Monday, June 30, 2008

Watch That Last Step - It's A Doozy!

Especially if you miss it altogether.

This morning as I was walking down the stairs in my house, carrying a glass of juice and other assorted items, I somehow bypassed the last step, sending myself sprawling to the ground. It was a lovely experience and sight.

After five minutes of writhing on the floor, I managed to get up, clean up the juice that had flown across the room, and pick up the assorted items that had landed here and there. I did get an xray which revealed nothing broken. But I really twisted the boo-jeebers out if it.

So, what's the lesson learned here? Watch when you think you're taking the final step - you may miss one that will really mess up your journey. Use a sippy cup - when you do fall, at least the juice will be still in the cup. Have a one-level house - or an elevator. Don't decide to give up playing computer games the day before you sprain your ankle and have to sit around all day - otherwise you'll be google-ing more stuff than you ever imagined.

In the end, I survived the fall, I played no computer games, and my ankle is turning lovely shades of purple (magnified due to the swelling). I guess we can call it a good day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What Would You Give Up For 30 Days?

Today over brunch, Lynnette told us that she had to choose to give up something for 30 days as part of one of her graduate classes. She is giving up internet (with the exception of classwork and email). One of her classmates decided to give up television, and others have chosen other things. It's part of their study about addictions.

It led me to think what I would give up. If I were in the class, what would I choose? What takes up too much of my time that could be used for something better?

I decided to audit the class in absentia and participate in this experiment. While there are many things that I could certainly do without, I think I will give up playing solitaire/spider solitaire/hearts on my computer. These are three simple games that I play waiting for the big, old computer to warm up, or when I'm waiting for a page to load, or when I'm waiting for the next great thought to form in my brain. But maybe the minutes spent playing can be used in more constructive ways. We'll see.

I'm not sure when the thirty days starts, since I'm not actually in the class, which also means I won't get a grade. But maybe no external reward gives me a self-motivation that an addict needs in order to stop a habit and keep it at bay.

So, for the next thirty days, beginning now, my virtual card playing days are over. I may not get a report card, but I think I'm going to get something even better - practice on overcoming a habit and finding positive and constructive activities to replace those habits. If I can learn to develop this skill and carry it over to other parts of my life, I will have earned an "A" in my book.
Class has begun!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Things To Do When You Have Other Stuff To Do

1. Wander around the house, mentally making notes of more things to do and buy

2. Search for paper and pencil to physically write lists

3. Several hours later, after eventually locating necessary writing equipment, sit and try to remember previously made mental notes

4. Flip through television channels to find Law & Order/Friends/Mad About You marathon to occupy you while you try to remember mental notes

5. Take a nap from all mental work

6. Make a snack to replenish brain cells

7. Work on solitaire/spider solitaire/hearts skills on computer

8. Stare at wall and contemplate whether wall color from two years ago was the right choice.

9. Check weather report on internet, on television, and by sticking your head out the window

10. Walk by writing equipment and wonder what the heck that's doing there

So that was my day - how was yours?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Marilyn Doris Lewis Graves

She has known me all of my life and has been my friend longer than anyone else. We've shared a room, a brother, parents, and a life. She is my sister, and today is her birthday.

A family story is that when I was born, she stayed right by my crib. It was early training for all the times she has been beside me for the tough times, for the fun times, and for the life-changing times. We've lived in different cities, different states, and different countries, but distance has never severed the bond that we share.

We married a year apart, and we each had a son first (who have brought us our daughters-in-law) and then we each had two daughters. We share a love of Disney, and consider it often-needed therapy. We tend to get lost when traveling together (it's hard to watch for the right exit when you're talking), manage to dress alike when on vacation (unintentionally - really), and have more adventures than we need to tell. We have different tastes and lives, but it's those differences that bind us even closer.

The thing about sisters is that it's a relationship that changes over time, but never goes away. It's the constant in life that grounds us, inspires us, and gives us life. It's your past, present, and future all rolled up together. It's the love that makes us who we are because sisters are ingrained as part of each other. And if you're lucky, your sister is the one thing in your life that you'll never have to do without.

Sisters - one of the best gifts God can give a girl. I should know - I have a Marilyn to prove it!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Belly Jiggles

While watching television lately, I have noticed that the advertisement of choice is anything having to do with whittling your belly. You can purchase belly balls of differing sizes, various mechanical belly-exercising contraptions, belly pills and potions, and belly massagers and belts. It's just a belly busting bonanza.

One would think I would be extremely interested, since the last time I had anything resembling a reasonable belly was before the area was inhabited by fetuses - probably even 15 years before that. Nevertheless, I watch, hoping that just the right solution will appear before my very eyes.

Maybe one day I will have control over that part of my body. Maybe I'll be able to slide on a pair of jeans without the dance, or cinch a itsy-bitsy belt, or laugh without channeling Santa. Then again, maybe not.

Life is full of things to work on or cure or quit or enhance or reduce. It's all about choosing what's important to work on for now. The belly-busting industry will have to do without me for now - I need something to prop my dinner tray on!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hidden Ladybugs

Today I found out that I have a ladybug hidden in the design of my Kat quilt. If I had been told about it before, I forgot, and today's discovery was a sweet surprise. Kat herself has a great affinity for ladybugs, and today I found my own appreciation. I'm going to remember this ladybug patch and from now on, I'll be looking for those surprise ladybugs that make life so sweet.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daily Blog/Jogging

I blog every day, unless it is physically impossible. Most days I have something to share. But there are days when I can think of nothing to say. On other days it takes me hours just to formulate a meandering thought. One might ask the question, "If you have nothing to say, then why write?"

For me, the reason is pretty basic. I write every day because I am a writer. I am also a procrastinator and a creature of habit, so if I don't write one day because I have nothing to say, then it may be harder to write the next day. Each day feeds on the previous until I won't write at all because I haven't written in so long. I will have gotten out of the habit of writing and find it extremely difficult to start again. So I write something every day in order to practice and make it part of my life.

It's the same way with my jogging. It's much easier to come up with reasons NOT to jog, which makes it easier not to jog the next day and the next. While I certainly prefer that method of training, it's not very effective.

So I hope to do the same for my jogging as I do for my blogging. I have to make it a daily practice. Some days it's really not about substance as it is about dedication and continuity. It's about habit and daily practice. It's about commitment to a goal and following through. Some days will be better than others but coupled together, every day of practice will make me better in my jog-blog little world.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm No Silverstein, But I Posted!

I cannot write,
I cannot think,
I cannot find
An internet link.

There's not a thing
I wish to say,
There is no picture
I want to display.

This post is short
It's nearly done,
Now go on out
And have some fun!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Some days when I think I have to have everything under control, I remember that there is Someone greater in charge, Someone who knows what He's doing, and Someone who knows what's best for me. I think this poem says it best.

God's Wheel
A poem by Shel Silverstein

God says to me with a kind of smile,
"Hey how would you like to be God awhile
And steer the world?"
"Okay," says I, "I'll give it a try.
Where do I set?
How much do I get?
What time is lunch?
When can I quit?"
"Gimme back that wheel," says God.
"I don't think you're quite ready yet."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Finish, A Medal, and A Bonus

Well, I've completed my half-marathon for June. It was a quirky little race, but I did it. There were separate bibs for men and women, there were no souvenirs for the half-marathon, and they were hyper-crazy about not wearing headphones. But the weather was nice and I finished, so it ended up okay.

Today's race had a totally unexpected reward. It all started because this race has a rule about maintaining a 14-minute mile. For many of you, this would be like crawling. For me, this is the upper level of my current race pace. Since I haven't really done much of anything since early May, this pace seemed a little adventurous, but I decided to go for it anyway.

At 6:30 am, when the starter's bullhorn went off signaling the start of the race, I set out. My race strategy is pretty simple: jog as much as my-bodily possible, try to catch up with someone ahead of you, and always have someone behind you. Today I knew pace was utmost, so I kept my eye out for someone I could follow to insure my finishing on time.

About Mile 6, I had settled on one lady. She wore a Twin Cities race club singlet and was obviously on a run/walk system, but at every mile she checked her watch, so I knew she was keeping the required pace. I always kept her in sight - sometimes she was ahead, and a few times I would get ahead of her. On a steep hill, I asked her a few questions, her answers being (1) this was the first time she had done Duluth so she didn't know if this was the only hill, and (2) she was from Minneapolis. We journeyed on, keeping the same I'm ahead/You're ahead plan.

I felt we were doing pretty good. HOWEVER, at mile 12, the chip RaceNazis were out, cutting off the chips of those of us who were currently passing through. They said they HAD to cut off our chips, which they did, then handed them to us (these were one-time chips that we were supposed to keep anyway). We were all dumbfounded, didn't know what to say, so we just kept running. I asked another runner if we were still going to get a medal and the finisher shirt (my main reason for finishing) and she said she thought so.

I had gotten ahead of Minneapolis, but soon heard her come running up behind me. At about a quarter mile to go, we were to turn a sharp curve. I noticed Minneapolis cutting across the curve through the spectator crowd. My first reaction was to think that she was cutting off the curve to save time. However, as I rounded the curve, I saw that she was with her family/friends and was obviously upset. She was shaking her head, intending to quit the race.

I simply could not have that. Here we were, within sight of the finish - she just couldn't quit now. So, I yelled over for her to come on, to which she said no. But with her friends/family encouragement and my big mouth, she reluctantly decided to rejoin the race. By this time, the finish was in sight. I asked her if she wanted to run it in, and she said, "No, but you go ahead." I couldn't leave her, so we walked together until the last few yards, when we did run it in.

We went to receive our medals - Minneapolis grudgingly took hers, but said she didn't want the finisher shirt (I, of course, did - I finished, didn't I?). She was angry, and rightfully so. She knew her pace was right on, and she got robbed. But I'm glad she decided to finish - although she was robbed of her time, she wasn't robbed of her victory. I'm sure her anger will last awhile, but I hope her sense of pride about her achievement wins out.

In this race, I received my medal and my t-shirt. I won't get a finish time, but I know I completed the half-marathon. But the greatest thing I received was the opportunity to encourage someone who was giving up into continuing to achieve her goal. No finish time could ever compare to that joy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Daytime in Duluth

Remember that place you said you wouldn't work there if it were the last place on Earth? Well, I found the Last Place on Earth. It's in Duluth, Minnesota, and they're hiring.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

If It's Thursday Night, I Must Be In ...

Duluth, Minnesota. I would describe it to you, but it's very late at night and dark outside. We flew to Minneapolis and then drove two hours to Duluth. So far all I know for sure is that there's a gentleman's club a few doors down and a store that advertises urine cleaner in its front window. I can't wait until daylight.

I'm here for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. I would tell you more about that, but I'll wait until I actually do it on Saturday.

For now, I'm going to bed. Stay tuned for another Luanne adventure!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Treadmill Cats

Today for your viewing pleasure, I am showing you a way to justify your treadmill - the cat needs it.

Lazy Cat

Two Cats

Cat and Friend

And yes, it's been a slow news day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Best Moment of the Day

If you had to pick it, what was the best moment of your day today? Was it early this morning because you just love getting up early? Will it be tonight, because crawling into bed is the moment you've looked forward to all day? Was it some moment in the middle of today when you finished a project, or met someone for coffee, or just had five quiet minutes to yourself?

For me, it was the moment just after I had taken the recycling and made it to the bank before they closed. Both were tasks that I needed to complete, and I was happy to check them off my to-do list. I was pleased that I had just barely managed to accomplish both on time.

There were several good moments today, but that was the best because it turned an ineffective afternoon around. In the space of five minutes, I became productive, motivated, and encouraged.

Much ado about nothing, I suppose. But maybe by recognizing a seemingly insignificant moment for the influence it had, such moments gain importance. Small moments become meaningful because I make them so.

Watch for the small moments. They can become the moments that make the big things happen, or change the course of your day, or just make a day make sense. After all, no moment is ever small if it matters to you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

Some Mondays are surprises. Just when you think it's going to be another day of getting back on schedule, recovering from the weekend, or catching up from behind, you get surprised. Today was like that.

I knew I was going to have to get 10 miles in today. I have another half-marathon on Saturday, and I am in no way prepared (shocker, I know). I haven't done any significant mileage on a regular basis in over a month. Although I logged five miles on Saturday, I knew that ten today was absolutely vital.

I haven't been motivated to get out the door to train. I haven't felt like jogging, so I have been talking myself out of even trying. Today I knew if I wanted to get the ten in, there would be no jogging. So I started out walking. The first two miles, I was mad and I hated everything. Finally, at Mile Two, the endorphins must have kicked in because suddenly I felt better. I was thinking about Tiger and the US Open that I would be watching later and things evened out. I had eight more miles, but I knew I would finish - hopefully by sunset. I managed to get back to the house just in time for the U.S. Open playoff.

I watched for four hours as Tiger and Rocco battled it over 19 holes. The lead went back and forth, but neither gave up. When they hit bad shots, they kept going. When one got ahead, the other battled back. Neither gave up when things looked bad. In sudden death, Tiger was ahead by one stroke. Rocco gave it one final valiant try, but didn't make his putt. The tournament was over.

The marvelocity of today is that I learned the lesson of perseverance. I saw firsthand how to keep going even when you might think you're done. I saw an athlete keep playing while experiencing significant pain. I watched an underdog refuse to be intimidated by a champion. I watched two men play their own game, not letting mistakes cause them to give up.

So maybe I'll remember Tiger and Rocco when I don't want to get out and train. Maybe I'll remember that Rocco is considered "old" and Tiger was two months out of surgery. Maybe I'll remember that it's not over until it's over - you just have to keep trying.

Today I found out that I need to get out and walk/wog/jog everyday, because it benefits me. It makes me feel better and clears my head. The pace isn't always important - the important thing is to get out and go some distance at some pace. The important thing is to do it and keep doing it every day.

Perseverance - a great lesson to learn to begin the week. Thanks Rocco and Tiger, for showing me how.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just Shut Up and Watch

I've been watching the U.S. Open Golf Tournament on television for the past few days. It's been pretty exciting, with one exception - those idiotic "expert" golf commentators. They critique every stroke, every club, and every decision of the golfers, and then add a few stories of their own "glory days" as golfers. It's pretty annoying. The only good part is when they give their hallowed opinions and predictions, and then Tiger Woods proves them wrong by making the perfect play on what the idiots had already dismissed as poor choices.

I'm going to remember these golf "idiot-perts" the next time I feel belittled or criticized by someone. I'm going to remember that people base their opinions on what they think they know. I'm going to remember that sometimes people think it's more important that their opinion be heard than my life be praised. I'm going to remember that if people believe I am making the wrong decisions, they can just wait and watch me shine.

As Tiger Woods has shown over the last two days, the round is not over until the ball goes in on the 18th hole. Until then, they can talk all they want, because at the end of the day, the only opinion that really matters is mine.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Phonebilical Cord

Today while I was out walking, I got a phone call. The special ringer and caller ID said it was from Maribeth, but when I answered, a male voice told me he had the wrong number. Naturally being the imaginative, over-protective mother that I am, I envisioned a million dangerous scenarios for the phone call.

When I got home and found my home intact, I proceeded to Walgreen's, where Maribeth was working. She was alive and well, and after looking at my phone, figured out that her former phone number was still stored in my phone, thus being the reason the call logged in as her.

So, what can be learned from this situation?

1. Phone numbers are reassigned fairly quickly, so update your phone contacts.
2. The umbilical cord is never severed - it just morphs into different forms.
3. There are millions of ways your child can be in danger, and none of them can be true.
4. Moms will never stop worrying.
5. Children will never fully understand "momworry" until they have their own children.
6. Phones should probably not be taken on wogs, but how else will the wogger be able to call when she wants a ride home?
7. Imagining the Law and Order episode that your child may be encountering in real life certainly makes the miles go by!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fifty is Nifty

One of the great things about getting older is the ability to do things you might not consider doing earlier in your sane life. Case in point: tonight I signed up to be a volunteer in a golf tournament. At this point, I have no idea what job I will be assigned - probably directing traffic in a parking lot.

In case you're interested, the golf tournament is the PGA tournament held in Disney World in October. I own a set of golf clubs, I have played a few rounds of golf, I know the basic premise of the game, and I watch it occasionally on television. Does this make me qualified to be a volunteer? Of course it does - I'm 50!

I realize that many people don't wait so long to do such things. For me, maybe it's my time to do new things because of the opportunity, or the new interests, or the freedom. But whatever the reasons, it's fun to see new doors open, even when those doors may open to one body part aching, another one drooping, and something else wrinkling up. I'm finding 50 is just full of new experiences to explore.

So I'm hoping to add "Golf Tournament Volunteer" to my resume. I can't wait to see what I add next!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wanting to, But Not Doing

I meant to jog this morning. I got up early and dressed appropriately. I really wanted to go forth and jog. But I didn't.

I want to be that runner that glides along the street, seemingly effortlessly. I know it takes practice. But I couldn't get moving today.

I really want to be a jogger. But if I don't get out the door, it's not going to happen.

What is it going to take for me to go forth and jog? What's the trick that moves one from wanting to, to doing? I don't know either, but maybe since I have cyber-confessed my shortcomings, I shall be motivated. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Tonight I began meeting with a group of women, all strangers to each other before tonight. We're meeting to share ideas, thoughts, and experiences about relationships. In the course of tonight's meeting, we began forming relationships within the group as we opened the doors to our individual lives and began to share with each other. It was a wonderful way to spend a few hours.

In my 50 years, I've been a part of many groups. There have been social groups, professional groups, focus groups, educational groups, and parent groups. There have been groups of friends and groups of strangers. There have been large groups and small groups. There have been fun groups and work groups. While each group has had its unique purpose, each has been a source of community and security.

These days there's a new kind of group that is finding its way into my life - the cyber group. This is a group of people who live all over the world, but with whom I find commonalities. There are Disney groups and mom groups. There are running groups and weight-watching groups. There are many groups with a variety of purposes just waiting for another kindred spirit to join.

For me, the joy and blessings of any group are the people I get to meet. I am forever changed because of the way their lives intersect mine. While I may lose weight, I will remember the lady on the back row sitting with her son and will be encouraged because of her commitment. When I think of the bus of fellow Disney cruisers as we toured the slums of Mexico, I will remember the lady and her disabled husband as the tour guide ran off without them and I will practice compassion. While I sit in on a discussion board on the 'net, I will make a note to remember the first-time marathoner and look for her in the race to encourage her efforts. After all, it's people who make up the group, not just the purpose.

Groups provide me with new friends, new knowledge, and new experiences. They help make a very large world just a little smaller and more intimate. It's a great way to spend a few hours.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time for a Poem

Today was nice, today was fun,
Today I got just a little bit done.
I started a list and checked things off,
But I didn't get around to playing some golf.

The evening came and it was time to blog,
But thoughts got stuck in deep brain fog.
I typed and deleted and typed some more,
I kept up the process 'til my digits got sore.

I decided to rhyme and write some verse,
An original song would have been much worse!
So tonight just smile and think of good things,
And we'll just wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Donald!

Today is Donald Duck's birthday. Donald is my Disney character of choice, as you can see by the personalized drawing I bought myself a few years ago.

Why do I like Donald? Maybe because he's usually the sidekick. Maybe because he is great at pitching a fit. Maybe because he's allowed to have those human emotions that the "good guys" don't exhibit with such flair. Maybe because no matter what mess he gets himself into, he's always welcomed back into the fold and is willing to try, try again.

Donald's just a regular guy (uh, duck) trying to do his best in his world - it's just that stuff gets in his way. Mickey and the gang still love him, no matter what he gets in to.

We probably all have a little Donald in us - I just hope we have a friend like Mickey who loves us for it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kent and Big Brown

Big Brown didn't win the Triple Crown. For some reason, he just didn't run the Belmont Stakes like everyone wanted him to. Saturday was not his day to race.

For me, the point of this story is not that Big Brown lost. The important part is that his jockey, Kent Desormeaux, knew enough about his horse to call an end to his race. Kent pulled up Big Brown and finished the race last, concerned more about the health and well-being of the horse than Kent's own career and reputation.

Wouldn't it be great if we all had someone like that, someone who was in tune with us enough to know when we don't have it anymore, or are unable to complete what everyone expects of us, or just knows that today is not our day and pulls us up.

But maybe it's even greater when we can be that someone for somebody else. Maybe on any particular day, we are so in tune with someone that we notice when their race is over. We do all that we can for them, because we care.

Some days it's not about winning the race - it's just about having someone along for the ride whose biggest and only concern is you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Three Guys and an Air Conditioner

Today I made some new friends. They are the three young men who came to install the new central air unit at Molly's house. The worked for several hours in the blazing hot sun, and now Molly can sleep in cool air.

These guys are trying to start a business. By a chance circumstance, I met them and decided to employ them. Although they had no solid years-long references, I felt good about them and hired them. This morning they were about two hours late (which did lead me to a bit of panic), but after I called them, they called to say they had to wait at the warehouse and were on their way.

You never know what's going to happen when you take a chance on someone. But you'll really never know unless you take that chance. Today I took a chance on these young men and won. I got an opportunity to help out a new business and meet new people. It doesn't always work out, but today it did. The guys made another step forward in their business, and I got to meet some good guys. It looks like everybody won today.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pssst ... i need your help

In response to yesterday's blog, Kat wrote:

"Why is it so hard to ask for help?"

I've thought a lot about that question. Why is it so hard?

It is because we're afraid of being rejected? Is it because we hate to admit defeat? Is it because we don't want to admit we are powerless over something? It is because we don't want to appear to be weak, inept, or lazy?

I believe we are willing to help anyone in need, often before that person has a chance to ask for help, even before that person would even think of asking for help. We want to encourage that person, make it easier for that person, or just lighten the load. We don't think less of that person for asking - we just want to help. So maybe the real question is, if we're willing to help someone else without a thought, why don't we ask for it for ourselves? Aren't we just as important as everyone else?

For whatever reasons I've been unwilling to ask for help in the past, I want to change for the future. I want to be willing to be vulnerable so that I can become strong. I want to be willing to admit I need help so I can move forward toward a formidable goal. I want to be willing to ask so that I can receive.

I know it works. I know because at a much needed time in my life, God found me a counselor/therapist/life coach/friend. I know because when I needed direction in exercising, I joined Curves. I know because when I need running advice, there are real runners at race expos willing to share ideas. I know all the help I will ever need is out there, and I don't have to tackle anything alone.

I know help is out there - I just have to be willing to ask for it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Here I Go Again

No, I'm not going out of town or running another half-marathon - at least not yet. Today I joined Weight Watchers - for the third time. The first two times were very successful for me. Why did I stop? Because I had lost significant amounts of weight, and I thought I was cured (never mind the fact that I had started to gain a little, and decided to quit while I was ahead).

I had really wanted to avoid joining up again. I kept thinking I could lose weight on my own. But finally last night, I came to grips with reality. The scales were changing alright, but in the wrong direction. I clearly needed help and I knew what worked for me, so it was just going to get it.

The hardest part was to admit that I can't lose weight on my own. I hate asking for help, especially when it seems for something that should be so simple - just quit eating the wrong stuff. But my personal plan just wasn't working. So today I went to the meeting and signed up again.

As soon as the meeting started, I knew I was in the right place. I need this camaraderie and encouragement. I need the accountability and information. I need the enthusiasm and sense of belonging. I need this group to keep me focused and moving in the direction I want.

All I had to do was admit that I needed help. No matter how much weight I need to lose, admitting and asking for help was the hardest part. Now that I've done that, I can do the rest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Being the Sprinkler System's Assistant

We have a sprinkler system for our yard and flower beds. It was put in before some of our current landscaping was done, so everything doesn't always get watered like I want. This means that I have to get out the hose and water some of the flowers myself, if I really want them to bloom. Today I was not so happy about it. I mean, the sprinkler system is supposed to do all the work for me, isn't it? Why should I have to do extra work?

Then it hit me - the fact that the sprinkler system IS doing most of the work. It does the yards and probably 95% of the landscaping. All I have to do is the little extra that I chose to add. It may take about 15 minutes, and then we're done.

I find this dilemma a lot in life. Sometimes I think if somebody or something is going take care of a task, then it should be done and I should have no responsibility. But it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes if I think there's a piece that needs to be completed, I get frustrated when it doesn't get done. If I would just quietly and willingly do my part and move on to the next thing, then the job would be done to my satisfaction. Everyone would benefit, especially me.

I guess it's time to recognize that helping and doing your part isn't a burden when you want something to have wonderful results. After all, we are all in this together. Today, it was the flowers, the sprinkler system, and me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Paying for Vacation

Actually, Marilyn and I made a pact that when they put the final bill under our door on Sunday morning, we wouldn't look at it - we would just take care of it when we have to. But that's just one way of paying for a vacation.

You pay when you have to get back to work, whether you enjoy your job or not. You have to get back into that work and everyday routine and schedule. If you stayed at a hotel, you have to pay by cleaning up your own room. In our case, we have to turn down our own beds and make our own towel animals (or just hope the one hanging in the bathroom is clean). If you were like us on the "eat all you want all the time" food plan, now you pay by planning, buying and preparing not only your own food, but those who depend on you for their meals. Finally,you pay with all the time spent catching up on all the work and daily duties that went on in your absence and need your immediate attention.

There are many ways you pay for your vacation, but if you're lucky you realize how little you actually paid for the irreplaceable memories that you created. Those are the memories that will soothe you when the Visa bill comes, or the boss acts like an idiot, or you get mired down in the everydayness of life. After all, credit card bills come and go, but vacation memories last forever.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tricky Mondays

With Mondays, you just never know what you're going to get. It might be that you're returning to work after vacation, or it's the first day of a week full of things to do. On the other hand, it might be the first day you've decided to make some changes in your life, or it's your birthday, or your anniversary, or another day to celebrate.

Today was a tricky one for me. First of all, when I was leaving the cruise terminal on Sunday, I grabbed the wrong bag. Who would have thought that someone else would be using the exact same bag I had to pack their dirties in, and it be in the same Chip and Dale section, very close to mine? Did I bother to check the tag? No, because I thought my bag was so unique. Not so. When I got back to Nashville, I had an email from my travel agent saying DCL was calling to say they had my bag, which I thought was odd, until I opened said bag to take out the dirties. Upon realizing that I had not packed my clothes in plastic bags, I checked the name tag and saw a different name than mine. So today was spent on the phone arranging for my bag to be shipped to me, and I had the bag I kidnapped sent to Washington.

I also have the mother of all colds, and spent most of the day taking various cold remedies and applying hot and cold packs hoping to find relief, and attempting to sleep. I haven't felt this lousy in a while.

One might be inclined to think that this would not be a great way to spend a Monday. But the DCL people were very nice and I eventually found the right combination of drugs to unstop my face, so these issues were minor.

More importantly, I was finally able to load my vacation pictures, I enjoyed a belated birthday dinner for Molly with the family, we saw "Sex and the City", and I was able to enjoy being with those I love. All in all, a spectacular Monday.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Home Again

Unfortunately, Marilyn and I both got off the boat with a cold, so the 4-hour plane ride was not fun. Not bad, but not fun. Anyhow, I am back home and medicated with cold medicine. I was planning to share my vacation pictures, but Shutterfly has decided to be mean, so it will have to wait.

Instead, tonight I will go to bed without a chocolate or towel animal on my bed. Guess I'd better start planning next year's cruise!