Sunday, February 28, 2010

Packed or Not Packed - That Is The Question!

When I travel, I sometimes forget things. Usually it's because I decide to pack 10 minutes before I'm supposed to leave. Sometimes it's because I meant to pack an item, but left it on the bathroom counter/bed/closet/the suitcase that I thought I was taking but decided to take a different one at the last minute. Other times it's because I have no clue - about packing, about where I'm going and why, and just no clue in general. I've forgotten cosmetics, prescriptions, contacts, underwear, and just about everything and anything else. Hey - it happens.

Sometimes I realize I forgot something while on the way to the airport. Sometimes I remember when I'm on the plane. Sometimes I remember at some random time. And sometimes I remember when I have a need. This current trip has been no exception.

I forgot my contact lens solution. I realized that I had none about 10 pm at the hotel. But I also realized that it was the end of the month and almost time for a new pair of contacts - which I did remember since I try to always pack an extra emergency pair. So, I wouldn't have to make a late night run - that could wait until the next day.

I remembered that I remembered on the way to the airport that I had forgotten to pack the charger for my new phone - it was still plugged into the wall at home. My phone still had a few energy bars on the display, so I knew that also could wait until the next day.

While remembering what I didn't have, I couldn't remember packing my camera, so I added that to my list. I debated whether to get a cheap camera during my massive shopping trip the next day. Since I was at Disney and doing a 5k with Steve, I decided I would look for a camera meeting my specs (cheap).

The next day I headed to the local Wal Mart and bought contact solution, a charger for my phone, and the cheapest best camera (along with the required batteries and SD card - not as cheap after all). My astigmatic eyes were happy, my cell phone got charged up, and I have several good photographic memories of this weekend.

This wouldn't be such a great story, except for one thing - today as I was packing up to return home, I found my cell phone car charger and my original camera in my bag. I guess I forgot to pack my brain, too!

As great a story as this is, there is a postscript, having to do with the brain I forgot to pack. Today Steve and I decided to ride Soarin' at Epcot. While at The Land, we both took a bathroom break. As I was coming out of the bathroom stall, my sunglasses hit the floor (I did remember to pack my sunglasses, a common purchase when I am out of town because I tend to forget them). I picked up the sunglasses, thinking, "Boy, some people might be offended by the fact that their sunglasses hit a communal bathroom floor, but not me! I'm not afraid of germs!" I washed my hands and Steve and I road Living with the Land and then got in line to ride Soarin' again.

When we were finally sitting in our hang-glider seats, I put my bathroom floor germy sunglasses on my head. At the end of the ride, I thought, "Boy, these sure are snug for my aviator-style sunglasses." I took them off my head, inspected them further, and discovered that they were not my sunglasses (which were in my coat pocket). Instead, some body's sunglasses hit the bathroom floor, I picked them up, washed my hands, and walked out with a new pair.

Steve and I discussed whether I should take the sunglasses to Lost and Found or not. I decided not. I figured the likelihood of anyone claiming them was nil, and then a really good pair of sunglasses would go to waste.

Besides, the owner probably forgot she packed them anyway!
Things that make today great: Epcot-ing with Steve; Delores at Beaches and Cream; new sunglasses

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maybe I Am An Athlete?

I've been watching the Olympics and I know what an athlete looks like. Frankly, I have yet to see one that resembles me (and my physique). However, I'm thinking that maybe I can lay claim to being a part of this illustrious group - athletes.

According to, an athlete is:
a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill
So, I've decided to analyze my situation. According to these words, I wouldn't say I am necessary trained, although that would be my goal. I am certainly not gifted. However, I am a participant.

In January, I wogged a 5k and two half-marathons in Orlando and Miami. A week ago, I wogged 2.36 miles in Jacksonville. The next day, I wogged 13.1 miles. I have been a slow yet hopeful boot camper, doing things that my body reminds me I shouldn't be doing. Today I jogged 3.1 miles. I believe all this activity qualifies me as a participant. But does that really make me an athlete?

Maybe being an athlete means I have to start taking the responsibility of acting like one in addition to participating. Maybe I have to do the training, look at my nutrition, and study on how to perform better. Maybe being an athlete is more than just participating - it's a way of life.

Maybe that's the thing about being an athlete - it's not always about being the fastest or the winner in some sport - it's about believing in what you're doing and trying to do your best. As for me, I've got the participation thing going - now it's time to get going on the rest.
Things that make today great: ESPN 5k with Steve; changing my recipes over to new cards; a little more shopping; Wolfgang Puck's with Steve

Friday, February 26, 2010

Where I Am

I can see greens and palm trees and mountains and globes and bowling pins and sorcerer's hats. Now where in the World could I be?
Things that make today great: Shopping and finding some good stuff; dinner with Steve; watching Steve and friends play golf; new camera

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Looking Past the Exterior

Late this afternoon I boarded yet another plane for yet another trip for yet another race - only a 5k this weekend. I always look at the plane - usually looking for a bright, shiny new one that looks like I will get to my destination without crashing.

When I looked out today, I saw a yellow plane - the old Southwest yellowish orange color. I couldn't help but wonder how old this plane was, and whether the wings were going to stay on. As I was boarding, I realized it was one of those specially painted Southwest planes - but it still had the impression of being an old plane to me. The flight was fairly smooth and without incident. So my first impression was faulty - I had to experience it to realize what mattered.

I realized that's the way it is with people. Sometimes that outward appearance has very little to do with the spirit of the person. The most valuable part of a person lies deep within - and we have to experience that person to get the blessing.

I'll probably still look on the outside of things - planes and people included. But I hope I won't stop there. Because if I did, I'd never get anywhere or get the joy of knowing some very special people.

And come to think of it, maybe they wouldn't get to know me!
Things that make today great: Partnering with Molly at boot camp; babysitters club with Lindley; safe, smooth flight; upgrade at Hilton; Steak and Shake with Steve

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Socks and Other Things

Sometimes blogging is hard. This is one of those times. Know what else is hard? Wearing socks in the way they are intended. Sometimes my socks turn around so the heel is on the top of my foot. This can't be my fault though. I blame these defective socks. Goodnight.

By the way, Molly is my guest blogger tonight. Or maybe my substitute blogger. Either way, she is responsible for the words in the preceding paragraph. But not responsible for the sock dilemma.
Things that make today great: Molly's visit; taking scraps to Lindley and family

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ode To No

No words,
No blog,
No thoughts,
Brain fog.

No wit,
No pics,
No help,
Can't fix.

Short words,
Small rhyme,
Droopy eyes,
Things that make today great: Molly being my partner at boot camp and getting drinks after; lunch with the girls; dinner made by Maribeth and Molly and sharing it with Lynnette, Sam, Lindley, and Ann; picking up Ann's friends and taking them downtown

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'll Call You - Just Give Me A Little Time To Figure Out How

I finally got a new cell phone. No, it is not a blackberry, blueberry, or strawberry. Nor is it an IPhone, Youphone, or Theyphone. It is a Samsung Impression. That means it's a basic phone for basic people like me.

My current (not the new) phone was on its last legs. Last week the recharge cord broke, so I could only charge it in the car. Since it kept a charge for about an hour before it decided it was too tired to stay on, the phone got charged every time I went somewhere. Today that phone is back with AT&T, hopefully in cell phone heaven.

I have had several cell phones since my first one back in the Dark Ages. I believe that one came packaged in a shoe box, due to its size. Since then I've had flip phones and sliders and do-nothings. They have ranged in color from pink to red to balck to silver. They have been dropped on the floor and in cups of hot tea. But they've all had one thing in common - a fairly inept owner.

This new phone has features that I haven't used before. I probably won't use them now. But it does have one thing that I think is interesting. Apparently I can block numbers that I don't wish to talk to. If you are not on my happy list, then I will put your number in this file and your call goes straight to voice mail. Of course, you won't know if you're on my list or if I'm in the shower. Hmmm - maybe I should have left that part out.

Anyhow, I am happy to have a new communication device. Should I actually figure out how to answer it, you and I might even have a conversation. I am able to text - I just have to figure out where the correct letters are and how to find your phone number.

Maybe you're better off on that list after all!
Things that make today great: butt-camping to help get out the stiffness from the race; finally getting the security icon corrected on the laptop; Targeting, health department visiting, and Krogering with Molly; new phone

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Today's Race Lesson

Today I learned something about dedication to one's sport and excellence. At least I think I did. Let me explain.

Today I participated in the National Breast Cancer Half-Marathon in Jacksonville, Florida. A marathon also races at the same time and on the same course. Let me further explain. We all started off and ran together (well, actually a bunch of people ran - and I, along with a bunch of other people wogged) until about mile 6.5. This is the mile that is run on the beach, and at this point, we half-ers turn to go back on pavement while the full-marathoners continue down the beach and get back on the pavement miles down the road. When we get back on the pavement, we half-marathoners are at Mile 7. This point is where the full marathoners rejoin us - at their mile 20. Here's where the lesson begins.

I do these races slowly. To give you an idea of how slowly, when I was at Mile 4, the winner of the half-marathon was headed toward the finish at Mile 10. He was probably finished and in the middle of his nap by the time I got to Mile 5. So, by the time I got to Mile 7 (back on the pavement), the human cheetahs were passing me at their Mile 20. But we turtles cheer them on, because we are just happy to still be walking and breathing.

Okay, so here's the lesson - really. As I am chugging along, several women full-marathoners pass me and then SHE comes. She is wearing the usual race uniform of the fast people - something that I would call a two-piece bathing suit, but I'm sure there's some technical name for their outfit. Anyhoo, she races past and I look at her legs. I'm thinking, "She must have some of those magnet strips that I've seen on other elite racers." Then I look again and think, "Boy, she sure does have a lot and in such an intricate pattern." Then I look yet again, and think, "Those are not magnets - that's dirt and mud." Looking for the last time, I realize, "She has had a blowout!"

Yes people, this woman has pooped in her pants and down her legs. I checked her bathing suit bottom for confirmation. And yet she kept running, past all us slow-pokes and fans along the way.

I couldn't help but wonder why she didn't stop at a porta-potty. Certainly being in the front of the race, there had to have been plenty available. Why didn't she stop to clean up or at least hose off? Personally, I would probably have stopped, done my business, and headed for home at the first inkling of such a situation. But then again, maybe that's why I'll never be an elite runner.

Thank goodness!!
Things that make today great: Fellow racers on the buses and during the race; finishing the half-marathon; lunch at Mimi's Cafe; cheering spectators along the route

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just The Facts

I spent two hours looking for a place to eat dinner. When we finally found a place, it was late (for senior citizens like me), so I was leery of eating too much, but probably did anyway. Now it is even later (for senior citizens like me) and I am tired. I have to be up at 5 am tomorrow to catch the last bus from the hotel at 6 am to get to the race start line. Oh, and I am planning to participate in a 13.1 mile half-marathon tomorrow.

So this is the blog you get tonight. Deal with it. Senior citizens get grumpy when they eat and go to bed late!!
Things that make today great: Lunch at Sweet Tomatoes; dinner (finally) at Sticky Fingers with Steve and Kitty; meeting Kitty's coworkers; treat at Yogaberry; meeting fellow racers at hotel

Friday, February 19, 2010

He Speaketh

Tiger Woods, that is. It's quite interesting - when Tiger's hell broke loose last Thanksgiving, we were in Orlando - not too far from the scene of the mess. Today, we are in Jacksonville, only a few miles from his press conference. As we were getting off the plane, we saw people standing around the airport's televisions, waiting for the news conference to begin. I glanced at the screen as we walked past, and noticed there was a countdown clock next to the newscaster - just like when the space shuttle takes off. Unbelievable.

I was tempted to stick around and watch, but I knew it would be played and replayed for the next forever on every television network, internet site, YouTube, and probably somebody's home movies. Since I have just finished watching it online, I decided I would go ahead and put in my two cents.

First of all, several news reporters were ticked off because they would not have the opportunity to ask questions. Boo hoo to you, vipers. This man is apologizing in public for the horrendous mistakes he has made. Why isn't that enough? Here's an idea for you - tell me the person you care about the most in this world. Now, tell me about the worst thing that person has ever done, let me put him/her on camera, and let me ask about all the sordid details of that incident. Just because Tiger is rich and famous does not mean that we have to know all about his life. In fact, you don't really care about Tiger's life - you just want to make money selling your story.

I heard reports that some of the golfers in this week's Accenture golf tournament are all upset that Tiger decided to have his conference now, in the middle of their golf thingy. Boo hoo to you, too. I'm sorry that Tiger has decided to get his life in order and didn't call you to check on dates. I'm sorry that Tiger elevated your sport to a level that enables you to make a lot of money. I'm sorry that you all are such pristine individuals that you can judge everyone else, in addition to being stellar golfers. Instead of whining, go out and practice golf. Then you can be the Number One Golfer of the Universe and see how it feels to be under such public scrutiny.

People are complaining because Tiger's apology was too "scripted." Okay, so when you get in front of the media to apologize for screwing your family's life up, just do it ad lib. Yeah, that's the best way to say what you want to say. Get real. Everybody knows that if you really want to say something really important, you should write it down or at least take notes (but perhaps not on your hand, Ms. Palin). Tiger is a golfer, not an actor, and was delivering a gravely important statement. So now you want to criticize the way he apologizes? Pathetic.

Why in the crap do we even have to pick apart this man's apology? Have we never messed up and wanted a do-over? Tiger made a colossal mess of his life, and he knows it. There but the grace of God, it could (and probably is) be us. Forgiveness sucks sometimes, but in his statement, he asked for it. Take it for what it is, and pray that he gets the help he needs. Pray that his family can survive this and live the life they once dreamed of. Pray. It always works out much better than criticism.

Finally, I know of only one person on this earth who was without sin. He tells me to forgive - seventy times seven. He tells me not to worry with the speck in my brother's eye because I've got a log in mine. He tells me to treat others as I want to be treated. He tells me not to judge, unless I want to be judged. He tells me to pray for others. He says that whomever is without sin can cast the first stone. Since the only sinless person I know is all about forgiveness, I think I'll listen to him.
Things that make today great: Beautiful sunny day; safe flight to Jacksonville; giving my bag to lady at expo; breast cancer half-marathon expo and pickup; parking dude and his directions; "nerve" test at expo

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Which Land is Your Land?

A popular commercial during my younger years depicted a woman who supposedly did it all. In part, she could "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan." It led me and probably many other young women to believe that we could have and do it all - maybe we were even supposed to. And so we started trying then and continue today to attempt the nearly impossible. We work, we home, we children, we network, we church, we exercise, we carpool, we volunteer, we wife, we cook, we shop, we decide, we negotiate, we date, we friend, . . . the list is endless. We do as much as we can every day, not because we have to, but because we believe we can. And most of the time, we somehow seem to do a lot of it.

But sometimes in the midst of doing it all, we retreat into the world of "What If." What if we took that other job - would life be less work and headache? What if we had a child/more children/fewer children/no children - would life be better? What if we married that other guy/the guy I'm dating/no guy/that woman - would life be easier? What if I lost weight/exercised more/did yoga/became vegetarian - would life feel better? What if I made more money/worked fewer hours/had a job/stayed at home with no outside employment - would life be more rewarding? What if, what if, what if?

Life in "What If" becomes a black hole. There are no answers or solutions. We just can't help but wonder if life could be easier or better - if only.

So instead, maybe I'll travel to the world of "What Is." What Is is where I need to change my eating habits as opposed to What If I lost weight. One is a goal and one is a dream. What Is is where that I don't work outside my home as opposed to What If I were still teaching school. One gives me a planning tool to figure out what to do with my day and the other is sometimes wistful remembrances. What Is is that I have three grown children and What If is if I had had three more, or the three I have were triplets, or I had none of them at all. One is reality steeped in happy memories and daily adventures, and the other is a TLC series.

I'm not sure what "having it all" even means anymore. Maybe it means opportunities and choices to which we are entitled. Maybe it means trying something new or sticking with the old. Maybe it means having what we want and not what someone tells us we should want. Maye it means stopping sometimes and saying, "Enough." Maybe that's just it - having it all means we say what "all" really means.

By the way, I've looked on the map, and I found that "All" is smack dab in the middle of the Land of "What Is." Happy travels!
Things that make today great: Maribeth returning to boot camp; finding the right cord for the printer; post-boot camp drinks via Molly; "A" boarding passes on tomorrow's Southwest flight

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who's On Your Relay Team?

I am watching the speed skater relays of the Olympics. It's cool, because the way they work, the next person in the relay comes in front of the skater and the current skater gives him a push to get him going.

It caused me to think about the relay teams I might be on (no skates or Olympics involved). Who do I give a push to get going and who pushes me?

Maybe it's the ladies in boot camp, who are more fit but always have an encouraging word to say. They inspire me to do the same when there's someone I can encourage.

Maybe it's facebook friends who share memories and pictures to give me a happy thought to brighten an otherwise dreary moment. They inspire me to find my own pictures and share memories of when we were young and innocent.

Maybe it's family who step in to clean up or prepare a meal (and that includes takeout) or share an adventure. They inspire me to find new ways to sharing time and space for a laugh or a thrill or a moment.

Maybe it's that total stranger who let me cut in traffic, or the new friend on jury duty who shared lunch, or the fellow wogger in the race who chats up a mile with me. They encourage me to open myself up to those who cross my path.

Maybe life is like that - full of relay teams. Our job is to keep going until the next team member comes in and we encourage them and push them on. Then when we enter our shared experience, we get that push from behind and move ahead. Maybe if we realize that we're all on the same team, we won't find so many strangers on our path - we'll just see those relay team members on whom we depend to keep us going.
Things that make today great: Molly returning to boot camp; boot camp pals; grocery, Massage Envy, and Costco with Molly; Jeremiah at Massage Envy; Molly's chicken pasta pie with the family at Lindley's house

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Napping 101

I am an expert in the art of "power napping." I have spent decades perfecting this technique of napping for 15 minutes or less and waking refreshed. I know when I need a power nap and usually feel much better afterward.

However, I am also experienced in "hard napping." This is a phenomenon that happens when you are napping and working really hard at it. Because you are asleep, you don't realize it until you wake up, feeling mentally (and sometimes physically) exhausted. Your brow may even be furrowed. Upon reflection, you vaguely remember dreaming intensely, but you don't remember about what. In the end, you realize that you have wasted all that naptime because you didn't get the rest that you were seeking.

There's also the "zone out" nap. This is when you're in a meeting, or listening to the same in-law's stories for the zillionth time, or watching "The Jersey Store" on TV. All of a sudden you realize time has passed. Rested? Maybe or maybe not, but it was a nap.

The best nap of all is the "perfect nap." This gift is a decent length nap and you wake up happy because - well you just do. You were in need of a good nap and you got it.

Today I started another session of boot camp at 5:45 am. Upon returning home, I put on a dry shirt (boot camp = sweat) and cuddled up on the couch with a blanket. The movie "Calamity Jane" starring Doris Day was on, and pretty soon I was out. I don't know how long I slept, but when I woke up, I felt super. It was a perfect nap.

In kindergarten, most children resist the idea of a group nap because they believe themselves to be too old for such a thing. The older we get, we value our naps (as we do regular elimination, hair color, and elastic pants). In fact, they become quite important (like Geritol, dinner at 4:30, and the above-mentioned elastic pants).

So, to end this tutorial I would like to assign homework. Take a nap. Take lots of them. If necessary, go to a kindergarten class and join the toddlers. Move to wherever siestas are mandated. Practice, practice, practice. After all, you need to be an expert in some things!!
Things that make today great: Beginning another session of boot camp with boot camp pals; picking up Maribeth from the airport; finishing Molly's pillows; watching "Calamity Jane" on TV

Monday, February 15, 2010

Art Is Not For Sissies

Okay, so it may be fake, but it's cool to watch!!
Things that make today great: "little bit of snow" day; catching up on 3-day and race scrapbooks

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ode to Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I did not send out cards today,
I did not eat some candy;
I think I said "I love you,"
To him who's where it's sandy.

There was no fancy dinner,
Or candles on the table;
There was no romantic evening,
I watched movies shown on cable.

I did not get some roses,
Or diamonds for show and tell;
I got an email greeting,
Sent lovingly by email.

I guess my point is simple -
I don't need a special day,
To know that I am loved,
In every important way.

Things that make today great: Brunch with Sam, Lynnette, Lindley, and Molly; travel pics from Steve and Maribeth; updating race scrappys

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In Case You Haven't Had Enough Snow ...

Here's some more. No, it's not my backyard or anywhere close. And yes, it's been another slow blog day.

Things that make today great: Babysitting Lindley; watching Grayson and Maggie inspect Lindley things; "Valentine's Day" and Las Palmas with Molly

Friday, February 12, 2010

Puddin' 'Nanners

When I buy bananas, I usually try to buy ones that are firm and slightly green. At our house, bananas are either consumed within days of purchase, or sit around for weeks. However, towards the end of those weeks, the bananas are turning black and are becoming rather soft. They are becoming what Steve calls "puddin' 'nanners" - only suitable for banana pudding. Nobody in the family wants them.

Except me. I like the ripe smell and discolored peels. While Steve likes a fresh banana cut up in a bowl and sprinkled with sugar, I prefer to almost squeeze it like toothpaste out of its natural packaging. I like the texture of the edible part and the way it smushes inside your mouth. It's my favorite way to eat a banana. While I agree that these bananas are perfect for banana pudding, I believe their best use is to be eaten straight from the peel.

I guess it just goes to show you that everything has a use at every stage. It's the theory behind hand-me-down clothes, swap meets, and craigslist. It's the idea that just because you no longer think something is wanted, there's somebody out there who can't wait to get his hands on it. It's the premise that one thing can be many things to different people.

So the next time you're tempted to throw something out just because you don't want it, consider giving it a second life. Take it to Goodwill, or your neighbor, or your church. Cut up the t-shirts and make a quilt. Take those old towels to the animal shelter. Give those household goods to a homeless shelter. Do something with something you don't want.

And while you're getting rid of your stuff, be on the lookout - somebody's got your own version of 'puddin 'nanners just waiting for you to take it and enjoy it!
Things that make today great: Taking Maribeth to the airport at the crack of dawn - actually before dawn cracked; beginning work on Molly's pillows; errands with Molly; taking Steve to the airport at rush hour; winter Olympic opening ceremonies; Barry and Bill's visit; phone chat with Marilyn

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Here's a chicken/egg question for today: What's harder - to sustain a good habit or break a bad one? I don't know either. For instance, I am trying to eat smarter and healthier (good habit) and quit eating stupidly and junkier (bad habit). I'm not sure what is more difficult. One would think that good eating would replace the bad eating, but it sure is easier to eat a Ding Dong than chew on carrots and celery.

I've also been out of the good habit of walking/wogging/jogging every day, which would contribute to respectable race finish times. The good habit would be to get out and do something for any number of miles every day. The bad habit is to put it off later and later in the day until eventually it's bedtime. I've become quite adept at forming reasons for NOT getting outside, but when I force myself to actually get outside, I really enjoy it. Again, one would think that the satisfaction from accomplishing those miles would push out the bad habit of doing nothing. One obviously doesn't realize the whole chicken/egg conundrum.

It appears that I'm no closer to solving this mystery. Will concentrating on establishing good habits push out the practice of the bad habits? Will concentrating on getting rid of the bad habits make it easier to establish good habits?

Maybe I should go find a chicken and ask it!
Things that make today great: Five slow miles in the neighborhood; "The Drowsy Chaperone" with Molly

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Silly me. I thought once you turned fifty, you started missing out on things. However, tonight after watching the TLC (aka Totally, Loony, Crazy) channel, I realized my mistake.

The first show I watched was "I'm Pregnant ... And 55." Basically, the preggie in question was pregnant with her first child after trying for 14 years and many IVF procedures. She was also 55. But that wasn't so bad, because her husband was 64. After several pregnancy issues, she successfully gave birth to a healthy baby boy via Cesarean delivery. Yes, it changed their lives. Yes, she is exhausted. Yes, she will be 71 when her son started driving. But the good news is that as soon as she recovers, she and her husband will try again for a sibling.

The second show was "Toddlers and Tiaras." In tonight's episode, one prepubescent beauty was entering a pageant where her mom was also an entrant. The good news is that this particular pageant had a division for over 50-year-olds. My joy abounds. So, in addition to the toddler and her mom, now the grandma is going to enter. The lovely part is when the mom is yelling her the grandma's ear to "LOOK AT THE JUDGES." She also suggested to the grandma that they might get the sympathy vote if granny would fall down. This segment ended with mom doing her exercise routine on the home stripper pole.

So, in conclusion, to all my friends who are fifty, swiftly headed that way, or don't believe you'll ever get there (you will - and it will seem like tomorrow once you get there), here's some good news. Life is full of opportunities. We can have babies and be beauty queens. And I think we can manage that broken hip if we get that stripper pole!!
Things that make today great: shopping with MB; lunch with Lindley, Lynnette, Maribeth, and Molly; picture collage, Marilyn's snow pictures

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

It's cold in Nashville. We had a bit of snow that mostly melted away by noon. Now it's cold and slushy wet. So in honor of Nashville's recent bouts with snow, here's a poem from one of my favorites, Shel Silverstein:

by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snow ball as perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas and a pillow for it's head.
Then, last night it ran away.
But first -- it wet the bed.

Things that make today great: Breakfast and dinner with the M's; sending photos to Walgreen's; walking two miles in the 'hood in the cold; rearranging TV stuff in the living room

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why We Stink at Scrabble

Maribeth, Molly, and I decided to play a game of scrabble. It lasted for hours, and most of the words were four letters or less. In other words, we will never be Scrabble experts. We analyzed our play, and came up with the following reasons why we are so bad. In no particular order, here they are:

1. We have no understanding of the English language.

2. Molly throws scrabble tiles under the couch in order to hasten the play of the game.

3. Maribeth is too busy playing Dr. Mario on the Gameboy.

4. We lost the official instructions and rules, so we spent a lot of time arguing about the instructions and rules.

5. We had insufficient snackages.

6. Apparently "un" cannot be placed in front of any word and create an acceptable word. The following words were thrown out as illegal: unemote, unoval, and many other unwords

7. Molly is unappreciative of learning new words. Like newel. Whatever that means.

8. We don't have a Scrabble dictionary. Like that would help.

9. It was snowing outside.

So in conclusion, Scrabble is not our Olympic event. However, maybe Candy Land ....
Things that make today great: Danny at Toyota service place; wet snowfall; Marilyn's snow travel stories; playing scrabble with Maribeth and Molly

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sermonette

Tonight I watched the Super Bowl. I had no favorite team, although I was happy that New Orleans won. I watched the commercials and consider them a great improvement over last year's entries. So, here are my lessons learned from watching:

1. Life is tricky and full of surprises. But keep at it, because things can change at any minute.

2. Just because you've never done something, doesn't mean you can't or won't do it. With hard work and perseverance, you'll do it.

3. Every accomplishment should be accompanied by a celebration. Maybe not a cooler full of Gatorade dumped on your head, but something equally exciting.

4. Victories are best celebrated with friends and family.

5. When trying to accomplish something, taking breaks are important. And sometimes the breaks are just as good as the other stuff.

6. People who think they are entertaining - may not be. Just because they're featured front and center doesn't make them great - only you can make them great in your life.

7. People who are watching you and commenting on your life don't really matter. All they do is make assumptions based on your current situation. But if you have the right coaches in your life, you can do anything.

8. Everything has a beginning and ending. But it's the stuff in the middle that makes the beginning and ending so sweet. If you're lucky, you'll have a whole team of folks who make the journey with you- and you'll realize that they were the best part of the whole thing.
Things that make today great: Brunch with the Maribeth and Molly, Lindley and her parents, Keith and Heather; finding the ladybug in Lindley's Kat quilt; Lindley's first bottle; Super Bowl commercials; finding my trial's hookah cafe; cheeseburger Doritos; waking up this morning to clean up only to find Maribeth did it last night

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Didn't do the 5K. Didn't clean the house. Didn't run errands or complete tasks. Didn't do much at all. But I did lounge on the couch and watch movies. I did get the mail and read the People magazine. I did go to the grocery store.

So I guess when you balance the dids and didnts, it all evens out. Some days are like that - and it ends up being a good day.
Things that make today great: Molly bringing miso salad from CPK; watching tv movies

Friday, February 5, 2010

Justice Was Served - So I Served Myself

Finally, after hours of blah-blah-blah-ing, videos and pictures, tax returns and various other forms and papers, witnesses and their testimonies interpreted by translators, my jury was sent to deliberate our verdict on the case of the hookah cafe and hair salon vs the big bad hotel. We gave ourselves a 20-minute lunch break, convened at 1 pm, and got to work with the knowledge that we really needed to be done by 4:30 pm in order to finish up and not have to return on Monday.

We discussed and read the applicable laws, rehashed the testimony and re-read our notes, pondered and pointed out, then finally finished answering the sixteen questions we were given. We turned in our decision, the judge called us in to court, our verdict was read, and we were dismissed and on our way at 4:30 - just in time to deal with Nashville rush hour traffic on a rainy Friday afternoon.

To celebrate the end of this tiring experience, I picked up takeout from Cheesecake Factory. I demolished most of it, only to top it off with chocolate ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. This indulgence promptly put me into a sugar-high/mental-fatigue-induced coma from which I eventually recovered.

It was an interesting week and I'm glad it's over. I met some really nice people and experienced our justice system up close and personal. I made a whopping $50 and spent some of it eating at new places downtown. I did my civic duty and received a nice letter from our judge. I had the opportunity to do something new and different and enjoyed it. For me, jury duty was tedious and boring and interesting and rewarding. In other words, it was a gift for which I am grateful to have experienced.
Things that make today great: Finishing jury duty; chicken and biscuits from Cheesecake; chocolate-chocolate ice cream; surprise visit and gift from Jeff and Lisa; quiet night at home

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This Is My Jury Duty

Today I did not finish up my jury duty job. The hope is that we will finish tomorrow. I thought I would give you an idea as to what I've been going through all week. Now, I am not (a) racial profiling - the people below most resemble the principle players, (b) suggesting one person is more at fault than the other because of whom I think they resemble, or (c) telling trial secrets. I just want you to experience my fun!!

Now, for the generalities of the trial. Basically, the principal players are as follows:

The Plaintiff, Omar Shariff, and his attorney, Mr. Haney. The Defendants, Slumdog Millionaire and Sadaam, and their attorneys, a grownup Beaver Cleaver and Desperate Housewives Dude. There is also Judge Sully and the interpreter, Monk.

Basically, Omar, Slumdog, and Sadaam are having a tiff. They have lots of friends to come in and testify on their behalf, most of whom need Monk to translate. Sadaam also needs Monk, and likes to answer "yes or no" questions by making long speeches - which is twice as long when Monk translates back and forth.

Mr. Haney can't remember dates or names or what all the papers are on his desk. He spends a lot of time rifling through his papers and this mispronouncing names (okay - I'll give him that one). But he also forgot that Christmas is in December, not November. And he also gets a little confused as to what testimony was said. But that's okay because his main argument is to introduce a lot of information, most of which has nothing to do with Omar's case. I think today he read from "War and Peace" and then passed out several years of financial papers that I believe were either the (a) national budget, or (b) his own personal income tax returns that he misplaced. When things got really dull, he asked the same questions he asked two hours earlier that were asked yesterday by both he and Beaver Cleaver.

Beaver Cleaver is happy to sit in his chair and play on his Blackberry, although it is unclear as to whether he is playing Tetris, texting his wife for dinner plans, or updating his facebook status. Every now and then he objects to something Mr. Haney said. Since no one is listening to Mr. Haney at this point, there's no credence to his objection, but at least it wakes everyone up. Meanwhile, his protege, Desperate Housewives Dude, is just trying to stay focused. I think he is focused on the courtroom clock, since it is directly across from his position.

Judge Sully keeps it all under control, dismisses us for recess and lunch, and has promised that we will be done tomorrow afternoon. Landing in the Hudson is a piece of cake compared to taking charge of this trial!!

Things that make today great: My fellow jurors; lunch and Starbucks with Mary

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Court Tips

Since today is my third day on jury duty, I thought I would offer a few tips to the court. I realize that none of them are legal, but it never hurts to make suggestions.

1. Put those courtroom sketch artists to use. The lawyers keep talking about people and bringing in witnesses, and I'm having difficulty keeping track of who is who and who is on whose side. Have the artists draw the aforementioned people, label them by name, and put them on the wall. At least I will have a reference point.

2. Get some football coach or John Madden-type analyst and a dry-erase board. Then maybe they can connect the dots for me on when who did what to whom. Perhaps Vanna White could point to the previously suggested sketch-artist pictures while we're getting the play-by-play.

3. Have a Starbucks barista outside the courtroom door. I cannot make it across the street during the break, and I NEED CAFFEINE!!!!! Otherwise I am going to be on the floor during the umpteenth video of the contested dispute.

4. Have some half-time entertainment. The last four witnesses just talked and talked and talked, and added nothing to the case, so my interest is waning. Please perk me up with a magician, or the Rockettes, or talking dogs.

5. Allow the judge to have a paintball gun under his desk and shoot any lawyer who wastes time, like when he is looking for his list of witnesses, or can't remember the name of his client, or just has a really ugly tie on.

6. Pedicures would be nice during the lunch break.

7. Likewise, a nap would be nice after the lunch break.

8. Require the lawyers to sing their opening statements.

Okay, so maybe they're a little bit extreme. But it sure would make my $10 a day a little better!
Things that make today great: Jury duty and fellow jurors; Maribeth fetching dinner; boxing during boot camp

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jury Duty Tips

1. Take a book. There's lots of down time waiting, and making judgement calls on your fellow jurors can only take so long.

2. Yes, this is a paying job. Today I made $10. However, I spent $8 on lunch, because if I left the parking garage I would have to pay for parking since I only get one free parking pass a day. How much income tax will I have to pay on $2?

3. Get a good night's sleep. Otherwise you risk the possibility of falling asleep while the attorneys are reading endless pieces of paper that have to do with the case you're supposed to be listening to.

4. Try to meet a lot of people in the weeks before you have to report for jury duty. Then, when the judge asks if you know the attorneys, the plaintiff, the defendant, the witnesses, and/or the judge, you can say yes, take your $10 and go home.

5. Practice your poker face. Then when Mr. Lawyer says dumb things that make his client look really stupid, you can be laughing on the inside and looking contemplative on the outside.

6. Start writing your novel. You will probably get much of it written during the trial when you're supposed to be taking notes. Hey - writing is writing.

7. Ask the judge if Jack McCoy or Perry Mason is trying this case. Then ask the judge if he's kin to Judge Wapner or Judge Judy. Then ask if he's heard the expression, "Here Comes The Judge!" Maybe you'll get sent home on this one.

8. Ask the judge how he started out - judging pies at the County Fair or toddlers at beauty pageants.

Those are all the tips I have for now - maybe I'll get more when I return tomorrow!
Things that make today great: Jersey Mike's lunch with Susan and Jury Lady; fellow jurors; hearing my first jury duty case; dinner and book shopping with Molly; new Lindley and pacifier picture

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good One, Southwest!

This is a picture of the flight path that Southwest took me on last night on the way to Nashville from Ft. Lauderdale. Let me explain.

Steve and I were scheduled on a 6 pm flight. During lunch, we found out that it would be delayed by an hour, but by the time we got to the airport a few hours later, the flight was back on time.

We boarded the plane without a hitch about 45 minutes late, and waited on the runway for about 10 minutes. We finally took off with the usual stuff of wheels going in and the flaps being retracted. About 5 minutes into the flight, we heard the flaps going in again. This is when the fun began.

The pilot came on the loudspeaker and told us that the front flaps wouldn't retract, which meant we couldn't get to the cruising altitude, so we were going to go to Tampa and get another plane, and there shouldn't be a problem landing. Terrific. The next thing was the loud sound of the wheels going down - which is really loud when you're going faster than landing speed. The pilot announced that we had too much fuel and needed to fly around and burn some. With the wheels down, there was more drag and would burn more fuel faster. It is also very loud and leaves you wondering if the wheels are going to fly off. The pilot said the back flaps were down and the front were not acting right, but the plane was handling okay and we would be landing in 20 minutes.

Twenty-five minutes later the pilot said that we still needed to burn more fuel so we were circling Sarasota and when we burned off enough fuel that we would land in Tampa and it should be a regular landing. Finally enough fuel was burned off and the pilot came on to announce that we were getting ready to land. He also said that Tampa would have fire trucks meeting us and would be racing us down the runway, just as a precaution. Lovely.

We landed and saw the firetrucks out the window. The landing was smooth, we slowed down, and everybody clapped - just like in the movies. We pulled up to a gate and boarded a plane at the next gate and eventually landed in Nashville two hours past our original arrival time.

It was not a flight I would ever want to be on. I don't like flying and this certainly kept me on edge. But I always wondered if I would get on a plane if there was such a problem. There was, and I did.

I am still not a flying fan but I'm still a Southwest fan. I just wish it were Southwest Bus Lines instead!!
Things that make today great: Jury duty; Seventh Heaven dinner; race picture collage