Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why do I blog?

Well, here's the wrap-up to our May Blog Challenge and the question posed is why we do this?  I started thinking about this...oh about a week ago and I keep changing my answer.  That tells me that they are all right.

I started this blog to share my journey with others who are also trying to find their way to a place of positivity and gratitude.  I continue because:

I love to write, always have, and this is a great medium.

It helps me make sense of where my head is.  It's cathartic to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write out whatever is going through my mind.  The editing process may be long at times, but it truly helps me to stop the swirling mass that goes on in there and get my thoughts straight.

It keeps me on task.  When I open my browser in the morning and I see the Dashboard sitting there on my toolbar it's a reminder to start my day in the right place whether I am there or not.  It's a mood changer.

 Most importantly, I have met terrific people through my readers who comment.  Your feedback is so important to me.  It helps me see things in different ways.  I want to give a special shout out to Deb of ABC's of RA She comments often and I look forward to her take on any subject that I post.  If you have (or know someone who has) RA, check out her blog.  Another shout out to Wren.  Her Rheumablog helps keep me SANE!  With or without RA- Wren's descriptive writing style of her journey (both good and bad sides) make you feel like you are sitting there with her having a conversation with a friend.  Thank you ladies!

Thank you all, whether you comment or not, for going on this ride with me.  If you would prefer not to comment publicly (anonymous comments go directly to spam) but there is something you would like to see here, you can contact me directly at

Next month the plan is to re-focus on positivity and gratitude starting with some of my favorite quotes.  See you then!  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's in your makeup bag?

I don't wear a lot of makeup day to day.  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against it at all.  In fact, when I was younger (*cough*80's*cough*) I wore probably too much makeup and wouldn't have thought of leaving the house without my warpaint.  These days however, with my hands not too cooperative many morning, I have learned to pick and choose.

For everyday, I wear Maybelline Waterproof (liquid) Ultra Liner and either Covergirl Lash Blast or Maybelline The Falsies mascara.  Liquid Eyeliner is much easier for me to control and I can sweep it on even when I have numbness in my fingertips.  As for the mascara, I have very long eyelashes but the tips are blonde.  These two mascaras have great coverage without the "spider" effect.  I have actually had someone ask if I used false eyelashes- which I took as a great compliment!  I also use either a basic or tinted Burt's Bees lip balm or a light lip stick.

For those days that I feel the need for more coverage or when I am going someplace special, my makeup bag is pretty precise.  I am a HUGE fan of the Bare Minerals line.  It only takes the lightest touch to brush on even coverage, you can choose how deep or how light you add your bronzer or color and the Mineral Veil sets everything without looking "cakey".  It lasts all day (or evening) and even if you sleep in it, it won't harm your skin.  It's a bit spendy (around $99.00 for the Starter Kit at Sephora) but it lasts SO long because you don't need much to look polished.  I am also a bit of a lipstick hoarder.  I find that they can change your whole mood.  In that vein- I am a fan of the M.A.C. line.  It goes on smooth and lasts without feeling sticky or cakey.  I also like the Sephora line and Bobbie Brown as well.

Do you have a particular product that you love?  I am always interested in finding the next great mascara, lipstick or any line that is easy to apply and looks good!  If you care to share- I would love to hear what secret "look great" weapon you have in your arsenal!  

Where have you traveled? **edit- May 29th Post**

Though I definitely did not realize it at the time, I was very blessed when I was growing up.  We were a military family and moved around quite a bit and then when I was married, my husband also did a short stint in the military.  From the time I was 7 until Josh was 6 months old I lived in:  Indiana, Texas, Florida, Missouri, The Philippines, Illinois, Massachusetts and Turkey.

Of course, the fun part is getting there.  We traveled all over the the country by car.  That explains my love of road trips.  My folks always built in time to actually see the sights as we traveled.  We saw all the big things that you would expect as we made our way from one base to another (such as the Grand Canyon as we drove from Missouri to California to catch our flights to the Philippines) and as we traveled overseas we got to stop in Hawaii, on Guam, in Germany and such.  When we were living overseas, we made it a point to see the country as well.  When we were in the Philippines we saw the Thousand Islands (where the next SURVIVOR is set!), we swam with our swim team at Subic Bay, and I got to take a week-long field trip through villages of all size  to the Banaue Rice Terraces.    

How neat is that to see when you are in middle school?  

In Turkey, we lived off base, on the economy in Adana, for a year.  We traveled to the city to shop, camped and swam in the Med, participated in the feast before Ramadan at a Turkish friend's home in a nearby town and made a point to travel locally.  

In the states- always- my parents made it a point to see our local "sights".  We did all of the tourist things like Disney, the Alamo, the San Antonio Riverwalk, Cape Cod, ALL of the Revolutionary War sights in New England and more.  Some we loved (Old North Church, Concord, MA- I wanted to get married on the bridge there) some we referred to as "Forced family fun" (camping in Vermont)  but in retrospect- we know how fortunate that we were.  Even as adults we spent weekends from NY to Montreal and traveled between New England and the Midwest, up and down the east coast and to Vegas and California and back.

The thing that has brought home to us how lucky we are the most is staying put in one location- especially now that we are away from military bases.  We lived in Massachusetts from 1988 until 2007 and now in Southern Indiana from 2007 to present.  In MA- we still saw our friends who were "brats" with us so a bit of that vagabond life was still there.  More and more over the years we have met people who have rarely traveled out of their own area and can't imagine leaving their state!  Heck- we live on the border of Louisville and spend a LOT of time there and there are folks that we know that just can't fathom why we even want to cross that bridge into Kentucky.  I cannot imagine being so insulated.  It would make me feel itchy!

 I hope that my child also knows how blessed he is as well.  Though we planted ourselves in MA when he was still a baby, my folks did not retire until 2001.  Every summer from the time he was a year old until he was in his late teens, Josh traveled to where they were stationed and spent a month with them.  He saw more of the country than his father has; even "moving" with his grandparents as they changed bases from Las Vegas, Nevada to Norfolk, VA one summer.  He has seen all of the tourist attractions (and far more amusement parks than any child should) and state parks, beaches on both coasts and everything in between.  It was an amazing opportunity, and I hope that he treasures it now that he is an adult.  

In closing I must say- if you have not traveled outside your area, your state, your region and you have the opportunity to do so, take it.  It's a big, beautiful world out there and it is made to be enjoyed.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

What are you looking forward to?

There's nothing like fast forwarding your life, but I am really looking forward to October.

If you know me- you know that for me Halloween is not a date, it's a state of mind.  I love all things Halloween.  Thursday, I realized that my new group of spooky books had arrived at the store and it got me going.  I have decided that I am going to do a BIG Halloween display this year and started planning it right away.  I am not going to give away the details until I have firmed them up- but for me it will be tons of fun.

More importantly, my best friend is coming back in October.  I cannot wait to see her.  We really enjoy just spending time together but always manage to cook up some fun.  It will be a true vacation when she comes.

On a closer front, I have been asked to work a couple of stops on the IU Tailgate tour.  Essentially, the coaches travel and do events to raise money for the Athletic Program and we will sell our merchandise at the event.  One is close to home- which is nice but one is near Mom and Dad- which means I will get to combine work and a visit to their house.  Those are coming up soon and will be a lot of fun.

Shortly after that is another trip to Tennessee for a plasma donation.  On this trip, I am meeting my sister and we are bringing her kids back to spend some time with my folks.   I also have a lot of things I want to do this summer- but I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet.  I have to make sure we can get them done.  I will only say- it's going to be a good summer.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Post your favorite recipe

Christmas of 1990 my mother gave use girls a precious gift.  She spent months compiling her own recipes and then got on the phone with my Granny and gathered recipes from our extended family.  We will never know how much time she spent at a keyboard typing these up (and she mentioned in the opening letter that Dad missed quite a few meals but also spent hours standing at the copy machine to help put it together) but the end result is so special.  She gave us our culinary heritage but also added in personal information and stories about the people and places the recipes came from.  

I used this cookbook so often from 1990 to 2007 that when we moved, Josh tried to squirrel it away so that HE could keep it.  He had learned to cook from it and wanted to keep that piece of all of his family.  Needless to say- that didn't go over well but after we came here we found that Mom had another copy and so Joshua got one for Christmas of 2007.  It's the one item of all his possessions that he has made sure that made it through all of the moves he has made since he's been on his own.  

This recipe is one that I have used most often over the years.  On Thanksgiving , I always made this and then invited friends who were away from their families for the holiday to enjoy with our family.  I am writing it here exactly as it was written for us. My Aunt Aleen is actually my great aunt.  She's my Granny's sister.  She is still a hot ticket. Whenever I make this, I can't help but think of the women of that side of the family.   Should you choose to give it a try, read all of the way through before you gather your ingredients because there are "extras" listed in the body of the recipe.  When I read it, I can hear Aunt Aleen speaking because it reads exactly as she speaks.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.  

Chicken and Dumplings (from Aunt Aleen)

1 large Hen                                 2 cups flour
1tsp salt                                      1tsp baking pdr
1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning            

Cook hen in salted water to cover and when done, remove from broth.  Put flour in a large bowl and add salt, baking powder and poultry seasoning.  Add enough hot broth, about 2 cups, to the flour mix to make a soft dough.  Turn on a floured board and knead about 10 times adding enough flour to handle.  Roll dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut into squares.

Drop the squares into boiling broth.  DO NOT STIR.  When you have the dumplings in the broth, sprinkle pepper on top.  I usually cut up a celery stalk and put it in the broth first, before I add the dumplings.  Turn the heat down and simmer and cook for 1/2 hour.  Remove the chicken from the bones, add to the dumplings on top.  Let the chicken reheat.  It's ready to eat.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

An Old Picture

Today's Challenge was to post an old picture of myself.  As this is my fourth or so PC- most of them are on the old ones.  This pic however, a friend that I have reconnected with from high school posted on Facebook.  I look at this picture and it makes me sad.  Sad because this was taken around 1983-1984 when I was a Sophomore or Junior in high school and back then I was SO self conscious because I thought I was just plain fat and much less attractive than my friends.  Not a good thing in high school when image was "everything".  I had serious body image issue then- which have carried over now some 28 years.    I look at this photo and think "Who IS that little girl?"  It's the whole "hindsight is 20/20" thing but I only wish I looked like that now.  If only I had known then...

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25th Blog Challenge

The topic for today is Your 5 Favorite Blogs.  I was rushing to finish and schedule it because I am prepping to go to the parents for the weekend and hit PUBLISH instead of SCHEDULE the other morning.  Please refer back if you haven't checked it out.  

My 5 Favorite Blogs

These are kind of all over the place.  Different Subjects and very different writers. I read a lot of blogs and narrowing down the top five was tough.   I hope you check them out and enjoy them:

First there is My Loueyville  Her love of Lou is so infectious.  As a fellow transplant- I love reading her take on our new city.

Second:  Rheumablog  Wren has such a distinctive writing style.  I love reading her take on living well with RA. She is so delightfully descriptive that I can really envision her "dragon."

Third:  This Treasured Life   Amy loves her family, and always has a good story to tell.  She is also my inspiration for trying to stay connected spiritually.  She is honest and open.  I just love her to pieces.

Fourth:  Straight From the Keyboard  M.R. Sellars writes thrillers.  His novels are can't-put-it-down gripping.  He also is one of the funniest people I have ever seen.  His website/blog is a mixture of both.

Finally:  Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy  Circling back to RA- this blog is one of the best in the "business".  He is so informative, so compassionate and so funny.  Reading about and learning about Rheumatoid Arthritis can be downright depressing- RA Guy is the antidote to that.  If you read nothing else- check out his 60 Second Guide to RA.  It's just brilliant.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Your Favorite Childhood Book

I am sure if you ask my mom what my favorite book was- you would probably get a different answer because she remembers far more than I do but what we will agree on is that I have loved books since, well forever.

I was that kid who had as many Little Golden Books as we could snap up.  I was that kid who had to have all of the Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew books, who blew through those SRA Reading Labs (remember those when you were a kid?) at school and had to move on to books, who at 10 read and coveted my Dad's Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe.

When I think of memorable kids books I think of Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak. As I grew older I think of Judy Blume.  I cannot tell you how much I loved when Scholastic would come to the schools and have our book fairs.

There is one book though that sticks out so much that a few years ago, after having worn out the copy that I read to my son every year,  I not only bought a copy for myself but for Mom and Dad and both of my Sisters.  It's a Christmas book that just brings back the feeling of just being together with the family.  I don't remember where we got it or when we read it during the season, but it just brings my very blessed childhood into focus as soon as I open it.

Santa Mouse, Where Are You?  by Michael Brown tells the story of Santa Mouse (who accompanies Santa on his rounds delivering his own Mouse presents) who falls out of the sleigh on Christmas Eve and must find his way home. One of the stories of how Santa Mouse came to be can be found here.  First published in 1968, Santa Mouse holds up over time and has become a true classic and part of the tradition in our home.    

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Dream Job

My dream job is very simple.  My dream would be to stay home and read (and "fixing" what I am reading) for a living.  

First and foremost- proofreading.  I am reading a book right now that I have caught two different spellings (Norah/Nora) on a main character's name from one sentence to the next.  Those kind of sloppy errors make me CRAZY!  There's a magazine that I read on a fairly regular basis that has errors in every single issue.  Every time I have to stop myself  from contacting the editor.  I know- it seems silly but with the way our language is being butchered every single day (just read Twitter and Facebook statuses) it seems that proper spelling and grammar is being pushed to the side.  I feel that if you are going to go through the process to print a magazine or a book- it should be free of errors before that first run.   

Editing would be an okay job too.  On my Nook (and the Nook app on my phone and iPad), I read a lot of "free" books that I find on, Smashwords and Inkmesh.  Like me, many of these are first time authors.  Plainly speaking- First time authors can really use the services of an editor.  We don't often have the connections to a professional editor and so we try to edit our own work (tough since you can't really step back far enough to see your own work objectively) or call in smart friends or family members to give it a second or third look.  

The problem with my dream job is finding someone to not only pay me to read the work and make corrections and suggestions but to let me stay home and do it in my pajamas.  It's not totally implausible- everything is possible electronically- but it's highly improbable that I will be able to make my living doing that any time soon.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best Thing To Happen This Year

I have been blessed with a lot of terrific things this year but if I had to pin down one it would be a lesson that I have finally learned.  I don't know who actually said the following quote, but someone wiser than me said:

Sometimes God answers prayers we didn't even know we had.  

Earlier this year we had a couple of those sneak-up-on-you expenses.  You know, the ones that come up suddenly (or if you know about them- they come up all at once as a group) and essentially wipe our your savings?  Well, they visited us.  We were okay.  We weren't to the point of struggling by any stretch of the imagination but the money I had saved for KNOWN big upcoming expenses was gone and it was feeling a little  uncomfortable.  Now- like many I pray for a lottery win more often than I should, but I wasn't to the point that I was praying to be lifted out of that situation just yet.  Then I got the news that my Rheumatoid Factor had skyrocketed.  I won't bore you with the details about it again but if you haven't read the post you can find it here.

As I mentioned there, Seracare arranged for me to go to Eastern Tennessee to donate plasma for their study clients.  I have to admit the initial draw was that maybe the donation will help us find answers but the money involved definitely was the deciding factor.  It was enough to cushion us for those expenses that were coming so whether I had to go alone or if hubby could take the time off so that he and the pups could come with me- I would take the offer and make the 6 hour trip.  Well, Jim did get that Friday (and Saturday) off so we packed up the dogs and headed out.  This sounds like the answer to a prayer doesn't it?  Ironically, that's not it.

We went up and I did my donation on Friday night.  Things were just smooth.  While we were stuck in traffic behind a bad accident just before construction began (which eventually put us back 2 hours) we got a call pushing my appointment later in the evening relieving that stress before it had a chance to get going.  We arrived at the hotel to find that they had put us in a suite- and that the company was paying the "dog fee".  The donation itself was relatively painless and the center had Netflix ready to go in each of the private donation rooms.  The phlebotomist was so very nice that he took any nerves away.  We had all of Saturday to just relax and do whatever we wanted.  We ended up getting Dunkin Donuts bagels (YAY!- can't get those in my area) and coffee to have breakfast in the room and then taking the dogs to a local park for a good long walk.  We picked up lunch at the hotel restaurant and then napped before watching movies.  We had a lovely dinner Saturday night and then were able to sleep in on Sunday morning before I had to be at the center for round 2.  As we were not in a hurry, while I was doing my thing, Jim packed up the car, gave the dogs their Dramamine and then picked me up.  From there we took back roads home so we could see parts of Tennessee and Kentucky that we might not have seen otherwise. When I got back home I was so relaxed that I dropped off early and got a good night's sleep.

When I woke up that Monday morning we both agreed that "Wow, that was a terrific weekend."  That little mini-vacation that we didn't realized that we needed and that we wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise truly rejuvenated both of us.  We talked, we laughed, we watched movies, we read, we hung out and just enjoyed our little family in ways that you just can't when  work is pressing and there are a million things to do at home.  Despite the toll that dual plasma donations followed by my weekly Orencia injection takes on the body, I felt more rested mentally and physically than I had in a long time.

That's the prayer I didn't know that I had- and believe me, I was thankful for the answer and to have learned  that lesson in the process.    

Monday, May 21, 2012

Your Ten Favorite Foods

This one is fun!  I love food in general so choosing my favorites lets me think about great meals.  In no particular order:

  • Maki Rolls:  Specifically Eel, California and Spider
  • Bubble Tea- not technically a food but with Tapioca Pearls in it, it counts.  
  • Hibachi Rice, with lots of veggies
  • Caprese Salad- preferably with Heirloom Tomatos, Fresh Mozz medallions, fresh basil and just a drizzle of EVOO
  • Bruschetta - Bertucci's Restaurant used to have my very favorite Bruschetta ever with three different toppings:  Tomato and basil with a little balsamic, Eggplant with capers, roasted veggies.  SO GOOD
  • Roasted Chicken with potatoes and carrots.  Basic comfort food.  
  • Roasted Asparagus, zucchini and summer squash.  Roasted Veggies just can't be beat
  • Crisps and Cobblers.  Apple, Peach, Blueberry, Cherry.  Not picky, slightly addicted.  
  • Smoked brisket.  I could eat it any day of the week.  
  • Dunkin Donuts Onion Bagels, with cream cheese and sausage.  Total calorie blowout but I just can't care. It's the only national NY style bagel with the onions inside the bagel instead of sprinkled and baked on top.  
That's my ten- not laminated so subject to change.  Do you have any recommendations for items to replace some on my list?  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Difficult Time in Your Life

My mother was right.  Have you ever said that before?  I have said it a LOT since I actually grew up.  In fact, we were talking this weekend and I told her that if I knew now what I thought I knew when I was 18, I would be a certified genius.  There are so many examples of where Mom was right (ergo- I was WRONG) but this one led me straight into a few difficult years.

When I was 17/18 years old- I was just crazy about my (now) husband. Don't get me wrong. We fought like cats and dogs but we also were crazy about each other.  We decided that, rather than giving it time and doing the whole college thing, he would enlist and we would get married.  Though they have supported everything I have ever done, I know deep inside that Mom and Dad were disappointed.  They expected more of me.  They expected more of him.  They told us we were too young, that we weren't ready.  What did they know?  You couldn't tell us anything!

So we did it.  We got married.  I was 18 (5 months shy of 19) and he was barely 20 (6 weeks prior).  He had enlisted in December with a ship out date of March.  We moved our date up ( I had envisioned myself a June bride getting married on Old North Bridge in Concord, MA) to February so we could be married when he left for basic training and our guests braved a blizzard to be there to witness our nuptials.  It should have been a clue as to what we were in for. We didn't get it.  We had a friend of Jim's folks who bet us a thousand dollars that we would kill one another within a year and he only said aloud what some others were thinking.  Clue number 2.  We didn't get it.  Post-wedding we thought very carefully about our "wish list" for when he filled out his requested duty assignments.  We chose 5 bases all across the country and then tried to forget that he was leaving  and enjoyed a four week "honeymoon phase" before he left.   Then he was gone.  For four months.  It was tough but  phone calls and mail kept us sane and a weekend trip down to Biloxi, MS in the middle to see him during Tech School was a lifeline.  It wasn't long after I got home that he called home with news. He had gotten his assignment.  We were going overseas; not just overseas but to Turkey.  It was a blow.  We expected to move away from our friends and family.  We did not expect to move THAT far away from our entire support system.  Being the good "brats" that we were, we took it on the chin, sucked it up and made the move.

I don't think we were there three months when we realized we were in the mud up to our knees.  Oh we had an inkling about the work it takes to be grown-up-married-people, after all we had great role models in our parents, but the enormity of it started to creep in about the first time we looked at our check book and realized that with me not working yet- the money was not going to stretch as far as we thought.  Having to decide between groceries and renting a movie had never happened to us before.  Worrying about where the rent/utilities and such would come from was a whole new ballgame. We were living off of the base and "on the economy" which presented its own set of challenges.  Things like navigating the language and customs in order to run out to buy milk or tea was definitely...interesting.  We were also lonely.  We had each other but that can get old quickly when you are in a whole different world.  Add to that that I had been working steadily since I was 13 years old and jobs are few and far between for wives overseas.  I had applied but I had to wait for a slot to open.  I was bored stiff and we didn't want to spend the money it would take to catch a cab to get on base to go to the library or the rec center or to do anything until I was able to find a job.  As this was in 1986 (pre-cell phone days for those of you who are younger than me) it wasn't as if we could just pick up the phone and call Mom and Dad, our siblings or our friends.  We were far more isolated than we had thought possible.  Plus, military life was far different for him than he had ever dreamed.  As you can imagine, all of these things and more stressed us out and made us crabby, and when you are crabby and there is only one other person with you they get the brunt of it.  First we began arguing about the big things, then as time went on it went on to be about stupid little things as well.

I don't know if it was sheer stubbornness or if we took those lessons from our parents and put them into play but we made it through that first year. Eventually I got a job and was able to keep it until our circumstances changed.  We met people first through his job and then mine and were able to socialize.  We learned to juggle our money and stretch it almost to the breaking point.  I think the biggest game changer came about 6 months in when we decided that we should, since he was miserable enough that he had already decided that he would not reenlist, go ahead and get pregnant while we were in a good place in terms of health care and we were relatively comfortable financially.

Fifteen months after we got married; 25 years ago last Friday, we welcomed Joshua into our hearts and lives.  By the time he was born we knew that we whatever would come we would be able to face together and work through it.  That's not to say it has been a bed of roses.  There have been more than a few thorns in the last 26 years but we are still making it through- together.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What do you collect?

Do people still collect things?  I am a bit of a dork.  I actually have three collections of sorts.

  When I was a child, traveling around all over the place my Gran collected Salt and Pepper shakers and started a collection for me as well. When my Gran passed, my parents drove them all the way from Indiana to Massachusetts to make sure that I received all of them.  Though they are all in boxes now- in terms of size I have between 6 & 10 book boxes full.  I have no place to display them so they remain carefully boxed from my move from New England back to Indiana.  They are a piece of my Gran that I cannot give up no matter how much room those boxes take up.

Second is my collection of Nora Roberts books.  I love most all of her books but her "family" series just make me happy.  Not just the traditional family types- but families of the heart as well.  The Stanislaskis, The MacGregors, The Donovans, The Quinns, The O'Hurleys, The Bride Quartet, The Calhouns, Cordiana's Royal Family, I could go on for days but I have read them over and over and over. Before the end of June I will have an inventory put together so that I can start scouring our local "Fleas" and yard sales for the missing books.  What I love is that even though I have read them all- literally- 25+ times each, they never feel dated.  You feel invested in the characters.  I only wish she would start writing the next generations.  I enjoy the books so much that when she comes out with a new series (like the current Inn Boonesboro series) I have to make myself wait until all of the books are published before I buy and read them because I cannot stop.  With the Bride Quartet it was April of '09 till November of '10 before all four were released.  It took me three days to finish them, they are just that good.

Last is my Harry Potter collection.  Do you catch a theme here?  I love the Harry Potter series.  What J.K. Rowling did to revitalize reading for both children and adults is amazing.  I have the books (in both hardcover and paperback), the dvds, the App, two collector's wands, a playing card game, sticker books, a Gryffendor cape and hat, a journal, the additional companion books and several Legos sets.  I am always on the lookout at the Fleas for complete Lego sets and other merchandise to add to the collection.

As I was composing this post I realized that I have several mini collections as well.  I have the complete works of M.R. Sellars.  If you enjoy paranormal mysteries- he's your guy.  I am working on collecting as many of the Chicken Soup books as I can find.  Currently I have 10 or 12.  We started collecting Dragon stuff.  Dragons and Gargoyles just tickle my dark side.  The problem with that one is that, like my salt and peppers, I don't have room to display them so we stopped buying...for now.  We also have a small collection of Boston sports "stuff".  From jerseys to a Red Sox stop light, from my entire Christmas tree full of Pats stuff to street signs, from the decals on both of our cars to my Pats jammies;  when himself gets his man cave- it will be all Pats, Sox and Bruins.   I collect recipes, articles that interest me, and other assorted "stuff".  If not for Pinterest I would need another filing cabinet.

So what do my collections say about me?  The true collections say that I am a rabid reader and sports fanatic who loves my Granny.  What do they do for me?  They allow me to surround myself with the things I love.  The books allow me to spend hours in other worlds, the S&P's keep my Gran close even though she has been gone for several years and they also remind me of the travels I have had through the years and the sports stuff lets the world know that I love my teams.  As for the minor collections?  The recipes, well, when I retire I will cook something new far more often than my other half would like.  The articles- they say that I am always looking to improve myself and learn new things.  The Dragons allow me to indulge that "goth" place inside me without making a statement to the world.

 Heck, when we were kids one sister collected decorative plates, hubby collected baseball cards and comics.  Even now he still has many of his cards and a collection of knives.  Even my son collected Pogs and  things like that.  You don't hear much any more about people (especially kids) collecting things. It make me sad that it's a dying tradition.  I feel that it just shows how "disposable" the world has become.

So what about you?  Do you now or did you ever collect anything?   

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Meaning Behind Your Blog Name

If you have been reading "me" for a while, you probably already know this.  When I was 38 years old, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I did what I assume everyone does when hit with something like this.  I went through the stages of grief.


You can accept without being truly happy though.  You can accept and still have the "Why me?"  You can accept and still freak out fairly often worrying about what is to come.  I tried to keep myself busy.  Not that I wasn't already busy- (working 2 jobs, raising a teenager, going to college, being a wife) but I went a little manic because being busy meant I didn't have to think about being told that if we didn't aggressively treat the RA I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 45.

Eventually burning the candle at both ends added to chronic fatigue from the disease landed me flat on my back and I realized I couldn't keep doing that little trick.  In the meantime, my Mama had a stroke.  I cannot express how grateful I was when she pulled through.  I was giving thanks every single day during her recovery that we still have her, that she was making strides to get better.  And something clicked.  When I gave thanks - I felt better.  Thinking about what Mom was going through minimized my stupid illness.  Yes, I had daily pain, but when she initially had her stroke- she couldn't even remember my sister's name.  Yes, it was hard to get moving in the morning, but she was struggling to remember how to do basic tasks.  I had so much to be thankful for!

Writing has always been an outlet, so I started writing down what I was thankful for.  As I did this- my attitude started to shift.  I felt lighter, more peaceful, stronger.  After we made the move out here, I decided to commit to maintaining the gratitude and thus, this blog was born.

I haven't perfected this "Attitude of Gratitude" by a long shot.  I still get cranky, okay, I admit it, bitchy.  I sometimes go days without practicing gratitude but when I do, I can feel the shift inside me.  Then I know I need to make a concerted effort to get back on track.  I am fully convinced that practicing gratitude makes an enormous difference in the way I feel both physically and emotionally.  It takes work.  I will never be Mary Sunshine.  I have to say though, the work is worth it in the long run.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  This morning, you are on my list of people that I am grateful for!  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is your most proud moment?

I bet you think I am going to say something about my child.  Nope.  He's a good kid for the most part but I can't take credit for any of his accomplishments and I won't take credit for his shenanigans either.

A few years ago, we lost my grandmother to breast cancer.  I was devastated.  The following year (2004) I decided that I wanted to do something in her honor so I signed up for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer- Boston.  I knew I could raise the minimum amount of money ($1800.00) and - with a lot of help-I did.  It was me I wasn't so sure of.  Think about it.  I was in my late 30's, overweight, a smoker, and I didn't work out.  Oh I walked- for work and for necessity- not for fitness.  But I wanted to do it.  I wanted to at least try.  I went to the pre-walk meetings and they stressed time and again that just getting out there was the goal.  There was no shame in not finishing.  Walk one day, one hour, one mile, one step and we stand up to breast cancer.  I felt a little better about it but I was still determined to try.

The big day came and I got there bright and early.  I looked out at that sea of pink tees and I listened to the inspirational words from survivors and I cried.  As the tears coursed down my face, I took a deep breath and started walking.  Well, I stopped at each "rest stop" and took my time, and five hours later I crossed the 13.1 mile mark and made it to the Wellness Village where we were spending the night in tents.  I was exhausted.  My feet hurt.  My body was freezing.  My legs were trembling. The first thing I did was head for the shower trucks.  As I was fairly early in, there weren't a lot of people in the Village yet so I could shower for a long time to try and relax my muscles.  After that, I went to the medical tent to have my blisters dressed and then I visited for a bit with other walkers, ate my dinner and crashed hard.  I woke up early the next morning and crawled out of my sleeping bag in the dark.  I do mean CRAWLED out of that sleeping bag.  I headed back into the shower, braided my hair, got dressed, packed up my stuff and dropped it off at the trucks that would bring it back before heading very S.L.O.W.L.Y to the med tents again to have the blisters re-dressed before heading to breakfast.  At that time, I couldn't imagine being in worse pain.  While I ate I stretched out as best I could to at least try to make the first mile.  When they "released" the first group of us for the morning I was telling myself "One mile.  Make it one mile and there will be no shame in getting a ride to the end.  You already did 13.  Just one mile."  One foot in front of the other, I made it the mile to the first "potty stop".  By then I was warmed up and told myself as I grabbed a water "One more and you will hit 15.  You can do this!".  At each stop, with each step I thought of my Gran and I told myself "just a little more- you can keep going."   I trudged on, one step in front of the other.  I took strength (both days) from the friends, family members, survivors and folks who were not associated with the walk in any way who cheered us on all throughout the route.  I even bribed myself: "If you make it up Bunker Hill- you can stop at the next Starbucks we see to grab a macchiato to keep you going" (BTW- Bunker Hill SUCKED- but I earned that macchiato!)  At just about 12:30 I turned the corner toward the end of the route and stopped to just look for a minute.  There were people lined up and cheering the entire last mile.  Seeing those people out there brought tears to my eyes.  Even now, just closing my eyes and seeing it again makes me tear up.  I took a deep breath and started walking again.  One step, two steps, on and on until I crossed that finish line.  I got my T-shirt and a couple of snacks and then caught sight of my husband and son.  Their hugs were the final straw.  I sat down in the grass and as I gently pulled off my sneakers and socks to exchange them for the flip-flops they brought the tears just ran down my face.  I had done it.  I made it through the whole 26.2 miles.  I had represented my Gran in the only way I knew how and I sent up a whispered prayer to let her know how much I loved her.  The boys helped me over to have my blisters re-dressed and then we made our way to the car to head back home.  Even though I was exhausted and hurting- I felt like a million dollars.

                                                  May 19th 2007- on the Charles in Boston

It was that feeling that spurred me on to do it again each of the next 3 years until we moved out of New England. In my last year, Josh was finally able to walk with me.  That is an experience I will never forget.  Walking with him was so special, walking two years post-RA diagnosis was an accomplishment, but nothing will ever match the triumph of finishing that first year.  

Day 2 May 20, 2007- almost to the finish 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's at the top of your bucket list?

This one is a toughie!  There's so much on my list that rather than actually writing a big long post today, I invite you to check out my  Bucket List on Pinterest:

I will say, I tend to update it on a whim- because there are a million things for me to do before I actually kick the bucket- so if you stop by today, it may be different next week.  :-)

Incidentally, if you are not on Pinterest yet and would like an invite- shoot me an email.  I will be happy to send you one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Post a timeline of your day

My days, based on my work schedule, are pretty routine.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday go like this:

4:30-5:00am-     Roll out of bed and turn on the coffee maker and scroll through the DVR and start catching up      on it, take morning meds.
5:00-5:30am-     Put the dogs out when hubby brings Harley down and wait for them to be ready to come in.
5:30-6:00am-     Empty email, find a quote for the day for Facebook, scroll through Pinterest
6:00-6:30am-     Start working on a blog post, writing projects or what ever else I can do to engage the brain.
6:30-7:00am-     Cut fruit, get lunch ready for work, cook oatmeal or pack breakfast.
7:00-7:30am-     Get ready for work.
7:30am               Leave for work, stopping for coffee on the way.
8:00                   Work until anywhere between 4:00pm-6:00pm  (Whoever gets home first gets to take the pups out after work)
4:00-6:00pm,      Prep for dinner, eat dinner etc.
After dinner         Relax
7:30pm                Take the pups for their evening walk
8:00pm                Evening meds, relax with the hubby
9:00pm                Shower, grab book and crawl in bed.
10:30-11:00        Lights out.

The only differences between M/W/F and Tuesday/Thursday is that I go into work between 10 and 11am and work till 7 which means I get a nap before I go in- and I LOVE me some naps!  That's pretty much my day.  How about you?  

Monday, May 14, 2012

If you won the lottery

What would you do?  This one is easy- I have thought about it for literally years!  The most critical decision is already made- we would take an annuity instead of a lump sum.  I don't care what anyone says- the annuity would allow for better budgeting.

First, we would retire.  I never thought I would say this, but I am ready. We already know how much we would set aside each year for medical expenses and for investing in our future- the rest is for the fun stuff.  Let's assume it's one of the BIG (i.e. over 60 million dollars) jackpots

 Next we build our house.  My "dream" home sits on several acres and has four bedrooms,three baths, an office for me, a roomy kitchen with a walk in pantry, a glassed-in breakfast nook, a nice big living room with a fireplace and built-in bookshelves and a man-cave in the basement.  There's more, but I could write an entire post on that so I will move on.  Before we move on though, I will state the obvious and say that we will hire someone to help us care for the house and maybe the property.

While we are waiting for our house to be built, we pay off all debt (which is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it will be nice to be out from under it.) and set it up to give yearly gifts to our five chosen charities. Those include The American Cancer Society, The Arthritis Foundation, The AIDS Foundation, the Avon Foundation and the Humane Society.  We also buy a windmill for my father's churches.  It is SO windy there that they would not only be able to power both churches but perhaps have income to be more self-sustaining without pressuring the parishioners as well.  They are good people, we would like to do this for them.  We would also budget to be able to support local charities and fundraisers as they speak to us.

We would gift our different family members with some "fun" money.  In the first year it would be an amount to each of our 5 siblings that would let them do something for themselves.  Currently, we can give $25,000 to each person without it being taxable.  We don't care what they do with it- we just want to make their lives a little easier.  As for our parents, that would be a nice chunk off their mortgages.  For our parents, we would continue this for their lifetimes.  In the second year and until the youngest is of age and the trusts are sufficiently built, we would set up trusts for each of our 8 nieces and nephews for their college funds.  Should they choose to go to college- they get the money dispersed over their college careers.  Should they choose not to go to school after high school, the money would sit until they are 25 at which time half would be dispersed over four years and the other half of the trust would revert to scholarships for students who need it.

Then for our "fun" stuff.  We love to travel.  We would buy an RV so we could travel back and forth across the country with our puppies.  Perhaps a boat for local boating and camping adventures.  I would go back to school and finish my degree while my other half sets up a "tinkering" shop in our barn.  We would see some of the spots in the world that we have always wanted to see.

Winning the lottery = freedom.  Freedom to wake up when we want, to nap when we want.  Freedom to go when we want and just stay home if we want.  Freedom to see things we have always wanted to see and do those things on our bucket list.  I realize that it money comes with it's own unique set of problems but boy would it be fun to have those kinds of problems instead of "regular" problems.

How about you?  What is your lottery dream?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's your earliest Memory?

It's funny. I am not quite sure at times what are memories or what are stories I have been told. Believe me, at almost 45 and as the oldest of three, I have been passed on a LOT of stories. So instead of wavering between a memory that is mine, or someone else's that I have imprinted on my brain, I am going to give you impressions instead.

I remember feeling loved. I know that I received a lot of attention because, hello, oldest here. And because very shortly after I came into this world my Daddy was off to fight of our country during the Vietnam Conflict and didn't return until I was 2. I had my mom, my Gran, my great Aunts caring for me.

I remember, after Dad came back, our first house. It seemed like a grand house. I drive by now and it seems so very much smaller than it did then. Even the yard that we ran and played, swung and slid and climbed seems minuscule in comparison to what I remember it being. I remember my first dog, Kai. He was about the size of my current babies, but back then he was my buddy. I remember when they brought each of my sisters home. I am told I was less than thrilled.

It's funny how the same event can happen to multiple people and we see the event differently. I just remember the girls being there all of the sudden. I am told that I actually ran away all the way to a neighbor's because I didn't want a baby in MY house. Oh well, it's all about perception I guess.

I hope you have great early memories to reflect upon, and that you have a lovely Mother's Day. I will be spending the morning with my Mama before packing up the pups and heading back to home after lunch.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What's inside your fridge?

Whooooo-boy!  This is a list and a half!  Rather than making it truly 10+ pages, I think I will do a bit of catagorizing:

     Strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, a person watermelon, lemons, limes, Nappa cabbage, baby carrots, regular carrots, tomatoes, beets, pickles, artichoke hearts and salsa, and sweet pickled cauliflower (thanks Mom!)

     Milk, eggs, half and half, cheddar, pepperjack cheese, fresh mozz, real butter, fake butter (margarine for the hubbs), spray butter, a dozen different flavors of Greek Yogurt, fresh and grated Parmesan cheese.

     Bacon, hot dogs for the live dogs and leftover roast beef from last night's dinner

     Chocolate Milk, Pepsi, Snapple Diet half and half Iced tea, More Pepsi, water, Bud Light, San Pellegrino Aranciata sparkling water.

     Homemade jam (thanks again Mom), regular jam, Mayo, Miso/Ginger dressing, Kraft Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing, Olive Garden Italian Dressing, Chicken Stock, Assorted marinades and condiments, a Skinny Cow chocolate crisp bar,  Leftover Pasta from Sunday night (for a casserole tomorrow night), snack packs of Wholy Guacamole, and two doses of Orencia.

Whew!  That wasn't as bad as I thought.  It just looks packed in there.  I am grateful for that though, because I know that there are many people who would give up a lot just to have one of those shelves full of food.

What's in your fridge?  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Post 15 of your favorite things

Now this is the way to start the day.  Just thinking about what to include on this list has made me smile!  I could just give you a straightforward list, but I feel like I must explain a couple.  In no particular order:

  1. My Puppies:  If you have read this blog for more than a minute, you would expect them to be at the top of  the list.  What can I say that I have not said?  They are both sweet, loving, and funny little creatures.  They give me the greatest gift of pure joy when I walk in the door from my work day; heck, when I walk in from the grocery store or a long walk, and Auggie launches himself into a "hug" and Harley's tail wags furiously as she scampers over to bring me a toy or treat.  We adopted them both from a wonderful no-kill shelter where the screening process is a bit arduous because they truly want to match the animal with the RIGHT family.  Jim and I still remark on a regular basis to one another and to the pups themselves that we were so very fortunate to have been chosen to be able to bring these little bundles of unconditional love into our lives.   
  2. Summertime: I am a heat lover.  Summertime gives me all of the heat I crave all winter long.  Plus- I am one of "those" girls.  Any day I can wear flip-flops or go barefoot, put on a breezy shirt and a pair of capris is a good day.  Plus- have you SEEN some of the adorable sandals they have out?  I love nothing better than a strappy sandals, a cute wedge, intricately woven flats- you name it.  The shoes just get cute in summer!  Summer also gives me a little catch- up time at work.  Classes for first summer session began yesterday and after this week, we will slow down enough that we can catch up on neglected tasks and take time to get organized for fall.  It's what keeps me sane. 
  3. Music:  Again, I have mentioned this before but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music.  It can set my mood, it can pull me out of one.  It can reflect where I am at the moment, it can speak to my soul.  I work better with music and some songs just make me want to dance- and who is not happier when they can dance?  
  4. Weekends:  As someone who spent many, many years working weekends, I cannot tell you how jealously I guard my free weekends.  That is not to say that I do nothing, but what I love about weekends is that I am free to do anything I want.  That's the key- doing what I want.  If I want to work, I can.  If I want to sleep in, well- probably not- but I can try.  If I want to take a nap, I can.  If I want to stay in my pajamas and veg out, I can.  It's my WEEKEND!  Mine, mine, mine.  This weekend coming up, I am going to Mom and Dad's to celebrate my mother.  She's a terrific lady and I can't think of a better way to spend it than doing whatever she wants in honor of Mother's Day.  
  5. Good Friends:  I don't make friends easily, but when I do- I value them immensely.  The best part about friends?  You never know when or where you will find them.  I have met some of my very best friends right here in this box.  I love my friends.  I only hope that they know what they mean to me.  
  6. A Good Book  Is there anything better than a good book?  You know the kind you can sink into and be transported to another world altogether.  I have a small library with titles from every genre but my favorites I read and re-read over and over again.  Right now, I am re-reading Nora Roberts "Bride Quartet" series.  It's sweet, it's sappy, and even though I have read the series 3 times, I am on Book 3, I cried again during books one and two.  
  7. Real Simple  and O- The Oprah Magazine:  They may not be up your alley, but they are my favorites.  Unlike most other magazines, I don't tear anything out of them.  I don't dog ear them.  I read them and then keep them.  I currently have two full shelves dedicated to current and back issues of these two.  They have terrific tips, wonderful articles and make me think.  O-mag makes me think, it makes me look inside myself the way no other book and magazine can on a regular basis.  The inspirational stories make me want to be a better person.  Best of all- both of them promote something I need more of in my life:  Gratitude and Positivity.  If you haven't checked them out before- give them a spin.  You may like them too.  
  8. My "real" family  I can never create a list of my favorite things without including my husband, Mom and Dad and sisters.  I am reminded every single day who lucky I am to have the family that I have.  It's true blessing to not only love, and not out of obligation, but genuinely love, my family.  My parents are wise, generous and loving people.  They are as much in love now as they were 46 years ago when they got married. Through ups and downs, they stick together like two halves of a whole.  Both of  my sisters are smart, kind and beautiful.  They are raising (collectively) four great kids.  My husband- well what can I say?  I am lucky enough to not just love him, but like him as well.  We were friends before we got married (26 years ago!) and have grown up together.  We have defied the odds in more ways than one and I know that should (God Forbid) anything happen, I would never feel the need to marry again.  His family is mine too.  I have been lucky enough to have gained a Mother-In-Law (may she rest in peace) and a Father-In-Law who have always treated me like one of their own and Sisters and a Brother-In-Law that well- none of them need the "In-Law" after it.  They are just my family.  
  9. My son- It goes without saying that I am a little crazy about my "baby".  He will be 25 (!) this month and despite the facts that I don't always agree with his decisions, like the rest of our family I genuinely like him as well as loving him.  I am also proud of him.  There is a saying that goes something like "Any boy can make children but a real man will raise someone else's as his own."  His girlfriend has two adorable children.  Josh raises them as if they were his own.  He loves them as if they were his own.  He takes responsibility for them as if they were his own.  They are just "the kids", not "her kids".  I can't help but be proud of him for that.  He is also chasing his dream.  It's a hard road to make some of the decisions that he has made, but he works hard toward it and is willing to sacrifice to get them.  
  10. My "adopted" family-  You know those friends who feel more like a part of you rather than just a friend?  Those friends that you can not see or not talk to live for months on end and you just pick up with via a phone call or visit and it's as if you were just together yesterday?  I am blessed enough to be able to count half a dozen or so people like that among my "adopted family".  
  11. The ability and opportunity to dream:  It is my hope that everyone has a dream that they are reaching for.  Dreams, be they about your career, your future, your hopes for your kids, whatever, can make us work to be better person.  The thing is- no matter how big, how wild, how "out there" our dreams- if we really work at it; we can make them come true.  
  12. Social Media- This one is easy- it gave me YOU!  
  13. Fresh Fruit and Veggies- It's summertime which means we have an abundance of beautiful, delicious, colorful fresh produce.  Though I am weird; I like my produce just slightly under-ripe (you know, the texture and crunch of an apple when I am eating what should be softer fruits like peaches or mangos), there is nothing like the smell of a farmer's market as the produce comes into season.  I also know that we are so very, very fortunate to live in a country where this is available at any time to us.  For that I give thanks every time I cut my fruit or veggies to take in my lunch each morning.  
  14. Road Trips-  I love a good road trip.  Packing up a lunch, filling the tank, hopping in the car and just driving.  Another blessing in my life is that my honey (and the pups) and I travel really well together.  In fact, sometimes we just hop in the car with no particular destination and drive around to see new parts of my adopted home town or up into the farm areas so we can see horses and cows, goats, pigs and bison.  We try not to be "those" rubber-neckers but we really enjoy seeing new things, and out here each season brings us more and more to see.  
  15. Good TV/Movies- I know, it's silly to be on this list but it's a true form a escape.  Some of these shows today, like the Big Bang Theory, are just so smart and funny that they can change my mood.  Some are raunchy, sarcastic and funny (2 Broke Girls) that I nearly fall out of my chair laughing.  Some of the dramas (the CSIs, Criminal Minds, Bones) *almost* make me want to go back to school and do something different with my life.  Some (my ABC family shows) make me glad I have the life I have. Some of the reality shows (Survivor, any of the cooking competitions and my new series Amish Out of Order) make me wonder if I could do what they are doing.  No matter what frame of mind they put me in- they are snippets of time that I can forget everything and just sink into what's going on on the screen.   
That's my list for today.  It's admittedly fluid.  If you ask me in the morning it could be half a dozen other things but at the core, these are all things that I am thankful for on a regular basis.  How about  you?  What are a few of your favorite things?  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What's your best physical feature?

I had to think long and hard about this post.  I am hypercritical when it comes to me and physical appearance.  I know it, I admit it.  One step worse~ I am very, very self-denigrating.  In fact, since I started this post, I have utilized my "Backspace" key far more than in many recent posts. This is supposed to be a positive self examination but that just wasn't working for me.

I did one of those "stand in the mirror and choose your best feature" exercises in preparation for this morning's post.  It didn't take long for my thoughts to go into the "Well it could be _________ if it wasn't for________" direction.  I had to tell myself- out loud no less- to STOP IT!  So I walked away, came back fresh and took a look as if I were looking at someone else.

I decided, upon the second glance, that my best features are my eyes.  They are a basic, somewhere between hazely-brown but what I like is that I can actually control that.  I can, with a little makeup, make them look deeper and darker or I can go the minimalist route and let the green-ish side be more visible.  I can make them look sultry, smoky, sexy, flirty, or express any other of a host of "moods" with a little adjustment of eyeliner, color and/or natural or false lashes.  Speaking of false lashes- I don't use them often.  They are too much of a PITA and I have (depending on the brand of mascara I am wearing) been asked if my real lashes were in fact fake- so I got lucky there too.  The only drawback?  I don't hide my thoughts and feelings well.  Those who know me can read very well what I am thinking just by looking into my eyes.  I guess there's good and bad side to everything.

There's my best feature-  What's yours?  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What are your worst habits?

That's easy-


Need I say more?  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's in your handbag?

I had thought to take everything out and take a photo- but there is FAR too much in there to do it!  I have been accused on more than one occasion of carrying Mary Poppin's bag because I always seem to have something when it's needed.  That said- I have scaled back.  No really!  I have!!  As of this morning, in my purse is:

My iPad
My wallet
My Calendar
3 different packs of gum
1 pack of IceBreakers Sours
1 Notebook
8 Pens
3 different Burt's Bees lip stuff
1 MAC lipstick
Half a dozen pony tail holders
Half a dozen clips and stuff for my hair
Backup meds
My ring of loyalty cards

That's it for now.  Through the week it will fill with other extraneous stuff but I did empty it!  It's still a little on the heavy side- but it is what it is.  :-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Your Pet Hates

Oh where to begin????    I have a bunch, but I will just go with three that really tie in together so I don't keep you here reading for a week.  

A Sense of Entitlement:  I have been in customer service in one capacity or another for far too many years to count and with each passing year I see this becoming more and more prevalent.  What really blows my mind is that you cannot just say "It's the way this generation is being raised."  This trend is cross-generational; from my 95 year old grandmother to the kids who are coming up now.  From the little things like assuming that a store to take back a product that has CLEARLY been damaged from use, to expecting someone to drop everything to do something for you with no regard to their time/energy/use of resources.  There are times I could just shake that person and yell "No one OWES you anything that you didn't work earn!"  It is particularly glaring to me when someone pulls something that specifically says through their actions "Those rules don't apply to ME!!  They must be for everyone else!"  

Line Jumpers/Cutting People Off: This just makes me CRAZY!!!  Seriously, I don't know where people get off thinking that their time or where they are going is so much more important than the rest of us.  A prime example happened Friday morning.  I stop at the gas station every morning for coffee.  Friday morning I pulled in to the parking lot and there were a couple of cars getting ready to pull out.  There were also a couple of cars lined up coming in the opposite way waiting patiently for those folks to pull out so they could park.  As the car closest to the door pulled out, a chick in a Volvo came barreling in through the pumps and whipped in the space.  No regard what-so-ever for those of us who were already there and waiting.  I was chatting with my baby sister on the phone at the time and said out loud "Lady- you are a douche!" My sister just burst out laughing and asked if someone just cut me off. She knows me so well.  I pulled a ways past the other cars so they could have the next two spaces opening and went inside.  The only thing that made my moment was that when the other two drivers and I walked into the store, there she was;  foot tapping, staring at her watch because the Latte machine was empty in the flavor she wanted so she had to wait.  In fact, by the time all three of us left- she was still standing there tap-tap-tapping and glaring at the employees who were taking care of the line of customer instead of leaving the other cashier to deal with the whole line so she could bustle over to refill the one item that was out.  

Rudeness:  Both of those things above are very rude, but what makes my blood boil is people who are directly rude to other people.  I don't understand what they feel they will accomplish through their rudeness.  Do they think they will get better service?  Not going to happen.  Do they think they can intimidate the world into giving them their way?  Nope- they just look like the ass-hats that they are.  Perhaps they just hope to make the person on the other end just as miserable as they are or to bring someone else down because they are having a bad day.  I don't care what the circumstances are, there is just no call for it.  

Well, that's my top 3!  What are some of your pet hates?  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Your 5 Senses Right Now

I think my senses are getting old.  How's that for an opener? Why do I think that?

Sight:  Just this year I obtained my very first pair of bifocals.

Hearing:  I have found myself turning up the volume on the television and having to listen a little closer on the phone.

Touch:  We all know about the tingling in our hands and feet which definitely affects our sense of feeling.

Smell:  I know- it sounds silly, but I feel like my sense of smell is dulling.  I really have to concentrate to discern subtle scents and I have to watch that I don't over-apply my perfume or body spray because I have been known to put it on, do something else, forget, check and not catch it.

The only traditional sense that hasn't been noticeably affected is my sense of Taste.  Thank goodness for that because I am a bit of a minor foodie.  I love trying new things and traditional foods prepared differently.  I love making and enjoying comfort foods that bring me back to my childhood.  I love cooking for an appreciative audience.  Can you see a theme here?  I hope the sense of taste doesn't dull too soon- because food is not just nutrition or a source of pleasure, but it can bring people together!

That said- I think that my sixth sense is getting sharper.  I have always been able to read people fairly well and size up situations fairly quickly, but now I find that my "gut" is getting stronger.  Maybe I am just tuning into it more often or listening better- but I will take it!  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

10 Songs I love right now

My music tastes are all over the board- but here are my current faves; including one or two that have been on my playlist for quite some time.  Thanks to youtube for the videos and I apologize for the ads on the Vevo channels  In no particular order:

1-   Sugarland "Something More"

2-   Glee's cover of Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right, But It's Okay"

3-   Fun. "We are Young"

4-   P!nk "F**king Perfect"

5-   Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney "Feel Like a Rockstar"

6-   Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow"

7-   P!nk "Raise Your Glass"

8-   Christina Aguilara "Beautiful"

9-   John Legend's cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep"

10- Nickleback  "Photograph"

Friday, May 4, 2012

What are you afraid of?

This is a tough line of thought for me.  Generally I feel sort of fearless,  but when I really sit and think about it- I am a whole mess of fears!  For this exercise, let's go with just the top four.

1-  Fire- specifically getting burned.  I know- crazy coming from a smoker (and someone who has recently begun laying in a tanning bed again) but being burned scares the daylights out of me.  I have burned myself literally dozens of times over the years cooking.  Grease burns (I still have scars from the most recent grease burn!), oven burns, boiling water, grill burns- you name it I have burned myself with it.  Fact- no matter how slight the burn- it hurts like all heck!  I know, in my head, that if God Forbid, I were ever in a fire, I would more than likely die of smoke inhalation first, but I have seen in my 45 years far too many stories of folks who were horrifically burned and that scares the heck out of me.  Not the disfigurement, but the sheer pain.

2- Loss of independance.  Most of my RA friends will understand this but knowing that I have an illness that most likely will end up with me unable to do things for myself makes me more than a little crazy.  I am the caregiver- to think that I may need one, well, that's one quick way to get me into the doldrums.

3-  Extreme heights.  Have you seen that "points" ad where the chick climbs to the top of "the rock she really had in mind"?  Just watching that ad makes me feel a little nauseated.  "Lower" heights still don't bother me.  Last summer after a storm I was scaling my parents roof to remove limbs like it was my job.  I was never afraid of heights until we went to the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas.  Jim, Josh and I went out to visit my folks when Dad was still stationed at Nellis and did all of the tourist stuff.  Jim and I went up on the top of the Stratosphere and were walking around the observation deck when suddenly a whole group came out.  I ended up pressed against the railing and looked down.  Instant vertigo.  Hubby had to pull me away from the rail and help me back inside and that was that.  I just can't do it any longer.

4- Falling- this ties right in with the heights, but I can't deal with that feeling of being completely out of control as I fall.  My first thought was those rides where you are sitting in a seat and are taken to the top of what I think of as a pole and then it drops really fast?  Just typing that made my stomach drop.  Rapellng?  Um, no. I am not putting my faith in a little rope.  Base jumping?  Far too close to an object that I can hit.  Parachuting- not in this lifetime.  There is no reason to leave a perfectly safe plane and hurtle through the air. The funny thing is that as I think about this, even that slow motion, trip over your own feet and fall to the ground moment scares me more than it ever hurts.

There you have it, that's my top four.  Unfortunately, I could probably go on for quite some time longer.  I guess it's time to get out of my own head and go do something that challenges myself!  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Favorite Quote-

I am sure somewhere in these posts I have posted this before:  

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. "~~ Melodie Beattie"

This quote is the signature to my hotmail account.  I keep it close and available because it keeps me on the straight and narrow in terms of positivity.  When I am cranky, when I am having a rough day, when I am just in the dumps, I refer back.  I read this, I take a deep breath and then I am okay again.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jumping in at Day 2- May Blog Challenge

I found (on Pinterest) when I couldn't sleep last night, a Blog Challenge for May.  It suggests 31 different topics for the month.  I haven't done one of these before and I have been crazy busy and neglecting my blog of late so I thought this might get me back in the writing habit.  So I am jumping in here on day 2 with:

20 Facts About Me

  1. Mom, Josh and I are 20 years apart.  We were born in 1947, 1967 and 1987.
  2. Mom and I also married 20 years (and 4 days) apart:  February 1966 and February 1986.  
  3. Mom and I were both still 18 when we married- do that math!  
  4. I have no idea what my real hair color should be-I have been coloring since I was a young teenager.
  5. Though I color often, and like to try different things to do with it- I not-so-secretly hate my straight hair.
  6. As a military brat, I went to 13 different schools from K-graduation.
  7. Also as a brat (first daughter then wife) I got the opportunity to live in both the Philippines and Turkey as well as half a dozen different states.
  8. I love, love, love sunny days, be they 60 degrees or (like today) 90 or above. 
  9. I also love the way I look with a tan.
  10. If money were no object- I would retire tomorrow.
  11. If money were no object, I would also be significantly more high maintenance. 
  12. I love music. Almost ALL music. Everything from Classical to New Age, Country to Pop, Oldies to Alt Metal, Jazz to Blues. 
  13. I also love musicals- I watch Glee every week, Grease and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers every time they come on (and have seen ALL of the AFI's top 25 )and I loved the Broadway show RENT.  
  14. Courtesy of my husband, I have seen every Elvis movie over a dozen times.  
  15. I give my pups far too many treats.
  16. I also treat them like they are human kids instead of fur-babies.  
  17. I wrote an e-book in the midst of a year's insomnia and am working on a second.
  18. I am very fortunate to not only love but genuinely like my husband, my son, my parents and my sisters.
  19. I love social media and the true friends I have met through message boards, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more.  
  20. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  

There you have it- 20 facts about me.  When I was writing this- some of these just made me smile.  Best of all- flaws, quirks and all, I am thankful for each and every one of these facts. 

What about you?  You don't have to give me 20, but what about 5 facts about you?  Care to share?