Monday, August 31, 2009


It's Monday. After a week of decadence at Disney World, I returned to Boot Camp this morning. It was not pretty, but I did it. I spent the rest of today doing bit and pieces of random tasks. It is the last day of August, so I thought I would observe this day. In other words, I did nothing.

Tomorrow I'll do more. More than likely.

Gifts that make today special: Boot Camp Monday, Factory lunch with the M's, Sean at PetsMart, Maggie playing on the kitty tower

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy TMD!!

Apparently today is Toasted Marshmallow Day. Really. I noticed it on a holiday website, then googled it to make sure. It is listed on several websites. However, I could not find who declared it and when. I personally did not have any marshmallows in the house, so I ate Cheetos instead. Apparently there is no National Cheetos Day.

So, the moral of this story is that you can declare any day a National Food Day. For you healthy people, there is a National Broccoli Day.

I've just got to find out the date of National Mickey Bar Day!!

Good stuff that makes today special: Steak Eggs Benedict at Germantown Cafe, pedis with the Ms, Maribeth home again, chatting with Shelley at Signature

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Good Stuff Happens

Usually, just spending some time at Disney is enough for a good time. But sometimes I get a few bonus experiences that make it even better.

The first was last night - or early this morning. The space shuttle was supposed to take off Tuesday morning at 1:30 am. I managed to stay up, only to find out at 1:15 that it was scrubbed. It was rescheduled for midnight-ish on Tuesday, but it was again scrubbed, this time before any staying-up-late was involved. It was rescheduled for last night at 11:59 pm.

I had seen shuttles take off when we lived in Dunedin, Florida. From across the state, you could see a tiny bright light than you knew was the space shuttle. When the Challenger exploded, I had just taken Maribeth for her baby immunizations, and I remember thinking that the smoke trails were not normal, only to find out the reason when I turned on the television.

Once when Marilyn and I were taking the girls on a short cruise, the captain hurried the ship back towards Port Canaveral because a shuttle was planned to take off on our debarkation day. He needn't have hurried, as that shuttle date was delayed, and we ended up sitting off the coast of Florida, just floating our time away.

But this would be the first time I had ever seen a night launch - if it managed to take off before I left. Last night at 11:30, I headed out to the beach on Bay Lake because earlier in the week, a friendly Disney bus driver told me that was the best place to view the launch. Soon I was joined by many other guests, all waiting for the same thing. I didn't exactly know where to look and hoped it would be obvious. Soon some children behind me were counting down. When they said, "Blast off," I looked in what I hoped was East. There were clouds in the sky, and I wondered if it would hide the action. But we all kept looking, and soon saw one cloud turn several colors of orange. It continued to turn brighter colors of orange and red, and then suddenly we saw it - the bright flame that we knew was the space shuttle. Everyone burst into spontaneous applause, and I'm sure mine were not the only moist eyes in the crowd. We watched as the flame continued to burn, as two red dots that were the booster rocket thingies fall off, and until finally the flame turned into a dot and disappeared. It was a great moment, especially to be at Disney with people who really were as excited as I about this event.

It was a great way to end a vacation. At least until I got to the airport. As usual, my carry-on suitcase was packed to the gills, and my other carry-on had to carry everything that wouldn't fit into my suitcase. I got to the gate after pulling out everything to find my wallet, then again to find something else, then again - well, you get the picture. I decided to read, and pulled everything out once more to find my reading glasses. Unfortunately, there was no case and glasses to be found. I searched and searched, but to no avail. I figured they could be anywhere - from the bus to security to McDonald's to who knows where. Except who knows where did not include my bags. So I resigned to having to get new glasses (the case held my usual "don't want to wear my contacts" glasses plus my readers) when I got back. My plane arrived, and I waited for the "line-up" announcement. When it came, the announcement wasn't to line up, but that someone had turned in a glasses case, and the owner needed to come to the desk to identify them. Yes, they were mine.

So I guess sometimes vacations end with all the good stuff happening at the beginning or middle. But for this one, good stuff happened at the end. And in this case, it was really good stuff!

Good stuff that makes today special: Watching the shuttle launch out on a Disney beach; glasses found; toddler throwing up in the seat behind me on the Magical Express, safe, smooth-ish flight, seeing Molly's new car, home again

Friday, August 28, 2009


I am at Walt Disney World on vacation. I'm sure some may wonder, "Vacation from what?" That's another story. Today is about vacation, because tomorrow I go back home.

For some, vacation means packing activity into every second that you're away - on vacation. Been there, done that.

For some, vacation means making sure you get every penny's worth out of your vacation dollar. I've tried that, only to discover that sometimes I was so busy trying to save a penny, I missed out on fun. So, I decided to spend the money and enjoy myself. Which makes Visa very happy.

For some, vacation involves doing nothing that you do at home - watch TV, go to the movies, etc. I once believed that, too, was sacrilege. But it dawned on me that I don't do it at home without the thought of what I should be doing, so why would I deny myself doing it on vacation, guilt free?

Here at Disney World, you see all kinds of vacation. You see the tired, weary, and now-poor. But you also see those who are having the time of their lives - just because their main focus was having fun - no matter how it looks.

So that's what I did on this vacation. I lazed around. I worked out - one day. I watched TV. I went to the movies. I went to the parks here and there. But most of all, I escaped and took it easy, which in the end, is what vacation should be all about.

Gifts that made today special: Animal Kingdom, comments about my shoes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Case You Have Too Much Time on Your Hands


Gifts that make today special: Watching the movie "Up" with Molly and the two boys that sat beside us; Molly's new Prius arrival

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Making Informed Decisions

This afternoon, Molly and I decided to stop by Ghirardelli's. We got what we wanted, and imbibed. Afterwards, we were understandably stuffed. So the question remains, was it worth it? I vote yes, for the following reasons:

1. This is not an activity we do on a regular basis. Probably because once every now and then satisfies us (or teaches us a lesson) so that we don't repeat it, even though we will probably be back in the vicinity before too long. (Lucky for us there's not one in Nashville)

2. It helps us with our rest. If you consider a sugar sleep coma in the afternoon restful.

3. It provides us an incentive to work out. One would think that it would give us an incentive to work out before we pigged out. We did consider it, but instead decided to sleep in. After awakening this afternoon, we were too sluggish to do much more than watch Jeopardy, so we couldn't work out then. So I guess tomorrow we are going to have to really hit it hard. I have a feeling that Monday's boot camp in Nashville will not be pretty.

4. It was on our "to do" list. You probably don't want to know what else is on that list!

5. It was on our way back to the bus, and in terms of time management, was the best choice. I have a minor in management, so I know.

6. We didn't have dessert after our Cuban food, so we needed it to complete a balanced meal. I don't have a minor in nutrition, so I'm just guess that's what a balanced meal means.

In short, we assessed our situation and decided that a chocolate shake and Midnight Reverie sundae were advised.

I think we need to get new advisers.

Gifts that make today special: Movie with Molly, Bongos and Ghirardelli's, afternoon coma nap

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boot Camp - Disney Style

Because Molly and I are missing boot camp (well, maybe missing is not the word - more like Molly and I are absent at boot camp this week), we thought we should work out. We decided this would be a good idea so that next week, when it is week 3 of boot camp and things really get intense, we wouldn't be off on the side, whiffing in oxygen from the 911 paramedic team.

Yesterday, since it was my birthday, we did nothing. Except eat totally inappropriate food. And lots of it. And lay on the couch moaning and groaning about how much totally inappropriate food we ate.

This morning, in spite of staying up after midnight to witness the space shuttle that didn't take off, we decided to do the work out thing. We call it WDW Boot Camp, and I just thought I would highlight the differences between this boot camp and the one we attend in Nashville.

1. Nashville Boot Camp (hereafter referred to as NBC) starts promptly at 5:45. WDW Boot Camp (hereafter referred to at WDWBC) starts after we get up. And watch Jeopardy. Two episodes. And eat breakfast and a snack.

2. We warm up at NBC by walking around the gym, followed by jogging around the gym. We warm up at WDWBC by walking to Fort Wilderness and back. We jog once - from one tree to the next. And since we're in the woods, you can imagine how far apart the trees are.

3. We work our muscles at NBC by using our own personal 5-pound (and for the advanced people, 8-pound) weights. Since we didn't bring them in our luggage, we had to make do. So we went to the fitness room. There are a lot of Ibex or Apex or Ipecac or something machines. I once used them at the YMCA under the strict supervision of a professional. Here we were left to our own devices. So we adjusted weights and studied the diagrams. We managed to lift a little here and there and generally did something. Except for the one machine, which I will call the "pushy-leg machine." The concept is that you sit down and put your legs up on this platform and push it down. We couldn't get the seat adjusted, so we each ended up sitting down, hoisting our legs onto the platform, and completing the maneuver. The only bad part was the start, when our knees were stuck up by our ears.

4. At NBC, we keep our heart rates up in between strength exercises by doing cardio - running, jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, etc. We attempted to keep our heart rates up by using the cardio machines - which we didn't exactly know how to use either. I spent most of the time on the elliptical trying to figure out which way my legs were supposed to go - forward or backward. I think they went both ways, maybe at the same time. The bike wasn't much better, because it had about 1 million different programs, none of which seemed too desirable. Of course, it wasn't too encouraging at the end of my "ride" instead of listing my calories burned and heart rate, the display said, "Are you kidding me?"

5. After our wog in the woods and misusing most of the machines in the fitness room, we decided to return to our room to do our crunches and push-ups. Which we did. And I must say they were about as good as we do at NBC - meaning we were terrible at them and faltered half way through. But we tried, and are hoping that counts for something. Actually, I think my abs (or whatever exists in that general vicinity) were laughing their jiggly selves silly.

Our plan is that tomorrow we will WDW boot camp it again, hopefully starting a little earlier in the day. The space shuttle has been scrubbed again, so we can get to bed earlier. Now that we have a minuscule amount of experience in the fitness room, perhaps we can achieve greater results there. And maybe we'll do even better at our crunches and push-ups once we return to our room. We can dream.

After all, those Mickey Bars aren't going to lift themselves to our mouths!


Things that made today special: Sleeping in after no shuttle, walking and working out with Molly, dinner and waiter at T-Rex, Segway tour on the trail, taking picture for family, video rental cast member

Monday, August 24, 2009

Year Fifty-Two

Today I am fifty-two. It's an age I never imagined myself being. It's an age that doesn't feel old, yet doesn't feel young, either. Is it still middle-age when you're a member of AARP?

I still have many things to accomplish. Losing weight, mastering a real push-up in boot-camp, welcoming a first grandchild, figuring out what to do next in my life - these are just a few goals to go for in the next year. I am finding that being fifty-two is not a time for complacency. It is a time to continue to look forward, to see what's next, and to keep searching for that next goal to achieve.

There are new friends to be made, new trips to travel, and new predicaments to master. There are laughs and tears and screams to be voiced. There are things to learn and to teach. There's so much life still out there to be lived.

So this next year should be full of it all. Fifty-two seems to be just the beginning. Of what, I'm not sure, but I'm certainly looking forward to the ride.


Gifts that make today special: E-birthday wishes, Shopping with Molly, Lackluster sales clerks, Pepperoni pretzels, New blog template, Kat's sweet contribution to the 3-Day

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One Heckuva Disney Day

Today Molly and I had quite the Disney experience. Rather than give you a complete narrative of our entire day, we decided to hit the highlights:

1. The pimple-popping demonstration held in front of the Mickey show at the Magic Kingdom. The performers were a man performing this stunt on his lady who was in a wheelchair. We can only hope to have that kind of loved one in our family. The pimple poppee, that is.

2. The "aha" moment when I was upset because my 3-D glasses were not working in Toy Story Mania, thus preventing me from attaining a high score. I removed them to ask Molly what was wrong with them (or me), only to discover that I had on my sunglasses.

3. Walking past what we believe was a taping of a family who will be on a future episode of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition." We think it was this scenario because they were all posed just like the families on the show who are sent to Disney World while Ty tears their house down. They were all looking at a laptop. We didn't venture over to verify this, so we will leave the story as is.

4. My order of what I hoped would be a mocha frappachino. When I got it, it turned out to be a coffee/milk/whatever concoction poured over ice. I'm sure you coffee enthusiasts would call it something. I don't care - it was yucky. Molly liked it and drank it. Figures.

5. Our mouths were ready for a yummy filled pretzel at Min and Bill's Dockside Diner, only to get there and discover a total menu change. No pretzels for us. All we had at that point was some milky coffee over ice. Blech.

6. We decided to purchase some new Disney collectible doodads. Don't even ask me what they are - I don't know, but they look like little Mickeys. But you don't know which one you have until you buy it. Which of course we did. The cast member dude cast a spell over them so we will get the ones we want. Which we won't know until tomorrow, since we had them sent to our room.

7. But we didn't get them sent to our room when we bought them. Instead, we had them in a sack and went to the next store in search of new Disney crap. We found some popsicle maker things and bought them and asked Peter from London if he would ship our first purchase along with this purchase to our room. After carefully studying our sales receipt, he said okay, and proceeded to ring up our purchase, then ring up some more transactions to further the process of shipping our stuff. Then the machine acted up and Peter led a seminar on modern technology. He then had to manually fill out the form. He asked for our room number, which we really weren't sure of. So, tomorrow we fully expect a sack of tshirts and Mickey ears to be sent to us at Room 12 at Pop Century (we are at Wilderness Lodge). Meanwhile, our real stuff will probably be put back into inventory.

8. We got to the Magic Kingdom in time to watch the aforementioned Mickey show in front of Cinderella's Castle. I dragged Molly there to verify that Mickey's mouth moves as he sings. We noticed that not only Mickey's, but Minnie's, Goofy's, and Donald's mouths move also. Molly was traumatized, only to be drawn out of her shock by the pimple-squeezing sideshow.

9. We ended the day at Epcot because I was invited to attend a Mickey Moms Illuminations Dessert thingy. The details of what and why are unimportant. Molly and I were expecting a spread of dainty dessert-lets. Instead, the mob was treated to soft drinks, packaged popcorn and pretzels, cookies and rice krispie treats, and Mickey Bars and popsicles. We bagged some of it and decided to go back to the room - just before the lady sitting on the floor next to Molly decided to breast-feed her baby. And even though that breast-fed baby could have been her 23 years ago, Molly does not appreciate what she calls "a baby doing a keg stand."

So, now we are back in the room, ready to call it a day. We are going to attempt to perform some sort of boot-camp tomorrow since we will be missing it in Nashville. Hmmm - wonder if hoisting Mickey bars will count!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Maggie and Grayson

A picture is worth a thousand words.
And for tonight, you'll have to think them up -
I'm too tired to do it!

But aren't they cute!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Shoes

Just the facts -

1. They are called Vibram Five Fingers.

2. They are cool. In my rather odd fashion sense

3. They have toes - sort of weird at first, but still cool.

4. I got them in NYC last weekend. So did Sam. Maybe his new pregnancy brain got to him.

5. Supposedly you can run in them. I will. When I run, which is a ways from wogging.

And just a shout-out to Marilyn - I like them and they fit, so you don't have to worry about getting them in the mail!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sure Signs of Aging

It's inevitable - those signs that let you know you're getting older.

The 'Ritis family moves in - arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, and all their relatives. You don't move as quickly as you once did.

You lose hair where you want it, and grow it where you don't. The hair you have turns grey and starts to have a life of its own.

The infants who pose as salesgirls give you dirty looks when you shop in the "cute" clothing department and when you go to the women's department, all you find are sizes marked in geriatric sizes - old, older, and ancient.

No matter how hard you try (and the effort is minimal) you can't lose those ten pounds you gained from dinner the night before. Tums becomes a regular after-dinner mint.

Your hearing becomes selective, and that which you don't hear, you don't understand anyway, because of the language the young-uns are speaking now.

On your wedding anniversary, you realize you've been married over half your life, and the percentage keeps getting larger until you can't remember what it was like not to be married.

You remember when you had only one phone in the house, and it was a rotary dial. You remember your first color television. You remember that it only cost fifty cents to go to the movies. The trouble is, nobody else is all that interested in what you remember. What you really want to remember is why you're in a particular room - now what were you after?

The signs of aging keep on coming, until one day, somebody tells you you're going to be a grandma. Suddenly, getting older is the best thing ever!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Michelle and Me

The recent brouhaha over Michelle Obama's shorts has me a bit confused. She has on a respectable pair of shorts, has the legs to wear them, and was on vacation when wearing them. She wasn't wearing hot pants to a state dinner. I just don't get it. I mean, if somebody really wants to get all discombobulated about a woman in shorts, they need to take a gander at my race pictures from Sunday. Technically, I had on capri britches, but still I looked like a stuffed sausage that had been soaked in fat sauce. Now that was a case for the fashion police!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If Only Lettuce Were Smaller ...

This adventure started awhile ago. When we redid our kitchen, I wanted a side-by-side refrigerator. I got one, but it didn't take too long to see that it was a problem. It seemed to get filled up too quickly and sometimes I had to place a dish sideways in it. I couldn't open the produce drawers all the way due to the layout of my cabinets. The freezer department was totally inadequate for all the Popsicles and Bubba Burgers we stock in bulk. In other words, it wasn't a perfect fit, but I made do.

I kept thinking I would just get a new refrigerator. However, I couldn't justify it because the one I had was new and functional. There was also the fact that a new one to replace it would cost way, way too much. So I kept trying to figure out a plan.

I came up with the idea of getting a second fridge - a basic one, smaller with no ice maker. I could get one for about one-fourth of the price of a replacement. So I set out on my search to find just the right one. I visited several showrooms, then decided to go with Home Depot. When I went to purchase said fridge, Ollie pulled it up on his computer and discovered it was on sale. Well, the black model was on sale (my appliances are white). But since this fridge was going in the laundry room, the sales price was perfect. I bought it and arranged for (free) delivery.

The place I intended for the fridge had a cabinet that needed to be removed. I managed to get it unscrewed from the wall and moved in time for today's delivery. Right on time, GE Delivery Dudes come to my door. Delivery Boss tells me that when they pulled off the carton, they noticed there were two dents in the doors, and would I like to see them. I decide this is a good idea, and go to the truck. Sure enough, there are two big dents. Delivery Boss assures me it will not affect the performance and my warranty will still be intact. Then he tells me that GE will refund me $100 for the dents. Sounds great to me, so Boss pulls the fridge off the truck, Assistant wheels it to the designated spot, they set it up and check the seals, I sign a bunch of papers, and I'm in the utility fridge business.

That is until I decide that the new fridge lined up next to the washer and dryer looks too claustrophobic. Thus begins my saga to rearrange my laundry room. Rather than take you through all the details, I'll just say that it involved the following: Hours of trying to unscrew screws that held the big cabinet to the wall that I needed to move so I could move the dryer. Unhooking the television cable from the Monster Television in the den so I could pull it out of the big cabinet. Unhooking the extra-long dryer vent thingy and then cutting off a small piece to reattach to the dryer. Sweeping up bags of old lint (I rarely clean the laundry room). Hours of trying to thread the cable back into the wall into the den - this took several coat hangers trying to find the hole and Maribeth in the den looking for the coat hanger and lots of duct tape to tape the cable to the hanger only for it to fall off when the hanger finally found the hole and Maribeth pulled it through. Moving the big cabinet out, the dryer to where the big cabinet was, the washer to where the dryer was and the little cabinet to where the washer was. There was also lots of sweeping and rearranging and sweating. Finally, everything seemed to be in place. I probably should have taken a picture, but I was too busy taking adorable pictures of Grayson and Maggie the kitten.

So today was just another chapter in the epic tale of "Luanne's Great Ideas." The good news is that the cable guy will be here tomorrow to fix the cable.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday in Nashville

I overate, probably from yesterday's 13.1 and today's boot camp. I changed the sheets on my bed, where I plan to be in about 10 minutes. I cooked dinner and then cleaned it up. I took out a cabinet to make a place for the utility refrigerator that's coming tomorrow. I found a car repair place to fix the Cabrio before it heads north. I took a shower, ran some errands, and made a grocery run. I updated my life, read about the travails of friends' Mondays, and planned for future projects and trips.

All in all, not bad for a Monday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday in New York City

It started early - around 5 am. I slept off and on last night, going over today's race in my head. I knew there was a time limit on the race and I was unsure that I would be able to meet it. I also knew there was a heat advisory for the race. Both items caused me a bit of anxiety, but obviously not enough to bail on the race. Sure I haven't been jogging enough lately, but I have been butt-camping. I was hoping that would be enough to tide me over. I should mention here that hope can only go so far sometimes.

Anyhow, I got up and had a bite, got dressed, and then Steve and I met Sam at the elevator around 6 am. We hailed a cab and took off for Central Park, the start of the race. For the next hour, I found my corral and looked around at my fellow race participants, wondering which ones would be bringing up the rear with me. Needless to say, once we crossed the start line, I never saw them again after seeing their rear ends flying off in the distance.

So I begin my jaunt around Central Park. I believe the temperature was well into the mid-eighties by this point. At the first water stop, there were two lone volunteers trying to pour water and Gatorade for over 12,000 sweaty athletes. And me. When I arrived, we were just grabbing cups and dipping them into the lined trash cans filled with water. Did I mention it was hot?

Anyhoo, we keep our pace, whatever that was at that second (running, jogging, walking, crawling) around Central Park and all its rolling hills. There were non-race joggers and dogs and baby buggies also using the roads or paths or whatever, so it was fun.

I was at my usual back of the pack position. I had on my fancy race watch that will time each mile if I hit the right button. I pass Mile 5, hit the button, and head for Mile 6. After about 25 minutes, I think I must be in reverse warp speed, because I still haven't come to Mile 6. Apparently Mile 5 would be the last marker I would see, because the race crew was just ahead, taking up all the mile markers, because we were to slow to get there. Whatever. As long as there was somebody ahead of me to follow (and there always is), I knew where to go. Just didn't know how far I'd been.

After the first mile or two in the park, I seriously begin to question the intelligence of my deciding to proceed with this race. It was hot, and there were hills, and I was getting slower. I had decided that if I did a mile at a 20-minute pace, that would be a sign to quit and return to the hotel. Then came Mile 5 and my 25-minute pace. Which turned into several hours, since there was no other marker until the finish. In 24 half-marathons, I had never quit a race in the middle. I've bailed on several before they ever started, but I had never quit in the middle. But I had made up my mind that when we finally got out of Central Park, I was going to hail a cab and go back to the hotel. I figured it would be a great blog post - "How I Quit A Race and Saved My Life."

So, at Mile Who-Knows, these two backpack-carrying dudes come up behind me proclaiming that they are the "sweepers" and we need to stay ahead of them because they are at the allowed pace limit for the race. I stayed ahead up until we exited the park when they kept yapping and passed me by. I turned to the total stranger who was beside me and said, "I believe I've had it."

Total stranger turns out to be an angel in disguise named Sara. She turned to me and said, "We can do this. We'll do it together." We chatted a bit, and I found out she had just moved to the city from England, and was planning to walk the rest of the race. We walked some more miles (I would tell you how many if there had been mile markers) until I got a surge of energy and picked up my pace. I know, I'm a loser for leaving her, but I had to strike while the iron was hot. In other words, I had to move when I was able.

Anyhow, I kept going, taking water at every stop and basically dowsing my body. At some point we were told to get on the sidewalk, and we complied until we saw them begin to take down the last water stop, when we skedaddled back onto the road to get the last bit of water before the finish. I grabbed a cup of ice to keep me going, which came in handy when I grabbed a few bottles of water left by total strangers along the route.

Finally, I could see the finish line and headed in that direction. Just like the winner, my name was announced as I crossed the finish line (the announcer was obviously bored after watching the last of us limp in). I proceed through the finish area, taking the pretzels, water, and whatever else they gave us. I asked the water lady where the medals were. She told me to keep going. I did, only to find out that THEY RAN OUT OF MEDALS!! After chatting with other delirious finishers, I found out that we could email NYRR and hopefully get our bling.

My choices at this point were to hail a cab or catch the subway. Deciding that the cab was a better choice than trying to remember which subway to take, I managed to get one. When I got in, I told Cab Man that I wanted to go to 57th and Lexington. He then proceeded to speak to me in ESL English. With my diminishing Southern old-lady hearing loss, I understood nothing of what he said. So I just said, "However you need to get there. Just go the fastest way." His hearing is equally impaired to Southern old ladyspeak, so I think he thought I meant go the scenic route. At some point he said something 40-something exit or street. He looked like he needed encouragement, so I said, "Okay." He seemed happy, and eventually (after touring the United Nations, the Statue of Liberty, and the Pentagon), we had me on the corner across from the hotel. I handed him the soggy dollar bills I had kept on my person for the last several hours and we said our goodbyes.

I joined the rest of the family in the hotel. Those who were able went to procure lunch which we ate in the hotel room. We checked out of the hotel to catch a cab back to the airport. We found a cabbie who agreed to take all five of us in one cab, which is apparently against NYC cabbie rules. Steve sat in the front, while the back seat held me/lynnette/sam/molly. Did I mention this was a small-ish car? We managed to squeeze in by basically spooning each other. Being next to the door, I was a bit concerned about flying out the door, especially if I grabbed the door handle for support as our cabbie was zipping around in traffic. At some point during the ride, we had to shift to spoon in the other direction, which was successful until my old-lady hip began to spasm. We finally made it to the airport, boarded the plane, and flew home.

It was a great weekend in New York City. We ate some good food, shopped and bought some cool stuff, enjoyed seeing some of the city's landmarks, and enjoyed the goings-on of a fun city. But what made it best was that we did it together, spooning and all.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clouds and Roman Numerals

As we were flying into New York City yesterday, I was looking out at the clouds. I do this a lot when I fly, looking for potential flying hazards. As I was doing my hazard assessment, I tried to remember the three different kinds of clouds, something I learned back in grade school and later taught my students. I could only remember two of the names, and couldn't remember the differences.

Today Molly tried to teach me the complexities of Roman numerals. I know the basics, which I consider adequate Roman numeral knowledge. But she felt I should know it all, followed by a quiz.

As a teacher, I really felt that there were some things my at-risk students needed to know more than other things. I felt like learning how to multiply was much more important than spending time learning to convert standard measurements to metric. I felt like learning general topics about history was more important than learning exact dates and names of obscure battles and insignificant historical events. I felt like learning to read from real sources of print like newspapers and magazines was more important than a silly reader.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe if I had stressed the importance of learning about clouds and all the important information associated with each type, at least I'd have somebody to call when I needed some advice. But maybe we're not supposed to know everything. Maybe we're only supposed to know certain things, things that make us experts. Maybe we're only supposed to really know the things that make us special and unique and invaluable to those around us.

I should know. After all, who do you think is the resident expert in refilling the toilet tissue roll!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hello New York!

The family is in New York City for the weekend. Steve, Sam, and I are planning to participate in the NYC Half Marathon on Sunday. As usual, I plan to bring up the rear of the race. My goal is to avoid getting swept.

Today we flew in around noon, picked up our race stuff, visited the Top of the Rock, and ate a few meals here and there. Everyone has had or will have their own personal agendas, but we'll meet up from time to time. It will be a quick weekend, full of this and that for each person.

Now, if I can just get to Pinkberry ...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Gray of It All

Today as I sat in Allyson's chair, she told me that I hadn't had my hair done since March. As if one look in the mirror couldn't attest to that! I knew it had been awhile, but five months?!

I've been letting my hair grow out, partly due to laziness and distraction, but also because I'm tired of trying to work with the gray by putting in highlights and low lights and any lights in between. My plan was to let the gray grow and then cut my hair short, thereby cutting off most of the yeller (that's color #4458).

Anyhow, during the past few days, my hair has simply gotten out of control. Molly said my "fro" was getting in her face today as she was trying to show me some pictures on her laptop. Luckily, I had an appointment at lunch, met with Allyson, and decided to follow my plan. The gray grow-outs stayed and much of the rest got cut.

I'm not sure if I'm going to like having so much gray. especially since Webster's describes gray as being old and aged. But it will be nice not to have to bother with color and save a little money. Besides, maybe there really is a good reason to have gray hair!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Goof-up That Wasn't Ours - This Time

Best Buy is one of my favorite stores because they have always treated me with respect and fairness. So I was a little perturbed to read about today's news. Apparently, due to a Internet pricing error, a 52-inch television was listed for $9.99 instead of the actual price of $1,799.99. Of course, some people thought they were getting a great deal, instead of the steal they really were after. Best Buy realized their mistake and have said they will not honor the incorrect price.

I have to side with Best Buy on this one. It was a mistake, albeit a whopper of one. But it was a mistake, something we all make. It wasn't malicious, it was a goof-up. Give them a break and let it go.

We all make mistakes, even the big dogs. We would do well to remember this the next time we drop our computer and carry it in to the Geek Squad!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Having It All

Recently, a single friend openly wished she had a husband to help with her expenses and tasks. A married person responded by listing some of the baggage a husband brings to the table. It was another example of how sometimes as women, we really want it all.

If we're single, we wonder what it would be like to be married, unless we are, in which case we long to be single sometimes. If we don't have children, we wish we did, unless we have one, in which case we want more, unless we already do, in which case we wish we had just one or none. If we have sons, we wish for daughters and vice versa. If we have curly hair, we wish for straight, unless that's what we have and have to pay for our curls. Sometimes it seems that whatever we have, we wish for that which is the opposite - not necessarily because we don't want what we have, but we want that other experience, too.

But the fact is that we can't have it all. We can't eat our cake and still have it too. Sometimes we have to make that choice and sometimes the choices are just what we get in life. And while we're thankful for whatever we have, we still wistfully wonder "what if."

But maybe by thinking about the opposite circumstance of what we have, we bridge that gap between us and those who are different. Maybe by looking at what might have been, we can more objectively see what is. And maybe by seeing our lives as they are, we can not only appreciate and be thankful for what we have, but we can understand why we are who we are. Whether we're married/single, kids/childless, curly/straight, etc, we can realize that those things make us uniquely us. Those things help define our place in this life and why we're here. Because of everything we are, we are specifically positioned to make our mark on this world, no matter how large or small we may think it is.

Then, as surely as the Earth rotates, our circumstances change. Suddenly we have that child, or become single, or lose all our hair. We reinvent ourselves and what was dissolves into what is. But we're still who we are for a reason. I think Max Lucado said it best: "God packed you on purpose for a purpose." So in the end, I guess we really do have it all, if having it all means being who we are meant to be in this world.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zero Day

Today was a zero day, which in Maribeth's Appalachian Trail lingo, means a do-nothing day. However, I would like to point out the things I did do:

1. I pressed the couch with my body all day. Nice, non-wrinkly couch now!

2. I took a shower. At 4:30 pm. At which time I also got out of my pjs.

3. I kept up with my facebook friends' updates. Would hate to miss some important news there.

4. I cooked supper. That didn't come in a box. Or a take-out container.

5. I took a nap. Ironing wears me out.

6. I tidied up the freezer compartment of my frig. By eating a frozen fudge bar.

7. I replenished the toilet paper roll in my bathroom.

8. I helped Jack McCoy bring justice on "Law and Order."

9. I set up the DVR to tape "The Closer" tonight. At least I hope I did it right.

10. I read today's newspaper. Sometime this afternoon.

I think that's pretty good for a Monday!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


That's what my alien name would be. What can I say - it's been a slow day and I'm sleepy!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Why I Like Golf

When I was growing up, we only got one channel on our television. The channel was a CBS channel, and on Sunday afternoons, all we could watch was golf. I never understood why anybody would care about this seemingly inane sport.

Then I married a golfer. I played a smidgen when we were first married but later sold my clubs at a yard sale so I could buy diapers, or pay the electric bill, or something like that. But a few years ago, I decided to try again.

I'm a terrible golfer. My good shots are few and far between. I enjoy playing, simply because of the unpredictability of my game. I just never know what my shot will be, no matter how hard I try to put it all together.

I also now like to watch golf on television. I love to watch Tiger Woods play. I marvel at his abilities, especially since coming back from knee surgery. I loved watching Tom Watson almost win the British Open. I love watching the young players, especially when one of them has a chance to play a round with Tiger. I love watching the players and their caddies as they try to choose just the right club, just the right swing, and just the right whatever to land that perfect shot.

I guess I love it because it reminds me of my life sometimes. No matter how hard I try to get all my stuff lined up for the perfect whatever in my life, sometimes it doesn't pan out. Sometimes, just like in golf, I end up in the rough or not at all where I want to be. Sometimes, I'm in stormy circumstances or unfamiliar territory, it's just not my day, or I'm with somebody who does it all better than me. But golf teaches me that there's always the next shot and there's always somebody who can help me with that next shot. As long as I keep making forward motion, I'll eventually get to the flag and put the ball in the hole.

Like golf, life is a lot about numbers. Sometimes we want to believe that our age or our salary or some other random number defines our life. But in the end, the numbers will fade away, because all that really matters is that you had a good time and enjoyed the time you spent playing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why Going The Extra Mile Matters

Yesterday I needed to make a veterinarian appointment. I called my usual vet, who couldn't fit me in until way later than I wanted. I decided to call a new clinic in town called Value Vet. When Molly's friend Scout first used them for her kitten, I wasn't too sold on it. I mean, with a name like "Value Vet," could the service really be reliable? Maribeth and Molly had also used them for their kittens in recent months, but still - did I really want to go to what sounded like the Kmart of veterinarians?

But yesterday I needed an immediate appointment. When I called Value Vet and explained my situation, they said to come in, because they understood the urgency of the need. I went in, and the staff were more than understanding. Their quiet voices and soothing words were comforting in a bittersweet circumstance. They did everything possible to make all who were involved as comfortable as could be, from emotional support to a box of Kleenex. When all was said and done, the veterinarian, a woman I had never met before that day, hugged me before I left. Everyone I came in contact with were understanding and supportive. I left, knowing I had found a new veterinarian.

Then, today in the mail, I opened up an envelope from Value Vet, thinking it must be a bill or a note of thanks for my patronage. Instead, there was a condolence note, signed by their office staff. Suddenly, Value Vet no longer seemed like just a bargain. Instead, I realized what true Value is.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Opie was the only real family dog we've ever had. She was named Oprah for obvious reasons, but always went by Opie.

Opie was a little bit neurotic and her mission in life was to chase and retrieve balls. Over the years, arthritis set in and age began to take its toll.

I was there when Maribeth and I picked her up from the Humane Society 15 years ago. Today, I was there holding her when she finished her ball-chasing days on this earth.

She was our Opie and she was loved.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good News Costs

Being a bit tired and ornery, I decided to find some good news to blog about. So, I googled "good news" and started surfing. I found a story on one website that I wanted to read, only to find that in order to read it, I needed to subscribe. Sure, it was only $2 a month, but it sort of soured me on that website's promise of good news. Maybe I'm a cynic, but since when does good news cost more than bad?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Thought I Wanted Pizza for Dinner ...

... but I think this picture changed my mind!! And no, this isn't a picture from my kitchen!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

You Just Never Know

This is an old picture of embarkation day on a cruise my sister Marilyn and I went on a couple of years ago. Of course, I am pointing out the drink I am drinking. I have my priorities straight. However, the lady in the white shirt walking past ended up being our table mate at dinner for the week. We didn't even notice this fact until after we had made the picture and looked closely at it a few days later.

I guess it just goes to show that you never know who might be walking past you, so it behooves us to pay attention and be nice. Because on some days, we're the person walking past, hoping someone might notice us.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tidying the Toity

Guess where August's 100 Things came from!! Correct - from the two bathrooms downstairs. I know one might wonder how could I possibly find 100 things to dispose of in two little bathrooms, but I did.

Much of it was small bottles of shampoo, etc., that I had brought back from hotels, expos, and just about anywhere that gave them out. Years of penny-pinching developed habits of taking anything free. I bagged all the little bottles to donate them to a local shelter, hopefully also bagging that habit of adding clutter to my bathroom.

I went through all the various bottles, noting expiration dates. Many were tossed due to expirations dating back to 2007! There were other things that were obviously past their prime, even though there was no actual expiration date on them.

I boxed all the things I never use anymore. Waiting for a future garage sale are an extra curling iron, regular curlers, hot rollers, and a few other select "beauty appliances." Rather than wait to see if I might use these things, I'm sending them on to someone who definitely will use them.

The rest of the 100 Things were odds and ends and just general stuff that wasn't being used. It was time to clear and clean it out, and I did.

Of all the 100 Things Projects that I've completed so far this year, this probably yielded the smallest mass of stuff. But it cleaned out a smaller area. It also helps to recognize what is actually used and therefore needed. Hopefully it will help when I go to obtain the next bathroom-related item.

In the end, I have a less-cluttered bathroom. I got rid of 100 more things and am slowly learning how much I don't need, in every aspect of my life!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Stuff and More Stuff

Okay, so I haven't gotten the 100 things yet - but I've got some good ideas. It's funny how the more I want to get rid of, the more I realize I have.

I have many things that people have given me. There are thingamabobs and doohickeys and this and that. A lot of it just sits around. But each thing reminds me of the person who gave it to me. The "clean-up" shows would tell me that it's not the thing, but the person and thought behind the object that counts. But does it? What if that person comes to my house and looks for the given object? Have I disrespected them by passing it along to someone else?

I have many things that I have picked up along the way. There's the stuffed squirrel I found along the side of the road, and the princess crown I found in a parking lot. There are things I purchased on sale, and stuff I got free at a race expo. I have two batons leftover from my high school band days. For some inexplicable reason, each of these has some tie to my heart. But is it emotion or some freaky hoarding thing?

I have many things that I like that have no real purpose. I have several coin banks that hold a small amount of money. I have mugs that hold paper clips. I have empty vases and frames. I have stuff that I like to look at, but rarely do because it's behind some other stuff. So would I even notice if it weren't there anymore?

I guess the point is that I have a lot of stuff. While I like much of it, most of it just takes up space. But tomorrow I'm going to decide which stuff is going on to become someone else's stuff. I'm learning that we really have so much stuff that we really just don't need.

In the end, I think it's the things that really matter - family, love, friends, prayer, and God - that we can't ever really get enough of. But if we're blessed, those are the things that we will never be without.