Thursday, December 31, 2009

A look back and a look ahead

I have been happily on vacation for almost 2 weeks. I had big plans to post stuff and send holiday cards and read books and ski and on and on and on. So far, I haven't really done too much. It has been wonderful.

It was COLD when we got to Colorado (much colder than usual) so we decided not to ski the first few days. As it got nicer, people came to town in droves and we didn't want to wait in super long lift lines. So basically, we are just lazy.

Shiner has decided to protest the cold. She won't walk very far before she begins hopping around or just plain stops and refuses to go any further. My arms are getting pretty buff from carrying a 17 pound dog. Maybe I should invest in a dog purse. She has a coat and boots, but she doesn't like them either. Yeah - I am that lady. The one with the fully dressed dog walking like she has swim fins on.

I always get contemplative this time of year. I try to take a look back at the good and bad of the past year and think about the promise of the year to come. 2009 has been rough for a lot of people. Loss of jobs, loss of nest eggs, loss of people. Maybe the biggest thing is loss of faith in the system. I have certainly had my share of ups and downs, but compared to so many people I am blessed - or maybe just lucky. Here's to putting 2009 in the bag and for a bigger and better 2010!

I did however send off 2009 in style. I spent the day at a spa getting pampered. I started with a hot stone massage, moved on to a facial and finished up with an organic Peruvian chocolate body wrap. By the time I left I was so relaxed I was seeing colors.

It was so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays from Psycho Santa to you and yours

The Holidays have snuck up rather quickly. They always do, so I am not sure why I am always surprised. It is always a time of too much to do and excess food and fun, but I love this time of year. The photo above does not quite capture just how crazy that Santa is. He is affectionately known as Psycho Santa here, and when you flip the switch on his back his head swings back and forth like Stevie Wonder.

I really meant to participate in Cha Cha's Holiday Home Tour but I didn't quite get my act together in time. So here is glimpse of how we roll in the house of mutts and chaos.

Here is a shot of the outside decorations:

Notice I didn't say MY outside decorations. This would be the neighbor's house. We didn't put up a single thing.

That neighbor also baked us some cookies:

They are very cute and taste good too. Yes, Martha Stewart lives in my hood.

We did manage to get the tree put up. It is a bit of a Charlie Brown tree - you can see all the way through it even when it is decorated - but it's our Charlie Brown tree and we like it! This picture makes it look almost normal.

What is that under the tree? No, not presents, because we haven't really bought many. It's a dirty sleepy Shiner (the dog, not the beer.)

We lined up the nutcrackers next to the fireplace. Which we have actually had on 4 times this year since we had a bit of a cold snap here in Big D.

Years ago I spent days putting up tons of decorations. It did look nice, I will admit. Then one year I realized that I just didn't feel like doing it all, so I only did some. Each year it is a bit less (although I really did mean to put up a few outside things!) and the Holidays still come anyway.

This year we have gone to parties, hosted parties, spent time with friends and family, bought presents for adopted kids and grandparents, took the mutts to have their picture taken with Santa, and enjoyed a fair amount of holiday cheer thus far. We still have a few days to go, and I plan to pack in even more fun. I kind of think that is what it is all about and to hell with more decorations!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maybe Schneider can help

About a month ago I had a moment. I had a long day doing things out in the yard and throughout the house. I was busy, I was dirty, I was tired.

About the time the Cowboys game started I figured I would run to the grocery store. This is football country. A fair portion of the state comes to a screeching halt during the game. This particular week they were playing the Sunday night game, so it was about 7:30 when I headed out. I figured the store would be quiet and I could quickly purchase the necessary provisions.

I hadn't been to the store in a while, so the cupboards were pretty bare. I had planned to cook dinner every night, so I had a huge cart full of stuff. When I headed to the check out, the lines were full (apparently several women had the same idea I did), and I was ushered into a new line with a trainee. She was a a bit flustered and groceries were flying all over the place. Having my own bags threw her for a loop as well and I would up helping bag my stuff.

I really think that I had my keys in my hand at some point during that time, but by the time I got outside they were long gone. I took everything out of my purse. Nope. The store employees helped me look. We walked up and down every aisle. Nope. We looked in lost and found (where there were 6 sets of keys). Nope.

A bit of panic sets in. The Rockstar had ridden his bicycle about a mile down the road to the neighborhood cantina to watch the game with his friends. If I called him, it would be at least 45 minutes before he could pedal home get the spare keys and come get me. Plus, I would be hearing about how I interrupted the football game male bonding experience by losing my keys like a dingbat girl for the rest of my life.

I could walk the mile and a half home to get the extra keys and ride my bike back. Except that my bike is locked in the back of the Tahoe in the parking lot.

I decide to text a friend who lives about 2 blocks from the store. She laughs and promises to come get me. I am standing in the parking lot with my melting popsicles and bouquet of flowers when she drives up. She is such a nice friend that she drives me home and back before she tells me that she has been home from work for the last three days with the flu. I didn't even think to give her the bouquet of flowers. I suck.

The next day my keys showed up in the lost and found. Maybe I need one of those key clips like Schneider had - I bet he didn't lose his keys.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Death by PowerPoint

I work for a very large company. My usual day is a cross between a Dilbert cartoon and an episode of The Office with Milton from Office Space thrown in for good measure. Office gatherings are filled with akward pauses and uncomfortable situations.

I am a system architect for multiple large financial systems. Daily I must navigate code changes, abends, audit requests, regulatory requirements, and stupid users. Basically, I speak multiple kinds of geek.

But on the bright side, I have a boss who knows that he sometimes acts like the pointy-haired boss and is my friend as well as boss. I have a few normal co-workers too. It's a good way to pass time while I figure out what to be when I grow up.

I have meetings, pre-meeting meetings, partial team meetings, full team meetings, post meeting meeting reviews, status meetings, web conferencing and more every week (if not every day.) A person from another department glanced at my calendar and commented that I had a lot of meetings this week. I counted them - 27 meetings. Sadly, it was a light week.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Friday - the Thanksgiving edition

Things that made me happy this week:

my friend Stephanie who taught me a better way to peel a banana (from the bottom - pinch and peel!)

friends and family

turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, blueberry cream cheese pie


macy's parade (for a while anyway)

The Rockstar and the mutts

not being at work

I hope that everyone everywhere had a fabulous week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I guess no one said that life is fair.

I have probably known a disproportionate amount of death in my life. Some of it due to being adopted by parents who were in their 5o's when I was born (can you imagine? but that's a story for another day). Three grandparents gone by the time I was born, one when I was a kid. My parents within 6 months of each other when I was 21. Growing up in a small town meant that I had several friends die by the time I made it out of high school. College friends added to the count. Ironic that a suicide led to a funeral with more than 1000 people crowding into the church. Volunteer work with a cancer charity led me even closer to many wonderful people who are no longer with us.

With this life experience you would think that I have learned to accept it.

A few days ago I got an update from a friend that I have known since I was a kid. She has been battling cancer for almost year. She was always the good one. The vegetarian since we were young (growing up in a small town in the middle of ranching country - she was the only one), always exercised, always healthy. After a series of chemo and radiation that was pretty rough, they have run tests. The cancer is back. It has spread. It is inoperable. She is 36. She has 4 young children.

It makes me angry

It makes me sad.

It makes me want to tell everyone who is important to me how much I love them.

It makes me want to see more of the world.

It makes me want to make a difference.

It makes me want to make the most of every single day.

Many people have said it best: cancer sucks.

Happy Friday!

The Grand Essentials of Happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for --Allan K Chalmers

Weekly round-up of things that made me happy:

My mutts. Running with reckless abandon and wearing goofy sweaters.

The last flowers of fall.
Lunch with an old friend.
Nice dinners with a bottle of wine and good conversation.
Canceled meetings.
A good run.
The biscuit.

Live it up folks!

Monday, November 9, 2009

You've got to eat lean to be lean!

I am not normally a dieter. I truly believe in moderation of all things. I enjoy eating and drinking. Very much.

I am a dichotomy. Organic and locally grown foods chased down with a Dr Pepper or a margarita. Fast food lunches eaten while at my desk on conference calls versus vegetarian meals, growing our own veggies in the backyard garden and sustainably managed seafood.

I have always been lucky and been blessed with a pretty good metabolism. For the most part I ate what I wanted to, indulging my sweet tooth, got a fair amount of exercise, and things just pretty much worked out for the best.

I was warned it wouldn't last. My sisters and older friends told me I had better start learning good habits because it would only get harder. Those bastards were right! After I hit 30 it was all downhill. I suddenly found myself dragging out of bed at 5:30 am to get bossed around in boot camp - and I had to pay for that torture! The instructor - a former military drill sergeant - was super fit and full of witticisms. "You've got to eat lean to be lean!" "Run like you are running to the Krispy Kreme!" I was in good shape and I really liked it, but I just couldn't keep getting up that early.
I kept running, but learned that according to Runners World, you must run an extra mile per week each year after 30 to stay at the same weight. Who the hell came up with that stupid idea? Isn't that backwards? Shouldn't all those miles go into a bank to be drawn out later, kind of like a pension or 401K? This may be the most compelling evidence I have seen to suggest that the omnipotent is not of the female persuasion. A girl just wouldn't make that rule.
I tried to hold the line, but a huge project at work turned me into a stress eater. Vending machines don't offer the best choices for healthy meals, and the candy bowls around the office increased in direct proportion with the luming project deadline. Sigh . . . somehow I wound up with about 10-15 extra pounds.

I have been bitching and moaning about it for a while, but when my favorite jeans couldn't be shoehorned on anymore, I had to draw the line. I got serious a few weeks ago and went on a water drinking, veggie eating, no fast food binge. My biggest goal was to break the sugar cravings. The first few days were hard. I got very crabby. I also cheated a few days, eating out and having a few beers. (Wine comes from grapes, which are part of the fruit group and technically not cheating, right?) There was also an incident where I almost tackled a co-worker and stole her bag of candy corn. Bygones.

Net result . . . down 7 pounds so far and holding.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where everybody knows your name

Several years ago an acquaintance of mine and I decided to run a marathon. Neither of us had ever run more than a mile - and the last time either of us had done that was high school. It seemed like a lofty goal and we both figured "How hard can it be?" We were wrong . . . and we were right.

Many times during those first few months I asked myself what the hell I had been thinking as gasped for breath and fought the urge to curl up on the side of the road and wait for the buzzards to get me. As the weeks went by it got easier and my acquaintance became a good friend.

We survived. We raised money for charity. We made a bunch of new friends. Since that first marathon we have gone on to run several others, but that's a story for another day.

Our little group is not the stero-typical running group. We may not really look like runners. Most of us aren't super lean or super fast. We tend to slack off at times and are quick to cut a run short if we just aren't feeling it that day. We pick races based on how good the t-shirt is and how much swag we get.

One thing that we don't slack on is our post run routine. For years we have met in the same place on Wednesday nights at 6:45 pm. We run 3, 4, or 5 miles depending on the weather, training schedules, or general mood. Afterwards . . . we do not pass go, we do not collect $200, we go directly across the street to New York Pizza and Pasta for food and adult beverage.

We have been going there since the week it opened. We were one of the very first group photos that was hung on the wall and we were put in a place of prominence. (Since then, we have been bumped to the corner in favor of all sorts of local celebrities.) They welcome us warmly, rearrange their tables for us, and happily eat our extra birthday cake.

It's great to have a place where you are a regular, and it's great to have a group of friends that you can exercise with and then go put all those calories back with. Good times.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Friday!

I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, and today I decided that enough was enough.

The weather was absolutely fabulous. A perfect fall day. The Rockstar and his friends headed out this morning for a long motorcycle ride, and I took the mutts for a stroll before heading to work. As usual, they are high on life. They prance, they bounce, they smile. We could all learn some things from dogs. They truly live in the moment.

When I got to work, my calendar was surprising clear and the big boss was gone. My boss decided that we all have been working too much lately and sent us (including himself) home after lunch. WOO HOO!

I drove home with the top down on my car, the wind blowing my hair and a big smile on my face. A truck driver gave me an enthusiastic "Hey beautiful!" Who cares if it is a bit demeaning and if he says it to any woman with a pulse. I am quite sure he was sincere.

I got home, did some yard work and played ball with the mutts. I love fall. Even in Texas where it doesn't last long. I do believe that Dakota concurs (and that the poor girl hasn't missed any meals recently!)

I went to yoga, where I haven't been in a while, but I sorely miss. Just walking through the door is calming and relaxing. Bonus: I ran into a friend who gave me a box full of produce from her CSA! I talked to my sister and we are planning a trip together soon.

Today, I celebrate Happy Friday!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Now I can sleep at night!

Over the years we have gone through many many computers. We have had a few accidents with laptops - dropped, smashed, crunched, soaked with water, etc. One memorable time when Deuce was a puppy he crawled up on my lap while I was working. I thought that he was so cute and sweet and cuddly until he looked right at me and projectile vomited all over me and my laptop.

Sadly, we have lost more than a few things over the years. Music, photos, important documents, who knows what else.

Enter the time machine. This thing really is cool. It will wirelessly - and automagically - back up multiple computers with NO intervention! Because, let's be honest, I am never going to actually back anything up with any regularity. My friend the time machine - I call him Phil (as in Phil F Nformation) - quietly goes about his business, backing up my laptop every hour. If my laptop isn't there or turned on he patiently waits until I get back and then catches up and saves all my information safe and sound.

Phil is also a wireless print server and a 2 gig network hard drive. He has been working hard for a month, and I am happy to have him. I love Phil and task 93 is complete!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


My heart hurts.

Life isn't all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes it really really stinks.

Someone very close to me said some very hurtful things to me last night. Some of them are probably true, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. I didn't sleep at all. I had to be at work for a 7:30 am meeting - a good two hours before I normally show up. The meeting has to do with a major shake-up - something that is causing everyone at work to be on edge. I am exhausted.

Something that I have been looking forward to for months and invested dozens of hours of my time in has been ripped out from underneath me. I am very sad for the loss.

My house is a mess. It should be a sanctuary and a place for me to be able to relax and unwind. An island of calm in a stressed out world. Not so much. There is so much clutter creating negative energy. It has been raining so much and for so long that the backyard is a swamp and muddy dog prints are everywhere.

I am really sad and hurt and down and lost right now.

At least my dogs still love me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A little trip down memory lane

This weekend I will be heading back to the town where I went to college for a sorority reunion. I haven't been there since the day I moved away many years ago. I have kept in touch with a few girls off and on, and thanks to the miracle that is Facebook I am now in touch with several more. There has been quite a buzz since we haven't been together in years.

I dug out my old scrapbooks to take a little trip down memory lane. There were several recurring themes. Lots of good times. Lots of bows. Lots of hair. Very big hair. Cute Boys. Lack of sunscreen. Road trips. Laughter. Questionable fashion choices.

Strangely, there was no evidence of libraries, vegetables, or early morning jogs.

A whole lot of booze and tanning bed rays must have damaged my brain, because I really don't remember a lot of the details. Pretty sad really, but not too unusual for me. Friends often recall things that happened even recently that I just can't remember.

The Rock Star gives me a hard time rather often because I am constantly forgetting things that happened or we talked about. Just this week he noticed a scuff on my bumper and on the doorway to the garage. He asked me if I hit something, and of course I said no. Then I started thinking that maybe I did - I just can't quite remember. How do you forget driving into a wall?

Part of the problem is that often I don't think that I am really paying attention or living in the moment. That certainly needs to change. It is said that to fight off dementia and Alzheimers people should keep their brains active with crosswords, puzzles, reading etc.
I better do something, because at this rate, by the time I am 50 I will be shuffling around the neighborhood in my bathrobe looking for our cat that died 6 years ago and trying to remember which house is mine.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Round and Round

A few weeks ago I had my first experience with roller derby.

A friend has been part of the derby league in Dallas for years. For years, we have told her we would come watch. And we really meant it, but we never seemed to get there. She had to threaten to retire to finally get our butts in gear.

I just have to say . . . roller derby is awesome! Rowdy crowd, witty names, fast-pace, cheap beer = hell of a way to spend the evening.

The names and numbers are great: Jackie O'NiceAss, June Carter Crash, Smashley Simpson, Nitro-Jen, Rink Panther, Filmore Pain, Strawberry Deathcake. I want to join just to get a cool name.

Most of the crowd seemed to be regulars. Luckily for our group they print the rules in the program and members of the crowd are happy to explain the nuances of the game (match? bout?). Before long we actually understood what was happening and were cheering along.

The energy was fabulous. These women are loud and proud and the stands are full of boyfriends, husbands, girlfriends, children, parents and friends who are proud to support them. Who doesn't want to spend time with strong, empowered, confident women? As Martha would say, It's a good thing.

Hopefully the movie Whip It will make it even more popular. More people should enjoy the derby.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned Books Week Sept 26 - Oct 3

I have always loved to read. From my earliest days I can remember my dad reading to me every single night. Of course there were the normal children's stories. My absolute favorite was Fantastic Mr Fox, a fabulous book by Roald Dahl which is about to be released as a movie voiced by George Clooney. I bet my dad read that book to me 100 times. I also remember the Bunnicula series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and everything by Shel Silverstein. Big books, small books, thick books, skinny books. Big words, small words. What seems a bit unusual (or at least I haven't heard of others doing this) is that we also read a lot of non-fiction. We read National Geographic books about nature and animals. We read history and science books. Biographies and Tell me Why.

I grew up in a big old rambling house. There were books everywhere. Shelves upon shelves of books about anything and everything. Fiction and non-fiction. Old and new. Reading and learning wasn't really encouraged - it didn't have to be. It just happened. As the only child at home and living in a small town in the middle of nowhere books were the path to a million adventures.

As an adult, I have gone through phases. Sometimes life gets in the way of reading, but I always find my way back to books. I am in two different book clubs. One is the normal kind of club - women and wine and (usually) mainstream novels. The other is made of a motley crew of coworkers - all men, all quite a bit older than I am. We only read books from the list of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th century. Many times we have preconceived notions of what a book will be, often times we are wrong. The books are widely varied and so are the points of view. It is wonderful to be able to be a part of it.

Banned books? I guess I just don't understand. Why would someone think that they should make choices for me? That they are qualified to decide what is appropriate and what is not. I fully admit that there is a lot of crap published in this world. But I also would never presume to say that it doesn't have the right to exist. I would never tell anyone what they can and can not read or do or think. If everyone in the world spent more time worrying about themselves and less time worrying about others, I think that the world would be a much better place.

Each year for banned books week I try to read another book on the banned books list. This year, it will be The Chocolate War. My sincere hope is that many others do the same.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One of those days . . .

You know how sometimes you have the best intentions, but things just don't go your way? In the grand scheme of things, it's nothing major, but several moments today were a comedy of errors, embarrassing moments and lack of productivity.

I had big plans - a list a mile long of tasks to be accomplished. Errands, marathon training, household chores and cleaning to be done before we have friends over for Monday night football.

Up early and out to lake to meet friends for a run. Had to leave Dakota home, since the plan was to run 14 miles and she hasn't run in a few months. The more dedicated members of the group were absent, so the rest of us decided to shorten to 10. At mile 4 my knee started hurting, so I whined and walked. 8 miles complete and I came home to Dakota looking at me like she knew she could have come all along.

Off to run errands. I took Shiner with me even though I had the top down in the car. Trying to go the extra mile in the green department, I planned to drop off a large piece of glass at the framing shop. I had broken the corner and the shop will cut it down to reuse in smaller sizes. On the way in the door, Shiner barked at a lady, causing me to turn around quickly and drop the glass on the sidewalk outside the store. Of course, it breaks into many pieces - probably all too small to be reused. Poor worker guy has to come out and help me pick up the pieces. Basically, I just brought him a pile of trash and extra work. SUPER EMBARRASSING!

Off to drop off a bunch of bags at the charity shop and there is a festival between me and where I need to go. Streets closed, detours, traffic jams. Smart people would have gone back another day. Not me. 40 mins later I made it just in the nick of time. Items dropped off and the scenic route home.

Picked up some pictures that I had enlarged for framing, and didn't look at them in the store - dumb, huh? Got them home and 2 out 10 have splotches on them. Guess I am going back tomorrow, because I think that I am staying home for the rest of the day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back in the bad old days

Kids these days have it so easy!

They have stylish people to emulate. Music is full of fashionable and super sexy women. When I was in my formative years, I had to rock animal print spandex, fringed leather jackets and 2 cans of aqua-net.

Or maybe some lace gloves, big cross jewelry and leggings (also with big hair)?

Sweatshirt with the collar cut off (ditto big hair)?

Why couldn't I get some of this kind of thing?

If my generation hadn't had to use all that aqua-net, there might not be a hole in the ozone layer today!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

I have been to Colorado a million times, but I seem to keep going to the same places over and over again. Having to go solo to a family wedding (where solo means dragging the dogs along) I figured that this would be a great time to take the scenic route and go somewhere I had never been before.

I had to go from Breck to Longmont. Google maps suggested going to Denver and then heading north - BORING! I see enough of that road on the CME van from the airport. So, after about 10 minutes of thought I chose to head up through Rocky Mountain National Park. The mutts are always up for a road trip, so we headed out early with camera and scooby snacks in hand.

It was a nice little adventure, although the poor dogs weren't welcome at many places in the park. We saw lots of nature and wildlife, had a picnic, went on a hike, took a little swim (them, not me) barked at some people (again, them) and had a great time. They took a really long nap when we got to the hotel.

Family wedding went well . . . family bonding, food and wine.

Another scenic route on the way home, more to see and bark at. Happy dogs, relaxed Laura. We should do this kind of thing WAY MORE OFTEN!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hello, Tall, Blond and Dead

I just watched the season finale of the HBO series True Blood. It is a pretty good show - sometimes a bit corny (including tonight) but different than the normal fare. It takes place in Louisiana and follows the lives of some people in a small town. And by people I mean people, vampires, shape-shifters, fairies, werewolves and such. It's pretty southern - full of accents, front porches, bars, sweltering days and half naked men.

This type of show is not my typical genre, but this particular show has a few pretty people to look at, so that helps me remember to tune in. My particular favorite would be Eric Northman, aka Alex Skarsgard.

I wouldn't mind being a vampire if I could hang out with him for a few hundred years. Which got me pondering . . . . think of all the time you'd have if you became a vampire! You could learn so much about so many different subjects. Anything and everything. And that folks, is what makes me a complete geek.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

14 years goes by so fast

Fourteen years ago today (September 10, 1995) I got a terrible phone call on a Sunday morning. I was 22 and had just graduated from college. I didn't have a job and was trying to figure out where life would take me.

My father taught Sunday school in our small town church. At the end of the class, after leading them in prayer, my father had a massive stroke. It was over quickly and peacefully just seven months after my mother died.

I remember throwing some clothes in the car and heading out for the 4 hour drive back home after calling my sisters and giving them the news. I remember Fire and Rain by James Taylor playing on the radio. I remember that it was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. When I got to the hospital my father looked at peace. When I got to the house, Teddy the dog knew that something wasn't right.

It is hard to believe that 14 years have gone by. I was so close to my father, and now I have learned to live without him. He was brilliant, well-read, strong and handy. He could remodel a house or discuss quantum physics. He walked around humming to himself all the time. He always encouraged me, believed in me, and provided me with everything I needed and more. I am thankful that I got 22 years, but sad that I never got to know him when I was an adult, or that the Rock Star never got to meet him.

I miss you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm a maniac on the floor

1980. Dance class. Little girls in pink leotards. One girl is taller and a just a bit more awkward than the rest. She likes to dance, realizing that she isn't very good at it but not really caring. She stuck with it for a while, but eventually moved on to other things.

Fast forward to 2008. A friend mentions that she is taking a dance class at a local community college. She claims that it's for beginners and lots of fun. She wants others to join in the fun, and many say that it sounds like fun, but they are unsure.

Fall 2009 rolls up and she mentions it again. Goal 51. Sign up for a dance class. So . . . welcome to intro to Jazz and hip-hop. I bought some Jazz shoes and I am ready to roll. I am nervous and out of my element and dorky and still awkward, but who cares?

And no, I didn't tell anyone about the recital!

Monday, August 24, 2009

One word says it all

This is the first time ever that I have actually completed one of these. But in the spirit of doing things that I normally say no to, here goes nothin.

One Word Answers Only!

1. Where is your cell phone? couch
2. Your hair? messy
3. Your mother? heaven
4. Your father? ditto
5. Your favorite food? fajitas
6. Your dream last night? hazy
7. Your favorite drink? DP
8. Your dream/goal? peace
9. What room are you in? family
10. Your hobby? lots
11. Your fear? crickets
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? fufilled
13. Where were you last night? bathtub
14. Something that you aren't? shy
15. Muffins? blueberry
16. Wish list item? organization
17. Where did you grow up? Alpine
18. Last thing that you did? tennis
19. What are you wearing? tank
20. Your TV? Weeds
21. Your pets? pups
22. Friends? many
23. Your life? busy
24. Your mood? contemplative
25. Missing someone? definitely
26. Vehicle? rag-top
27. Something you're not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? purple
30. When was the last time you laughed? tonight
31. Last time you cried? yesterday
32. Your best friend? Terri
33. One place that I go over and over? work
34. One person who emails me regularly? Brad
35. Favorite place to eat? home

One word answers are harder than you think!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Green Habits

Not so long ago in a galaxy no so far away . . .

A person walks into a store to buy stuff. The clerk says "Paper or Plastic?" Person says, no thanks I brought my own. Clerk says "Huh?" "Really?" or "Why?" Clerk tries to wrap things in plastic before putting them in the reusable bag. Clerk puts 3 items in each reusable bag and then tries to put the rest of the items in plastic. Person gets tired and sad of always explaining the merits of reusable bags to clerks.

Now, it's much more common to see people carrying their own bags. Or declining a bag when they buy just one or two items. Hallelujah! Praise God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, and Brad Pitt. It's about time! Sure, there's still a LONG way to go, but we are making progress.

I have been carrying my reusable bags to the store for years. I was hit and miss for a while, but I made a conscious effort to focus on making the task a habit, and lo and behold, it became one pretty easily! (The key is having lots and lots of bags. Leave some in every vehicle at all times and hang them on the doorknob to the garage after you unpack so that can't help but put them back in the car.) If you leave them in the car while you are in the store, make yourself go back outside to get them.

For my first new green habit, I thought that it would be fitting to kick it up a notch. I had seen people using them, but never managed to get any of my own. I would try not to use produce bags, but sometimes it was inevitable. Now I am the proud owner of these re-usable produce bags:

I can highly recommend them. They are lightweight but sturdy. Get over to and get some of you own!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My kingdom for a post!

So . . . when you create a blog and don’t tell anyone about it, you are only accountable to yourself right? Well, self, you aren’t doing too well. In fact, some might call you a slacker or a slouch.

Even though I have been working on my list and keeping busy with life and whatnot, I haven't gotten into a blogging routine. It's a lot harder than one might think.

I have completed a couple of tasks and have many more in progress. Updates will follow soon - sometimes life just gets in the way . . .

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Back in the compost groove

Behold the coolest new compost pail in all the land . . .

We have had a compost pile for several years. We dutifully stored our kitchen scraps in a plastic bucket under the sink and carted them out to the compost pile every few days. I added fallen leaves and straw and this and that. We had a pretty good thing going for a while . . . then we got two puppies.

They started off their lives on a bad note. Someone pitched them out onto a highway in a cardboard box when they were six weeks old. A kind woman stopped and grabbed them and took them to a shelter. We had been looking for a dog for a few weeks. We lost the best dog ever - teddy - a few months before and Shiner (our crazy white mutt) was feeling lonely, so we had been searching. After a few tearful trips to the shelter, I just couldn't go back. I told the Rock Star that I would trust him to find us a dog whenever and wherever. A few weeks later he called and told me I needed to come home for lunch, and I opened the door to find two puppies galloping around at full speed. A few days later they had names - Deuce and Dakota - were feeling like part of the family, and had gained a sense of adventure.

If you took your eyes off them outside they would wiggle through, under or around the fence and head out to visit the neighbor's horses, or their swimming pool, their dogs, their trash cans, their BBQs, anything and everything. After several unsuccessful attempts to contain them, we surrendered. The access to the compost pile had to be blocked off. After that, I needed a ladder to climb up and over the fence to get to it, and well . . . you know what happened.

They are older and wiser now, and no longer try to escape at all times. So, the walls came down and we are back in business. It took about 3 days for composting to go back to being second nature. Our nifty new compost pail sits under the sink again waiting for scraps.

It's good to be green and task 20 is COMPLETE!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Everyone Loves a List

Another day, another list. The idea is intriguing, 101 tasks in 1001 days. Find out more here.

I started my first life list in high school. Some of the items have changed, and those first lists are long gone, but this as a good time to re-focus. Long term life list items are listed at the bottom (some of them didn't fit in the 101/1001 plan).

This sounds like a great way to shake things up. I started on March 17 and will have until December 13, 2011 to complete this list.

In progress

Keeping my priorities straight:
1. *Private* - Relationship
2. Pups - more exercise, more training, more dog park, more petting, more lovin
3. block out time for things I enjoy - friends, family, baking, tennis, biking, walks, etc

Planes, trains, automobiles and adventure:
4. Say "yes" to at least 10 things I would initially say "no" to (5/10)
5. travel to 3 states and 3 countries I have never been to before
6. ride in a hot air balloon
7. leave my city once a month, leave my country once a year
8. scuba dive (6/19/10)
9. skydive
10. paintball
11. visit at least 10 new places (2/10)
12. visit dfw as if I was a tourist
13. volunteer abroad
14. go to 5 museums (1/5)
15. climb to the top of a tree and take a picture of the view
16. go to the beach (6/18-6/23/2010)
17. take a trip by myself (6/18-6/23/2010)

Mama nature:
18. adopt one new "green" habit per month (4/33)
19. gardening - finish all my projects
20. compost - revive my pile and get a new bucket for the kitchen (3/27/09)

Building up my karma:
21. stop bitching about something and try to change it
22. give 10 anonymous gifts (0/10)
23. complete at least 1 cycle of 29 gifts
24. Donate 1 million grains of rice on FreeRice and 5 trees from answer4earth
25. Help someone through Kiva (01/12/2010)
26. write anonymous post it notes and leave them for people to find (0/50)
27. send notes to people's supervisors when they do a great job (2/10)
28. tell 5 teachers or others how much they have influenced me
29. compliment 1 person I don't know well each day for 30 days (0/30)
30. donate blood regularly (not just when they come to the office)

Let's get physical . . . it's best to look good AND feel good!
31. re-establish yoga practice (home and studio)-be able to do splits, scorpion & handstand
32. maintain standards for pushups (75) , sit-ups (80) and 2 mile run (17:00)
33. down with Dr Pepper, up with H2O
34. be able to do at least 2 unassisted pull-ups
35. incorporate small bits of exercise and stretching into my work day
36. lose 10-15 pounds (9 gone!)
37. brush/floss/wash face/take out contacts/take vitamins etc EVERY NIGHT!
38. back to being more girly - nails, lotions, smelly stuff, hair, clothes

Just call me a polymath:
39. read 50 books
40. exercise my brain - new words, puzzles, games, etc
41. learn to make candles
42. learn to juggle
43. learn to knit
44. learn a cool magic trick
45. learn to play chess
46. take a fencing class (knowing how to sword fight might be handy!)
47. go to the shooting range to be comfortable with our gun
48. learn a large basic set of phrases in another language (or 2)
49. make 1000 paper cranes and and learn 5 other origami shapes
50. learn a great joke and a great go-to toast for a couple of occasions
51. take a dance class (9/5/09-11/15/09)
52. come up with a go-to signature alcoholic beverage order

Social Butterfly:
53. host a dinner at least every 2 months (1/16)
54. host a mystery dinner party
55. host a theme party (costumes, roller skating, etc.)
56. create a list of family and friends I want to nurture relationships with
57. communicate at least once a week with someone on that list
58. learn 100 new facts about those on the list
59. join postcrossing and send/receive at least 10 postcards
60. accompany 5 friends/family for one of their favorite hobbies that I haven't done

Food, food and more food:
61. try 15 foods that I have never tried before (4/15)
62. try 15 foods that I think that I don't like (2/15)
63. bring my lunch to work at least 3 days per week (0/143)
64. eat at 20 new restaurants (no chains) (8/20)
65. try at least 5 new recipes each month (0/33)
66. take a cooking class
67. have 15-20 great go-to recipes in each category (apps, main, veg main, sides, desserts)
68. join the organic/locally grown food coop (04/14/2009)
69. eat breakfast at least 5 times per week (0/143)

For my sanity:
70. find balance - work/home/other interests
71. write letters to myself to open on future milestone birthdays & end of challenge
72. start each day for 1 month with 15 minutes of quiet time/meditation (0/31)
73. make a list of 25 things I like about myself (1/2010)
74. make a list of 25 things that make me happy (12/2009)
75. make a list of the cool things that would be on this list if I hadn't already done them (4/15/09)
76. don't complain about anything for an entire month (0/31)
77. don't make a sarcastic or rude comment for one week (0/7)

It's all about the Benjamins:
78. get out of debt/stay out of debt
79. grow emergency fund to $10,000 and keep it there - start rainy day fund after that
80. write will/get papers in order
81. go 40 days without buying any material thing for myself that I don't need
82. create budget and stick to it - plus really track where all money goes for a few weeks

Creativity is cool:
83. scrapbooks - get current and stay current
84. scrapbook - finish T's birthday gift
85. scan family photos and create DVD
86. begin family trees and geneology project (recruit family members to help)
87. take a photography class (done! 4/24/10)
88. get a new camera and use it
89. take an art class - painting or ceramics

Free my Chi:
90. clear clutter, free up energy
91. re-establish household routines (daily, weekly, monthly)
92. pick up after myself - never let things get out of hand
93. photos and other docs into offline backup (11/2/09)
94. throw out socks and undies I would be embarrassed about wearing if I got hit by a bus
95. work on focusing on the task at hand instead of succumbing to my total ADD
96. closet clean out/wardrobe update - if it doesn't fit or look fabulous, out it goes!

Rules, there must be rules:
97. create a blog for this pursuit and post updates as tasks are completed
98. take a picture to celebrate each goal's completion
99. put $10 in savings for each task completed and buy something special with it
100. for every task not completed donate $20 to charity
101. have a party to celebrate the completion of my 1001 days

Some of these tasks may sound a little vague, but rest assured that I have specifics for each of them. I will use this blog to hold myself accountable. Stay tuned!

Life List Goals (in no particular order)

Visit all 50 states (28 so far)
Visit 75 countries (8 so far)
Make a quilt
Fly a plane
Write a book
Ballroom dancing
Climb a mountain
Become a beekeeper
Get a donkey
Go rock climbing
Learn to surf
Learn to sail
Become a black belt
Be able to hold my own at gambling
Create a foundation/charity and GIVE, GIVE, GIVE
Learn sign language
Be conversational in three new languages
Take a road trip with no pre-determined destination
Take a class every year (or 2 at most) - can be something new or learning more
Some ideas for classes: art history, world literature, wine, web design
Take up piano again
Write down as many of my childhood memories as I can remember
Help others do the same
Be known as a fabulous cook, photographer, friend, relative and lover