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


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


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


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.