Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So What Did Happen In 2009?

At this time of year I always like to look back and remember some of the highlights of the year.  Not necessarily my highlights but those in the world at large.

The planet lost some good folks this year.  Mostly they are just like the people down street...everyday people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  We do "know" the famous one.  Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swazey, Ed McMann are some I remember right off the bat.  Who have I left out?

Some new folks came on the radar too.  Susan Boyle, the great singer from England, is one.  I don't know when Taylor Swift first showed up, but this is the first year I got to know her.  Same for Black Eyed Peas that I really like. 

We also got to know Jon and Kate in a whole new way in 2009 although they've been around for 5 years or so.  Tiger Woods did his thang this year, or rather he got caught this year.  John Edwards, Elliott Spitzer and other politicians showed their true colors too. At least one of those wives didn't get up there and 'stand by her man'.  Octomom had a whole bunch of babies and there wasn't even a man around. Sheesh!

The economy went crazy and lots of people lost their money and their jobs.  McKenzie Phillips 'told on' her long gone dad from The Mamas and Papas group.  I used to love to listen to them.  Now that feels all squishy.  I personally think she was telling the truth.  Do you?

And how in the world could I forget the inauguration of President Obama?  Amazing to watch!

It seems that we got greener this year.  Where I live we dealt with a drought most of the year, then we almost floated away in a huge flood.  So weird. 

In my little family, jobs were lost and then new ones found, finally.  Thank you, God!  Some of us got caught up in the banking and mortgage fiasco this year and one ran a half marathon for the first time.  We all continue to age but it is most evident with my mother who will be 90 in May.

Who knows what next year will bring?  I'll be starting my personal list of goals, hopes, and dreams for 2010 pretty soon.  Want me to share it?

New Years Eve is day after tomorrow.  What are you going to do?  Are you ready to kick 2009 to the curb or are you holding on tight for some reason?

That's it for now.  See you soon and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Is Winding Down

In a way it seems like Christmas has been here for a loooooong time.  In other ways it seems it just got here and it's gone already.  The 'major day' is past.  Packages have been opened, toys have been played-with, and most of the cake is gone (thank goodness!).  Yesterday was actually another big shopping day with rushing to exchange for another size or a different color. 

I am nowhere near back to normal yet, still sipping cider and eating fudge.  Since Monday we have piled in the car and visited loved ones from one end of this state to the other.  Grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We saw them all...and that is what make it Christmas!  That, and the ambrosia, the caramel cake, and the Fincher's Barbeque!  Yes, I know....at least 5 pounds.  How about you?  Did you get 5 pounds for Christmas too?

We have two more sleeps before my older son heads back to Colorado, my younger one goes back home and back to work, and things are 'back to normal'.  Visits with your adult children are just the best.  There really is nothing better.  The only thing is that it reminds you how very much you miss them.  You fill that "missing" with all sorts of activities, which you also love, but not nearly so much.  So when it comes time for them to go, it's like ripping the scab off once again.

Hopefully we'll be able to get the four of us together once more before Tuesday morning when the holiday is officially and completely over.  It's been good to hug and reconnect and talk in person, not just via electronics! 

Is normalcy just a great distraction for Real Life like we've had the last few days, or maybe normalcy actually is real life, and all the magical times like Christmas are somehow unreal, fantasy???  The magic of Christmas is winding down now...out of Real Life and back into normalcy ... or out of fantasy and back into Real Life. What do you think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No More Christmas Magic

When you are a little child, Christmas is easy.  It takes forever to get here, and when it does, it's this grand and glorious day that is a little bit of magic.  It's hard to go to sleep the night before Christmas, so you play real hard all day hoping you'll be sleepy and can go to sleep so Santa can come.  At least that is what I did. 

I think we adults do everything we can to find that magic again every year.  I know I do.  As much as I do love Christmas and being with family and friends and celebrating and finding good cheer everywhere you go, it isn't the same kind of magic.  Once you understand all the ins and outs of magic, it no longer holds the same allure.  It's still fun but it's not the same.

So this Christmas we are getting ready for family to come home and to gather altogether on Christmas Eve.  We'll have favorite foods and stockings and fudge and cake.  Some will go to church and some will stay home.  We like colored Christmas light inside and out and presents all around.  It's just so much fun to be together and play and I can't wait.

I can easily go to sleep on Christmas Eve.  I don't have to play hard all day to try to get sleepy and tired.  Magic is not coming Christmas morning but a wondrous, memorable and fun day is and I can't wait!

Monday, December 14, 2009

KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

It's not that I am always trying to take the easy way out.  It's just that I like simplicity.  For me, simple is best.  Over the years I have become more and more of a minimalist.  Whether it is decorating, cooking, shopping, or clothes I prefer that which is simple.  When things start getting excessive or over the top, I start getting the heeby jeebies!

I have several friends who are the opposite.  Their homes are gorgeous with extravagant furnishings.  Their recipes are complicated with ingredients I don't have.  Their wardrobes are exciting and extensive. 

I have two umbrellas, a black one and a navy one.  That's pretty dull even for me but they keep me dry.  When one breaks, I may replace it with a hot pink one but two umbrellas is plenty. 

These are my friend's umbrellas. Makes my collection look rather pitiful, huh? And she says, "The following umbrellas are missing: July 4th, zebra, Falcons, Lancome, and my favorite--Barbie, which reads," I want to be Barbie. The girl has everything." I love being around her, the flair, the color, the fun.

Speaking of keeping it simple, I made a simple recipe for Christmas goodies yesterday and everybody loves them.  All you do is this.  Place mini pretzels on a cookie sheet.  Top each pretzel with a Rolo candy.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes or so until the candy is soft but before it gets to be messy.  Take out of the oven and press a pecan half into the Rolo.  Now the candy is more flat looking.  Let them cool and set up before removing from cookie sheet.  These are so good and simple.  Better grab one.  They won't last long!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Central!

There is something about a day like today that I treasure every Christmas.  I know it drives a lot of people up the wall but, for some reason, I find it comforting.  It's when I try to get a grip on "the list".  At some point in the day, every inch of the floor is covered with stuff.  Today I had John Denver singing Christmas songs in the background, puppy under my feet, and the TV going.  I'm taking a look at who is getting what, how much I've spent, and what I still need to do.  Once I get this day under control I am really ready for Christmas. 

Hope you are getting there too.  May we all enjoy the sounds and sights and tastes and smells of Christmas that are still to come.  I can't wait!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Very Best Week

This week is what I call one of my very best weeks.  Every day is a good day but some are just outstanding and this week was full of those kinds of days.  First of all you already know my sister spent the first half of the week with me and we just had constant fun.  At least that was my take on it.  We went to the mountains, went shopping, ate great food, and saw a bunch of mutual friends.  She went home yesterday.  Boo hiss.

Today started out with the morning spent in the studio with my art class and the best teacher anywhere.  I finished the last assigned drawing, after a year of drawings, and will start oil painting very soon.  Don't worry,  I will let you know how it goes.  This last drawing is a copy of a Weeping Russian woman by an unknown (to me) artist.  It's not my favorite drawing but I'm still amazed and proud that I, such a novice, was able to produce it.

After art class I met a very good friend for lunch at Sugar Cakes on the Square.  Finally we had found time to sit down, spend some time together and catch up on our lives.  Friendship does take nurturing and I was happy to give and receive some friendly nurturing today.

Next on the agenda, on my way home, I stopped at a Christmas party.  The setting was in a beautiful home, the food was scrumptous, and we were serenaded with Christmas carols by a superb male Quartet.   As great as all that was it paled in comparison to the company.  This was a group of colleagues who worked together for twenty years or so, and, in a way, grew up and 'grew up our children' together.  That is what made this gathering special.  Shared experiences of every kind you could imagine have knitted this group into a tight community of love.  There was talk of the frailty of our parents, the lives of our children, retirement activities and such as that.  Learning that one of our group passed away suddenly in November made smiles turn upside down,  and news of weddings and grandchildren turned them right side up again.  Connections we share and laughter we enjoy is what made the party so special.....and the end of a perfect day.

  So if any of you are dreading getting older, you see it isn't all bad!  I miss my kids and 'all that' to pieces but having time for myself to design day after day ain't bad at all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Is On Your Christmas List?

Are you having trouble finding gifts for everyone on your Christmas list?  Or deciding what to buy to finish your holiday shopping?  Every magazine has gift-giving guides and ideas in all price ranges and Oprah has her "Favorite Things" list each year.  So I thought I'd share my own personal gift giving guide for 2009. 
I already mentioned that my sister and I shopped together and bought each other pjs, long flannels on sale at KMart for $10.  Not too sexy, I know, but warm and cozy for watching TV and eating popcorn.  We also got cute Christmas socks for $1.

Then I found a painted and monogrammed wine glass for a friend of my husband at TJ Maxx for $7.99.  Make sure you get one made of glass, not plastic.  Gotta keep it classy. 

I chose this watch from Buy.com for someone special on my list.   They had a great closeout deal on it with free shipping.  The one I got had a bigger, cooler face with day and time. 

Last but not least, my husband wants a Kodak Video Camcorder Flip Camera....and I do believe Santa is bringing it.
Everything else is a secret.  Sorry I can't share them because they are surprises.  They are really the best presents of the bunch.  We'll talk about those the day after Christmas!  By then there will no more secrets.

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Tree Is Up! Merry SITSmas!

Merry Christmas to all! Merry SITSmas to all!
It is officially Christmas at my house!  "The tree" is up, stars are in the windows, and shopping is well underway.  Hope you are right where you want to be with your Christmas plans.  Some years, at my house, we like to wait til Christmas Eve to shop.  It seems so much more exciting then. Sort of like living on the edge.  Other years it's nice to do it all early, then sit by the fire and chill.  This Christmas is shaping up to be a relaxing one.  No stress on the horizon.  Lots of our shopping done online. So easy and usually cheaper too.

Ha!  Did you think this was my house?  Well, no, but isn't it lovely.  This is where I had lunch on Saturday.  The food was unbelievable if you like a nice Southern buffet, but it's so easy to over eat!  I enjoyed every minute of it...especially the fried green tomatoes and sweet potatoes. 

My sister is visiting for a few days and we are having so much fun.  Getting the house decorated, going to new places, and shopping for a few Christmas gifts.  We ran into a pajama sale and both picked out the pair we liked.  That's what we are giving each other...fun!  We'll act surprised on Christmas Day!  "Oh, I got pajamas!  I love them", I will say.  Then she will open hers and say, "Oh my gosh, can you believe I got pajamas too?"  How fun!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tiger Woods and Real Life In A MInute

I write about 'real life'.  Makes you wonder, "Well, isn't all life real?"  Of course it is, but, on reflection, I think when I say and write about Real Life, I am referring to what is relevant to me.  Since it's my blog, I guess I can do that.

The news is always in my peripheral.  I want to be aware and know what is going on out there but I don't want it to consume me.  I don't swear by any network but tend to graze rather quickly through them to get the 'facts'.  But when it comes to the the Tiger, I have watched and listened with fascination.  My husband likes to golf so we have lots of Tiger books around the house...so he can learn to be a better golfer...not a better man.  No connection there.  "Obviously, that is all he can learn from this dude", said dripping with sarcasm.  I am personally sick of him.  He had it all...the world by the tail.  Good upbringing, good family, health, looks, talent, children, fame and fortune.  He could have used it for good.  He did not. 

I admit that I have to "work" on judgement a lot because I don't want to judge...and yet I do.  I am not The One with that charge.  I love the quote, "Where there is no judgement, there is nothing to forgive."   I am a warm and fuzzy person.  So is that quote...so I love it.  And, at the same time,  I know I am doing it.  Rather than judgement, I would prefer to come across as uplifting all the guys with the gifts that Tiger has who are 'doing the right thing'.  The ones who are authentic, not one person in front of the camera, and a totally different person away from them.

I admire a strong man who stands tall in the light of day and the dark of night and stays true to who he is and who he says he is.  I love honesty and integrity in a man.  Caring and loving, strength and tenderness, is sexy...when, and only when, it is real, when it is authentic.  I think I'll stop here lest I beginning rambling and preaching....as if I haven't already.

Today is Saturday.  Be authentic.  If you lead different lives because you don't know authentically who you are, then it's time to find out.  If you know, but like to hide it in the shadows, then hey, open the windows and let everyone see the real you.  Be proud of that which is you.  All of this "you" terminology certainly pertains to me, myself, and I first and foremost as I seek to live my life as an authentic, real life person.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa and the Elf

Okay, this is what went down in the South yesterday.  An elf was in court today for threatening to blow up Santa Claus.  The elf stood in line to see Santa at a suburban mall outside of Atlanta, and when it was finally his turn, he approached Santa and told him he had dynamite in his elf sack and he was going to blow up old Santa!  Well, now, what would you think if you were Santa?  This was a first.  Usually Santa can count on his elves to help him out, to get him a sandwich, to have his back.  But not this elf!   Santa freaked out, they captured the elf, and evacuated the entire mall.  Man, elves aren't what they used to be!

Hope your day has been much more uneventful than Santa's! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Love GoodWill

In my garage is a shopping bag full of goodies.  The shopping bag is on its way out of my house, not in.  It is filled with jeans, books, shirts, and a few odds and ends...and it's on its way to Goodwill.  I really love Goodwill.  There is a new one right around the corner from me and it's one of my favorite stops.  You can find all kinds of bargains there if you like to look.  You might find really cool things with the tags still on them.  I am pretty picky what I take home but it's all in the hunt, you know.

Funny story.  My husband came out of my closet with a pair of men's shoes in hand the other day.  I believe what he said was, "Whose are these?" with an incredulous look on his face.  Now I don't know if he fell for the story or not but I told him I got them for him at Goodwill.  Would your husband have believed that one?  I mean, who would buy someone else's shoes?  Not me, usually.  These shoes, though, were Rockports which cost over $100 if they are new.  Well, these were only $1.  My neighbor actually made me buy them.  The devil made me do it.

They were his size and I thought he might like to wear them to school since he is on his feet all the time.  I was going to polish them and make them look totally spiffy, which I had not yet done.  So he's holding the 'not new' but 'like new' shoes wondering, "What the heck?"  Is this my wife?

Back to Goodwill.  I really love them because they provide jobs.   I love their name.  It reminds me of "Peace on earth, good will to men."  Their mission statement touches me.

"Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work."

If you need to clean out the clutter, and who doesn't, consider placing it in a shopping bag and letting it go out of your house and back in circulation for the Greater Good. And you get a tax deduction. Works for me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Woo Hoo! It's Thanksgiving!

Today I will be cooking!  I am making the turkey and dressing and sweet potato casserole!  Then we'll pile it in the car and go to my sister's for our Thanksgiving meal.  On the way down we'll stop in Atlanta and be there when our younger son finishes the Atlanta Half Marathon, his first 13 mile race!  I can't even imagine.  Needless to say we are very proud of him.

I decided to write my Thanksgiving post today because tomorrow I won't get to it.  I'll be celebrating, eating, visiting with family, watching a little football (yuk), and the parade.  It will go something like that.  Probably very much like yours. 

So here are my thoughts on gratitude.  I've heard it said, "If the only prayer you ever say is 'thank you', that is enough."  I think gratitude is almost a state of being.  As we go through each day, the number of times that we are conciously thankful for something is a really big number.  Even when it's not Thanksgiving and we aren't thinking about what we are thankful for, we still are.

Me:  I am especially thankful that I am healthy, and that my family is too.  I am thankful for Larry and our two sons, the life we have, and our home.  As Jon and Kate always said, "It may be a crazy life, but it's our life."  I'm thankful for my parents and how they raised me.  I'm thankful for my sister and I'm thankful it's just the two of us sibs.  I'd be jealous if she had others.

My friends.  Oh I love them and I'm so thankful for them.  They bring so much fun to my life and so much heart.  I could go on and on but that's enough for now.  I am thankful my sister is having Thanksgiving at her house, and that she and my son are both making food too!  I am thankful I lost five pounds in October so I can eat anything I want on Thanksgiving Day.

I'm thankful for you, my invisible friends, too.  Hope this is a great holiday at your house.  Santa is right around the corner!

P.S.  My son got the job!!!  I am SO thankful for that.  Makes my season bright!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Know Anyone Who Needs A Job? LOL!

Well, duh!  Don't we all!  I bet if we all weighed in, we are either looking for work ourselves, our spouse is looking, our kids are looking, or our friends or neighbors are looking!  Since I am retired, I am taking myself, personally, out of this discussion thank the Lord!  I also know 90% of us are employed, according to the news, which totally outweighs the 10% who are not but want to be. 

Unless you are one of those 10%.  Hey, come on.  If you or a loved one are one of those 10% you feel it.  Might be your heart is aching.  Might be your relationship is hurting.  Might be your self esteem is in the toilet.  Might be you are in foreclosure.  Maybe you are struggling with mounting debt.

I'm the Queen of looking at what ya got, not what you don't got!  The list of what I am thankful for does not end.  I believe 100% in focusing on what you want, not on what you don't want.

All that said, I also believe in support and the best use of resources.  AJAB stands for A Jab At Work.  AJAB's site is out there trying to make this job process a little more fun, a little lighter, while adding value and knowledge along the way.  It's just another place to go, another action step to take, another way to support.  You know, it doesn't really matter how many jobs are out there.  YOU only need one.  Let's send all our readers to AJAB.  He'll answer their questions and maybe get them out of a rut.  Someone to talk to and coach you through the dark times is invaluable.

My son's been looking for a job since April (yikes!) and this week he had a great interview!  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Haven't heard yet but we are expecting only the good!  And then we will celebrate! Take care!  Pay it forward!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm Back! I've Missed You!

Oh it is sooo good to be back among friends!  Thanks for all the messages while I've been predisposed.  I'm emerging from  the weirdness of anesthesiology and its aftermath now.  All is well and everyday I feel even better.  A little time like this is a good reason to kick back and nurture oneself.  Whether I wanted to or not, I didn't have much choice so I decided to just make the best of it.

Five days later and I am officially out of my pajamas.  You know how comfy they are anyway and when you're a little under the weather, there's just no better comfort.  I've slept a lot, let people wait on me, eaten whatever I've wanted, and finally this morning I got dressed, put up my hair, put on makeup, and took a drive with my husband, stopping for a bite of lunch.  Normal days are so delicious. 

While I've been resting I read the book, My Favorite Wife by Susan Ray Schmidt.  It's subtitled Trapped In Polygamy and is a true story that took place in the early 1970s.  I won't tell you too much in case you want to read it but Susan married two weeks after she turned 15 and had 5 children by age 25.  Her experiences as the sixth wife of one man, and as a  young mother living in abject poverty away from her family, leave your mouth hanging open and your eyes wide.

I've seen a lot of documentary type programs on polygamy where large families live together in a huge, well appointed home in a compound setting.  With jobs evenly distributed among the sister wives and everyone being cared for, it has always seemed an unusual way of life but one that has worked for some people.  This true story gave me another view of fanatical polygamy....and made me once again extremely thankful for life as I know it. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

I truly think I am one of the most fortunate people in the world.  That does not mean everything is perfect all the time.  Nope.  But so much stuff is good that it completely overwhelms all the rest. 

My family is close.  Maybe in an odd way because Larry and I don't live close enough for them to drop by, grab a sandwich and a cup of coffee, have Sunday family dinners like I grew up with.  It's not like that.  But we are close in our hearts and that is what really matters.

My friends.  Ah, what would I do without them.  My sister is one of them....family and friend.  How good is that?  My friends are wise women.  They are fun, beautiful, gorgeous, and smart.  Mostly they are there for me if I need them.  Again, because we live all over the city, we don't have as much 'drop in for a sandwich' time as I would like but we are working on that.

I could list the things that are bothering me in my life.  There are some.  I'm not ignoring them.  I'm realistic enough.  I've learned not to choose to think about that which would bring me down.  For years I really did not know much about choosing my thoughts, if that was even possible.  It's hard to think about more than one thing at a time so when I drift into "OMGosh Whatever Will I Do" Land, I conciouisly choose to think about something good.  Am I always successful?  No, not always.  But you do get better with practice.

Tomorrow I have a personal event to deal with coming up.  Just a little medical thing.  So today I am appreciating my healthy body and all that it has done for me and all the good that it brings me.  Perfect health courses through my veins and my cells radiate vibrant health.  My strong legs and arms are my playmates at the gym when they hurl through the air kickboxing and dancing.

I so appreciate Neto who comes and cleans my house when I need him and makes it just absolutely wonderful.  I appreciate my plants that clean the air in the house and bring nature right on inside.  My puppy is a love and is right by my side.  Good thing he is taking a nap because he and I are soon going outside to play.  And I so appreciate my taste buds which are just about to be stimulated beyond belief with the greatest stir fry I have ever had.  Yes, I made it myself!

This is not a litany of self centeredness or bragging.  Hope you know that.  I am very humbly grateful for my life and I (usually) don't take it for granted. Sometimes I wallow in what's wrong and need a kick in the butt to remember the good.  But I am really practicing what I preach today and it helps to write it down.  My vibration is high, right where I want it to be.  That is where it will stay all day.

If this isn't the best day for you, choose different thoughts.  Don't ignore your issues, but get yourself 'up' and ready to deal with them in the highest joy you can muster.  Take care!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who Am I? Where Are You?

You know, a lot of folks told me not to change my URL and I did it anyway.  Not sorry, just frustrated!  Once everything shakes out it will be fine.  Just take it from me, so easy to do, so challenging to get back to normal.

At one point I was blogging under my actual name, Sandra, and had a different picture than I do now.  I changed my picture just for the heck of it, and changed my name to Just Playin'.   So that explains that part.

Also, what is the new Friends deal?  It started appearing today and I'm not sure how that is different from Followers.  Oh my!  I will figure this out. 

Anyway, I hope you are having a great weekend, or at least a good one!  Mine has been quiet today  but lots is going on tomorrow.  Take care and thanks for being a new Follower, an old Follower, a Friend, or just a visitor!  Back at ya, whatever! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Microwave Yoga

Do you watch The Biggest Loser?  I do.  I really like watching these folks reach their goals.  Plain old exercise and diet is what they are doing PLUS loads of support from Jillian and Bob whom they love, and love and connections with their teammates.  Someone teaching you what to do, someone to hold you accountable, someone to love you through it, 15 minutes of fame,  and a monetary incentive.  It works!

Ever heard of Microwave Yoga?  Probably not since I made it up.  If you are like me, you are always popping things in the microwave.  A cup of coffee that needs a warm up, later maybe a cup of tea,  that left over Mexican from last night, dinner for your husband who was late coming in, and on and on.  What do you do while waiting for the buzzer to go off?

You've got a whole minute and a half to wait so why not put it to good use?  My favorite microwave activity is the squat.  Put your feet a little wider apart than your shoulders, suck in yo tummy, pull in yo butt. Now slowly bend your knees and squat.  Keep your head looking straight ahead.  Just stay put til the buzzer goes off.  Another one, feet shoulder width apart, reach up to the ceiling as far as you can, lean to the left as far as you can and stay there.  Then to the right and hold it.  Ooh what a good stretch!

These are my two favorite microwave stretches.  No, it's not yoga but it feels really good.   Make up your own.  You could run in place or just skip around the room.  Hey, nobody is watching!  Look out, this is habit forming.

As they say, just move more.  Every little bit helps.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Don't Look If You're Working The Crossword Puzzle

All I need is one more obsession and I will be completely worthless...and, uh oh, I feel one coming on!  For the past year or so I've been getting into the Monday and Tuesday Crosswords in the newspaper.  Never had time before but it's pretty fun with your coffee outside in the sunshine.  I didn't know for a long time that the puzzles get harder each day of the week so if you are a beginner, start with Monday and you will have a decent shot at it. 

Recently, since I haven't had a church for awhile, (remember, I told you about that), I have been tackling the Sunday Crossword for some strange reason... and am slowly but surely getting addicted to it.  It is way over my head so it's quite a challenge.  I don't finish it unless I cheat a little which is not fair fun.  Today I was 'Google cheating' just a little for the first time.  Yes, I've been away from church too long.  Turning into cheating scum.

I like actually working it on the newsprint with my blue ballpoint pen.  I can't stand the way it feels to write with a pencil on newsprint!  If I'm not sure I just write lightly and then go back and darken it when I am sure.  Accidentally, when I gave myself permission to cheat, I ran across this site, a blog actually (!) of all these LATimes Crossword Puzzle Workers.  Oh boy.  That was a God-send.  So I know He is not mad at me for the church thing.  So after many cups of coffee, half a banana, and an apple, I am done!

Just had to share my excitement with you.  What are you excited about today.  Tell me.  I'm waiting to hear!

PS:  Bob and Bess, I'll be glad when you get back so I'll know you're okay and the weather didn't get you!

Speaking From The Crib, I'll be glad when you get back too. I think you said you'd be decorating for awhile, or maybe it was a birthday trip? At least that's a fun thing and we want to see pictures.

Andrea, I'll be glad when you get back too. I know you are enjoying the mountains and the alone time up there. Priceless.

TaterTotMom, I'm not worrying about you cause I know you are typing your fingers off on your novel. Can we read it when you're done?

Marsha/Marcia, Come back soon. I miss you and I know life gets tough. You are loved from afar.

Janice, Stay in touch. Get wise counsel.

Dayne, Where the heck are you?

Alice, Take care. Be strong.  XOXO

Sarah,  I've miss you too.

Lots of others.  I know I left off some other regulars I've missed lately.  I'll think of you later and kick myself for leaving you off.  Pre-forgive me, please, but do come back soon.  I've moved so find me, huh?  This new neighborhood is a little lonely!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Love The Ones You Got

This has to be the most beautiful day ever made! So far we've had a leisurely breakfast of coffee, bacon and grapefruit, read the paper, worked on the crossword puzzle, and washed the dog.

Larry is a great dog groomer. After his bath Buddy, the dog, sits on the bathroom sink counter and Larry blows his hair dry, just like he used to do for the boys when they were little. They preferred their hair 'au natual' but dad would really spruce them up if it was a special, or halfway special, occasion.

One Christmas we took the kids to the Alliance Theater in Atlanta to see the play, Scrooge. This was one of those times they had to get all dressed up with the hair and everything. In a former job, a former lifetime, Larry would occasionally get freebies to things going on 'downtown', hence, the tickets. Younger son was about 5 and older brother around 8. Part way through the performance, younger son was getting a little restless and couldn't see as well as he'd like, so he lay down in the aisle and propped up on his elbows with his head in his chin for awhile. I can't believe the ushers let that happen but I guess they weren't strict back then. Now? No way.

After the play we went to another downtown Atlanta landmark, The Varsity. If you haven't been there it's hard to explain. First you slide on in cause it's all grease! Then you hog up to the counter with the other 100 people. They say "Whadda ya have?", and you yell out your order, something like '2 slaw dogs, rings, fries and an orange frosty'. That was back when you could eat like that without feeling like you had commited a cardinal sin against your body!

Patrons of the Varsity range from evening dress people to the homeless, all in there together having a grand ole time. It's huge. You can sit and overlook the city or you can go in a TV room and, you guessed it, watch TV. You can even get curb service but then you miss all the fun! I think that was the first experience my kids had with homeless 'type' people. Another post, another day.

All of this came up just from washing the dog this morning. We really miss our kids. We are close in hearts but not in distance. So we substitute the dog. He does the best he can, bless his heart, but, he is 'just a dog'. We forget that most of the time and shower him with love like he was our kid. He just takes it in. I've noticed if we are 'on the love. He always returns the favor.

There are many ways I could go with this post but I'm stopping here. No matter which way I would choose to go, it is really still all about love isn't it.outs' with each other (imagine that), we both shower the dog with even more

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Edgy Aging Keeps You Young-er

Yesterday when I was bloghopping I came across the words just stay current.  I don't remember where I saw it or the context, but since it has been my personal mantra for some time now, I decided to write about it today.  It's for everybody but for those of us gettin' on up there, as they say, take notes!

Jan, an old friend, and I were talking a few years ago about aging....we were really talking about our hair, how we were wearing it, the color and things like that.  It is so very easy to get stuck in a hairstyle, right ladies?  I mean you will still see us walking down the street with Farrah Fawcett wings, especially if we hit our stride in the 80s.  Dorothy Hamill hair is still out there.  Helmet hair is out there.  Sprayed hair, permed hair, and fixed hair are all still out there.....and a lot of these folks have had it that way a loooooooooong time.

So here's my take on that. We all want to look as young as we can, go on, admit it,you do, surely.  But we don't want to look like a teeny bopper.  I mean, we don't buy our clothes in the junior department do we?   What I am getting at is what we really want, I think, is to look current.  Even if we don't have the latest and the greatest fashions, makeup and hairstyle, we want to look like we are at least in this century!  We want to stay current.  Not young, really, but current, maybe even a little edgy.

Think of other areas of real life.  Like scanning your groceries and checking yourself out.  I'd much rather someone check me out and "take care of me", but I do it every now and then anyway because I want to know how. I want to be able to. Train the brain while it is trainable :) and learn all you can, while you can.  I don't want to look up one day and find that I no longer know how to navigate this fast moving world because I just haven't kept up along the way. 

Think of the ways older folks can get left behind.  Using the Internet to communicate is a huge one.  Have you noticed how your land line doesn't ring as much as it used to?  That is if you even have one. My mother has a terrible time with that one.  She doesn't understand it.  Why are the grandkids only emailing, texting, Facebooking, and  Tweeting instead of calling and writing lettters!  Do they not love me?  "No mom.  It's not that."

You can dig your heels in where you are or you can get out there, learn, and change with the rest of the world.  You can insist on writing checks if you want to, but pretty soon you'll be the only one doing it.  Go ahead, get with the flow early on.  Learn it while everybody else is learning it, while your brain is spry and it learns fast.  Folks who are set in their ways even have trouble watching TV these days.  Back in the day you just turned on the TV and watched.  Now, those remotes, OMGosh!  You need an MIT grad to operate them!

So, older folks, like me, hang out with some younger folks who speak the new language and learn it.  Don't just always get them to do it for you.  Learn how.  Pay your bills online.  Scan your groceries.  Get an Ipod for Christmas.  Have a digital camera and learn all about it. Maybe even a smart phone.  Find out all the stuff your cell phone will do.  And if the same person's been doing your hair for 10 years, try someone new! 

You bloggers are all over this, I know, so I don't know why I'm preaching to the choir. But I bet you know someone who is aging too fast, stuck in the past.  Nice place to visit.  Don't pitch a tent there.  Learn something new.  Stay current or be left behind!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Version Of A Sex Change

Announcing The Birth Of

"Real Life In A Minute"
5'5''    135 lbs. (Weight Watchers)
Blonde Hair (Nice 'N Easy)
Blue Eyes (Lasik in one eye)

Here's what happened.  Sometimes you're just not sure who you are anymore.  Have you ever felt that way? 

Lots of people have and when they do, they usually make a big change in their life.  Some get married, some get divorced, some lose a lot of weight, some go back to school, some quit their job, some get a sex change.  Well here's my story.   I retired.  Then I decided I should keep doing a little teaching, and there's always someone needing help with math.  So I became a math tutor and I started this blog to use with my tutoring students. I called it Real Math In A Minute!  Every morning I woke up and wrote some really great math stuff for those kids.  It was a very exciting time of change....for me.  Only for me.  That was the problem.

After a few months, I was really getting over the math myself and everybody else on the planet was like, "No way" am I reading that!  That's what my son said and he was right.  So I started sneaking in a little art and a little technology and other things I like.

That felt good for awhile and then I started getting a little itchy again.  It was my first operation and I cut off  cut out the math.  It's still back there in March, April, and May if you need ever need a fix.  This was very freeing!

Next stage was a name change.  I changed my name from Sue to Sam.  Not really.  I changed it from Real Math In A Minute to Real Life In A Minute.  Oh, that feels so much better.  I am really coming into my new real self now. 

My final change was the big one.  There's no turning back if I do this. I'm shaking!  Now I will change the URL.  Scary!!! Everyone says, "Don't do it."  "You'll regret it." "You'll wish you didn't!"  "No one can find you."  "You'll lose all your friends!"  But you've gotta do what ya gotta do.  So I took the plunge anyway!  Old URL, http://www.realmathinaminute.com/, is gone.  Don't go there.  It doesn't work!  New URL is http://www.reallifeinaminute.blogspot.com/.

It's not that you would ever really notice but, ah, it's like a breath of fresh air to me.  I'm being real now.  The real me is out of the closet, oops, I mean out of the box.  I'm in my own skin now!  Let's see what happens next!
Real Math In A MInute
Please fix your blogroll or whatever to make sure you get back here to the right place.
Thanks for your help with the birth!  It was really quite an easy one.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and Evil Snakes

One thing I know for sure.  If I had been Eve in the Garden of Eden I would not have been talking to a snake.  You have to get close to one to see its face and have a conversation and "that ain't happenin'", as they say.  But it happened today.  I mean I got close enough to a snake to have a conversation!  I saw his eyeballs while he was sticking his tongue out at me and shaking it like he was telling me off!  He had his little tale in a wad and was shaking it at me too.  I'm thinking, "Snake, get off of my property or you will be sorry!  We are not about to have a conversation about it,  Just go."

Needless to say he did not go.  When I opened the front door to leave mother's house and return home there was this snake, all curled up with his triangular shaped head inside the storm door, trying to slither right on into the house.  Well, let me tell you.  If he had slithered into mother's home it would be one for the books.  He would be sorry he ever considered it.  She would have hit the alarm and her local fire and police would have been there before he could have said "hiss"!  I know that because every now and then they show up. They are great alarm responders!  I can vouch for them!

But he got me instead of mother.  I decided it was probably a rattlesnake because it had diamonds on its back and I wasn't giving it the benefit of the doubt.  Elaine, mother's angel from heaven,  conspired with me for a moment after we finished screaming, and I chopped his head off with a shovel.  It hurt my heart, but 'ya gotta do what ya gotta do'.  I did it. I am woman, hear me roar.

So I guess the moral of this very true story is this.  Do not show up at my front door if you are a snake. Especially on Halloween.  I mean, "Really!!!"  Do not even think about trying to get me to eat an apple.  Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaze!  It is out of the question that I would even talk to you.  Me, a person who would pick up a bug and take it outside rather than kill it, will chop your head off with a shovel, spill your blood on the sidewalk, and not think twice about it.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween At Midnight

Once upon a time the night was dark as ink....the moon was red as blood....and Halloween was back. 

The little princesses, and Supermen, and pirates, and ghosts in sheets were still asleep dreaming about tonight when they would knock on doors, take candy from strangers, stay up late, eat sugar, and have fun breaking all the rules of regular life.  Today is not regular life though....and everybody knows it.

While you are sleeping and still you lay, the real ghosts and goblins come out and play.  They float through the night just out of your sight.  They haunt your place; it was once their base. They were here first they say with a curse!  This night is theirs, and they have no cares.  From midnight til dawn they play and tease.  They trick you and scare you, when someone says boo.  Then you turn around and scare someone too!

"Did you hear that?", her hubby she wakes. "I hear something in the kitchen!"  And he starts to shake.

"There's a monster in my room!", yells little Jack.  He really knows that you have his back. 

Granny says, "What is it I see? Are you coming for me?  Is my time at an end?  Or are you a friend?"

Everybody hides under the covers where it is safe.  Nothing can ever get you under the covers, not even on Halloween.  Go to sleep earthly ones.  It is your time to sleep.  We are back for today.  You will see us all day if you look.  "Who turned on the coffee?", they say.  "Did you bring in the mail?"  "No?'  "I know I didn't make the bed today...yet it is made!"  "I know I put gas in the car!"  "Who ate the cheese?" "Did you get my message?"  "Yes I did leave you a message!"  Strange things happen on Halloween.

Let them have their fun.  Let them play and run.  By all means, keep them happy.  They could pick up your bed, spin it around, and drop it if you make them mad.  They could slam your doors all night, and open and shut your drawers, and make you crazy just a tad.  The cat could scratch and claw your eyes and be very bad.  The chain saw could rev up and come after you,  The axe could too..  The vampires could take a bite out of your neck.  Oh my gosh, what the heck!  It is their time to play, get out of their way.

Get under the covers and stay there till dawn.  The light is your friend, darkness be gone!  Light makes them be sad, they can no longer be bad.  It is finally day, and you can play. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween In An Antique Shop

Antiques are like a magnet.  People are drawn to them.  They reek of memories and ghosts.  My Grandparents had a farm and I spent lots of time there when I was very young.  I milked cows, picked cotton, churned milk into butter, picked corn and beans, went fishing, talked to the cows, played ball in the front yard, laid on my back looking at the stairs, played with the kitties, and on and on.  When I go into antique shops, I see all the stuff from that time.  People die but stuff lives on forever!

I was raised "in town" and I am a contemporary girl. I want to be about the latest and the greatest.  I love today more than yesterday.  The past is, well, past.  There were people who shall go unnamed who wanted me to stay there, in the past, and live that same life again but I had to say "No".  No way.

I put mother in the "rolling chair" as I call it and took her antiquing yesterday up in the mountains.  After a yummy lunch, she said she would "stay in the car" and I could go in the shops.  "What?  I don't even like antiques," I thought to myself.  She got out!  We ended up spending 3 (!) delightful hours  in one antique store looking at every little thing.  Mother had a ball.  She told me what things were, she told me stories about those things, we feigned sticker shock over today's prices. We bought things. They are all just things but memories and people are all tied up in things.   

I like to think Halloween in an antique shop is like Halloween in a grave yard but not as scary.  All those who've passed on come out to play with their stuff for awhile on Halloween.  Like that children's story when the animals come to life at night, and the skin horse and the velveteen rabbit play.

My mom's 89 and this was a great day for her.  She loves to look back on those 89 years and remember what "was".  I understand that.  It was also a perfect day for what "is", changing leaves and crisp air ushering in a new season, and clear beautiful sunshine to light the way into all the newness and aliveness that is yet to come. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just Playin' Is Just Playin' Today

My blog has been a bit heavy this week and has made you feel sad, so here goes a light entry to get us out of the death and dying mode.  It's raining here today too so this is a fun indoor activity.  If you have kids at home, go get 'em and let them help you find photos!  Okay, let's get started. 
Lacie at Creative Attempts got me going on this one. 

Lacie gives us a topic. Go to Google and find a picture that tells about you. This gives us even more of a snoopy, birdseye view into who you really are.  Wooooooo. Scary internet stalkers go away you idiots.  Sooooo....

1.  My Favorite Beverage really is Caffeine Free Diet Coke.  Shameful, shallow, unhealthy...I know.

2.  My Hometown is: 
Oprah Is Visiting Macon, Ga!  I was right across the street when she took this picture.  Saw her again at NuWay Famous Hotdogs.

3. My Favorite TV Show:  Just love it.

4. My Occupation:  I am a Retired Super Woman.  Add boobs and longer hair, blonde, and that would be me in the walker.

5.  My First Car Was A '65 Mustang.  White, blue interior. Dang it was cool.

6. My Favorite Food Is Spaghetti!  Always has been, always will be.  A little salad and garlic toast mmmmm

7.  Celebrity I Have Been Told I Resemble:  Kathryn Hepburn    Yes!!!!  She was independent and wore pants!  Whoa!  I had freckles like her but, please, no smoking Kate.

8.  Favorite Childhood Toys:  I could play these all day long. We made our own paper dolls and their clothes.  We gave them great figures and put beautiful, famous heads on them:  Debbie Reynolds and Liz Taylor, the blonde and the brunette..  If they had TV EXTRA! and other media back then we would have learned way too much about our pretty ladies.  In case you are very young, they were cat fighting over Eddie Fisher and both married him at different times.

I will tell you straight out this took a long time.  So if you are looking for something to do, have at it.  If not, after all this time spent trying to cheer you up, you simply must leave me a comment and tell me some of this stuff about you.                  Much love,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Just A Normal Day and A Heart Attack

Yesterday started like any other day.  I got up at the break of day with Larry. I love being with him in the early mornings while he is fresh and light, before the day and all its responsibilities take their toll on him.  He makes our coffee.  I make his lunch.  We chit chat about how we slept and the upcoming day and things like that.  I told him I had art class, had a pre op appointment for an upcoming surgery, that I would rent a movie for the evening, and we would have stir fry for dinner.  He's like "Stir fry sounds good!" He tells me it's a perfect day for his new jacket, that he has a parent conference after school and grades to enter so he might be late.  Just a typical day.

Thursdays are my favorite day because I spend the morning in art class, my passion.  I leave art, eat my peanut butter on whole wheat sandwich in the car, and head to my doctor's appointment.  It is just routine, no big deal.  When I get there, there is no one in the waiting room so I'm thinking my community has totally escaped the flu and no one is sick!  How great is that!  I fill out a few papers which they give you so you'll have something to do while you wait.  Toys for children, papers for us.  A man comes in next, a big man with a presence.  He signs in and says way too loudly, "I got your phone call.  I'm back to see how long I've got left".  He laughs.  Nobody else does.

He doesn't need to fill out papers and they end up calling us both back at once.  To everyone along the way to his room he says, "I'm back to get the bad news. How long do I have left?  24 hours?"  The nurse, introduced to me as Jeanette, weighs me and takes my blood pressure out in the hall so I hear everything.  I really wanted to be naked to weigh in since I'm working on my weight and want a low number,  but there she had me in the hall!  I said, "Jeanette, that man is nervous.  Men make jokes like that when they are nervous."  She had no personality so she ignored me.

Soon I'm with the doc.  He comes and goes, ordering things to be done, checking results, normal stuff.  The next time he comes back he says, "Someone just had a heart attack in the hall."  Now I was with another nervous man, very calm, but his heart had to be racing.  Ambulance is on the way,  gave the person aspirin, he is breathing...EMTs will be here in seconds.  "OMGosh", I said.  "Go be with him.  I can wait."  He said all was under control.  I told him, "I knew that man was nervous because he kept joking, loudly, to everyone that he didn't have much longer.  That's the way men handle nervousness."  He said, "You're right."  I asked, "Could the bad news have given him the heart attack or would he have had it anyway?"  "Can't tell", he said.  "Could have.  He did get bad news."

So now this guy has two pieces of bad news...whatever the doctor had to relay to him AND his heart attack.  I hope he is in the hospital.  I hope he is going to be alright.  I hope his wife and family are okay.  I hope he's "right with God" as they say and that he is peaceful and not still scared.  Crap, I hope he is alive.

We wake up each morning to an ordinary day.  We go about our merry way.  We never know what will happen.  As Andrea would say, there are many lessons in this post.  I will leave it to you to find yours.

As I am finishing this post I hear Tim McGraw in an outdoor morning concert in Rockefellor Square on the Today Show.  He is singing, Live Like Your Were Dying.  Enjoy this day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Story Of Nine Rocks On A Post

I am cleaning up the clutter on my computer this morning and came across this post I wrote for another site several months ago.  I decide to publish it here because it really impacted me that day.  Hope you enjoy it.

This morning I was at the park taking a walk with my shihtzu, Buddy.  It's wonderful morning here! After days and days of much needed rain, the sun is shining and early summer is in the air. While I was stretching and getting ready to walk I noticed a pile of rocks on top of a post about eye level, and I casually wondered why they were there.  This is a story about that pile of rocks and the man who put them there.
After a couple of laps I fell in stride with another dog walker named Wes. Wes is also a senior citizen.  He is very large and his doctor has ordered him to get some weight off.  So he is walking his two adorable long hair dachsunds, Oscar and Joe. Their short little legs have to work hard and it is getting hot, so he gives them breaks.  Both dogs walk with him at once until one gets tired. Then one pup takes a rest inside the truck and the other gets 1:1 time with Wes.  Used to he would leave his pups on their leash and let them get water and rest (attached) under the truck.  They liked the shade and the outside air.  This was their routine for a long time.    

 As we started our third lap, Wes stopped, took a rock from the pile I had noticed, and moved it to the top of another flat post. Wes explained that every time he completes a lap he moves a rock from one post to the other.  So....when all the rocks have been moved to the second post, he has finished his 9 laps.  Pretty smart I thought.  Each lap is 1/3 mile so he is taking a 3 mile walk!  I was impressed.  Oh, and then he tells me he does this 3 times a day! Yep....so he is walking 9 miles a day with his dogs and sometimes with a new friend like me.
 Wes lost 35 pounds the first year he did this. His doctor was delighted.

One day while Wes was walking one dog and one pup was resting under the truck, two big dogs attacked this little one.  By the time Wes got to the truck it was too late.  In rage and grief Wes got his gun out of the  truck and shot the offending dogs. Pretty scary! I hate guns. Period.  But that's what he did.

A court battle followed, grief continued, and Wes did not walk anymore.  He stayed home in his chair.  He felt guilty.  He grieved his companion.  He ate.  He got bigger and bigger and gained all his weight back.  He became depressed and just didn't  care.  A year has passed now and he is back to his walks. He is again walking 3 miles at a time, 3 times a day and moving the rocks from one post to the next.  But now his pups rest inside the truck where it is safe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Married 40 Years? You've Got To Be Kidding Me!

I have the most perfect marriage!  For 40 years I have lived every day in a state of bliss with the man of my dreams.  My perfect husband adores me and does everything he can to make life the best it can be for me.  We've never had a disagreement.  Every day together has been sheer heaven.  NOT! 

The Larry and I celebrated our anniversary Monday.  Our 40th!  "Lawd have mercy", as they used to say. Here is a snippet of our story.

We met in a math class. There were only two girls and a lot of boys so the odds were in my favor! I thought he was “cute” and “my type” the first time I saw him. A year later he proposed and we started planning a December wedding.

It would be right around Christmas with lots of candles, very pretty and joyful like the holidays. Soon the dresses were ordered and on their way. I chose beautiful hot pink dresses trimmed in white Malibu fur, like snow! Do not laugh. It was very unique! Think Rockettes. The fur trim went around the scooped neckline and around the cuff of the long sleeves. And, oh yeah, each girl carried a white Malibu fur muff instead of flowers. I was into fur back then.

Now here’s what happened. We decided to move the wedding up to October 19! I mean we just could not wait any longer and, well, that’s what you did back in the day. I mean, you might come preeeeeeettyyyyyy close to doin’ the deed in all its glory but you tried your hardest to “wait”. At least that is what we did in the deep South. “That’s all I’m gonna say about that”, as Forrest Gump said.

Another 2 months was interminable and things were just getting too crazy around Christmas with travel plans and Santa all at once.  So we changed the date.  On a nice fall day in October when everyone and everything is bathed in warm oranges and reds and yellows like the leaves, my girls came walking up the aisle in their hot pink and warm snow white fur muffs. I hope they weren’t sweating. And then I came along in my long sleeve, high neck, million little buttons Victorian gown. We showed no skin. Nada.

In the last 40 years we could have written many books about our relationship. Most everyone says in their Blogger profiles that they have the most wonderful husband or wife in the world, that they are deliriously happy, and all’s right with the world and I wonder how true that is or if it is just a big wish. I mean everybody I know, EVERYBODY, has a story....

We have learned a lot over these years. We have had some deliriously great, wonderful, happy, sexy, fun, growing, spiritual, adventurous times. And we have had some less than that. A few times we almost threw in the towel. I’m glad we didn’t. Here is just some of what I have learned during my marriage.

1. I have changed dramatically. He has changed dramatically. Mostly for the better.

2. He is my rock, master of his trade.  He's been "steady Freddie" so I could flit around doing everything and anything. I’ve often thought of “steady” as boring and I’m sure he has often thought of flitting as, well, flitting.  I am Jack of all trades, master of none.

3. He can do any household chore, except cooking, often better than I can but he is not going to put the toilet seat down.  You pick your battles.

4. We usually do life very beautifully together when it is just the two of us. It is more challenging when the rest of the world enters.

5. We are not afraid to fight. My parents never fought or even argued so this was something I had to learn.  I don't recommend it but it's usually been a stepping stone to something better for us.  We may go to bed mad, but we will never let a fight go “untalked about”. I think this is the strength of our relationship.

6. My favorite food is spaghetti. He will not eat pasta.

7. For years we were tennis partners but neither of us plays now.  His favorite pastime is golf. I think golf is boring.

8. He likes to get to the bottom line. I like to tell the whole story with all the details. However, if it’s technical, like about the computer or how the TV works, he wants to tell the whole story with all the incomprehendable details, and I want to get to the bottom line, quickly!

9. He can tell when I’ve had too much caffeine. I can tell when he’s had too much wine.

10. He loves to shop, really shop. I don’t.

11. I love church. He’s not as thrilled when it's organized. But we both know God.

12. He likes to rent movies. I like to go to the theater.

13. He likes action movies, blood and guts, action, and sci fi movies with creatures and aliens. I like movies that actually have people in them who are not killing each other. We both like suspense thrillers.

14. We travel exceptionally well together.

15. We adore our sons. And we admire them.

16. We are both space people, we don’t have to be together every minute.

17. We are both very independent.

18.  We respect each other...most of the time.

I didn’t say we love each other. I felt like that goes without saying. We do. No matter what. Even if we're mad enough to spit!  Our emotional bank account with each other is so high, we are both pre-forgiven for whatever stupid things we do. I think the most important item on that list is #5. If we have “an issue” we will wait awhile, then sit down and have a big talk, a come to Jesus if you will, until we reach an understanding. We may not agree but usually when we dissect things with a clear head and get to the core, we do agree. We will not let anything go under the rug and stay there. I wish we had included our children in those processes but we weren't that wise.

So here’s to a marriage we call successful with its ups and downs, failures and successes. May we have many more good times together.

(This is reprinted from the original 6 years ago.)  

Monday, October 19, 2009

What? Me Exercise?

Just dressed, stretched, ready to head for the gym.  How in the world am I going to kickbox this morning?   I have no idea but Lucy, our fearless leader, will get me there.  I started to say she will ease us into it but that would be a lie.  We'll stretch out and then give it a go.  Somehow it feels good to sweat to the bone and breathe like you're going to pass out.  I made sure they have a defibrilator!!!!  I'm not exactly a spring chicken you know.  Who cares!  It's  good for the soul and body.

What keeps me going back for more torture?  I mean it's a chilly, no actually it's cold, morning here and I could snuggle in so easily and have more coffee.  I really go because it's fun.  Children play.  We should too.  It's where I go to play.  The music gets cranked up and get to know all the new songs... which I would NEVER know on my own. "I'm so 2008 and late!"  Know that one?  The beat is amazing.  I like rock and roll but, man, this stuff is made to move the bod. 

So the music, the girls, Lucy, all serve as little magnets to get me off my butt.  Really, though, I want my bones to be strong.  My mother's aren't anymore even though she was always on the go.  I want long, lean muscles so I can be strong and do for myself forever.  I want to be able to walk long distances when "the Larry" FINALLY retires and we get to travel.  I want my weight to stay put and not soar to the heavens with these delicious holidays coming up.

So there ya go.  That's why I go and where I go.  If I leave now I'll be right on time and start punching and kicking like there's no tomorrow, smiling and gasping for air the whole way.  Get some exercise today.  The gym may not cost as much as you think.  Mine is only $20 a month with free daycare.  Take the stairs, park far away.  You know the drill.  Move more.  Maybe find a gym you like.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Morning: Newspaper and Prayers

I always write early in the morning as soon as I get up.  It's quiet in the house and my mind is fresh and teeming with ideas.  Today, however, is Sunday.  The husband is home and reading the paper.  He's reading to me all sorts of things he finds interesting which is usually not particularly interesting to me.  He's just read to me about the old Atlantic Steel and Evans Metal Companies.  Long time ago there was a lot of heavy manufacturing in Atlanta.  Over time those operations went away and a city, Atlanta, grew up and flourished.  There isn't much heavy manufacturing in Georgia anymore....mostly we lay eggs and grow peanuts. 

Sadly though, now there are concerns about soil contamination where these smelting plants stood for years.  They employed thousands of people over the years, a good thing.  But now there are homes, playgrounds,  greenways, parks, retail developments, and office parks on this very land.  And maybe their living conditions are not as good as once thought. 

This was all more than 100 years after Sherman came through and burned Atlanta to the ground.  I just thought for a minute that maybe we could find a redeeming factor in his march through this lovely city if he had burned out all the unknown soil pollution while he was here, but he came way too early. 

The Government finds and cleans up places like this but somehow this one got missed.  It's getting back on the list now to see what can be done.  Where I live, was a pasture before I came.  Cows grazed and Indians lived here before that.  Deer still run through the backyard wondering what happened.  I feel sad about that sometimes.  But contaminated?  I don't think so. 

Now he is reading to me about a young high school football player who has stage 4 melanoma.  Trey and his family have gone to Germany for experimental treatment.  Oh gosh!  Pray for Trey.

Thank you God for all the good in the world.  Help us all deal with the places where we cannot see the good, and help us support each other and our environment in health and wholeness.  Amen.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Simple Saturday vs Shopping Marathon

There is nothing I have to do today.  Delicious!  Husband is out taking a long walk in his new jacket.  Total silence in the house except for computer keys clicking away with a mind of their own.  On my 4th, at least, cup of coffee.

This is our first pretty cool morning.  Delicious!  Long PJs. A few leaves beginning to turn.  Sweet.

Yesterday my neighbor-friend took me shopping with her.  Only bargain shopping. This classy lady is a master.  We spent three hours and had so much fun getting stuff for nothing practically.  I am a minimalist but even I found some things I couldn't live without, and some Christmas presents!  Even heard Jingle Bells playing...please no, not yet.

Then, after this non-shopper, me, has been shopping for 3 hours, Larry calls after work.  Usually he is drained, exhausted, gets home late, eats, sleeps for tomorrow.  He's a passionate teacher and it wipes him out.  He loves the kids and is great with them. Really good teacher. Had to get that in "Justin Case" he reads this.  It's true though.  Anyway,  I am so tired and starving after the gym plus 3 hours of fun but intense shopping.  I'm ready to go home and chill on the sofa with a big fat sandwich.  Phone rings.  "Hey!" says Larry.  "What do you want to do tonight?"  How about a bubble bath, food, and sleep, I think to myself.  He says, "I thought we'd go shopping.  I want to get a lightweight jacket."  Oh no, I'm thinking.  This man is a shoppeeeeeeeeeeeer extraordinaire!  Never would he go in just one store, buy something, and leave.  I had to beg off.  He was fine with that.  After all, what are cell phones for if not to give frequent shopping updates.

Finally he is home, 5 hours later.  See why I didn't want to go?  He tells me all about it.  He has been, I kid you not, to Steinmart, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Ross, PGA SuperStore, Champs,  Macy's, Belk's, and, lastly, J C Penney's.  I could have left someplace out.  He tries on all the jackets, takes notes, knows what he wants, and finds it.  Always quality, usually at the best price.

Here is a picture of the new jacket.  It is pretty cool, huh? (I don't like it w/the plaid shirt though). It has velcro closures instead of buttons; all the jackets do this season he tells me.  It is waterproof.  It has a hood.  It has really cool colors and zippers.  It was regularly $120, on sale for $40. 

Go, man, go!!! Gotta love him.  And I do.