09/29/12 It’s My 53rd Birthday and G.L.A.D. Chronicles Preview


 
 

Hello everyone. I just brewed a pot of coffee, if you’d care to share a cuppa with me. Fifty-three today, how is this possible? Where have the years gone, flying like geese to warmer climates! Ooh, going south, now there’s a theme. My picture’s been taken a few times this week… I love me, but I don’t care for the evidence in the photos of how I’ve been taking care of myself.

Does anyone else have faulty memory when looking at your photos? In the ones from your youth, where you’re possibly supporting a few less chins, rolls of bodacious girl and what-have-you. In our minds, THAT’S still us. Then we look in the mirror and see this sassy imposter who’s definitely been enjoying the processed carbs a bit too much, we want to call 911 and demand this sort-of-looks-like-me be taken away! Alas, she IS me. Deal with it!

Starting Monday, October 1st, this blog will start recording an experiment to find a balance in life, minimize my defeating behaviors and maximize my good ones. I’ll call it The G.L.A.D. Chronicles and hope to report on it for 365 days.

I’ve already began the first experiment. Last Saturday, I emptied out my clothes closet. Twenty years of clutter hauled out and left naked on the floor. The floor, chairs, hallway, and bed in another room. HOW did I stuff this much crap into one closet? I did, and my task is to not put a single thing back in that’s outlived its usefulness. I’m approaching it with a “Terminator“-like viewpoint when the guilts try to creep in about saving utter tripe for sentimental reasons. It’s been exhilarating so far, and slow. I’d like to get it right the first time, and only work on it for a short period each day. If I go beyond that, those blasted sentimental gremlins try to sneak back in and get me to save stuff I have no use for, but someone else might; into the donation container it goes!

I hope you’ll cheer me on, especially when I get weak. Everybody gets weak occasionally. Hopefully they’ll have friends to boost them back up!

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09/22/12 Birthday Week! Celebrations Have Started!!


Good morning lovely friends! My 53rd birthday is coming up on September 29th. Life is short, so I began celebrating yesterday. Don’t get jealous at my extravagant purchases, but I bought two puzzle books and a few candles! A Garfield Sudoku and a Logic Lovers. I realized that asking someone else to buy you puzzle books is entirely insane, as puzzle lovers tend to be very specific about what types we like to solve. I’m also hoping to get “The Avengers” on DVD and have given copious hints to my husband! “Sherlock Holmes Two” would be equally welcome. Do I detect a Robert Downey Jr. theme here?

I’m celebrating all week-long with family and friends, which is quite dizzying to this normally reclusive girl. Well, maybe not reclusive, but I certainly don’t have to worry about the National Enquirer snapping pictures of me doing anything illegal…. unladylike, maybe, but not illegal!

So, Let Them Eat Cake And Drink White Zinfadel this week, as come October 1st, I’ll be back to healthy endeavors and reshaping my rather zaftig, menopausal sculpture of a self. Ooh, that makes me sound like a beautiful exhibit in an art museum. Me thinks I’ve been hitting that Zinfadel already!

I’ll post pictures next week. Cheers!

9/30/11 Birthday Month Recap


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9/1/11 Day 1: Little Brothers Birthday Visit tonight. The residents at Booth Home were really gracious.

9/2/11 Day 2: The kindest thing I did today was spray lots of air freshener in the ladies room. TMI.

9/17/11 It struck me that to list things as I did them would seem to be about showcasing my gestures. That wasn’t my intent for this experiment. I did leave the photo of Flower from Bambi, however, at the top…. I LOVED Flower as a child and at times in my adult years I appear to emulate her.  Enough said.  But…. my dad called me “Stinker” as a child (I don’t remember why, but I think it was friendly fire on his part!!) Flower is a lovely memory. 🙂

Today, I thought I’d write about some of the experiences that have stood out to me. I’ve done a few birthday visits. September 10th was to a sweetheart of a lady named Vera. I’ll post her picture down below. Vera is one of those people who come across a little gruff. When you take the time to talk to her, you quickly notice what a generous, kind, loving soul she is. Her first words about the cake were who she wanted to share it with. That same recipient was also going to receive some of the presents in her bag. She would NOT however, share the Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty I brought her!! Such a simple thing delighted her to no end 🙂

Vera on her birthday 🙂 YOUR smile should be so beautiful

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Last week, I gave a short talk at my church’s Ladies Brunch. The subject was, “What Doesn’t Give You Confidence”. My speaking wasn’t the deliberate act of kindness. Really, you even thought I would think that??  No, it was after my talk –  most people probably felt relieved that they weren’t me!! THAT was the deliberate act of kindness. 🙂

What doesn't give you confidence: Facebook, Victoria's Secret, Depends Purple Britches (though they CAN come in handy during really radical sneezes!!)

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This week my son went away to Fall Leadership Camp at Morgan’s in Brookville, Indiana ( www.morganscanoe.com ) with his school class. I drove out two evenings to help. The first night, I met a lovely student who was hyperventilating over an incident that had just occurred. Wow, could I remember being that age and the way that a seemingly small thing to an adult can seem so HUGE to a teen. I asked her if I could sit with her, and proceeded to bring up all sorts of topics that had nothing to do with what caused her to hyperventilate. It worked. As I told my fantastic, completely true larger than life tales, she forgot all about what made her so upset. I suppose hearing the tales of me barfing on Mrs. Griese’s shoes in first grade, the night that a thug threatened to shoot me and kill my son if I didn’t give him my $9. purse from Wal-Mart, and other such tales made that pesky mutant boy who bothered her seem downright petty!! She was a little reluctant to return to the group, fearing that she might just die from how she was feeling. I leveled with her. I told her, “Sister, let’s face it – the longer you wait, the bigger the embarrassment gets and the harder going back will be. Here’s a deal. I promise you, if you go over to the group, the first few seconds are just going to SUCK. But then, you and they will pretty much forget what happened. And if I’m wrong, and if the embarrassment DOES kill you, I’ll give you your money back!”. She thought about it for a nano second, made a funny face at me, and then skipped over to the group. She was fine the rest of the evening. 🙂

I’ve been thinking of ways to show myself deliberate kindness. That’s not something I’m naturally good at. I’ve been trying to exercise a little more, letting a friend encourage me to try something new (more details on that as it plays itself out), and trying to make sleep more of a priority (Miss Sue is definitely a Supremely Hardheaded Lunkhead when it comes to giving herself enough sleep).

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September 24, 2011

A few more events have transpired. Some fun, some ….. not worth writing about.

There were times I tried to do some of the deliberate acts of kindness recommended. At Kroger’s one evening, I decided to let the next person behind me go ahead , in line. Would you believe I couldn’t get a person behind me to save my life?? Every time someone appeared to be headed to my lane, that pesky floor manager with the red vest would whisk them away to a different lane. I found this quite vexing. I was ready to BE KIND… and fate WAS NOT COOPERATING. 😦   I eventually gave up and threw my stuff on the counter. I think I said extra nice things to the cashier and bagger to make up for my thwarted effort to be kind. Oh, here’s a funny, but it wasn’t intended to be funny (I try to be truthful even when it shows what a hillbilly I am). The bagger was a very polite young man. I believe he was what some call “special needs”. He was having fun talking out loud to himself the entire time and laughing at the conversation he was having with himself. Well, I started laughing to myself, because I talk away to myself out loud all the time and laugh at the conversation…. suddenly I knew how I looked to the rest of the world…. no wonder strangers are so kind to me. 🙂

Hillbilly Hare

Image via Wikipedia : "Hillbilly Hare" Courtesy of Bugs Bunny!

Oh wow! I looked up images of hillbillies to see if I saw a photo of me. This is one I found…. wasn’t this a great Bugs Bunny cartoon?! One of my favorites. If my brother Jon is reading this, do you remember this one?!

Here’s a birthday visit to Marvin on September 21st. I have to tell you, this was one of the funnier and more lively visits I’ve done! Marvin loved to tell stories of his stunt work with Hollywood movies, meeting Roy Rogers when he was 6 and getting to ride on Roy’s horse with him as Roy rode around Crosley Field, being friends with Diana Rigg (the “Avengers”actress) many years ago, naming his favorite dog Emma Peel, liking marriage so much he tried it five times (!).  Apparently he’s still a hit with the ladies today, as he regularly goes outside for his smokes with his buddies: Shirley, the other Shirley, and Cora. I told him with his connections in Hollywood, we should pitch a script for a new “Charlie’s Angels” – “Marvin’s Angel’s – the Westwood Version”. They were all up for it! If you look at the photo on the left, Marvin enjoys the camera – look at that smile. 🙂 This was his first birthday visit from Little Brothers: I told him that gave me a lot of pressure to make it a great one. 🙂 It WAS a great one, but it wasn’t me. The ladies obviously care about Marvin a great deal, the staff member seen in the left photo had the most beautiful accent and was fun to talk to, they all fussed over Marvin and his cake, his flowers and bag of presents. He loved the stuffed animal and showed it off frequently. I just told jokes and had them all laughing.

Marvin and his Angels: Shirley on the left, Cora on the right and the other Shirley just visible on the far right.
Birthday Guy holding court with his cigarette buddies. I heard some funny stories. 🙂

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Oktoberfest September 18th

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has been an annual celebration in Cincinnati since 1976. I’ve never missed a year. I wish I could tell you I did all kind of deliberate acts of kindness down there. I DID spend lots of money, that was kind, I suppose! But Oktoberfest turns me into a bloodhound! I am in search of one thing: a Schmidt’s Jumbo Cream Puff. It is the gastric highlight of my year. 🙂  And, here’s a page that might be taken from, You Know You’re A Redneck When. Most people splash out money on their yearly family portrait from wherever families go for those things. Not my family! You can’t get me to dress up & our version is a little closer to reality. 🙂  We take our yearly photos at Oktoberfest! I have a photo of Kevin each year, except he’s not usually standing, so you can’t tell how tall he’s gotten. He’s hunched over his own cream puff, scarfing away!

My birthday is now five days away. I can’t say the experiment I proposed to do has made it feel more significant. I still miss my mom and dad and those electric purple roses on chocolate cakes with white icing from Bonomini Bakery. I still get a little melancholy about people who are gone from my life. That’s the way I’m wired, I’m afraid. Doing nice things does take my mind off of myself and the sad feelings. It makes me feel like less of a slug as a human when I’m helping someone else out.

9/30/11

Time to round it all up and see what I think.

I performed an act of kindness on Monday September 26th. That was the day of the wicked nasty storm in the early morning. Having pity on my son, I drove him to school. Must tell you, Columbia Parkway during a storm like that is NOT for sissies! The intersection at Delta and Linwood by the UDF was positively nerve rattling; we were at the stop light in standing water and the gusher coming at us…. glad I’m not in need of those previously mentioned Depends just yet!!

The skies were sunny and smiling on my actual birthday, September 29th. Treated myself to a lovely wee cake from Busken’s. Talk about “perfectly fitting” waiting for me. The little beauty was sitting in the case: chocolate cake, white icing and deep purple trim. CUTE! And quite tasty. 🙂

Greetings from as far away as England and as close as the home made card my son made with sentiments that included The Musty Pines Old Folks Home (!) (when did this kid get to be so much like me??) made my day festive. In 2011 good wishes come from the U.S. Postal Service, text, email, Facebook, homemade, telephone, in person. What a variety of ways people have to “reach out and touch” these days!

Part of my day was spent on Fountain Square with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, handing out carnations and telling people about the great stuff LBFE does for the older population in Cincinnati. It was to celebrate International Day of Older Persons, which is October 1st. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can happen. The person who might look blase about hearing our objectives would actually be quite interested. I gave carnations to young, old, homeless, persons in business suits, lonely looking people, folks with a world of hurt etched on their faces. Some wanted to tell me their story, many wanted hugs, lots gave me good wishes for my birthday and beautiful smiles. This sometimes causes me to shake my head. I am a squirrely woman who appears to be trying out for Bag Lady of the Year awards. My fellow volunteers are attractive vibrant well dressed women. I always fear that people will run from the crazy squirrely bag lady chick with Completely Nuts on her t-shirt. But they seem to like my Squishiness. Maybe my Squishiness makes me feel safe to them, I don’t know. I had a 19 year old guy approach and ask me all sorts of questions. He kept appearing over the next half hour or so. I can only surmise he was drawn to my motherly side, I have no idea!

The most endearing moment occurred when one of our elderly Friends – Nellie – found out it was my birthday and commenced to sing Happy Birthday to me. 🙂 Having no shyness about letting her voice ring out in song and her pure, simple act caused me to choke up. She then put her arms out for a hug and for just a whiff of a moment, I felt my mom’s spirit and it was pretty sweet.

 Oh, Fox 19 and Frank Marzullo were there filming relay races between mascots from UC, Xavier, Skyline Chili Dog and Gapper from the Reds. It was hilarious! Gapper is great. 🙂 I took a few pictures. It also gave me a nano second glance of myself in the crowd up on the Jumbo Tron. Oh dear! Which segues right into my blog focus for the month of October, but you’ll have to read the post next time for that!

I’m putting a slideshow of photos below to show the highlights of the month. I tried to insert some of the photos and it just isn’t happening. Technology – pfftttt!

To sum up the birthday month, I’m glad I wrote this blog throughout. It’s a nice way to remember the time and in my distractible mind, little helpers are welcome. 🙂 

Thank you so much for any part you’ve played – be it reading this, sending a greeting, treating me to a wonderful evening and meal at Ron’s Roost (Thanks Jon and Marcia!!) or in any way touching my life. Each little happening enriches my life and spirit beyond measure. Cheers! 🙂

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9/24/11 Thoughts on a Beautiful Fall Saturday :-)


The main cast of Keen Eddie

Image via Wikipedia The cast of "Keen Eddie": Best One Season American Show Filmed In London EVER!!

Isn’t it the most gorgeous morning? This will give me a chance to upload some photos I took last Fall (Autumn in some parts of the world!) while I was walking on my lunch break around Priceless Hill. Oh, I see some other ones from last Fall worth mentioning as well. There’s Kevin at two different sessions of the Price Hill Library Art Club: one showing a wreath he made, (for the record, he’s shown in front of my workplace, which is next door to the library. This was not a mug shot or an audition for future arrestees!!) and one showing him winning the prize for Best Turkey. Now, I will leave it to you, dear readers, as to the meaning of that!

This is a nice chance for a shout out of Price Hill. If you’re from Cincinnati and your only knowledge of Price Hill comes from the news, you could be forgiven for assuming all we know how to do here are conduct gun fights, break ins and all sorts of tomfoolery…. but I’d like to let you know there’s a brilliant monthly art club for budding young artists at the Price Hill Library. One MUST mention Price Hill Chili. My favorite restaurant in Cincinnati and lucky for me it’s at the top of my street! Life can be sweet sometimes. 🙂 There are also so many beautiful homes around Price Hill. I fleetingly thought of doing a photo project last year titled something along the lines of “Price Hill Jewels and Treasures”. I didn’t go anywhere with it, but I have a few houses firmly in mind for photographing. This would be such a satisfying future blog for me. I’m getting ready to purchase a new digital camera and that would be a great first project. Here’s the daffy truth about me: you know how football fans get over that time of the year and NASCAR fans get all giddy at the smell of engine fluid or whatever it is they smell at those races…. that’s how I get when I look at the various camera ads and pick out just the one I want. So, look for a future post showing my new photo efforts. 🙂 For now, here’s a fond gaze at 2010 in Lovely Price Hill.

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I just got an update of the person I blogged about in my last post. They’re finally off of the respirator and breathing on their own. I’ll be going over to visit this weekend. It’s taken them quite awhile to reach this point. I’m not sure what I’ll say or do, but God has a way of taking care of those small details for me, when I let Him.

Celtic Fest is this weekend. They’ve moved it to Fountain Square this year. I’m not sure what I think of that. Originally, it was held in Ault Park, which felt like a divine location to me. Celtic music and nothing but nature surrounding me. I hope to give Fountain Square a try today or tomorrow and will let you know what I think.

Hasn’t the change in weather been kind of crazy? Cincinnati goes from blazing hot to CHILLY in one fell swoop. Probably not really, and it probably seems that way in all towns, But really, Cincinnati does seem to jump from one to the other without much in between weather. I do love Fall though!

My wedding anniversary is tomorrow. 29 years. Crikey, that makes me kind of old!!!

My birthday is coming up shortly. I’ve been updating a post periodically about the birthday month experiment of deliberate acts of kindness. That one will appear on September 30th. For now, I’m planning my day out for the 29th. Lunch somewhere. I have some videos I bought for myself a few birthdays ago that I’ve not opened yet. The “Keen Eddie” series. An Emerson, Lake and Palmer video collection …. “Beyond The Beginning”. I may buy a 12 pack of Tab and party on at home that afternoon with the ELP video and an episode of Keen Eddie. 🙂   Little Brothers will be down on Fountain Square that day at lunchtime handing out carnations and manning/womanning a booth to promote “International Day of Older Persons” which is October 1st. That would be a lovely deliberate act of kindness to help out with. 🙂 Chinese take out for my birthday is another of those…. come on Hank Williams Jr. fans…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHjaW9sXl7s       It’s a….. “Family Tradition” 🙂

OH, I must reveal my redneck side just a little. I thought of it while writing about ELP.

ELP were my FAVORITE band in my youth. I was such a geek for them. 🙂  WELL, they highlighted the High Voltage Festival in London last year, 2010. My husband had on the Palladium Channel a few weeks ago. You can not even imagine the hyperventilating, quivering, teary eyed MESS I turned into when none other than THAT festival popped up on the screen and my beloved ELP appeared…..

Okay, for most humans, this would have been nothing. But for me, think: delirium at warp speed. As they broke into “Fanfare For the Common Man” I turned the volume all the way up on that 52 inch buggy, uh, t.v. and got to be 17 for a few minutes!!!! My animals ran from the room, my child belllowed TURN IT DOWN.   Uh…… NOOOOOO! I had the presence of mind to hit “Record” when it started. I NEVER have presence of mind….. I should have played the lottery that day!!!

It was truly a wonderful few minutes and my ears stopped ringing by the next day. 🙂

Alright, back to 2011 and my 51 year old self. Oi, that was a short venture to younger, happier times. 🙂

Real life calls.

Cheers! 🙂

9/1/11 September: 30 Days of Deliberate Kindness. :-)


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My birthday is on September 29th.

I’ll be 52. I’ve never worked on my birthday. I feel it’s a day to reflect on the previous year and think about what I want to accomplish in the coming 365 days. Also a day to have lunch at my favorite place, take in a movie, the zoo or take a long drive. Those are my preferred destinations.

The last few years of my Mom’s life, I sent her a thank you card on my big day and usually wrote a silly poem. My reasoning was if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be having a birthday! When I lived at home, every year, I KNEW I had a chocolate cake with white icing and electric purple roses from Bonomini Bakery to look forward to. 🙂 My mom definitely knew the way to my heart!

She passed on in 2004. There’s been a missing gap in my birthday joy since then. It was in making her smile that made my birthday complete.

The past few weeks I’ve been pondering how to make it a special occasion again.

Committing deliberate acts of kindness whenever and wherever I get an opportunity during these thirty days of September is what I’ve decided upon.

I find the following interesting and maybe a sad sign of our times. When I did a search on the internet of acts of kindness, people suggested smiling, paying attention to folks, holding doors open, saying thank you. Have we sunk so low with civility that these acts aren’t a part of our everyday lives?

There were good suggestions listed as well. I took note of the ones worth considering. I’ll keep you posted on how the experiment goes and whether I conclude it led to a more joyous birthday.

Cheers!

8/26/11 My Week In Review


"All is Vanity" by C. Allan Gilbert....

Image via Wikipedia

Hello! Lot of life happenings this week.

My son is settling into the new school year. I’ve mentioned driving over to the east side to drop him off… how I enjoy it. The different vibe, funky little shops, beautiful architecture, the variety of humans. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes. Observing a person’s eyes, their body language, pondering what their story might be. The repressed “Nancy Drew” inside of me can spin interesting theories and stories for quite some time while gazing at people!

School is going pretty well. I think Kevin had one of those emotional growth spurts over the summer. He’s evolving into an interesting, creative, thoughtful young man. Thankfully, his interest in school has grown along with it. Touch wood when I write that!

I read an article on the AOL page this week about a woman named Kim. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/22/kim-focused-on-healthy-choices-and-lost-100-pounds_n_930927.html  She’d had an AHA moment about her life when her overweight body caused the toilet seat she was sitting on to crack apart. It proceeded to do its own version of the Jaws of Life on her bottom and wouldn’t let go. This gave her an opportunity to reflect on things. Her truly inspiring story got me to think about my state of health. I really don’t fancy the fire department coming to extricate my bottom from a broken loo seat! Maybe I should do something about MY health before I have to place such a call.

This led me to write the earlier blog entry – “Confessions of a Couch Potato“, where I pondered why can’t I stick to a healthy lifestyle? I got interesting feedback here and via email. It caused my decision the next day to TRY and move my body, if even for a short time. After I did that, and saw that I didn’t vaporize from the effort,  the page “Get Off The Couch Princess” was created on this blog, where I can publicly document the ginormous task of getting my body to move again. I’ve decided to leave my ego at the door, in the hope that being transparent will garner me a good supportive group of readers who will hold me accountable.

Oh wow, here’s an interesting note. When I looked for a photo to show leaving your ego at the door, this image came up. It’s called ” “All is Vanity” by C. Allan Gilbert. Life, death, and meaning of existence are intertwined. (Woman gazing into boudoir mirror forms shape of skull.) I think it’s a great picture to illustrate the deadly consequences of getting too wrapped up in your own importance.

On a lighter note, I took one of our elderly Friends from Little Brothers over to a fellow volunteer’s house to view a film the other night. We watched “Mrs. Henderson Presents” starring Dame Judi Dench. I enjoyed it a great deal. (Spoiler Alert: Don’t watch it if artful nudity bothers you!)

What else? I’m reading a variety of books at the moment. Being the distactable female that I am, I keep 3 or 4 going at any one time. The CoDA big book holds my interest currently; along with a Reader’s Digest. I started two different fiction books from the library, but neither held my interest long enough to finish them. I’m happy to write that an acquaintance is considering hosting a book club for the book “The Help”. I bought it at Target while doing back to school shopping a few weeks ago; it’ll be nice to read it along with other people.

Next week I have a Birthday Visit for Little Brothers to look forward to: that’s when I deliver a cake, flowers and a bag of birthday gifts provided by Little Brothers to an elderly Friend to help them celebrate their special day. Little Brothers doesn’t want any of our Friends to ever be alone on their birthday. Isn’t that the coolest thing? I think everyone should be treated like royalty on their birthday. LB shares that sentiment. 🙂

Let me post a few pictures here from Little Brothers Quarterly Birthday Party held on August 13th. Dig the birthday cake!