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:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Disney Does It Again

Yesterday I blogged about the niceties I enjoy at Disney. Today once again, I experienced the service of Disney that I appreciate so much.

It happened when I was checking in at Boardwalk for the rest of the ladies on this vacation. I usually check in for everybody so that when they get here (I always manage to come in early), everything is ready to go. Today Cast Member Charlotte told me that I would only be able to check in for my room, because they don't let you check in for anybody else's room unless your name is on the reservation. I explained why I would like to check in for everyone, but it didn't look too promising. She started on my reservation, then disappeared. I figured she was going to get my room key.

I waited awhile, and another cast member asked if I needed help. I replied that Charlotte had gone somewhere, but she was helping me. Finally, Charlotte came back, accompanied by the desk managr Ryan, who explained their procedure and the reasons for it. He then told me that if I had my DVC card that had my membership number related to the reservation, they would go ahead and let me check in everybody.

I guess my point is that Disney again showed me their concern is with their guests rather than their institution. They were polite and found a solution to my dilemma while still maintaining their concerns about security. We all left satisfied, which should be the goal of any consumer-oriented business.

And that is why I heart Disney!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Disney Day

Lemme see - today is Wednesday, so I must be .... at Disney World! Let's not get all bogged down with when I was here last, when I'll be here next, blah, blah, blah. Let's just talk about the Disney-ness of today.

I arrived in Orlando mid-morning and decided to do a little outlet shopping before I checked into resort #1 (#2 comes tomorrow). When I was packing (at midnight last night), I was packing my bathing suit and rather pathetic swimsuit coverup. I thought about how I wanted one of those terry Mickey coverups I keep seeing in the shops. Today I got one at the outlet at 50% off - a great start on Disney-ing.

I checked in after lunch, and encountered a short line and check-in cast member who was earning his ears. My room was ready, and ended up facing the golf course and a particular pond that I had once upon a time hit several balls in. I spent part of the afternoon watching golfers do the same. The decor on the neighboring unit was not something I wanted to see while on
vacation, but whatever.

When I went into my room, I noticed a gift basket on the table. The card on it was from the manager of housekeeping. I don't know why I received it, and wondered if it was like an honor bar - open it and you pay for it. I opened it anyway, and found halloween bags, pretzels, chocolate covered pretzels, a Christmas ornament, a rice krispie treat, and a DVC license plate. I'm still confused, but it was a really nice surprise.

I hooked up my computer, only to have a few problems. I called tech support and obviously got Tinkerbelle, who sprinkled pixie dust through the phone and had my computer working before we could even discuss its issues.

I spent the remainder of the day encountering congenial cast members and fellow tourists. I heard many foreign languages and saw even more interesting clothing choices. Even though I'm tired, it's nice to be here.

Today is quite a contrast with last night's trip to O'Charleys. While things do go wrong at Disney, Disney continues to do many things right. They continue to put forth their best effort and put their guests first, which results in more and more of my money being funnelled to them.

Just as last night reminded me to be the light in dark situations, today reminds me to keep doing good in normal, routine situations. It's those little things that continue to draw people in to who you are. It's a connection that make people believe you care about them. It's the little things that are done with kindness and concern that make a difference in someone's life. It doesn't take much - just an effort to show you're aware that somebody else matters.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dinner in the Dark

Tonight Maribeth and I picked up Molly from work and proceeded to O'Charley's for a bite of dinner. We had ordered our meal when all of a sudden the lights went out. The lights stayed out until we left, during which we were served our dinner (we think - it was food anyway), ate it (faster than I've eaten before), and paid (thankfully I had cash with me, since the computers went down at some point).

It was not my favorite dinner. It's unnerving to eat in the dark when somebody else has prepared the food - you just hope the lights were on in the kitchen. There were no candles or flashlights, so we would click on the lights on our cell phones just to look over our plates. The only lights that came on occasionally were a car's random headlights or someone else's cell phone.

Probably the biggest disappointment was in the management. No one came around explaining what had happened, except our waiter, who really didn't know for sure. No manager table-hopped, soothing the customers or offering free treats. No one offered to comp a dessert or offer a coupon for a discount at a future meal. We just ate, waited for the bill, paid it, and left.

I realize it wasn't the management's fault - apparently something or someone hit a transformer in the area and knocked the power out. But it doesn't have to be someone's fault to make good. It doesn't take much to make good on a difficult situation. It doesn't have to be a flashlight to brighten the darkness. It just takes one good action to turn things around.

I realize O'Charley's was not prepared for the power outage. But they should have been prepared for repairing patron relations. They should have been prepared to shine a little light in a dark situation.

But maybe they did for me. Maybe I'll remember the next time I have a chance to shine a little light. Maybe when things are dark, I'll see what I can do to turn things around and make things better. After all, I know what it's like to be on the other side in the dark.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Because I Can

Recently I blogged about Ribbon Wogging. My sister Marilyn read the post and called to ask if I wanted to do a 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk with her in 2009. I've done two of these - in Atlanta in 2001 and the Twin Cities in 2007. It's funny, because during the week before Marilyn called, I kept thinking that I wanted to do another one. The rest of the story is that she called, I pondered, and today I signed up.

I'll be doing the San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day during November 20-22, 2009. When Lynnette and I were on the trail in Minneapolis/St. Paul, a fellow walker told us how beautiful the walk in San Diego was. So, it seemed that this would be the one for me (it's also the last one scheduled for 2009). So I'm in.

I've started a team called "Because We Can." The name comes from the fact that I can walk to raise money for breast cancer. I can do my part to raise funds and awareness for this disease that affects so many lives. I can do my part. And when people ask me, "Why are you walking 60 miles in 3 days?", I can answer them - Because I Can.

Why did my friend Emily R and I sleep in a tent in the rain and freezing cold in Atlanta? Because we could.

Why did we get up at the crack of dawn to get to Day One on time? Because we could.

Why did Emily R spend three days popping blisters and bandaging yicky feet? Because she could.

Why did Lynnette and I train mile after mile in the hot Nashville summer? Because we could.

Why did we poop in a porty-potty, shower in a semi, and pass out for the night in a pink tent? Because we could.

So I've started my team. Yes, it involves raising money. Yes, it's a bear to train for. Yes, it's a weekend of unpredictable weather, unknown accommodations, and unbelievable experiences. But it's a great way to spend a weekend, if you want to do something different with your life for a few days. Think about it and join me in San Diego as a walker or crew on Because We Can (password: walker), or find one closer to your own home.

We can all do something in this world. We just have to get started doing it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Evaluate Your Life Day

Okay, so maybe it's one of those "holidays" that somebody made up. Nevertheless, it's a good day to stop and think about the life you live. Maybe it's a day to think about your blessings. Maybe it's a day to think about ways you can be a blessing. Maybe it's a day to think about things you want to change, or want to be, or just want. But no matter what you may choose to think about, remember the One who gave you this life and offer thanks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

5K-ing From Dawn to Dusk

This morning it was a 5K with Steve and Sam through a local neighborhood. It was picturesque and a beautiful morning for wogging.

This evening it was another one through the streets of downtown Nashville, in costume, with Lynnette. The mood was festive, ready for partying. There were costumes everywhere, creating quite a sight.

It was a good way to spend a Saturday, even with the ghost outfit and shin splints. Now, if Shaggy the Cat will show the love and let me sleep through the night, it will indeed have been a glorious day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Being a Blessing

Sometimes I feel like the odd man out. The shoes that I am wearing went out of style two years ago. I am mis-dressed for the occasion. I make a funny, but nobody gets the joke. I ask a question that is so obtuse, I might as well be speaking Martian. I'm paddling against the stream, and I know it.

It's at these times that I feel I have to justify my existence, mostly to myself. I have to convince myself that I am just as important, just as special, and just as deserving as anybody else. And frankly, sometimes it's a pretty darn hard thing to do.

This week as I was pondering this thought, God sent a new one to take its place. He said, "I created you just as you are. Whenever you are with another person, it's for a reason, and that reason is to be, and to receive, a blessing. You are a blessing. That's all. You need no other reason or justification for being who you are."

As I thought about this concept, everything began to make sense. I don't have to be the smartest, or the thinnest, or the prettiest, or the fastest. I just have to be me. Every person with whom I come into contact affects my life as I affect that person's. Maybe the effect will be for the better or maybe not - but the touching of one life with another will change each person, even if for just a moment.

I no longer have to wonder if I will be the "right" person for the occasion - I just have to be the right person I was created to be. I will learn from those situations where I may be different and those where someone else may be different. And in the end, I will learn what this life is really all about - blessings just waiting to bump into each other.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shaggy and Friends

Shaggy the Cat has issues. He is usually on the wrong side of the door, especially after midnight. He wants to be fed so he can eat a bite, then leave the rest of his meal to sit and grow stale. He likes to wait until I am asleep, then wake me with a paw and slightly extended claw. But all those are minute compared to his real issue - lack of friends.

I have already commented on his attempt at bonding with the Duck family. Today I caught him trying the same thing with Snoopy and Aflac. But his relationships with the stuffed is much more desirable than the one he tried last night.

I know Shaggy is aware of my affection for the Mouse. I think he's jealous, because last night while I was watching tv, I heard Shaggy using his "things are awry" meow. I looked over and saw him scooting across the floor, batting what I believed was his catnip Disney ball. When I noticed the "ball" moving on its own, I realized it was a mouse. Real, not Disney. Shaggy chased the mouse around the room, batting it a bit but not wounding it. I procured a box, trapped the mouse, and released it outside.

I am more confused than ever. Does he want a baby kitten sibling? Does he want to go to Disneyworld? Does he need more of my attention? I just hope he knows that bringing a mouse to me in my bed would not be considered a "magical moment!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking Care of the Important Stuff

Today Molly and I had massages and pedicures. She had the day off so we decided to make the most of it. More than one person at the massage place asked, "Is it somebody's birthday today?"

It made me wonder if it has to be a special occasion to take some time just for ourselves. Maybe we need to do something special for ourselves just because we deserve it. Maybe we need a massage, or fifteen minutes sitting outside on a beautiful afternoon, or watching a movie on television while the dishes sit in the sink. We need to stop and honor ourselves for the precious creations we are.

We work really hard to get the "important stuff" done, but maybe we need to remember that we are the important stuff, too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cruising with the Mouse

Today I put down a deposit for a Disney cruise in April of 2010. Why? Because it's Disney which means it's going to cost a jillion dollars. I'm hoping to save enough money by then to pay for it. But you may then ask the question, "Then why Disney?" To help you out, I have composed the following reasons:

1. It's Disney. There's Mickey and Minnie and all the gang. Plus, there's food and fun and shows and smiling people and more food and napping and more happiness and more food.

2. I went on two budget cruises. There was no fun. There was a shower/toilet combo where you could do both at the same time and a bed. There was food, but we sent a lot of it back to the chef and said, "No thanks."

3. If I play my cards right, I can also finagle a Disney World vacay in with the cruise - wherever the cruise begins/ends (how else would I have made it to Disneyland way out here in California?).

4. It's a financial thing - I own some Disney stock, and I want to make sure I make money on it. Never mind how much I spend so I can make money - you just don't understand high finance.

5. Mickey bars on board. Delivered to my stateroom. Enough said.

6. Nobody on board says, "Why are you going on a Disney cruise?"

7. Disney doodads that you can't buy on land.

8. Disney movies, Disney decor, Disney souvenirs - Disney 24/7 (or longer)

9. Fireworks, pirates, and princesses, oh my!

10. It's Disney - and that's enough for me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Ugly Fence

On my long training walks, one of the last signposts towards the end is the "ugly fence." Lynnette and I named this fence when we were training for our 3-Day. We deemed it ugly because the posts were painted white while the pickets were plain brown. The fence attached to the ugly fence was painted all white, so it just didn't make sense that this part wasn't painted.

However, it served a purpose for us. We knew that once we reached the ugly fence, we were nearly home. It was a welcome sight even though we wished it looked like the pristine white fence next to it.

Today as I was driving home from Curves, I looked over at the ugly fence. Imagine my surprise when I saw that it was all painted white - no more brown. It was no longer ugly, but pretty and fit in with the other fence.

The "ugly" fence may be gone, but I'll always appreciate its significance. It will still mark nearing the end of a long training wog. But now every time I go past, it will also signify something else - anything can change for the better, if you just give it enough time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back Home Again

I'm back in Nashville, full of intentions of training properly for my next half-marathon in San Antonio in five weeks. Will it happen? Will I do what I need to do? I did put down daily training mileages on a calendar. Will that be enough?

I imagine five weeks of actual training and proper eating. I imagine going out and doing a half-marathon as I should. I imagine completing a race and being really proud of my results.

It's exciting to imagine - just think how exciting it would be to actually achieve!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Baltimore Half Marathon

Today I wogged 13.1 miles in Baltimore. Today's half-marathon will go on two of my lists - the "Been There, Done That" list and the "Won't Be Doing This One Again" list.

First the good stuff. The medal, race shirt, weather, and start time were excellent. Today's Baltimore Running Festival has several events, all starting at different times. The Half-Marathon started at 9:45, which is great if you want to sleep in. However, if you're a slowpoke wogger (no names mentioned), it means you will be finishing at 12:45 (or later), which is lunchtime. However, your body is pretty ticked off at having to carry your butt for 13.1 sunny miles, so it is NOT in the mood for a meal. So, you make do with the meal of champions - a Diet Dr. Pepper and potato chips.

The other unlovely part of today's race was that the course is hilly. Much more than Nashville, but not quite the mountains of Little Rock. I'm sure that native Baltimorians may not think of their city as hilly, but to me, anything that goes up is a hill. And there were a lot of "ups" in today's race. But I persevered, finished, collected Steve who had already been finished and was recuperating under a tree, and headed back to the hotel to take more Tylenol.

We ended the day by gorging our bodies at the Broadway Diner with Marilyn and Eddie - after expending all those calories, I needed to replenish them. We'll see if my body accepts the meal as a peace offering!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who You Representin'?

I love to people watch. I like to imagine who they are and what their lives are like. I figure people have the right to watch me, too. But I really hadn't given much thought about them watching me until this morning.

I was in the airport, waiting to catch a plane to Baltimore. I thought about what I represented by the things I had physically with or on me. I was lugging a suitcase with a Mickey Mouse head on it, wearing a jacket with a breast cancer pink ribbon on it, and carrying a tote that had several marathon patches sewn on it. I obviously could stand to lose a few pounds, am middle-aged, and travelling alone but wearing a wedding ring. I wondered what people might imagine about me based on what they saw. Was I an adult Disneyphile or a breast cancer survivor? Was I headed to Baltimore to meet someone or returning home? Were the race patches mine or did I borrow the tote?

These thoughts led me to think a little more closely about the me I want to represent, and I realized that the me I want people to know can't be expressed passively. If I want people to know me, I have to interact with others. I have to extend my personality and connect, rather than let my "stuff" tell my story.

It's easier to hope people will get to know you by the t-shirt you wear or the sticker on your car or the stuff you carry with you. But all that does is espouse the subject of your sign. It doesn't always tell anything about you.

So maybe the next time I'm people watching, I'll try people knowing instead. Maybe I'll ask about the book someone is reading or the trip someone is taking. Maybe instead of imagining a story, I'll get their real story and they will get mine. The Mickey t-shirt or the Obama button or the expensive watch won't tell their story - they will. Maybe we will find out exactly who we're representin' - the hearts and the souls of the people we are.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Race Scrappys

Today I updated my race scrapbooks. I had three new races to include, and the Disney ones always take extra pages, so it took me a while. Now, I'm not a real "scrap booker." By that I mean I don't carefully place the photographs artistically on the page with adorable stickers and quips. Basically I try to stick as many pictures as I can on a page, along with other bits of memorabilia, resulting in a true hodge-podge-collage.

I started this a few years ago. I had saved stuff from my first races and as a birthday gift, Sam arranged all the bits and pieces into my first scrapbook (a noticeable difference occurred once I took over). This year I started my fourth scrapbook.

I love my scrappys because each race has memories that are precious to me. Some involved other family members, some involved a family vacation, and some were solo efforts. But when I look over the pictures, race bibs, certificates, and other little giblets of this and that, I am reminded of a particular event and who was (or wasn't) there. I am reminded of finished races, strangers I met, and cities I visited. I am reminded of things I did and how those things changed me. While each race may not have been my greatest, each race holds memories I want to always remember.

So while my scrapbooks may not win any scrap booking awards, they are doing what I need them to do - to keep those memories so I can remember when. Sometimes it's not how you do it, but that you do it, that matters most.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So Long Sprint - Thanks for the Connection

Yesterday I finally severed my rather tumultuous relationship with Sprint. I've been trying to do this for years, only to be sucked back in because of a broken phone, or a new subscriber, or some such nonsense. But luck held out, and I was able to exit yesterday and join Steve, Maribeth, and Molly at AT&T and their billion rollover minutes.

I also got a new phone, a slider. But the important thing is that it is red. The rest of the details I still have to learn. I also got to keep my old phone number, which is a definite bonus - less to remember when I have to remember how to answer the darn thing.

Anyhow, in leaving Sprint, I had to reconfigure GDizzle's plan, since he was the Sprint plan. I decided to do this in person, mainly because I really wanted to have some human contact, especially in person with someone who speaks English. I expected to get the runaround, based on my past Sprint experiences.

I was surprised. Sprintman Dave changed the plan, even though I didn't have the proper password. There was no fuss or confusion - just a simple, satisfactory transaction. Wouldn't you know - just about the time I leave Sprint, I get the best service ever.

Guess it just goes to show you that you should never really count anybody out. Sometimes you get pleasantly surprised by those you least expect.

Now if I can just remember that when I have to deal with Ms. No-Personality AT&T ...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Kindred Spirit

This is me in the animal world, specifically at Animal Kingdom, butt to the world, contemplating the universe. Not a bad position to be in!

Monday, October 6, 2008


This is a rare sighting of a molocotpus in its native habitat, a typhoon lagoon in Orlando. Another reason to visit the World, because you just never know what kind of creatures you may see. Sometimes, you even see a beached whale - at least I remember the sunscreen!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sharing the Load on the Road

Yesterday I took this picture as I was beginning the last mile of the Susan Komen Race for the Cure 5K. You may not be able to really see it, but ahead of me there is a big crowd of people. The crowd on the left are about to turn for the home stretch, and the crowd on the right are in the middle of the first half mile. For me it was an amazing sight, realizing how many people were participating in the event, and how many breast cancer stories were represented by each person jogging or walking.

Emily posted a comment yesterday, saying a friend of hers had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and had been by to visit and talk. Last year at this time, Emily was recovering from her own breast cancer surgery. Reading Emily's comment made me think about this picture, because just as she is hopefully nearing the last mile in her successful fight with breast cancer, her friend Alta is just beginning. I imagine Emily in my place in the picture, and as she passes Alta, Emily is able to encourage her to keep going, to tell her about the path ahead, and to walk along side her, because she knows the road.

There are stories like Emily's every day, of people who have been there opening their lives and their hearts to those who are just getting there. Our paths in life may be great, they may be sad, or they may be really nothing remarkable. But if we're willing to share, there's probably somebody who's travelling the same path and needs a friend along the way. We just have to sometimes get our eyes off the finish line and on to the real prizes - our fellow woggers.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ribbon Wogging

Today I went wogging for pink and red. I started this morning with the Susan Komen Race for the Cure 5K. There were about 10,000 people running/walking. The weather was beautiful, and the finish was down at the river where there was much to eat and see.

I finished up with everything around 10:30, and went directly to Bicentennial Mall for the AIDS Walk. I got there in time for the pancake breakfast and entertainment, and we started our 2 1/2 mile walk at noon. Although it was a bit warmer, the weather was still beautiful, and it was a lot of fun.

Today was a great day to get out in the fresh air. I managed to wog a little and walk a lot. The best part was that I got to wog and raise money for two causes I believe in helping - breast cancer and AIDS. It was a great day to be thankful for my two legs that help me get out and make a small difference - or maybe it isn't so small for someone who lives with these diseases every day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ode To My Happy Place

Destination: Disney World

I went down to Disney
To visit the Mouse,
But I'm happy to be back
In my own little house.

I've unpacked my stuff,
The doo-dads and mouse ears,
No wonder the Disney salesclerks
Greet me with Disney cheers!

I wogged looking for clues
In a race held at night;
I shopped and I swam,
I ate Mickey Bars with delight!

I balanced on a Segway
As I rode through the Land,
I got a picture with Minnie
And heard the Main Street Band.

The week in the World
Went by in a haze;
I can't wait to go back -
In twenty-one days!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Real Vacation

Today was a great way to end my vacation. I ate wherever and whenever and whatever I wanted. I shopped, looking at the same doo-dad several times, in the same store, for minutes on end. I sat outside in the beautiful weather and people-watched. I breathed in the chance to get away from everyday concerns and just exhale.

As much as I love Disney World, I've got to remember to stop and enjoy it more. With four parks, oodles of shopping, water parks, golf courses, and everything else that is Disney, I tend to want to do everything. I forget that it's also a fantastic place just to sit and be.

But I also need to remember that I don't have to travel to find that state of mind. I just have to stop and tune out the world and tune in the peace.

I just like it best when there's a pair of mouse ears on my head!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Enjoying All Creations

Today I spent time with my pals at Animal Kingdom. I saw mamas and babies, my favorite gorillas, and a lizard getting its partially amputated tail checked out. I love this park because of the animal's environments and the care they receive. As much as I love being entertained at Disney, I especially love experiencing the real stuff. I can easily see and appreciate what man believes he has created in this man-made World, but I am eternally in awe of what God creates every single day in His world.