Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I admit it - Halloween has never been one of favorite holidays. For one thing, I hate all things scary. My children will tell you that I banned any Disney movie with a witch in it, the same reason I don't like "The Wizard of Oz." I also didn't like dressing the kids up in costumes to go beg for candy, which I would have to deal with afterwards. It just seemed like much ado about nothing.

Maybe it had to do with Halloween when I was little. We lived out in the country on a farm, and trick or treating involved dressing up and going to exactly three houses - my grandmother's next door, our sole neighbor across the street, and my great aunt and uncle down the road. The only Halloween I really remember is the one when we dressed up my brother as a ballerina, but that's probably another story.

But now that my children are all grown and out on their own, maybe Halloween isn't so bad. Now I buy the good candy, just in case I have to eat the leftovers. Now I get to answer the door
and see little cuties in their costumes (or the lack thereof). Now I get to hear cute comments from little ones, like two I got tonight - "There's no plant in this pot," (no, it died back in July), and "Let's go to the next customer. Oh wait - we're the customers!"

So maybe Halloween's not so bad. It just took me 50 years to get here!
Things that make today great: Seeing Molly in her Meany Minnie costume; trick or treaters

Friday, October 30, 2009

Luanne and Emily's Night Out

Last night my friend and Emily and I went to see "Little House on the Prairie" at TPAC. We had a good time, even though it was a typical night out for me. Let me explain ...

We started the evening by having dinner at one of our favorite places, Demos. It started off quite well, because we found street parking that was free at 6pm. Upon our arrival at the restaurant, we were told it was a 30 minute wait. This was no problem, since we had a lot to catch up on. Fifteen minutes later, we were being shown to our table - a rectangular table for six. It seemed odd, but we took it and sat in the middle seats. Our rather frazzled waitress eventually came to our table for our drink order. I ordered iced tea and Emily asked for water and then added a cup of coffee, to which the waitress asked if she wanted lemon with that. Emily doesn't drink lemon with her coffee, so she demurred. When Wendy Waitress finally returned with our drinks, she gave Emily her water and coffee and said, "You didn't want lemon, right?" To which Emily replied, "Uh, that's fine." Sure, Wendy probably misplaced her words, but I'm not totally convinced she didn't mean lemon coffee.

Anyhow, Emily ordered the endless soup and salad, and I ordered seafood pasta salad that comes with a cup of soup, thinking Wendy would bring it all out at once. But no. First Emily got her plate of salad and I got my cup of soup. I sucked that down, and later Wendy brought out my dinner salad and Emily's bowl of soup. Again - a little odd, but it was good. By this time, it was getting close to curtain time, so off we went to the theater.

By the time we parked the car, we had ten minutes to hoof it to the play. Now, Emily has legs that are about three times as long as mine and about one third as thick as mine. So, we look like Laurel and Hardy as we're huffing up the sidewalk. But we make it to the ticket man as the announcer says it's five minutes until the curtain goes up.

Tonight was the first play in this season. We are season ticket holders and haven't been in our new seats yet, so Emily and I asked the flashlight lady for assistance to our row - time was ticking away. We found our row and started making our way to our seats, which are in the middle of the row. The closer we got to our seats, I noticed there were no empty seats. Finally we maneuvered over to where our empty seats should be, and saw that there were seven people there - a 12-year-old girl, her mother, a 6-year-old girl, a adult woman and man, and two teenage-ish girls. The mother said, "Oh, are these your seats?" I said yes, and she said that they would move over one seat to their correct seats. The adult man and woman on the other side apologized and then I noticed they were blind - complete with seeing eye dogs at their feet. They kept sitting and discussed that whomever brought them down obviously put them in the wrong seats. They continued to sit and discuss, while Emily and I are standing next to each other in the space of one seat, staring at each other, completely bumfuzzled.

Now, let me explain that Emily and I are totally passive. Ask my sister Marilyn. Once, when the three of us were eating out, Emily and I ordered steak and biscuits. When our order came, the bottoms of the biscuits were burned - black - and were as hard as rocks. Emily and I were content to scrape the charred bits off the bottom until Marilyn summoned the waiter and had another set of biscuits brought out. If she weren't there, Emily and I probably would have eaten the unburned parts and tipped the waiter extra. So, believe me when I say that in the case of our seats, we were not about to make a big deal about it.

Except that we did want to sit together. We would have offered to sit on either end of the group, but then we would have been in someone else's seats, and with my luck, those people would have shown up during the first song, raised a ruckus, and the whole production would have been stopped so the goofballs in the wrong seats could be escorted off to theater jail.

So, while the blind people held negotiations about moving seats, Emily and I just stood there, in front of the entire theater-going public, trying to figure out what to do. Of course, we didn't dare speak, because that would have been rude to say, "Do you think they're going to move?" As for me, I was thinking that the minutes were ticking away, and I didn't want to be still standing when the lights went down and have people start yelling at me to sit down. Because the only place I could sit at that point was in Emily's or Blind Lady's laps. Finally, the blind couple, the two girls, and the dogs moved down one seat. We were safely seated before the lights dimmed, and settled in for a great show.

It all went quite well until the show was over and the crowd headed for the exit. Well, everyone in the crowd but us. The blind couple stayed seated, presumably waiting for their guide to come for them after the crowd had thinned. As Emily and I got up and turned to head the other way, we noticed the twelve-year-old was sobbing into her mother's chest. We had no idea why, as the play ended on a happy note. But their combined bodies once again blocked our way out, so again Emily and I were left standing, staring at each other, trying to think of what to do. Just about the time I considered just leaping over the seats in front of me, the girl seemed to gain control, the two split apart, and Emily and I made our way back to our car.

Just another night at the theater - at least my own personal theater!
Things that make today great: Friday boot camp, finishing Molly's Minnie skirt; pizza with the M's; new camera

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October's 100 Things

Okay, so this one took me awhile. Every month I have been getting rid of 100 things. This month I decided to get rid of 100 "utility" things. Utility things are the things you have that help you do other stuff - tools, organizational things, paint, etc. I thought this would be pretty easy, but after several previous "clean outs," I found it a bit difficult.

Anyhow, after a few weeks, I finally arrived at my 100 things. Sam's having a yard sale in a few weeks, so I have a good place to deposit those tools I got for that one project and haven't used since, the plastic bins I had just in case I needed them one day, the endless doo-dads that have been sitting waiting for a reason to exist, and several items that I don't even really know what they are. Hopefully someone will find the use in them and take them home.

This monthly project has been a real lesson in what is needed and what isn't. I'm always thinking that I need to save something because I might need it, instead of getting what I need when I need it. The result has been a bunch of stuff sitting around just gathering dust (which I have plenty of).

It's pretty neat to realize how much stuff you don't need. The important thing I've learned this month is how much you won't need - so quit hanging on to it!
Things that make today great: Costco-ing with Molly; sweet Maggie cuddles; sleeping off a sinus headache; beautiful fall leaves; "Little House" at TPAC with Emily

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Person's Treasure ...

The other day as I was walking in my neighborhood, I came across this treasure by the side of the road. I was intrigued by this display because of the apparent effortless sculpting involved. I wondered if the depositing dog did this with all his eliminanations, or was he a one-hit wonder? I wondered if he was proud of his finished masterpiece. And I wondered if he was with his owner, was his owner too impressed to scoop it to toss it away.

At any rate, I was impressed with the finished product, which in its own way, was natural art. Which just goes to remind us to look carefully at things - what looks like dookey to you is art to someone else - and sometimes the dookey may be yours!!
Things that make today great: Logan's lunch delivery by Molly; lunch with the M's; Karen at boot camp; sewing Molly's Minnie skirt; super shuttle arranged for 3-day

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Failure Looks Like

In his blog today, Sam writes about "The Odds of Failure" and his decision to amend his goal of completing 12 half-marathons this year. I've thought a lot about this, because sometimes I think about failure too much. For instance:

Did Sam fail because he didn't complete twelve half-marathons this year? Or is it remarkable that he will complete ten or eleven? I think remarkable.

Am I a failure because I can barely complete 15 out of the 30 sit-up torture maneuvers during boot camp? Or is it miraculous that I can do 15? I think miraculous.

Am I a failure because out of the 12 marathons I've done over the years, my best time is 6 hours and 30 minutes? Or can I call myself an athlete because I've completed 12 marathons? I think athlete.

Am I a diet failure because I ate a couple of handfuls of Peanut Butter M&M's? Or do I pat myself on the back for stopping and eating a healthy lunch? I think I'll pat myself on the back.

Am I a failure in life because I don't measure up to all the expectations that I believe exist because of other people's comments? Or am I a success because I can change and create goals that are important and healthy for me? I think I'll choose success.

I guess in the end, failure, like success, is a relative term. It just depends on how you choose to see the outcome. Maybe what I perceive as a failure is really a success - I just have to look at it differently. In fact, maybe that's really what failure looks like - success in a Halloween costume!
Things that make today great: Jacqueline at boot camp; really jumping rope at boot camp; beautiful fall leaves; Southwest roulette

Monday, October 26, 2009

Childbirth Through My Ages

Tonight at dinner, Sam and Lynnette shared stories about the childbirth classes they are presently taking. Of course, in the 25+ years since I took Lamaze classes, some things have changed, although the eventual outcome has remained the same. So, I thought I would compare the history of my birthing experiences:

When I Was Born: Basically, mom went into the hospital on the due date and was sedated. Baby was delivered by doctor - who knows how. Dad was at home changing into his Sunday suit so he could go to hospital to retrieve wife (once she came out of drugged stupor) and infant.

When I Was Pregnant: Husband and I were required to attend Lamaze classes (don't know what would happen if we didn't - it's not like I would have a choice once baby decided to be born). Lamaze was a way to breathe through your contractions - I think just to keep you breathing as opposed to not breathing at all. In some states, epidurals were options. My sister insisted I discuss this with my doctor, who said we would discuss it when I went into labor, which translated into "if you have a Cesarean, you will get one." This was the same doctor who, when he was stitching me up after I gave birth to a Mack truck, fussed at me because the spritz of pain killer he gave my lady parts had worn off, and I jumped every time the needle made impact. Had I not be so birthing shell-shocked, I would have requested my own needle and thread in order to give him the same sensation by sewing his man parts together. Anyhow, during labor the dad was to instruct the mom in these Lamaze breathing techniques, which wasn't always effective, depending on how much attention the father paid during the classes. For me, it would have been more effective to have a stick to put between my teeth and a hammer with which to bang on my head. Anyhow, after pain and pushing and paging Steve to return to the labor room, Sam was born. It seemed like the hospital gave me time to shower until they shoved me in a wheelchair and hauled me out to the car.

When My Daughter-In-Law is pregnant: Now you get a doula to help coach you during labor. Now you get a professional birthing coach to keep you on track, who knows what to do, and who knows what the heck is going on. This professional is much preferred to the amateur you married - unless doula-ing was a characteristic you searched for in those single ads you placed. Now the dad gets to be a part of the delivery without the burden of keeping the mom sane and from saying things that shouldn't be heard by newborns. Everyone is happy and healthy and Disney tunes probably are playing in the background.

The thing is, babies will be born. Techniques and circumstances may change, but the ultimate goal remains the same - to welcome a precious life into this world. Lamaze, doulas, epidurals - use whatever it takes to make that happen.

But you may still want to keep that teeth stick handy - just in case!
Things that make today great: Mailing packages; new folks at boot camp; dinner with Steve, Sam and Lynnette; seeing Dave at JAlex

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Home Again

After a quick in-and-out visit to The World, I'm back home again. Tonight I'll get to sleep in my own bed with plenty of room. Tomorrow I'll start a new session of boot camp. In a few weeks I'll return to volunteer at Mickey's golf tournament.

This year has seen quite a few trips to Orlando, most of them helped by Ding specials from Southwest. Some trips were for races, some were with family and friends, and some have been birthday celebrations. Some were short and some were long, but they've all been fun. Each trip has had it's own special moments, but they all share one particular thing - it's always great to come back home.
Things that make today great: Safe flight home; sleeping in my own bed; Big River Grill for lunch with Steve; finishing the Tower of Terror 13K; Disney trivia at the bus stop; therapeutic effects of Starbucks mocha

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Woo Hoo! We're At Disney!!

Dear Next Door Resort Guest:

Yes, I too am excited to be at Disney World. So excited, that I stayed up a little later last night, probably getting to bed around midnight. I was ready to settle into my comfy bed to dream sweet dreams about Mickey and the gang. That is, until you and your family returned to the resort.

Obviously you were at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. I know that everything else in the World was long-past closed by the time you returned, so that's the only reason I can surmise for your arrival with your band of children.

How do I know you had children? Mainly by the running, banging, and happy shrieks that came from your room. How do I know that you were at the Halloween Party? Because I know a child's sugar rush when I see it. Or hear it, in your case.

I'm not sure what it looked like on your side of our wall, but it certainly sounded exciting on our side. There was running and shoving and pushing and bouncing against the wall. At one point, I thought if I heard, "Incoming!!!" one more time, I was going to introduce my own form of "incoming" to your family. Obviously all the children (and there had to have been millions) were having a good time. How do I know? Because of all the shrieks of laughter from all those little voice boxes.

Of course, you tried to trick me. I would hear a muffled adult voice, and things would get quiet. The muscles in my neck would relax, and I would start drifting off. Just about the time Mickey opened the door to my dreams, one word shattered those hopes - "INCOMING!!" Immediately the cacophony began anew.

Eventually, your family did manage to calm it down for the night. Either that or my old body simply went unconscious. Either way, at some point, I believe we all got a few hours sleep. When I woke up at my early old-lady time this morning, I was tempted to make AARP noises for the benefit of your family. But I didn't. After all, there's only one thing worse than a over-sugared, over-exuberant, over-crazed child at 1 am. What is it? An sugar-crashed, under-slept, awakened-early child at 6:30 am. I wouldn't want that for anybody who's here to share time with the Mouse.

So, I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation. As for me, I'll be coming in tonight after midnight after I finish a 13K. If you're asleep, I'll let you know I'm home by one word - "INCOMING!!"
Things that make today great: New crocs; sunning and eating by the pool with Steve; beautiful weather; cast members at store and libations; cat talk in the hot tub

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Art of Yawning

A month ago, I had a cavity filled. Part of the procedure involved the use of a dental dam, which is a contraption designed to hold your mouth open and the workspace dry. It probably isn't that big of a deal, but I had it in much longer than necessary because my dentist was having a party in the next exam room and couldn't get away from her guest.

The same week I had a massage from Mr. Masochist, who seemed bent on getting to the root of my tense neck muscles. I give him points for trying, but have to take away points for the resulting soreness. Part of his routine included my jaw muscles, which I felt had little to do with my neck - but what do I know? I guess the jaw bone is connected to the neck bone?

Anyhow, as a result of one or the other, or both, a few days later I could barely open my mouth. While this probably seemed like the ideal moment to start a liquid diet, I didn't. I found I could either chop up the food, or simply go with cheesecake, which was easily mushed between the tiny gap I could open between my teeth.

I'm sure many of you would have returned to the dentist or the masseuse or some other heath provider like an acupuncturist or witch doctor. But I didn't. As I did in childbirth, I decided to wait it out, believing it would get better. I kept setting deadlines that "if it wasn't better by ... I will go to the dentist." Each deadline was met with a little improvement, so I stayed put.

The point of this narrative is not the difficulty in the eating of food. The frustrating part was the inability to yawn. In case you didn't know, you cannot complete a yawn unless you are able to completely open your mouth as wide as possible - but certainly wider than a straw's width. An unfinished yawn is unnatural and can create a panicky feeling - well, at least in me. Try it - try yawning with your jaws shut. Crummy, right?

I am happy to report that yes, it did get better. Today I can yawn long and wide. It's a great feeling.

I guess it's funny the things we take for granted. Who would have thought that a simple yawn could be such an important thing in life? But maybe that's why incidents like sore jaws happen - so we can realize it's all those little things that make our lives complete and content.
Things that make today great: Disney shopping; New Jersey family on bus; tire flap on Epcot bus; dinner at Big River; race bib pickup and shirt; band aid nurse at first aid; unbelieving boy at bus stop

Thursday, October 22, 2009

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

... do you even have to ask? I spent two hours on Southwest, and hour on the Magical Express, and here I am. Yep - Boardwalk Villas at Disney World. Yes, I was just here a few weeks ago, and yes, I'll be here again in a few weeks. What can I say - I thought it was the Year of the Mouse.

Anyhow, I'm here to attempt to wog the Tower of Terror 13K. I have to do it because I've done it the two previous years it has been held, and this is its last year. So, it will be the second WDW race that I have officially completed in every one held and help retire it (the previous was the Minnie). This race starts at 10:30 at night (yes - at night) and I try to be done by midnight. We run on the roads around Hollywood Studios over to The Wide World of Sports and back to Hollywood Studios. Some years it has been hot - we'll see about this year.

Anyhow, that's why I'm here. As if I needed a reason!
Things that make today great: Safe flight down; chatting with mother of mother/nervous daughter duo in airport; fresh room - smells newly painted; pizza slice on Boardwalk at 11:30 pm; mullet lady on bus; leaving a picked-up house; finishing shower soap dish repair; crock pot boiled peanuts

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It's Wednesday. Isn't that enough for today? Yeah, I thought so too. More tomorrow - I'm headed south again. Until then ...

Things that make today great: pj day; segway tour planned; Mickey's Christmas Party ticket bought; shower repair nearly complete; Marilyn's cataract surgery success

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Farm Talents (or lack thereof)

I grew up on a dairy farm. I had friends who also grew up on farms and today they hunt things and ride horses and still do farm things. I don't, and apparently never did. So, I thought I would list a few of the things that I never did, farm-wise, that is. So, the things I never mastered (or really did at all) were:

1. Milk a cow by hand. I did help out in the dairy barn, but there were automatic milkers. My brief job was to put a scoop of feed in the feeder bin for the cows. I managed to bypass the poop canal scoop job. My lasting memory is that I will never get the smell of spoiled milk out of my system.

2. Ride horses with any amount of enthusiasm. When I was a little girl, one of our horses bit my thumb. I was afraid of horses from that point on, believing they were out to get me, either by eating me alive or bucking me off.

3. Plant a garden. We had them - I just don't think my father thought I would be very efficient at it. Come to think of it, I think I was allowed to plant peas or beans one year. There were no peas or beans that year.

4. Tend the chickens. Occasionally I did go gather eggs, but it was scary because of the snake stories - that chicken snakes would get in the nests to eat the eggs. Add snakes to the list of things that might eat me. Besides, a chicken yard is filled with all kinds and consistencies of chicken poop. Ick. However, it is a great source of fishing worms.

5. Can any type of fresh produce. My mother apparently didn't think I was up to this challenge. Or else she didn't want the challenge of having me in the kitchen. Either way, I don't know how to put up any kind of fresh produce, except to put it in the freezer. I think there's a pre-freezer process of blanching, but it sounds too close to bleaching, so I'm probably better off buying it already frozen from the grocery store.

6. Drive a tractor. I think my father treasured his tractor more than me. And the barn, trailer, shed, and all other equipment on the farm that could be trampled in my tractor-driving path.

7. Bale hay or create silage. I smelled silage every summer, and that was enough for me.

8. Slop the pigs. We had them, and once I might have gone past their pen around feeding time. The only thing that experience did for me was to prepare me for Thanksgiving dinner when I had my own family.

So what did I do on our farm? E-I-I-Don't-Know!!
Things that make today great: Eric at car service center; shuttle driver; grocery shopping with Maribeth and Molly; The Womens Room ladies; dinner from Demos

Monday, October 19, 2009

Old Age Hangover

From that decadent chocolate milk shake, that is. It's really not my fault. Steve and Maribeth wanted chicken tenders from Fat Mo's, and Steve added a chocolate milkshake. I guess we AARP-ers also succumb to peer pressure, because I followed Steve's lead and ordered my own chocolate milkshake. It was so good, I had to drink it as quickly as possible, all eight billion calories of it. It stayed delicious - until about 30 minutes ago. Now it is just a lead weight in my gastro-intestinal system.

Of course, like other kind of hangovers (or so I've been told), the best thing to do is to sleep it off. Which works out well, since bedtime for us oldies is before 10 pm.

So, let's review: excess, hangover, sleep. Maybe things don't change so much over the years after all!
Things that make today great: Eric at car service department; shuttle driver; 5 miler in the beautiful fall weather; hot dog lunch with Molly; hitting the driving range with Maribeth; chocolate shake from Fat Mo's

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm A Brick House

Back in the day (well, my day) there was a popular song called "She's a Brick House." The words from the title are about all the lyrics I know and about as much as the melody that I remember. But lately it has caused me to think about brick houses and women. Particularly mine and me.

Our house was built in the 50s, just as I was. And it seems that we are both showing our age. Last week the soap holder thingy in the shower fell off. Of course, it didn't help that I was holding on to it as I was trying to raise to a standing position from cleaning the shower. Our roof was leaky so we had a beautiful new roof installed, but we're still having a few problems. Some of our floors aren't exactly even. There are cracks in the house here and there. And one can only imagine what's going on behind the walls with all that old electrical and plumbing.

That's about the way it is with me. Cracks from settling show up in wrinkles here and there. My fading paint shows up as grey hairs. Who knows what lurks underneath my skin - unless you count the arthritis, bursitis, and creaky-itis. Things haven't exactly fallen off - but there are certainly a lot of things sagging and bulging at the seams!

Old houses do have charm, and a lot of people renovate them. A few years ago we updated and remodeled our house. It certainly looks better than when we bought it, but it's still the same old house underneath. As for me, I'm not exactly planning "lift, tighten, and suck it out" procedures. Instead I'm trying to keep it together with ankle supports, night creams, and extra vitamins. I'm just not sure if there's enough spackle for this golden oldie!

In the end, I guess I just have to realize that maybe I am like my old brick house. I am not as strong as I was, but I'm still standing. I'm not as new and fresh as the new build down the street, but I have characteristics that others don't. And while things may not work as well as they did, I'm still viable. But most of all, just like my brick house, I hold over fifty years of memories and experiences that are special and unique to me. Come to think of it, maybe that's why we expand and crack as we get older - the wealth that is inside us can hardly be contained inside our walls.

So maybe I'm not the brick house of the 70's song, but maybe I'm even better. Where else would one want to be in order to be safe and secure? What else can you count on to be strong? Which house could stand against the Big Bad Wolf? So in the end, maybe it's not me that needs updating, but the song.

She's an old brick house - and proud of it!
Things that make today great: Family pancake brunch followed by family Target trip; catching up race scrapbook; dvd afternoon

Saturday, October 17, 2009

When Humans and Pets Collide

I'm not sure if Grayson looks like Steve, or Steve looks like Grayson. But since I live with both, I guess it's okay! And yes, it's been a slow blog day. But at least you get a human/kitty picture instead of all kitty!!
Things that make today great: Visit from Philip and Ben; Rachel at Lazyboy; Buca de Beppo with Sam and Lynnette; crispy cold fall day; Molly and BP moving yard sale stuff; ordering new couch

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ahhh, Friday!

Even though I no longer work outside my home, I still can appreciate a good Friday. For one thing, today was the last day of the current boot camp. I have a week off until the next session starts, which means sleeping past 5am. Another good thing is that my house is relatively picked up for the weekend and the laundry is done. The weather is a bit dreary and cold, the perfect weather to hunker down with a good movie.

All in all, a good way to start the weekend!
Things that make today great: Last day of boot camp (for a week, anyway); fairly clean house; cute Maggie and Grayson antics; Demos for dinner

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just Do It

This morning it was a little cool outside. It was also raining a lot. I was a little sleepy and stiff at 5 am. Put all those things together, and you have a recipe for staying in bed. However, I also had boot camp at 5:45. That's when the struggle between bed and boot began.

After much discussion back and forth between me and myself, I finally decided to go. I got wet but I went. Apparently there were many who decided on bed, because there were only six of us in camp. We ran and jumped rope and lifted weights and all kinds of horrible things like that. But once it was over and I had some food and a morning nap, it all seemed like a good thing.

This afternoon I went to Petsmart to get seafood cat food because Grayson and Maggie have not been too pleased with the current chicken and meat selections. While I was there, I also bought a few other things. When I checked out, I thought the total seemed a little less than I was expecting. After loading the stuff into the car, I looked over my sales receipt. I noticed that instead of charging me for 24 cans of food, I was only charged for one. I took the cart back and debated on whether I should go in and alert the clerk to her mistake. I knew what I needed to do and went in and straightened it all out.

So the moral of today's story is to do the right thing when you know you should. Don't think about it, or try to rationalize it, or convince yourself that you should. You know it should be done - so just do it.
Things that make today great: Intimate boot camp group and nice remark from fellow booter; lunch and Costco stuff via Molly; new Disney half marathon announcement; JAlex with Sam, Maribeth, Lynnette, and Molly; watching the balloon boy incident; Petsmart shopping; race pics

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Me and Merle

Last week while at the girls weekend, I ran out of makeup. Many of you will understand when I say it was "scraping the last bit out with a toothpick" running out. While that meant a few fewer things in my quart Ziploc for airport security, it also meant no makeup in Nashville until I could get to Merle Norman.

Yes people, I am a Merle Norman girl. Over the years I have flirted with Mary Kay, Revlon, and numerous other beauty experts, but I remain a Merle-er. To date, my relationship with Merle goes back 37 years, back to when my mother took me to Geraldine's for my first beauty makeover.

Today as I was making my purchases at the Merle Norman store, I saw the products I used back in the day. There was the cleansing cream, which is the consistency of a thick hand cream mixed with a can of lard. There was super lube which probably could also be used to lubricate car parts. There was powder base, and every one's favorite, Bamboo Beige. In short, some things never change.

Well maybe I did, because I have graduated from those early products. I now have shelves of products to pick from. Now I use some sort of night cream (and its sister day cream) that has magical ingredients for "mature skin." Bamboo Beige has given way to alabaster (aka creamy white don't-get-in-the-sun old lady color). The can of loose powder and powder puff has transformed into a sponge and compact.

The point of all this is to say that things can stay the same and change too. The basics will always be around along with their new and improved counterparts. You just have to be able to discern which is best for you - what was or what is. And if you're smart, you'll find that you can use it all - car lube included!
Things that make today great: Re-supplying at Merle Norman; driving Molly's Prius; boot camp hump day; mailing packages

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Singing Loud and Proud

This morning I took Sam's car to the dealer for an oil change and a recall repair. Molly was coming to pick me up, so I decided to walk to our designated meeting spot. Part of the route goes through a tunnel. While I was walking in the tunnel, I decided to start singing - as loud as I could. With all the cars passing through, there was little chance of anyone hearing me - or calling the looney patrol to come and pick me up.

I am not a professional singer. I'm not even an amateur singer. But today that didn't matter because I decided I would just sing my heart out. I did and it felt great.

So what did I learn? That sometimes it's good to go all out. That sometimes you can do things that you wouldn't normally do - it just has to be the right time and place. That sometimes it's fun to do the unexpected and do it in a big way. That just because it looks crazy, it's not always so.

So do something big. Sing, dance, scream, laugh - whatever strikes your fancy. Do it loud and big. And then be glad and proud that you did it.
Things that make today great: Sharon and Karen at boot camp; walking to Molly-pickup after car dropoff; first time driving Pretty Pretty Prius; picking up Lynnette at airport; chatting with magazine sellers

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things I Learned from the 10K

1. Sometimes in the beginning, things look and seem dark (especially if it's a race at starts at 7 am). But by the time you're finished with the project, or race, or whatever, the light has started to shine and things look a lot brighter.

2. Everything is much more fun when done with friends, especially if you have a common goal (like just finishing 6.2 miles).

3. Upon completion of a goal, celebrate (with food tastings, or drinks, or just dance a jig)!!

4. Just because your goal may be the same as thousands of other people, you don't have to achieve it exactly the same way (some may finish the race in 30 minutes while it takes you an hour and a half - but your medal is exactly the same).

5. The physical location of your dream sometimes makes the difference in your achievement of it (running through Epcot makes the miles go by much quicker).

6. Just because at some point your project seems like a really terrible idea, it isn't. If you persevere to the end, you'll realize it was a good idea after all (what seemed like fun months ago, sucks when you have to get up at 6 am, but regains its brilliance once you cross the finish line).

7. Stopping to connect with strangers along your journey is an added bonus (when you meet someone who's progressing at your same pace, you encourage each other to continue).

8. When someone snipes at you and your methods, don't let it undermine your determination to finish (just because some runner thinks you should be at the back of the pack doesn't make it so - you have the right to be where you want to be).

9. And finally, you'll never know the joy of an accomplishment if you don't ever start to try something (in other words - take the first step and follow it with another and another until that last step that crosses the finish line).
Things that make today great: Safe flight home; new book to read; sleeping in my own bed

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday. In Sentence Fragments.

Walking 6.2 miles. Sweating. Taking pictures. Getting medals. Sweating some more. Tastings post-race. Early rising. Busing to race start. Porta-potty waiting. Getting schooled in walker etiquette by jerk runner dude. Still sweating even more. Driving. Shopping. Eating. Gassing car. Returning car. Checking into new hotel. Showering. And finally, in a few mere minutes, sleeping.

It's been a good day.
Things that make today great: 10K with Marilyn, Molly, and Micaela; food tastings after the race; dinner at Brio with Molly, Marilyn, and Allison; lunch and shopping with Molly; 10K and Fall Endurance Series medals

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday in the World

First of all, it's hot. And humid. And crowded. Other than that, there's a 10k tomorrow. If I manage to make it through that, then we'll see what happens next.
Things that make today great: Wishes fireworks; shopping for fun things

Friday, October 9, 2009

Women Vs Food

Today Molly, Micaela, and I decided to "eat around the world" at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. Basically, the premise was that each of us would go to a different food kiosk, get each of the food offerings they had, then gather together to share. As with all many good ideas, this one was only good in the planning. Only six countries and 25 "sample plates" later, we could barely walk. The 94 degree weather with high humidity did not help our situation.

We did manage to make it back to our room. We cranked up the a/c, found a bed or couch upon which to recline, and promptly sank into a food coma.

Today, in the contest between us and the food festival, the food won.
Things that make today great: Tim the repeat WDW bus driver; 10k race packet pickup; food at festival (at least at the beginning); Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and fireworks; Casey Jones dogs with the ladies; Dinosaur picture and family

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Disney. Again.

What can I say?

It's almost midnight here. I arrived at the airport and have been back twice since to pick up the other members of our party. So now it's time to sleep before the fun starts tomorrow. Wish you were here!!
Things that make today great: Safe, smooth flight; car rental employees; Sun Pass dude; pickups from the airport and feeding them fast food; cast members at OKW; getting the party started

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Natural Gas

Tonight's blog is brought to you by ... the baked beans I ate for supper. Yes people, let's chat about gas. I think it's time we "cleared the air," so to speak.

First of all, let's be honest. Everyone passes gas. It's a natural function. And yet we act as though it is a personal insult if we are in the presence of a gas passer - unless we are indeed the gas passer. I say, let the gas pass.

Second, remember your important gas-passing episodes. Remember the first time it happened with your significant other? Remember the first toot your child performed? I'm just saying, if it was so important that you remember, it couldn't have been a bad thing.

Third, share your experiences. I remember the time I beeped in front of my class. Which wouldn't have been so horrible - except that we had a guest speaker, some business dude who was trying to teach my students about Junior Achievement. Needless to say, it was no junior achievement on my part.

Fourth, perhaps we are all just a little uninformed on the whole gas gamut. Therefore, as a teacher, I will help you with some gas facts. Breathe them in and share your knowledge.

Finally, I acknowledge the fact that sometimes it is a bit uncomfortable if you are in the presence, yet not the originator, of the passage of the gas. Wouldn't be cool if instead of calling the gas police, you instead congratulated the gass-er? After all, it might be quite a feat that was accomplished in your presence.

I think that's all for now. Go eat your beans in peace.
Things that make today special: Pedis with Molly; chatting with the M's; Bubba burgers with Steve, Sam, and Lynnette; texting with Lucy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fish & Chips and Shoneys

... not a good idea at 7:30 pm. Ugh. Time to go sleep it off. See you tomorrow.
Things that make today great: The Women's Room ladies group; Kennedy roof dude; running errands; race photos

Monday, October 5, 2009

TLC - What Happened?

Dear TLC:

Years ago, I watched you with a passion. Shows like "Baby Story" and "Wedding Story" were fun and sweet. I watched your shows about real people and real families and all was good. The more recent shows like "Little People, Big World" and "The Little Couple" continued to show families in different situations and depict a different way of life. Even "John and Kate Plus Eight" was a delight - in the beginning. But lately their train wreck of a life has stopped me cold in my TLC-watching habits. I can't condone this family as they exploit their children in their pursuit of financial gain.

But TLC - last night you reached a new low with "Monkey Babies." Yes, I watched, and cringed through every family. At the conclusion of the show, I felt like a voyeur. I learned little about these people, the plight of monkeys treated like babies and later abandoned, or really anything constructive. I found it a sad program, much like many of your recent offerings. Instead of being "The Learning Channel," you've become something else - a peeping Tom peering in the my neighbor's window.

TLC - please go back to your roots. If you want to present a lifestyle, teach me about it. Explore all parts and let me learn. Quit trying to exploit people just for ratings. But if you're not going to change and continue to air programs, maybe like "Crazy People You Need to Criticize," then please change your name. I think "Totally Loathsome Crap" is more appropriate.

I'll get my learning elsewhere.
Things that make today great: Killer boot camp; flu shot at Walgreens; mailing packages and cards; boiled shrimp with Molly

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Books I'm Currently Reading

But so far, I haven't figured out which one I'm destined to be!

And yes, thanks to an sleepless night, it's really been a no-blog day!
Things that make today great: Brunch with the family; Targeting with Maribeth and Molly; first peppermint mocha of the fall

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Why I Hate Lessons

Today I decided to get on with my training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. I am behind in my training, mainly because (a) I haven't wanted to do it, (b) I hoped that doing two half-marathons in August and September made up for my lack of training, (c) my former training partner is preggers, and (d) my other training partner lives in Baltimore. Since the event is only 50 days out, I knew that I had better get my rear in gear.

Today's plan was to walk 10 or 12 or 15 miles. I did 8. I started later in the morning and ran out of steam. But it was a lesson that reminded me to get with the training schedule or (a) risk catching the sag wagon (something Lynnette and I took a vow never to do, although I think Marilyn has a different philosophy), (b) have my legs turn to noodles and my feet turn into one huge blister, and (c) turn an otherwise awesome event into a loathsome pity party.

And that is why I hate lessons - they don't really teach me anything I don't already know - they just kick my butt into doing what I should be doing anyway.
Things that make today great: 8 mile walk; Steve walking the first mile with me; Steve trimming the shrubs; beautiful fall day; rearranging the Disney room; Lucy's new apartment pics and Lindley baby clothes pics; chatting with Sam; MB's funfetti cake

Friday, October 2, 2009

When Cats Compute

Hello. My name is Margaret Thatcher, or Maggie for short. Tonight I am guest blogging for Luanne. So I thought I would give you reasons why cats like computers:

1. They are warm, and who doesn't like to nap in a warm place?

2. The things on the screen move if you paw at the keyboard. If only we could read!

3. There's nothing better than irritating a human. It usually means extra food because they want you out of sight, and they have been trained to put out more food to get cats out of the way.

4. Cat toys and equipment on the web. Cat people like nothing better than to surf for new cat toys, litter boxes and the such on the Internet. They have yet to figure out that an empty box will work as well as anything they purchase.

5. Cat pictures and videos - cat people are crazy for that stuff, as evidenced by Luanne's frequent blog posts. Just plink on the piano, fall off a couch, or just look kitty adorable, and poof - you're a star on You Tube.

Well, I guess that's all for now. I'm full and haven't had a nap in an hour. It's probably time to get in an adorable position for some new pictures.

Things that make today great: Boot camp Friday!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why SOME People Need Grandchildren

So that they will stop taking pictures of their cats!!

But aren't they precious!___________________________________________________________________

Things that make today great: 5 miles; chatting with Karen at boot camp; golf tourney details and travel plans