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5.31.2012

THE BEST OF THE BESTS OF A ROUTINE DAY

I am a creature of habit.  Things that I like, I like.  Products that I love, I use to the exclusion of others.  Clothes styles that I like, I buy two or three of the same but in different colors.  Activities that bring satisfaction to my soul, with regularity, discipline or addiction, get incorporated into my world daily. 

For instance, my recent inventory count of lipstick and lip gloss/lip balms tallies up as follows;  lipstick tubes=12, lip balm=7, and lip gloss=2.   Some are repeating colors or shades, some are not.  I love lip stick and its extended family members.  It is a product that I use first thing in the morning, throughout the day, before I run, and end the day with a clear coat of lip balm, Burt's Bees of course.  

I also habitually do the same thing in the bathroom in the same order upon arising every morning.  It's simple; I go to the bathroom, wash my hands, assess the damage of aging overnight by souring my face for any new growth of chin hairs and wrinkles in the mirror, carry-on an internal conversation about how my hair fared sleeping on it and whether it can be salvaged or has to be washed.  I also brush my teeth while I weigh myself on our digital scale in the exact same item of clothing daily - my white panties only.  Upon completion of these almost OCDish steps, I apply a lip product of some kind.  Dependent upon my mood it is Burt's Bees or lipstick in a light natural shade.  I exit the bathroom to find something to put on for morning paper reading or coffee or my running clothes if it is a running day.  Same things just different day is all that changes.  Ok, and possibly the occasional chin hair thing!

Upon penning that paragraph I will now refer to myself in first person as lab rat #1.   That notion of routine, repetitiveness either agrees with you or makes you scream.  

I like that my niece Chloe hugs me hard and picks me up off the floor every time she sees me.  She repeats the same mantra about me when she does it.  I love that and missed it recently when I was with her and she was under the weather and missing her spark due to having mono.

I love to run without anyone around me.  That includes running in areas where there aren't a lot of people or much traffic.  It also includes not running with my husband.  I also like to walk out my front door and run in my neighborhood pretty much day after day after day.  I like that feeling of connecting to where I am at.  I don't want to drive somewhere, get out of the car and run my miles, then get back in the car and drive home.

My clothes are repeating styles with similar lines but in a few different colors.  I have Bandolino heels in 4 colors.  Same exact shoe, just different colors.  I have running shorts and running capris and running pants in similar styles in a couple of colors.  My shirts follow suit as well with duplicating or closely matched styles in a few different colors.  My bras too.  If I find one I like, I purchase several more like them.  Hanging neatly in my closet are four dress work jackets - same exact style in four different colors.  Of the jeans I own, three are from one store I like and three from another brand I like. 

I love that my daughter and I text, email or talk almost daily.  I love that we connect with a line or two, a conversation, a funny picture.  To connect to her is a repeating and blessed part of my every day.

My close friends and sisters show up regularly in my daily world with a touch of some kind.  We banter, complain, get jr highish, and speak love to each other just as routinely as my bathroom ritual occurs.

Everyday I photograph myself and text them to my husband.  Some are boring, normal, leaving the house for work, sitting at my desk.  Some are funny pictures of 10 pound buckets of lard at the grocery store.  Others, well, let's just say I won't let you scroll randomly through my pictures on my phone. 
 
Throughout the day I talk to God about just about everything.  I love that I can regularly, routinely, and as a part of the pattern of each day, talk to Him.  I love that when I think of our kids, I can pray for them.  Or when I am fighting some dysfunction in my thoughts or emotions with circumstances or people that God hears me. 

I love Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, real old fashioned oats, organic carrots, dried cranberries, unsalted pecans, Granny Smith apples, NIPS/a hard piece of caramel candy, popcorn with real butter and salt, full fat half n half cream in my coffee, exclusively flavored coffee only, fresh raspberries/blueberries/strawberries/blackberries, cantaloupe, raw vegetables and bacon.

What makes a great day?  I thought about that today since today was just a Thursday in yet another week.  Though my day might have seemed simple, boring almost routine, it was not.  It had elements of all the things I like and love - products, activities, things, and people. 

5.29.2012

A RIDE TO REMEMBER

I wish I could, adequately and fully with words, capture the bigness of certain things I feel.  That there was a way to record them in full high definition to be re-played with replicated exactness over and over again. 

You no doubt have triggers, reminders, flashes of things that catapult you to experiencing wide-open throttled emotions inwardly.  Maybe they are events that are hard.  Maybe though, they are events, experiences, moments of great zen-ness.  Things that strike exactly who you are in your native language so to speak.  

I have a beautiful orange sweet ride, referenced in the very first blog post title of this blog and also in later posts.  It is new, but made to look retro.  It has a suspension-shock system with a seat big enough for J-Lo's original butt to ride on with room to spare.  Beautifully painted bright orange, it sports ridiculously huge handlebars, very wide tires with white walls and fenders that would make a Harley owner jealous.  It is a reminder of my recovery from deep illness and a gift of hope from my father.  Many, many miles have been logged on that bike in the past 7-8 years.  Everyone of them I have been conscious and grateful for health that allowed me to ride again. 

This orange ride of mine is a townie bike though with no gears and brakes in the pedals.  It was created and designed for strolling and tooling about town rather than for high miles and speed.  I could probably out coast Lance Armstrong on it, but I would be left in the dust on inclines or in the face of wind.  So, pretty much he would whip my ass.  Come to think of it, no matter the bike, he would beat me.  Though I am steroid free in my biking endeavors:)   The speed and the duration of the journey is dictated solely by your own legs.  So if you've got the quads, you can log the miles or the incline. 

My husband and I, wanting to do some serious biking of more than 10 miles at a time, purchased a new bike for me.  It's a Fuji 80 zillion speed white bike.  It was fitted for my height, leg length and not fully functioning grip strength of my right hand to more easily work the rear brake. 

The same day of purchase, we loaded up the bikes and drove to a bike trail that offered 30-40 miles of biking.  I had such ecstasy that I thought I would implode from the barrage of senses that were firing non-stop full rounds internally.  I wondered if it was possible to get high just from stimuli.  If it was, I was there. 

I had spent the better part of my childhood, even forgoing cars at times in my teenage years, to adventure on my bicycle.  It was nothing for me to get on my bike at 16 or 17 years of age and ride 30 miles on a Sunday afternoon.  I would be by myself enjoying the feeling of nature, the wide open country roads and time to just be free in my spirit and head.  It was there I felt a strong connection to God and how I came to be. 

We unloaded the bikes from the bike rack.  Off we went to traverse the bike trail. The trail wound itself through farmer's fields across parts of two counties.  Portions of it were in the woods, while short spurts took you to the wide openness of fields and bright sun.  A few hills dotted the trails and the trail followed the earth's natural design of them.  The sights, sounds, lack of sounds, and smells were familiar to my farm raised psyche.  There were the backdrop of much of who I was, the things that fueled my engine, unleashed passion, and created a deep sense of peace and contentment in me.  Riding the miles was magical.  The warm air, the full summer bloom of greens, the wheat swaying in the breeze, the sound of birds or the scurry of a small critter. The wind in the trees screamed to my soul and spirit...You are home.   

If a car needs oil and gas and cylinders to operate successfully, then I needed a bike to take me the distance, some wide open space and nature.  I couldn't clearly define to my husband in audible fifty-cent words what the new bike and day had meant to me.  I tried to tell him, how grateful I was to get to operate in my zone.  The words fell very short of my monstrously large feelings.  It was gratitude, reverence and ecstasy all rolled up together.  What emotion or word that is, I just don't know.  I did know though that the feelings were amazing, almost dizzying and addictive.

5.27.2012

FLESH, BONES AND A BIKINI

Bodies are very interesting to me.   I get amazed, and humored occasionally, at the vast and varied array of human bodies in the world.  That fact is bill boarded and highlighted at the beach much like the lights of Vegas showcase its gaudy and-the-topness.  Part of the fascination I have with humanity is our variances, our radical differences that take a sharp turn away from the stream of similarness we all share in other ways.  We are, for the most part to some degree anyway, born with a certain body type.  With a certain bone structure, a propensity to muscle tone or flab, exercise withstanding for the moment.  I could see both abuse and care in the human vessels laying about the sand.  I watched in utter fascination the parade of people today at the beach - this mixed bag of humans and how they displayed their bodies in beachwear.  You definitely see things in bathing suits that street clothes mask or draw
attention away from.  To be honest, I was both amazed and horrified at the physical freedom people seemed to exhibit.  Flesh is what it is - skin and flesh that God gives us to cover our organs.  It is there as His magical way of protecting our liver, our heart, our brain, our colon.  If you look at skin and flesh that way, the container or shape really doesn't matter, does it?  And yet, our culture is bombarded with images of what our containers need to look like.  I saw very, very few today that would fit the media standard of beauty.  What I did see was a great many very overweight people who seemed unabashed in their bodies.  Who didn't appear to be too awfully bothered with multiple fat rolls, large bellies, cellulite, or thighs that showed no daylight between the leg.  I saw a whole youth culture that even though they are young didn't have the bodies to wear bikinis.  It didn't stop them.  Similar to an eclipse, where you know you shouldn't stare at the sun, I found I just wanted to look.  There was something compelling, even hypnotizing about observing people's bodies and their choice of clothing based upon their body type.  What makes any of us think we look good in a certain style, color or cut of bathing suit?  I giggled at the thought of living in a culture where it is NOT acceptable to go out in our underwear or undergarments alone.  Yet, swim wear, some of which covers less than underpants and bra, are acceptable in public arenas during hot weather near bodies of natural or man-made water.  I was intrigued with bodies today.  I wondered what people thought of me at my age in what I had on.  Was I age appropriate in my clothing?  Better yet, was I body type appropriate in my choice of swim wear today?  I saw some flesh that I wished was a bit smaller and others that I wished were more covered up.  I saw not one European man in a speedo though.  I felt cheated.

5.25.2012

DOUBLE YELLOW LINES

I run in high gear most of the time.  It's just the way I'm wired.  The way that God assembled my parts, DNA and personality.  If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've no doubt picked up on the fact that I am fast, passionate and assertive.  It shows itself in just about everything I approach.  Driving as well.  I willingly admit that slow drivers bug the crap and swear words right out of me.  If at all possible, and the double yellow lines abate, I pass slow drivers.  I do so out of necessity for my spiritual and mental health.  I also pass them for their own safety and comfort.  Surely they would rather I go around them than follow closer than they might like in a driving non-verbal way of saying, "Come on!  Come on buddy!  Pick up the pace!"   I believe that whenever I am running too close to the clock for time is when the universe tries to intervene.  It tries to teach me to plan better, leave earlier, quit trying to do yet one more thing before leaving the house, have grace for slow drivers, realize that all the minutes I think I am saving really don't add up to that much savings.  I believe every day God is probably giving me an opportunity to learn those things.  To slow down, breathe, let loose of the adrenaline rush.  Everyday I fail the test.  I fall short of God's unorthodox nudgings showing me a better way.  Today, after cutting it a bit too close for time on my drive to work, I found myself behind slow drivers.  Most of which either pulled out in front of me or I caught up to as the distance between their under the speed limit and my over the speed limit collided.  I let a few choice words make their way from my mind straight out my mouth.  I wondered out loud in the car why slow drivers can't have a road system all their own.  I shared my driving experience with my boss upon getting into the office this morning.  He laughed stating, "Nancy, God gives you a new opportunity to learn the lesson, to get it right every day.  To slow down and find patience."  I laughed and said, "Well, if I was God I would have given up on me long before now."  I thought about God.  His lifelong love affair with loving me, trying to speak to me, show me things, open my eyes and heart to what I cannot see.  Maybe I didn't love the slow drivers, but I loved that God sent them into my path daily.  He must love me. 

5.24.2012

THE ART OF MELONS

Some of you may have ended up on this blog post by googling the word "melons".  You probably weren't envisioning the ones that are grown from a seed in the ground.  Possibly you were looking for breasts using synonyms.  You would be correct in calling breasts melons.  If you cut one in half and super-glued it to a woman's chest, the shape would be the same as the end result of a boob job.  You can spot them a mile away, artificially enhanced breasts that is.  It looks like half of a cantaloupe with skin stretched over it.  So, I suppose I did mention melons in reference to slang for a woman's breasts. 

In the purest sense of the word melon though I am talking about botanical fruits or a few varieties which are dubbed culinary vegetables.  Which type of melon falls into which category I don't exactly know.  What matters is that I love the melon family.  The entire family.  Melons do have a few interchangeable names like; cantaloupe or muskmelon.  You might prefer honeydew, sugar melon or the North American Cantaloupe. 

Hopefully you are better at picking out a ripe one than I am.  I think there is an art to it.  Someone who is a wine expert is called a  sommelier.  They can tell with smell and their palate the quality and pieces that make up a particular wine.  Unfortunately there is not a real name for a melon caveat out there.  If there were, they would be one who is able to pick out the perfect ripest melon by sight, feel and smell.

My middle sister, Diane, says that if you take your thumb and middle finger and flick a melon it should make a certain sound if it is ripe.   She also says it has a smell at the base of it which is another indicator of whether it is ready. What the hell sound or smell that is I don't quite know.

I have been seen in the produce aisle feigning my melon caveatness by thumping endless melons and smelling their butt end.  After touching most of them on display, failing to find a significant difference between sound and smell, I resort to my method - luck!

My Grandpa Weldy was a good melon picker-outer.  Maybe it came from being a farmer all his life or possibly growing them in the garden for years.  Probably it just came from age - wisdom garnered from a lifetime of knowledge and experience.

I really would like to put up a YouTube video, a spoof as it were, of my sister Diane.  I would call her Diane, melon caveat extraordinaire.  We would make it a bit snobbish like the wine crowd can be.  She would be filmed thumping melons and smelling the butt end of different varieties of melons. A melon how to instructional humorous video. 

All joking aside, I need a How To Pick A Ripe Melon-101 course.  I'm not good in Las Vegas and it shows in my melon picking abilities!

5.22.2012

NIXING THE MIDDLE-MAN

Seriously, this is not a joke.  This is the sign I read yesterday while driving in the town I live in.  I had been by this building a zillion times, but had never paid much attention to even what business it was.  That is, until yesterday.  I laughed out loud alone in the car as a myriad of questions and comments flew through my mind....

ELKHART CREMATION SERVICES
DIRECT CREMATION     $795.00

Now I don't know about you, but I was a bit unsure what direct cremation was as opposed to indirect cremation.  Does that mean the middle man which would probably be the funeral home is excluded?  Does it mean that I can take Grandpa Sal's dead body directly there in the back of the mini-van (like the movie "Little Miss Sunshine"), and they will cremate him?  Do they have a drive-up window for drop-off and pick-up?  Is it like the supermarket Aldis where I bring my own container for the ashes?  If I'm going to get cremated anyway, do I need a funeral home involved? 

If you are curious as to what direct cremation is, click on the link:
http://funeral-tips.com/what-is-direct-cremation/

I am most definitely a practical realist who loves simple to-the-point anything.  I am a full body donor, that is if there is any working organ left in me upon my death.  I don't want a fuss made over me when I leave the earth.  Don't display me in dead form to those that only had a relationship with a living, breathing and oxygenated colored Nancy.  Don't have tributes and bawling over me. 

Even me, who has signed up for that way of disposing of my empty spirited body, thinks that sign seemed a bit unpolished.  A tad overly direct.  Definitely though did it peak my interest and cause me to search for information on leaving out the middle man in death.  It seemed akin to shopping at the clearance rack or even Goodwill.  Hmmmmmm:)   Appealing to me.

I have always found it amazing how much money is spent on people after they die.  It just doesn't make logical sense to me.  I am not an advocate of mass graves and disrespectful and dishonoring behavior in handling dead bodies.  Absolutely not.  But, respect isn't greater because I have a $10,000 headstone, 3 viewings and a funeral mass with 500 in attendance. 

Funerals though really are for the living.  A way, I suppose, for us who still participate in this life to make peace with the loss of someone from our everyday world.  To stop and remember, put in perspective the start and end of a life.  To pay homage.

For me though, I am ok with a $795.00 direct cremation, an 8x10 framed glossy picture of me next to my mayonnaise jar of ashes, a time to laugh over who I was with home-made pie and southern pecan coffee for everyone in attendance. 

5.21.2012

REAL SUGAR AND REAL BUTTER

When I was a kid my Grandma made square hamburgers fried in a pitted aluminum skillet with mushroom soup gravy (long before the aluminum scare and red meat alerts!).  After the hamburgers were removed from the pan, grease was mixed with a bit of flour, a can of mushroom soup and a cup of milk or so.  It was salted and peppered to seasoned goodness and served with the hamburgers.  It was a sort of poor man's swiss steak, and it was good!  She had melamine dishes that were a coral-pinkish hue and we consumed those square mushroom-gravied burgers on them.  She also made the best custard in the world.  Never was there any skimping or trying to "lighten up" the recipe.  It was rich and creamy with full fat whole milk and real eggs, sweetened with real sugar and real vanilla.  The top was dusted with a bit of nutmeg.  My other Grandma made the world's best fried chicken.  She used chicken, with the skin on - eeh gads!!  It was dipped in egg and milk and rolled in a seasoned flour mixture, and then browned in a high temperature skillet with butter.  Yes, I said butter.  The real deal and lots of it.   After it got to a crispy brown goodness on both sides, it was transferred to a large granite-wear covered roasting pan and baked it till done.  There was nothing like it.  She also made real tapioca pudding from scratch, not a box mix.  It was, as my grandpa used to say, "fish eyes" - the large pearl kind of tapioca.   After it was cooked in whole milk and sometimes half/half with several eggs and had cooled, she added real whipping cream that she had whipped.  It wasn't COOL WHIP or any of its derivatives with poly this and that as ingredients.  It was just cream, whipped with a bit of sugar to the consistency of whipping cream and then folded in to the tapioca.  The final product was creamy and rich.  It was full bodied and smooth and you wanted more than one helping.  Did we eat like that constantly, no.  But, it was part of our eating world.  My husband and I were talking about diets now days.  They are ridiculous.  There are the; I won't eat bread, only protein, only low fat, only fruit, only cabbage soup, only light/diet versions of processed foods diets out there.  When we were growing up there were relatively few very overweight people.  There were no video games, no cell or smart phones, no computers, no I Pads, no WORDS WITH FRIENDS, no FACEBOOK, no cable TV, no dvd or blue ray players.  There was nothing to keep you inside or sitting except the occasional TV show, a book or a board game.  None of that stuff existed AND we ate butter and bacon grease and fried chicken sometimes.  But we did not have processed foods.  Oh sure Twinkies were introduced in 1930. McDonalds first started in Arizona in 1975.  And, cake mixes that required adding only water appeared as a product of General Mills in 1947.  There was SOME processed foods, but even those were not filled to the brim with the amount of preservatives we consume nowadays.  Seeds that farmers used had not been genetically altered to produce higher yields by combining seed species with herbicides to make them resilient to bugs and weather conditions.  Fertilizers and chemicals were not the norm in farming like they are now.  Ground water was not polluted from run-off of chemicals put in the ground to produce a bigger end result.  And, our asses moved constantly.  Food was made from scratch more.  There were not ingredients listed that couldn't be pronounced.  Portion sizes were not inflated to Biblical proportions and people were built smaller they than are today.  There are "light" and "reduced fat" versions of everything today.  They are part of the mixed bag of culprits that cause people to not lose weight. They have high chemical contents with ingredients that our bodies don't process.  30 years ago you could eat full-fat tapioca and fried chicken from time to time because you didn't sit around and it wasn't made with artificial anything.  I think not eating bread is totally unreasonable.  But, I think eating bread constantly is too.  Eat a piece of bread occasionally.  Eat a piece of pie once in awhile.  In the interim, move your body and eat veggies and fruit and lean protein.  Eat things that aren't boxed and are fresh.  Sugar won't make you fat consumed occasionally.  I think the population of the U.S. would physically feel way better if they didn't eat chemically laced products dubbed as "food" and would set their smart phones down and go outside! 

5.17.2012

SANS SARCASM

Since I opened up reader comments for the blog post, "YOUR GAME PIECE",  I have gotten several requests for blog post subject material.  The one that I am approaching presently is in response to a reader request in both subject matter and writing style approach.  This present request, sparking this blog post, came from my daughter who reads this blog regularly. 

Hannah (my daughter and a grown and married woman) found my blog soon after its August 2010 infancy when it was originally titled, Tripped Out On Life's Textures, and written under the pseudo name Lynn Cherry.  She has great investigative sleuthing abilities which she garnered from me.  I give her a full standing ovation, extra credit points as well, for seeking and discovering something that I had somewhat hidden from her.  I had never told her what pen name I used, what the original blog title was or any real specific information.  Yet, her inquisitive and seeking mind and spirit eventually found it. 

She left a comment today with a subject matter blog post request.  This was her comment...
A post about all the reasons why your daughter is the funniest person in the family sans sarcasm. 

Freely and openly I admit when I read her request for a blog post, I laughed out loud.  Just because I laughed does not mean I think or know she is the funniest in the family.  On the contrare, laughter is a regular part of my DNA just like the need for oxygen is.  She has now taken our family feud over who is the funniest in the family to a public platform.  She knows I will honor my blog post declaration of saying I will write about whatever subject someone requests.  I give her points for the sneaky way she tried to get to the home plate declaration of being the funniest in the family. 

I also give her a deep royalty type of bow in honor of her usage of the word "sans" in her blog post subject request.  She knows me well.  Greatly familiar she is with my pepperage of sarcasm in most of what I say or deliver.  She is akin to sarcasm herself, using it like butter on a warm roll - liberally.  I genetically gave her that ability and then consistently modelled its use for her. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the word sans, it means without in French.  That whole French connection would be tied to her husband who speaks French and no doubt gave her the idea for that word.  Brilliant use and combination of a French word with the word sarcasm.  That in and of itself is very funny.  Her handling  and incorporation of great word pairings would also come from me. 

She wanted me to say that she is the funniest in the family, to give her the award we have both been vying for.  She is funny.  Very.  Just not the funnIEST in the family.  She has not eclipsed the master, yet.

5.16.2012

A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE - WHAT'S YOURS?

This title is a direct quote from a reader's comment who played the "GAME PIECE" interactive blog post game.  He or she left a comment on a subject they wanted me to write about. 

I thought about that phrase, a much over-used one, made popular by a national best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California.  Though the book had an obvious spiritual message, it likewise appealed to those outside the church.  I thought all last night and this morning about my purpose driven life and what it was all about. 

In looking for my life's mission statement that I had written on a scrap of paper years and years ago, I came across cards and letters.  They were from family, friends, my daughter.  Words written by people who meant the world to me.  It dawned on me, at that moment, as I pulled out a letter dated December 7, 1998 from my then 11 year old daughter, what my purpose driven life was and is all about.  Stapled to the letter was a science assignment marked heavily by a teacher's red pen.  I giggled as I glanced over it.  Hannah was a smart kid who grew into a smart adult.  It was rare that she did not do well on anything in school.  The letter (prompted by her teacher) read;

December 7, 1998

Dear Mom and Dad,

You know that I dearly love science.  I was trying just as hard as I could.  I guess I just "bombed".  You know, I tried just as hard as I could and I spent all the time I needed on it.  I'm very sorry and it will never happen again.

Sincerely Sorry,
Hannah 

I wondered if I had placed pressure on her, if she had placed it on herself or if the teacher knew this was not her norm.  The letter was never necessary in my opinion.  I knew Hannah's heart, her intent.  Her letter reminded me of the scrap of paper, my personal mission statement, that I had been looking for.  Hannah was part of the purpose that had driven my life. 

I thought about how purposes never really change, but methods do.  The way we approach them, the prominence they have in our lives ebb and flow, but not the purposes I have had in my life.  People have clearly been the purpose of my life.  I thought back to when I was a teenager, knowing without a doubt that God had a purpose for my life that involved touching people.  I didn't know that part of that would be being a pastor's wife for 25 years.  But really, the biggest part of that purpose of touching people's lives came much of the time outside of the church in daily life interactions. 

When I was a realtor we had to write yearly goals, business and personal.  That is when I first penned the statement, the missional thrust of who I was.  To always leave someone better for having been in my presence.  To give them the gift of love and freedom to be who they were created to be by God.  To live a life being fully present in each thing in front of me - spiritually, emotionally and physically.  To foster and develop a spirit of lightness within.  That was part of what I wrote. 

That purpose has been the cause of perfect strangers crying in a store to me, telling me their life stories, neighbors and co-workers feeling free to be themselves without condemnation, friendships created that celebrate who people are and where they are at that moment, relationships with my daughter, nieces, sisters and family that are rich and deep.  It has been about being very present in the experiences I find myself in, with the event, the person, the season.  My purpose-driven life is really all about letting others express and be themselves and then celebrating it.  I want people to know they are loved, valued by me and by God who created them to be just who they are. 

Knowing you are loved, not for how you perform or how well you do on a 5th grade science paper, is freeing.  It is the foundation that allows us to be all that God truly intended for us to be.  That has been my purpose of my entire life, and still is.  Whether in parenting, friendships, work, writing, speaking, or just regular daily interactions, I want to leave people better than I found them. 

5.15.2012

YOUR GAME PIECE

This is an interactive blog post.  I want and seek your thoughts.  I'm personally sick of my own.  What do you want to read?  What things, subjects, thoughts, perspectives, opinions, stories, rants and observations would you like me to approach?  Everyday I come up with both the subject matter, and then the words to express it, articulate it, paint the picture or tell the story.  Let's pretend this is a game.  I have just given you a 3 1/2" x 5" note card and you have to write a phrase, a word, a topic on it that I have to write about.  That note card is in the form of a comment at the bottom of this post.  If you have never posted a comment before, it is very easy.  You don't have to use your email address, but can post an anonymous comment.  I will never know who you are.  Simply click on the comment option below.  There will be a drop-down bar that says Leave Comment As.  There are many options, but the last one is anonymous.  Choose whatever option you desire and then fill in your 3 1/2" x 5" note card with a word or phrase that you want to see covered by my writing.  Let's take the game a bit further.  You can then see if I write about your suggestion in a way that did it justice, in the manner in which you hoped, or in a way that followed your own train of thought over that subject.  Grade me.  When I write about your topic, leave another anonymous comment with a letter grade and an elementary school teacher comment like; shows promise, needs improvement, better start again, excellent, don't quit your day job, great thought.  I really want to know if your brain works similar to mine. Please let me know as I don't like to stand in the crazy line alone!! I want to connect to whoever the hell is reading the crap I write.  I want to know if you have a favorite way that I write; sarcastically, philosophically, irreverently, inspirationally, irrationally, or sappily.  Let's just call it The Market Research Game.  I invite and implore you to put your game piece on the board.

5.14.2012

A BIT SHAGGY AND ASKEW

I say it over many different things.  I say it weekly, sometimes daily.  I mean it sincerely from the bottom of my heart when I say it.  I have utter and complete intention of doing it when I say it.  The drive is there.  The desire is there.  I say, I will not let small piles of papers gather on the end of the dining room table. Tauntingly they call my name as I walk past them 4,000 times a day for stretches of days.  I say, I will take care of whatever the document, piece of mail, receipt or item of business is at hand when it occurs.  That would eliminate that small pile.  I use it as a very neat and orderly PENDING/IN PROGRESS system.  It's not exactly a good one though.  When we have company I sometimes have to move that small pile to the office, to my desk to begin it anew there.  Much like transplanting a plant:)  I say too, that I will not collect crap in my purse.  That, after each transaction, I will put away, throw away or organize immediately the contents of my purse.  It, at times, looks like a nest for a crazed bird - willy nilly shit stuffed in and hanging out.  Receipts hanging free and disorderly, empty hard candy wrappers, loose coins lining the bottom, 3 lipstick tubes not together but rather strewn haphazardly throughout all the compartments of my purse.  I hate that about myself.  I also say, I will diligently clean my house weekly.  I do well for awhile, but then a busy week comes, too many days of work in a row and I am thrown off my rhythm.  Then spring and summer come.  The great and wonderful out-of-doors beckons my soul and spirit and body to come partake.  And, I freely and consciously exclude the dust rag and the sweeper.  Cleaning is a winter sport anyway:)  I say too, I will not let dishes rest unrinsed in the sink, but immediately put them in the dishwasher.  I fail at that for spells too either because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I don't have time to unload it before consuming food using more dishes, or I am partaking of all summer sports out of doors!  I also say, I will not let my clothes that I have worn gather at the foot board of the bed.  I do so well for sprints, but can't seem to go the distance on that one.  That particular I said thing is just purely and merely the result of a bit of messiness that wants to abide in me from time to time.  For whatever reason I can be a bit messy, strewnishly disheveled in my surroundings (not piggy though) but then easily clean and organize it all back into shape.  I've been like that since a small kid.  Messiness and order reside as bedfellows in my heart and soul.  It's not that I can't be orderly all the time, it's that I sometimes just do not really want to.  Once in awhile I like that laid back, let it ride sort of way of living.  I can actually feel quite comfortable with the askewedness.  Like today.  Creating makes disorder and messes sometimes.  It's not going anywhere but stays right in the messy manner I have left it.  I will get it cleaned, organized and put away once again, eventually.  But I am quite, quite sure it won't stay that way.  There really is a decorating style called shaggy and askew.  I think I might just be a trend setter.

5.13.2012

THE MOUNTAINOUS MUNDANE

I watched a movie tonight with my husband.  It was a simple, sweet ending to an ordinary Saturday.  There was nothing outstanding about the day.  No social obligations or time demands or projects that had the overly imperative stamp on them.  In living life there is always regular things that have to be done.  Just run-of-the-mill sort of taking care of the business of life kinds of things.  Depending on the day, the need, the season, the time allotted before us, we do everyday sort of things.  Dishes, meal making, laundry, cleaning, mowing the yard, groceries, paying bills take up regular and routine parts of our days.  There is nothing spectacular about them as they are never finished or totally completed before they have to be redone and redone and redone and redone.  Doing them in repetition until we perish from the earth.  Now that paints a drab picture to some maybe.  It doesn't to me.  Other tasks or care-giving sorts of things depend on the season; gardening, shoveling snow, raking leaves, planting flowers, outside projects.  We cycle through them for a spell each year before moving on to the next seasonal chores or joys, depending on your view.  To some degree, unless you are of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, they are inescapable.  They are like oxygen is to our survival - necessary.  If you were to put me in front of two objects that were unpriced but similar in nature, I would invariably pick the more expensive one.  I don't know why, but that always seems to be the case.  Though I have found that I can live without expensive things.  But, I can't thrive without simple pleasures.  They are priceless and cannot be bought.  They are like a pad of butter on fresh green beans or real whipped cream on a bowl of fresh blueberries.  As Doug drove to pick up the movie I texted him; Honey....I love being with you:) I am excited to eat popcorn and watch a movie.  Simple pleasures with the person I most love! 

He responded with....

I love the life we have together.  That includes; popcorn, movies, sex, love, eating, laughing, yard work, gardening, being together, walking, cooking, watching TV, hanging with the girls, learning, driving, eating ice cream, eating food, sitting on the front steps, sitting on the back patio, cleaning house, washing dishes, your hugs from behind, kisses in your neck, nibbling your ear, going to church, hanging out with your family, going to Dairy Queen, going to Ritters, going out to eat, eating in, shoveling the drive, raking leaves, take care of Fenley, going to the beach, going to Chicago, going to Washington D.C., going to Traverse City, picking up your subscriptions and prescriptions.  Texting you.

Mundane holds such simple pleasures.

5.10.2012

MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

I've got a few pet peeves.  Everybody does.  I've also got a list of things that seem stupid to me, qualities in a person that irritate me, or stuff that bugs me.  That list is long depending on the day!  But for now, I'll stick to spouting off about pet peeves.  Probably topping my list, the mother load of all, circled with a red pen and marked with asterisk, is not following through with what you say you will do, where you will be, or at what time such and such will occur.  It bristles with who I am.  It more than bristles, it angers me, and just hotly pisses me off.  It can instantly light my internal flame.   My Leo's dander and growl magnifies.  Why is that you ask?  I suppose because it makes me question someone's integrity and their cognizance of others.  There is a huge and profound link between what we say and what we do.  It's that whole out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks Biblical thing.  Mean what you say, and say what you mean.  If I don't mean it, aren't going to do it, never intend to follow through with it, I will NOT say it or imply it.  I don't speak in loose generalities.  I can go with the flow on many, many things.  I am bendable, flexible, adaptable.  But words are an extension of a person's character in audible form.  I will go so far as to put myself out, inconvenience myself, or bear a burden just to follow through with what I say I will do.  Oh yes, I might silently, or to those closest to me, complain from time to time, but I will do it.  Without a shadow of a doubt.  Words and visuals are just about the only outward markers we have of others.  It is both fair and unfair in that regard.  I have always liked the phrase, come hell or high water.  It is a definitive, clear and resolute statement.  It means I will not be moved no matter how hard it is.  I can be depended on.  Period.  That speaks volumes to me.  In a world where priorities can easily get off track and people live in very self-serving ways, it is refreshing and reassuring to give to others our mean-what-we-say lifestyle.  It's a love marker and a sign of deep respect to all we are in relationship with - humanity. 

5.09.2012

THE BEST MOTHER'S DAY GIFT EVER

Mother's Day is this weekend.  It is always the second Sunday in May.  I do like when holidays are predictably on the same day year after year after year.  Unlike Christmas, which stays with December 25th thus rolling every year to another day of the week until it covers them all every seven years, Mother's Day doesn't move day wise.  Though Mother's Day officially become a national holiday in 1914, declared by then President Woodrow Wilson, its origins date back to ancient Egypt's worship and honor of Isis, the goddess mother of the Pharaohs.  The Greeks had their own version of mother/goddess worship.  Eventually, the Christian/Catholic Church enacted a Mothering Day to allow those celebrating Lent to travel to their families paying special honor to their mothers by their presence and gifts.  I am a mother.  Yesterday I ate lunch with my daughter, my only biological child.  As we shared our lunches with each other in my office, I found myself remembering.  No matter how old she gets, she is still my child and I am still her mother.  Those roles have morphed and evolved over the years making room for change and growth and maturation.  It has required deliberation of letting her be her at every stage of her life thus far to age 25.  As she talked and we laughed I thought about every phase of her life and how much I loved each one.  There may have been parts and pieces that were hard or needed adjustment, but I have loved being her mom.  I felt privileged to have been given such an amazing intricate gift as her.  Sitting in before me yesterday she was beautiful, articulate, funny, compassionate and just fully Hannah.  I marveled that I could know her so well, and yet want to know her more.  I remembered her falling asleep at the table at 3 years old while chewing her food.  I remembered her loving to wear her Burger King crown constantly.  I remembered her confusing the Pledge of Allegiance and America The Beautiful as a medley that required both said and sung one right after the other.  I remembered her always wanting to come in my bed and snuggle.  I remembered wrapping her up in a blanket at 8 years old and carrying her outside in the cool midnight air to see the lunar eclipse.   I remembered her bad short haircut her freshman year and curling her hair every day as she mournfully waited for it to grow out again.  I remembered her hugging me hard on the couch when she was 8 - one of my favorite pictures of her.  I saw her sprawled out on the floor with encyclopedias and medical journals recopying the pages as she declared she wanted to be a cardiologist.  I remembered her first date and her heartbreak when that nice boy broke it off later when he went off to college.  I remembered her graduation from high school and from college.  I heard her tender voice in my head as she called to tell me her and God had gotten things straightened out.  I saw her clearly on her wedding day.  I snapped back to the present lunch conversation I was having with her.  There was nothing she could ever get me for Mother's Day that would ever surpass the gift I had already been given - her. 

5.08.2012

THE JOURNEY TO FIND

I've said this before.  In fact, I've probably said most of the things I say before.  There isn't anything new under the sun.  King Solomon from the Bible said that too.  He was around long before me when technologically the world was different.  When culture was parametered with some definite metered variances from the society we are a part of presently.  He too had that thought, that poignant inescapable know that we as humans do not create anything - that we merely find things that are.  We do though, at times, try to pretend we are creators instead of finders.  After finding and experiencing we grow weary of their ultimate unfulfillment and insignificance.   Our perspective is off.  In talking to a friend of mine today, I was reminded that the things we need to know are there - outwardly and inwardly.  We just have to find them.  We have to let go and trust something bigger than ourselves.  Placed in is by God Himself is this intuitiveness that we have to be attuned to.  I do not believe in humanism - the thought that we hold within us everything we need.  That we are self-sustaining islands.  After acknowledging God's placement in us, we have to then be confident in the things we know deep inside.  They were placed there to be found.  That's part of our journey.  But refer back to the statement that there isn't anything new under the sun.  That we as humans do not create anything, we merely find it.  I say to my dear friend on her journey to find...it is right in front of you.  Trust The God who made you to be a delightful and whole person.  Trust God to give you confidence to find the path, the healing, the answers, the sense or non-sensicalness of it all, and the joy that has already been created for you and is waiting for you to uncover and find. 

5.07.2012

BODYWORK - PAINT JOB NEEDED!

It is May 7th and I am freezing.  Sitting at my desk in my office at home I have on blue jeans, a t-shirt I got from Goodwill that says VOLCOM (a clothing company that caters to snowboarders, skiers and skate boarders - all of which are a real part of my 45ish year old culture!), slippers my Love got me for Christmas, and a white zip-up hooded sweatshirt.  Still not able to feel my hands or get my core warmed up, I plugged in the space heater and placed it about two-feet from me.  I am cold.  Although the outside temperature is 56 degrees, the gray drizzle makes it feel like negative thirty to me!  I am cold lots of times.  Too many times in fact.  Putting on more clothes is not an option that solves my cold issue either.  The cold is clear through to my core (that inner place that dictates your inner thermometer).  Being cold is a by-product of a dumpy thyroid.  Which, appears to have taken another hit showcasing its plummet once again with my excessive cold, extreme tiredness, along with skin and menstrual disturbances and a general offage of late.  I am willing all systems in my body to a place of oooohhhmmmmm - crossed legged sitting with index finger and thumbs touching while finding a place of serenity and harmony where all things abide in peace.  It's a day of two doctor appointments and an emergency dentist appointment.  I hate days of gray and rain let alone combined with 3 different doctor's appointments.  This is so not the way to spend a Monday off from work.   The first doctor's appointment was to begin at 8:30 a.m.  I sat in the examining room for 50 minutes before the doctor ever entered.  How can you get that far behind on the second appointment of the day?  I not only wanted to ask that question, but also wanted to unleash my impatience and philosophy of promptness to patients when he walked in.  But I was on a mad schedule and needed to get out of there so I could make the next scheduled appointment on my booked itinerary!  My spewing wrath to the doctor would have to be held over till I saw him again 6 weeks from now.  Over the weekend, my love of a hard candy called NIPS (quit laughing!), and my inability to NOT chew them as they get soft, pulled out my overlay on my back tooth.  The dentist called this morning from a message I left over the weekend.  I confessed it was my love of chewing something sticky that pulled it out.  Her reply was great, not condemning, "Well, was it at least good and yummy?"   As I age it takes way more care, without the results I want, to maintain this body of mine than it did 20 years ago.  If I have to wait at the next two appointments remaining today I might go postal!  Then again, who the hell is dumb enough to schedule that many depressing appointments in one day.

5.06.2012

SMOKING THE WHITE CIGAR

I was thinking about alternative fuel sources recently.  Really, it wasn't me as much as my husband.  He has a highly creative, entreprenualish mind.  I think it constantly whirls with ideas.  This one in particular, though maybe a bit yucky to think or even talk about, might be yet untapped.  He and I are constantly thinking of how to be on the front of the curve of technology.  This unusual idea sprang forth from him.  It all stemmed from my menstrual cycle starting.  I am 45 years old and am personally sick of having it.  I am not using that system for reproduction needs any longer.  Sex, yes!   Making children, hell to the no!!!  Hearing me complain that it came again, early (the road to menopause is long and convoluted it seems) and we needed to add tampons to the list of things we were en route to the store to buy, he laughed.  It seems that Doug wondered why no one had harnessed all the menstrual blood in the world to use for something worthwhile.  I laughed out loud.  And quite hard!!  But wait, that could possibly be a bit of brilliance and innovation that merely needed science to flesh it out to fruition.  We bantered back and forth ideas about how to collect it monthly.  Those ideas for collection were both semi-practical to mostly ridiculous.  Doug suggested sitting on a bucket for 4-5 days!  Where would women take it if they could collect it?  What could the uses for it be exactly?  Mind you this whole conversation is coming from two non-medical or science fielded persons so we were painting in large strokes.  Could it be recycled or centrifuged to purify it?  Would it have any medicinal value to any diseases as it is rich in nutrients that were designed to help foster the ignition of egg and sperm to fetus?  What about an alternative fuel source?  That one was most definitely Doug's idea.  If it could be used for a fuel source it would have to be so powerful and dense that only relatively small amount would be needed to power an engine.  Why had no one pursued this?  Seriously.  Someone realized at some point in the evolution of medicine that we could recycle and purify blood to help those with little to no kidney function.  Someone else figured out that other people's blood could be put into another's body who had a bleed, trauma, or disease that caused a lowering of blood volume levels.   I told Doug that probably it was not pursued innovatively in products or medicine because it would make the female gender the favored gender.  We would be all-powerful.  Possibly even taking over the world!  It could make smoking the white cigar a form of income for all women in their reproductive years.  Supplemental income for the household!  Men though probably aren't ready for that or the thought of menstrual docking stations. 

5.02.2012

THE NON MUNCHIES

I have food burn-out.  Do you ever get that?  Some of you might be thinking, geez I wish I had that....I need to have food burn-out....maybe I would drop a few pounds if food just didn't grab my attention so much.  Absolutely nothing sounds good.  Nothing.  The things I normally eat aren't holding any appeal.  I'm not even hungry today.  What causes that?  I ask my husband from time to time what sounds good to him for dinner.  Usually I ask that when I feel like this - in a food abyss.  Or I ask it when I feel like I keep making the same smattering of meals over and over again.  I've said this before; I don't live to eat but rather, eat to live.  I suppose if I were unable to eat solid food I would soon crave it.  That seems to be human nature - we want what we cannot have sometimes.  That's not to say that I don't like certain things, get hankerings for them, appreciate the yummy taste of certain things.   In fact, recently I had a lust and a deep longing for a scrambled egg and a pancake.  I really never eat either.  We went to IHOP where I had a kids meal of just that with proportions more to my liking.  My husband laughed, when over the following days after that $2.99 kids meal of one scrambled egg and a junior sized pancake, I raved and raved about how that just hit the spot.  Today though nothing is calling me food wise.  To be honest, sometimes eating is just a pain.  There are so many restrictions and allergies, and stipulations to what I can eat without an effect of some sort, that I just grow weary of it.  Once in awhile I long for simpler, more carefree, less problematic eating days in my life like when I was a kid or a young adult!  My love affair with all things vegetableish and raw has even waned in recent days.  I wonder if I ate nothing at all how long it would take for me to get really, really hungry?  Diseases in my body prohibit me from doing that though.  When I met my husband I basically ate a handful of things over and over; oatmeal, stir fry, peanut butter, PURE bars and CLIFF bars, raw veggies and some fruit.  He got concerned when, the first week we were dating, I ate peanut butter daily.  It's a super food so to speak:)  Food is supposed to be like gasoline is to our cars - fuel to give us energy.   I wonder when God created the earth and all that is in it - our food source, if He knew we would take something He created in a pure form and destroy it, pollute it, make it a demi-god and turn it into something He never intended it to be.  We don't have to hunt and gather our food really any more, discounting a drive to the supermarket.  So, instead of a need based process, it is now a want based system.  No wonder I'm not hungry! 

5.01.2012

AH-ONE, AH-TWO!

I have a treadmill in my unfinished basement.  Unlike others I know, who shall remain nameless, it is used for running and not as a clothes rack.  My druthers are to run outside over running on a moving belt looking at the same scenery in front of me for miles on end.  You do not get as good of a workout on a treadmill as you do outside.  The problem with running only on a treadmill is that you can't build up as much endurance.  Though you can run further on a treadmill than you can outside because the moving belt helps do part of the work!  But, it is better than not running at all.  And, on the occasions when the wind is strong, the rain pelting or snow is blizzarding, I move my running to the basement.  It is far from a setting of a classy health club down there.  Sitting atop a large chest of drawers is an older TV - the heavy chunky type of TV that doesn't pick up HD stations or barely any stations at all.  Even though we have cable, that circa 2003 TV only gets about 10 channels.  Viewing options for shows is extremely limited.  For instance, one day last week (we had 25-30 mph winds for a good chunk of the week) the only thing that I could find to watch while running was "Walker,Texas Ranger" - the Chuck Norris produced and starred show.  It is comparable to watching an old "Star Trek" episode.  The special effects, acting and story line are C-rated and hokey.  I found myself giggling and understanding why Chuck Norris has a mocking cult following.  Saturday, forced to run indoors again, I clicked to a re-run of "The Lawrence Welk" show.  I had to watch it.  Growing up in our family there were two absolutes in TV watching by my father; "The Lawrence Welk Show" and "Hee Haw".  I have recently written about "Hee Haw's" soft porn mainstream acceptance in the 1070's and in the Weldy household.   "The Lawrence Welk Show" aired originally in 1955-1971 as a local Los Angeles show.  When it was cancelled, Lawrence Welk, a quasi big-band orchestra leader of sorts, started a production company and ran the show through 1982 and to syndication.  Lawrence was German born and heavily accented.  He frequently mispronounced words and was known for two catch phrases he used, " Wunnerful, Wunnerful! and Ah-One, Ah-Two!The show format was mostly big-band music, dance and small skits set to music.  It highlighted the musical talents of a cast of regulars with appearances by special guests.  Lawrence himself could usually be spotted in the polka dance part of the show dancing with a lady from the audience.  The mean age group of the audience appeared to be 50+.  When I watched the show this past week it was a Salute To Los Angeles.  Bobby and Sissy, regular dancers with the show, waltzed their way around the floor to some song about Los Angeles that I had never heard.  Another couple sang a big-bandish version of "California Dreaming" which should have been outlawed.  A gentleman sang "Like A Rhinestone Cowboy" keeping it to true to the original Glen Campbell version.  One of the regulars on the show, the accordion playing Myron Floren, played "It's A Small World" to commemorate Disneyland.  He reconfirmed my stance on why accordion music, though requiring great talent, never really made it main stream.   And, the only african-american regular member of the show that I can remember, Arthur Duncan, tapped to another song saluting the city of Angels.  The women had teased, long bee-hiveish doos and donned long dresses.  The men wore wide lapelled coats in soft pastels.  Lawrence himself started the show weekly by using his finger on the inside of his mouth to create a POP sound.  It signified the popping of a champagne cork - celebration.  I giggled a lot as I ran my miles, both at styles, the era long gone, the childhood memories and feelings that rushed over me as I watched something that marked a portion of my childhood.  Though not a polka loving "Roll Out The Barrel" sort of girl, it was still wunnerful, wunnerful!  A snapshot of Americana.