04/27/12 Sweating Inspiration!


What a great week it’s been! Getting outside everyday and sweating, I forgot how much enjoyment is in “glistening” with odoriferous perspiration! Walking has turned from torture a week ago into still huffing and puffing (fractionally less!), a lot of sweat and a feeling of accomplishment that moi hasn’t keeled over and is still going!

Two WordPress blogs have inspired me: Joyful Journey and Fabulous 50’s. They’ve managed to make fitness and perspiration seem desirable and not something to avoid at all costs! For that, I am grateful!

Joyful Journey talked about the website www.myfitnesspal.com  It’s got the nicest phone app that allows me to download my exercise, food, notes, lots of cool things. Very motivating and FREE! I love free lately. 🙂  It mimics the features of other well-known sites that do not offer such services for free and it’s extremely easy to use on my Motorola Droid. Gotta love that, no notebooks to tote around for journals, food diaries, whatever.

I can’t get away from it. Over at Facebook, different friends are writing about training for events and the accomplishment they feel moving from walking to running and busting a move in general. Emily and her mom Joanne lead the pack of inspiring women in their posts about “Girls on the Run.”

My brother Jon and his wife Marcia are in on the act. During the last family gathering at Easter, unlike me, they didn’t look like they’d been up close and personal with an air hose planted up their bums! I can’t hiss at them, as I know they work out and don’t eat like rebellious children.

My book club friend Deb, definitely a long cool woman with a blonde mane, also inspires me to move. She’s about as slim as they come and breaks a sweat regularly.

Obviously, I can’t beat them, so I wave the love seat lizard’s white flag.

I’m ready to join them, call Cecil B. DeMille and tell him “I’m ready for my glistening close up, Mr. DeMille!”

Drops of sweat

Drops of sweat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

04/23/12 Walking Through The Park One Day


Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took the plunge yesterday and headed to Veteran’s Park. Meeting a friend after church, we walked the track for two miles. Truthfully, not a pretty sight! This is the first real walk I’ve taken in a couple of years, I think.

The lungs can get very lazy from non-use over such a period. Each time we hit the slight upgrade of the track, I believe other walkers thought a delirious female version of The Big Bad Wolf was lurking in the park! I’m glad no little piggies were around, they would have squealed all the way home. 🙂

It’s interesting to note that in the past, I didn’t like walking with other people at all. Moi was very content being an island unto herself. Now I appreciate the company of others. It made me get my tail out there when I’m sure I’d rather have been at home reading a good book.

However, I don’t like that my breathing is so compromised lately. Funny how you take breathing for granted until it becomes a chore. Then one learns to appreciate it for the gift it truly is. I want it back.

I’m willing to huff and puff until I walk this girth off. Please warn any nearby piggies!

4/21/12 Life Isn’t Always BIG Moments


I remember beginning this blog, sitting at the dining room table just like I am today. Window open (to hear the birds) and hot coffee were my only requirements. That seems to be the case today! The thing with writing a blog, for me, is that I feel like I should have a BIG topic to write about. 

The only big things lately in my life have been doing my tax forms on April 15th and 16th. Surprisingly, we’re getting refunds. Not sure how that happened. I’m grateful. A little money is always a nice thing. Two or three years ago, I ended up owing an obscene amount of money (obscene to me, a drop in the bucket to Donald Trump). I did mystery shops during 2009. It clearly wasn’t for the money; or the taxes I’d pay later! The shops provided escape from pain and a bit of an adventure. There were some funny moments! In retrospect, I learned a lot about some unexpected things. That’s not so bad, at the end of the day.

Filing online is an option and touted as FREE, but only if you make under $2. a year, it seems. Life is funny; I’ll waste money on a lot of things, but tell me I have to pay to have someone else fill out my forms and that just tears it! I refuse to pay someone else to file my taxes. I’m a numbers addict. Love the thrill of making the numbers all come out right. I told you my life is pathetically not big!

I’m still in my friend Deb’s book club. We’ve read some brilliant books. The newest selection is “Icy Sparks“. I got the large print edition from the library this week (LOVE large print!) and I’ll let you know what I think.

I took a break from working with my elderly friends recently. One lament is that I only have so many hours in the day. My job, home life, sleeping, writing and reading consume most of my time. Craig bought lottery tickets to help us win early retirement. Alas, we didn’t win big and we’re both still working. 🙂 It’s spring time and I’ve signed to do a few birthday visits with Little Brother’s friends. Their Senior Prom is in May and I think that’s going to be a wonderful evening. Don’t laugh, but I never went to a prom in my life. How ironic: I finally get to go to a prom, but only because I’m escorting the elderly to their prom. Life throws you a chuckle every so often!

My son leaves for Andros Island in the Bahamas soon. For the first time in fifteen years, I’ll be without child for more than an over-nighter. What does a person do without kids in the house? My school never took us to the Bahamas. We thought it was a big deal to ride a bus with our French teacher Mrs. Malvitch (sorry, I can’t remember how to spell it and she’s probably not still around to correct me!) down to Florida for a few days during Spring Break.

Well, I must depart for now. In celebration of Earth Day, Garden Street Recycling is paying seventy cents a pound for aluminum cans. I have about ten bags to haul down. Recyling paid for most of Kevin’s trip to Andros and it’s time to start saving for next year’s trip!

Blessings and do something positive for the Earth this weekend!

Embracing My Squirrely Self


 

     This is an essay about a few of my favorite squirrely memories. I hope it brings a smile to your day. All of the stories are true, the names of the squirrels have been changed to avoid retribution by the little buggers. 🙂

 

 

Over the years, I’ve taken heat for admitting to my squirrel kinship. Denying the truth for a long time, it became apparent to me that you can’t beat squirrels. You may as well join them, so, I gave up and accepted that somehow, squirrel was part of my package!

It all started years ago. My dad talked about outsmarting the squirrels who kept getting in his bird feeder. They couldn’t be outwitted, even when he greased the pole with Crisco. This did stop them for awhile and they did rather resemble furry firemen sliding down the pole on the way to a fire, but eventually they managed to get to the birdseed and had the last laugh.

I rather admired their tenacity.

Around the same time, my husband had a hankering to grow tomatoes. We live in the heart of the city, so any tomatoes grown would be in container pots. Easily enough done, but he started to notice little bite marks and missing bits. Determining squirrels to be the culprit, we decided we’d outsmart the varmints.

We spoke with gardening buffs about the problem. A variety of solutions promised to run the critters off. Spreading cat hair on the potting soil repels squirrels. It didn’t repel squat. Word from the woods behind our house said they used the feline fur as a nature napkin after chomping away.

Another suggestion: drawing circles around the pots on the ground with bars of soap, the smell would deter them. Not only did it not deter them, they appeared to appreciate these friendly humans who left soap out for them to freshen up after their picnic!

On top of that, I realized the soap circles resembled some kind of backwoods evil ritual spot. It didn’t scare the squirrels any, but the designs gave ME the willies. The soap didn’t wash away nearly as easily as it went on, but the ground did smell Irish Spring fresh for awhile!

I’m sad to say that the squirrels got every single tomato that year. Craig tried again a few years later, but kept the pots on our back porch. He resembled Bill Murray’s gopher-battling character in “Caddy Shack” as he plotted against our tomato munching bandits. This time, we didn’t let the tomatoes reach red perfection. He picked the tomatoes while they were still a bit green and placed them in the kitchen window to ripen. We cheesed the poachers off that year. Craig reacted victoriously, as if he had scored a strategic military coup!

Cover of "Caddyshack"

Caddyshack's Gopher inspired fun loving squirrels everywhere!

 

 

 

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  Much to my mom’s consternation, I never liked wearing dresses or frilly clothes. After embracing my squirrelliness, my reoccuring vision is of myself with other squirrels in red sequined mini dresses wearing white gogo boots. We dance in a chorus line with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. My mom would be so proud, if she were alive, to see me in a dress; but, shake her head that it took the fantasy of my squirrel life to wear one!

Meanwhile, I daydream of the squirrels who live in my woods and training them to dance. I’d sew little dresses, make suitable gogo boots and then call David Letterman to book our national debut on his show. Mom would beam at finally having a star in the family. My living relatives will probably change their names and go into hiding!

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Years have been spent plotting how to secure an early medical retirement from my job. The usual avenue for this is to prove either a physical disability or a mental condition rendering me unable to work. None of my schemes have worked so far. A while back, arriving at work and walking along the path between the neighborhood swimming pool, local library and my workplace, it appeared that retirement was about to be mine.

It’s always a pleasure to see my squirrel brothers and sisters, greeting them with a cheery good morning. For whatever reason, they don’t respond in an equally friendly way. If a dime was earned for every time they assume an alert position on the ground and scold me with an annoyed “tsk tks irks tsk irks tsssk,” I could probably fund that early retirement. Apparently they’re not morning creatures until they’ve had that first cup of coffee.

On this particular morning, I spied a fine furry fellow and called out, “Hello brother or sister. Good day to you!” Well, the little bugger proceeded to give me a tongue lashing. Running up a telephone pole, I believe he stuck his tongue out at me. This rude reply raised my hackles. I marched over to the telephone pole and shouted at him, “WHAT is your problem? I do nothing but treat my fine furry kin with love and this is the thanks I get?” If he’d had one of our old tomatoes, he would have lobbed it at me. There I stood, hands on hips, waiting for an explanation. He lorded over me, with that tongue cheekily waving in the wind. At an impasse, I told him if this kept up, greetings wouldn’t be so kind in the future.

About that time I looked up and saw my boss standing outside the garage door of the building, having a cigarette and watching me. My mind immediately squirrelled around two different dilemmas. Did he see me arguing with the squirrel, or did he think I was arguing with the telephone pole? Either way, I could hear his brain singing out, “Cuckoo, Cuckoo” and I turned red as, you got it, a tomato.

My mind quickly realized this could work to my advantage. Finally, a witness to the fact that I’d lost it. ‘Early Retirement’, here I come! Straightening my shoulders, I punched the code that opened the gate to the parking lot. Approaching the door, I mumbled ‘Morning’, sure he’d quiz me on my irrational display. He replied, “Morning, Suse!” as if he hadn’t seen a thing out of the ordinary. Drat! So much for early retirement.

**********

It was time to come out to my family about my squirrel nature. I used my fiftieth birthday party invitation in 2009 to do so. It had multiple pictures of Glendale squirrels, a squirrel enjoying a birthday cake topped with peanuts, and a photo of me taken when I was five years old. It read:

‘I’d like to celebrate that God’s given me fifty years on this Earth (I’ve had some BRILLIANT adventures so far… can’t wait to see what I pull off by the time I hit seventy-five!) with a few friends, family and other questionable associates. If you’d like to stop in for a drink, that’d be splendiferous!

I don’t need gifts (actually, I’d welcome your prayers) (and I could use an A.A.R.P. card application) On second thought, I’d LOVE one of those giant Squirrel statues scattered all over Glendale!

But I would like to ask something: please DO SOMETHING for a cause that means something to YOU. Give of yourself: fifty pennies, fifty quarters, fifty seconds being nice to someone you normally wouldn’t notice, call someone you’ve lost touch with, it’s up to you and your imagination. Then write a note and tell me what you came up with.

I’d like to make my fiftieth birthday as unique as I am and count my blessings with friends!’

I suppose it was too radical a concept. Only a few people did as the invitation suggested and gave of themselves to someone else. I was delighted to see a great variety of squirrel birthday cards. Cousin Linda gave me a lovely bronze squirrel candle holder which I promptly named Stanley. My sister gave me a squirrel holding salt and pepper shakers which got named (appropriately) Stella.

Another person gave me cash. Some of the money went to charity. I used a bit of it to buy an adorable stone squirrel and named her Sweetpea. She resides in my front porch garden; smiling at me whenever I sit by her and her squirrel friend Tulip, with a cup of coffee.

As they say, charity begins at home!

04/13/12 Welcoming Joanna


Hello everyone! I’ve been laying low for awhile. You probably figured that out when no new posts popped up!

My niece Megan and her husband Jonathan welcomed baby Joanna in January. I wrote this poem on Easter Sunday to welcome Baby J to the family. I’m pretty new at baby poems, this was my first effort. I wanted to introduce her to you, as no one can resist a cute little bundle of new life! The poem was written from the perspective of God talking with Joanna and informing her he had a surprise for her. Enjoy! I’ll pop back in after you’re done reading.

 

The Day An Angel Came To Earth

Joanna, I’ve got a surprise for you
Today I’m sending you to earth
Mommy Megan and Daddy Jonathan
Will cry joyful tears at your birth

They are your forever parents
Welcoming you with faith and love
They don’t know you’re an angel
Sent from Heavenly Dad above

I send you my little angel
To render their circle complete
Your life will be oh so happy
They will adore you ma petite

Mommy puts silk ribbons in your hair
Daddy dreams big, while you’re still small
When you hurt, Mama Bear slays dragons
Papa Bear is there, when boys dare call!

They have no idea how life shall change
The richest love grows beyond measure
Diamonds, gold and silver will pale
The jewel you are is their treasure 

 

It’s fun to have a wee one in the family again, just the excuse we need to all act gooey, talk gobbley-goo and make crazy faces! Just to entertain the baby, we say. 🙂

Joanna’s tiny middle finger has an interesting way of sticking straight up. Between that and her Billy Idol hair standing at attention, she’s quite the rebel already and free with her thoughts. You go girl!