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!