Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Emerged Alive

I have not written for weeks mostly due to a huge drain on my time called WORK. Beginning in August and gaining intensity through September, October and into November, work commanded much of my time, attention and energy. The rest was devoted to eating, sleeping, running and the necessary support activities such as grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and keeping on top of the bills and mail, etc.

The work involved mountains of data entry and records updating, ballot layout and proofing, equipment programming and testing, some preparation of supplies, working many extra hours and most Saturdays. The eating and shopping involved lots of quick-recipe, big-batch meals, lots of leftovers, and many stops at the store on the way home - my checkbook register says nothing but Kroger for about a month! The laundry involved making sure we had clean underwear and running clothes. The running involved less running than I wished for - I really need to work at getting more days added back in to the schedule. And I pretty much gave up going to the gym for about 6 weeks.

But that is now in the past and I am determined to quickly regain a normal routine and revive some other interesting pursuits.

The first set of activities centered around getting DRH to and from a minor surgery procedure. He is getting back to normal, but the first few days were quite a pain for him.

Of course, holiday demands do take some priority. I have dabbled in shopping for gifts, picked out Christmas cards, made some good lists, put some things on the calendar. But there is still a lot to accomplish before the lists are checked off!

Thanksgiving weekend has been nice. Thursday we spent with family and had a very good dinner. We also found out our first grandchild will be a girl. Of course, we're excited about that and for her mommy and daddy-to-be, also.

Friday I did some chores and laundry around the house, went into town for a little shopping, and went to the basketball game. Saturday I cleaned the bathroom and bedroom thoroughly including vacuuming under the bed and rearranging all my shoes. I enjoyed the outdoors, too, by going for a 5-mile run, and spending time cleaning up the dead flowers in the pots on the deck and porch, and sweeping the deck and porch. That turned out to be a good decision, because we woke up today to about 5 inches of snow covering everything! It was a heavy, wet snow - hopefully it won't stick around too long. Saturday night we had another basketball game and enjoyed the company of friends and a pizza afterwards.

Today we had church, Sunday school class for the Advent season on hymns and carols of the season, church potluck (thank goodness for canned "homemade style" baked beans and microwaves, AND that everyone doesn't make the same thing - HA), and then went to more basketball games!

No more exciting news that I can think of... but that's okay - I am glad to be back in the routine, as I said above.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eight Days on a Gold Wing

We left Sat. June 28 went through IN, OH; it was raining when we got up but stopped by the time we left around 8 a.m.; the roads were wet and we were pretty much following rain all day. Just south of Dayton we passed a few miles where many small and large trees were broken by a storm that had gone through just before we did, caught up to the rain and stopped at a gas station for 1/2 hr. or so to let it get more ahead of us. The storm damage was really scary - people were out clearing trees w/ chain saws, etc. In one place traffic was backed up at an intersection where a boat and trailer were crashed into a guard rail in the opposite lane. I am so glad we didn't get caught in that storm. But we stayed dry all day. Stayed in Chillicothe, OH overnight.

Sun. June 29 went through rest of OH, WV, arrived in Waynesboro, VA, north end of Blue Ridge Parkway. Stayed at Quality Inn where we'd stayed before. Went swimming - warm and sunny out.

Mon. June 30 started driving on Blue Ridge Parkway. Weather was perfect - sunny and 70 deg. Stopped in Lexington, VA, saw sights, campuses of Washington and Lee Univ. and adjoining Virginia Military Institute, downtown - lots of pre-civil war buildings, Civil War history stuff, ate lunch in that town. The town was interesting, old, built on a hilly, lumpy area. Stayed there about 3.5 hrs. but could've easily spent a day or more there. Made a few little stops on the parkway to enjoy the views. At one, the motorcycle got scraped up on the bottom by the curb. Ugh. When we got to Peaks of Otter, we walked on a trail about 1.5 miles to this little farm from the 1800's-1940's, and looked around, enjoyed the trail until I TRIPPED on a tree stump and fell flat on the ground face down. THANK GOODNESS it was a part of the trail that was soft, flat dirt with no rocks, or incline to fall down. It shocked drh and he had moments of panic thinking how would he get my broken body out of there and home again. I bruised my knee and my left elbow is a little sore, but otherwise no damage, thankfully! Ate supper at Peaks of Otter restaurant, mediocre food. Saw deer right outside on the lawn by the room and bluebirds, baby barn swallows in a nest. It was a quiet, pretty place. Went about 80 miles that day; stayed in Peaks of Otter Lodge (Nat. Park concession that night.

Tues. July 1 woke up to cool, partly sunny. 60 deg. Lovely. Due to not finding a place to eat breakfast where we anticipated, we ended up not eating til lunch time in a little town called Floyd. Saw quite a few deer on the parkway drive incl. two little spotted fawns. Stopped and took pictures and enjoyed the historic displays at Mabry Mill and tool shed, etc. Had to take a detour off the parkway on a winding (more than the rest) road - fun for motorcycle drivers. Drove about 180 mi. that day, the longest miles on the parkway for one day. Stayed at Boone at Hampton Inn and walked to a bbq restaurant and also did laundry around the corner.

Wed. July 2 The weather was perfect - 65 deg. not a cloud in the sky. Our first stop was the Moses Cone mansion/crafts center where they had a gallery of local artists things for sale - beautiful woodworking and pottery as well as painting and textiles items. We enjoyed the art very much. Stopped at the Lin Cove viaduct and walked a short distance on a trail enough to observe the stunning and wild environment. Stopped in a little town for camera batteries. Went to Linnville waterfalls and hiked about a 2 mile total trail but part was very difficult, rocky and steep. A nice challenge and my foot didn't hurt or blister and my shoes felt great. Drh got a blister, though. The falls were prettiest from the bottom and we walked out over stones in the river to get close. We were hot and hungry and it was late - 2 p.m. and went to another little town and LO and BEHOLD stumbled across a restaurant we'd been to last time - Famous Louise's which is on the county line where 3 counties meet. Then we rode more and took another detour until we got to Asheville. Stayed at Comfort Suites. Went swimming a little and then downtown to walk around and eat dinner at Cafe on the Square, where I got the cutest little dish with my appetizer (I had pimento cheese w/ pita triangles, and a salad for dinner), which you can see here A piano jazz player was on the sidewalk playing the piano for 3 restaurants. We also had ice cream.

Thurs. July 3 Got a late start. Just a few miles after we got on the parkway, we got off at the North Carolina Arboretum (adjacent to the parkway) and only spent an hr. 1/4 there, but it was a place you could spend the whole day. The gardens we saw were nice, but the best part was the bonsai collection. AMAZING. The plants were gorgeous and we talked to a volunteer lady who was doing some pruning - very interesting. She said it is one of the top 5 collections in the US. Back on the parkway, we stopped at a little store and got some snacks and drinks, then took them on to Devil's Courthouse, which was a rocky mountain top which we climbed by way of a very steep asphalt path. The view was very nice, and good exercise. Went back down and ate our snacks. Stopped at the highest point on the parkway, and at Waterrock Knob, to take pictures, which was a goal since the last time we went, those places were so foggy, you couldn't even tell there were mountains! Then we went down to a town, Maggie Valley, to a motorcycle museum called Wheels through Time ( - sound included so you may want to turn down speakers) and spent a couple hours there. Then went the remaining few miles of the parkway to Cherokee to stay overnight. The weather was great 80 deg. and sunny, cooler when higher in the mountains. Stayed at Comfort Inn in Cherokee. The town is quite the tourist trap, though I would like to see the museum there about the Cherokee people. Ordered Domino's pizza since the motel was out a ways from the restaurant area - it was quiet and overlooked the river with a balcony, so that was nice. We ate our pizza out there.

Fri. July 4. Left about 8:15 and drove through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As we got further on towards Gatlinburg, TN, the traffic picked up a lot. Sky was cloudy, nice temperature, no rain. Drove through TN, Cumberland Gap Tunnel, into KY. Ate lunch at McDonald's because nothing "local" was open due to the holiday. Put on rainsuits and drove through a winding, twisty, slow road in light rain for 1.5 hours, but that was the only rain we had the whole trip! It was a nice road through Daniel Boone National Forest land. Stayed at Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort, KY. The historic downtown was pretty, but again, nothing was open, so we ordered Papa John's pizza. It poured down rain awhile, then stopped for fireworks! We could see several displays from our hotel window! That was cool.

Sat. July 5. Had good breakfast buffet at hotel. Weather was cool, cloudy and damp but it never rained. Lots of winding roads through KY. We crossed the Ohio River at Madison, IN, and rode through Columbus and Nashville, Brown County, so that was fun. Stopped for snacks and drinks. At Danville, IL, backtracked a couple miles into IN again to eat an early dinner at The Beef House, a good steak restaurant with a wide reputation. It had gradually become sunny and by the time we were home, there was not a cloud in the sky and it was 84 deg., the warmest it had been all week, but still pleasant for riding. Each day except the one day we ended up with lunch in Floyd, we ate breakfast at the motel, usually free, and then sometimes we just had a snack instead of a full lunch. But we were hungry a lot due to the fresh air, I think. It was a good trip. I am glad we went there again. Some interesting stuff that we still would like to see so we may go back again someday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sunny Outlook

The past few days have finally been pleasant temperatures, with sunny skies and little wind. Time to really enjoy the summer weather.

I'm looking forward to planning vacation - a week-long motorcycle trip. It's that feeling of - time to get away from the routine schedule and usual scenery. We are thinking of going to the Blue Ridge Parkway - we've been once but it was rainy and foggy the whole time and we didn't see much of it.

Plans for the weekend include a 5K race, preparing food for our family reunion, as well as having company for dinner Saturday night, and the family reunion on Sunday. I better get some laundry and clutter clearing done tonight.

Seems to be an uneventful week otherwise. It is okay for now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Last Week and Next

Since I never got around to finishing my vacation summary, I'll just say that the main highlight of the last three days of vacation was that on Saturday morning, which was breezy, sunny and warm, I ran around the whole lake - 7.45 miles. In the evening we went to the races again, and it was much more fun as it wasn't so cold, windy and dirty. I wish I'd written more last weekend, because now I have forgotten what we did on Friday or Sunday!

The past week hasn't been too eventful, either, though on Tuesday I did go to breakfast with a friend I hadn't seen for a long time. She is going to move back to Germany in August, after being here for grad school for the last four years.

Tuesday night I went to the run club board meeting. I finally had a week when I made it to the gym twice and ran both Tuesday and Thursday. Yesterday I ran in a 5K. It was pouring down rain until just a few minutes before the starting gun. I was glad it stopped when it did. I did take my old (previously mud caked) shoes and changed into them before the race, in case the rain started up again. If it hadn't been raining, I may have been able to run a couple miles warm up - it might have helped my time, which was a minute slower than last year. If I'd run the same time as last year, I would've taken third in my age group... darn!

In the afternoon, I helped a young friend with her sewing project again. She got fairly far along, but nowhere near done. Hopefully she can get the bulk of the rest done at home... not sure when or if we can get together again.

Drh has gone on a mission trip with a small group from church - they were planning to do much outside and roofing work on homes affected by major flooding late last summer. When they arrived at the mission host church six hours away from home, it had been raining there all day for a total of six inches of rain so far. They might have to find other, indoor projects to help with if the rain continues as predicted the next few days.

It has been quiet here without him today. I had a good salad for lunch: mixed greens - beautiful red leaf and oak leaf lettuces from the farmers' market - green onions, radishes, black olives, shredded cheddar cheese, bite size pieces of cold chicken previously grilled with chili/cajun spice seasonings, salsa and sour cream. Yummy. Also grapes and an ice cream bar. For supper I had a pb&j on walnut/raisin/molasses toast and two small peaches cut up and sprinkled with a little sugar.

This week I hope to get some good errands done on Tuesday, including dropping of Goodwill items, banking, return library books, buy a wedding card and gift, and pick up some items accumlating on a list. Otherwise the week consists of going to the gym, running, trying to eat decent meals by myself, start a white linen-look skirt, clean the bathroom and vacuum the house, and get the check book reconciled. Not much time to sit around doing nothing!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Field Trip

Last Thursday we got going about 8 a.m. and went to Springfield on the motorcycle, driving on old Rt. 66 from south Bloomington to Springfield. Parts of that road are really pretty and country-looking, even though mostly right beside I-55.

We went to the Lincoln Museum and it was fairly interesting. Some of it was irritating, such as the tiny signage and, though you might think it's better this way, the high-reading-level language used. It just took more time to read and also the signs were small and only one person could read at a time. And often a glare from spotlights on the shiny laminate surface of signs. There were too many dark places where I could barely see anything. And the gallery of political cartoons ridiculing and criticizing Lincoln included recordings of words spoken against him, low lights, highly hung pictures that were displayed in ever increasingly slanted frames which ended up making me dizzy. The idea was good to demonstrate the historical information, but the execution was not pleasant. Maybe that was the idea. Maybe I was just crabby.

I really liked the examples of ladies' dresses, though. Just thinking about how to make one would take a week, and making it would take a month!! The Civil War part was very good in portraying the effects of the war on individual lives and also the massive impact - it made me sad. Most of the exhibits were colorful and modern looking and very appealing and attractive and seemingly didn't "gloss over" the facts of history of the times.

I do wish I'd kept my fleece jacket on that I wore under my motorcycle jacket for extra layer because it was freezing! And I had on shoes, socks, jeans and a 3/4 sleeve tshirt, so not just skimpy summer-wear.

The two theater shows of about 15 min. each included hologram effects that were very well done. All in all, worth going to.

We stopped in the cafe and had some tea and split a muffin. We left there about 1:30 and walked about a mile to the Dana-Thomas house built in 1902-04 by Frank Lloyd Wright for Susan Lawrence Dana and took a tour of that. It was very interesting and SO cool. I thought drh would like it because of all the beautiful wood furnishings. He did, but wasn't WOWed like I was with the whole beauty of the design, etc. Anyway, I've always wanted to go there and I am glad we did. Here is a link :

On the way back to the parking garage we stopped at a little cafe and had a sandwich. Got home about 6:00 and drh went for a bike ride and I ran. It was too late to go out to the lake group run, but a perfect day to ride the motorcycle AND exercise outside. Then we had nachos for supper. Simple and tasty.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Some More Vacation Reports

Monday we drove up to visit Laura and Brett. We took brats, buns and salad makings. They fixed baked beans and fruit jello. It was a good summer meal with good company. Even though storms were predicted, the day stayed warm and sunny all day. We only got rained on a few minutes driving home.

Tuesday was not summery at all. It was cold, wet and windy all day. I stayed inside and sorted things in the sewing room, finished sewing a skirt I'd started about 2 years back, and worked on a blouse that was about 1/4 done maybe a year and a half ago. The fabrics are resorted and I have a better handle on what kinds of patterns and supplies are still here. I was very happy to have the whole day to do that kind of stuff. I never went running, which I sort of regretted, but the weather was just too icky. I am ready for heat and sun.

Drh worked on the vacuum system in the shop. I fixed hot German potato salad, smoked sausage in sauerkraut, salad, and applesauce for supper. The potato salad was good - the first time I'd ever made it.

Wednesday morning was prettier than Tuesday. I cleaned the bathroom, and cleaned out the inside of the car, including vacuuming and doing the leather cleaning/treatment on the seats. I continued working on the unfinished blouse, hoping for a good fit so I can use that same pattern in a different sleeve version for another summer top I have in mind. In the afternoon we took a random motorcycle ride. Later we went to the Chiefs' baseball game and enjoyed free hotdogs and peanuts for supper. A good combination of work and relaxation for the day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend List

Listing things that I do/accomplish during my vacation - first weekend:

Friday evening: Made and took taco bean salad (no meat) to friends' house for dinner. They made chicken enchiladas and brownies. Yummy.

Saturday: Got up at 6:45 and went to town to farmers' market, where I bought oakleaf and red leaf lettuces, purple basil and hydroponic tomatoes. I could've bought some nice-looking green onions and radishes, too, but already had some from the grocery store.
Stopped at garden shop and got $45 worth of geraniums and annuals for flower pots on the deck.
Made an elastic-waist skirt with attached apron for a young friend.
Did two loads of laundry.
Talked on the phone for quite awhile with a friend who lost her mother a few days ago.
Had a hamburger for lunch - drh cooked on the Geo. Forman.
Worked on the purple valances for one of the church classrooms.
Ran 4 miles. It was warm and my legs were tired, but I started a new pair of shoes and that helped my hip, I think.
Started planting the flowers.
Cleaned up a little and changed clothes; then we rode the motorcycle to the dirt track races. I got cold from the strong east wind, and the dirt was really blowing so we were filthy. But the races were entertaining enough. Glad I didn't shower before we went!

Sunday: Prepared and served coffee hour at church.
Read the paper. Cleaned the kitchen and took out recycling.
Had some taco bean salad for lunch.
Planted the rest of the flowers in the pots.
Took a motorcycle ride around the lakes. It was beautiful out. The lakes are really full.
Thinly sliced a piece of sirloin that we haven't gotten around to cooking this weekend. Put the pieces in a zip bag with marinade for fajitas, then put it in the freezer for a meal later this week or next.
Made a really good salad and drh cooked the rest of the hamburgers on the grill. Had a glass of syrah/red zin with dinner. Very nice.
Cleaned up kitchen again.
Paid bills online.

Red romaine and oakleaf lettuces - torn, chopped tomato, sliced radishes and green onions, a few basil leaves chopped, seasoned with oregano, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Topped with spoonful of goat cheese with basil and roasted garlic, croutons. The only thing to make it better would have been homemade croutons.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Time Off

Last night after running I was sitting with friends at the after-run place. I mentioned how my right hip hurts, though I expected the left side to feel more effects of the trail run, since I kept leading with my left leg while leaping mud holes. Someone said, "and heaven forbid that we take a couple days off when we're sore!" He's right - unless in severe pain, time off isn't just automatic - you have to try another run. So I'm hoping the hip will feel fine by tomorrow.

Otherwise the run was good, perfect weather and the tree blossoms still smell so sweet.

Speaking of time off, I will be off work all next week. Some of the things I hope to accomplish:
Finish the church valances.
Make a skirt for a young friend.
Have lunch with another friend, who will be moving to Germany at the end of summer.
Cut drh's hair again.
Clean out closets.
Clean out the car.
Buy and plant flowers in the pots on the deck.
Work on some other sewing projects.
Figure out what to wear to a wedding in a couple of weeks.

Also we hope to take a motorcycle trip for a couple of days.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Muddy Fun

I just got back from a 5-mile trail race that was both hard and a blast. The weather started out cool and cloudy - 55 degrees. The trail was mostly on a very hilly mowed strip in wooded prairie, with several mud holes, one real stream and a big swampy place with ankle deep water to cross. Needless to say, my shoes have never looked worse.

I'd hoped to run it in 56 minutes, but the last mile was hopeless as it was sharply uphill and into a strong west wind of at least 20 mph. But I did squeak in at about 59:59, I think.

A friend drove over with me, and we had a good time getting better acquainted and laughing about the craziness of running in mud and wind, and about how muddy we were at the end. We should've taken a camera along.

It was a beautiful day and all the honeysuckle and wild cherry blossoms smelled heavenly, and birds were singing, the sun was making the wet grass swamps sparkle. Altogether a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Carry On

Since I had the day off yesterday, I ran a long list of errands, starting with a hair cut appointment. Then I got the car washed; took my blazers to the dry cleaner; went to WM to stock up on papergoods and cold medicines; returned a pair of non-fitting shorts to TJMaxx and had a good look around, picked out new sandals and a cool, muted yellow patent leather, big shoulder bag; picked out a pattern and browsed fabric at the fabric store; stopped for a drive-thru burger, fries and orange drink; went to the library to renew a book and checked out a couple more; changed clothes to go running.

The weather had been variously cloudy and sunny all day with a brisk south wind. Rain or storms were supposed to hold off until late evening. I met my friends to run, and the western sky was looking black. I got about 1/2 mile out on the trail and saw lightening, so I ran back to the car. Darn! I was feeling like it would be a good run, but better safe than sorry. The rest of them kept on around the loop, but I left before they got back to the parking lot. Just a little afraid of lightening.

By the time I got home it was spitting rain. Shortly after that, we had two intense little storms with heavy rain, wind and hail. I'm glad I wasn't out in that weather, and also glad my freshly washed car was already in the garage.

As to the new yellow bag, I decided to use my new (a few weeks old) pink one as my "small" bag instead of looking for a new smaller bag. The pink one was just borderline big enough anyway. I love the yellow one.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Belated Cinco de Mayo

We invited company for dinner on Saturday and since drh has been feeling somewhat under the weather with sinus trouble, I decided to cook in the crockpot rather than ask him to cook on the grill. With Cinco de Mayo having just passed, Mexican food sounded good to me.

The menu was:
Country boneless pork ribs - seasoned with chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and canned green chilies, cooked in crockpot. I expected this meat to shred, but it didn't. So I just cut it up into cubes.
Mexican brown rice - seasoned with green onions, cumin, garlic, salt, canned tomatoes.
Fruit cole slaw with shredded cabbage, green apples, pineapples and grapes.
Meat was served with whole wheat tortillas, shredded cheddar, cut black olives, cut tomatoes, fat-free sour cream.
Dyed-in-the-Wool New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine, beer.
Vanilla ice cream with caramel and chocolate syrup, mixed nuts.

We had a nice visit and updates on all the kids of both families, plus shirt-tail relatives.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ten Things

My sisters and I often try to list ten things we've finished or marked off a to-do list each day. The main purpose is to solidify the feeling of accomplishment, I suppose - perhaps to quantify the every day trivia and somehow make it more real or meaningful.

So I don't quite have ten things for today yet, but I'll keep working on it. Here's my start:

Cleaned my bathroom
Mended the shower curtain where one of the grommets came out
Washed the towels, sheets and shower curtain, including the liner
Hung up all my clothes lying on both guest beds
Ran 4.6 miles
Got the mail

I need to take a shower, then do some cooking ahead for the rest of the week. I'll be back.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Panicked Too Soon

I guess I got a bit overexcited about my sore shin. Went to sports med clinic and had an xray. Xray negative, which for stress fracture is not necessarily proof you don't have it. Two spots of calcification showed up under the skin directly over the shin bone in the sore places. He and the physician's assistant did lots of poking, tapping, and twisting. Nothing hurt when they did that except the two spots. Dr. said I can run if it doesn't hurt while running. And he said, "You know what you're doing." He meant regarding increase in mileage, etc. Reassuring. He said that if I did have stress fractures it would not be due to overtraining, but to bone loss due to hormone changes. Recommended more calcium and weight-bearing squats to build bone.

So the discomfort gets less every day, which is also encouraging. I didn't run last night. Hoping tomorrow I feel even better and can run the race.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Feeling Broken

The last few days have been trying because of pain in my shin. After a long run on Saturday, which was wonderful except for the nasty headwind on the "back" portion, my shin felt a bit sore. Then Sunday it bothered me all day, but a general achiness - no definite location of pain. Monday was better. Tuesday I tried the "hop test" and the sore spot revealed itself. OUCH.

It felt better by the end of the day, so I ran a short and easy run. There was no pain or discomfort while running or afterward. I iced my shin before bed.

This morning I woke up and limped around... my hip got sore from the change in walking form. Took some ibuprofen and it dulled the pain, but I can still feel it. I think it might be a stress fracture, so I made a dr. appointment for Friday. I am now thinking I won't run my Saturday race - my favorite race, too. SOB.

Hoping for the dr. to say it's nothing, and especially hoping for it to feel better.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Easter Menu

Even though it was a few weeks ago, I recently had pleasant memories of the dinner I made for Easter. It was the first time I hosted Easter dinner. The food was delicious and I wanted to preserve the menu and memory by writing it down.

Ham in crock pot
Cheesy potatoes in crock pot
Roasted green beans and onions with pecans and balsamic vinegar/honey dressing
Cooked baby carrots with dill butter
Apple/pear/grape salad with honey/lime/poppy seed dressing
Parmesan/rosemary corn muffins
Washington late harvest Riesling - a nice sweetish wine which went very well with all the sweet food
Lemon pudding cheesecake
Pineapple upside down cake

A very pretty menu with varied flavors that seemingly blended well. Springy and celebratory. I liked it and may have to repeat it.

We had 8 people. I set the table with white tablecloth, pastel flowered china, cut crystal water glasses, wine glasses, paper napkins that were pastel printed with bunnies in a basket, and a tiny stuffed bunny in a ceramic basket for the centerpiece. Everything looked festive and dressy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Three Ts for Today

A columnist in our local paper summarized a book which gives a strategy to organize and balance your life and time. The strategy is to ask yourself three questions. Give 5 answers to each of them as of right now, and then take actions to solve or achieve.

  1. What ticks me off?
  2. What makes me tick?
  3. What tickles me?

For example, I might answer as of today:

  1. Ticks me off: dead, dried flowers are still in the pots from last summer; the golf clubs are in the hall; the GWB basket is too full; drh's hair is too long; too many leaves under the bushes.
  2. Makes me tick: Menus planned and ingredients on hand for 5 nice meals/week; calendars are sychronized; all shoes weeded out and organized; coats and scarves are clean and hung neatly in closet; bank statements are balanced up to date.
  3. Tickles me: running at the lake; doing crosswords; new library books; Tootsie Rolls; having dinner with friends.

So to address these issues, this weekend I spent an hour outside and took care of the dead flowers, raked under the bushes and also pulled out the dead branches; mentioned the golf clubs situation and they found another home; cut drh's hair; worked a bit on the calendars; ran in a 4-mile race; did a few crosswords and read; and attended a potluck after a young friend's baptism. I did not delete all the items from the lists, but I also accomplished a few other things of value:

  1. Went out for dinner with drh and watched a movie on tv with him. Talked about possible vacation destinations and upcoming social plans.
  2. Did all the laundry including folding and putting away. Switched some winter tops for spring tops in the closet.
  3. Made some greeting cards and wrapped a gift.
  4. Worked on the family reunion address list.
  5. Gave advice to LJL on zippers.
  6. Browned some hamburger and used part of it with the last of the red beans and rice, salsa and cheese to make stuffed peppers, and put the rest of the hamburger in the freezer to make spaghetti later this week.
  7. Wiped out bathroom cabinets and put all the stuff back in after new faucets were installed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Small Tears

When we were in St. Louis a few weeks ago, we stopped in the downtown Soldiers' Memorial, which has a small museum exhibiting artifacts and soldiers' mementos. There were weapons, diaries, photos, uniforms, maps, drawings and letters. One thing that struck me were the tiny "souvenir" items - little ceramic vases from France, handmade cigarette holders or ashtrays made from shell casings or other recycled materials, pocket Bibles, and the belt buckles, flags, manuals and uniform patches taken from enemy soldiers.

When you think of these things, they seem insignificant and like the dusty stuff many people would trash when cleaning out Grandpa's attic instead of donating to a museum. But after awhile they started to sink in and made me think deeply about the personal aspects of these soldiers' lives. Each little object belonged to a person - a person who fought for our freedoms, who left a life of home and family to follow orders in foreign lands, sometimes not to return. A person who had friends like we do, who worked in a community, went to church, hugged his mom, planted a garden or fields, fed the dog, pushed a baby buggy, tied his shoes, tried to do right. Tears ran down my cheeks.

This is why we should keep the memories, even the tiny, dusty souvenirs of a war long ago.

Day One

April 16 - the day after tax day. Somehow that marks a season for me. I'm able to go on and think of other things, maybe... Beautiful sky - I wish I were outside. Working alone for the moment; eating Skittles but I would rather have Tootsie Rolls.

The red beans and brown rice I cooked yesterday, with lots more seasonings than the recipe called for, and chili-seasoned chicken, was good and spicy. I think red beans and rice is supposed to be bland, because that's how it always seems to turn out. I had to add more salt, quite a bit of Cajun seasoning, and a few red pepper flakes.

Several things that need to come off my list - by doing them, preferably!
Haircut for drh
Finish nursery valance for church
Work on LRC billing
Clean up bushes and flower pots
Clean out the car

Running with CTWers yesterday was nice - and I always underestimate how a simple thing can be encouraging, like smile and chat with a new runner - you don't have to be mega-peppy to have an impact.