Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - The Year in Review

When I remember 2007, I will remember ...

*Cruising the Atlantic for days and days with Maribeth and Molly, touring a few spots in Europe, then jetting home in style

*Inducting Steve into the cruise world

*Inaugural Tower of Terror 13K, and races at Disney and New York and Nashville

*Starting and sticking with Curves

*Sam's book and Lynnette's starting grad school

*Walking miles and miles with Lynnette for the 3-day, then the actual 3-day and tents, porta-potties, walking and walking, and all the 3-day stories

*Starting "66 Days" and "Luanne @ Fifty" blogs, and keeping them

*Lunch with friends I haven't seen for a while

*Getting back in touch with friends I haven't heard from in a while

*A few days at Fall Creek Falls

*Finally getting ideas on paper

*Losing a gallbladder but gaining new doctors

*Sending Maribeth out on the AT and her coming home with a new "friend"

*Christmas at Disney and the Disney Dining Plan

*Disneyland trip that wasn't all that

*Magic Bullet Christmas

*Great family trips and experiences

*Finding 50 is indeed quite fabulous

These are just a few of this year's true gifts, for which I am so thankful.

2007 - what a great year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Samuel Steven Davidson

What can you say about the day your life changed completely? About the day that everything you thought you knew about life was tossed out, and all new information flooded in? About the day that you knew everything and nothing at all? About the day your life stopped, then started anew? For me, it’s the day I gave birth to my first child. His name is Sam, and this is our story.

It all started early in 1980. Steve and I had moved to Florida for his first job after college. I felt God saying it was time to start our family, and it didn’t take long until our objective was achieved. I was pregnant! A few months later, we bought our first house in Orlando.

One day as I was out for a walk, I heard God speaking. He told me that I would have a son, and his name would be Samuel. As if I needed confirmation, the very next Sunday, our study was about Hannah.

Our baby was due on December 23. On Christmas Day, we still had no baby. Finally, on the night of December 29, my water broke and we were on our way - or so we thought. Sam eventually made his debut after lunch on December 30 - thanks to two tankers full of pitocin and two nurses who literally lay across my abdomen and pushed him out.

It was at that moment when the life I thought I knew became the life I was created to have. The moment I first saw that 9 pound, 4 ounce baby, I knew there was someone in this world for whom I would give my life. There was someone in this world I would kill to protect. There was someone in this world who was the most precious thing in my life. There was someone in this world who both that thrilled me and terrified me, someone I wanted to do everything for and yet had no clue as to what to do, and someone that I wanted to love and protect forever but knew I would have to let go one day.

But there was more. For just one moment, God said, “As much as you love this child, remember how much I love you to give you such a precious gift. This is your first son - I also have a first son that I love. Never forget how much I love you to let my own first son die just so you can live - could you do the same for this baby boy? As much as you love Sam, try to imagine my all-encompassing and eternal love for you all.” It was a precious moment to experience, a precious gift to receive, a precious lesson to learn, and my life has never been the same.

That moment was 27 years ago. Somehow, through my best (and worst) efforts, Sam has grown into the man he is today. He follows his own voice, as God continues to direct him. He contemplates profound and meaningful ideas and records them for many to read. He loves with no parameters or rules. He constantly seeks for ways to improve this world without judgment of those who created a mess. He laughs loudly, thinks openly, loves globally, works intently, dreams extraordinarily, and lives remarkably. I am truly blessed to be a part of his incredible life experience.

Twenty-seven years ago, God changed my life because He knew the joy this change would bring. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

Happy Birthday Sam - I love you!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Parting Pictures of the Magic Kingdom



Today is our last day for our Christmas vacation at Walt Disney World. It was fun, it was interesting, it was an experience. Would I do it again at Christmas? Maybe. The next time I will see the Magic Kingdom (and Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios and Epcot) will be in about two weeks - when I hope I will be wogging and limping and crawling through them for the marathon. Two weeks is also about how long it will take me to recover from the Disney Dining Plan eating extravaganza.

I'm off for one last Mickey bar - until January!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Disney World and the Real World

I love Disney World for a great many things - the imagination, the fun, the attention to detail, and all the things that make it Disney. But today I experienced two moments that make Disney World even more endearing to me. I guess you could say they were my kind of "magical moments."

The first occurred when I was on the bus headed to Molly's room at Old Key West. I was on the bus and had cleared the security booth. We rode over the bridge. On the left side of the bridge is the tee box for a golf hole. I usually glance to see if anyone is playing. Today I looked over and saw three men getting ready to tee off. The fourth was over on the side, next to the tree line, facing away from the others. It didn't take a genius to figure out he was doing an imitation of a sprinkler. He was watering the flora and fauna - he was tinkling in the bushes - he was urinating in the woods. No, I didn't actually see his pipes, but I've been in enough races to know what men do. And no, he wasn't looking for a lost golf ball. I'm sure he did not realize that a bus load of people could see what he was up to - and on a Disney golf course!!

The second incident occurred while I was in line at guest services, waiting for an answer to a question. The couple in front of me did not speak English. I know this, because English is the only language I do know and I did not understand any of the words they were using. I did see a receipt for $200 in their hands. When it was their turn to receive assistance, they went to their helper. Apparently their problem was with some headsets they had. The helper lady took the headsets and went off to do something, leaving the couple at the counter. On the counter in front of them was a Mickey Mouse phone. I looked over at them to see the man saluting the Mickey phone with one finger, the middle one, to be exact. He saw me noticing his gesture - I smiled and he smiled back. We shared a moment.

What do these mean to me? I love Disney World for all the fantasy and fun that it represents. But these two incidents remind me that it is just vacation, and there are real people who come here. Real people who do things here that they do in real life. Real people who do things, not always realizing that other people see. Real people who, when caught, need reassurance that their actions are understandable and don't define their whole existence as a human being.

Sure, I could have made a big deal out of the actions of these two men. I could have rushed out to the golf course and lectured the tinkle man. I could have frowned and fussed at the finger man. Instead, I decided to let them be human, as I hope people would let me.

In the end, by sharing a smile with the one whose language I could not speak, I made a connection. We understood each other, accepted each other, and made a friend. I hope I remember this the next time I want to rush to judgement of another. I hope I remember that whatever real or play world we may be in, we are truly all in it together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top Ten Things I Would Like To Say To or Ask Fellow Tourists and Cast Members at Disney World (but don't have the guts to ask)

1. "I'm sorry sir, but no man wears his shorts that short in the United States."

2. "I realize that Extra Magic Hours started at 7:00 am, but it is 7:15 am and your child is already screaming and pitching a fit. Are you sure this was a better idea than letting him/her sleep a little longer this morning?"

3. "Before you run over my foot in your haste to get to the front of the line, may I ask for what medical reason you are using this motor scooter chair?"

4. "You are obviously a sullen teenager who lives in gothic attire. Are you having fun here?"

5. "I realize that Extra Magic Hours extends until 3 am, but it is 11:30 pm and your child couldn't be awakened with a bullhorn and a cattle prod. Don't you think it might be prudent to go back to your hotel and put him/her to bed?"

6. "Yes, I am on the Disney Dining Plan. Just bring me the most expensive appetizer, main course, and dessert on the menu. I aim to get my money's worth!"

7. "Sir, you are obviously a newlywed. Who's idea was it to wear the bride and groom Mickey ear hats, and why did you comply?"

8. "Here is my credit card. Please just get a shopping bag and fill it with all kinds of Disney crapola."

9. "Obviously you are on a family vacation, as evidenced by all the identical t-shirts worn by your group proclaiming as such. But is it really that fun for all 49 of you to walk around together?"

10. "Please lady, buy a Mickey t-shirt and cover up - this is a family place!"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Trip's Complete



Today I met the Mouse, completely by accident! I was enjoying my frozen mocha,
when several of the characters came out of a back gate by the American Pavilion. I would have fancied up, had I known I had a special date, but I couldn't resist the picture. Guess it just goes to show one should always look her best, since you never know who may surprise you!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Everyone has pictures of their Christmas. Here are a few of mine for 2007:

Main Street in the Magic Kingdom at 7:45 am
Main Street at Magic Kingdom at 9:28 am

Maribeth and Molly trying out a new mommy and sisters.

I hope your Christmas was as fun and interesting as mine!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas,
I was here with my spouse;
Our daughters had joined us
For our visit with the Mouse.

We had golfed, we had shopped,
We had eaten on a plan;
We had seen trees decorated
As only Mickey can.

Our stockings were at home
Would Santa know we were here?
Would he wonder what had happened
To the Davidsons this year?

We didn't have to wonder
The right answer we knew;
He would never forget
Steve, Mari, Molly, and Lu.

This Christmas was different
We weren't at our house;
But Santa knew those families
Who spent Christmas with the Mouse.

From Kingdom to Kingdom,
To Studios to Epcot,
Santa visited them all
The whole entire lot.

And at the end of the night,
Santa went for a ride,
Extra Magic Hours were open,
All the coasters he tried.

As he dropped from the Tower
And ate his Mickey Bar,
He finally left the last park
And got in his reindeer car.

And we heard him exclaim
As he rode up above;
"Christmas is always Christmas
When you're with those you love!"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Family Christmas In (and all over) The World

Yes, I finally got packed, although it's hard to pack for 75 degrees when you're in 40 degrees. But I managed, got up early this morning, and arrived for our visit with the Mouse. Although we haven't been to a park, there are families and decorations everywhere. Some of the room balconies even have lights on them.

As many times as we've been to Walt Disney World, this is the first time we've been here on Christmas Day. I hear it's one of the most crowded days of the year in the Magic Kingdom. I will be there, simply to experience it.

We are in Disney World and Sam and Lynnette are in Texas. My brother and his family live in Mississippi. My sister and her husband and one daughter are in Baltimore, her other daughter is in Thailand, and her son and daughter-in-law are in California. The best thing about Christmas is that even though we are far apart, we are always together in spirit. The Love that started the first Christmas so many years ago is the same love that keeps us all together now. Families and love - the first and best gifts of Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Procrastination


Early tomorrow morning, I am leaving for a week at Disney World. I am not packed. I really should get busy. At least I have no cooking to do or last-minute presents to buy. I just have to pack. I wonder how many times I can write and erase this post in a feeble attempt to avoid packing. Oh well, I think it's time. I have to go pack now. Good bye Christmas Tree Cakes - Hello Mickey Bars!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Magic Bullet Christmas

Welcome to the Davidson Family Christmas. We have it early so Sam and Lynnette can spend Christmas with her family in Texas. In some misguided attempt at creating special Christmas memories, we elected to create our own unique Christmas dinner. Last year it was Cereal Christmas, when everyone brought their favorite cereal. This year while sitting around the television at Thanksgiving, it came to us - The Magic Bullet.

For those of you who don't know, The Magic Bullet is a wondrous machine. At least that's what the infomercial told us. In the infomercial, a man and woman (relationship unknown) are in their kitchen, surrounded by their closest friends. In a matter of minutes, the couple are whipping out all sorts of delicious meals for their friends. Everyone is astounded at the fabulocity of this machine. For the Davidsons, it was the very thing for our Christmas feast because (1) it was a doo-dad, and (2) we had no clue as how to use it, and (3) we didn't have one. Inevitably, Magic Bullet Christmas was born.

These are the components of the Magic Bullet. We really don't know how to put them together, or really how to use it, because Davidsons don't read manuals. It is very colorful, though

Magic Bullet Christmas began with hors d’oeuvres. In this case, it was a visit to the Dippin Dots place in Nolensville. That's right, ice cream before dinner. We weren't sure if the Magic Bullet results would be edible, so this was also our insurance policy. Later, this proved to be an excellent move.

Once we arrived back at Springdoik (our home), Magic Bullet Christmas began in earnest. This is our lovely table with our first activity - Iron Skillet Selection. Our names were drawn from a traditional Arby's Christmas glass, and the selection que was formed. Then everyone in turn chose a size of iron skillet. We don't know why anybody thinks iron skillets are so wonderful, except that a lot of people swear by them. All we do know is that these were on sale, and nobody in the family has one, so it made sense that this needed to be part of our holiday celebration. Besides they were red! Now that the table was set, it was time to prepare our dinner.

Everyone began to get busy. We had chosen/been assigned a recipe out of the manual/recipe book (one book, so the recipes were ripped out - guess we could have photocopied them, but that would be too logical). Luanne had marinara sauce, Steve had milkshakes, Sam had quesadillas, Lynnette had hummus, Maribeth had cheesecake, and Molly had stuffed mushrooms. Needless to say that the recipe book/manual was a little limited in the recipe selection. This is an actual photograph of an attempt to use the Magic Bullet. I don't think it will get us in the next infomercial

Lynnette is a little too proud (or scared) of her hummus

Sam tried the Magic Bullet, but baled after one attempt and went for the knife. I guess liquid quesadillas wouldn't have been so great after all. He did try to individualize one for everyone, until he tried to simply pick out the veggies from the chicken mix for Vegetarian Molly. Who knew vegetarians could be so violent!

Here is our finished result. It looked more like an international dinner than Christmas dinner. I'm not sure why the skillets were still on the table, except to take up space where real food should have been.

Finally, once everyone had tried as much as they could possible stomach, it was time for gift card exchange and Santa. I'm not sure why Molly is so excited, unless it's because the Magic Bullet part is over.

So, The 2007 Davidson Family Christmas has been put to rest. The Magic Bullet has been cleaned and placed in the cabinet until someone claims it. After all, it really wasn't about the food - it was about our family and what makes us special. The love we share, the fun we have, and the memories we create - that's truly what Christmas means to us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goodwill Towards Fellow Walkers

During my wogs, it's inevitable that I pass people - or they usually pass me. If we pass going opposite directions, one of us will say hello or some such greeting, and the other will reply in a like manner. Sometimes the really serious runners will sort of grunt, since they are obviously on a mission, but that's another story. Today is about the man who took it a step further.

We were going in opposite directions. Neither of us were in a hurry, but we were obviously headed somewhere. As we passed, one of us started the usual greeting, then he continued with , "How are you today," and looked at my face for my answer. I said, "Great, thank you. How are you?" He said, "Great," and we both continued on our way.

What's the point of this story? In the same time it usually takes my perfunctory greeting, this person took it up a notch. By extending our encounter for a few seconds, we connected on a slightly deeper level. He didn't stop at the basic greeting; he asked for more. The result was a true connection of humanity, not just a fly-by.

I will probably never see this man again, nor would I even recognize him now. But I won't forget him, because for just a few seconds a total stranger treated me like a friend.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No Goodwill Towards (or Between) Men

Today I was the second car in the left turn lane. I heard yelling. I looked to my right and noticed a young man (18 or 19) yelling out the window of his car. He then got out of his car and walked up to the car in front of him, yelling all the way. The man in the front car was probably 60, and at first turned around innocently. Then the older man starts yelling back. The young man goes back to his car. The older man gets out of his car, points to me and the car in front of me, asking if we saw what happened. He gets a notepad and writes down our license plate numbers, yelling back and forth the whole time with the younger man. Finally, the older man gets in his car, the younger man pulls in behind me, and we all go our separate ways.

This is probably the first time I've been this close to this kind of behavior. At first, due to my age, I decided this was just some punk kid causing a scene. Then the adult (supposedly) got out and acted equally ridiculously. I don't know what prompted this scene. All I know is that there were no winners, just two humans acting like wild animals.

I wonder if the old man could see the young man as a younger version of himself. I don't believe he became such an angry man in his older years - it probably took years of practice. I also wonder if the younger man caught a glimpse of his future self, should he choose to continue his pattern of behavior. I doubt it on both counts.

At this time of the year, people get upset easily due to the stress of the season. It's too bad, since this is a season based solely on God's love, showered on us through the birth of a baby.

I feel sad for both of these men. No matter what transpired before I became a bystander, neither could find a high road to take. I can only hope that for all of us who were there, we take a breath the next time our patience wanes or our feelings are offended. True goodwill has to start somewhere, and it certainly can start with me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friends

Old ones and new ones.
Ones you miss and want to see again.
Ones you laugh out loud with.
Ones you just want to hold close and say thanks.
Ones you go out to dinner with,
or go to the movies with,
or take adventures with.
Ones who can't really explain why they love you;
they just do with all their hearts.
Ones you never want to be without.
Ones you haven't yet met.

At this time of year, I realize the precious gifts
I have been given through my friends,
and for this I am truly thankful.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Whose Flashlight?

While out walking today, I found a really nice mini-flashlight. It was just lying on the ground by the side of the road. I picked it up to take it with me, then had a second thought. What if someone lost it, and walked this way again, hoping to find it? Should I leave it? Should I take it so that it wouldn't be ruined? Should I leave it and let it be someone's lucky day? Should I go around, asking if it belonged to anyone?

I picked it up and brought it home. I'm not sure what I will do with it. I'm not going to keep it, but hopefully find the right place for it. I finally decided that a utility-bill reader probably dropped it out of his/her pocket, and wouldn't have a clue as to where to look for it. I was destined to find it and pick it up. Now all I have to do is discover the next step in this flashlight's story.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Be My Guest




A few weeks ago, I decided the Disney guest room needed to be rearranged. It also needed a little tweaking. I can say that today it is complete - at least for now.

The pictures are pretty self-explanatory - even I hate to state the obvious. If it looks like a mouse, it is. I won't even mention the do-dads associated with various trips that are still in boxes. Today I completed the final steps - relocating the cable from one wall to another (which involved a trip underneath the house into the dark, creepy crawl space - the things I do for the mouse!), hanging the shelves between the new bulletin picture boards, and arranging the pictures and other bric-a-brac.

The only question that remains is, why do I have a Disney room? I think the answer is, why not?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Christmas From NYC


No, I'm not there - Steve, Maribeth, and Molly are. They sent me this picture, since I seem to always plan a trip before the tree is put up. Maybe next year I will exercise better travel planning.

On another note, here is therapy for your tree, in case it has poor self-esteem - unless your tree is on this list!! At least now I have found a use for my empty Mountain Dew cans!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Law and Order - Christmas Candy Style

Back in my day, there was a hotline called T.I.P. - Turn In Pushers. I need to find that number and make a call. My pusher's name is Little Debbie, and she needs to be punished.

Every Christmas, this evil one comes out with her "Christmas" snack cakes. While they may not be wonderfully delicious, they are horribly addictive. I will not even mention how many I devoured yesterday in a near overdose, or the residual sugar hangover I awoke with this morning.

Luckily, I had an intervention with myself. My hips and thighs told how these cakes were putting extra burdens on them. My brain wailed about the extra sugar that impacted its normally insightful thoughts. My teeth spoke of the threat of cavities. We each had a turn trying to show the destructive path I was on.

Happily, the intervention worked, and yesterday's snack cake binge is history. I have learned the lesson of snack cake addiction, and am on my way to recovery, one bite at a time.

I think I may just get through this holiday season - if that dealer Reeses would just move his peanut butter Christmas trees to another universe!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Traditions of My Past That Have Stayed There

Growing up, my family had many Christmas traditions. Below is a list of those I have abandoned, followed by reasons why. Maybe I should reconsider some of them ...

1. Red velvet cake. Love it, but don't make it. Makes it a treat when I have it (and somebody else makes it).

2. Fruit cake. Never had it, don't want it. Looks too scary.

3. Spiced tea. When I was young, my sister told me someone threw up in the punch bowl full of spiced tea (a sister lie). It did have that consistency and color, so I have never partaken of said tea.

4. Brazil nuts. Were always in my stocking. Don't know what they are, where my parents got them, or why they thought it belonged in my stocking. Don't know what they taste like, since we never managed to crack them open.

5. Dressing up in Sunday clothes on Christmas Eve. My mother had too much time on her hands. I don't even think I own Sunday clothes anymore (that's what happens when your church meets in a movie theater).

6. The unending "Christmas treats and desserts" table. My thighs should tell you why I don't do this one.

7. The Christmas popcorn tin. We got one every year and my parents refused to toss it until all the popcorn was gone. Trust me, that popcorn does not taste good come June!

8. Going out and cutting down our own Christmas tree (more like a overgrown Christmas "bush" in rural Mississippi). I no longer live on a farm, I don't like sap, and I hate the inevitable bloody hands resulting when I finally took down the tree after Christmas (tree gets kinda dry when you forget to water it).

I guess the tradition that I have kept is that Christmas is all about family. It's about a family meal (last year was Cereal Christmas and Dippin Dots), giving gifts (swapping and swiping gift cards), and making memories (Win, Lose, or Draw.) Those are the best traditions of all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Attention Dream Team

Today I worked out, cleaned up my mess, and ran several errands. However, the most important thing was to find my inner Disney princess. Unfortunately, after taking the quizzes, I can only say with certainty that I am Mulerellabelle. In other words, I have a split-princess personality. With so many princess genes, certainly that should get me a night in the castle!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lucky, the Three-Legged Dog

When Lynnette and I were training for the 3-Day, we had a certain route for our long walks. To make the miles and time go by, we had a variety of tricks. We would aim for landmarks (ugly fence), make predictions (how many male joggers will be topless), play games (look down and count to 50), and look for the regulars (pink-shirt jogging lady).

One of the regulars was a three-legged dog and its owner. We would usually see them across the street, and wonder about their story. I hadn't seen the dog in awhile, until a week ago. During a cold day, I saw them, and in passing, said hello. I decided that the next time I saw them, I would stop for a chat.

When I saw them today, it didn't look like today would be our meeting day. They were on the other side of the street, ahead of me. But God had other ideas. The dog decided to take a rest, and by the time I crossed the street at my turn-around spot, we were destined to meet. When we got close, I started off by asking the dog's name. His name is Lucky and this is his story.

Lucky belongs to an older couple, and usually the woman walks him (no, I didn't get her name - that's my next assignment). When I asked why he is missing a leg, she admitted that they really didn't know. She and her husband had gone to the pound, and when they came to Lucky's pen, he stuck out a paw and the husband was hooked. Lucky had found his home.

Lucky's story is a keeper for me. But it's not because he gets around remarkably well with three legs. It's not because he's probably the sweetest dog I've met. It's not because he was rescued by two loving people who have given him a loving home.

Lucky's story is about believing in yourself. Lucky didn't think about his missing leg when people came looking. He didn't think about whether he was good enough. He simply stuck out his paw looking for a friend, and ended up finding his family. Lucky's story is about knowing your true worth comes from your heart, and that only by giving it away, can we truly receive the desires that reside there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Tis the Season to be Tipping

Today my monthly pest-control guy came by to spray the house. After signing the invoice, he sort of stood around chatting awkwardly. I think he was waiting for his Christmas bonus. I didn't have one for him. Am I a Grinch?

I get confused as to who is supposed to be "gifted" this time of year. I usually end up gifting nobody, although I do wonder about the following people:

*The newspaper delivery guy. I don't know his name and couldn't pick him out of a lineup. However, last week we got a paper greeting with his name and address on it stuffed in with our newspaper. What does he deserve for tossing my newspaper out of his car window?

*The mailman. He sometimes mis-delivers our mail, but I just re-deliver as needed. I think there's some statute or rule about gifting mailmen. I don't think they can accept money, but they can accept gifts. What should my regular mailman receive - my home baked cookies? Not if I want my future mail delivered.

*The trash collection guys. Our garbage gets collected in the back of our house. The Mexican men drive to the back and dump our trash cans in their truck and zoom off. They are usually in and out in a flash. One year I wrapped some gloves and put them on the trash can. I always wonder which trash guys should get something - are there ones specifically assigned to me? What if I leave something and there is a substitute trash man that day - is it his lucky day?

*The above mentioned pest control guy. I see him once a month for about five minutes. What does he deserve - a personalized gas mask?

I will probably end up doing nothing because the only reason I would tip them is because I feel obligated, and I hate to give anything just for that reason. I realize that all these people could be considered in the "service" industry, but aren't they just doing their jobs? When I give a gift, I want it to really mean something, not just "It's Christmas - here."

So I will continue to think about this, hoping for an answer. Meanwhile, if you're reading this, you know my address - it's that time of year and I'll be expecting my tip!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Waiter With No Name

Actually, he has a name, I just didn't bother learning it or remembering it. He was our waiter at lunch today, and he was great. He was very friendly, courteous, and efficient. He was everything I could want in a waiter. I thought I was doing a good deed by giving him a generous tip. But I didn't respect him enough to remember his name, or even tell him what a great job he did.

Sometimes I think I'm doing a good thing with simply external rewards, when they should accompany internal ones. I'm sure my waiter was pleased with what I left him. But I also believe he would have felt even better, had I told him what a good job he did. Better yet, had I also told his manager.

I hope to remember that the next time someone does an outstanding job. While rewarding a job well done is important, praising that person directly makes it even sweeter.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My New Magazine

Today I got my first official copy of AARP The Magazine. Caroline Kennedy is on the cover, of course. She looks about as big around as my right thigh. Apparently she's getting an AARP award - after all she's been 50 for about 48 hours. Luckily, there are other things to read and ponder in the magazine to keep me from being too bitter. Such as ...

*In "The Mail" section, some people are writing in about their AARP sex lives. Too much information from my peers, thank you.

*Apparently I can live in an intergenerational dorm at some colleges.

*Grocery stores put the more expensive brands at eye level. You should look up and down for similar, cheaper items. Another reason not to go to the grocery store, at least until I get old enough for senior citizen day and I can get free cookies.

*People who turn 50 in 2008: AARP, Ellen DeGeners, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Madonna, Prince, and Viggo Mortensen (and probably Caroline Kennedy again).

*The title of one article is the very title I am using for Cool Moms Care (does this mean all AARP-ers think alike?).

There's a whole bunch of information and articles, not one of which concerns Britney Spears or Brad and Angelina. There are advertisements for a variety of supplements to help me get healthier and programs to help me purchase more life insurance. I think this magazine will be really helpful in my old age - if I could just find my readers and stay awake long enough to read it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

One Way to Spend a Friday Night



Above you see the Springdoik Rudolph's Red Nose Run Team for 2007. Molly chose to save her shirt for another day, and Mathieu pinch-ran for Maribeth, but we all finished. Mathieu easily beat us all, with Steve following and Molly and me bringing up the rear.

It was a fun run, through downtown Nashville. It is the third short race I've done since Thanksgiving, and this distance is becoming quite a favorite of mine. Tonight was Molly's second race ever, with her first being the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving. Now if I can just convince her that a half marathon is only two BBolts and one Rudolph, I may have a partner for the More Marathon!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

From A One-Channel World to a HTML Universe

Over lunch last Sunday, Molly, Lynnette and I compared notes as to "I don't remember life without ..." Of course, my "dark ages" tales topped the two youngsters - no color tv, no remote control, one house phone, etc.

I bring that up today because I wonder how I wasted my time before Internet silliness. In reading a new blog today, I came across the site "Find Your Peculiar Aristocratic Title." I spent way too much time choosing my title. But it certainly entertained me for a while.

Because of the Internet, I have also seen a piano-playing cat, viewed the picture of the day, and learned everything about anything (sort of). Just in case I get bored with those, there are limitless other sites to find and investigate.

I guess surfing the net is preferable to watching the modern equivalent of Luke and Laura or Montel/Jerry Springer/Divorce Court - or is it?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another Animal Lesson

Today's useless fact of the day is about penguins. They can jump 6 feet in the air. Who would have thought?

Just another animal story to give me an impetus to keep training. Looking at a penguin, I would never think it could jump at all, much less 6 feet. Looking at me, who would think I would do a marathon? But if a penguin can jump, then I can wog. And so I keep going.

It's always amazing the way God continues to send me encouragement. If those short little penguin legs can jump 6 feet, then my thunder thighs can go 26.2 miles. It's not always about looking the part - it's about doing what you know you are meant to do.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Recovery

The best thing about having a cold is the day you know you are getting over it. You no longer have to carry a box of Kleenex around with you or drag yourself from couch to bed. You can taste food again (that you actually feel like eating), and your nose once again becomes useful for smelling things (like food you actually may want to eat).

Today is that day for me. I feel better, although not quite 100%. I know if I take care of myself, I will be back to good health soon.

Recovery - I think that's my word for today. It means that the bad is over, and only good can result. It's a good way to look at all of life - there's always something good out there waiting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Cold on a Cold Day

Today I have a cold. Or allergies. My right eye continues to water, and I am sneezing. My nose is dripping and my sinuses are rolling. In short, I feel yicky.

So I wondered what could be good about a day like today? I thought and have decided on the following seven reasons:

1. There's nothing like a sick/cold nap. You sleep the slumber of hibernating bears. Of course, a little cold medicine helps that along.

2. You have a legitimate reason for laying around on the couch watching mindless tv. It may even hasten your recovery, once you see some of the junk that is on daytime tv.

3. You may be able to cajole people into bringing you drinks from Sonic and other favorite haunts.

4. You also have a legitimate reason for staying in your pjs and not sprucing up - but don't let it get out that you're sick - you may have company.

5. It's a great day to watch that DVD you've been meaning to watch.

6. At this time of the year, uninterrupted Internet Christmas Shopping.

7. You can stay in the bed - that way, you don't have to make it up.

I would list more, but it's time for another nap/to open a new box of Kleenex/blow my nose/wipe my eyes/take some more pharmaceuticals. Besides, I think a new Lifetime movie is about to start!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's All About the Attitude

During this season of the year, I am glad I don't work in a store. People get frantic during shopping, and take their frustrations out on the store employees, who then are equally insufferable. Happily, Molly and I had the opposite experience today.

We were shopping for a mixer for Molly, who has found some dormant DNA which compels her to cook. We had decided on a certain mixer, and took one from the shelf underneath. After checking out and finding that the mixer was over $50 more than what we were expecting to pay, we went to Customer Service to attempt to rectify the situation.

We talked with the CS Rep, who looked it up, then sent Molly over to the mixer aisle. The Rep also paged several times for assistance to meet Molly. Finally, after several minutes of waiting for help, then an aisle meeting discussing the labeling/display pricing/shelf model arrangement, we found that the mixer we thought we bought was not available, and the one we did buy was a higher price. We decided to return the mixer, and shop for the lower priced one at a later date.

The important part of this story is that nobody got upset or angry. No loud voices were used, no sounds of exasperation were heard, and no body language indicating impatience or anger were displayed. In the end, the problem was resolved, and nobody was offended.

It just goes to show that the right attitude makes all the difference. We could have arrived at the same conclusion by fussing and accusing and yelling, but we didn't. It was just a mixer. It's nice to know that we don't have to be remembered as the screaming mean grinches who pitched a fit in customer service. After all, it is Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Lynnette Joy Ogle Davidson


When I was a young mother with my first child, I heard a older friend talking about going to a bridal shower for her future daughter-in-law. She said she read a letter she and her husband had written when their son was a baby, promising to pray for his future wife. I thought that this was a great, noble-mother thing to do, and I decided I should do the same.

I did ... for about a day. I decided that this baby would just have to do the best he could, because I was up to my eyeballs in dirty diapers and how-to baby books. There would be no wife if I couldn't figure out how to raise him. Lucky for us all, God took care of all the details that first day.

Fast forward 20 or so years. Sam is working that summer in St. Louis at a youth camp. Maribeth and I go up to visit, and he brings his college roommate and a co-worker with him to dinner. All five of us are wedged into my little Volkswagen, the girls in the back seat. Luckily, this co-worker was a tiny slip of a girl, so she fit in perfectly - just as she was meant to be.

As it turned out, this co-worker turned into a good friend, who turned into a girlfriend, who turned into a fiance, who turned into a wife, who became my daughter-in-law. Today is her birthday, and I just want to share what a answer to prayer is like.

Lynnette came into our family, being somewhat forewarned about our family idiosyncrasies. She embraces the sane ones, like community pan brownies, and endures the others, like atlas car games. She has witnessed sibling squabbles, considered nefarious plots, and suffered through unending debates. She is always willing for more, because after, all, she is family and that is who we are.

Lynnette and I share certain interests, like all things Disney World. In the past few years, she has started running, and has been my rabbit in several races. When I decided to walk 60 miles in 3 days for breast cancer, she was the one who said, "I'll do it with you." She is the one who got my butt out of bed for those unending training walks, including those when we dodged traffic and silently cursed the whole idea. She is always open for new adventures, because she is family and that is what we do.

Lynnette is quite remarkable. She is very bright, currently working on her second Master's degree. She reads significant books and passes them along. She succinctly expresses her thoughts and ideas. She sings quite beautifully, and has sung for family events whenever asked. She seeks answers from a variety of sources when she needs them, always wanting the best information available. She is relentless in her drive to do what she knows is best, yet is always willing to listen to what others have to say, even in our family, because she is family, and knows we will always have something to contribute.

Many years ago, I prayed that my baby boy would have the wife God planned for him. Little did I know, or even imagine, that He was doing just that, in a city in Texas.

Lynnette, I know what a gift you are to your family in Texas, and to your husband in Tennessee. I just wanted you to know what a gift you are to me.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hanging of the Green - The Sequel

As you can see, Shaggy the Cat is still guarding the tree, and the wreath is on my door. Today I officially started Christmas shopping, which means gift cards in our family. I guess the Christmas season is now in full swing!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lessons Learned

The past two posts have been about doing what you need to do despite the imagined toil and effort it might take. Today was one of those days that God demonstrates why these lessons are so important.

I hadn't walked since Monday, so I knew I needed to get out today. I wasn't exactly thrilled, because I was a little tired and achy. But I have a marathon to tackle, so there was no legitimate reason not to get out.

I had great plans of walking 12 or maybe even 15 miles, but after two miles, I was already altering my plans. I just didn't feel "into" it. I planned to turn around at mile 3 and head back, but as I approached mile 3, I felt the impetus to keep going to mile 4. Why? I believe it was God saying, "Keep going - today is an 8-mile day. Not 10, or 12, or 15. Just 8." So I kept going and got my 8 in.

The remarkable thing about this story is not that I got another 8 in, or that I did what I needed to do in order to finish my next marathon. The remarkable things are the gifts that I received in addition to my main objective for this one walk. I believe God gave these gifts to me to demonstrate the joys I can receive when I do what I need to do.

The best gift was realization that I wasn't even thinking about the the next mile. Usually I am just hanging on until the next mile is complete so I can dread completing the next mile. But today, I would look up and be totally surprised at where I was, which was always further down the road than I realized. It was a confirmation that God was with me as my wogging partner today.

Another gift was seeing the Cool People Care car. I had heard about it, but seeing it pass me on the road was really neat.

I found a nickel - usually I just find pennies. It just sort of signalled a good day.

My neighbor who lives behind me stopped to see if I needed a ride. It was a lesson on "what goes around comes around," since a few weeks ago I got in my car to look for my side neighbor who was strolling her baby in a sudden rain. It reaffirmed my faith that there are good people out there.

So what does all this mean? For me, it just confirms the assurance that unexpected remarkable things can happen when you're busy doing what you need to do. Maybe that assurance will spur me on the next time I get sluggish, or create a excited anticipation about what God has in store next for me, or encourage me to focus on the little things that are remarkable, whether it is a nickle or a sticker-coated car.


The world is full of good things - we just have to notice them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hanging of The Green at Crestridge


The Christmas tree is up, and as you can see, Shaggy the Cat is guarding it carefully. Or he is making a point that there are no presents for him under the tree.

Since we are not going to be here for Christmas this year, I debated whether to even put up a tree. Sam and Lynnette will be in Texas, and the rest of us will be .... well, let's just say my Christmas dinner will have a Mickey bar in it! Before everyone leaves town this year, we will have our family Christmas party. But I wondered if dragging the tree out with the boxes of ornaments was worth the trouble.

Sometimes I don't want to do things because I think it will take too much time or effort. I perform my own cost/benefit analysis, and decide that a particular task just isn't worth doing. I think I miss some unexpected surprises when I decide things this way. Thankfully, I decided the tree was worth it. As I hung each ornament, I remembered some of the family history that went with it.

Last night, when I lit the lights for the first time, I felt happy and content. There's just something about seeing your tree that just makes you feel a little more festive, even if there's Shaggy Scrooge underneath!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do What You Need To Do

Yesterday I watched Oprah because Denzel Washington was her guest. He was there to promote The Great Debaters, his new movie coming out Christmas Day. After seeing Denzel, the cast, and clips from the movie, I know where I'll be on December 25.

During the show, Denzel talked about things he brought to the movie, not only as an actor, but as the director. He inserted a quote in the movie that his mother used on him, and he uses on his children. The quote is, "We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do."

I am using that quote today because I have a lot of things to do around my house. I don't want to do any of them. I would rather do many other things. But I am going to do what I need to do because it will make me feel better about my house and about the things I want to do.

It's a great philosophy that I hope to use often. I have to lose weight so I can enjoy an occasional Mickey Bar. I have to balance my checkbook so I can get those things I desire. I have to clean and organize my house so I can enjoy living in it. I have to put up my Christmas tree so I can enjoy the decorations.

At my age, I would like to think I've developed a fairly sturdy work ethic. But maybe in those times when I am flagging, remembering this phrase will jump-start my efforts.

Denzel's a keeper. Wonder if he knows Caroline Kennedy?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Random Finds Along The Path

During my wog today, I found a spoon left beside a mailbox. I left it, although I pondered why it was there. Was someone out for a walk, and the spoon got too heavy? Did someone get it in the mail, and was so disgusted with it that they immediately threw it down? Was the mailman eating his lunch, and it just fell out of his truck?

A few miles later, I found a box of sidewalk chalk beside a bus stop at Lipscomb University. Again, I wondered why it was there. Was it not allowed on the bus? Was it waiting for a school bus? Were these the tools of preschool graffiti artists?

Since I had no real answers, I decided to make up my own. First, the spoon's story:

Pamela wondered if this would be the day. She was eating her cereal that morning, when she heard the mail truck stop. Pamela peered out the window and watched as Postman Pete placed the mail in the box. Slowly, Pamela opened the door and walked outside, taking her cereal bowl and spoon with her. She tried to look casual as she gingerly walked to the mailbox. Would it be there? Was this the day? Pamela slowly opened the door and peered inside. She pulled out the envelope that bore her name, and took out the folded paper. She read those fateful words, "You have been accepted..." She was in! Now her life could begin. She ran back to the house, dropping her spoon in the process. She didn't even notice the missing spoon until days later, when she collected the mail again. She started to pick it up, but stopped, because she knew that every time she saw that spoon, she would remember that wonderful day her life started anew.

Now the chalk's story:

It all started as a sociology experiment. Jon and Hank placed the chalk at the bus stop, and sat a few yards away, to record any responses. After an hour, all their notes reflected was the number of people who walked past without even a glance. They decided to leave to get a snack, believing that there would be no responses in the rain that had developed. When they returned, the chalk was gone. They looked around, but saw no one carrying a box of chalk. What they had missed was the woman who had just gotten off work. She was waiting for the bus when she saw the chalk. Looking around, she didn't see anyone, so she picked up the chalk and took it home with her. That evening, she took her young daughter outside, and they spent an hour under the streetlight drawing pictures and laughing.


Just two little made-up stories about random items. But it was fun to imagine happy endings.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Not To Be Missed

Today we ate family brunch at the Opryland Hotel. While walking through the hotel and then waiting to be seated, I saw many tourists. I looked at them and talked about them, but didn't speak to them. These people and families are guests in my city, and I simply ignored them.

This is indeed a small world. While walking to the restaurant, I saw a young woman with a Mississippi State sweatshirt on, my alma mater and hometown. Again, I walked right past.

Southerners are supposed to be known for our hospitality, but you couldn't tell it by my actions today. I had a chance to present Nashville as a friendly city, but I didn't. While I am hopeful that the hotel staff and other locals represented my city in a better way, I still had a responsibility to do my part.

I hope I improve next time. I hope to meet and greet strangers as if we were designed to touch each others lives just for that moment. There are just too many chance meetings in this world to let one pass because of lack of effort on my part. All it takes is a word and a smile to make a connection. It is these connections that are the unexpected gifts that make this life so extraordinary. Why would anyone want to miss those?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

An Observation of Kindness

During yesterday's visit in Columbus, Mississippi, to visit family, I went to the movies with Sam and Lynnette. We carefully selected our seats in the theater, the top middle. Two women were sitting in front of us.

After about five minutes, a group of teenagers came in, and started talking about finding eight seats together for their group. The ladies in front of us volunteered to move to the end of the row so that this group could sit together. The teenagers thanked the women, and soon all were seated.

Just before the ladies offered to move, I muttered to Lynnette that I certainly wouldn't move, because I got there early in order to get the seats I wanted. I felt quite self-righteous and smug. But after 24 hours of thinking about it, as hard as I want to justify my actions, I cannot. After observing this random act of kindness, I feel selfish.

Would moving a few seats over ruined my viewing of the movie? Was it more important to stand my ground, defending my seat position? Did my claim on my seat make a difference in anyone's life, except my own? No on all accounts, because those teenagers will not remember the old lady behind them who was gripping the arms of her seat, firmly planted and unmovable. Instead, they will remember the strangers who spoke up and said, "We'll be glad to move for you."

Anne Frank was right - nobody has to wait to improve the world. It starts every moment you are given a chance to make a positive difference. It can happen anywhere, even in a movie theater. All it takes is speaking up and doing, which will always be much more effective in changing this world than just observing.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Boulevard Bolt 5 Mile Jog - Thanksgiving 2007

The Best Things in My Life,
For Which I Am Truly Thankful
Every Single Day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sweet Caroline

Caroline Kennedy has done it again. She one-upped me, this time with Neil Diamond.

Caroline and I were both born in 1957, with me being a few months older. I first became intrigued with her because of the Good Housekeeping cover in 1969. My mother's friend commented that she thought Caroline and I looked alike (meaning we both had long blond hair and blue eyes). I read the accompanying article and found out that we were the same age. But the most fascinating thing to me was that her mother spent $200 on a robe and gown. In 1969, for a country girl whose mother made all her clothes, this was a fortune - and on pajamas?! Needless, to say, I have tried to keep track of Caroline ever since.

She married later than I did, and we each had three children - two girls and a boy. I can accept that she's had several books published and is tiny and lives in New York, all things that I wouldn't mind claiming.

But, for Caroline's 40th birthday party, Julie Andrews sang to her. Now, the week before Caroline's 50th, Neil Diamond announces that a perennial favorite, "Sweet Caroline", was written with her in mind. I shudder to think what will happen on her 60th - will Disney World build a hotel called "The Caroline?"

I wish Caroline all the best. She has had enough heartbreaking tragedy in her life. She certainly deserves some good things, but why Neil and Julie? Why not famous people I don't like?

I guess Caroline and I are more alike that I thought. After all, Julie attended her birthday party; I saw Julie in person at last year's Thanksgiving parade. Neil wrote a song for her; I heard him sing it in concert.

Happy Birthday on November 27th, Caroline. I wish you all the best. And when you get your WDW hotel, just be sure to give me a good deal - after all, we are two peas in a pod!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Checking My Oil

This morning I had a bone density scan. Yesterday I had blood drawn. Both were done to check for the usual stuff they check for at my age. According to my gynecologist, the bone scan had to wait until I was 50 so that insurance would pay for it. She also suggested that at 50 I also have my first colonoscopy, but I'm holding off that gem until 2008.

Since I have turned 50, I have acquired a gastroenterologist, a surgeon, an anesthetist, a psychiatrist, and a hospital. Through Steve, I have access to a rheumatologist and a cardiologist. It would appear that I have an entire medical team at my disposal.

The cynic in me would say, "Since you hit 50, you are really falling apart!" But being a fledgling optimist, I prefer to think differently. I think of them as my pit crew, and I am coming in to get ready for the next part of the race. We're just fine tuning so I'll be ready for all those laps ahead.

I may be a classic, but one that intends to stay in the race. Now, if I could just get my tires rotated ...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Some Mondays ...

... are quiet and should be kept that way. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Ode To Sunday

I did not walk,
I did not jog.
I did not drive
Into a bog.

I cooked pancakes
At family brunch,
I added pecans
Which made them crunch.

I took a nap
And watched tv,
But most of the movie,
I did not see.

I went to supper,
Where I've not been;
It was so good,
It was nearly a sin.

I tried to blog
Intelligent prose;
But for lack of thought,
This poem I chose.

So I'll close for now,
And rest my brain;
If I rhyme any more,
We'll all be in pain!

My sincerest apologies!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One Mile At A Time

Today I walked 14 miles. I walked slow because I am building my mileage in preparation for the WDW Marathon in January. Every mile I complete is another training mile for the 26.2 ahead of me.

For me, the first mile of a marathon is the worst. For that first mile, my brain is trying to convince me that this was a terrible idea, and that I will probably die before I finish. My legs are screaming, my lungs are gasping for air, and my heart is pumping at full capacity. But I keep going. By the time I reach Mile Marker 1, the parts of my body have settled down and we all get ready for the long haul.

I plod along, mentally looking for each succeeding mile marker. Each marker means one less mile to anticipate and undertake. After marker 13, the miles left become fewer than the miles travelled. Finally, the best marker, Marker 25, comes into view, and I joyfully hobble to the finish.

Sometimes I wish I could jump from Marker 1 to Marker 25 and just skip all the ones in between. But there's something about struggling with each one that creates a sense of accomplishment and pride. For the miles I want to cry over, there are the miles that are fun because of who I meet or what I see. For the miles that seem to never end, there are those that go by quickly. For the miles I limp in pain, there are miles that I jog effortlessly. There are good miles and bad miles, but somehow I get through them all.

I think I participate in marathons because they help me understand my life. There are good parts and not-so-good parts, but they all have to happen because it's my life. I just have to keep going and look for those markers along the way, because although each part is different, each is vitally important to make my life complete. Every step, every experience, every moment brings me closer to that finish line when I can truly say, "It's been a great race."

Yep, that's me!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clean Sheets

Today I changed the sheets on my bed. I don't do this as often as I should or would prefer. I like sheets with a high thread count (that I can afford) or the newest sheet-fad out there (that is affordable). I like my sheets to smell good and feel soft. When I wash my sheets, I wish I could hang them outside to dry, but I have no clothesline. But I do like fresh clean sheets on my bed.

When I was growing up, my mother put clean sheets on our beds regularly. She ironed the pillowcases, which was my introduction to ironing (a habit that has yet to be ingrained in me). Whenever we were sick, my mother would always put clean sheets on our beds. As a result, my sister and I both wholeheartedly believe in the medicinal value of clean sheets.

I like clean sheets because they feel good, especially when you first put your legs down in them. The sheets are still crisp and unwrinkled (technically). I also like clean sheets because they represent a fresh start - they haven't been rumpled around by various family members and pets. But the best thing about clean sheets is that they signify that somebody cares. Somebody thought you deserved to sleep in something comfortable and clean, and that person took the time to do that just for you.

Clean sheets - who'd have thought that just a couple of pieces of material could mean so much.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dancing With Marie

I've never watched "Dancing With The Stars" until this year. I started out watching because of Wayne Newton - I used to be a fan when he was much younger and sexier. (Note to Wayne - you should have said no when asked to do this.) Even after his ouster, I continued to watch because I liked many of the stars.

Some of my favorites have been kicked off, but I still enjoy those who are left. My favorite is Marie Osmond. She is having a great time dancing, even though she has fainted on live television, her father died, and her son went to rehab. She epitomizes what life at our age is all about - still dancing and enjoying life, even when it's life filled with tragedy, family upheaval, and scrutiny by those around us.

Whether Marie leaves next week, or stays on to win, doesn't matter. She has my vote because she is a model of a woman who can laugh, cry, entertain, amuse, and take whatever life has in store - and keep on dancing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ocean's Thirteen and Davidson's Three

It actually was supposed to be a Shrek 3 party, but it got changed to Ocean's Thirteen. I guess that's what happens when two dvds are released on the same day! Now I know why I bought two sets of new pjs - we were going to need another night!

The party was not well-planned. MB had to go to hot yoga, but Mo was starving after class, so we had to eat, but then MB managed to find food when she returned. Mo wasn't aware that it was a sleep-over, so she needed therapy. Since I had picked out the pjs, there was additional therapy for that. I'm not sure if therapy was complete by the picture taken above!

Anyhow, the movie was pretty good. Usually I don't pay careful attention at the beginning of these movies, but I managed to stay on track. Mo was happy because I didn't ask a billion questions. MB was somewhere on the phone, talking to Montana. All in all, it was a successful party. Shrek 3 is waiting, as are our special pjs for that one.

Yesterday, Kat wrote about how "girlfriends get it." She is so right. She helped me realize that I am so blessed to have so many girlfriends in the guise of daughters and daughter-in-law, sister and nieces, and beloved friends that God has placed in my path. These are the women that allow me to be whatever and whomever I am at the moment, without explanation. We can be children at play or adults in crisis, and be that needed companion for the other. Age and distance cannot separate our hearts, and the memories of times past keep us together until the next memory takes place. It's great to have the gift of "getting it."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Going Green - Tiny Steps at a Time

I finally decided to take Sam up on his ideas. I had some shopping errands to do, so I loaded up my Bahamas Starbucks container and my Cool People Care bag and headed for the mall.

I was on a mission for new pjs and Shrek 3. My first stop was Old Navy. I grabbed my bag, put my billfold, keys, and phone in it, and shopped. I found some acceptable merchandise and headed for the checkout. As the clerk began ringing up my selections, I asked her if she would put the things in my bag. She said, "Sure. The other day I saw a place where you could select paper, plastic, or neither." I made some inane comment, we finished our transaction, and I headed out the door. Score one for the environment!

Next I went to Target for the movie. I dumped out the Old Navy purchases (shopping multiple places takes some coordination - or more bags) on the seat, repacked my bag with my stuff AND my Starbucks mug, and went in. I selected my things, and repeated my request with the Target checkout guy. He seemed a little confused, and was a little awkward in trying to stuff my new pjs (second set - explanation maybe later) into the bag, because they had a couple of hangars on them. I helped him out, and was soon headed towards the store's Starbucks.

Here's where it got a little tricky. I ordered my usual Peppermint Mocha Frap Light, and requested that Ms. Starbucks pour it into my cup. She looked a little bewildered, but said okay. After mixing my drink, she commented that she didn't know if it would fit into the container. She poured it in (and I think had a little left over that she poured down the sink) and handed it to me. Scores two and three for the environment!

I am going to follow Molly's example and keep my shopping bags in my car. I am also keeping my Starbucks cups in the car, so they will be handy when I need them. The hardest part today was asking the clerks to do something different. I don't care to make waves, so I felt a little uncomfortable. But the results were rewarding, so I felt the discomfort less and less as the afternoon wore on.

It may not have been much, but it's a start. Nothing will ever happen or change if you don't start somewhere.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rebuilding and Renovating

My eight-mile wogging route is the same as it has been for seven years. Part of the route covers Belmont Boulevard, a street with wonderful old homes. During the past seven years, I have watched as houses on this street have been renovated to be made new and improved. It's been fun to watch the progress as a house goes from a worn-down structure to a beautiful home.

Currently I am watching a house whose insides have been gutted. The outside shell is the same, but the insides were completely torn out. Today I saw that the carpenters have begun the process of building walls to make rooms. I know that they won't work on the outside until the inside is finished.

At 50, my life is a lot like those old houses. We still have a lot of life left to give, but we need to make a few changes in order to keep going. So we'll start on the inside and let the outside follow. And just like those old houses, I have a Carpenter who knows just what to do.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yes, I Have Issues

Today it's the hair on my head. The color is growing/fading out (and the number of colors on it rival Joseph's coat), and the mousy color/grey is growing in. I had my hair trimmed a few weeks ago, thinking I could hold out a little longer before I had to decide what to do. Alas, the holdout it over. My appointment is Tuesday.

Let's review. First of all, my hair is naturally curly. Or unnaturally curly. One might say even frizzy. For several years I have straightened it, which made it quite easy to care for, except people seem to think it is better curly.

Second, my hair color is really the color of dirty dishwater - brownish - with grey coming in by the millions (more on that later). I have colored it for many years, changing it as often as I changed hairstylists, each time hoping for a miracle worker. Still looking, apparently.

Third, my hair is thick. Those million grey hairs are joining their million dishwater friends, so there is no spare spot on my noggin.

Fourth, I am getting old. I just put that in to emphasize that I am not as cute as I used to be. Ergo, the number of hairdos that I can get away with are diminishing quite rapidly.

Fifth, I do not "do" hair. Ask my daughter about her lopsided bangs (with school picture proof). I consider brushing my hair about all the styling I am capable of. Even then it is iffy.

So, you can image my dilemma going into Tuesday. Do I cut it all off or just barely trim the edges? Do I straighten it again or just let the curls corkscrew themselves into a frenzy? Do I keep the present various colors or start over?

I will be returning to my current hairstylist, whom I have used twice before. As with all my previous hairstylists, I do not speak her language. Whatever I indicate I want, it always comes out differently. I would take in pictures, but her resulting laughing fit would take up my valuable styling/coloring time.

I shall be pondering and consulting for the next two days. Today when I presented a possible "do" printed from the Internet, the females in the family said no and the males said go for it. This is not going to be easy. Too bad Halloween is over - at least I could have had a valid excuse!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Autumn at Crestridge Drive


I love fall. Maybe it's because the air gets cooler, and I'm tired of the hot weather. Maybe it's because the leaves change colors and the scene on my street is lovely. Maybe it's just the change of seasons, and being a moody person, I am ready for a change. Maybe it's because fall seems like the season to pull back and slow down. Whatever the reason, I'm glad autumn is here.

Today is one of those fall Saturdays when I feel like accomplishing things. The weather is beautiful, so I want to be outside cleaning up things. I know winter is coming, so I also want to be inside, cleaning and organizing for those inevitable days when I will spend most of my day inside. The crisp air invigorates me and fills me with intention.

I've finally gotten back on track with my daily lists, which help me organize my day and not waste time. Today I have many things I hope to do. But as busy as I want to be, I hope to always be aware of the beauty that surrounds me, and stop every now and then to take it all in.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ratatouille - The Party

Yes, this was the beginning of our Ratatouille party. It started after I got home from the symphony and Molly got out of class. Maribeth was just waiting on us. And yes, we have matching Target pjs - very important for our parties. I don't know why we are holding stuffed animals - except they were in the kitchen at the time of the picture.

We are in the kitchen because MB and Mo were in charge of refreshments. MB fixed trail pizza, which is made with over a campfire with tortilla shells and pizza fixins. We used the top of the oven instead. Molly made vegan chocolate cupcakes which were quite delightful. Very chocolaty, which was doubly yummy.

I cleaned up, which was fun since the cooks attempted to use every cooking utensil that was available to them.

Since the movie wasn't started until 11:45 pm, Molly and I only saw half, but we rectified that situation by watching the remainder of it this morning. I think we liked it - I liked the ending the best.

Last week Kat had some precious pictures of her girls, and it made me think of my two when they were that little. Daughters grow up and move away (and come back), but the fun of having them is a forever thing. Especially if you have matching pajamas!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Night At The Symphony

I hadn't been to hear the Nashville Symphony in so long, I had forgotten the pleasures of such an evening. Although I had been in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center for a party, I had never been there to hear a concert. Tonight I got both, and a fried green tomato BLT thrown in!

Emily had called and said she had an extra symphony ticket and invited me to go with her. After getting on the shuttle bus, then deciding to get off and walk, we had dinner at Merchant's where I had the aforementioned treat. We proceeded to the Schermerhorn, bumbled around looking for and finding our seats, and delighted in a wonderful evening. The symphony's guests were the Naval Academy Men's Glee Club, and they were magnificent. There were songs in foreign languages, tunes by Irving Berlin and Rogers and Hammerstein, and rousing renditions of "God Bless America" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It was a moving and marvelous evening of entertainment.

Before we found our seats, Emily said, "We don't have great seats." I wasn't sure what to expect. Were they out on the sidewalk? In the custodian's closet? Right in front of the drum section?

As it turned out, I had the best seat in the house, at least for me. We were in one of the balconies, technically behind the orchestra. Hearing was not a problem, as the hall was designed so everyone hears the exact same music. But my seat included an up-close look at the symphony. I could see who was playing, and who was waiting his turn. I could see the dude playing the spoons, and the other dude blowing out his spit valve. I could see the Navy guy who had a folder but no music in it. In short, I could see how the symphony was working, and I loved it.

While sitting there, I imagined that my view was a lot like what God sees. He looks at the world and notices who is doing what. He knows we're all necessary to make the big picture work. He created each person to perform a particular task, none of which is more important than the other. We're all there and ready to be wonderful, if we each do our part and pay attention to our conductor.

Tonight I was privileged to listen to beautiful music. It soothed my soul, and reminded me of the power and beauty of music. As God watches me play my part on this earth, I hope my music is as beautiful to Him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Know When to Say When - And Say It!

After a successful Target shopping trip, I sent MB to the in-house Starbucks to get refreshments. I requested a peppermint mocha. Upon joining her, I found that I was getting a gargantuan-size full-strength peppermint mocha (meaning: no lite AND with a full can of whipped cream). Needless to say, it was good. However, after several swigs, I was becoming concerned that with the amount of caffeine and sugar in the drink, I would probably not be able to sleep until Saturday.

So, even though it was delicious, I decided to stop mid-glass. Yes, I tossed that last half of my drink. I knew it was time to stop, and I did. It is a victory, one that I need to make a habit. Which I will work on, as soon as my legs stop twitching!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

John Richard Lewis

What is my favorite little brother story? Was it the time we dressed him up as a ballerina for Halloween? Was it filming our disappearing magic act with the old 8mm movie camera? Was it playing with his Big Bruiser Truck or Big Burger Grill?

Or is it the double date when he took the girl who refused to eat pork because pigs will eat anything? Or his help moving us on our numerous moves from state to state? Or his wedding day when the newspaper headlines were about his company's problems? Or his graduation from law school only days after his son was born?

It is all of these and more, because every memory and every moment binds us together. No matter how old we get, or how far apart we live, we will always be the kids who grew up in the country at Route 3, Box 26.

Today my brother is 48. My sister and I have known him every minute of his life. I cannot imagine my life without him, because he is a part of who I am. Today is his birthday, but it is I who really received the gift, because 48 years ago, God gave me a brother. Now that's a gift that keeps on giving!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Safe Places

No matter why or when I call AAA, and no matter to whom I speak, the question is always the same - "Are you in a safe place?" They don't first ask if I left the lights on in the car again or if there gas in the tank. The first thing they want to know is if I am safe. Wouldn't it be great if they would check up on everybody?

My niece is working and living in Bangkok. Recently, she's had a few adventures that I wouldn't call "safe." She's been dealing with crazy cab drivers, unsafe apartments, and unfriendly work environments. She's very brave and smart to be dealing with so much at such a young (22) age. But as her old aunt, I still worry about her. She doesn't have AAA to check on her. So I pray for her and trust God to keep her in safe places.

But maybe there's another story here. Maybe I can be like AAA. Maybe I need to begin to ask those around me if they're in a safe place. Maybe by asking, I can let those people know their safety and their well-being is the most important thing to me. We all need safe places. But maybe that safe place is just knowing that somebody else cares.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Unpacking the Vacation

The Top Ten Things I Brought Home From My Vacation:

10. Possibly broken toe - the right-foot one next to the little toe. I slammed it into the side of the doorway (actually the post of the ridiculously placed jacuzzi tub in the condo that looks just like the birthing tub that was in the "Baby Story" I was watching earlier that day). It still hurts and is several colors of purple. Is this a cosmic response to the two toe rings I bought?

9. Disney paraphernalia. There is no explanation, unless you know me and have been to my house. Disney sees me coming a mile away, and stocks up. I have frames, pins, and notepads. And a jacket. And pens. Moving on.....

8. A few really good nights sleep. However, the daylight savings thing happened while we were away, and we changed time zones back, so I don't know what time it is, so who knows when I will sleep soundly again. (I knew I should have bought those Minnie Mouse pjs!)

7. Mickey Bars - you can see the outline on my thighs, where they ended up. Guess I'll have to eat some more when we return in December, so I can "balance out."

6. A longing for Shamu. Every time I keep saying I am going to see him, but I don't. Twice (including last week) I have stayed at hotels within walking distance. I think I have commitment issues. Wonder if they have Shamu Bars?

5. A new duffel bag. Actually three, if you count the two MB and Hey-Hey brought back. Thank goodness for the $9 bag at Wal-Mart. Otherwise, those 4-Park blankets would not be here!!

4. Photographs. Of my broken toe. I forgot to take the camera anywhere else.

3. New race bling. The Inaugural Tower of Terror 13K medal. It has a little piece on it that goes up and down on a spring, like the actual ride, which is the closest I will actually be to getting on the ride!

2. Two books I finished reading - "Into the Wild" which I didn't like - too long winded and not really interesting to me, and "700 Sundays" which I liked because I like Billy Crystal and hearing his stories.

1. That inevitable feeling that says, "I had a good time, but I'm glad to be home and sleeping in my own bed. Where are we going next?"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Now Arriving At Gate 50 ...

I've always believed that there would be a point where I could say, "I have arrived." At that magical point, I would finally have all my ducks in a row, my planning complete, and I could simply live my life. After 50 years, I am still looking for that moment.

When I was young, it was going to be when I got my driver's license, or became a majorette in the high school band, or had that childhood sweetheart that I would eventually marry, or graduated high school. Or that moment was going to be when I graduated college, or finally moved away from my home town, or got married. It was going to be the moment when my children were born, or were all in school, or when I graduated graduate school. Finally it would be the moment when my children graduated high school, or college, or graduate school, or got happily married, or had children, or maybe just "arrived" themselves. In other words, my "arrival" moment keeps changing as my life keeps changing.

I have finally figured out that the only voice I will hear is when God himself says at the pearly gates, "Luanne, you have arrived." Since I am not ready for that voice quite yet, what am I to do?

I believe that I should set goals, and go for them. I also believe that time lines are important. I believe that goals and time lines can co-exist and be productive, but also that goals and time lines can be at war, each trying to be the dominant force in my life. In my continuing journey to my destination, I have to use both. I have to set my goals, and incorporate time lines when I deem feasible.

Yesterday I pondered the 10-year question. Today I reconsider it, imagining God as the interviewer.

God: "Luanne, where do you see yourself in 10 years?"

Me: "If you think it's a good idea, here's my list:

1. Alive and healthy, running a consistent 12-minute mile for a minimum distance of 13.1 miles.
2. Still writing, with a published book.
3. My family still alive and healthy, with additional family members added according to Your plan.
4. Achieving a personal peace, because of the baggage I've unloaded, and the priorities I've placed in order
5. Realizing and accepting the positive footprints I've left, and continuing to make more
6. Continuing to make changes in my journey, based on the life I lead
7. Enjoying the life I am given, with all its ups and downs, highs and lows, and twists and turns that make my life unique. "

God: "And so how do you plan to accomplish this?"

Me: "Seeking and following your advice, being confident in knowing what is best for me, therapy and advice from those I trust, boldly stepping out where I know I need to go, and just believing in myself and in Your guidance."

God: "You're hired."

Maybe I've arrived after all.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Future Past Present Perfect - It's Not Just For Grammar

Today Sam had an interesting article about the worst job interview question ever: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I've been thinking about that question, because I have no answer. Where do I see myself in 10 years? Playing golf in my Florida retirement community? Being a grannie to my future brilliant and perfectly-behaved grandchildren? Teaching again because my retirement fund played out? Weaving baskets in "the home?"

I have no idea. The thought of having a 10-year plan defeats me. I would like to be thinner in body, faster in races, and better than ever. But would that satisfy an interviewer? More importantly, does it satisfy me?

I've always been better about living in the present. But maybe it's time to imagine my life, and live it. I guess 50 is as good a time to begin as any.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Old Fogey

While on vacation this week, I was shopping in an outdoor mall. I had just purchased my usual mocha frap light, and had entered an undies/pajama store. I was perusing the flannel pajama bottoms when the clerk (who was my age or older) asked me to put my drink on the counter. I politely refused and left the store (vowing never to return) where I groused to my husband that, "I am 50 and perfectly capable of holding on to my drink."

I realize the clerk has the responsibility of protecting her merchandise, but there were no signs indicating any store rules. Did my drink and I really pose a threat? Should I have explained that I felt insulted, and if she didn't want my drink, then she didn't want my money? Was it really a big deal after all?

Herein lies my dilemma - do I stand up for what I consider my rights, or acquiesce to the whims of those around me? As I get older, I am inching toward getting bolder and standing up for myself. I just don't want to become the ornery old geezer that everybody avoids.

In this incident, nobody won. The clerk lost a sale and I lost out on new pj bottoms. But the real loss for me was the chance to connect with another human being in a pleasant way. I could have handled it better and made a positive difference in someone's day. I hope I will think beyond myself next time - I guess even old fogeys can learn something new every day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things ...

... at Disney World on Halloween (and any other day):

Little children in costumes, especially those who have been bibbity-bobbity-booped.

Soarin', especially when I get to pass the crowd via a fast pass and being a single rider, and when I get to sit in Row 1.

Lamb wraps at Tangierine Cafe and whatever salad/vegetable stuff they put in the little cups that comes with the wraps.

New Disney merchandise that I can mull over ... and purchase when I lose all sensible thought.

Singing "It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" with the animatronic robots during "Carousel of Progress". Unfortunately the non-English-speaking, first-time guests sitting in front of me now believe you're supposed to do this.

Seeing guests with "My First Visit" buttons on, and wondering if they have a clue as to what they're doing, but somehow managing to restrain myself from trying to commandeer their vacation in some misguided attempt to help them.

The rice pudding strawberry thing at Kringla Bakeri, and just about everything there and at Boulangerie Patisserie.

Refillable mugs.

Parades and fireworks.

Families of all sizes and shapes - with happy, sleeping, and screaming children; with babies to teens to grandparents; with matching shirts, strollers of all sizes, and various cameras around their necks - and all with good intentions of making this vacation the best ever.