I read the other morning that there is a new and upcoming "social media" phenom on the horizon.  It is purported to possibly eclipse Face Book at some point.  I laughed.  There is always something new that takes of the place of the thing before it.  That is the circle of human life, the world of nature and all things man made.  Things that are just ahead of the curve amaze me.  Really it's the people who have the vision to see the next wave of technology, medicine, art, entertainment, music, or products, and the drive to make it happen, that I stand in awe of.  We all know what Liquid Paper is, a brand of brushable white out for covering over an error thus allowing a "correction" to be made.  If you learned to type before computers, you are fully aware of the greatness of "white out"!  But in recent years liquid correcting fluid has been eclipsed by a better form of it - liquid tape.  No more do you have to blow on the paper to get the liquid to dry before you can make your correction.  Now you utilize a tape dispenser sort of contraption by rolling or pulling a line of correcting tape over your error.  There is no drying or globing.  Brilliant!  Why can I not think of something that could take the world by storm?  I take medicine daily that literally keeps me alive.  Every day I marvel that there are brainiacs out there that created this medicine.  These scientists, researchers and physicians minds worked in such a way to understand and flesh out a solution for something that our bodies cannot produce or fight without it.  Go simpler even.  We all use toilet paper daily.  Usually without great thought we pull a stretch off and do our business with it.  That is a marvel to me.  Someone said, "From henceforth we shall not use leaves, or catalogs!  I will create a roll of paper that won't give you a rash or break open your skin!"  Thankful I am for that creative, innovative genius.  Think about ink pens.  Probably the first time you really thought about the convenience of a pen.  Fountain pens were created in 1827 and the first ball point pen in 1888.  Now previous to that fountain pen, there wasn't easy mobility for using a pen unless you took a jar of ink with you and a quill of sorts.  I reached in my purse just yesterday and pulled out a pen and scribbled a thought on a scrap of paper.  The pen gives us unlimited freedom to write anywhere.  We don't give those creators near enough credit!  If they were still alive, a sashay down the pen aisle at Office Max would make them proud.



I take umbrage with the slanderous use of my name.  It's not that I am overly attached to the name Nancy, but the reference my name is associated with is far from who I am.  Culturally we use the phrase "don't be a Nancy" as something NOT associated with strength.  Admittedly, it does have a great ring to it!  Don't be a Susan just doesn't sound as good.  How, when, where or why the negative connotation became originally connected to my birth name, I do not know.  The reference infers a mocking term for a man engaging in feminine activities or otherwise compromising his masculinityNow most of you don't have a personal relationship with me.  You get glimpses of who I am based on what and how I approach a subject through writing.  That paints an image of me inside your head.  If you combine that with my picture on the ABOUT ME portion of this site, you might get a clearer image.  To be blunt, I am probably more masculine than the men being referenced in the don't be a Nancy phrase!  Though I'm not Kitty from the TV series "Gunsmoke", I can most assuredly hold my own and speak boldly.  I don't shy away from the tough or difficult or things I don't know about.  But rather, charge ahead with both stupidity and confidence that anything can be done.  Emotionally I am very real, very present, very cognizant.  So, nothing about that definition of being a Nancy rings true to who I am.  I went to the Urban Dictionary, a favorite website past-time for me.  Several people close to me know of my great love of words.  I read the dictionary at times like others read a fiction book.  It fascinates and excites me.  In the vastness of the Urban Dictionary you can look up a name.  It will give you some cultural information regarding that name and then people post things about people with that name.  There were quite a few entries on Nancy.  This one I liked and most fit who I am...
A vibrant girl with a zest for living life to its fullest. Nancy has the smarts and the looks to make every man fall in love with her without any flirtation. Any guy would be lucky to date a Nancy. She is everything. Adventurous, outgoing, energetic, intelligent, funny, artsy, studious, free-spirited, lively, kind-hearted, generous, enthusiastic, friendly, and loving - all the while staying modest and humble. She becomes uncomfortable when receiving compliments and never boasts about her talents.

Nancy is just naturally attractive and doesn't use makeup to make herself look beautiful. Her style is fresh, comfortable, and gorgeous. Not an athlete - but athletic. Not a voluptuous babe - but sexy in her own way. Unafraid to venture out and try anything, she'll have you doing things you wouldn't have thought of doing before and you'll love every second of it. She gives meaning to life and life to the meaningless. You'll find yourself becoming more and more addicted to her presence. You'll ache every minute she's not with you and she'll pretty much occupy all the space in your head every second of every day. Nancy's smile is gold and her laughter is magic.

There is no one else quite like Nancy.
I'll never forget that Nancy.
She is a treasure.

If you look in the Hebrew my name means; full of grace.  I have always found that interesting because it has been a quest I have been on all my life.  I have desperately needed grace and have tried to give it away.  Grace is a subject matter that I find myself paddling through time and time again.  I also found mention to the phrase don't bet your Nancy in a poker game, but couldn't find corroborating evidence to support its usage.  And, since I am not a great poker player nor do I frequent the tables in Vegas, I had no first hand knowledge to its validity.  I hated my name growing up and longed to have a different one.  Lynn is my middle name and I tried making my family call me Lynn briefly as a child, but they refused.  I get called Nanny but only by my middle sister and her husband.  My oldest sister's husband calls me Nan.  My father, though he and my mom named me Nancy, always spells it Nance.  In high school I was referred to from time to time as Prancer Nancer.  Of course there is the occassional and unoriginal Nanner. And in most recent years, my former boss would reference me as Fancy Nancy, in direct oppositeness of who I am just to be funny.  Nancy always seemed like an older name than the age I actually was.  That is, until recently.  In my mid-forties I finally grew into the name Nancy.   



"I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time." 

That's one of my favorite quotes from the movie "Forrest Gump" spoken by Forrest to Jenny as he stood at the foot of her grave speaking his love to her.  Those words hit me for many reasons.  One of which is they speak, in very descriptive words, to a belief that I hold to.  I agree with them.  There are many philosophies out there about fate, destiny, deliberate divine master planning or total free will.  Here's how I see it.  Our lives in perfect form are like a completed Rubix Cube with all the colors perfectly matching from every side.  God hands us a Rubix Cube and tells us to live the life before us.  Now the before us part is where, I believe, based on choices we make from circumstances in front of us, we have total free will.  But God is God.  He created us, knows our bent, our hearts, our desires, our potential, and what we will choose ultimately, but He doesn't make the choice for us.  He is not the bully on the playground of our lives trying to gain control and dictate.  But rather, God is constantly interjecting Himself along the way, helping us to unscramble our cube - to get it back to perfectly matched on all sides.  I think, like Forrest, that God takes our floating on the breeze stuff and makes something of it.  There is though nothing in all creation that is totally by accident.  Some choice, some system, some reaction, some law of nature affects something else and so forth and so on.  Maybe God knows where the breeze might blow us.  Maybe He being God can use all fuel sources, all good and bad things, all what we call "happenstance or floating on a breeze" moments to make our lives purposed and still get us to a state of matching Rubix Cube colors.  I don't always know where that trajectory meets when my free will or happenstance intersects with God's plan for my life.  But I know it has.  Breezes and purpose collide all the time.



About a mile from where I grew up there was a family owned park of sorts.  It was called Leatherman's Grove.  Aptly named after the family that had originally owned it.  It consisted of a small grove of trees at the back of the property and a white clapboard building with wood shutters that could be propped open to let outdoor air in during warm weather months when reunions and other family gatherings occurred.  Off to one side and rear of the pavilion was a handful of playground equipment that had long lost its luster and had given way to age, rust and decrepidness.  Standing almost forlornly were four or five swings, a large slide, and a merry-go-round powered by a participant running to spin it.  All the playground stuff was crappy, desperately in need of a Rustoleum paint job and more than sub-par.  You needed to be sure your tetanus shot was up-to-date before playing on it!  To get the merry-go-round moving, two or three kids would hold the bars and run crazily in a circle while pushing it.  After you got it spinning at an RPM powered by 9 year old legs, you would jump on and enjoy the pure dizziness that it offered.  I preferred to shut my eyes and feel the air rushing at me, only opening them as it slowed down.  Much like a dog pacing behind a fence, a worn-down-to-the-dirt rut circled the merry-go-round from years of kids running and pushing it to a rusty frenetic spin.  There was a rudimentary kitchen inside the pavilion.  Enough of one to facilitate the carry-in sort of stuff you would typically have at a family reunion.  Out at the edge of the trees stood another small white clapboard building - a literal out house.  There was no running water in the building.  One side was girls.  One side was boys.  It was dark and hot in there which intensified the horrific smell in the heat of summer.  I was frightened to death to go in that dark, steamy bathroom let alone sit my ass over a dark hole where urine and shit piled up from years before.  I felt like all that was needed to complete the picture was to be naked and have a bloated belly with flies resting on my face.  No kid really ever wants to stop playing outside to go to the bathroom.  But those bathrooms assured that I would just hold it until I exploded or imploded, whichever occurred first.  Leatherman's Grove was also a great "parking" place.  I saw many a car there parked late at night, no lights on and windows fogged over.  Possibly I might have utilized it for that a time or two myself.  The road in front of it is a fond memory for me of a chance meeting with someone I loved deeply.  It was also a great landmark.  A place used in giving directions on how to get to my parent's house; go till you get to the not straight four way stop by Leatherman's Grove and take the jog south another mile.  Through the years it has had its share of property ups and downs and has changed hands a few times.  I wondered, while driving past it to my parent's house last week, if anyone ever uses that out house any more.  It makes port-a-potties look like the Taj Mahal! 



Today we found ourselves edging the driveway and sidewalks with the edger we purchased.  It was long overdue as the grass had taken up residence a bit further onto the pavement year after year.  We gained a whole other lane in the driveway!  One of the neighbors who lives a couple doors down stopped to visit.  They commented that it was looking nice while they ate their Dairy Queen Blizzards.  We chit chatted about weather, them raising pure bred dogs to sell, grand kids, where they worked.  In conversation they mentioned they too were a blended family having been together 11 years.  Both of them kind of giggled when they mentioned that they had been married numerous times before finding each other.  Finally getting it right in their 40's (I could relate to the age & epiphany!).  It was upon meeting each other that they both realized they had never truly had connective love.  Their relationship with each other changed each other's lives.  We shared that it was the same for us.  That both of us were now given a life that we didn't really know existed previous to each other.  I run by their house almost daily.  And Doug and I go for our almost daily walks in that direction many times as well.  They said they can tell how much we love each other.  That they watch us walk or sit out front on the steps.  That they see us hold hands, laugh and just connect.  I laughed and wondered to them if we drive our neighbors nuts with our affection in the yard.  They assured us that it does the opposite - it warms their hearts to watch outward love.  We talked about euchre and whether we played.  I said if they want to always have a win then they should play against me.  As they drove away I realized what the power of true love does, not only to those directly in its path, but to those that see it.  Doug commented to me that it seems that we haven't gone on all the great adventures we want to yet. "You are the greatest adventure I have. Daily I get to go on a love adventure with you.  That's the best kind of adventure I know of!" I told him.  Destinations are great.  But really, I finally got to mine - love.



I am a self-proclaimed foodie of sorts.  Ne'er do I ever consume fast food.  The mere thought of McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Jack In The Box, Fazolis, Long John Silvers or Wendy's makes me audibly say "YUCK" and experience an inward shudder.  I also have a grand dislike for any buffet.  Buffets remind me of cattle bellying up to a fed trough.  There are a great many who eat at buffets who look a lot like cows!  If you can get past that mental image and still want to eat at a buffet, turn your attention to the quality of food.  There are many choices, I'll give you that. Too many to be honest.  But a bevy of choices does not mean the food is quality.  Think about the volume of food that is prepared for any buffet.  Food concocted in mass quantities is going to lack in quality.  Buffet foods all seem to have an industrial-taste-the-same flavor to them.  It's the difference between a completely home-made apple pie or a Sara Lee one.  It's the difference between KFC and marinated chicken breasts cooked on the grill.  Many years ago while at a buffet for a party gathering, I followed a woman going through the buffet line holding a newborn.  She was sliding her plate along with one hand while holding her baby and nursing it. Now if you don't think that was a bit unsettling!  Why do we as fat ass Americans need to have before us MORE food.  We are a nation of fatties and unhealthy eaters consuming a food supply that is a bit tainted.  Our human tendency is to want more - more money, more possessions, more status, more food, more, more, more.  We aren't easily satiated and readily give in to our pleasurable wants over our needs.  Restraint is not a word that we like too much as Americans.  Why do I want to eat food that is at best very marginal in quality?  Do I really need to slide my plate along putting 4 kinds of meat, 7 desserts, and 5 starches on my plate?   Do I need to go back and refill another plate?  Why do I want to eat food that has to be "protected" (only an illusion giving you a false sense of security!) by a plastic shield above it.  Maybe it redirects a sneeze or a loose hair falling from a head, but that's about it.  I don't want masses touching something I am going to eat.  You know there are those that touch that food with their hands.  They are probably the same people who don't wash their hands after using a public restroom.  I feel a dry heave coming on!  It is a proven fact that when you eat at a restaurant we consume more food than we would at home.  The portion size is greater.  We also eat more high calorie, high fat and sodium foods when eating out.  My ex-husband loved buffets.  When we were raising our only child, I would be forced to eat at them occasionally.  One restaurant buffet experience I can remember clearly was when our daughter was in older elementary/junior high.  Having gone to her dad's favorite buffet, we were eating at the table.  Hannah looked around the restaurant and very clearly said, "Everyone is fat and poor here.  Except us."  She was right.  It was a parental moment where truth and grace had to meet.  Demographics of most buffets would include those with a more limited economic status.  It could be they are maximizing their dollars for consumption, have teenage boys to fill up, don't possess taste buds or have not ever truly had a terrifically prepared clean food meal. I don't think I'm better than the buffet eaters in the world.  Oh hell, yes I do!



The first time I flew on a plane I was 13.  My family was flying from Indiana to Ontario Airport in Los Angeles.  We flew a leg of that trip on a DC-10 not too long after the fatal crash of another DC-10 en route from Chicago to Los Angeles on May 25, 1979.  The death toll was massive with all 258 passengers and all 13 crew members killed plus 2 others on the ground. That was terrifying to have the first trip on a plane be the same model of plane that had recently crashed.  I was petrified and my parents basically had to give me an ultimatum to even get on the plane.  What I found that day, and continue to find, is a sort of God mystery thing in flying above the clouds.  Doug and I were out walking recently on a day with clear blue skies.  Across the sky you could see a plane steadily ascending into the sky.  Watching the white trail of clouds behind it I commented to my husband, a former air traffic controller, what causes that trail of white behind an ascending plane.  He explained that the heat from the exhaust of the plane hitting cooler and cooler air as it climbs causes a sort of steam or cloud to form - a "jet stream" that you see from the ground. A few days later, out on a walk again, I noted yet another plane in the sky.  This time the sky was a mix of blue and huge puffy grayish-white clouds.  Doug and I discussed my 7th grade science cloud knowledge and his much deeper air traffic controller cloud education.  They were cumulus clouds.  I love when you fly on a cloudy day.  There lies awaiting a treasure when the plane climbs above the cloud cover.  I have always known that the sun shines every day whether you can see it or not.  That is an absolute.  But since we are visual creatures we can easily forget the brilliance of the sun when hidden behind clouds and gray.  At 13 years old on that DC-10 flight the plane ascended to above the clouds.  What I saw was magnificent, remarkable and telling about things much bigger than me.  As that plane emerged from its ascent it cleared the clouds to the most brilliant and beautiful sun I had ever seen.  It was a sun not blanketed by clouds or atmospheric conditions.  Right below me was an earth blanketed in white and gray thick clouds, but where I was the sun shown and the sky remained crystal clear.  It was something I would go back to time and time again in my head when I tried to remember that circumstances that were heavy would not always stay that way.  There was sun, I just couldn't see it at that moment.  I have read the occasional thought about God and earth from an astronaut.  Their perspective no doubt widened by what they had seen.  I'm wondering on a much, much larger scale if they too now had firmly planted in them the knowledge of better days, brighter times even when the clouds hung heavy in their lives.  How could you not?  I like when God gives us opportunities to see beyond our short sighted vision through a telescope of bigness.  That's why oceans are mesmerizing, the Grand Canyon almost sacred, Yellowstone majestic, Niagara Falls amazing.  They are pictures - visuals of the things bigger than what we can see normally.  I need those times.  I need those experiences to see God better, to view myself in a more proportional way and to give me hope that even if I can't see the sun it is still shining.



I have a most interesting medical doctor.  Today, upon arriving at his office for yet another appointment following up from an appointment last week, I waited a bit longer than usual in the examination room.  There is no doubt I am one of his favorite patients. A fact that he tells me from time to time usually after I lament how he probably wishes he had simpler patients that weren't so complicated and puzzling. Many times he takes all the rooms ahead of me so he can spend a bit longer with me because he knows I usually make him behind schedule.  My sister, an RN, recommended him to me when I needed a new doctor to handle my crap load of chronic ongoing medical problems after moving back to this area. The first time he walked into the exam room and I laid eyes on him, I chuckled.  He wore a bow tie.  Now before you think he is old, he is my age.  Born in 1966 the same year I was.  I don't necessarily consider myself part of the bow-tie wearing generation, so I find both humor and appreciation for his uniqueness.  Both things are never lost on me.   I am a talker, an expressor.  He is not.  On the heels of my very first visit with him several years ago, I had poured out my heart and my frustration in an endless stream of words.  When I was through, I turned and asked if he had any thoughts or words.  His response, "No, you said enough for both of us!"  I instantly loved him!  He gave me free medicine when I was going through a divorce and caught between very high deductibles until my financial state improved.  He comforted me as I sat in his office, when, the day after a confession from my first husband, sobs took me for a bit.  My health has been tenuous at times over the years after being diagnosed with insulin dependent shot taking Type I diabetes when I was 32.  That disease has caused a cascade of other autoimmune diseases as well.  You combine those things with my personality of relentless, pushing, conquering, questing, always-looking-to-make-anything-better and it is a collision course occasionally.  You cannot always control disease.  It is bigger than you.  My desire to not let it control me has led to some very frustrating times over the past 13 years.  He constantly lets me free stream my thoughts and questions about trying this or that, what he thinks about this theory or that theory, this naturopathic idea, and my frustrations.  At the height of my frustrating periods, he has let me cry it out in anger at the instability of it all.  He has held my hands or hugged me.  Always does he validate my frustration and tell me to go easier with myself.   He reminds me that I take good care of myself but much is just beyond my control.  We talk about our families, kids, mates, my life remarried, wine and his boat.  Today he showed me a picture on his phone of the Romanesque outdoor sunbrella material curtains he made for their patio.  I asked where in the hell he buys his bow ties and why.  We conversed about a restaurant we both love and weird exotic meats that are good.  He gives me full permission to keep questing to make things better with my health.  But, he is also the foundation to remind me much is not in my control - to relax more.  I thanked him today for listening and letting me get out my frustration last week while in his office.  That I left last week with my mind clearer and my spirit a bit lighter but that I still wanted things better.  His response, "You make my life so much more interesting."  Humor and truth were rolled together in his words and on his face.   I took him a bottle of red wine for Christmas.   Next year, I'm thinking about a bow tie.



Two spiritual statements that tend to drive the snot right out of me; I prayed about it.  And, God told me.  Now my beef with those statements, and those that use them, is not specifically the words but the heart behind them.  I pray about things too.  Lots of different things.  Some are big issues.  Some are, in comparison, relatively small or seemingly minute.  God cares and He wants to hear them all.  He is a God of details.  Just look at creation and humans.  He loves the small things, the finishing touches and what we think is insignificant.  Case in point, He created gnats.  God also speaks to us in various ways.  We hear God through nature, at times through circumstances, in the deeds and words of others, through scripture, in our spirits/hearts and sometimes even audibly in our heads.  Without a shadow of a doubt I believe God speaks to us.  How could He not?  We are His creation and He longs for relationship with us.  That's why He speaks to us - He loves us.  What I doubt sometimes is whether or not we confuse our thoughts and emotions with what we think is God's voice.  If it isn't tough enough to distinguish His voice from our own desires, throw on top of it telling others that God told you this and that.  There are things that we know God would say based on His character of love and grace.  Those are absolutes.  I don't want people to see just Nancy.  I want them to see God bigger than they see me when they listen to me or watch me.   No doubt I have failed in that category more than once.  If God told me something then it is specific to what I needed to hear.  If I repeat what God told me it's best not done in an arrogant way, but as a way to encourage someone else with the comfort or words God spoke to me.  It better paint a big beautiful portrait of God, not me.  How do you argue with someone when they say they prayed about it or God told them thus and such?  There have been times I have wanted to!  Today someone told me they prayed about talking to me about something.  They had no way of knowing that statement is a red flag for me.  A hot button.  After they told me the something they wanted to talk to me about I was disappointed that they had taken up God's time for that and mine as well.  Highly disappointed.



I have bought quite a few houses in my lifetime.  The very first house I bought cost $34,000 in 1987.  Certain makes and models of cars can easily cost that amount and more now.  I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that for $34,000 you sleep and LIVE in a house, but sit and DRIVE a car.  Every house, with the exception of maybe one, I have liked something about.  Every house though, no matter the great qualities they might have had, usually had an issue here or there, or sometimes many!   One house I bought had old "Florida" windows.  Florida windows are named that because they are aluminum (not great in the Midwest in cold temperatures), single-paned sliding windows used predominantly in the south where weather conditions are not as cold.  They conducted heat and cold like a thin hot pad that needed to be thrown away.  They also didn't lock, which was a bit creepy.  In the deep winter of northern Indiana an actual thick plate of ice would form on the inside of the aluminum window frame.  After the first summer and winter with those windows they were replaced with energy efficient double hung tilt-in vinyl clad windows with LOCKS!  I felt much safer.  A few houses later I again found myself in a house with shitty windows.  A couple of those windows also did not lock.  And the ones that did, were warped and left a bit of a gap at the top.  Once again I found myself needing to replace all the windows in a house.  It seems that much like the lifespan of a roof, windows too have a lifespan.  What was it about me that kept buying houses that had things either mechanically or structurally that were at the end of their life.  I had a soft spot, an optimistic and creative bent toward fixing up older things.  To making them come alive again.  When I bought this wonderful 1954 brick house I presently live in I knew there was a myriad of things that needed a loving, up-to-date touch.  There was not a single-paned painted window in this house that I could get open.  I guess the previous owners, in their mid-nineties and with poor circulation, evidently never needed to open a window.  Try as I might, using my brute strength and even resorting to banging on the edge of the wood part of the window with a hammer, they would not open.  I did though manage to crack one of them in my angered, furious and desperate attempts to get some outside air in the house.  With their 1950's life fully lived, I had to replace the windows.  When my brother-in-law came to install the new beautiful windows I purchased he assumed he could open the old ones to remove them.  He could not get them open either.  The task of replacing them became a bit more tedious as each window had to be cut out with a Saws-All.  I replaced every window in this house, except for the four basement windows.  They too needed replacing, but since money doesn't grow on the trees around my house, I opted to wait.  Yesterday morning I went down to the basement and turned the corner to see one of the basement windows hanging from its perch.  I immediately froze fearing that someone had entered the basement and was lurking down there.  A brief episode of 48 Hours Mystery played in my head.  Even though technically it is a "tip in" style basement window, it was not supposed to be open.  After a quick look around I realized there was no entry by a human just by a few mice and a host of bugs!  That 1950's metal window I had jimmy-rigged, caulked and foamed had finally given up the ghost and rusted out.  We wedged it back in temporarily and I called the window company yet again.



Having had a very rough night last night, I sat on the couch with a heating pad on my abdomen this morning.  I was supposed to be at work, but with one hour of sleep and issues still ensuing, I stayed home.  Even if I am home during the day I just don't turn the TV on.  It bores me.  But today, as I reclined with bad posture on the couch and the heating pad, I powered on the TV.  We must have closed out last night's TV viewing on the A&E channel.  It was what appeared on the screen presently.  The network was currently in the middle of airing one of its shows, "Dog, The Bounty Hunter".  I had seen a bit of this show some years back.  Before I turned the channel to something else though, I began to watch the remainder of the episode.  Anything on TV in the reality series category, though real life, is still "doctored" for the viewing audience.  You know - entertainment value.  Dog, a bounty hunter from Hawaii, and his family are hired to hunt down those who have broken the agreement of their bail bond.  Dog and his family have very colorful lives and pasts; prison time, family deaths, children out of wedlock, divorces, troubled children, etc....  Of course that all makes for part of the drama and probably part of their over the top appearances too.  What I found very interesting though was Dog's (Duane is his real name) spiritual side.  In the two episodes I watched (yes, I never did change the channel but got sucked in!) he initiated prayer with his family/employees before heading out to track down an errant client.  Those prayers not only included asking for God's help in locating and bringing the person in, but safety for all those involved including the one being hunted.  I also noted that when the person was apprehended, Dog shared about the God of second chances with them.  Several times he also prayed with the perpetrator before delivering them to jail.  It seems those who much grace has been given are more apt to give grace to others.  You could see that in Dog very clearly.  I got a sense that Dog/Duane had a life changing experience with Christ.  He prayed to God in Jesus' name.  He spoke with grace, directness and a plea to become the person God intended for them to be.  Time and time again he told those caught that if they were going to make a deal with God they also needed to man up and keep their end of the bargain. Some of those headed to incarceration had fear in their eyes and took his words inside.  Others were not ready to hear that truth and walked defiantly back into the prison system.  Duane wrote an autobiography in 2007 and then a follow-up book in 2009 entitled, Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given which chronicles his desire to be a better man, father, leader, a man of his word and a man of second chances.  Drama I can live without.  But realism sucks me in every time.  The heating pad grew cold twice while I was riveted to the show and read about the background of this man and his family.  I too was a by-product of a God of second chances.  I understood Dog.



My son-in-law believes expiration dates on products, food especially, are a guideline not an absolute.  He has, much like an immunization is a small bit of the disease you are vaccinating against, created a tolerance for food that most of us would have long since thrown away.  There are two separate things; sell dates and expiration dates.  They probably are not one in the same, but close.  It depends on the product.  If it is a bacteria growing sort of food, then I'm out.  There is nothing worth the risk of illness if I think something is iffy.  Yesterday I made jello, which I really never do.  My pantry probably isn't the most stocked as most of what I use is fresh stuff.  I did though find several boxes of jello bought to make cranberry salad during the holidays.  Did you know Jell-O has an expiration date?  I found that out years ago when my Grandma June died and we cleaned out her pantry only to find some 40+ boxes of jello, most of which were expired.  I checked the five boxes I had, three orange and two cherry.  Why did I even have 5 boxes of jello if I never make jello!!  Two of the three orange boxes were expired well over a year.  What would technically happen if I consumed expired Jell-O?  Would it be like drinking milk 3 weeks past the sell date?  I didn't know, but since I really didn't LOVE Jell-O in a deep passionate way, I threw the expired boxes away.  I was quickly becoming my Grandma June!  My son-in-law would never have thrown those two boxes of jello away.  I have a container of liquid Chai tea mix with an expiration date of 3 days ago.  It is unopened.  My guess on using expired Chai tea is that it might become a bit stronger.  Will it hospitalize me, probably not.  I am highly lactose intolerant so I do not use milk.  If I have a hankering for cereal I turn to rice or coconut milk to oblige my urge.  My husband can drink milk, but rarely does except for the occasional bowl of frosted flakes leftover in the box from when the grand kids visited.  If we buy milk it is usually a quart or less.  It just expires long before it gets used.  Recently Doug wanted a bowl of cereal.  There was an unopened quart of milk in the frig.  I noted the expiration date was about 4 or 5 days earlier.  He opened it, smelled it and took a swig.  His conclusion was it smelled and tasted fine.  I warned him but to no avail.  He had a bowl of cereal doused in that 5 day old milk.  If he was a test case he would be in the predictable outcome category.  Digestively he had a reaction later in the day. While in the health food store the other day I noted they had a section of discounted merchandise.  I took a look thinking maybe it was just products they were ceasing to carry any longer.  It was not that at all.  Instead it was several shelves of OUTDATED food products and supplements.  Really, was I going to buy expired products even at a discount!!!  If that was the case, I would have used my own expired Jell-O!!  My ex-mother-in-law was notorious for having expired everything in her refrigerator.  If you decided to eat a sandwich at her house it was always imperative you checked the expiration date of any product involved in the making of your sandwich.  She usually had bits of moldy something or other in her refrigerator.  Leftovers are in a category of tentative expiration dates.  How long is too long for that leftover container of chili to sit in the frig?  3 days, a week or up to two weeks?  I would say a week is stretching it.  My son-in-law would say two weeks is more than ok.  Growing up my mom would stretch ingredients a tad past their life span.  Celery that was beyond limp, moldy cheese, leftovers of over a week.  I have seen my mom cut off a chunk of mold on cheese and continue to eat what is not moldy.  Vitamins, rubbing alcohol, Benadryl cream all have expiration dates.  If you have ever smelled very outdated vitamins you know why there is an expiration date on them.  A friend of mine had several bottles of expired vitamins.  She didn't know what to do with them, so she dumped them on her garden.  Ginormous tomatoes that year with growths on them!



For those of us that live in definitively distinctive 4 season climates, Spring brings a break in the hibernation that a great many do all winter long.  Our unseasonably warms temps as of late have brought a type of night-of-the-living-dead mass appearance to the streets and sidewalks.  Generally speaking, most folks I have seen the past few days I did NOT see all winter long when I was out running in snow and cold.  They are fair weather participants of nature.  Out running this week I encountered people running (I will not say runners as they were far from that!) with body types, forms and clothing that denoted first timers.  I give them credit for getting out there and doing something that involves movement and caloric burning.  Though, I giggled a great deal as well.  I now was sharing the streets with them - those that had not been true to the quest of exercise all winter long.  Last night, as Doug and I went for a long walk, I mentioned to him all the newbie wanna-be jogging/runners that I had seen out.  Did they use a treadmill all winter long?  Did they go to the YMCA?  No, I decided.  There was nothing about their bodies or speed or form that led me to believe they were regular exercisers.  It was just a warm weather phenomena much like going to YMCA cardio or spin class in January - packed.  I wondered how long it would be before most of those that I had only seen for the first time ever out running, would stop.  None of them had I seen while I logged miles outside in the winter.  There was part of me that wanted to scold them a bit.  That wanted to tell them they were abusing nature by only participating in it when it was easy or pleasant.  I wanted to ask did they truly love nature so much that they just had to be in it no matter the temperature or season.  Though by their absence all winter long, their answer would be NO.   My husband has definitely come to know of my restless spirit and call of the wild that fills most of my insides.  He knows when I pace or gaze out the window or say I have to go outside it means I need to breath the outdoor air, use up some energy and feel connected to something bigger than myself.  I'm not sure those pansy, fair-weather, outdoor participators really get nature!  Don't get me wrong, I love mild, sunny conditions.  Who doesn't!  But I also love the starkness of fall and winter and the cold on my face while running.  It is challenging and invigorating and leaves me with a bit of a conquering spirit.  There is a secret warmth inside when I go out into harsher weather conditions.  A magic of participating in it.  I think that chunky guy, in the only-can-buy-at-Walmart gray sweatpants (not a good look to showcase anyone's body!), I saw trying to jog won't be out there for long.  And, I have big bets that I won't see him sharing the roads running with me when November rolls back around.  Fair weather pansy exercisers sort of piss me off! 



What defines our lives?  Is it what brings us fulfillment?  Is it what occupies the greatest time slot at the time; family, careers, finances, health, relationships, a goal?  Putting the trash dumpster and recyclable bin out by the curb last evening, my elderly old-maid neighbor lady from directly across the street began a conversation with me.  I walked across the street to have a bit of neighborly dialogue with her.  She was a secretary all her life, taught piano lessons (still does), and never married.  I would guess her age somewhere at 75ish.  Now Carol really does have beautiful white hair.  It is styled in a short, older woman sort of style and always looks nice.  She is not an outdoors person and maybe due to age, or just dislike, does none of her own outside yard work, raking, shoveling, or puttering in the landscaping chores.  I can tell this past year she is not quite as steady on her feet as I watch her pull her trash can to the curb with slowness and struggle.  Do I help her or let her be?  I would want someone to let me be at her age and do the things that I want to still try to do:)  I comment to Carol that her hair looked beautiful.  Did she just get it done today?  I'm not sure how a comment and question about hair led to what then dominated the conversation - her health, but it did.  She told me about getting her hair done at Walmart because it is so much cheaper.  She told me about how you can't make an appointment there, but that's ok as she gets her groceries there while she waits.  Her comment about Walmart led to her saying that she doesn't like to drive out that far (Walmart is probably less than 4 miles from here but through city traffic) as it makes her nervous.  She told me that since her birthday this year physically she has struggled with her sciatica and then a chronic cold since January with a round of anti-biotics.   She talked about her aches and pains.  I tried to be compassionate, empathetic even, but also to get her to find joy in something instead of focusing on what she couldn't do or didn't like about her life.  I wasn't successful.  I offered to pick anything up at the store when I go that she needs.  I should have probably offered to take her with me, but I didn't know how I would survive a trip trapped in the car with Chronically Complaining Carol!  Feeling the full weight of depression that was clouding over her now attempting to suck me in, I changed the subject.  The weather!  Beautiful in the Midwest and unseasonably warm the past few days.  I tell her the forecast is slated for 70+ degrees for the next week.  She responds with, "Well, it won't last!"  DUH!  I know that.  Let's state the obvious instead of being thankful for a bit of a respite from the normal early March coolness!  I have to extricate myself as I really truly can only take Negative Nellies for about 2 minutes.  I have exceeded that time limit.  As I turn to leave I repeat to her, "Carol, you might feel yucky, but you look great today!"  I do get a bit of a smile out her for a brief moment as she responds, "Well, don't get old.  That's all I can say.  Just don't get old!"  I try one last thing as I turn mid-street, "Don't think there is anything I can do about getting old.  We all get there eventually.  The only thing I can do is try to enjoy the good part of it!"  It was a day of people telling me their physical woes.  Earlier in the day, while at the lab for some routine blood work, the lab tech-a middle aged woman, tells me about her hip replacement surgery that she is going to have.  She says until a month ago there was no pain but that this month has been horrific.  I sympathize with her - chronic pain is horrific.  I'm on a quest though - find something positive with her.  I say, "Did you ever stop to look at it this way; most people who have hip replacement surgery have struggled with pain and degeneration for years.  You only had to endure one month of it before getting it fixed!"   She smiled wryly acknowledging she should view it that way too.  I wondered last night late, you know when the days events are just kind of jumbling around your brain for final review before being placed in their appropriate files, what defines our lives.  What defined these two women's lives right now.  And, what defined mine.



Listening to a friend of mine today lamenting a bit about her two oldest children's, 21 and 25, process of "coming of age" or being independent made me think about that issue.  Why is it in our current culture it seems that kids just do not come into being independent as early as they used to?  Why does it appear that kids live at home longer, don't enter the work force as early, don't get married as soon, take longer to get through college than previous generations?  Do I have a bit of "old people-ishness" in me now where I think everything was better way back when?  Has it really changed or not?  I went on a statistical quest to prove what I suspected culturally with this whole age of independence issue.  What I found was supportive of my own train of thought and alarmingly disturbing as well. A study from Keele University found that in the families surveyed 9 out of 10 parents truly believed it was hard for kids to take full financial responsibility for themselves.  It was noted that the age of independence (real and assumed), once 18 years of age, had risen to age 24-26.  The increase in the age of independence has come mainly from the fact that there is a higher percentage of kids who attend college as opposed to 30-40 years ago.  Because of that fact, that final independence step is put off until post-college and sometimes, post-graduate studies are completed and careers are started.  That stat is skewed a bit in lower income families and those who do not attend college.  Their age of independence occurs earlier than 24 and they take on independent roles faster than their educated counterparts.  I also think that part of why we see the age independence rising is in part due to financial reasons.  The 18-30 year old generation isn't willing to wait to self-gratify themselves with possessions.  They want to have the lifestyle of their parents at their present current age.  One way to ensure that, is not to leave their parent's lifestyle or assistance until much later as they forge their own way up the economic ladder.  Costs of higher education are enormous and usually leave a great many young people in debt for the first 10-15 years of their adult lives post-college.  Parents help their kids far later into life which again delays the age of independence also. There are such things as social pendulums.  Things that we see in one generation will skip a generation and show up again in a later generation.   We tend to raise kids wanting for them what we maybe did not garner from our own parents.  That is just the nature of the beast.  What occurs then is a generation who wants to do the same - wants something for their kids that they did not have.  Societal pendulum swings that are somewhat generational.  I was talking with my daughter about this issue.  She is 25 this year.  I asked if she thought my generation taught independence to their children.  Her response was, "I felt like individuality was encouraged and taught but not necessarily independence."   I would most definitely agree with her answer.  My mom is the greatest mom you'd want to meet.  I love her deeply.  She though was not very emotionally present or warm and fuzzy when I was growing up.  Because of that, and maybe that I was created to be this way, I am overly emotionally present and offered that to my daughter when she was growing up.  One day, when Hannah-my daughter was 18 or so she said, "She wished that Mammer (her grandmother and my mother) would have been her mom as she was not emotionally expressive and didn't want to talk about everything like I did!"  Hannah wanted what she did not have!   That is my point with generational and societal pendulum swings.  I wonder what kind of mothering Hannah will bring to the table when her turn to parent is upon her! 



Recently my husband and I tried a newer Thai Restaurant in our community.  I love Thai food and Doug, well he was game to try it.  It is authentic Thai food and owned by a Thai family.  I love that mix of sweet, salty, sour and a hint of bitter that permeates their cuisine.  I asked our server, the father of the business, what the bean sprout salad was all about.  I love bean sprouts - raw or cooked and eat them at home regularly.  His English was good in the sense that he seemed to know a lot of it.  His English though was poor in the fact that it was hard to catch the English word he was saying through his country's native accent.  I was asking about what was in the salad.  He was thinking I didn't have a clue what a bean sprout was.  "I go git you bean sprout to show," he said as he turned back toward the kitchen assuming this Midwestern girl had no clue what they were or had ever eaten them!  I stopped him, expressing that I knew what a bean sprout was.  Having cleared up that small language barrier issue, Doug and I ordered -  me, the bean sprout salad with Thai rolls, and Doug, the cashew chicken with sticky rice.  It was delicious.  The crunchy bean sprout salad had a bit of sweet/sour and bitter dressing on it that made you both want to stop eating and keep eating at the same time.  Finishing off the meal, our waiter came back to the table.  Curious on what they offered for dessert, I asked what they had.  "Stickyricemango", came the very fast response cloaked in his Thai accent and phrasing.  My brain was quickly playing a mental version of the game "Mad Gab", where you read a phrase off a card that is spelled how you would say it but not how your eyes and voice can easily decipher what the phrase truly is.  What in the hell did he just say?  All the words just blurred together in heavily Thai accented phrasing.  I don't want to offend him by saying, HUH-WHAT!  I'll try again, but instead of asking him what it was again, I'll ask what it is made of so I can figure out what the dessert is by the ingredients. "So, now what exactly is in that dessert?" I say with grace and discretion seeking to fulfill my HUH WHAT IN THE HELL DID HE SAY without asking it again.  While not missing a beat, and assuming possibly that my intelligence was borderline low, he replied, "M A N G O      and, STICKYRICE" (said with the word mango drawn out and the latter part blurred together).   I thought we were going to fall off our chairs in laughter.  We waited to do so though until he was out of sight.  This waiter truly believed I did not know what a bean sprout was or mangoes or sticky rice!  I felt like I was assuming he was intelligent and speaking to him that way.  I'm not sure he felt I was intelligent or worthy of his country's cuisine.  



There are many things in our culture that I am beyond curious about.  Neologism, is the word that best describes a cultural adaptation or skewedness of a familiar word with something new.  Neo in Greek means new, and logos means speech or utterance.  Kids use neologisms frequently, especially as they are developing their hearing, perception and vocal skills.  Culture uses them too with slang phrases or culturalisms unique to a certain period of time usually influenced by whatever is naturally occurring in society at that moment.  Neologisms are used in theology as well in how things are interpreted or redoctrinized to others.  They are also used in science and technology.  For instance, the word radar (1941) and even Internet (1974) were created words used to describe something new.  Even literature uses neologisms.  Calling someone a "scrooge" (after the main character in a Charles Dickens book) is an example.  They are made-up-invented words.  Now whether they stand the test of time is up to the cultural embrace they get.  Right now my dear friend, Big D, has stopped reading this post declaring she hates information and definitions of words.  Even though the word neologism refers to cultural adaptions of words via definitions in literature, science, technology, theology or every day speech, let's use it in a much broader context.  Our culturalisms go beyond words to gestures, looks.  Yesterday on my drive to work I was prompted to think of this cultural wave of made up words and actions that have definitions.  Though their origins are sometimes unknown, their impliedness (a sort of neologism word) is clearly gotten by most people under the age of 90.  Pulling up to a three lane, 4 stop light intersection that I drive weekly, I am in the middle lane (turn left  only lane to my left, the second straight or turn right lane to my right).  You know the routine to those stop lights; left arrow first and then as it turns to either red or just a plain green (no arrow) ,the straight lanes turn green.  For whatever reason yesterday the stoplights were not working properly.  As a default, they had changed to FLASHING RED.  Mind you, I am 45 years old and driver's education was some 30 years ago, but if I retained anything, that means it becomes a 4 directional stop - like if it were a stop sign.  You take turns going.  Nearing the intersection there is one car ahead me sitting at the light in my lane, and one car sitting in the right lane to my right.  The light clearly flashing red, they continued to sit there clueless that the stoplight was not working and that an adaptive system was now in place involving the driving skills and intelligence of all 4 directions.  The other 3 directions stopped, looked and took turns moving through the intersection.  Not the two cars ahead of me.  After sitting behind their stupidity for sometime I honked lightly and pointed to the light trying to get the driver ahead of me to understand it was now a 4 direction stop and go!  He was driving a piece of shit car and sporting, what soon appeared to be most of his intelligence in his finger, as he flipped me off while finally moving through the intersection.  I don't like to be hurried.  I sure didn't mean to piss him off, but was merely trying to get him to understand something that he obviously didn't as he had sat there for several minutes unnecessarily.  I laughed out loud in the car at what that gesture implies when done to a man.  I laughed even harder at the choice I could take that gesture as since I was a woman and anatomically had another option down there!  Then I just got pissed!  What inconsiderate pig of a man flips a woman off when he was at fault for his stupidity in paying attention to his driving surroundings.  From there I wondered who invented that gesture and what event, mixed with something familiar as well, had precipitated it being used for the first time.  Then following those thoughts I wondered, much like neologisms, why culture had perpetuated and embraced this gesture so whole-heartedly.  Though I must admit his asinine behavior did momentarily make me want to plant my foot in his ass! 



Did you know that there are 2 states and 3 territories that are part of the United States that do not participate or observe daylight savings time?  Arizona and Hawaii never spring ahead or fall behind.  Neither does the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa join in the dance with time.   Those "extreme hot weather" states evidently don't need another hour of daylight!  Indiana never used to be a team player with daylight savings time (except for the extreme western counties by Chicago) until their last governor got it passed through state legislation in 2005.  It happens every year at 2:00 a.m. the second Sunday in March where we shove the clock forward an hour and then push it back at 2:00 a.m. the first Sunday in November.  I cannot figure out why necessarily those dates nor why "commerce" still needs an extra hour of light certain times of the year to promote trade and do business.  We now have fax machines, cell phones, computers, and CARS!  Daylight savings time is observed elsewhere in the world but with varying date schedules.   Mexico, Canada and the members of the Eastern European Union also utilize daylight savings time.  China and Japan do not!  Most nations near the equator stay on constant standard time.  I guess it pays to live where you are packed with 1.3 billion people, or have warm weather - one or the other!  Roughly 70 countries and one-billion people live with the rotational changing of daylight savings time.  Interestingly enough, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt are a few of the Middle Eastern countries that rule confidently and arrogantly over everything -including the changing of time too.  They do NOT adhere to DST.  Israel though does.  It was light here in the Midwest section of the U.S. until just after 7 p.m. last night.  On Sunday, March 11th, 2012 it will now stay light until just after 8 p.m.  Summa, Summa, Summatime is near!



I need new running shoes.  Need is possibly a relative word in this case.  They probably have some miles to be logged left on them, but I am rounding up.  Reason being, I hate the color of my shoes. HATE is not as full and descriptive of a word that I could find.  Neutral colors rule supreme for me - in clothes and style.  Your basic gray, blueish, white with maybe a strip of a color on the shoe or sole is what most appeals to me.  Naturally you would think that comfort trumps all.  It does to some degree.  I went waaayyyy outside of myself in buying these shoes because, based on what the store had to offer, they were the right feel and height to my ankle bone, the right weight and offered a mesh toe (I don't wear socks when I run and like the air movement).  The lesson I learned though, is that although all that stuff is what really matters in regards to a shoe when logging miles in running, I am vain.  Since being single again and then re-married, I have consciously edged into waters that were not part of my life previously.  The results have been liberating and freeing - opening myself up to things I didn't think were me or I would like.  These shoes, black with shocking hot pink highlights, are NOT in that category.  I have found myself staring at my feet when out running and having a dialogue about them in my head.  Usually the dialogue concludes with the same thing daily, "I HATE THESE SHOES!"  Today I went to a sporting goods store in search of a non-ghetto pair of running shoes.  The salesclerk, a man who was also a runner, came to help me with my questions.  I like a very lightweight shoe 8-9 ounces.  I asked him about the lightweight, almost barefoot runner shoes out now.  We discussed issues that they can create; Achilles and arch trouble due to the fact that the shoes are designed for shorter, faster runs that are run more on your toes than a heel to toe strike.  I scoured the displays disregarding price momentarily and focusing first on weight and color.  In exasperation I turned to the man helping me and said, "Seriously are there not any shoes this season that aren't bright and gaudy?  Look at the way I am dressed today - black shirt, black coat, pair of jeans and black Born shoes.  Do you think I want bright ostentatious shoes??"  He laughed and sarcastically spit back, "Yeah, no doubt they are exactly what fits your style."  I asked his theory on why running shoes have gotten so damn bright and flashy.  "The style this season.  Safety in running in the road - easier to be seen!"  There is NO shoe on the face of the earth that is going to protect you from being hit by a car while running.  The smidgen of truth in his statement was still not enough to warrant wearing neon signs on my feet.  I would just have to risk life and limb when I slipped on my gray non-ghetto shoes then.  My black and hot pink ASIC shoes would not be out of the closet again if I could help it.  Skinny jeans, billowy tops and ghetto running shoes - these are a few of my not favorite things! 



News is interesting to me.  Just last week someone commented to me about a news website they subscribe to that is NOT biased.  I smiled clear inside at the ridiculousness of that statement.  There is NO SUCH THING!  Even if unintentional, even if purposefully deliberately and premeditated to not be biased, we are. There is just a measure of it we cannot help.  I suppose this person's premise of this web based news site being unbiased was because of the format.  They didn't write the pieces, but compiled a week in review of all the AP and other news stories out there and sort of redelivered them in a chronological week in review.  I am not a political junkie.  I save all political junkieness for my mother, who, if alive during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, would have been outside of the Pennsylvania State House cheering in support or waiting to catch a glimpse of the 56 signers.  Or, being the crafter that she is, would have helped Betsy Ross sew that first rough draft of the American Flag.  What some people view as news - information and the presentation of that information - is highly subjective and overly opinionated.  We have a new genre of "news" that wasn't prevalent 35 years ago.  It has been dubbed pundit/personality focused news.  It is not just delivered information (news) via print or radio, but a mix of Comedy Central, MSNBC, and J.Edgar Hoover ish opinion edginess all rolled into one and then taken as REAL news.   I don't care if you are left, right or somewhere in the middle you can find a station, a host which will tout your leanings while blatantly declaring they are delivering news.  I love America.  It's the land of opportunities and opinions.  I can love the fact that we have those privileges and platforms to be able to have opinions, but I can dislike how it is done sometimes.  Some of you live and die by Rush Limbaugh, Bill Mahr, Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart or Glen Beck.  They are satirists delivering some information through their own strong leanings, spin, and quest to get high ratings with their "entertainment" focused shows.  Any good communicator will sometimes over exaggerate a statement to prove a point, to create a clear word picture of what they are tyring to convey or sway you toward. Much like I do with this blog:) which is NOT news!  There is a measure of enjoyment that these political satirists get by stirring the pot - it magnifies their stances.  G O A L !!!!!   It creates buzz but usually away from the real issue (the news!) to their outrageous or polarizing sweeping statements of issues and people.  There is a whole generation out there who take those satirists as the gospel - their source for news.



I wonder if God ever really giggles at us.  Not a condescending superior type of you-little-people laugh.  But, a chuckle over our attempts to figure things out - to find a deeply satisfying existence.  It's not so different than what we as adults think and feel while watching a small child eat a piece of their birthday cake. Kids think that cake is wonderful.  They don't know there are other things out there that will be more wonderful to them one day than that cake is.  Like; falling in love, getting the promotion you have wanted, making love, having children, sitting on a beach for a week away from responsibilities, spending time with those we deeply connect to and are madly in love with, reading a good book.  We are not the most original race - humans.  Copycats mostly we are.  Saturday my husband and I decided to drive to larger town (one that he had never been to) about and hour and a half away.  I had lived in that area for some years so I was familiar with it.  We both commented before we left that we were tired of going to our normal shopping centers in adjoining communities.  We wanted an adventure.  There was quite a bit of retail in that town.  Battling to find a parking space at the mall, we went inside.  Different town, different mall name and design, but same stores.  Life is a bit cookie cutterish isn't it!  Doug and I lapped the mall once and decided we had enough of the same stuff but different place.  Target was everywhere, in every town.  Barnes and Noble now was a cornerstone store of every mall.  Banana Republic, Abercrombie, Forever 21, Victoria's Secret, Macy's and Auntie Anne's Pretzels were there too.  Why was human kind on this quest to find purpose and yet kept trying to find it in the same methods?  Doug and I laughed at our 3 hour journey to walk a lap in a mall that housed the same things our mall did.  Life, it seems, is basically a store.  We walked through Macy's.  It was crowded, chaotic with sale racks everywhere and no real order.   We passed through Von Maur, which was expensive with clearance rack items starting at $75.00.  I got verbally assaulted by the sales clerk in Eddie Bauer who wanted to be sure I knew the red signs that said 20% off were saying things were 20% off.  She followed me for a time giving her sales pitch as I did not make eye contact trying to non-verbally express my desire for her to let me peruse alone!  There just is nothing I absolutely can't live without.  And if I need it, well I can go to any given city, any mall anywhere in the continental U.S. and find my jeans I like at the GAP.  I felt like a sheep shopping - just herding myself through familiar stores and items.  I hate stores and I HATE herd living.  Life is more than a store, a sale and a mall.  Buying is a temporary distraction.  I wondered how many in that mall just wanted to be distracted.  I did not want to try on clothes, look at shoes, or have to walk with traffic to maneuver my way through the mall.  Really I just wanted to lay on the couch and take a nap!  



YUCK!  That's what I said this morning out loud as I read online about McDonalds debuting a new version of their McRib in Austria.  Instead of a grilled piece of demi-quasi-ribish meat substance slathered in a horrifically high sugar level sauce, this McRib adds even more heart stopping, cholesterol building properties.  McRibster, a deep-fried McRib, consists of a deep-fried McRib patty, bacon, pepper-Jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, red onion, honey-mustard sauce and spicy sweet chili sauce. I felt a wave of nausea sweep over me as I shook my head.  My friend Big D frequents McDonalds much to my dismay.   I preach to her but to no avail.  She is hooked on McDonalds much like a smoker to cigarettes!  For Christmas I bought her the cheapest bottle of wine I could find, cut McDonalds coupons out of the paper and gave her a $5 book of McDonalds gift certificates.  She gave me a large container of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and a bag of York peppermint patties.  We are very elaborate in our gift giving and very opposite in our eating.   I love vegetables.  I mean I really love vegetables.  My favorite form of them is raw.  It doesn't necessarily matter which vegetables either, I will eat them all.  People who have worked with me over the years have laughed at what I eat for lunch a lot.  This week my craving for raw vegetables neared obsession levels.  For three or four days in a row I ate a huge bowl of them for lunch.  A couple of those days I also repeated it for dinner.  It follows suite with my 5 month run of eating oatmeal for dinner every night.  Cut up a zucchini, a large carrot, some broccoli then drizzle it with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a touch of blue cheese crumbles - WOW!  I ate that for lunch yesterday again:)  Sometimes I take a picture of my bounty of healthy vegetables and text it to Big D.  She stated, in response to my raw veggie palooza, that she was at the local diner eating a meatloaf manhattan.  YUCK!  My love affair with all things veggie and/or healthy makes my husband smile.   He suggested this week that maybe I should eat more than just raw vegetables and apples and the daily spoon of peanut butter.  I told him, after his suggestion, that if he laid a Snickers bar on the counter next to a bowl of raw veggies, I would honestly pick the veggies.  I wondered to him if I am deficient in some vitamin and that's why I crave raw vegetables.   Part of it is the taste - I love the texture and flavor.  Part of it is how I feel when I eat them - CLEAN and sharper.  That Snickers bar, McDonalds or the local delicacy of Meatloaf Manhattan would cause me to be ill, want to lay down and slow my fast mind down.  I can almost guarantee what I will eat for lunch today which will involve something green and crunchy.  I can almost guarantee too that Big D will NOT have anything green or crunchy for her lunch.  In fact, after telling her about the limited release of the revised McRib she booked a flight to Europe!