This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
The boy's father created a beautiful picture of his son's life using anecdotes of their family's life. He talked about trips they had taken, famous people met, baseball caught, golf balls signed, and even the time his son caddied for ChiChi Rodriguez. The father wove a tale of a beautiful life. He began the eulogy with the words "My son was a lucky guy..." I was astounded at the father's ability to move beyond his grief, shock, anger, and despair to truly capture the spirit of his son. I think everyone present felt lucky to be there, even as tears streamed down our faces. The son was definitely alive again as his father enriched us all by sharing his son's joyful life experiences.
Last year our family started a new tradition: giving experiences for gifts as opposed to the tangible clothes, toys, "stuff" we usually gave each other. It began with Steve's 40th birthday for which my daughter and I gifted him a day as a fantasy Formula One RaceCar driver. We all loved the experience and decided to make "experience giving" our tradition. This year for our daughter's birthday she went indoor skydiving. Steve's birthday present was tickets for all of us to see a Boston Red Sox's game. My birthday present will be for our family to go white water rafting. For Christmas this year we want to go to the Bahamas.
It took me awhile but I finally figured out that I rarely remember the shirt, or the kitchen gadget, or gift card that I receive as a gift, but I always remember the experiences I have that create those family stories that get told and retold, embellished upon and edited until finally they become our family's history.
I want a life rich with experiences, memories that I can keep forever. Those are the gifts that require no storage, no dusting, never go out of style, and never wear out.
And that, my friends, is a gift that keeps on giving.
The boy's father gave a beautiful, stirring eulogy that captured his son's life and made the congregation laugh and cry. Mostly cry.
The essence of the eulogy was this: life is short. Life is unpredictable. Grab hold of the ones you love, hold on tight, tell them you love them.
And for God's sake, kiss your kids!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
My jury is still out. I liked that he mentioned poop and how important it is to have one (or two or three EVERY day) because so many people shy away from that most normal of bodily functions, but I was disappointed that with all the other medical topics in the world he chose sex addiction and even worse, Dr. Drew, as a topic and guest.
He had great advice on fiber content in vegetables and grains, how to give yourself a breast self-exam, and the dangers of diabetes, but he seems awful touchy-feely with his female guests and the giggling from the women he calls up on stage gets a little old.
I will admit to being fairly free with the fast forward button on the remote which is probably kind of a shame because I think Dr. Oz gives little nuggets of great information mixed in with a lot of fluff. The problem is I don't allow myself to spend a lot of time watching TV so whenever I sense fluff coming up, I fast forward to the next topic.
Am I being too critical of the man? Admittedly I have only seen 3 shows and of those shows, maybe a total of 18 minutes per show. I do have some questions: Why do the audience members who go up on stage have to wear a lab coat? Why does he change into scrubs for the last 20 minutes of the show? Why do the women giggle so much? Does anyone else think he could spend more time on a single topic and explore it more fully rather than have 3-4 topics per show?
Be you a fan or not I'd love to hear your thoughts on Dr. Oz.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Have you ever overheard just part of a conversation but the part that you heard was so interesting you really wished you could hear more? This happens to me a lot at the gym probably because people are talking more loudly to be heard over the noise of the equipment and the music. Lately I've heard some pretty intriguing snippets so I thought I'd share what I heard along with my best guess for what the rest of the story may be.
Conversation 1: (man next to me on elliptical, talking on cell phone) "Uh huh, yeah, yeah, okay, uh huh, okay well go ahead and put her in her box. Yep, okay, talk to you later." I have to admit that I really, really, really want to know who is going in the box. Is the "her" in question a doll? A piece of art? Doesn't using the pronoun "her" imply a living being? Is it a cat who needs to use a litter box? Surely it's not a punishment for his daughter, or a way of keeping track of his half-crazy mom, right?
Conversation 2: (woman on elliptical next to me talking to another woman) "Well I still think that he gave it to her because she has been itching ever since she last saw him, either that or its from her dad." That's all I got before they walked away. Are we talking about poison ivy here? Head lice? A yeast infection? What does her dad have to do with it????
Conversation 3: (woman in locker room, talking to me and the room in general) "Okay I'll see you all later I have to go wiz and then take a BodyVive class." Excuse me, did she say "wiz?" I haven't heard that slang for 20 years and I'm positive I've never heard a woman use that word! That, my friends, is a case of WTMI, way too much information!
Conversation 4: (woman in restroom stall complaining loudly) "Oh this smells just great in here! What are you women doing, eating cabbage?" I stood there washing my hands shaking with laughter on that one. Mostly because just a few days earlier I had eaten a New England boiled dinner which is mostly potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. I swear I hadn't used the restroom! It wasn't me!
I'm a shameless eavesdropper. If someone is yammering away on their cell phone within my hearing I'll listen. I don't even pretend to look like I can't hear them. I peep through people's windows when the lights are on and the shades are open. I even ask Steve to drive by more slowly so I can get a better look. I never think of myself as a voyeur but clearly I have a few privacy/boundary issues (though I swear I am just interested in how the room is decorated!)
Is it just me? Are you all out there politely turning away from loud cell phone users and other people's conversations? Remember, most of what I hear is being said so loudly I can hear it with my earbuds in...
Is that wrong?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This year is my year. I'm not tilling up any soil, making any grandiose plans, or marking off rows in the backyard, I am merely purchasing 3 large planter pots that hook on the railing of my deck.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I realize that every family must have a scary member. Even the Brady Bunch vilified poor Jan, making her wear wigs, glasses, and 2 tiny curls on either side of her forehead just to show that she was the Scary One.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Lots of times at home I find myself ready to fold laundry, cook a meal, dust, or do some other mindless task and I usually flip on the TV for some entertainment. With TiVo it only takes me about 38 minutes to watch a 60 minute program because I fast forward through the whole intro, the commercials, the credits, the 'sneak peeks' at what will be on later in the week, etc. I have been filling this 38 minutes with the Ellen show, which I have to admit, I really, really like, but Ellen has a lot of celebrity interviews and/or bands on her show and I fast forward through those and sometimes only end up with about 18 minutes of interesting-to-me Ellen.
Last year I decided to add Oprah to my TV viewing. Sadly, poor Oprah didn't last but 2 weeks before she got yanked from my TiVo because of I couldn't take her coverage of the election any longer. I haven't seen a single show or even a preview since.
Are there any Oprah watchers out there? Any suggestions for shows that require little attention and can be TiVo edited down to about 20 minutes?
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I like to think BIG when I think of gift wrapping. I perused way too many issues of Martha Stewart living to be content to just throw on some paper, tape it up, and call it done. I like to choose beautiful, unique paper, preferably from places like The Container Store or Ikea or the like that sell papers not necessarily seen everyday. I like to add wired ribbon, perhaps some leaves, pinecones, or twigs from nature, maybe raffia...yeah...I feel a theme developing here! I'll wrap all the gifts in plain brown paper that I'll stamp with leaves from a stamp I make myself by gathering the last few leaves left on the ground and then carving them into a potato to make my own stamp and then I'll gently clean those leaves and use them as a pattern to make felted leaves that I'll attach to the package with raffia that I have recycled from a wreath I made 5 years ago!
Needless to say, my gifts always arrive late.
Can you say "pressure?" When you tear hand-stamped-with-a-carved-potato paper off a gift you are bound to be either a) disappointed that the giver spent more time thinking about the potato carving than the gift; or b) not even aware that the paper was stamped (though you do notice a slight potato-y smell...) and thinking that the giver sure spent a long time sticking junk from the yard on a package that just contains a gift card!
Did I mention that I am not an inspired gift giver?
My mom's birthday is tomorrow. I haven't sent her a gift yet. I haven't even purchased a gift for her yet. I have thought about her gift. I've thought about little else for the past week. Last year's gift went over like a lead balloon. It wasn't the gift my mom wanted. What she really wanted was a gift card to Olive Garden. I gave her what I wanted her to have, not what she wanted to receive. This year my mom really just wants a gift card to JCPenney. Why do I hesitate? It's not hard to send a gift card! I'll admit it feels a little meaningless to me but then again, I'm the giver, not the receiver. It's not about me. Do I make the potato-stamped paper for the gift recipient? Or for myself? Ahhh, narcissism and gift giving make strange bedfellows, yes?
I better go. I have to get to JCPenney. And then to the post office.
Do you have any gift giving/receiving stories to share? I'd love to hear about the worst gifts you received or better yet, sent!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Perhaps working out about 5 hours a day and consuming barely a thousand calories while still not fully recovered from my cold wasn't my best plan.
Still, congested as I was, I didn't rate breathing high enough to go to Dr. Breast Exam for a prescription so I decided to cure myself with probiotics and extra psyllium husk in my smoothie. Look to the colon folks! Whatever ails you, look to the colon.
I'm still congested. I still have a headache. My nose is still raw from blowing it.
But By God my colon is clean.
And that's why I need more toilet paper.
Friday, March 5, 2010
As a teenager I traded in my Raggedy Ann & Andy reclord player for a stereo and a clock radio. It was love at first listen: I logged many hours dancing around my room to the GoGos, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Olivia Newton-John - just to name a few. I did my homework, cleaned my room, talked to friends, and doodled in my notebook all with the music blaring as loud as I could get away with.
As an adult I kind of forgot how much I liked listening to music until recently when my iPhone made it possible for me to listen to music anywhere in my house but still hear the phone if it rings because the iPhone does the coolest thing ever: it acts like an iPod until you receive a phone call at which time it stops the music and gives you the option to answer the call! Is that cool or what? No more racing to through the house to get the phone and then asking the as-yet-unidentified-caller to hold on while I turn down the music I had blaring because I was cleaning bathrooms upstairs but the only music source was downstairs. No more realizing that I missed a few calls because I had my earbuds in while walking or cleaning. No more carrying my cell phone, iPod, and pedometer ('cause there's an app for that!) just to take a walk around the neighborhood. I'm streamlined, baby!
I'll listen to just about any kind of music but I do have a few favorites:
I like Kelly Clarkson for washing dishes.
You can't beat a Disney movie soundtrack (like the one from Aladdin) when dusting. (Hey, no judging! You'd find yourself singing along if I played it for you!)
Cleaning bathrooms requires music you can really belt out like something from Pink because the acoustics are so good.
I've been paying all my bills lately to Jason Mraz.
And I like to go for One Republic, Coldplay, or Rob Thomas when I fold the laundry.
I often wonder what my neighbors would think if they saw me dancing around the kitchen, washing the windows while shaking my booty, and dusting while loudly singing to You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like Me. I'm lucky because my neighbors aren't quite close enough to see into my house though I have no doubt they've heard me singing during the summer when all of our windows are open. When I see people starring in their own personal concert while in their car, I smile. I like to see people singing. It's healthy. Singing tones the abdominal muscles, lowers blood pressure, releases stress, and generally improves our mood.
So let loose! Belt out a few show tunes and maybe give a little shoulder shimmy while running the vaccuum.
How about you, what artists or music genres get you moving?
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
This house is equipped with 5 heating zones (heat only, no air conditioning). This is the first time I have ever had zones and I am a fan. We have oil heat so I get "instant" feedback as to my consumption by the size of the bill left in my front door after the oil truck has left. Did I forget and leave the heat on in the basement for 2 weeks? Well, that accounts for the those extra 20 gallons @$2.69/gallon.
Keeping track of all these zones would be a royal pain if it weren't for the programmable thermostat. Available at any major hardware store (we bought ours from Lowe's) they can range in price from a simple model to the cadillac-of-thermostats-that-will-practically-keep-track-of-your-periods-too models which can get pretty pricey. We spent about $50 for each thermostat. I used to run around the house trying to remember to turn up and down the heat. Inevitably I would forget a zone and would either pay to heat an unoccupied space or freeze while putting on my pajamas because I forgot to turn on the heat. Here's how we do it now: On Monday-Friday I don't heat the upstairs from the hours of 8:30a.m.-5:30p.m. Nobody is up there during those hours with the possible exception of me doing laundry and running up and down stairs hauling baskets full of clothing is enough cardio to keep me warm.
The basement is only heated to 50 degrees. The temperature is turned up "upon request." Our main floor is heated to 68 degrees from 7a.m. to 10p.m. and then it automatically drops to 60.
When we have school breaks or sick days or snow days I can override the programs and keep everyone toasty - but I am always amazed at the difference I see in our oil bill. Just a few sick days can mean 10 extra gallons of oil. Winter break consumed almost 40 extra gallons! That there's a lot of reliance upon petroleum.
I've even heard-tell (my southern vernacular is legit, I was born in Texas) of some utility companies that give discounts or credits to customers who have programmable thermostats.
How do you reduce your heating bills?