Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm Lost

Tonight is the season finale of LOST, and I'm so excited. Two whole hours of (hopefully) questions answered: Who gets off the island? Who stays behind and why? Who dies? Why does Kate have Claire's baby, and what happened to Claire? Where are all the Others? And what is that black fog that kills people?

I visited the official LOST website today, as well as other random fan sites, and it's generally agreed that many questions will be answered in tonight's TWO HOUR finale. It was also said that it will be dark, and violent. Ooooooooh.... Just so my questions get answered. I get so wrapped up in this series every week, and I need some answers really soon.

LaMar and I are having a LOST party - just the two of us. I believe island food is on the menu, although I hope LaMar is taking care of that, because I certainly haven't been to the store. I also hope there's something yummy for dessert, although I'm trying not to count on it too much. I just always want something yummy for dessert. A sad fact of life that I'm trying to overcome.

So the "previously on LOST" episode runs at 8pm, and then the finale from 9-11pm. I'm staying up late on a school night to watch it - I just hope I don't fall asleep in the middle of it. See, that's where the yummy dessert comes in!

If you're all not as big a fan of LOST as I am, then I'm sorry for going on and on. But for anyone who gets caught up in the wierdness of it all, you know what I'm talking about. On the official website, there's even a link (http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/index?pn=nickname ) where you answer a few short questions, and Sawyer will give you one of his famous nicknames. Fun stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It Used to Be A Big Bean Field

Back from our overnight in lovely Costa Mesa, CA, I can say that a good time was had by all. We camped out at the Westin South Coast Plaza, which is directly across the street (and linked by a bridge) to South Coast Plaza. I used to go shopping there as a teen with Marion. (Remember, Marion - it used to be completely surrounded by bean fields. No more...) Back then it was little more than the Sears wing and a carousel. But today - ooh la la, viva la difference! It's just chock full of shops that most people can't afford at all, (Chanel, Dior, Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton - you get the picture) but it sure is fun to window shop... sort of. I mean, once in awhile, you really do want to buy some stuff. There's a gorgeous lingerie shop called La Perla, where panties cost about $150. I told my husband if I ever got thin enough to where I looked good in those panties, I'd buy myself a pair. Not much likelihood of that happening, actually. It's pretty much an idle threat, although if I got that thin, he'd probably go out and buy them for me. But back to the topic at hand: I must report first that the Heavenly Bed is just that: heavenly! This is the mattress we're going for. If I can sleep as well as I did in a strange bed with strange pillows, then this is the bed for me.

When we got up this morning, it was still pretty cloudy out, but we weren't discouraged. We jumped into some clothes and hoofed it across the bridge to the Boudin SF bistro where we ate a very nice breakfast: eggs, bacon and hash browns for me, and cinnamon french toast for LaMar. And then we always share. We took a spin around the mall to overcome that stuffed feeling, and I ducked into Sephora for supplies. No matter what I do, that store gets a major chunk of my money. Whoever thought up the concept of putting every cosmetic known to man in one store was a complete genius.
We walked around some more, and, looking like tourist geeks, (actually, LaMar looked like the tourist geek - I made him take the pictures, and then walked away from him) took pictures of the Frette store (where I worked in my brief retail career) and the Ralph Lauren store (the starting point of my retail zenith, where I was a RL pony girl for about 3 months before moving to Frette.) Ahhh... fond memories... and so glad I'm not doing that anymore. Pretty stuff, though.
We continued back to the hotel, snapping pictures to document the weekend: the hotel itself:

Here is the little park across from the hotel, where you can take a nice long walk through all of the buildings, and then go across the bridge and back.

Here is the pretty courtyard outside the lobby, where there was a nice waterfall and fountain to sit and listen to - very relaxing!

We ended up on the roof, looking at the view, and having LaMar snap my picture. He wasn't taking any chances that his picture would end up on the blog again. By this time it was time to go pack our things up and get out of Dodge. I snapped a picture from our room looking north, towards home, and it was looking pretty gloomy.

But as we jumped in the car, and headed towards the beach, this is the kind of day that appeared: How lovely is that? You can see Catalina and everything. Down there, the weather was perfect, the breeze balmy, and all was right with the world. We hated to trudge our way back to the clouds and gloom waiting in our neck of the woods, but all good things must come to an end, and we need to take a good long hike to work off breakfast and lunch, and then we can settle down with a little movie we've been putting off for a couple of weeks now. Tomorrow it's back to work, but we won't think about that now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hopefully There Will Be Drinking

It's the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend. LaMar and I want to buy a new mattress and are a little unsure of what we want. We stayed at a Westin in NYC about three years ago, and slept like babies on their Heavenly Bed - at least that's what we remember. So we're going to spend the night on Sunday at the Costa Mesa Westin, across from South Coast Plaza, to try the Heavenly Bed again, and see if that's the mattress we want to buy. In preparation today, we did chores, got hair colored and highlighted, and my mom and dad came over so I could help Mom load i-Tunes onto her laptop. She wants to be able to manage her music library on the little i-Pod Shuffle we got her for Mother's Day.

Full of confidence I fired up her laptop, and soon realized I didn't know the first thing of what I was doing. On my own computer I'm a genius. On someone else's I turn into an idiot. I had to call Scott in numerous times to help me, and he ended up just doing it. As it turns out, if the laptop doesn't have a mouse, I'm lost. I'm really bad at using the touch pad. We did, however, finally get i-Tunes loaded, and then it was time to get all of her CD's into the library. Mom caught onto how to do that very quickly and we were soon done. WHEW! Now we only had to synch the i-Pod with the playlist and we'd be done!

I managed to get the i-Pod recognized by the laptop, and WHOOSH! it took the little music that was on the i-Pod off, and refused to download the playlist. I was panicking... Thank goodness the voice of reason, LaMar, (who, incidentally, knows nothing about PCs, but who saved the bacon on this one) - came up and figured the whole thing out. There was one tiny step I'd left out (click something or other at the bottom) and all of a sudden the synching/download happened! Mom now has an i-Pod just chock full of her music. What a victory!

While Scott was helping us with the whole fiasco, he was telling his Grandma all about his work at the Macaroni Grill, and how bad his tips had been, etc. etc. People always tip much better after much wine has been poured, but he's not always lucky enough to get a table of imbibers. As he was leaving for work tonight, I wished him good luck and a good night, and Mom piped up from the next chair: "And hopefully there will be drinking!" Well said, Mom... well said.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun With Your Name

LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"I don't care about the money - I just want the glory." - Quote of the day - Leslie O.

Most of us work very hard at what we do every day. And really - there's no way that anyone could properly compensate us for our labor on most days. If you're like me, it even extends beyond the work day. I commit the cardinal sin and take it home, where I go on and on ad nauseum to poor LaMar. (He makes sure he's real busy fixing dinner for most of it.) I did all of this, and all of that, and then someone wanted it different, and I had to do it all over again. You know how it goes.

Recently I had to design a powerpoint. This thing grew from a few slides to a program of gargantuan proportions. And it was full of formulas (you remember: math is NOT my forte), and graphs, and marketshare. I think it ended up being about 54 slides, but at last I finished the damn thing. It was colorful and eyecatching - something I was sure that upper management would be clamoring to find out who the brilliant designer of such a presentation was. Oh, I was proud - and the other girls were quaking, hoping they wouldn't be asked to do the same thing.
All of this was about 2 weeks ago. I had worked so hard to finish it - taking my laptop home on weekends to work on it, and when it was finally done, I was so happy. Well, yesterday my wonderful boss (and really - he IS wonderful. Just not at that moment.) tossed another paper on my desk with some figures scribbled in, and wanted 3 more slides done. Yay... I couldn't remember exactly what colors I'd used before, - let alone the formulas!- but after much sweating, I think I got a reasonable facsimile. (Background on this is that I'm never satisfied with the colors automatically supplied by the program - I always opt for the custom colors. That'll teach me...) I got some kudos from Carey (my boss) and some from a couple of the reps, but I'm by no means as famous as I feel I should be. My point being, that no matter how hard you work on something, or how magnificent it is, people tend to think that it was much easier to do than it really is. How many times do you hear "Could you just...?" or "Can't you just...?" or "Shouldn't take too long..."
Then there are the times when I have the best ideas, only to have someone else get to execute them, which is the entire subject of this post. My friend Leslie was having one of those days today. She works hard at what she does, only to have someone else get the glory many times. And that is where the famous quote of the day came from that started this whole discussion today. And it's true. Money is wonderful, and it's important. But sometimes when you've put your blood, sweat, and tears into something, whether it's a powerpoint presentation or being loving and patient with your small children, and attending all of their many games and practices, there are those days when you want to scream (and you can cry out in unison with Leslie and me) : I don't care about the money - I just want the glory!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Delicate Flowers Fight Back

I've been struggling the past week or so to get some amount of control over my aches and pains. First it was my left pointer finger, which then spread down to my wrist. Then in a fit of capriciousness, it left my hand entirely (although I'm starting to get arthritis joint in my finger: that bony growth that makes your hands look spooky and old. ) and this time it went down to my feet. Everywhere. Toes, soles, ankle bone, you name it. I downed every supplement and enzyme I had in my arsenal, and finally, FINALLY I am back to normal without having to increase the steroids. I'm a delicate flower.
My coworker, Olga, hurt her back a few months ago by simply throwing her hair over her head as she was blowdrying it. A simple act, one we take for granted - but she doesn't take it for granted anymore. Now she has a bulging disk, and it's taking months to heal. She's a delicate flower, and she's only in her early 30s.
Another coworker, Greg, has kidney stones. He is 26. Another delicate flower who is way too young to be one.
My daughter Katie has been a delicate flower for years now. I used to feel guilty because she had so many aches and pains: knee surgeries, broken neck, headaches. It was very hard to see a girl who loved sports and dancing hurt so much all the time while I felt pretty good. I've developed a real empathy for how she feels now. It's been a long time since I've had a day where I felt perfect with no pain anywhere. Now (as I'm sure she is) I'm just thankful for a day where only my finger hurts, or I'm just a little stiff.
I guess my point is that we need to appreciate our good health a lot more than we do. And we also need to protect it. When I think of all the garbage that I used to eat - the junk food, the processed food, the food just laden with chemicals - I feel such responsibility for the shape I'm in now. I knew better, but I thought I was invincible. My daughter is much smarter. She really tries to do the healthy thing every day for her family. Fresh fruits and veggies, chicken, fish, good stuff.
I'm seeing a doctor now that I've been learning some amazing things from. The process has been slow, but after two years I'm starting to see the benefits of all the major diet changes we've made. I can't say I'm 100% compliant, but I do try. I've discovered that there's almost nothing that you can't make from soy, including cheese. And most of it is pretty good. Give soy ice cream a try (or better yet, the Trader Joe's Cuties: soy ice cream sandwiches- yummy!) Cutting (for the most part) dairy, oats, yeast, cane sugar (oh, this one is very hard - nearly impossible, but I am limiting consumption), and a small host of minor items (cranberries and celery of all things!) I have succeeded in greatly reducing my steroid medication (like, I'm almost off of it!), and I feel really good most of the time with much less medicine. It hasn't been easy, and most of the time I'm really excited about it, but not many other people are. Most folks don't want to talk about limiting things from their diet. My brother has RA much worse than I do, but I can't get him to make any changes - he just laughs and says he doesn't want to have to cut out his favorite things. Well, you can lead a horse to water... I don't want to be in so much pain that my favorite things lose their cache, I guess.

So I guess to the rest of you delicate flowers - and even to you lucky ones who have avoided any health crisis - take good care of yourselves. Do good for your body. Exercise - doesn't have to be Olympian. Just do what you can. Some days, all I can manage are a few stretches, or a quiet walk. But do what little you can manage, and I promise you, that in a short while, you'll be able to do more. Don't wait until it's too late to manage the kinds of foods you eat. You can still have all the delicious things you love (mmmmm...lemon cake... and Vanilla JoJo's) - you just have them a little less, and have more good, fresh food. And if you have any new tricks, I'm always a listening ear. I'm a delicate flower health nut - or just a delicate nut.

I'm telling you, last night I cooked something I can't wait to cook again. For all of you folks who hate scallops, just listen: when you cook them this way, they are NOT rubbery. Here's how:
Put a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan - just enough to cover the bottom. Heat it until very hot and then throw in (carefully) the scallops. They will spatter like anything, so be careful. I threw them in from about 2 feet away. Cook them until seared and brown with a slight crust and then remove them from the pan. Put in some butter, a couple of cloves of minced garlic, and some fresh lemon juice. Saute the garlic. You'll notice that there are, like, pan drippings from the scallops. That's ok. Just stir it around in the butter, juice and with the garlic. When the garlic is softened, mix the scallops back in and heat all together on low. Have spinach leaves, chopped walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese (a small concession to dairy...) and a balsamic vinaigrette tossed on each plate. Spoon the hot scallops and drippings over each plate.

I had something like it at Macaroni Grill (picture from the menu above), and between Scott (who works there and has seen it made) and LaMar (the master of the hot frying pan) I was able to make a reasonable facsimile. SO GOOD! Let me know if any of you delicate flowers out there try it. You're gonna love it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Karen & LaMar's Excellent Weekend

This past weekend was such an enjoyable one for me. It started off right when LaMar rousted me out of bed by 8:00 to follow him to the place where he was getting his brakes done, so I could bring him home. Usually (because I'm up at 5:30 every weekday morning) I like to laze around in bed on Saturdays, reading for half the morning, but then before I can get ready to go, half the day is gone. I like to do that, but it was nice, for a change, to get going a little earlier. When we got home, it was time to shower and get ready for my mani and pedi appointment. I used to have the silk wrap nails, and they looked nice for a long time, but a couple of months ago, they started looking really knarly. Turned out I had contracted a nice case of fungus. So off the nails came, and it's taken me 2 months to grow them out to where they look healthy. I'm not putting the silk wrap on again. They don't look as pretty now, but I'm kind of enjoying them au natural, and I'm really enjoying that a plain manicure doesn't take nearly as long, or cost nearly as much, as filling the others. So now my little treat is a manicure and pedicure every two weeks - especially the pedicure! I just love how my toes look freshly done, and I love the foot massage that goes along with it! (see picture - yeah, it's no foot model's foot, but it's better than me doing it myself - especially since I'm just about blind these days!)
After the mani/pedi, and some chores, we took my freshly washed car down to Costa Mesa so LaMar could get a haircut from the SuperCuts down there. He just loves that particular store - they're fast, and there's usually no waiting. My car was so sparkly and clean, and I just love my car anyway. It's a Miata. Just about my entire life I've wanted a convertible (ever since my aunt Margie took us to the beach in her Triumph sans top when we were little), and now I have one. It's really small (and I was almost killed driving it once - it's so tiny people don't see you) and if I take someone else in the car with me, I have to put my purse in the trunk - unless I'm in the passenger seat. The color is black cherry: it looks black until the sun shines on it, and then it's got the most beautiful irridescent eggplant color shining in the black. I love my car. When I'm at work, I'm pretty much inside all day, so when I go home, and the weather is nice (most of the time) I love to take the top down and drive home through Silverado Canyon - so relaxing! i-Pod blaring, my little cap on so my hair doesn't get impossibly snarled - it's my favorite time of day.
Anyway, haircut done we cruised over to Tustin to eat at a place that one of Katie's friends had recommended: Jalapeno's. It's a little fast food Mexican place that tastes authentically homemade - I was pleasantly surprised. Two thumbs up on the food. It didn't look like it would be as good as it was, but the line of people said otherwise. Glad we went. Afterwards, it was off to Baskin Robbins - Pistachio Nut ice cream for me, Peanut Butter Chocolate for LaMar (who, when driving my car is LaMario Andretti). Yum. On the way home we drove through some nice neighborhoods up in the Anaheim Hills, and wished we lived there. It's fun to dream, and enjoy a gorgeous view all at the same time. Then time to go home. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was so relaxing and kickback, and was just what I needed. Here are some pictures of LaMario Andretti and I out driving in the Miata:
We both like to drive the Miata!
On Sunday, LaMar and I teach a Sunday School class of 18 and over kids - the Young Single Adults. Sometimes we have 7-8 kids, and sometimes, well...this particular Sunday we had no kids, so LaMar and I held class at the doughnut shop. It's another occasional pleasure - not exactly kosher, but we couldn't resist sneaking out for an hour. We were hungry and thirsty, and that third hour of church was so much better after a glazed twist and a Diet Coke.
After we got home, we finished our chores, and then had a little BBQ with Scott. I have to say that LaMar was the BBQ king on Sunday. He grilled corn on the cob and some of the best hamburgers I've ever had. I'm not sure whether they tasted so good because I stuffed cheese and spices inside the meat patties, plus the smoky chipotle mayonnaise, or whether it was the toasted buns, or whether it was just the first BBQ of the season - probably a combination of the three. All I know is that Scott, LaMar, and I all walked away from the table with smiles on our faces.
Later on in the afternoon, I was lucky enough to get hold of Joan, and yak her ear off for 30 minutes or so. I was able to catch up on her son's' wedding, (she has 4 children married and 4 still at home) and her sister Sue's doings in North Carolina. Little Sue, with 6 kids! I learned more how she met her husband Emery - I was married by then, and in my own little world not paying much attention, I think. I really wished I hadn't let so many years go by without contact - thinking of all of the interesting things I've missed with this very interesting and unconventional girl makes me kind of sad. But I'm determined to get to the lake country of Wisconsin (Oconomowoc!) soon, and do a lot of catching up.
So that was my little weekend - you might say it was kind of a geezer weekend, but then, I'm getting to be kind of a geezer. It was peaceful, no stress, and very little money was spent. (LaMar was happy.) And right here, right now, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ladies Who Lunch

Today I had such a treat - I got to meet my friend Phyllis for lunch at our favorite place: Macaroni Grill in Tustin. Phyllis was the office manager for a large group of cardiologists that we (Medtronic) works with, and that is how I got to know her initially. I've worked with her organizing physician dinners and weekend seminars for about five years now, and we get along really well. She is a tiny, fiery woman with dark auburn hair, and it was funny to see how she could whip all of those docs and staff into line. Little firecracker of a woman. I knew for sure I never wanted to be on the other end of her displeasure. Time marches on, and several months ago Phyllis left that practice suddenly after 21 years, and I was sad, thinking that would be the end of a nice relationship that had developed. I managed to keep in touch, however, and we exchanged cell phone numbers and e-mailed back and forth about what was going on in our lives, with our kids, etc. She is now going to be working with another group of cardiologists that we work a lot with, and I'm so glad, but the real reason I'm excited is because I realized today that we're not just friends because of work - through it all, we've become real friends.

Today at lunch we chatted a bit about this or that doctor, but the majority of time was spent noshing about us as fledgling grandmothers, excitement over new babies soon to arrive, and getting validation about whether we had done right by this child, or that one. Two women being real girlfriends over lunch. So fun.

I'm not a person who has had a lot of true friends in my lifetime. A lot of acquaintances, but not a lot of honest to goodness girlfriends that I could call for any reason at all. There's Marion, who will be my friend forever, and who never seems to get distant from me. One phone call, and it's like we never hung up from the last call. But she's in Washington. There's Joan, who I spoke with for the first time in 30 years a couple of weeks ago. The same thing - the past just came rushing back, and it was so reassuring to know that she was just the same person I remembered and loved - clever and inventive still. But she's in Wisconsin. Jeanette, from the last post - Alaska. All places I've never been, and would love to visit, but what about here in my own neck of the woods? Bronwyn, one of my crazy roomies from BYU - is fairly close - in Southern California, at least. So getting together is not impossible there. (How 'bout it, Bron? Let's do it!)

And now there's Phyllis. She mentioned as we were leaving that she had seen the movie "Baby Mama" all by herself. I told her she should have called me - there are many movies I'd like to see but don't, because LaMar doesn't want to see them, and I've never been one to go alone. She was excited at the prospect and we have a tentative plan to see one movie or another soon. It's nice to realize I've gained another sister-friend who likes the occasional movie out, and (dare I even hope?) likes to eat breakfast out. Yay!

I have no pictures to go along with this post, so I'm going to treat you to a picture that Katie sent me for Mother's Day. It's also on her blog, so I guess I'm copying, but I just love this picture of her and Mia. Sweet stuff.

Monday, May 12, 2008

i-Pods and Old Friends

Mother's Day was a success, it seems. I got my mom an i-Pod Shuffle in an aqua color (see picture). At first she seemed puzzled by the whole thing, but got a little excited when I showed her how tiny, how convenient, how many ways to use. The next day she called me at work and said, "You'll never guess what! I read the instructions for the i-Pod, and I got the music to come out!" Congratulations, Mom. My heart is swelling with pride for this woman who is pretty much afraid of technology, but who had the courage to try to get "the music to come out" and succeeded. It made the gift even better.

On another note:

I heard from one of my oldest friends, Jeanette Trudell Moore. She is so brilliant in so many ways, and it sounds like she's cloned herself with her family. She has been in Alaska living her life these past many years, and it seems as if it agrees with her. I was able to visit with her a few years ago briefly: she and Marion were in town for one of our high school reunions, and we were able to get together and have a really nice evening together. I remember I almost didn't go, and I'm so glad I did. I would have missed seeing her, and it was a rare opportunity indeed - even more rare, the three of us being together. It's funny how you can let your everyday life discourage you from taking advantage of some of life's real gems. She has become (even more than in high school) a beautiful, happy, and secure woman - so wonderful to be around, and very comfortable. She is one of my favorite types of people. Anyway, for those who know Jeanette (and even for those who don't), I'm posting her short e-mail to me below:
"Life is good here - spring has finally arrived (it snowed 6 inches just last week) and work is challenging. We will have baby squirrels soon! Daughter Juliette just finished first year med school and is off to India to work for the summer in a hospital there. Son Shep graduates from college tomorrow then is off to Japan in August to work! Twins Jenni and Luci are finishing first year of college. Everyone will be home for a couple weeks end of July so I MUST take pictures. I have attached a photo with me and my work buddies. Hugs, Jeanette "
I just love hearing from friends, don't you? Especially when they're going to have baby squirrels soon. Love ya, Jeanette!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Mothers come in all shapes and forms. We always think of our real "mommy" mothers on Mother's Day. These are the super heroes who wiped our tears, let us lick the cake batter off the mixing beaters, made us popsickles out of juice in paper cups on hot summer days, showed us how to make forts out of blankets and chairs on rainy ones. My mom taught me to love loud thunder and flashing lightning. When the power would go out during a big storm, Mom would light a fire in the fireplace, and sometimes, if the rain was really coming down, we could put on our rubber boots and go sloshing in the water rushing down the gutter. Big stuff. When I was home sick from school, she would soft boil eggs and bring them with some toast and 7Up on a tray. Mom always made being sick a little bit better. Even when I was all grown up, I can remember times she would come over to help out when I was down in bed with something, and she would make Jello (sure to settle your tummy!), take care of the kids, and smooth the chaos. This is the kind of mom I always tried to be. Comforting. Soothing. Amazing. I can't say I always succeeded, but I tried.
Then there are the other amazing women in our lives: grandmas, favorite aunts, sometimes just a great neighbor or friend. They can also make a huge impact in our lives. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful grandmother, who not only nurtured me, but has had a major influence in the lives of my children. How many people are lucky enough to know not only their grandmother, but their GREAT grandmother? Well, my kids are. She is a woman who can make a meal out of anything, and cheer her Dodgers on all at the same time. She understood me when my mother didn't, and made me feel like I always had an ally in her. Lucky, lucky me! But my luck didn't end there - I have yet another woman in my life who has always been there for me: my aunt, Margie. She used to take us for rides in her convertible to the beach, let me spend the night with her at her house, loved me even when I threw up all over her bed. She helped me with my dreaded math homework, and has helped me through many a crisis in my adult life. I won't go on, because she would be completely horrified at being "outed" for her generosity. Suffice it to say that I have been blessed indeed to have three such wonderful women as my role models, and I hope that one day someone will think of me that way.
So to all of you mothers out there: Bless you for all that you do, and for the love and sacrifice you give to your children each and every day. But for you out there that are the loving grandmothers, favorite aunts, trusted friends, confidants, and mentors: Thank God for all of you. Life would not be as rich without you. Mothers try their best, but it only really comes together with the help of angels like you. Angels who use their time and talents unselfishly in the betterment of little ones (and not so little ones) around them. So to mothers and angels everywhere, here is my hope that I can, in my small way, make miracles happen for my children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren, as you have helped perform them in my life. I love you all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Math Ain't Us

Did any of you like math story problems as kids? I did, but not for the right reasons. I couldn't solve the problems at all (math is not my forte), but I was completely sucked into the story end of it. It's the same way with me now. Yesterday someone forwarded Ilse (a co-worker - and yes, I work with Ilse and Olga. My name should be Inge or Heidi - Karen somehow doesn't fit)BACK TO MY STORY: someone forwarded Ilse a story problem that went like this: There are 7 girls on a bus. Each girl has 7 backpacks. Each backpack has 7 big cats, and each big cat has seven kittens. How many legs are on the bus?
WELL - Ilse, Olga, and Karen went to work on this problem (it being a slow day at Medtronic),and we worked and ciphered for about 1/2 an hour before we finally got the correct answer. And the entire time I was sweating over my complex formulas, I couldn't help but fall into my old grade school habits: where was this bus going, and why did each girl have SEVEN backpacks? And wouldn't those backpacks have to be rather large to accommodate all of those cats? What would happen to all of the cats squashed into those backpacks? Who would feed them all, and how did those girls get them into the backpacks in the first place? Where was the bus driver? You can see how my mind goes, and it's never in a mathematical direction.
After we were exhausted from our labors, I e-mailed the problem to my recent college grad, Scott, who solved it in about 2 minutes... I hate when that happens. Not only did he solve it, but he held more than one figure in his head until he solved other equations! Amazing. When I try to do that, the numbers start dancing around in my head until 769 turns into 7,960, and then I get some annoying song stuck in my head. My brain should not attempt math - it's always been so, and i'ts probably written somewhere. Algebra is like Chinese to me.

I do like to read, however. Scott the Math Genius gave me 3 books to read: The Alchemist (just finished it - good read!), Into the Wild, and The Kite Runner. I'll let you know how I like them. Another that I've read (and I wildly recommend it to my sister readers) is "Eat, Pray, Love", by Elizabeth Gilbert. Seriously, you will love it. It's one of those "You'll laugh, you'll cry..." kind of books. I'm trying to spend more time doing things like reading, getting back to painting, etc., rather than laying back watching "Dancing With the Stars" every night. I feel smarter already.
By the way - I finally got another comment from someone other than my children: my friend Marion! I am so excited, and hope that others of you will soon read, comment, make blogs of your own, and we can have a whole network! I'm going to work on mine this weekend, so look for some changes come the first of the week, including (hopefully) some links to other blogs and/or sites you might enjoy. Keep reading, keep leaving comments - this is going to be good!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

As Long As I Smell Good...

You Are Basil

You are quite popular and loved by post people.

You have a mild temperament, but your style is definitely distinctive.

You are sweet, attractive, and you often smell good.

I don't know why I love to take these little quizzes. Maybe it's because I'm always hoping that I'll discover something really cool about myself. As if liking Mexican food rather than Italian makes you somehow more interesting. I think liking Thai over Italian can make you skinnier, but not necessarily more interesting. I just happen to love everything creamy and starchy, and so I'm a fluffy little thing. I'm trying to overcome this obsession with bad food. I'm seeing a doctor who helps me a great deal with my arthritis symptoms. She wants me to eat no more than 80 carbs a day (a goal I've never yet achieved) and to cut out all dairy (including cheese...) and anything with cane sugar. That would squash all joy in life. I do try to limit my sins to just my very favorite ones, however. Those would include anything with lemon (lemon bars, lemon cake, you get the idea) and white cake. I don't know why I love white cake more than chocolate, but I do. I watch that show "The Ace of Cakes" on the Food channel, and it makes me crazy to both make beautiful cakes, and to eat them. Anyway, back to the quiz: basically all I found out about myself is that I'm a nice person, easy to be around, and I often smell good. I'm like a good pasta dish (mmmm...apparently one of my favorites). I'd have preferred to be a spicy pepper (hot cha cha) or like my daughter, who is ginger (ever changing and powerful). But maybe being basil is good - it's in comfort food. And it's better than being garlic.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Love Breakfast

I don't know about the rest of you, but I love breakfast. It's absolutely my favorite meal of the day. Unfortunately, I don't often get a breakfast of champions, but when I do, I try to savor it. Today, when I got to work, my coworker Olga asked if I wanted to share a chorizo, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito from the Mustard Cafe across the street. Well, I have to tell you that it just made my morning, and, in fact, my whole day. I enjoyed it that much. The Mustard Cafe offers the most wonderful breakfasts: french toast, omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, and the most delectable treat of goat cheese & dried figs on ciabatta bread, drizzled over with honey. I'm convinced that this is the food of the gods. It's the very same manna that the Israelites gathered in the wilderness. I would eat it every day if I could, but then I'd probably start complaining a la the Israelites about the lack of variety. It's probably best for my psyche, my pocketbook, and, most of all, my waistline (what's left of it) that I only have an amazing breakfast once in awhile. The rest of the time, I'm best off with a handful of almonds, and some soy milk...yum...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

You CAN have it all. You just can't have it all at once.

And therein lies the problem... I've always wanted everything all at once. Patience is like a foreign language to me, but one that I'm trying very hard to learn. You'd think I'd be a quicker study, after all of this living I've lived, but no - it continues to be a challenge. In fact, it astonishes me sometimes to look in the mirror and realize that I'm now a middle-aged woman (NOOOOOoooooo...) rather than someone in her twenties, or even thirties. Does this happen to anyone else? I can happily join in a conversation with twenty-somethings, until I start getting this sideways glance from them that tells me I've betrayed my age again. Not that I mind being my age - in fact I like it. I'm so much smarter and, I think, wiser than I was thirty years ago. I have more confidence, and I'm not as afraid to make an idiot of myself. Not as afraid to admit I don't know something. There is a peace and tranquility that come with age, and it's a good thing. What's not so good is the arthritis or whatever that also comes with it. That part is kind of a drag, but I'm learning to live with it, and be not so whiny about it. At least I like to think so.

So lets catch up, and lets stay in touch. With many of you, far too much time has gone by between our last visit and now, and I don't want to waste another minute. Life is pretty good for me right now, but I miss old times too - the late night chats sharing and giving advice, beauty tips (huge rollers to straighten curly hair, oatmeal face masks) the crying, and the comfort, and most of all, the laughing. Oh, how I miss the laughing! I hope we can use this to vent and to kvetch, and to share the absurdities of life we all experience. You are all so important to me, and I don't want to waste another minute!

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