Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Double It Up!!

Double knitting, that is.

Non-knitters, do not click your mouse to move on just yet. You can stand to stick around long enough to see my pictures. I promise I'll keep it short!


Today our knitting group participated in mini-workshop on Double Knitting. Interested in learning this new technique for some time, it amazes me that I am only now just learning it.

This an interesting knitting technique. As knitters know, most stitches have a front side and a back side. In Double Knitting, you are knitting the front and the back side at the same time and both sides look like they are the front! And as noted in the picture, the pattern is reflected on the back side in reverse colors.

We were making potholders, and I chose the simple checker board pattern to start out. But this technique produces a double thick fabric so it is ideal for items like hats where warmth is important.

The technique takes alittle longer but it definitely holds your attention and it produces a very appealing product.

Short and sweet.
And even the non-knitters survived the experience.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A reflection on the future

Do you ever take time to think about your future? And for some of you, it might be your distant future.

The future I am talking about doesn't have anything to do with what is on your 2011 calendar. I don't mean your next 10 or 15 years, or your professional or educational future. I am not even interested in knowing about your retirement expectations or financial security.

What I am wondering is ... can you picture how you will actually live your life when you reach the grand old age of - say 85 or 90? How do you see yourself at that point? Will you be living independently or needing assistance? How about managing your own finances, health care, social obligations or will you need help? Do you have a thought of how to fill the many hours of each day? Will you be happy just sitting and being a "watcher," or will happiness be achieved only through taking part, keeping connected, being involved?

Today I had a small glimpse into the lives of some very senior elderly who may have never given any thought to those questions. Long ago they were focused on the day-to-day tasks of life, and pondering their distant future as a very old person may have been just "too far over the horizon" to think about or plan for. Now living into their 90s they are sitting right in the middle of those questions that were avoided or just not considered.

It seems that the very elderly fall into two camps. Some who reach the older senior years aren't much concerned about filling time. They seem happy to sit quietly with their own thoughts. No need to read a book, talk to a friend, or watch a show. They are happy to sit for hours on end watching life happen around them without participating in it. Others seem to draw energy from activity, walking the hallways, joining group activities, visiting with friends. They are more likely to inquire, to ask questions, to express opinions. Setting aside the issues of dementia and other mental diseases in the elderly, I suspect that neither group of older seniors thinks much about how they are living their daily lives now! They are just following a pattern of life that they always followed.

What is your pattern of living? Is it a predictor of which group you fall into years from now? Can you create the future you want by how you live now? Or is the die cast by genetics and chemistry?

As for me, I vote for making my own future.

I sure hope you get a choice!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge Update

So today, just out of curiosity, wondering if the "challenge" was still picking up steam ... I visited the Tossing It Out blog, you know, just to see ...

I was totally blown away by the number of those participating. When I signed up I was #425. The last blog on the list is now #625. Very impressive and exciting. And they are still accepting participants.

As I mentioned in my first post about this challenge, I wanted to check out some of these interesting titles. Each listed blog is also a link to that blog, so it was easy to quickly "window shop" through a number of them. And there are some very talented writers out there. I have visited a number of these web sites, but when you have over 600 to choose from it takes a bit of time. :-)

This time while visiting each site I wanted to select blogs that I would follow for this challenge. I was hoping to select 5 to 10. At the suggestion of the challenge organizers, I was focused on finding new blogs like mine - blogs with low follower counts. Such a wonderful and simple way to support new people. In my short experience in blogging, I discovered one big advantage of following new folks. If they have a low follower count, you are better able to develop a blog relationship with them. Some of my best "blogger conversations" have occurred with folks who have 50 followers or less.

I am very much looking forward to April 1st. Let the fun begin!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Normal day mostly!

Today was a fairly normal day. I don't think I have had a "normal day" in quite some time. I guess that technically makes it an "abnormal day" - different from my regular days! :-)

I hung around the house after breakfast in my PJs doing ... god knows what, until I had a bit of a panic attack when I realized it was already 10:45 am!! Holy Cow! I had to get to Curves, and get in my walk and then get my grand-dogs! And maybe a few other things, but no biggy. An off day for sure, but if I didn't get my butt in gear, I wouldn't get those simple things done.

So I headed for Curves. The competitive part of my nature hit those machines HARD! I wasn't going to be happy with any yellow bumps on my computer lady this time. I pushed, and pushed and pushed. When I finished (sweating buckets), I put my key tab into the computer kiosk - and everything came up Green!! I was really pleased. As long as I don't kill myself competing with myself, I should be fabulous by summer! Well, at least more fit!

I added my usual walk to the end of my Curves workout. It was an opportunity to walk in a new place - well, sort of new. I never walk around Town Center. I discovered that Lake Kidamukundi, the lake in Town Center, was undergoing dredging. All the lakes in our city need dredging, and I guess it was this lake's turn. As you can see from the pictures, the day was overcast, the shrubbery was still wearing its winter face, the wild life had moved on to less noisy places, and heavy equipment was the center piece of this lovely man-made lake. Kind of sad, but important for the health of this lake.

This picture shows one area of lake front with sculptures of James Rouse, developer of Columbia with his brother. Behind me are a number of restaurants and behind those restaurants is The Columbia Mall.

Here is another view of the same area. The large white building used to be the headquarters of the Rouse Company that managed the city for many years. My husband used to work there.

I walked for about 40 minutes taking whatever path curiosity directed. Walking behind some buildings I suddenly came upon a large bunch of snow! It as been weeks since I have seen any snow around our community. I guess this slowly melting mound of snow was as tall as the parking garage at one time, snow from the surrounding parking lots - and it finally has melted to this. Amazing. We have had weather in the 60 and 70s for days. To still have this snow was a surprise.

Then it was off to get my son's dogs for the day. Our new "regular" weekly dog schedule is now Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Meathead and Grimace. Thursdays and Fridays for Milo. And the weekend is pretty much everyone.

As write, my son's two boys are sleeping and snoring beside me on the couch. It is such a comforting sound. Everyone's been fed, and walked, and done their business and now it is time to nap beside Grandma.

I love my peaceful dog days.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lunch with Happy One!

Lunch with Happy One at Ram's Head Restaurant!

She got me blogging, weaving and walking.
She also happens to be a good friend and part of my knitting group.
We laughed alot.
I am very lucky to have such a good friend.

Check out her blog!


You've heard of Godzilla!

Well, his cousin is Carb-zilla. I like an after-dinner Carb-zilla.

If you have been following my recent postings, you may be aware that I am trying to eat healthier - to help manage my slightly elevated blood sugar. It has been an interesting journey.

To begin with - I am not a big fan of artificially manipulating my diet. In the past, it has always failed to bring permanent results. That is because all "diets" are doomed to fail unless you make a "life style" change. Life style changes are pretty hard to do - not impossible, but generally more work than most people want to put into it.

Anyway, I have a valid reason for making this change, beyond how I look in a mirror - who the heck wants diabetes down the road. If you know ANYTHING about diabetes, you know you don't want to have that problem if you can avoid it.

So I have been doing things like reducing bad carbs, eating good carbs but fewer, increasing vegetables, choosing lean meats and increasing my exercise. And other than a few setbacks (like today I just had to have chocolate chips with my peanut snack - I think my blood sugar dropped) ... I have had some success. But it is clear that this process of adjusting my food intake will take some time to achieve. If it were a real "diet", I would throw up my hands and say I failed with the chocolate chips. But it is a process and hopefully a life style change that will be made over time. That is the plan, at least.

Breakfast and lunch seem to go smoothly. I have become a big fan of wraps. I am eating more protein and veggies, and less carbs at these meals - so I am snacking less as a result. All good (except for today with those darn chocolate chips).

Dinner is still a mixed bag of issues. Part of the problem is I am fixing a meal for others - not just myself. So it isn't as carb neutral as I would like. Still working out those details. And I like my glass of red wine while cooking. It is a big fat carb, but it is my reward for cooking. I wish cooking was a reward unto itself, but it isn't for me. Even the book I was reading about Pre-Diabetes didn't totally ding a glass of red wine a day.

Of course, the big zinger is after dinner.

I really like to have something sweet to finish off the meal. Instead of have a traditional dessert or the recommended fruit - I have been having a mini York Peppermint Patty. It gives me an intense sweet after dinner dessert - that is small, not a bunch of carbs or calories, but definitely sugar - a low fat sugar. I guess my need for a Carb-zilla - after dinner is pretty strong. What I find interesting is a single mini York Peppermint Patty seems to do the trick, but a 1/2 cup of ice cream - doesn't. I want more. Anyway, so far this trick works.

The up side so far - is that I am not counting calories or carbs ... a process that is a total downer for me because my brain than demands more once I start micro-managing my diet on that level.

Hoping this mix of diet changes with increased exercise does the trick. Blood tests will tell the truth in June.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


A short but sweet
(and happy and joyful and excited and over-the-top)

Our son, Matthew, and his long time girl friend, Maureen, are ENGAGED!

Our family loves this woman - and have hoped with all our hearts that their lives would be blessed with happiness in marriage.
With this engagement, it seems our hopes will be reality.

Our family has been given a great gift this day!

What 7 months can do

Someone has been eating their Wheaties!!

August 2010

March 2011


Mid March marks the beginning of the St. Mary's campground weekends for my son and his girl friend. These campground weekends will continue until mid-November when the site closes for the winter.

Last year the dogs were regular residents of our house almost every weekend. They aren't big fans of the campgrounds. So my Thursday to Sunday weekends typically look something like this:

  • 12:00 pm - Pick up Milo from Bethesda for the weekend.
  • 4:00 pm - Pick up Grimace and Meathead from Elkridge for the evening.
  • 4:30 pm - Manage the 3 dog's worth of reunion excitement. Only Milo is excited but it is enough for everyone. Trust me on this!
  • 5:00 pm - Attempt to make dinner, serve it, clean kitchen and walk dogs, before someone has an "accident" and without loosing my mind (successful 50% of the time).
  • 7:00 pm - Relax on the couch. "Relax" is a relative term. Think "war zone".
  • 9:00 pm - Take Grimace and Meaty home. They are pleased. Milo is sad.
  • 10:00 pm - Set up the living room day bed for Milo and me, walk Milo for the night
  • 11:00 pm - Go to sleep. Last decent rest I get until Sunday night.
  • 8:00 am - Cuddle with Milo, get morning coffee, coax Milo out of bed for his walk.
  • 9:00 am - Clean up the living room from the sleep over. Feed Milo.
  • 10:30 am - Nice morning nap for the Milo.
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Pick up Grimace and Meathead in the afternoon for the weekend.
  • 4:00 pm - Manage 3 dogs' worth of excitement at another reunion. Milo is overjoyed. The other two - not so much.
  • 5:00 pm - Make dinner for 3 dogs and 4 people. Daughter arrives after work. (Seldom lose my mind when she is here!)
  • 6:00 pm - Isolate Milo in the kitchen with me - to manage all the excitement.
  • 7:00 pm - Clean up from dinner, walk the dogs, "relax" on the couch, isolate Milo.
  • 9:00 pm - Set up the living room day bed for another sleep over - this time for 3 dogs and 2 people. Cozy like sardines!
  • 10:30 pm - Go for the last walk of the night (Ha!)
  • 10:45 pm - Manage the Milo excitement of sleeping with the "cousins".
  • 11:00-12:00 - Lights out, get everyone settled in their sleeping spots. Remind Milo he has to share the bed.
  • 12:00 am - Dogs snoring. People trying to sleep.
  • 12:30 am - Stinky farts. Someone didn't do his business at the evening walk.
  • 1:00 am - Scold Milo for getting testy when Meaty changes positions on the bed.
  • 2:30 am - Meaty has to pee. It sucks to get old. Everyone tags along.
  • 3:15 am - Scold Milo for getting testy when Grimace changes position on the bed.
  • 3:45 am - Adjust your position to accommodate stretched out dogs.
  • 4:30 am - Scold Wally, my cat, for clawing the underside of the bed.
  • 4:45 am - Throw a shoe at Wally.
  • 6:30 am - Grimmy, the morning dog, is ready to "rise and shine". No one else is.
  • 6:45 am - Everyone goes for a short walk.
  • 7:00 am - Grandma and Grimace go for their traditional one-on-one walk together around the block - usually 45 minutes. Grandma has her coffee and iPod, and Grimmy has his Grandma. No sharing. Meaty and Milo eat. This is a very good time for everyone.
  • 7:45 am - Grimace eats.
  • 8:00 am - Milo badgers everyone to death. Many orders are shouted. Milo is isolated.
  • 10:00 am - Morning naps for the dogs, more coffee mixed with Advil for the humans.
  • 11:30 am - Long walk with 3 dogs (to get them tired again).
Rest of Saturday?
  • Repeat.
  • Repeat, but ...
  • Everyone goes to their own home. Dogs get cookies and kisses from Grandma before going home.
  • Cats finally come out and relax in the living room.
  • Silence once again descends on the house.
  • Mom says, "You know, I miss the dogs."
  • I sleep (finally) in my own bed.
  • *sigh*
  • I miss them, too!

"What! I love my cousins!!"
Dogs can be so expressive - the body language says it all.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Day: I have many green bumps.

My first day using Curves Smart and I am a happy person!

Since starting this program I have been mostly orienting to a different Columbia center, the new staff and the new equipment.
  • I needed to figure out their schedules ( Zumba classes are held at various times so the equipment is not available.)
  • The staff at this center are really more interested in helping you to use the equipment correctly - that is different from my last experience.
  • This center had 3 new pieces of equipment to me. And the Curves Smart technology takes some getting used to.
So today was my day to get onto Curves Smart. Each person is issued a Curves Smart ID tag. Before using the equipment, your tag is entered into the Tag Reader at the kiosk. Information about you and your previous workouts are downloaded to your tag. The tag is then inserted into each piece of equipment you use. After finishing your workout, the tag is returned to the Tag Reader at the kiosk - information is uploaded and you can review your results. Pretty nice set up.

A staff member moved around the circuit with me to insure I used the equipment correctly and I understood the Curves Smart feedback at each machine.
She kept reminding me that since this was my first time, I shouldn't be too alarmed when I uploaded the information. New people always have a lot of "yellow flags" ... areas of improvement highlighted with yellow marks on the electronic female figure displayed at the kiosk. Green flags or dots on the female figure mean you are doing fine that area of the body. Yellow flags or dots mean you need to work harder on certain areas of the body when you get to the appropriate equipment. She must have reminded me 3 times not to be discouraged while I was working out!! The thought crossed my mind - guess I look pretty weak! She is trying to set expectations low. My expectations were pretty low, but still ...

So I get to the kiosk after my work out and insert my tag ... waiting for the feedback. All the time wondering, "Man... I worked hard, this kiosk better not tell me I am a weeny!" And then the information filled the screen. I had no idea what I was looking at, of course. The staff member was looking over my shoulder and she commented enthusiastically - "Wow, you did great!! Usually new people have a screen full of yellow." I had about about 60 to 70% green and the rest yellow. I started to feel better about having worked my butt off!! Not so bad for someone is almost 64!

After 10 work out sessions, the system will make an evaluation of my program, and if I have gotten stronger, put more resistance into the equipment. Then I will probably go back to more yellow flags until I can get stronger and make them all green again ... and then the resistance is bumped up again ... and so on ... until I look like Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

OK - so maybe that is an exaggeration, but it did pop into my brain!

While I was changing my shoes and getting ready to leave - the Zumba class was gathering. While I packed up I watched the class for about 10 minutes. Zumba is available to all members for a small extra charge of $2 or $10 for non-members. As I watched I was very impressed by the level of energy, movement, jumping around, and overall effort required to do this. These folks were really working hard!! Great cardio work out. It looked like they were having a blast!

As I was beginning to leave the Zumba instructor called out something like: "Great job everyone, now we have our muscles all loosened up." I stopped dead and said (out loud, apparently loud enough to be heard over the music!!): "What!! That was just the warm up???" The comment brought "the house down" so to speak! Everyone was laughing including me.

So the lesson I learned today is this - although I had 60-70% green bumps on my computer lady's butt and other areas, and I was feeling pretty full of myself on the simplest level of difficulty - my exaggerated opinion of myself was filled with "yellow flags" as I realized how far I was from doing Zumba.

There is always tomorrow!! :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preparing, preparing - working, working

I know I have been absent almost a week. But not idle.

The Blogging A to Z Challenge - the prep work for the April 2011 Challenge is taking some time. I have been picking topics, snapping pictures, writing posts all in preparation for April 1st. It didn't seem like such a big deal when I signed up, but now I see that this challenge could be pretty difficult to sustain. There are no negative consequences to missing posts or not keeping up, and it is a challenge for sure. Haven't even started and I am feeling the pressure.

My walks continue to be great, but alittle shorter than normal in the last week. I think they are shorter because I started Curves last week. I made some interesting discoveries about myself:
  • I wasn't sore from the first sessions. That is good.
  • I wasn't as tired leaving the gym as I anticipated. I did feel that I had worked pretty hard. That is good.
  • I do seem to run out of steam during my walks around the 30 minute mark. That is not so good. I think I have just run out of available energy. Need to improve.
  • My energy levels overall have picked up noticeably from January. That is good.
  • The flexibility of going to Curves on my schedule rather than on a class schedule is a big improvement. I have worked harder this week in total than in previous weeks. That is very good.
The best news is that the Curves program has greatly improved over my experience from 2 years ago. The new program is called Curves Smart. Curves equipment now is electronically tailored to you and your progress. As you improve, it senses these improvements and puts more resistance in the machines - upping your effort. This is great news. When I used Curves several years ago, as you improved, you seemed to work less - so to improve your effort you needed to increase your repetitions or go around the circuit more times. Now that is not necessary. And at the end of each work out you can see your progress on a computer terminal. It is a very positive improvement.

So things are looking up - I haven't blogged much, but progress is being made.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2011

I have totally enjoyed the two Blog Fest events that I participated in recently. There are so many wonderful blogs out there and so many creative people.

Recently I discovered a different kind of blog event - a Blog Challenge called

A to Z
Blogging Challenge
April 2011.

It is hosted by a number of bloggers. The site I visited was Arlee Bird's - Tossing It Out.

Briefly, bloggers are challenged to blog every day in April except for Sundays. Each posting should feature a letter of the alphabet (ie - April 1 would be the letter A, April 2 would be the letter B - and so on.) 26 letters and 26 days. One example of a blog post for April 1st was - blogging about April Fool's Day. Cute. I would imagine that some letters - like U, X, Z - would stretch the imagination. I am already curious about what topics others might write about when those letters crop up.

I could feel my mind already assigning topics to various letters. I was intrigued by the idea and signed up. I blog most days but the inspiration to theme my posts to the letters of the alphabet was too much to resist. By clicking on the blog link above or clicking on the green box below - you will be connect to the sign up web site - Tossing It Out. There you will find more details.

This should be a bunch of fun as well as a challenge.

Note: This is a pretty sizable event. I was participant 428! I would like to think I could visit each site each day, but that would be impossible. But what I do like is that there appear to be a large number of interesting blogs out there to check out - some very interesting titles. I am eager to explore a number of them. And the possibility of growing your readership at your own blog - makes this something to look forward to.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bucket List and Happy Birthday Mo!


My son's girlfriend is hosting a Blog Fest in honor of her March Birthday. Happy Birthday!!!

The goal of this blogfest? Create a Bucket List!

I couldn't resist. Of course, the instructions said to limit your list to 5, and AGAIN, I couldn't follow instructions. I needed to do 10. Do you think I have problems with authority?

So here goes!!
  1. Visit England, Ireland and Canada before airport security reaches critical absurdity - literally stripping you down to "birthday suit" in public.
  2. Walk 6 to 7 miles per day like my friend Happy One - of course, it took her 25 years to do that - not sure I have another 25 years in me before I kick the bucket (oh sorry, I really need to find a way to resist that). :-)
  3. How about live another 25 years - oh, heck - let's make it 37 years so that I can see my 100th birthday (this is a Bucket List - I can add anything I want! Right?).
  4. Have enough money to live to be 100! (a seriously important point - I don't want to choose between buying yarn and eating.)
  5. Take a train ride across country - from the east coast of the US to the west coast - have a luxury sleeping car, great food, a comfortable chair in front of a big picture window and my knitting. Stop a National Parks. Stop at yarn shops.
  6. Take a Cruise - have a state room with a private sun deck. Knit.
  7. Sit on the porch at my cousins' mountain: knit, sip wine, walk the garden, play with their fiber toys, hike to the top of their mountain. Commune with the bears (I hear they have them.) Well, maybe not ... maybe commune only with pictures of bears. A week would do me!! I also hear they don't have many stink bugs up there - a BIG plus.
  8. Spend a week at the beach by myself. Scrap that! Make it a month. Knit.
  9. Get a part time job in a bookstore or a yarn store AND not go bankrupt.
  10. See a Tornado and not on TV either, at a safe distance, yet close enough to really see it but no so close that it takes away my yarn stash.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back Again - to Curves!

OK, so I returned to Curves yesterday.

Curves is a gym designed for women. The Curves program includes all five components of exercise - warm up and cool down, cardio, strength training and stretching -- and works every major muscle group while helping to keep you in your heart rate in the training zone.

I belonged to this gym several years ago and found it very effective. You can get a full body work out in 30 minutes. The gym has long hours, is open 6 days a week and can be used on your own schedule. I think this change will fit my fickled personal schedule better than attending a class with a fixed time.

My goal of staying active remains a high priority. Progress walking is moving forward well, but it isn't improving my strength. And although I found Tai Chi to be beneficial to my balance and leg strength, getting to a 4:00 Wednesday fixed class time seems to be doomed lately. I have missed more and more Tai Chi sessions this winter due to conflicting demands and schedules. And once it is missed, it can't be made up at another time. Unfortunately - after 2 years of practice, Tai Chi has taken a back seat to so many other things that just happen to fall at the same time.

So I will replace Tai Chi with Curves.

Yes, I have a crazy schedule at times, and yes, there are priorities that do bump my personal life with increasing frequency, but if an exercise option is flexible enough, it can fit into anyone's schedule - if you make it so!

Welcome back to my life - Curves!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Creative Show and Tell

It is never planned!

Some Tuesdays when we gather, finished or near-finished projects just suddenly appear around the table of our knitting group. And if you are lucky enough to have your camera with you (I was ... ), you can capture some of the inspiring projects that just seem to hatch from no where like spring flowers.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Some create for friends - this lovely weave-it blanket is going to be a surprise for a friend (lucky friend!). It is half finished. Happy One has created many of these lovely blankets.

Some create for charity - for the littlest of heads and quilt squares for a support of the military.

Some create for loved children.

And some, like me, try to knit when they are at these meetings, but mostly talk and visit! :-) I actually did alot of that this meeting.

One of my current projects are a pair green socks that I am knitting for me. They aren't far enough along to take a picture. I think I knit 4 rows, made a mistake, tinked a row ( tink is knit spelled backwards - un-knitting), and reknit the row - 5 rows total in 2 1/2 hours of the meeting. At this rate I should have these socks complete in ... oh, maybe 2015? :-) I am also hand-weaving a shawl for mom. I am making decent progress on that project. Pictures? Soon, very soon!

Regardless of how long or short it takes, each project is created with skilled and loving hands.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring - its out there!

We are still surrounded by the colors of winter - the browns and the grays (thankfully no white right now). But during my recent walks I have seen mini signs of spring. Some areas of grass are really greening up. And the green tips of spring flowers are pushing up through the ugly ground.

It sort of becomes a game to see if you can find the changes.

Can you see it?

Look again. Now do you see it?

No, it is not the piece of trash - although that is also a sign that people are out and about more now that the weather is warming up. But a sign of spring? Not so much.

A small lonely flower, but beautiful sign of spring.

It is coming. I can feel it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

You are just perfect!

This mirror spoke to me. I found it hanging in the doggie day care lobby and had to take a picture of it.

Think about it!

If people would focus on the good in themselves, their positives over their negatives, look at life through a mirror like this one ... they would be happier.

So much unhappiness is based on poor self esteem. In a effort to boost their own feelings about themselves, they find fault and are critical of others, they focus on the negatives in life, and they define friendships by how much they are the same rather than celebrating the differences.

How sad. I sometimes stuggle with these feelings myself, especially if I have been the receiptent of a careless or thoughless comment, or an unfair and hurtful conversation. But when I saw this mirror, the simple statement seemed to resonate - a reminder that I have much to offer and much to be happy about.

The blog posting from Happy One yesterday seemed to "mirror" (sorry, I couldn't help myself), my posting today. Below is a partial quote I stole from her blog. Check out the full quote at Happy One's blog here.

"Happiness and joy do not come from the outside but from within you.
They are the result of a conscious decision,
a deliberate choice,
one we make each day."
Joyce Meyer

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Zombies round out the dinner!

We don't get out of the house socially as a couple all that often any more. Just the nature of full time caregiving. But that doesn't mean we are hermits.

This weekend we had dinner and a game night for 8 people at our house. I served Beef and Chicken Kabobs. I always think of this dinner as quick to put together - but it isn't quick at all. There is a lot of prep work (chopping, marinating, mixing, loading the items onto the kabob sticks). But they cook under the broiler and that is fast, so it gets to the table quickly once the cooking starts. My son's girl friend brought a yummy tossed salad with big shavings of cheese and strawberries on the side. And our friends brought a tasty pound cake with ice cream. Check out the top of the cake. Very elegant.

But the highlight of the evening was the game playing. My husband is a bit of a game collector. We selected a game called Lord of the Fries - a Steve Jackson Game.
The rules began this way:

Welcome to Friedey's, the Fast Food Restaurant of the Damned. Our staff will serve you to the best of their ability ... but they are all brainless zombies.

Some of the "meals" listed in the game were:
Beef which is Actually Beef
Tequila Mockingbird
Intestinal Fortitude
Mao Tse Tongue
Neato Fajito
Secret Tijuana Deathmatch

Meals with those names made my Kabobs sounded pretty tame!

It was a great game for a large group and the playing time is 30-60 minutes. The rules are easy to absorb - even after a glass of wine and the game play can be fast and furious. We had a great time.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Milo Intimidates a Rotweiller

Yesterday was Milo's first visit to Coventry Doggie Day Care.

This Columbia facility is open 7 days a week for day care, boarding, training and grooming. Today Milo was evaluated for suitability to enroll in doggie day care. And, of course, his grandmother went with him just be sure that they were TOTALLY aware of all Milo's wonderful qualities, intelligence, and good looks. I also wanted them to know that Milo had strong extended family ties, a magnificent pedigree and a great wardrobe.

So we put on Milo's best sweater - the one his grandmother knitted for him and off we went. But first he needed to "stop and smell the flowers" and "water" them before getting in the car with his mom.

After talking with the owner of the center, the exam started. She looked at his teeth and did a brief physical exam. He passed!

Then Milo went with the owner into the open play area to see how he adjusted to a strange environment, other dogs and being crated. Dogs are divided into basic groupings: puppies, adults, seniors and special needs. Three puppies were selected to meet Milo with each puppy entering one at a time until all 3 dogs were interacting with him. It appears he failed that little test, because he was playing too rough. Too much in charge! Too Alpha! Too Milo! What is remarkable is that these 3 puppies were all bigger than him. In fact, one of the puppies we a Rotweiller puppy that was 3 times Milo size. Never let it be said that "attitude" can't carry the day. So 3 adult dogs were selected and the test continued to see just which group Milo did best with. The adult dogs held their own with Milo (who has a pretty large impression of himself - in the mirror he sees a Great Dane.) And so he passed that test - he will be grouped with the adult dogs.

My daughter and I were watching this series of tests through a glass door (unable to participate in any way, offer encouragements or advice - damn). Like a nervous parent and grandparent, we watched Milo interact with 6 dogs total, hoping he was doing the right things, not being tooo overbearing, but wanting him to handle the situations well. The center owner had her own check list - checking off various observations while we watch anxiously. And at no time did the facility owner ask about his pedigree or his wardrobe! :-) *sigh*

Other than the omission on the wardrobe question, I was very impressed with this woman's ability to "read" the body language of the dogs as they interacted with each other. Her approach is based mostly on ignoring undesirable behavior and rewarding acceptable behavior. She used her own body language - rather than her voice - to communicate with the dogs. And her desire to pick the right group for Milo - for his benefit as well as the benefit of the other dogs was very assuring. Her actions and comments spoke of confidence and experience.

Milo's first daycare session is schedule for a 1/2 day one week from today - a Saturday. If today is any indication of how this will go (he has been soundly asleep since we returned several hours ago - after only one hour at day care), a 1/2 day of doggie day care should make him unconscious for a full 48 hours!!

Hopefully he will learn to pace himself.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten TV Shows!!

Blog Fest

Check this out!

Erinn at the link above is running a blogfest event with a very interesting idea - list your top 5 TV shows that are no longer making new episodes. You can check out the responses of others by clicking on the link above.

Well when I saw that topic ... some favorites of mine just popped right into my mind. I didn't have to think very hard about it. And it may be a symptom of just how bad current TV is now a-days!

Anyway ... I was surprised to find how hard it was to limit my choices to just 5.

Well here they are!!
  1. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer - I sure do miss Spike and Angel. I loved the simplicity of good vs evil in that show. I loved that the good guys could have an evil side - but still look smashingly handsome while drinking blood. I really miss Angel. (Oh, I already said that).
  2. Angel - Thank God David (aka Angel) is still doing TV in the series Bones. Easy on the eyes - that man! Yeah that the Buffy characters sometimes made appearances on that show.
  3. Grey's Anatomy - OK, real medicine is not filled with quite this much drama - but it is way fun to see just how bazaar the writers can get.
  4. As Time Goes By - I love English shows and this one is my favorite.
  5. Night Court - A laugh a minute.
I know only 5 were asked for but I just have to add a few runners' up (sorry, I am just not much of a rule follower.)
  1. Star Trek
  2. West Wing
  3. Monk
  4. Night Stalker
So what are your favorite TV shows that have gone off the air? All I can say is Thank God for Netflix.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Knitting With Ramen Noodles

Like really!! Ramen Noodles and Chop Sticks!

I have said it many many times. I am not a cook! BUT ... This is an idea I could get behind!!!

Thank you HoBo Knitter! Everyone, check out the video and her blog here. The video was good for a large laugh today!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Gift

Distance need not be a hindrance to the joy and support that a family member can provide.

My cousin, (knitter, quilter, spinner and now weaver), visited with me and Mom in January. It was a wonderful visit. And during that time she shared her new passion with us - weaving! And mom was enthralled by the process.

And yesterday Mom received a gift of joy - oh, yes, she also received a beautifully handwoven scarf and a lovely note from her niece, my dear cousin.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I give you four.

She couldn't imagine what her niece would send her.

She begins to understand.


She didn't take it off all night.

Thank you my dear, dear cousin.
You gave joy to more than one person that night!!