silence for a while. Funny how you don't appreciate the simple things until they are gone. ;)
Restless. I always have these thoughts banging around in my head - about what I want to be doing, what I should be doing, what I want to get to next. It's actually kind of counterproductive most of the time. Right about now is when that quiet thing would come in handy.
Sheldon Cooper. My favorite show is The Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon is the absolute funniest straight man ever. When this show first aired, I really didn't have much hope that it'd last. It was too good. You know how great shows get cancelled but stupid crap is on for years? But TBBT beat the odds and is hugely popular. And my little inner nerd couldn't be happier about that.
Titilating. Just because it's fun to say. Yes, I'm immature.
Underdog. I love the underdog. Not the cartoon superhero, but the one who has the odds stacked against him. The one who tries harder because he has to. The one who probably deserves to win more anyway because of that. It might have to do with the fact that I've been the underdog so often in my life, but you didn't hear that from me.
Vroom! I love cars! Classic cars and hot rods especially. I don't know much about them - how they work or what year they are. But I know what I like to look at, and I like classic cars and hot rods.
Weight. I obsess about mine too much. I'm not obese or anything, but I used to be a lot thinner than I am now and didn't even really have to work at it. But then again, I'm not twentysomething anymore, and thank God for that in all other aspects. So I'm working on just loving the best me I can be.
Xanax. I don't take it, but maybe I should. Or maybe not. But hey, there aren't that many X words.
Yarn. I enjoy knitting now and then - it relaxes me and indulges my obsessive-compulsive counting disorder. I also like to spin yarns. As in tell stories. But you probably could figure that out on your own.
Zamboni. Hockey rocks. Go Blue Jackets!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
How sad it that thought?
Some might wonder if this lack of comfort from home is due to them being a jerk - but I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I tend to think the best of others. Maybe these guys are buttholes as people and that's why nobody cares enough to write to them. On the other hand, maybe their families are the buttholes. Maybe they just don't have families. Maybe their friends don't write because the art of longhand correspondence is dying out. Whatever the case may be, it's sad to think of these kids fighting for freedom in a distant land, a whole world away from all they know, with seemingly no one who cares enough to say hey. It tugs at the heart to think of his buddies getting letters and packages while he gets nothing at mail call, ever.
How utterly lonely that must feel.
It was made clear that it would probably be a thankless job. The soldiers are crazy-busy over there and may not have the time or the energy to be good return pen pals. Most who take on the adoptions never hear back from their soldiers. But enough word gets back that regardless of whether we hear from them or not, no volunteered letter is ever taken for granted. No heart goes untouched to know that complete strangers care and are praying for their safety.
I knew nothing about my soldier but his name and position in his branch. But since I'm a Chatty Cathy, I just started writing - introducing myself and telling him about things going on back home. From time to time I sent a care package: small games like dice and decks of cards, puzzle books, candy at Halloween, bright pressed leaves during autumn, Girl Scout cookies at Cookie Time. But mostly I just sent letters - always making sure to thank him for his service let him know I was praying for his safety.
The other day, a letter I'd written in April was returned to me. It had been opened, and on the front was written in lovely ladies' penmanship to forward it back to me. No other details were noted.
I wondered if the letter had been sent to the wrong post, but it didn't really make sense that it would be sent back to me and not re-routed to him. I wondered if something had happened to the soldier. I wondered if his tour was over and he'd gotten to come home.
I've decided to think that he's now home.
I'll probably continue to write a few more letters just to make sure it wasn't a fluke - I'd hate to stop writing altogether if he's still over there. But for his sake, I hope he's home.
I hope that my small-talk letters have made his time away from American soil a little less monotonous. I hope I helped him feel appreciated back in the states. I hope the remainder of his life is filled with peace and contentment.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sort-of Update: My good buddy Coffeypot provided me with this link which lists all reported servicemen killed in action related to Project Enduring Freedom. I'm happy to learn my soldier is not on this list! It is heartbreaking, however, to see the names and faces of those who are. There are soooo many. The majority are just babies. Some still have adolescent acne. Please take a moment to pray for the safety of our servicemen each night. They are offering the ultimate sacrifice.
"All gave some - Some gave all."
Monday, May 17, 2010
Back in One (exhausted) Piece!
I also accidentally discovered this stuff at a gas station when I stopped for a cup of joe along my road trip to said girls' weekend. It adds an extra turbo-boost of caffeine to your coffee. I snagged a couple extra to take with me and with the weekend now behind me I can officially say I'm addicted to this powerful little additive. I was on line first thing this morning trying to score some for my own private
In case anyone's wondering, I found a case of about 264 of these for $24 on Amazon.
So happy to be back to work today. Not.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Impishness is Afoot
Friday, May 07, 2010
Look! An Award!
- Paint Splotches (Ace) - This lady is sassy and funny and I just love her. We're pretty sure we were separated at birth.
- Blending Ame (Ame) - One of my personal heroes - strong, humble, and wise. I am so blessed to also call her my friend.
- Not a Wonk (Patti) - one of my newest blog haunts - she's smart, sharp witted and loves to talk hot topics with no holds barred.
- Cooking Up Trouble Texas Style (StacieF) - We met on the grounds of a shared love of music, and a lifelong sisterhood germinated & thrived. One of my favorite people ever.
- In the Middle - Mad Hatter (Martie) - My BFF's mom, who has become my second mom, as well as a dear wonderful friend.
- Simply 55 (Danielle) - A candid writer and a beautiful soul, and a friend who has taught me a lot about myself, too.
- Saurly Yours (Saurkraut) - This beautiful lady has the 3 "i"s going for her - Intelligent, Insightful and Interesting. One of the first members of my blogroll and still a favorite.
- Thoughts of Laurel (Lori) - another of my longstanding blogbuddies - a true friend with an eye for the quiet beauty of the world. Visiting her blog is always a salve.
- It's A Pug's Life (Marni) - I'm just getting to know this girl, and it's great fun because we are a LOT alike! Don't you love it when that happens?
- Coffeypot - Okay, technically, he's a mister, not a sister. But he's too great to leave out. Full of piss and vinegar, this one! All kinds of fun on his blog.
Visit my peeps and enjoy the cornucopia of delights they bring to the blogworld!
Now, recipients: with great power comes great responsibility. It's now your turn to pass on the award as you see fit.
- Proudly display the award on your post and/or blog template.
- Nominate 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
- Be sure to link your nominees within your post, so others can find them.
- Let them know of their nomination by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link back to me too :)
Sorry to give you homework over the weekend, but at least it's lovey dovey. Have a great day, friends!
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
More crap that's annoying me
First of all, a state issue passed here yesterday under the guise of stimulating the economy and the job market here. But really all it does is assure more money for the unions. Well I work for a union company, and I can tell you the last people who need money handed to them are the dang unions.
American Idol's theme was Sinatra this week. Which is annoying because hey, I like Sinatra and all, but all the judges do is gripe about how these kids need to be more current and pick younger songs. Really?
One of my BFFs has had to cancel on the girls' weekend coming up, which is really sad for all of us. I miss my girls. All we want is one weekend, twice a year, to hang out and laugh together. Though that's not much to ask, at least half the time it doesn't work out for one of us to be able to join, thanks to life. What the *Insert expletives here* ! :(
I've got a freaking dentist appointment at 7am on Friday. Enough said on that.
My house is an absolute pig pen. So much so that it may be easier to just burn it to the ground and rebuild than to actually clean it. I can't believe my sweet Hub hasn't yelled about it, because frankly, he should. I'm the worst housewife ever and I'm lucky that he loves me. Hopefully he still does.
Thank God it's Cinco de Mayo, because I need a drink.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
As I dropped Incrediboy off at the church today (where he hangs out before and after his day at school), I noticed a hawk perched upon one of the steeple cross arms. He was huge and muscular - broad shoulder muscles and a stance with the confidence age and experience brings. He was the color of rust and cedar and sunsets against the gleaming white cross and clear azure sky. He surveyed his domain like a diety.
MAN I wish I had my camera!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Okay, I'll be honest. I mostly tuned in just to get an eyeful of the local philosophical ex-felon disc jockey, Chris Stephens (see above). But if he told me he was a doctor too, I wouldn't question him. In fact I'd be the biggest hypochondriac around, just to have an excuse to go see him all the time.
After the show went off the air, I kind of forgot about John Corbett until a funny little dark horse comedy called "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" came out. Corbett played the exceedingly charming, too awesome to ever exist while simultaneously being single and straight, Ian Miller (left). I love that movie, BTW, and not just because John Corbett is in it through the whole thing. It really is a funny movie. You should consider renting it if you've never seen it.
So anyway, I kind of started crushing on ol' John again. And who could blame me?
He's been here and there over the years since then, including spots like showing up as Aiden on the way-too-chick-show-for-me-to-ever-admit-I-watch, "Sex and the City". By jingo, I'd watch THAT, though *pointing at Aiden*. And Carrie is a moron for not keeping him.
John is just sexy. That's all I'm saying.
So my girlfriends and I got on the subject of John Corbett the other night (imagine that) while we were hanging out on Facebook. I was talking about how hilarious the Greek Wedding scene is, where he's goofing around outside the window and the old lady clobbers him with her purse - and I thought I'd see if I could find the clip on Youtube. Well, I didn't find it, but I *did* discover that John Corbett has been working on a music career in recent years!
Well. If there's anything I love more than a good looking actor, it's a good looking musician.
I listened to a few clips, and you know what? He's really good. I mean really! Even if I close my eyes! Best of all, his style is kind of a fusion of blues, southern rock, and tiny bit of country. ... A very tasty cocktail indeed.
Well, immediately, I hopped onto Amazon and looked him up. The CD is out of print. DRATS.
But! There were a few used copies being listed in the Amazon marketplace! YAY! So I bought one straight away for $2.94 plus shipping. I can't WAIT to get it!
I'm sure the Hub will be thrilled with this latest acquisition.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Moved to Tears
This song is freaking amazing. I was literally moved to tears watching this last night.
Yes, I watch American Idol. Shut up. Just listen.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
When I Was Younger, So Much Younger Than Today
Incrediboy has taken a shine to The Beatles. I couldn't be more proud.
Apparently his kindergarten teacher has one of those Kid's Bop CDs that has a chorus of children singing popular songs - and one of the songs on the CD is The Beatles' "Help!". We were talking about it on the way home one day and I subsequently pulled out my beloved Beatles anthologies in order to further expose and enrich his palate. You know, the ones labeled 1963-1966 and 1967-1970 - red and blue covers respectively, with their photos on a balcony taken in the same poses several years apart.
My older brother had these (and many other Beatles recordings) on vinyl when we were growing up. I absolutely loved them and I played them almost incessantly whenever he wasn't around, quickly sneaking them back into the alphabetically arranged peach crate in his room when he got dropped off from playing tennis or messing around doing whatever it was he did with his cool friends. One time I was so into the moment that he walked in the house and busted me listening to one of his most rare records. I thought he was going to kill me.
In the interest of further encouraging Incrediboy's newfound interest in the Liverpool lads, I dug out my old VHS copy of the 1967 classic animated feature, "Yellow Submarine". This bizarre yet hypnotically beautiful movie used to run on TV every so often when I was about his age, and I always loved the delicious deco-animation, ultra-crazy imagination, and hilarious wordplay put into it. Secretly, I've been anticipating the day I could share it with him and he could truly appreciate it as only a vibrant and uninhibited child's mind can.
He loves it.
Best of all, his favorite part is where Ringo picks up one of the holes in the Sea of Holes, squishes it down, places it in his trouser pocket, and quips, "I've got a hole in me pocket." That was always my favorite part, too.
That's my boy. :)
Friday, April 09, 2010
It's a Gray Area
Take this lady here, for example. I mean, her hair is beautiful. SHE is beautiful. I would love to just sit with her on a big cushy couch and talk. I bet she's got some great stories to share.
Until somewhat recently, I have regularly dyed my hair since I was about 14 years old. Not because I'm trying to be someone I'm not, but rather just having fun with who I am. To me, hair dye is an extension of makeup - used to accentuate. When I realized how many women dye their hair for the sheer sake of covering gray, it seemed odd to me. I'd tell them gray hair is cool. I'd receive a reply in the form of an unpleasant face, and a look letting me know they doubted my sanity. "You'll change your mind when you get them," I'd usually hear. I was never so sure about that.
I always kind of looked forward to getting some gray hair. It adds so much character. Ironically, I come from good hair genes. My people are late grayers.
When I had Incrediboy, I stopped dying my hair. I just didn't have the time (nor the interest) to keep up on non-necessities. My color grew out and for the first time in twenty-some-odd years, my locks were au naturale. I did dye it again last summer, just for fun - but haven't since.
Now in my fifth decade of life, my hair is still independently chromatic. Even my temples, which I understand have the tendency to gray first. When people find out how old I am, they don't believe me when I tell them I don't dye the gray away. They're just jealous. ;)
I have noticed an occasional silvery glint on the top of my head recently, though. Just a strand or two - enough to catch the light a certain way. The Hub, a few years older than I, is also a "good hair gene carrier" and is only now starting to get the occasional silver strand. He's mortified, and pulls them out when he sees them. He wonders why I don't do the same.
I don't because frankly, I think they're neat. :)
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Somebody Please Tell the Media that these 15 Minutes are Up.
Now people can say or believe whatever they want about the why's and how's of that situation. Whatever, the guy's a creep. So he cheated on his wife, a bazillion times with a bazillion different women. Bad enough on its own that he pretty much made a total a$$ of himself. But then to "confess", with pseudo-shame in his eyes, that he has a sex addiction? How freaking lame. What a ridiculously LAME, made-up condition.
But that's not why I'm tired of him, because he's BRAVE enough to admit he has this "problem" and is getting the "therapy" he needs to treat it. (Which, by the way, is probably not giving him the same satisfaction as the "therapy" he was getting to treat this "condition" BEFORE he got caught - am I right?). What I'm really sick of is how the media is ALL OVER HIM through this whole thing. Oh see here everybody, poor Tiger is a victim of stress. Oh, look everybody, Tiger is seeking help. Oh, listen up everybody, Tiger is going to make an announcement, but don't you dare ask any questions. Oh everybody stop what you are doing, TIGER is going to talk about his return to golf!
Who the eff cares. Seriously?!
This stupid crap has been going on for months now, too. How long are we going to ride that? I'd really enjoy seeing something that MATTERS covered in the mainstream media.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Sometimes, Ignorance really is Bliss.
I was reading a blog article discussing birth control earlier today. The blogger was saying that she was against the Pill because of its "abortifacient" properties. I thought this was an odd statement, as I thought the Pill prevented ovulation, that that was the whole point. No ovulation, no embryo, no abortifacient action. So being the big nosey know-it-all that I like to be, I looked up some articles to see what I could find out about this. It turns out the Pill affects several aspects of the cycle. I already knew this, but figured they were all just part of a package deal shebang reaction and not really congruent backup plans for one another.
Here is what I didn't know. It seems that while ovulation prevention is one of the factors the Pill can and does produce, an egg is in fact still released on average with between 2% and 10% of cycles on the Pill. When this does happen and the egg is fertilized, the uterus - also hormonally compromised - has produced a significantly depleted lining. The embryo does not have enough tissue in which to embed, so the embryo dies and is expelled with the monthly flow.
The Pill is claimed to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who either was taught or perhaps just flatly assumed that "99% effective" meant that 99% of the time no egg would be released, and that's why it was 99% effective.
As a young woman, honestly, it probably wouldn't have mattered to me even if I did know that 2-10% fact. My main concern was to be and remain un-pregnant, and my opinions on where simple chemistry ended and "real" life began were undefined. I still don't know for sure exactly when that is. Fertilization? Implantation? Upon finite formation of cells which become a heart and brain? What I *do* know is that it is a living thing from the beginning - so in order to be fair, I now approach it as such. That's how I roll.
I was on the Pill for about 15 years of my life total. It bothers me that statistically speaking, I most certainly experienced that 2-10% curve, and had embryos die. I didn't know ... it wasn't intentional ... but it made me kind of sad to learn of that probability.
Monday, April 05, 2010
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I used to think I was meant to be a part of something big. Something that would change the world.
I wanted to be an artist. A writer. A musician. Not necessarily famous by name or face, but known abstractly. “Oh yeah, the lady who wrote blah-blah”, or “Those paintings! You know them the minute you see them, they just have that something.” I wanted to make people stop dead in their tracks and contemplate. Most of all I wanted to feel that I had left a piece of myself in those that I came across.
In my youth I was in a garage band, and we put together some pretty good stuff. But we never went anywhere. I wrote. A lot. Poetry, prose, short novels, analyses. I got A’s in every writing class I ever took. I never sent a manuscript to anyone. I went to a prestigious art college. I sucked the marrow out of life there, and in turn the marrow was sucked out of me. Never would one believe the creative process would be so exhausting, and the pursuit of cultivating it so strenuous.
A common discussion art students have with “outsiders”:
Oh, you go to art school?
So, you can draw?
(wait for it ...)
That must be pretty easy, going to art school.
By the time I graduated, I felt as though my creative soul had given birth to a herd of rhinoceros. I just needed to rest. I now have a career in accounting. I live comfortably. I have wondered from time to time if I sold out.
The thing they don’t tell you when you cook up your big dreams in youth (or perhaps we just choose not to hear) is that in the process of living, life tends to get in the way. Before I could get out of town to the place I wanted to be, I ran out of money at the hands of paying for my lofty college education. By the time I got some scratch together, I’d fallen in love and gotten married. Then divorced, and back to having nothing again. Then under construction – Remarried - And so it goes.
With time and trials comes wisdom, and as I grew older and more seasoned, my vision of what was really important as far as imprinting the human race changed. My compassion morphed from utopian to a small-bite, close to home approach. Big differences don’t always seem big at first glance. I think this epiphany first hit me in my teens. I was involved in the youth choir and ensemble with my church. We took a mission trip to Florida, and one of our performances was at the state prison. We were all a little nervous, being fresh-faced kids and having close contact with convicted felons. After our performance, we were to meet with inmates to talk with them. If we were nervous before, this really got us skittish. But it was nothing like any of us expected.
I met Fred that day. I don’t know what Fred was in for. But we prayed for his mother together. She was very ill, and Fred’s face was twisted with worry for her. After we prayed, Fred’s entire body conveyed an air of peace it didn’t have before. He thanked me and smiled. I often wonder what became of Fred and his mother, but I know that I, a young girl from across the country, made a difference in his life that day.
Several years ago my mother asked me if I would help her with something. She is a Girl Scout leader, and her co-lead quit mid-year. My Mom needed help with her troop. I wasn’t in love with the idea – it would involve going all the way across town after a long day at the office, to wrangle with inner city girls from broken homes with discipline and attitude problems. But I did it. It was trying, but these girls needed positive role models. And once they felt me out, I could see the changes taking place in many of them, just from having adults in their lives who cared enough to guide them and help them begin to tap into their potential. I too, after getting to know them, found myself way more smitten with them than I ever expected. I genuinely cared about making a difference in their lives and did my best to plant small seeds of self-respect and self-worth in these girls who got a rough start in life.
My church (now previous church - I have since moved) is heavily involved in outreach ministry, and one of the prominent divisions involves providing comfort and compassion for those with HIV and AIDS. A few years ago the Project organized a Christmas banquet and needed volunteers. I experienced an overpowering pull to get involved with this. In a debate class in school my small group was once given the question, “Should AIDS patients be quarantined?” This was back in the ‘80’s, when little was known about AIDS and everyone was frightened by the very notion. What I learned in my research in preparing for the debate changed my views about it forever. Compassion replaced retraction, and there it remained. The Christmas dinner opportunity seemed to reach into me and pull that back out.
I humbly served turkey to hundreds in a buffet line. Most were no different in appearance or attitude to anyone you may come across with any day. But some were different. Some had a look in their eye that I can only compare with those in the eyes of abandoned pets that had to forge a life on the mean streets for too long. I thought a lot about how lonely it must be, to be sick and no one, not even your family, will talk to you, much less even touch your hand in comfort. How they must be starving for human contact, for just a little acknowledgment that anyone cares for them. After dinner I visited with a few of the guests, particularly drawn to the "sad" ones. We laughed, we shared. We hugged. While some reacted more instantaneously than others, each melted into the hug like a child. They have stayed with me these many years since.
For now my schedule as well as my general sulky mood dictate that I am self-absorbed. But my thoughts do turn outward as well. I think about going back to school. I think about becoming a den mother when the boy gets older.
I still think I was meant to be a part of something big. I rather consider that I already am. My perspective of what “big” is has simply changed a little from what it used to be.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Don't be alarmed!
Wish me luck.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Sweet Dreams, Hamburger.
Her name was Amber. She was a weird mix of possible golden lab and something with a curly tail. She was in her teens and had hip problems but was otherwise in good health. When Incrediboy was a toddler and was learning to talk, he inadvertently dubbed her "Hamburger". To his little ears, "Amber" and "Hamburger" coincided. He hadn't called her Hamburger in a long time, but it still comes up.
She was a sweet girl.
One of my most dreaded future moments (that I really try hard not to think about) is the day Most Beautiful Dog will leave us. Longtime readers will recall that we got MBDog after a long and loss-burdened struggle with starting a family. This incredibly smart, painfully cute bundle of pain in the arse became the center of our world, and we still love him more than we love ourselves. When Incrediboy came into our lives, we never shooed MBDog away and conitnued to lavish him with love. He was unsure of the little intruder at first, but in no time they were fast friends.
One of my favorite things in the world is storytime, when Incrediboy and I will read a book together before bedtime and MBDog will hop up on the bed and listen as well. Then I'll tuck them in together and often there he will sleep with his little brother until Mom and Dad go to bed. I have a bajillion pictures of the two of them snoozing together, but I still take more. I can't get over how much love explodes from my heart at this scene.
MBDog, as you all know, is so beautiful. SO beautiful. His mom and dad were of fine breeding stock and accomplished gun dogs. MBDog himself would have made an excellent showdog. He's practically perfect in every way, except for his herniated bellybutton. (It should be noted I strongly advise adopting from shelters and rescues rather than going to breeders. But this boy may have met an otherwise untimely doom thanks to this "devaluing" defect. Breeders can be cruel.) A few years back, another dog that looked like his twin won best in show at that big dog show, you know the one. She was ALMOST as beautiful as he is.
But beauty isn't everything. MBDog is such a sweet and sensitive boy. He's so affectionate and wants nothing more than to just be with us. He is brilliant, has a great sense of humor, and his luminous golden eyes study us with such great intent that we're sure he understands every word we say. He has taught me things about life and love I could never hope to learn on my own.
He's still in the prime of life, but he's been slowing down. The once distinct line between the white and brown of his muzzle has smeared with encroaching gray. It takes him far less time to calm down from excitement, and he sleeps a lot more than he used to. Those last two points aren't all bad - but it does bring his mortality into focus.
Everything dies. I try not to waste moments of life with worrying about death. I will drink up the serendipity that MBDog brings to our lives as long as I can. When it's time to say goodbye, I'll take comfort in knowing he'll have Hamburger, Shamsky, Copper, and all the other dogs I've loved before to keep him company until we can join him again.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Two Posts in One Day. Holy Crap!
My faithful readers and droves of close personal friends (snark) know that I have been concerned not only with breathing life back into this blog, but in also rebuilding a fun little network of blogfriends again. In light of my new inspiration to rebuild and revitalize my dusty old blog, I have been running through my blogroll only to find that many I had marked on there have either deactivated comments (what's up with that?), fizzled out or have been deleted entirely. I've spent a small chunk of time subsequently revising said blogroll.
I was thinking about how I started meeting other bloggers in the first place. I mean, when I started this blog I didn't really know a soul in this community. Initially I started out by clicking the "next blog" button up there at the top. See it? If you click on it, it will take you off to another randomly selected blog. NO NO NO, DON'T CLICK IT! I don't want you to go yet.
But anyway, I thought I'd do a little next-blog surfing just for old time's sake. I ran across a few fairly cool ones. Some of them I even commented on. Then I hit like 37 in a row that were in foreign languages I couldn't even begin to guess. No kidding. I was trapped in such a painful streak I just quit next buttoning altogether.
I know there are plenty of people in the world who speak other languages. But It just got on my nerves, that's all I'm saying.
Patience has never been one of my stronger virtues.
Today's Conclusion: Rome was not built in a day. It will all come together again in time.
Mom Would Be So Proud.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Worry ... Worry Worry Worry Worry
And now for my impression of the Apostle Paul:
"Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything - and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds." - Philippians 4:6&7
... Actually, my impression of the Apostle Paul sucks. I can quote him as well as the next guy, but my application is sorely lacking.
I've been completely stressed out lately. So much so that I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack any minute. I never used to - but lately, I just worry holes right through my skull. About EVERYTHING. It makes me tense, crabby, edgy, and extremely preoccupied no matter what I'm doing. It's like I'm PMS-ing all the time. And nobody wants that.
Spring is the quintessential season of rebirth, so I am going to celebrate by throwing some fertilizer on the flowerbeds of my soul. There are two things I'm now trying to (re)apply to my life. I'm thinking these actions will help with this bad habit I've developed.
- When I spend time with God, the rest of my life becomes more serene. I'm going to get back into the habit of going to church and more consciously praying. (See Paul's words above)
- When I spend time nurturing my creativity, the rest of my thoughts are less harried. I used to spend frequent time doing something creative. I used to post some creative writing here daily, sometimes twice a day. I used to draw, paint, and make things just for the enjoyment of it. Somehow I've let that part of me fall away. I miss it.
I love spring! :)Footnote: This is my 400th post. My how many thoughts, creations and exchanges have come through this site in the last 5 years. Thanks for visiting, friends.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Audacity of "Hope"
Being against the government having complete control over and access to EVERYTHING in our lives does not mean I am heartless and cold towards those who need help. What people won't understand is there is not just one big huge matzoh-ball answer or nothing. It doesn't matter at this point that whoever woula-coulda-shoulda didn't when they "had the chance". There's plenty of blame to go around for that. What matters is here and now, and what matters even more is the ramifications in the future. I will NOT allow my son's life to be ruined by this asphyxiating package if I can help it.
This health care issue WILL make our entire country collapse on every level. We think it's bad now? Pssh.
America has hit hard times before. But the difference is that capitalism provided the foundation for rebuilding and fiscal rebirth. There was always that fire we could reach toward again. The poison buried within this healthcare package will obliterate that flame - and when those promises are gone, there is no hope to recover the way of life we've taken for granted. NO hope.
I can't believe so many don't give a shit about that.
Friday, March 12, 2010
An Exciting Evening!
The past few weeks, the kindergarteners and first graders have been working on an artist-in-residency program with the capital city's jazz arts group - an association of professional jazz musicians and vocalists. The project consisted of the children creating their own song from scratch, built on the 12 bar blues form and AAB rhyme scheme, and to perform the original compositions at the end of the residency. The kids brainstormed their own topic and lyrics, and then decided what tempo, styles, and solos they wanted to utilize. Next, each student was assigned a glockenspeil, xylophone, rhythm stick set, or egg shaker - each to be incorporated into the piece.
In addition to the obvious musical benefits of this project, it also allowed the kids to explore organizational strategies, writing, composing, performing, and mathematical standards through predicting and discovering the sequence of sounds and patterns within the music form.
The project culminated last night in a performance for the parents in the community's performing arts center, accompanied by the jazz musicians. The first graders composed a cute song about missing the bus and riding their bike to school instead. Incrediboy's class composed a jazzy little number called "Blues for a Cruise". The lyrics are as follows:
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Ready to go, wanna leave the snow.
Wanna have fun in the sun!
We've got the blues for a cruise!
There's no time to lose
Let's kick off our shoes
And cruise away the blues!
We're all packed up
And our shades are on
Gonna make a run
For the sun!
Let's go someplace
With seas and trees.
How 'bout the Florida Keys!
Lookin' for waves
Dolphins play games,
Can't wait to swim with the fish
Can't wait to swim with the fish!
The individual class songs were followed by group performances of all the classes of Ella Fitzgerald's A-Tisket, A-Tasket and Duke Ellington's C Jam Blues.
Grammy-worthy? Far from it. But man, what a fantastic opportunity - to learn about music composition from the ground up with real live jazz musicians. I never had the chance to do anything remotely as amazing as that, even in high school. I wonder if in good time these kids will ever realize how cool that was.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Road Rash Throat
I'm typically not a whiner, but I'm going to go on about this for a bit. Because seriously - I have rarely if ever had a throat this destroyed.
I woke up Friday with a mildly swollen, mildly sore throat, and feeling kind of crummy. By Friday night I was totally wiped out. I didn't even go to Incrediboy's karate class (and I really wanted to, because he was getting his blue belt - a very big deal since blue is his favorite color - but I digress). When I woke up Saturday I was a dead woman. I was feverish and my throat was completely destroyed from my sinuses to my lungs - it felt as if I'd swallowed hot asphalt. I could not eat, drink, talk, or even swallow my own spit. When I looked in my mouth with a flashlight, my whole throat was nearly swollen shut - not to mention red as tabasco sauce and covered with white splotches.
I laid in excessive misery until Monday when I could get in to see the doctor. I thought for sure I had strep. After an excruciatingly agonizing throat culture (I literally grabbed my doctor's arm and forced the swab out of my mouth before I even realized I was doing it - and I'm not normally that kind of patient), I learned I did NOT have strep. I was diagnosed with tonsilitis and pharyngitis - which is a fancy term meaning that besides my tonsils being all botched up, the rest of my throat was a completely infected swollen mess as well. So much so that along with a super-duper strong scrip for antibiotics, my doc also gave me a scrip for steroids.
I got my meds filled at the local market, and picked out an assorted array of throat numbing agents, some comforting flavored tea, and a can of soup for my first meal in 3 days.
On the pharmacist's suggestion, I didn't start the steroids right away. He advised taking them in the morning since they tend to make you jittery - and taking them in the afternoon could keep me up that night. I didn't want that. I took two antibiotics during the course of that day and was thankfully feeling much better by morning. God bless whoever discovered the healing properties of all those darling molds.
Since I was feeling on the mend, I decided to skip the steroids altogether. I'm not a fan of steroids ... They help jumpstart your healing initially, but significantly lower your immune system for about a year afterwards. I'm not real fond of that idea. Plus they screw you up with the jimmies while you're taking them - and more often than not swell you up like a tick on a hound dog. I figured if I don't need to, I'm not going there.
Tomorrow will be a week since I fell to the tonsil demon. I almost feel normal again, although my throat still feels kind of scratchy and weird. At least I lost a few pounds during the ordeal.
Now the Hub has come down with it. Bless his heart, the poor guy. I hope we can keep it away from Incrediboy.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I should probably have frowned upon that, but I couldn't help but laugh too.
That kid is going to get out of SO MUCH trouble just by being funny and cute. I'm lucky he has such a sweet disposition. Hopefully he will continue to use his powers only for good.
Friday, February 26, 2010
My dear friend Cassie invited me to join a network of writers. Writers of all types, walks, styles and professions. I joined with enthusiasm. While I haven't
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
It's my birthday, dammit!
I'm thinking about commemorating the new birth year by ripping a few people's a$$es who are either on my nerves or have hurt me and I've just been letting it go for a while. But why should I do that? Nobody does me any favors in this area. Besides, now that I'm old, it's not healthy for me to keep that kind of stuff all bottled up inside.
Still planning to get back to some creative writing. One of these days I'll really do it.
Be back soon.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I kicked my fitness plan into fulltime gear a few weeks ago and am happy to share that I've trimmed off 5 pounds already. Yay, me! This is an astonishing feat, being that it comes off with great difficulty since I hit my late 30's. Unfortunately, not eating isn't the same as quitting smoking. Ya gotta eat. And it's hard not to eat when you're feeling hungry. So I've been relearning what foods to eat for the twofold sum of maximum satisfaction and maximum physical benefit. It's taken diligence but it's paying off.
I'm also excited to share that I've found a new dance class! If you've been around a while, you may remember that I've wanted to learn how to belly dance since I was 15 years old. A boyfriend I had in high school, his mom practiced belly dance. She would sometimes rehearse routines for us as practice for her classes. I was entranced at how this mild, quiet, average mom would turn into a confident, sensual goddess when she'd dance - and in her mid-to-late 40's, her body was killer. I always wanted to learn what she knew.
A few years ago I decided to finally pursue this interest. I bought some instructional tapes, which were okay - but then found a semi-local class that was affordable and very exciting. A friend of mine has enjoyed much good-natured teasing at my expense - but I tell you, belly dancing is deceptively challenging. It takes incredible muscle control and isolation skills, and when done properly, you really feel it - both during and the next day. I was loving it, I was getting muscle definition, and I was getting pretty good at it if I say so myself. My instructor was even talking about me being almost ready to switch to the intermediate class.
Then gas prices went up. Dramatically. And my 60 mile round trip commute to the class suddenly tripled in bottom line cost. I discontinued my training.
I've missed it ever since.
This weekend I was thinking about it all again and decided to check out local listings on line to see if anything new had shown up. To my delight, I found a class at a relatively nearby community center that is affordable and agrees with my schedule. I contacted the instructor and we had a great exchange. Her classes run in 6-week stretches, the current one having started last week. However, she was willing to have me join a week late and double up on a class to get my tuition's worth. She currently teaches an egyptian cabaret class and a tribal fusion class back to back on Mondays.
I've become fascinated with the style and seduction of tribal fusion dance over the last few years, so I was really jazzed at the prospect of taking a class focusing on tribal fusion techniques. The Hub, awesome man that he is, was cool with me making last second plans for the next who knows how many Monday nights, and so I am heading to the rec center tonight to get my shimmy on again.
In other news, my brother is coming for a visit in a few weeks. YAY! I haven't seen him in a good 4 years, so I'm really excited. He's bringing my neice and nephew along as well, both of whom I haven't seen in even longer. They'll only be here for four days, but I'll take it. :) We are hoping to steal away to a portrait studio at some point, for a belated sibling photo for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We haven't had a formal photo taken together since I was 4 and he was 10. So it should be pretty neat.
It's fun to have things to look forward to. Life's good right now.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
I'm so Pi$$ed Off Right Now.
I'm listening to the news on the way in today. Mistake number one. And our local news guy is talking with some reporter from the BBC. The BBC cat is chattering on and on about how many of the Gitmo detainees that have been freed have already rejoined Al Quaida.
Well there's a shock, huh?
Though my Mom taught me at an early age to never underestimate the stupidity of the common man, I continue to be shocked and amazed at humankind's blindness. These turds are not like us. They will never be like us. They have been programmed from birth to hate us, and that they will be rewarded for anything they can do to decay our way of life. And that's not prejudice. That's FACT. Do people honestly think that a stint in an American run prison, which is probably like a stay at the Four Seasons for these jackasses thanks to liberal crybabies, is really going to make them rethink their ways and carry a daisy in their hand from now on? Are you SERIOUS?
The reporter goes on to rhetorically ponder the problem of what to do with the remaining detainees - where to place them after Gitmo is closed.
Here's an idea. How 'bout HELL? Straight to Hell. Problem solved.
Why is this so difficult to understand?
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Rest in Peace
Luckily, I never really saw much combat. I was in it a few times - I don't know if I ever killed anyone and frankly I don't want to know. ... I worked in an orphanage for a while, and that I really liked. I really enjoyed the kids. But mostly I was in medical. One of the first days I was there, a chopper came and brought some wounded in. And I got this guy who was hurt really bad. ... Basically, is entire lower jaw was gone. Just, gone. He kept trying to tell me something, over and over. Obviously I couldn't understand him ... so I just sat there with him. I sat there with him until he died.
* * * *
A dear friend of mine served in Viet Nam. In the 15 years I've known him, he's rarely talked about anything he saw or did there other than getting wasted - an activity that is more than understandable in those circumstances if you ask me.
The other night we were talking about it for some reason, and he shared this story with me. It's haunted me ever since. My heart has ached for this young man who could not express his final concerns, and died in agony - alone and on the other side of the world. Alone except for my friend.
Forty years isn't too long ago to mourn a fallen fighter. God rest your soul, soldier.