Monday, March 28, 2011

The Pinkest Party On Earth

What does this sound like to you?

Hotel hallways:  Crammed full of people, some in pajamas.
Beautiful hotel lobby full of windows:  Empty.
Front desk:  Vacant.

Need a hint?  Outside: DARK,  Sirens blaring. Tornado warnings.

This was the conclusion of my trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend.

My mother loves to make the trip 'back home' (so do I), so we put this pink mini-vacation on our bucket list each year.  We had a wonderful time enjoying the great weather, running into old friends...and some of them were really old.  We spent time at the cemetery dressing our family's graves for Easter.   We ate fried fish at Jim Shaw's, a local fave.  We ate boiled peanuts, peanut brittle, and the world's best barbecue at Fincher's.  Our grand finale meal was chicken and dressing, turnip greens, rutabagas, squash, rice, and corn, topped off with banana pudding for dessert! Yes, we ate a lot!

But there was the storm!  When we were out sightseeing it suddenly got eerie still and the sky turned dark charcoal grey.  Rain poured.  It sounded like gunshots hitting the windshield.  Then we saw hail bouncing off the hood and found shelter as fast as we could.  What an adventure!  We eased back to the hotel to find everyone appropriately in a tornado drill huddled in the hallways!  That was a first.

Life is such a treasure and making memories is something we do every day.  These were 4 truly wonderful days with my mom.  She had a ball.  I pray I can enter my 92nd year on the planet with as much 'gusto and go' as she has.  I'm planning on it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I dare you to read this post.  It's short.

I am living in the moment today and was suddenly inspired by an interesting blog entitled Be Our Best. Her post is about Optical Illusions.  I mean, who doesn't like optical illusions?  It's fun and just so much like magic!

Another blog I found this morning is Mathematics Learning. Lots of examples of optical illusions. You and your kids will love looking at these.

The side of me I usually don't share on this blog is all so mathematical.  See?  I know what your reaction was.  I know.  That's why I don't mention it often. I dare you to finish reading this and leave a comment.

And I double dog dare you to read 5 Reasons Math Makes No Sense on  my other blog today.  Just today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Relaxation And Quiet
Good For The Soul And Body

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are We Ruled By Our Thoughts?

"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.   But once mastered, no one can help you as much."

Spoken eons ago by a man named Buddha.

Reminds me of a similar quote:

"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
Provers 23:7

We are what we think. Really?  Do you believe that?

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day Of Spring 2011 In My Backyard

 http://smilingsally.blogspot.com/

 Exists only in my mind...

﻿﻿﻿﻿﻿﻿ Our Earth is brilliant.  Even though it has been in the midst of great drama with the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami, it doesn't miss a beat getting ready for Spring. When I am embroiled in a drama that shakes my little world, many regular everyday things fall off my radar.  Mother Earth?  She keeps right on keeping on.

She remembers the equinox, to the moment, when the sun crosses her equator to signal the beginning of Spring.  No one needs to remind her to bud out the flowers and turn the grass green.  She knows not to tilt that day, not  away from the sun nor toward it.  No clocks have to be set and no time needs to be measured to be sure she remembers to make, for that one day, night and day exactly the same length.

I'm grateful every morning when I wake up and all during the day...for many things.  One thing is my appreciation for the solar system we live in, our Earth which keeps turning and bringing the flowers and the tides to the beach for us...no matter what else she has on her plate.

Here is what Mother Earth has going on in my backyard.  What is going on in yours?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy

"Worry is the misuse of imagination."  Dan Zadra

Does your imagination ever run wild worrying about something beyond your control which will probably never happen anyway?  I bet that's a resounding "Yes!"  We've all been there haven't we?  Some people  snap back to reality quickly and others tend to live in the 'what if' world.  I've certainly done it.

I met a 90 year old lady on Valentines Day.  Her face was uncluttered with wrinkles and frown lines, smooth as a baby's behind..  After complimenting her on her skin and her peaceful countenance, I asked her how she kept her skin so beautiful.  She said, "I don't worry about anything."   "Wow, that's great.  That must be hard to do", I said.  "No, it's not", she said bluntly.  "Worrying doesn't help."

We can learn a lot from our older sisters if we listen.  They have been where we are, many times, and emerged wiser for the experience.  "Worry is the misuse of imagination", is attributed to  Dan Zadra , well known in leadership and communication circles.  There is truth in these words.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

5 Reasons I Can't Get To Sleep And What To Do About It

Our bodies crave sleep.  We need it to rest, refresh, and rejuvenate.  The latest medical news says it makes your heart  healthier if you get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  Sleep reduces stress, strengthens your memory, helps you lose weight and reduces inflammation, one of the latest identified causes of disease and aging.  But sometimes you just toss and turn, or you go to sleep but in just a couple of hours you wake up and can't go back to sleep.

When I can't get to sleep it's usually one of these 5 reasons:
1.  I'm just not the least bit sleepy.
2.  Dog is whining to go outside.
3.  Husband is snoring.
4.  Too much caffeine.

What To Do To Go To Sleep:
1.  Have a glass of wine.  It might help you doze off.
2.  Take the dog outside and give him a treat.
3.  Ask hubby to turn over.
4.  Take a Benadryl. My pharmacist says it's okay for me.
5.  Think about things you are grateful for.

It worked. Goodnight. Zzzzzzzzzzz.........

Friday, March 18, 2011

What Are Japanese Moms Thinking?

What would you be thinking if you were in a shelter in Japan?

Seeing yourself as a mom in a shelter makes it more real, and once it becomes real, true compassion kicks in.

I think of the young moms and the pregnant ones worrying about radiation.  I wonder about those like my 90 year old mom who can walk, but barely.   And litle children.  It is cold there.  Some are in shelters with no heat and very little food.  Many are missing, trapped somewhere, clinging to life still.  The visual is gut wrenching.  But more than the visual I wonder about their thoughts.  What is going through their minds?  I thought of the 500 people taking shelter in a high school gymnasium.  If you could scan their minds what would you find?  If a PowerPoint rolled their thoughts across the big screen, what would they be?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Letter To The Editor:  "Please answer a few questions. I'd like to get to know you better."

The Editor:  OK, here goes.

1. Do you have a fireplace in your home?
Oh, yes I do!  On cold days, it is "on".  It's gas logs, not tree logs.  I love it.

2. Can you drive a stick shift?
No! When I was ready to go to college, my dear Daddy brought home a car for me.  It was a straight shift.  We tried and tried but I "couldn't" get the knack of it.  I cried. He lost it...and he NEVER EVER lost it.  So the next day when I came home the car was gone.  And another one, an automatic, was in its place.  It sounds like I was a spoiled brat but I wasn't. I do wish I had learned to drive a shift though.  Our next door neighbor was a used car dealer so that's why returning the car was as easy as returning a blouse that didn't fit.

3. How many computers are in your home?﻿
Mine and his.  And his from work.  My other half is a Computer Science teacher so we have lots of computer "stuff" around.

4. Are your taxes done yet? Do you do them yourself?

I am our tax person.  Me and Turbo Tax. Turbo Tax is wonderful.  Taxes are done but not sent in yet.  I am still praying over them!

5. What is your favorite meal of the day?﻿﻿﻿﻿
Aren't they all?

So now you know.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Which One Is You?

Are you tired, thirsty, droopy, in need of a little TLC, down for the count?

Or are you...

Energetic, perky, well-cared for, nurtured, lighting up a room?

I can plainly see the power of caring vs. the apathy of neglect in these photos.
If I don't take care of my little hydrangea, it tells me by dropping it's head.  If I don't take care of my family and friends, it's not always so obvious.  They may just pull away or they may act out. It is up to me to be aware of what they need from our relationship.

If someone neglects to take care of me, what do I do?  Do I just sulk, go away, or nag?  Or do I ask for what I need and want?
It is actually up to me to help others learn what I need from the relationship, isn't it?

Do you believe that?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

5 Reasons I Picked Up A Hitchhiker Today And Why I Should Not Have

First of all I can't believe I did it.  But I picked up a hitchhiker today. Why?

1.  It was cold and pouring rain.
2.  He was getting drenched.
3.  He was a student.
4.  He was young.
5.  He was alone.  Hence no gang rape was going to occur.
6.  I was stupid.

In a flash I told myself these things...and then I stopped and unlocked the door.  None of my reasons are good ones.  My husband would have a fit.  My children would be shocked.  I"m not telling them.  They don't read this.

How did I know he was a student?  I didn't.  But he was and he was trying to get to school.
How did I know he was a safe bet?  I didn't.  But he was.
How did I know he wasn't going to kill me and leave me on he side of the road?  I didn't.  But he didn't.

I was driving to art class.  Lest you think I am super privileged and beyond the mundane diaper changing and vacuuming, let me assure you I have done that.  Loved it all, actually...and worked, too, for 30 years.  Art class is my life long dream.  Yet, I am fortunate, and I was warm and dry inside my car.  And he was flagging me down, wet and cold, and young.  I stopped.  He got in.  Black/white.  Male/female.  Young/old.

He was trying to get to school 3 miles away.  He was late. As a retired teacher I already know he has a story.  He overslept, which means he probably gets himself off to school...and has missed the bus by a couple hours.  We had 4 minutes to talk.  He was behind a grade... a Junior who should be a Senior.  He wishes he had a car.  He lives 5 miles away.  He wants to go to Savannah State College and become an Entrepeneur.  I tell him directly that he must obtain a marketable skill before he goes out into the big world...so, obviously, he can get a car.  :)    He thanks me for the ride and tells me to be safe. I tell him to be good.  I hate that he is missing half his math class.  I taught math and I know that's not a good thing.

I am late to Art.  Doesn't matter.  I started to take a few minutes and drive around looking for other wet kids walking to school.  Thought better of  it.  Didn't see anymore anyway.  It was totally pouring.  Nobody in their right mind was outside.

I've never read The Gift Of Fear, but I know it tells us to listen to that small voice inside...and when it senses fear, pay attention to it.  Even though I heard my own thoughts, I didn't hear that voice whispering.  I wouldn't have stopped if I had.

Will I ever pick up another hitchhiker? My children better not.  My husband better not.   Last week I would have said, "Heck no! Are you out of your mind!"  But I am so glad I did.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Natural Highs And Wellness

I was very rushed this morning so I decided to share some on my Natural Highs with you.  Honestly I just needed to reach in my archives and retrieve something quickly.  So, here is one of my favorite pieces of calligraphy.  I wrote it one of those times when I needed to remember the good...and how much of it all is good.  (My script looks a little out of perspective due to my photography but I'm letting that be okay.)
So here you go.

Another high is recognizing others who are meaningful to me.  I've never really thought about that in connection with my blog until today.  I am participating in the 31 Days To A Better Blog project sponsored by SITS.  Our task today was to do something special to recognize one of our readers.  Immediately I thought of Shelley at I'm Still Standing.
Shelley is very family oriented so I know that comes first.  Then as administrator of this Blog Project she gives us ideas every day to improve our blogs.  Still she finds time to keep her own blog up to date, direct this blog project....and still support all of us participants.
She knows we need the encouragement to stay with the project and FINISH!  It's always good to finish what you start and Shelley is doing her best to help us do just that!
Enjoy my highs....and do let me know what some of yours are!

Monday, March 7, 2011

If Words Make The (Wo)Man, OMG!

When I was little I learned this song.  Did you?

"Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say, Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say, .......(next verse)
"Oh, be careful little mind what you think, Oh, be careful little mind, what you think,........

I haven't thought of that song in a long, long time.  But after today I think we need to teach it again!

At the bank this morning: Man in line says, "I'm brain dead!".  He couldn't think of a certain word.  No big deal. Later, in the grocery story:  Lady says, "My brain is gone!"  Last week, in the doctor's office: Doc said, "Mary, you are walking like an old lady."  Mary said, "I AM an old lady!"  (she's not)

How unkind we are to ourselves!  Think of words you have heard lately.  Or said lately.  Or maybe just thought.  "I am so stupid."  "My hair looks like ____!"  "I need to lose 20 pounds."  "I'm going to get fired."  "My mother died young, so I will too."  "I can't do math!"  "I cannot save money."  "I will always be in debt."  "Just look at my wrinkles."  "My teeth need whitening."  "I'm not good at anything."  "I'm a terrible housekeeper!" "I wish I could decorate!"  And on and on it goes.

Not flattering.  I hear some of you saying, "May not be flattering but it's true."

My point is, if we really understood the power of our words, we would choose them ever so much more carefully.  Each time we say, or think,  something derogatory to ourselves we are programming our minds to believe it.  Once we begin to really believe bad stuff about ourselves, well, just sit back and watch it happen.  I'm not talking about living in denial.  I am talking about simply rephrasing our thoughts and focusing on that which we like about ourselves.  Don't like anything?  Well, find something!  We all have assets, gifts, strengths.  Focus on those.

A wise fellow named Solomon once wrote many words of wisdom and called it Proverbs.  Here are two of them.

"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."  Pr 21:23 (more than one way to interpret that)

“As a man thinketh in his heart (or subconscious mind) so is he.” Pr 23:7

I'm just sayin.........

Friday, March 4, 2011

Never Thought I Would Be Homeless

(This post is dedicated to Lucy Myrick Pence, the best Fitness Instructor known to man.)

GYM CLOSED!

If you are a Gym Rat like me, and it's your gym the bank reclaimed, you feel kind of homeless.  Not to be overly dramatic, but we were family. Strangers who became friends and cheered each other on through the daily grind...and supported each other through illnesses, operations, moving and other toughies life brings.  Plus we sang and laughed...a lot.

When I retired I started going to the gym because I finally had time.  And I like being active.  But, maybe even mostly, because I fit the profile for osteoporosis to a T.  Menopausal (what fun), light complexion, small frame, light eyes, too many Diet Cokes, don't like milk, and my mother has it. Mother, who has been extremely active all her life,  dark complected, large bones...not the profile at all.  Two years ago as she sat in her leather chair, she reached to get something off the floor, slid off the chair onto the rug and broke her hip.  That easy.  Changed her life in that moment.

At 90, surgery was hard, anethesia was a nightmare, rehab was even harder.  She had been diagnosed with osteoporosis 10 years ago and was on meds and, of course, calcium.  Didn't work, obviously.

I believe we must learn from the lessons around us so 5 years ago, I had my bone density checked, and yep,I was headed in the same direction as mother.  I took action.  Got on the meds, but since I was still working, I "couldn't" make time for exercise.  Hmmm.  I hated those meds.

Long story short:  Retired, went to gym religously.  Learned to Zumba dance, learned to Kickbox.  Sweated daily.  Knew it was good for my heart.  Hoped it would help the bones.

Last week's scan results came and I was scared to open them.  I had worked hard, and what if, just what if, it hadn't worked.  I confess I had thrown those meds out the window years ago.  "You are in the LOWEST RISK" category for bone loss, it said.  Me?  Better than average bones for my age!!!  Well what do you know.  Two years of weight bearing exercise worked....without Rx.  I'm a believer now for sure.

Girls, it matters a lot what you do in "middle age" (I know you hate that term).  So exercise.  Walk.  Do something weight bearing.  You will be so glad.

If we are lucky we'll all be "old ladies" one day...hopefully with strong bones.  And, as Mother always said, and now I say to her, "Stand up straight!"

(Thank you Lucy!  You're the best!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't Try This At Home

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  And then you look back and wonder, "What was I thinking?"

It was a beautiful day and I wanted to take a walk.  To me, a walk should take you somewhere, you know, have purpose other than sunshine and exercise.  So I decided I would walk to the library.
﻿﻿﻿﻿
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﻿﻿﻿﻿ ﻿ The library is one of my most favorite places in the world.  A couple of times a week you'll find me there although I'd never walked there before.  Mid-walk I realize "Man, this is a long walk!!!"  Actually it's not the distance, it's just that most of the walk is a busy 2-lane highway.  No sidewalks. Sloped shoulders,  Uneven terrain.

Once I made it to the library I found a comfy chair to chill and read O Magazine.  I decide to close my eyes just for a minute or two and, of course, I fall asleep....even as I am thinking to myself, "Do not fall asleep", that is exactly what I do.  Head back, mouth open, snoring. You get the picture.  Lovely.

I wake up in awhile and find it's not a dream.  Time to hoof it home before 5:00 traffic makes it even more treacherous getting there.  I did make it.  I won't do it again.

Walking is good for you.  Reading is good for you.  This was dumb. Too far. Rough terrain.  Traffic.  Hills.

I am so tired even still the next day.  You would be too if you walked 10 miles!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Just Go Do It And Get On With Life

I'm excited about the 'little' goals I set last week and thanks for your encouragement.  Since today is March 1, the only one I can report on yet is 'have money left over at the end of the month and put it in savings'.  Check!  Done!  It wasn't a fortune but it got done!   I have a few more days left on the others and I will need them.  Stop by in a few days and see how I do.

It occurred to me that I keep saying "I need to get my eyes checked".  I've been saying it since mid December.  My near and far vision are fine but computer distance is not good. Makes me squint. Squinting causes wrinkles.  Enough said.

So I'm starting a different kind of list of short term goals.  These may not be as 'fun', but remember, you count!  These you do for yourself.

1.  Call today for an appointment with the eye doctor.
2.  Schedule teeth cleaning.  Didn't realize I am overdue.
3.  It's not time for mine yet, but put pap smear on the calendar.
4.  Same with mammogram.
5.  Get sunscreen for my face and body that I will actually use. Spring is almost here.

6.  Schedule a colonoscopy (oh for joy!) if you are over 40 or 50. Ask the doc when.

I told ya it wasn't a fun list, but just 'git her done' as Larry the Cable Guy says.  Then go play.  By all means go play.  Like the time my breast lump came back benign I took myself out and me, myself, and I had the greatest of times!

Thanks for Tweeting too.

Sandra

"Inspiration to lead healthier and more financially prosperous lives."