Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year's End

It's been a good year. I've run many races and skipped a few others. I've met new friends and reconnected with old ones. I've visited my siblings in Mississippi and Maryland and we've partied at Disney. I successfully utilized my WDW Annual Pass so that I got my money's worth. I've raised money for good causes and voted for a new President. I've watched good and lousy movies, read interesting and boring books, and written thought-provoking and yawn-inducing pieces. I've been busy and lazy, felt happy and sad, and laughed and cried. It's been a good year.

At the end of every year, it's good to look back. It's good to think about the year past and the year ahead. But it's best to remember the things that mattered most to us, because then we know where to start tomorrow. We set our hopes and dreams for the new year based on what mattered most to us this year. And hopefully on this day next year, we can say again, "It's been a good year."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sam's Top Ten

Today Sam is 28. Twenty-eight years and one day ago, I had no idea what it meant to be a mom. I'm not sure I have any better idea today, but I do know I like it. And speaking of like, these are the Top Ten Things I Like About Sam:

10. He plays golf with me and shares my golfing ideology, which is, "So I only hit it two feet - at least it's straight! We're having fun!"

9. He's always up for a moving furniture adventure, no matter where or how much, and he doesn't worry about the availability or capacity of the moving vehicle.

8. He's always up for a family adventure, no matter how lame-brained it may appear.

7. He's an enthusiastic supporter of made-up games, including made-up stories.

6. He's a great writer.

5. He mixes all his food together in a big bowl.

4. He never tells his mother what he's really thinking about her latest idea, and supports her in her efforts.

3. He's inventive and creative and humorous.

2. He's been there for many of my firsts - first child, first marathon, first house, to name a few.

1. He's Sam, a total package of things to like.

Monday, December 29, 2008

God At The Right Time

Today was an example of God giving me what I need when I need it. He does this quite often and I don't really take notice, but today I did.

It all started this morning. I have a half-marathon in two weeks, and I have been following my current training plan - meaning nonexistent. I knew that I really needed to get in 10 miles - and sometime soon. I meant to do it last week, then last weekend, but didn't do either. So I really planned to get it in today. But after I got up and had breakfast, falling back asleep seemed like a much better idea. I woke up in time to debate when I would get dressed and go (actually if I was going to do it at all).

The next thing I know, Lynnette called and said she was parking at our house to walk 10 miles today on our old 3-Day training routes. God had my number and provided the incentive and a walking partner to get my keister off the couch and out on the road. We did the ten miles and were both glad we did.

Later I was planning to spot-clean the bathroom and needed the toilet disposable wand thingy to complete the task. I had used this device yesterday when cleaning the litter box (don't get crazy - all I needed was the wand). I looked and looked, but couldn't find it. On my way through the kitchen, I saw two of my jackets on the bar seats, and decided to hang them up. As I picked them up, I noticed on the seat hidden by the coats, was the wand in question.

Maybe you could say these were coincidence or happenstance. I won't. I know God is in charge of my life, which works so much better when I let him be in control. I think He just sends me days like this so I don't forget.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just An Old Christmas Card Tradition

I don't have a lot of Christmas traditions. But this is one that has hung around for a little over 20 years. It's a Christmas card that I first sent my sister back in 1986. The only reason I know that for sure is because I wrote that I was "getting settled and unpacking" when I mailed it the first time. The next recorded date on the card is 1988 and the only move we made before then was in 1986.

For some reason, I got the card back (Marilyn may know the reason), and in 1988 I mailed it back with a heartfelt "Ditto." Over the years the card has made its way hither and yon, from Chile to Mississippi to Tennessee to Maryland, and maybe even a few other places. We haven't managed to write anything earth shattering, but we just keep sending the card back and forth. When it is in my possession, I try to keep it in a safe place (one that I can find) so I won't forget it the next year (which doesn't always work). This year it will be on my bulletin board by my desk. Not only will I remember it, but it will be a happy reminder for me of my sister and the fun we share.

Maybe that's what traditions should really be about. Not about doing something for something's sake, but doing something because it's really meaningful. Doing something that will bring a smile or a laugh just because you're doing it again. Meaningful because it may be only meaningful to you.

It may look like just an old Christmas card, but it's not. It's a link between sisters, between lives, and of love. What better tradition could there be?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

... for your cat. I have read them over and attempted to discuss them with Shaggy the Cat, but I don't think he's interested. He's probably thinking of resolutions for me, like learning to read his mind so I know which type of canned cat food he likes this hour, or not getting so nervous when I hold the door open for hours on end waiting for him to decide to peer out to see if he is actually going to go out, or sleep more during the day so I can get up and let him out (or at least stand guard at the open door at 2am waiting for his going-out decision). That Shaggy - he's a thinker!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas

'Twas the day after Christmas,
When all through my house;
Not a creature was stirring,
Not my kids or my spouse.

Sam and Lynnette
Were with the Ogles down in Texas;
They went to the zoo and to see "Annie"
And played Scrabble with many X-es.

Steve and Molly
Flew to Orlando for the sun;
There were bargains to be bought
And more shopping to be done.

Maribeth flew out
To meet Mathieu mid-trip;
A lost passport and late flight
Only caused a minor blip.

Only the pets were at home
And left in my care;
One dog and three cats
In three houses here and there.

Missy tolerated my visit
Opie chased the ball;
Blackie never showed up,
And Shaggy meowed in the hall.

It was quiet in my house,
But it was nice in a way;
It was soothing that nobody
Had anything to say.

But silence isn't always golden
As noisy voices fill the air;
Because home isn't home
Until my family is there!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at Redbox

It all started because I thought it would be a good night to sit in my pajamas and watch a movie. Maribeth suggested getting online and reserving my movie of choice at a local Redbox. It seemed like a good idea, so I proceeded to choose the movie and the closest Redbox location.

Naturally, the closest location to my home that happened to have the movies I wanted also happened to be in a "sketchy" part of town. Maribeth was on the road, and when I called her to tell her I had reserved them, she asked if she would be safe. Being the mom I am, I said I would retrieve the movies, since it was just getting dark.

I set off in my movie quest and soon arrived at the McDonald's, the location of the Redbox. As I drove up, I noticed one truck, one car, and one police car. No action, just sitting. One man was at the Redbox, returning movies. Of course I could have decided that maybe my $2.16 was not worth the potential future CSI or Law and Order episode, but I decided to just wait and see.

The current consumer returned his movie, and then proceeded to take his sweet time choosing three more movies. In the meantime, the car and its occupants decided to leave, followed by the police cruiser. This left just me and Hispanic Consumer in Truck. A few minutes later, another car drove up with three African American males. I am not trying to sound prejudiced, just setting the stage. Of course then there's me, who is driving a red car, that my sister-in-law believes is a drug car because in Mississippi she says all red cars are drug cars.

Anyhow, HCT finished his transaction, and I got out of my car, wondering if the other people are going to challenge my place in the Redbox line. As HCT is returning to his truck, he says, "Merry Christmas" to me. I complete my two minute transaction (speedy since I had reserved the DVDS) and the men sat in their car until I finished. As I was going back to my car, the driver got out of his car, and I wished him a Merry Christmas, to which he responded the same.

I guess this will become a favorite Christmas story of mine because it tells me all about goodwill and peace toward men. Three very different people met at a Redbox, and wished each other good thoughts. It proves to me that the love that this day is all about, is very much alive in this world - we just have to be the one to pass it along.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Hundred Things?

Today in The Tennessean, I read a story about a guy who plans to live the year with 100 things. His name is Dave Bruno and I think he may be on to something, at least for me.

I don't know that I could live with only 100 things, but I've thought a bit about it since reading this article. Certainly during this time of giving and receiving, living with a limit is very intriguing.

I do want to really check this idea out and see how it may work for me. For instance, I have a few boxes of clothes in my closet, waiting for my hips to fit into them. Are they really worth keeping, since somebody else could be enjoying them, and maybe my hips deserve a gift when they are that size? I have some other stuff that sits around mostly to gather dust - couldn't it be gathering dust somewhere else?

I don't think it's necessarily it's a matter of simply living with less and frugality. For me, it's a matter of surrounding myself with the things I love and that are important to me. It's certainly an idea I'm going to ponder for the next week. Maybe I'll come up with my own list of what I've kept and what I've let go. Maybe I'll still have too much to keep a list, but at least I'll know what I have.

It's one way of knowing what things matter. I'll bet that some things that I thought mattered really won't matter at all, and the things that really matter were being overlooked.

It's an idea, and a good one to end 2008 and being 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday with Missy

It's not Tuesdays with Morrie, and I stole this picture from Lynnette. But since I did actually get to spend 5 minutes with Missy today when I was checking on Sam and Lynnette's house, I thought I would post her Christmas portrait (it has nothing to do with the fact I have no thoughts in my head tonight). And no, she wasn't dressed up for me this afternoon - although she clearly looks quite festive.

I refilled her water dish, so she allowed me a 60-second period of allowing me to hold her and scratch her back. It was also enough for me to go to The Cat Shoppe to buy her new trinkets for my visit tomorrow. She definitely has my number!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Davidson Disney Dining Christmas

Well, it was going to be hard to compete with 2006's Cereal Christmas and last year's Magic Bullet Christmas, but I think we came close. The plan this year was for everyone to choose a Disney recipe, either from the cookbooks we have or on the Internet. We also devised a typical convoluted procedure for giving gifts. With our two main objectives set, off we went!

Item Number One: The Usual Complications.

Molly (whose assigned dish was dessert) has been out of town for two weeks, opening a Sonic in some little town close to Cincinnati. She drove into town this afternoon, found her Disney dessert recipe book missing, so we had Mickey push-ups from Kroger.

Molly also was hosting her Christmas party for her peeps at her house, so time was at a premium.

Maribeth had been called in to work at Walgreen's, so our Christmas gala had to begin, transpire, and end all within her dinner break. Guess it was good that Molly didn't have some fancy schmancy dessert after all!

Item Number Two: The Meal

Every family member chose a part of the meal to create but the recipes were of their own choosing. Of course, every meal required many ingredients that nobody had, so it got to be a game of finding a meal with everyday ingredients, a task equal to that of finding hidden Mickeys.

Maribeth and I spent 30 minutes looking for Gruyere cheese. It would have been less had I been willing to accept the cheese dip she suggested that listed this cheese as ONE of its ingredients.
Nevertheless, everyone found a dish. I should have just suggested that everyone bring a "white" dish, since we had potatoes, couscous, and mac and cheese. The mac and cheese listed no real measurements for anything, so it came out sort of soupy. My choice was to cook a pot roast, roasted with burgundy wine. I think I should have just drunk the wine and ordered McDonald's. In the end, Sam had the best idea - just lump it all together and eat.

Of course, no Disney meal would be complete without our Disney dining ware. Yes, these are technically Thanksgiving plates. But only because I haven't found any Christmas ones I like!

Item Number Three: The Gift Exchange

Without causing an Excedrin headache, let me briefly describe our system. Each person had every other person's name. However, there were five categories that each person would receive a gift in. The categories were food, entertainment, wild card, make-it-yourself, and charity (there are five people each person had to buy for). It all worked out sort of okay until it was time to pass out the presents, and nobody could remember what category they drew the name for. So, it was kind of like a game - "Who had Sam for food?" And the giver would ponder then say, "I did." Really - it was sort of pathetic! But everyone got neat gifts - mostly - and the whole party was over in time for Maribeth to return to her register and Molly to party hearty.

In the end, it was another Davidson early Christmas. We think we'll leave the Disney cooking to the Disney chefs and think harder for a more complicated gift giving for next year. As for next year's theme? I can tell you the front runner tonight - Liquid Christmas Dinner!

See you in 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top Ten Things I Love About Christmas

There are a great many things to love about Christmas. The first and most important is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. And while that certainly should be an all-inclusive deal when it comes to loving Christmas, I have to admit there are at least ten things I especially love about this time of year.

1. Peppermint Mocha Twists from Starbucks - hot or cold, it's just a holiday delight

2. Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes - I also hate them

3. Christmas books at bookstores - I could buy them all, but I just enjoy looking at them on display

4. Salvation Army bell ringers - it's such a selfless job, and I decided to thank each one that I pass (as I put a donation in!)

5. All-Christmas, all-the-time radio stations - a happy way to pass the time in holiday traffic

6. Christmas movies - my faves being The Gathering (an oldie but goody), Prancer, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street, and Scrooged, just to name a few

7. Red velvet cake - a Christmas tradition at my grandmother's house - wonder if they have a macrobiotic version?

8. Christmas everything at Disney World - loveliness and joy in every way

9. Christmas 5ks - festive and fitness - what a pair!

10. Davidson Family Christmas - you never know what to expect - stay tuned tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Little Things

Last Saturday, after a week of drying out, my first new cell phone was revived. Maribeth put the battery and Sim card back in, turned her on, and once again I was in business. My second newer cell phone was put on hold, should the first decide to take another swim. I was so thrilled with the resurgence of my phone (and the return of all the phone numbers that I had stored in it) that I felt compelled to reward it with a new screen saver (my choice should not come as a shock to anyone).

Last week as I was out shopping, I saw a little crown laying beside my car. Naturally, I couldn't just leave it on the ground. I picked it up and put it in my car. I haven't found a home for it yet, but I will. I want to put it somewhere to remind me that little surprises are everywhere, if I will just open my eyes and look.

Two seemingly little things that turn into happy thoughts and big smiles every time I see them. It's amazing what little things can do, if we just let them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lessons from a Rocking Horse

The place that I take my recycling also has two trailers that collect things for Goodwill. The other day as I was dropping off my plastic and cardboard, I noticed a little rocking horse looking out of the trailer.

It looked rather forlorn and I thought about its plight. I wondered who had once owned it and then discarded it. I wondered if the child who once rocked on it would miss it. And I wondered what would be come of the little solitary rocking horse.

Then, as most things do, the rocking horse taught me a few lessons about life, which are:

1. Most of the time you have a choice in life. You can be sad about what once was, you can mope about what currently is, or you can look forward with hope about what may be.

2. You can sit in the back and wait for something good to happen, or you can get out there in plain view in the front demanding attention. If you know your value, don't be afraid to show it.

3. Sometimes you have to get out there and toot your own horn by yourself. But there's nobody who knows you better and should be prouder than you - so toot away!

4. Time passes and people move on to other things. But if you really mattered, you won't be forgotten. Just have faith that the heart you once belonged to will always have that spot that belongs just to you.

5. It may not always seem like it, but there's always somebody who cares - even if it's just a lady who thinks you're too precious to pass on the opportunity to take your picture with her cell phone! The fact is, you matter!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why I Hate Oreos

Yesterday while I was at the grocery store, I decided to pick up some snacks for Steve. Going down the cookie aisle, I pulled his favorites - Chips Ahoy and Oreos. These are cookies that pose no threat to me, because I don't really like them. I even made a point to pull the Double-Stuff Oreos, because those are the ones Steve prefers.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and started putting away the groceries, when I discovered that the Oreos I pulled were double stuff, alright, but they were DOUBLE STUFFED PEANUT BUTTER OREOS!!!

Needless to say, when peanut butter and chocolate choose to cohabit in the same bite, it has my name written all over it. I tried them, and (as Maribeth pointed out quite disgustedly) a empty center section later, I was hooked. I confessed my transgressions to Maribeth, who put me out of my misery and tossed them in the trash (after squirting lemon juice in the package).

I could not afford to save them, since neither Steve nor Maribeth was interested in consuming them. The likelihood of the cookies remaining intact until a willing consumer entered my kitchen was slim, because until that moment happened, the evil cookies would sit and call my name until I did indeed suck them all down. And yes, I looked carefully at every ingredient listed, and could find nothing that even remotely was suggestive of a macrobiotic ingredient.

So the war continues. Just when I thought I had bested Little Debbie and her wretched Christmas Tree Cakes (okay, so I've consumed a few this holiday season), here comes Oreos. The cookie industry is out to get me, and Oreo now has my number!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

January 1 Is A New Day!

With yesterday being my last race for 2008, I completed my sidebar list of "Events I've Wogged in 2008." It was a fun way to document a year full of races of different lengths and in different places. With the new year weeks away, I wondered what I would put in the "race listings" place. I didn't want to do the race list again and pondered new ideas, waiting for the right one to come along. And then it came to me. Literally.

Cool People Care has just released their new book, Today is a New Day!. This book is a "collection of doable difference-makers ... one for every day of the year." As soon as I had my copy in my hand, I knew what my new sidebar would contain.

Every day I am going to look at that day's suggestion and share a little of it online, then describe what I did to make a difference. Maybe some days I'll be able to follow that day's suggestion completely. Maybe some days I'll have to tweak it a little. Maybe some days I'll do something that is connected only in my own mind to that particular day's suggestion. In the book there are some days that are blank, waiting for me to choose my own "difference-making deed." But no matter what I end up doing for that day, I will be doing something. I will be making a difference and I'm going to let you know about it.

I don't know what you have planned for 2009. But maybe if we all did a little something every day, then not only would we be making a difference for somebody else, but we would be making a difference in our own lives. By this time next year, not only will I be able to literally count my blessings, but I'll also be able to know that on December 31, 2009, I will have done at least 365 things that made a difference.

2009 is looking pretty exciting already!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This morning I wogged my last race for 2008. I've already got races booked through March of 2009, so it's not like my career is over - it's just done for this year. It's been a good wogging year. I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to, but I accomplished a lot. In fact, I thought I'd put the year in perspective (and verse)!

My Twelve Months of Wogging

In the twelve months of 2008,

I wogged the following miles:

Eighteen 5k races with some family in my sight;

One creepy 13k on a dark and spooky night;

One Minnie 15k which is now a defunct race;

An irregular training schedule without a steady pace;

Eight half-marathons in seven different states;

Fifteen blinging medals from which pride emanates;

Six various races at Mickey's sprawling compound;

One sprained ankle that probably should be bound.

Three completed races without an official race certificate;

Races that raised money for very worthy causes to get.

Souvenirs that were bought and the race fees that were paid;

But the best things were the memories that were made!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Pics #3 - Christmas Lights

So maybe they're not exactly the lights at my primary residence, but they are the lights at my second home!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My 2008 Pink Book

In 2007 on this blog, I started listing the "Gifts of the Day," which were things that were good about my day. I wanted to celebrate the good rather than bemoan the yicky things of the day. It helped me appreciate the value and joy that each day holds, even if it's just one little bright light in the midst of an otherwise dark and dreary day.

At some point, Steve suggested that I should keep a written list of each day's things so I could remember them. I decided to do that in 2008, and got my "pink book." Each day in this book I list what is now known as "Why ______ is a Great Day." I started counting today to see how many good things I have recorded, but stopped when I was already up to 50 and had barely gotten past the first week in January. I think I have probably averaged 5 a day (some more, some less). According to my calculator, that will end up with 1,830 good things that I will have experienced this year.

But the best part of recording my events is that it has helped me remember the great things I probably would have otherwise forgotten. Just now I turned to June 19, and I see that I sent John's birthday invitation and had a nice flight to Duluth, among other things. While it may seem insignificant, I remember how good both things made me feel.

I've enjoyed keeping track of my good things this year so much that I've already purchased my calendar for next year, appropriately already titled, "Each Day Is A Gift." I can't wait to see what will be written on next year's pages.

Each day is truly a gift - don't ever forget it. And if you think you might, be sure to write it down - a gift is always worth remembering!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My New Toy

When I talked with the macrobiotic counsellor lady a month ago, she asked me if I had a juicer. I tried to at least look intelligent when I replied that I didn't (which I thought was better than shrieking, "A WHAT?").

While I was in Orlando over Thanksgiving and trying to decipher the macrobiotic language, I decided to buy a juicer. Naturally, I completed the first step which was taking it out of the box. A week later I packed it and brought it back to Nashville, washed all the parts, and let it "season" until today.

The m-c lady suggested I drink carrot juice, with perhaps a slice of apple in it. I had a carrot and an apple, so I got out the machine, read the pertinent parts of the book, and started a-juicin'. I had to stop momentarily because the juice collector cup was not against the machine close enough, and my precious juice was spilling all over the counter. As health conscious as I would like to imagine I may eventually be, I am above lapping it off the counter like a cat. After my cleanup on Counter One, I put the carrot in the appropriate slot followed by a whole (although quartered) apple, and in a matter of minutes I had juice. It really tasted pretty good, and I was very happy and proud of my accomplishment.

I was so happy and proud of myself that after Curves this afternoon, I rewarded myself with a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Twist. I don't think it's macrobiotic, but they use fancy machines there also, so in my deluded mind, it's a go!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Pics #2 - Santa

So it took me almost 50 years to get a picture with Santa. But based on Maribeth's experiences, I don't think I missed much!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Did and I Didn't

Today I managed to stay busy, get a few things done, and check some stuff off my list. Unfortunately, writing an intelligent, thought-provoking, world-changing blogpost was not on the list. Try again tomorrow.

Anyway, shouldn't you be making some Christmas candy or purchasing some Christmas gifts?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Pics #1 - The Kids

Christmas family photos are great. You line the kiddos up in front of your holiday decorations and take the photograph to commemorate that year's holiday. When I was young, it was all about putting on our Sunday clothes and taking the picture just before we went to my grandmother's on Christmas Eve (which was next door). In the case of my own children, it involved finding an outfit that was remotely Christmasy, corralling them in the same space, and hoping for the best. And in the end, it didn't really matter how it turned out, because we thought it was the best picture ever. And it always is.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Real Customer Service

Today my cell phone took a swim in my cup of hot tea and immediately went into cell phone failure, which meant a morning trip to the AT&T store. Of course I had not purchased insurance on my now-convulsing phone of only a few months, so my only option was to pay full price for a new phone, the cheapest of which would have been around $250 (and this was the most basic phone - a duplicate of the one I had would have been another $100).

The salesman who helped me suggested that I go down the street to Radio Shack and get a "Pay As You Go" phone and have them put my current SIM chip in the new phone. While all of this sounded Greek to me, I trusted the man and did as he suggested.

At Radio Shack, the two guys there were very helpful. They showed me their collection of phones and I chose one of the cheapest ($60). They also suggested how to let the wet phone dry out in case it becomes salvageable in a few weeks. In a short time I was up and running again, with a lot of phone knowledge. And insurance.

It's nice to receive some real customer service, particularly in this time of economic uncertainty and fear. All the salesmen I encountered today could have been after my money, in hopes of getting as much as possible for their companies and themselves. But instead, they were looking after me, the consumer. Because of that, I'll stay a loyal customer. All it took was thinking of the other person's needs first, a lesson that was probably the best thing I got out of this whole experience.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Didn't Really Want To Do It ...

...but I did. The Rudolph 5K, that is. This is a race that is held just before the Nashville Christmas Parade, at 6:30 at night. Tonight it was downright chilly, and I seriously considered bailing on it. But Steve, Sam, and Lynnette were committed to doing it, so I decided to go ahead and participate. Yes, it was cold, but it was fun. Yes, the other three in my party finished well ahead of me, but I finished. Yes, I was at the back of the pack, but when I turned to run around the back of the Titans stadium, the fireworks started, and I got to see the people actually setting them off. Yes, I'm glad I did it. I guess it just goes to show you how God will bless you if you will just get out and do something!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

There's a Tree For Every Taste - Literally!

I'm not sure, but does this count as a eco-friendly Christmas tree? You can certainly recycle it on December 26!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Somebody's Getting Ready For Christmas!

Shaggy the Cat spent half the day under the Christmas tree, presumably waiting for gifts with his name on them. The other part of the day was bundled in my lap watching tv, something he rarely does. Wonder if he's trying the get on the "nice list"?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas decorations and lights are showing up on houses as I pass them. I've got my list of family names I've pulled, and am starting to think of the gifts I will buy. My car radio is tuned to the all-Christmas, all-the-time station. It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I just have to remember to enjoy each day of this holiday season. I have to remember that it's not about the gifts or the decorations or the parties. It's about the celebration of family, and a little baby boy in a manger.

As Dr. Seuss said,

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lynnette's Top Ten

In honor of Lynnette's birthday today, I thought of the Top Ten Things I Like About Lynnette:

10. She's a fellow wogger (although she's turning into a jogger).

9. She's always up for a challenge, like a 3-Day 60-mile walk, an 11-hour car ride with the family, non-traditional holiday celebrations, and just about anything the Davidson family can come up with!

8. She likes all things Disney World.

7. She likes cats, in spite of her allergies.

6. She never asks more of me than I can give and she accepts me as I am.

5. She's very smart and a semester away from finishing her second Master's Degree in counseling. Wonder if marrying into our family had anything to do with her choice of study?

4. She's a great tent partner - in putting it up, figuring up how to rig extra stuff, and sleeping in a very small space with bags, books, etc.

3. She is full of good ideas, like taking a picture a day, that inspire me to do the same, or something like the same, or just to appreciate her good ideas.

2. She loves my son - what more could I ask?

1. No matter what she is doing or where she is, she remains true to herself. She's Lynnette, and there's everything to like about that!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting Back to Normal - Whatever That Is

I've unpacked (sort of), washed most of the clothes (that got wet on the roof rack), and put stuff away (except for the new stuff I bought). In other words, I'm on the road back to normal life. I'm tired, so I am hoping to catch up on the sleep I am missing. Maybe I'll just go to bed and sleep until next month. Wait - that's tomorrow.

Oh well, tomorrow I can start anew on all the things I want to start anew. Gotta love a new month that starts on a Monday - makes you think you can really get something going. With only 31 days left in 2008, December would be a great month to make some real changes and create a new normal. It all starts tomorrow - I hope!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Time Is Relative

As if spending a week together under one roof wasn't enough, today we spent the entire day together in one car. After dropping Mathieu off at Orlando Regional for his flight to Wyoming, we began our journey at 6 am. Eleven hours later, we drove up the hallowed driveway of Springdoik, our lovely home. As long as the day seemed while we were in the middle of it, once we arrived home, it didn't seem that big of a deal.

Many times I get so caught up in trying to pass the time, I end up losing the time. I am so busy trying to get rid of time, I don't enjoy it as it ticks away. Ultimately I end up losing not only the minutes but the memories and enjoyment that time could have brought.

Today we had a long road trip ahead of us. We took naps and ate snacks and watched movies and read books. We'll remember that it was a long car trip, but most of all we'll remember that we endured it together. And in the end, I guess that fact makes all that time worthwhile.

Friday, November 28, 2008

See You Real Soon!

That's what Mickey always says when it's time to part. Tonight we watched Wishes at the Magic Kingdom as we wound down our 2008 Thanksgiving vacation.

It's been a great week. We've been busy. We've shopped, we've park-hopped, we've jogged, we've golfed, we've napped, and we've searched for items for our block game. We've made a lot of family memories.

We will be back. Every time we come here, we make new memories. But every memory means time spent with those we love. Next week as we go back to our individual lives, we will remember this week as that Thanksgiving we all spent under one roof.

It's been a great week. Thank you, God, for it all!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank You

This morning the family ran the Turkey Trot 5K in Orlando, Florida, where we're spending Thanksgiving. After the trot we drove past the house where we once lived, and then drove to Mimi's Cafe for our Thanksgiving brunch. During the meal we talked about the things we were thankful for, and some favorite Thanksgiving memories. It has been a beautiful day to remember and give thanks for the good things we've enjoyed in this life.

This afternoon I met my sister and her daughter and friend at their Disney resort. An incident there reminded me of Who is control of this life, and to Whom I should always be grateful.

While waiting for a bus to Animal Kingdom, Lucy and Annie decided to go into the resort gift shop for a few items. Marilyn and I sat on the bench and chatted. An AK bus came and went, since L/A were still shopping. Another bus came, and the bus driver took some time getting on and off the bus, adjusting his mirrors. The driver got in his seat, prepared to drive off, and we prepared to wait for the next bus. But he decided again to adjust his mirrors, and when he got back on the bus, Lucy and Annie came out of the shop in time to run and board the bus. (Thank you God for your perfect timing.)

I had Lucy and Annie's purchases and took it back to their room, since I had decided to go back to our resort and take a nap. I deposited their sack and had just made it back to my car when I got a call from Marilyn saying she had lost her wallet. She couldn't find it on the bus and wanted me to look at the bus stop. (Thank you God for the little things that delay my activities so I will be in the right spot at the right time.)

I was still talking on the phone, looking around and under the benches when a lady sitting on the next bench said, "Are you Marilyn?" I said no, but that was my sister. The lady had found the wallet and sent it to Lost and Found with her son, the little boy in the red shirt who was coming down the walk. I walked toward the front desk, stopping and thanking the little boy, and gave him a small reward. (Thank you God for the honest people in this world, and for making sure I have a little cash on hand when I can do some good with it.)

I stopped at the front desk and was helped with the very cast member who had taken the wallet and secured it. With a few questions and my answers, she gave me the wallet, and Marilyn was back on track. (Thank you God for workers who have to work on holidays and still have a kind attitude.)

Today has been a wonderful Thanksgiving Day - for remembering all those things for which I should be thankful, for recognizing anew the little things that happen every day, and for reminding myself of the One who gives it all to me just because He loves me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Disney Memory

Today Sam, Lynnette, and I experienced the Wilderness Back Trail Segway Adventure. We had great guides and a great time. It was a bit cooler than expected, so when we were finished we stopped to grab a hot chocolate to warm up our frostbitten hands.

While we were hoping for some really good hot chocolate, we were handed a instant cocoa packet and directed to the hot water. Lynnette started mixing hers first. The cast member who sold it to us asked Lynnette if it was okay, then spent a lot of time making sure Lynnette's mixture was the best it could be. This lady mixed the cocoa, then poured it back and forth between two cups. She then asked Lynnette multiple times if it was okay, really okay. Lynnette assured her it was, but the lady was not finished until she had topped off Lynnette's drink with some whipped cream.

So it wasn't the hot chocolate we were expecting, but it certainly wasn't the service we expected either. And in the end, it won't be the quality of the chocolate that we remember, but the kindness of the lady, which is really the thing worth remembering after all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Hate Sugar - Again

Today I totally lost my mind and ate too much sugar - in Little Debbie evil cakes, Reese's peanut butter on-sale Halloween candy, super-strength Kool-Aid, cavity-inducing Sugar Babies, strictly sugar Super Bubble gum, and who knows what else. It was terrible, from the headache to the highs and now heading into the sugar-induced coma. Sort of makes the whole macrobiotic thing really appealing. I certainly pulled a Ross today!

I guess today was an example of what "not to do anymore." Once the haze clears, I just hope to remember what to do from here on out. Number one: No more sugar cruises!

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Big Deal - Really

Today while I was trying to find the small appliance aisle in Wal-Mart, I came head to head with another shopper. She was headed down one aisle and I was headed down the other at a ninety-degree angle. We met at the corner just before colliding, and stopped in our tracks. At first she glared at me with an "attitude." I smiled and said, "Sorry," and gestured for her to take the right-of-way. At first she didn't change expression - then she really looked at my face, smiled back, said "sorry" back, and went on her way.

Two people came to an impasse. One decided it wasn't a big deal and tried to make good of the situation. The other person looked at the first person's face, saw a human being, and concurred that the impasse wasn't a big deal. Somebody had to give and somebody had to take. But it wasn't until the two human beings actually connected on a deeper level was anything really accomplished.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Micro Macro Step

Today I took another step into the world of macrobiotics. I took my shopping list to Whole Foods here in Orlando, hoping for the best. I went up and down the aisles, thinking to myself, "What in the **#% is ______?"

Luckily, one of the clerks was friendly enough to help me with my selections. I told her I was just beginning, and as I turned to leave she said, "Just remember to take it slow. Otherwise you will just give up."

I will try to take her advice. As a person who wants to do things all the way in the right way, I do tend to try to do it all at once and end up overwhelmed. There's a lot to read and figure out in this endeavor. But I want to try. Today I made it to the grocery store. Tonight I am soaking beans and rice. Tomorrow I will try to figure out what to do with them.

We can do many things if we just take our time. The results will be there - if we're willing to wait for them to happen when they're supposed to.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Block Games and God

When the kids were little, we had this travel block game. On each side of each cube are pictures that one would see on a road trip. As you find one, you turn the block to the next one, until you've found them all, and you turn to the final "X" side. During the early years of our family, we went through two sets of these - one melted in the car and we gave the second set away when the kids grew up.

About a year ago, Molly found the game on eBay and gave it to me for my birthday. We've even taken it on a few family road trips. I brought it along on this one, hoping that we may be able to turn all the blocks over to that elusive "X".

The best part of the game is how you have to notice everything as you pass it. If you pass a house, you have to look and remember closely, because you may have blocks with a water hose, birdhouse, and swings on them, and you want to get them all. You see things that would probably pass by unnoticed - but now you're looking especially for that dog house and trellis.

As I was looking out my car window today, I thought about the concept of God giving us a block game every day. What if every morning He said, "Here are things I want you to find today. They are in your world - you just have to look for them." Instead of looking for a fire hydrant or dump truck, maybe I would be looking for a sad child needing a smile or a homeless person needing a fast-food hamburger. Instead of glancing in the sky for that airplane or bird, maybe I would be looking downward for that trash on the street or an expired parking meter I could feed. Instead of spying that ice cream store or post office, maybe I could find those extra coats to donate or a non-profit who could use an hour of my time. At the end of my day, instead of all those "X" blocks, I would have sweet memories and smiles.

My travel block game is great - it helps pass long hours on a road trip. But spending time on God's block game would be even greater -for me and all that I find along the way.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Week of Thanksgiving

Steve and I are on the way to Orlando, to spend Thanksgiving with the family. We decided to drive, since we're all going to be together, and airfare costs were too high for all six of us. So the two of us are driving down tomorrow; Sam, Lynnette, Maribeth, and Molly are flying down on Monday night; and Mathieu is flying in on Tuesday. Next Saturday, Mathieu will fly back to Wyoming, and the remaining six of us will ride back to Nashville in the Sequoia.

We're renting a four-bedroom house (NOT on Disney property)! It will be the first time that everybody is under one roof. It should be interesting, to say the least. We have various activities planned together and separately. But at some point, we all will be in one house together.

But I think it's going to be fun. It will be unpredictable, but that's pretty much how we roll. We have the chance to spend a few days all together. And at Thanksgiving, spending time with the thing I'm most thankful for, my family, is the best thing ever.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Move Over Madonna and Gwyneth - Lu's Joining the Bandwagon!

As if I don't have enough to try and conquer, today I decided to add macrobiotics to the list. I met with a master macrobioticist (or is it macro-masochist?) this evening to get me started.

To put it bluntly, I have a lot of papers to study that are full of words like millet (or was it mullet?), guavae (or was it larvae?) and other words that could possibly be swear words, for all I remember. I also need to sit in a sauna and put a plant in my room. I need to get a juicer so I can drink a carrot. There's a bunch of other stuff to learn, but I decided to eat my Back Yard Burger first.

Why am I doing this? Because I want to be healthier, and this looks promising. I'll never know until I try it, so I am. I'll keep you posted on my results.

That's all for now - I have to go sing a happy song (number 7 on my list).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Don't Smoke Tomorrow - Clean Your Baseboards Instead

Tomorrow is the 33rd Great American Smoke Out Day. It's a day for smokers to stop smoking for one day, in hopes that it will become the first day of a life of not smoking.

Because I'm not a smoker, I've never had to really think about this particular day. My father was a smoker for most of his life, quitting in his retirement years due to health issues. He ended up dying of lung cancer when he was 77. I don't know if his quitting gave him extra years but it did give me several years of not having to breathe his second-hand smoke or deal with telling him not to smoke in my house. I'm mostly thankful that his smoking is one habit I didn't pick up.

Sometimes I wish there were days for abandoning my bad habits, like "Quit Eating Stupid Stuff Day" or "Get Off Your Butt and Jog Day" or "Clean The Baseboards Day." When I think of my bad habits and how hard it is for me to break them, I realize how hard it must be to quit smoking. I admire those people who decide to stop, whether they succeed or continue to stop again and again until it works.

I guess we all have bad habits that need abandoning. Some may be life-threatening. Some may just be annoying. Some may be absolutely revolting. But we know what they are and if we really want to be rid of them. If we do, then we need to get serious, even if we have to get serious all over again every day to make it stick.

We can break that bad habit - we just have to really work hard at it. I haven't bought any of those evil Christmas tree cakes, so maybe there's hope for me after all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Mickey!

It's Mickey's birthday today. He's 80, but seems ageless to me. He always makes me smile when I see him, and I can't get enough pictures of him and with him.

I didn't really grow up with Mickey, but more with the Wonderful World of Disney. Maybe that's where it all started, staying home from church (when allowed) on Sunday nights to watch this show (especially when it came on in living color, and we had a color tv set). Who knew it would blossom into a lifelong love for all things Disney.

Mickey knew. What a mouse!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dealing with Too Much

I am not a clothes horse. But I do have too many clothes, especially some that I don't wear or haven't worn in awhile. Today I remedied some of that.

I went through my closet and collected clothes that I no longer want to wear and bagged them for Goodwill. If I didn't feel good wearing a particular item, Goodwill got it. Maybe somebody else will feel good wearing those clothes.

I also filled three boxes. Two were marked "June" and one was marked "May." Next spring on the first day of those months, I am going to open those boxes. If I can fit into those clothes and feel good in them, I'm going to keep them (and wear them). If I can't fit into them, Goodwill gets another box.

Sometimes there is just too much excess in our lives. We keep it around thinking we might need it, instead of dealing realistically with it. We should either we use it, get rid of it, or make a plan for it. Today I did it with clothes. Tomorrow maybe I will do it with some other "stuff" I have. Maybe another day I will do the same with some emotional or mental excess that's doing nothing but clogging up my life.

It's liberating to realize how much "stuff" we don't need and can do without. We just have to be willing to stop, really consider it, and deal with it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mickey Motivators

I don't like to cook. But this morning I managed something special. Using the Mickey pancake molds I bought for Molly at some past Disney World visit, I managed to make a very special breakfast. Of course, it could be served only on special plates!

Maybe that's the secret to any eventual interest in cooking. Maybe I just need something to make it special. Maybe if I can find something fun and easy, it will result in the motivation I need to actually attempt some real cooking.

Now if I can only get a Disney treadmill, I may be on to something!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Friday, It's Late ...

... so here's a kitty video. What could be better?

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Just when the the current stock market crisis is about to send me over the edge, I see a story like this. I guess retirement is just full of scary things!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lessons from the Rose Bushes

My next task is to get the splinter out of my finger. I got it today when I was clearing out my rosebushes. The splinter goes nicely with the other gouges and scratches on my hands.

I don't like clearing out the rosebushes. There are a lot of potential owies, and the job is quite tedious. But I know it is essential for the roses to live through the winter and become beautiful again next spring. I put this job off as long as I could, until today when I had to do it.

Last year I cut off the branches in long lengths. It was quicker, but I couldn't put it easily into bags. I felt guilty putting them out for the unsuspecting city workers to grab as they drove their refuse truck down the street. This year I cut the branches into six-inch lengths. It made the task longer, but it was quite simple to bag them, thus creating an easy task for the city workers - all they have to do is grab the bag and go.

So what are my lessons from today?

1. Sometimes the most beautiful things are hurtful underneath. But those things are their for protection, and there are ways around them. (In other words, just because some people are snooty to me, maybe there's a reason, and there's always some way to be nice to them.)

2. Sometimes beautiful things have to be cut back to the basics, in order to become beautiful again. (Every one and every thing needs a period of rest and recuperation in order to be at their best.)

3. Sometimes people who are trying to help get hurt in the process. (If you're trying to help someone and get snapped at, just keep at it, because you know it's for good. If you're the snapping one, just remember that the helper is just that - trying to help you.)

4. Just because there's a quicker way doesn't make it better. (By putting a task into smaller steps, your result works out much better, regardless of any extra time).

5. Every eventual task has to be done - so get out and do it! (Procrastination never did anything - so quitcherbellyachin and get busy!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Maybe Not, But Then Again Maybe So

This upcoming weekend Steve and I were scheduled to do the San Antonio Half Marathon. After traveling last weekend and planning to drive to Florida for a family Thanksgiving next weekend, we decided to pull out. We just decided the monetary and physical costs of a quick weekend weren't worth it. We're getting old.

My goal for 2008 was to complete a half-marathon a month. I don't have one planned for December, so I will probably end the year with only eight. I also planned to improve my time with each half-marathon, but that certainly didn't happen.

Am I disappointed? Not really. I enjoyed the half-marathons I did complete, although I didn't achieve the times I would have liked. I skipped a few for various reasons, but that was okay, too. According to my calculator, I wogged over 100 miles in half- marathons alone, which I think is pretty good.

Sometimes in achieving a goal, you forget what you've achieved along the way. You tend to think that just because you didn't achieve THE goal, you achieved nothing. But you have to look at all the things you do in attempting the goal. Because sometimes the real achievement is not THE goal, but all those steps and efforts and accomplishments you made just to get where you are, wherever that may be.

So was completing 12 half marathons my goal? Wogging 100 miles? An eventual super-respectable time? Sure, they were all my goals at some point. But looking at the big picture, I am happy with where I am.

I did what I did, and I did good.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just a Picture

Lynnette took this picture on our recent trip to The World. Today it just seemed appropriate to post. For one thing, I'm tired from a quick road trip weekend, and my brain is somewhat numb.

But on a bigger scale, I just imagined what if it really was God writing in the sky? What if on a regular basis, He wrote messages to us?

Then I realized that He does. He does when the day is beautiful and we just want to sit and enjoy. He does when the day is dreary and we need to find the good things in life. He does when it's cold or rainy or snowy or cloudy - or whatever.

He writes messages to us every day, if we will just take the time to find them. And, no matter what the message is, He always signs it with, "Love, God."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Old Stomping Grounds

This weekend I am in Mississippi, visiting GDizzle. Right now I am in the Mississippi State University Bookstore, using its internet. On the grounds of this university, I earned my undergraduate degree, met my husband, and had my wedding. MSU is located in the town of Starkville, where I was born and grew up. I'm back where I started and spent the first part of my life.

It's neat to see how the university has changed over the years. Many buildings I frequented have been torn down, rebuilt, or made bigger. The swimming pool where Steve and I met has been replaced by another building. Streets have been rerouted and new buildings have been built. While much has been changed, much is still the same.

As I walked across the campus, I still remember the feelings of walking to class. I still remember students and professors and buying books and standing in line to create a schedule. I still remember what it felt like to be here.

I guess that's the best part of memories. Though the physicality of things may change, the memories don't. Though a building or a person may no longer exist on this Earth, what those things meant to your life will always be with you. Though the very thing you remember has been replaced with something else, in your memory and life that thing remains as it was.

If we're lucky, we can visit the old stomping grounds and remember. We can look at what is and remember what was. We can remember the moments and the people that created our life stories. And we can be thankful, because it is those stories that make us who we are.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just When I Think He's Done ...

... Shaggy the Cat finds a new bed and a new friend. Of course, this is the Disney NYC Store Bear, so I think he's still trying for a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Conserving in Spurts

Today I decided to save the planet by taking a shorter shower. My legs needed a shave, so that presented an additional shower timing issue, but I persevered.

In my shower, I have a thingy connected to my shower head to which I can attach a spray doohickey so I can successfully and easily clean my shower when I get the urge. I had the bright idea to use it in my ecological quest. So, I hooked up the external sprayer and got started.

I turned on the water and sprayed down my legs in preparation for the razor. The sprayer stops the flow of water when I ease off the trigger, so I could keep the water on, yet off at the same time (this gets a little complicated). So I hosed, shaved, hosed off, shaved some more, hosed some more. At first the water was cold, since I didn't let it warm up (thus saving countless gallons), but my legs are tough and could take it.

Once my legs were smooth enough for my liking, I decided this was a good technique and decided to wash my hair. So, I wet down my hair and shampooed. Being successful in that arena, I went ahead with the conditioning portion of my routine. It was sort of weird, shampooing and conditioning in a shower with technically no running water, but I was temporarily an Earth Mother, so all was well.

Of course, it did begin to get a little drafty, since parts of my body were wet and wet turns to cold when there is no additional water beating down to conserve body temperature, but I kept true to my quest.

After the conditioning phase of my regimen, I decided it was time for the actual showering portion - you know, soaping the body for cleanliness. I decided I was due (and deserving) of a full shower at this point, so I turned off the water from the real faucet, unhooked the shower doohickey, and turned on the shower, fully intending to relish the few seconds of shower I would get to experience.

Unfortunately, due to my middle-age brain activity, I forgot to turn the water all the way to hot and enjoyed a few seconds of bracing cold water until it registered to turn the faucet a little more until the actual hot water flooded the pipes. A minute or two later, I turned off the water. I'm still not sure what got bathed, shampooed, shaved, or conditioned - and I ended up putting my underwear on backwards. But I am confident that I had single-handedly saved enough water ... so maybe I can soak in the tub later this week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just What I Need - Another Series!

Yesterday I spent too much time watching "Raising the Bar" on TNT. It's a new series that I had meant to watch when it started, but didn't. TNT reeled me in yesterday by having a marathon of all the episodes. My name is Luanne and I am hooked.

I've been a fan of Steven Bochco's work since "Cop Rock" and "Hill Street Blues". He's snagged me again. The characters are well written and clearly defined. Most of the actors totally inhabit the characters they play. The most surprising is Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Instead of his blond wavy hairdo of "Saved by the Bell," he sports long stringy dark hair. He's drinks too much and is loud and pushy, clearly leaving "Zack" behind.

So, now I have another something to watch, and will be waiting for the summer of 2009 for new episodes. Too bad the marathon isn't on again tonight, so I would have something to watch instead of slow election returns and constant over-opinionated newscaster commentary.

Oh well, there's always some form of Law and Order on somewhere!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Voted

I voted last week during early voting. Tomorrow is the big day. Vote. Make a choice. Exercise your right. Once done, get your sticker and get your free stuff. It's going to be a good day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lessons from a Computer

Today is one of those days that I would like to grump about my computer. It will load some pages and not others. Some sites I can load if I sneak in the back way. Some simply refuse to load for no good reason (to me, anyway). It's a pain in the rear and tends to make me frustrated.

But instead of fussing about a message that says "Page will not load", I will choose to be happy about the pages I can read. I can read about little boys battling cancer who are having a good day. I can read quotes and see pictures that inspire and uplift me. I can pull up some pages that I want and need to read. In other words, I will celebrate the things I can get to and just let the other stuff go.

It's a great way to tackle life, celebrating the things that we can do and letting some of the other things go until it's time to deal with them. By not wasting time fretting over that which I can't do, I have more time to enjoy the things I can do.

Maybe God planned it that way for me. Maybe I need to learn that time is best spent doing the important things - I just have to realize what they are!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Now That's the Way To Start November!

First you get up and wog 3.1 miles with a few hundred people (including Steve, Sam, and Lynnette). Then you eat a burger and ice cream while listening to a tweener singing group. Then you go and manage to hold Missy the Cat a little before she freaks out. Then you go home and clean up and go play golf on a beautiful autumn day and manage to hit a decent shot or two. On the way home, you stop by Sonic for drinks and onion rings with the golfers (and talk to Molly via the intercom). You sit a bit until Maribeth comes home then steal fries and chicken from her and Steve's dinner, take a soak in the tub, then finish the day off by watching mindless television. What a great day!

And then you realize you get an extra hour of sleep! Simply fabulous!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Hate Halloween

It's the candy. I stopped buying the cheap stuff nobody eats because as a parent, I hated the yicky stuff when my children brought it home. I started buying the good candy that at least somebody in the house would eat in case it was a lean trick-or-treater year. Unfortunately, I always end up the one eating most of the candy.

This year I decided to buy the packs that had the most good candy that I would not eat, because I had never tried it, or had tried it and didn't like it although Steve probably did. This year I made a mistake because I tried one of those "hadn't tried it" candy bars and got hooked.

The candy is called "NutRageous" and it is evil. It is also delicious. Of course I have eaten more than I have given out, so now Steve is in charge of the candy basket. In thirty minutes, the last person to ring the doorbell gets everything that is left, and I will have survived (sort of) another candy fest.

Now if I can just make it through Christmas Tree Cake season!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tips For Tomorrow

1. Buy candy you like. That way you have something to blame those extra pounds on. "Those rotten little kids didn't trick or treat this year and I have to eat all this leftover candy before it goes bad!"

2. Don't eat the leftover candy until AFTER 9pm. Unless you like soaped windows and such tricks due to lack of candy on your part. Technically, it's not leftover until there are no more trick or treaters. Which is not at 3 pm.

3. Carefully read the description of any costume outfit you purchase for yourself. "Dirty Snow White" does not mean Snow's outfit after she cleaned the home of the dwarfs.

4. Do not put out all your candy in a bowl hoping for the "honor system." Trick or treaters have no more honor than you do, and it will be a toss up as to who can make the bowl disappear first!

5. If you have your own trick or treaters, telling them that their chocolate is bad for them (while you hide it in your secret hiding place) is not cool.

Tomorrow is a day for candy, costumes, and fun. Even if it's not your favorite holiday, it is for many. Enjoy their fun, especially the little ones. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Table For One

Most of the reasons for my lack of progress with losing weight (and too much progress regaining it) are due to my horrible eating habits. I eat whatever seems like a good idea at the time, I eat on the run or in front of the television, I shovel the food in like a steam shovel - well, you get the idea.

Today at lunch I decided to try something different. Instead of grabbing something that seemed quick or mindless, I decided to do lunch the right way. I cooked a chicken breast accompanied by rice, beans, and broccoli. I used the everyday china with real utensils, and completed the place setting with a fancy napkin. I placed my lunch on my dining room table and sat down to eat. There was no television or even a book to keep me occupied. Instead I ate slowly, cut my food into small bites, and took my time. By the end of my meal, I was quite satisfied both physically and emotionally.

I wish I could say this was the bright light that will change my eating habits forever, and I am winging my way to losing all those extra pounds. But it's just a step in the right direction, taking the time to think about what I eat and why.

It's a great lesson to practice in all things - stopping to take the time to realize what I'm doing and all that it encompasses, and to relish the moment. But it's hard to do, especially when there's always something else to do. So I'll keep practicing. I'll try to stop and enjoy the experience rather than rush through it to the next thing. And maybe I'll gain something worth keeping - all those moments that I've missed along the way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sticking It To The Mouse (or trying to anyway)

Last weekend while at Disney World, our group of seven used the Disney Dining Plan. This is a plan where you pay a standard amount a day in return for one table service (complete with table, menu, and waitress), one counter service (one register person and menu), and one snack (usually a Mickey Bar in my case).

There were a few complications, since people arrived at very different times of the day, and on different days. There were also a few who had never used (or heard of) the dining plan, so that presented a challenge. At one point, John tried to get breakfast at the bakery, and was told in very strong language by Bakery Nazi Cast Member LaFlema that he had no snacks left. In her words (and probably the only English she knows so far) she said, "NO SNACKY!! NO SNACKY!!"

At the end of the trip on Sunday, after the Mississippi and Texas contingents had left, Lynnette, Marilyn, and I were left with four counter services and one snack to eat - either physically or metaphorically, since you are not refunded for any unused meals. We took this as a challenge, and what follows was our plan of action. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but mainly because I don't know or remember them.

1. I had read on a discussion board that some people had managed to trade one counter service for two snacks. We went into the resort's general store and asked Cast Member Clerk Marvin. He said we had to do it at guest services in the lobby.

2. Marilyn and Lynnette went to guest services (I took a bathroom break). They spoke with Guest Servicer Olga, who took a lot of time to tell them they had to go to the bakery. To get food to go. Which will be difficult since we were hours away from our flight and still stuffed from the table service meals we forced down at lunch. We reconvened at our bench outside to re-strategize.

3. I decided to call the dining people to get it straight from the head people. A series of transfers connected me with Victoria and Alberts, the fancy schmancy eating place at Disney where you get your own maid and butler. They know nothing about the dining plan, since their fine establishment will never be on it since you have to put a mortgage on your house to eat there anyway. Vic or Al (whichever one answered the phone) wanted to know if I wanted to make a reservation, but since I hadn't brought my ball gown, I said no thanks.

4. After another group discussion, we decided to return to the lobby and talk to the front desk people who are in a different tribe than the guest service people. I told Thelma and Louise to sit and be quiet in the lobby, since I didn't want to appear associated with them, since they wouldn't stop giggling. I approached the front desk to be stopped by Line Leader Cast Member Joe Bob, whose job is directing guests to the appropriate front desk person. I told him what I was after, and he proceeded to tell me all about the dining plan (which was very helpful, since I had already been eating on it for four days) and said I could go to the bakery and get the meals to go. I explained that it would not be helpful, since I was flying home and could not take the drinks past security. He looked perplexed and said he hadn't flown in awhile, and was that still in place. I went back to the gigglers, who were busy watching LLCM Joe Bob, as he was now talking to himself and fluttering his eyelids up and down.

5. Marilyn then decided to call the dining people herself from the lobby phone, right in front of LLCM Joe Bob. I guess she figured he couldn't hear her, since he was busy talking to himself again. She waited on hold again (Vic and Al don't have call waiting, I guess), then gave up (or talked to someone useless again). She called again, and decided to talk in Spanish (as if the dining plan can be changed if you can speak another language). The espanol people were very helpful in telling her how to make dining reservations - not so helpful with the change from counter to snack, unless she wanted to go to the bakery and get some stuff to go.

6. I think there was another step here. I don't know if Lynnette decided to call. Maybe LLCM Joe Bob started to levitate. Maybe we called Berlitz to see if we could quickly learn a new language to use to call dining. Anyhow, time passed. Somewhere we got some information that the plan could be changed at the discretion of the general store manager.

7. So we decided to go back to the general store and try to talk to a cast member down there. We believe in anarchy in the ranks. We went to the clothing department, hoping for a novice who would think we looked menacing and cater to our wishes. We started with Cast Member Clothing Folder Melissa, who apparently was hired because she could listen and fold at the same time. After our repeating our request and her repeating it back (she went to active listening lessons), she went for the store manager. Store Manager Peggy came out, listened to our pathetic story, then said we have to go to guest services. We told her been there, done that, and they said they couldn't do it. She said, "That's baloney," (really, that's verbatim) and went to use the phone. Apparently Peggy will now lose her retirement, because she came back and said there would be no changing, because that kind of thing is only done at the value resorts and not at the deluxe resort where we were staying.

At this point we had to admit we were beaten. We went to the bakery and came out with six drinks and six muffins. Luckily Marilyn was staying an extra few days, so she would be able to keep them for consumption later.

So, the question remains - will I use the dining plan again? Yes, because I continue to believe I get more for my money that way. I simply look at the menu and order the most expensive thing on it. I believe in every "deal" that Disney throws my way. Why else would I come home with not one, but two rolly bags (only $20 with a qualifying purchase)? I am a bargainer - just ask my Disney Visa!

Monday, October 27, 2008

13K and 3 Siblings

Last Saturday while I was at Disney World, I completed the Tower of Terror 13K. This is an 8-mile race that begins at 10 pm and winds around Hollywood Studios and adjacent roads. At my pace this takes me two hours, which meant finishing around midnight, which is WAY after my bedtime.

Earlier that afternoon, my sister Marilyn and I watched my brother John scuba dive at The Seas. I had to leave during his debriefing, but they said that they would be there when I finished the race. Although I assured them they didn't have to, they insisted they would be there.

Later that night as I rounded the curve at Mile 6.5, there they were, sitting on the bench we had agreed on earlier. Twenty minutes later at midnight, they were waiting with my cheeseburger and fries to celebrate my finish.

It meant a lot to have them there, but the best thing is to have them, period. Our parents are no longer alive and each of us live in different states, so our time together is rare. This weekend we took time away from our families just to spend a few days together. We laughed and ate and remembered. And in the end, we proved what we've known all along - we'll be there for each other always - even at midnight with a burger and fries.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just a Few Words

... like totally tired. I've had a great weekend, heavy on the activities and light on the sleep. Tonight I will sleep in my own bed. I'll tell you all about the fun, but it will have to be tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Disney Saturday

It's been a full day. We've shopped, picked up the race packet, ate in Canada, and watched John scuba at The Seas. I would write more, but I have to go wog 13K. Such is my Disney life!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Disney Friday

A pictorial post of today: