Daily Affirmation

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Don't Want Swine Flu....Do You?

I'm sorry - I'm not ignoring y'all. There's just not been much happening that's worthy of notice. My days have mostly been spent worrying about getting Swine Flu. I start off with the Today Show while I'm getting ready for work, and that's full of Swine Flu news and woes. I have the feeling that California is in big trouble here, being next to Mexico and all. (Thanks, Mexico, for yet another wonderful gift!) Then I get to work. I work with people who are in and out of hospitals and doctor's offices all day, so EVERYONE is on edge about Swine Flu. I'm washing my hands obsessively all day long, trying to avoid infection.
Other than that, however, nothing much is happening. Just life as usual. Go to work, obsess about Swine Flu, worry about layoffs, come home, eat dinner, walk a mile or two, relax, sleep, do it all over again. See? That's kind of boring. L and I did find the best trail for walking, though. He's lived in the area most of his life, and even he didn't know about it. It starts in Yorba Linda right across the street from our church, and runs approximately west through Yorba Linda and Placentia. My (our) goal is to be able to walk the entire length of it and back by the end of summer. I'm sure L could do it now, but my joints start complaining after 2-3 miles, so I'll need to work up to it. It's just something I want to do. It's a beautiful walk too - very quiet and peaceful away from cars and lots of noise. I love it at twilight. All the critters come out, and we see lots of little rabbits hopping around. *deep sigh* I will do it. The whole thing and back.

I've been reading a lot too. A couple of books just for fun, and another book to help out a friend - which turned out to be fun reading, too. And, of course, LOST and Dancing With The Stars, my two weekly vices (or at least the vices I'm willing to talk about). So, you see, I've been busy. Just not interesting busy. I'll try to come up with something better in a day or two - and knowing me, something wierd is bound to happen.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lovin' Life At Three

This is Lexi. She turned 3 years old on Thursday. She lives in Denver, so I didn't get to see her on her big day. Lexi is one of the smartest, funniest little girls I know. She is brave, and fun loving, and she loves her little brother, Matthew. She is the the sun, moon, and stars to her Mommy and Daddy, AND to her Mema and Papa here in California. If this is what year three looks like, then give me lots of them!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Hard to Keep A Good Girl Down

I don't think there's anything that puts more chill into your soul than when one of your children tells you some heavy news, and they're wa-a-a-a-y far away from you, so there's not much you can do physically to comfort them. I got an e-mail from my daughter yesterday telling me about some complications with her pregnancy. One complication is definate, and will require some careful R & R, in order to not make it worse. The other two were "possibilities" that required further testing. Of those two, she found out that one is no longer a "possibility." PHEW! The jury is still out on the other one. I'm being intentionally vague, as the news is hers, not mine, and also the point of my conversation here is not the news itself, but the handling of it.
When I first got her e-mail I was at work. It wasn't a real smooth, easy day to begin with, and as I read her first words I could feel my face go all hot and cold, and all I wanted was to be with her and hold her like when she was little with an ouchy. I felt completely helpless, very teary, and couldn't even reply right away. But as I sat there and thought in a mindless fear and panic, the thought came to me to e-mail my husband, who was also at work. I received a reply within a couple of minutes, and it was so reassuring and caring that it calmed me right down. I was so greatful for him, and the partnership we have that makes the sharing of all problems, big and small, possible. For some reason, just knowing a problem is not yours alone makes it easier to tackle. Besides that, the man is just plain awesome.
After I calmed down, and was able to have some rational thought, I began thinking of all kinds of things I could do from 5,000 miles away. I can unite our family in a fast and prayer. I can pray for her myself. I can suggest to her that her husband give her a special blessing. If these all sound like small, inconsequential things to those who have never tried them, let me assure you, they are not. These are powerful tools, and I have seen such wonderful things happen when they're employed. The more I thought about them, the calmer I became, and the less I was worried. I realized that my Katie is being watched over by a loving Father, and that she is in good hands - even though she's not in my hands. I was so greatful for the blessings of prayer and fasting, and the power of the priesthood in our lives, and for what comfort they can bring us in our times of worry and trouble. I feel quite calm now. She still needs to be careful, and make sure she doesn't strain or overexert herself - Katie, who has a hard time sitting still for a minute. She'll probably need to up the minutes on her phone plan. This is going to be a challenge, but we're up for it. She is being watched over, as she's been watched over many times before in times of health crises. This is but one more, and she'll come through it again like she always does: with her amazing strength of character and equally amazing faith. We could all take lessons from this girl. I have been for years.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Breaking and Entering: It's All Good

In case anyone was concerned, I thought I'd let you know that today was {singing it out} AWESOME! As I read my last post, it occurred to me that I was feeling a little sorry for myself, as I am prone to do. Sometimes I just love sympathy, but it's not always good for me. Actually, when it's not deserved, I think it stunts your growth. So the good friends that left me comments gave me the best medicine possible: EMPATHY (rather than sympathy) and friendly good wishes. I went to bed a little worried that I'd made myself look very silly, although it truly was how I was feeling at the time. But worry or not, I got a good night's sleep, with no bumps in the night to scare me. (I have a sinking feeling that just when I'm getting used to having the whole bed all to myself, L will come back, and I'll be cranky because I'm feeling all crowded...I can't win...)
Today dawned even more gorgeous than yesterday (and Utah folk - I hear the temps rose there too! Yay!!) I got a fabulous haircut, colored the gray with, well... color (even more important), and drove towards home with the top down. I was lovin' life. I made a stop at Home Depot, and wandered up and down trying to decide what I wanted. I decided on cilantro, oregano, and lemon balm. I don't know how you use lemon balm (anyone?) but the leaves smell deliciously lemony and that's enough for me. So voila! My herb garden is growing.
When I got home, I hit the garage door closer, went into the house, set my purse down, walked out the kitchen door to the porch, and set the plants down. I turned around to walk back in and OH NO!!! - I was locked out. I stood there thinking what to do for about 5 minutes. The garage door was shut, the car was in the garage with the opener. My purse, keys, and phone were inside in the kitchen. I briefly considered breaking the glass on the door to get inside, but quickly decided against it. I didn't want to clean up broken glass. NO ONE has a spare key. My son gave his back to us last week. My parents don't have one. I could see that I was going to have to spend the weekend on my front porch if I didn't think of something. So I went next door. My neighbors, Dolce and Gabbana (actually, Debbie and Greg, but I could never remember their names until I thought of D&G - Dolce and Gabbana.) ANYWAY, Gabbana was home, and I think I love him. He hopped over my fence, grabbed the ladder (which LUCKILY L hadn't put away), climbed up to my bedroom window (the only window in the whole house that was open a little bit), took the screen off and dove inside. He never even commented on how messy my bedroom was. L would have been horrified. I need to bake him a cake or something. I am truly grateful, and more than a little embarrassed. When I discussed all this with L over the phone, we agreed that we need to have a spare key somewhere.
The rest of the day was uneventful, but nice. A little time in the sun with a book, a little shopping, and an hour of so of gardening and giving everything a drink. I even enjoyed cooking for myself. I am a good cook, but I don't really like cooking only for me. I'm more prone to eat a hunk of cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Laziness is all it is. But, my friends, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf so my husband will stop telling me that I'll need to croak off first because I don't know how to take care of myself. I DO know how to take care of myself. I mixed some cilantro and chopped basil from my garden with fresh tomatoes and vinaigrette, and crumbled goat cheese over it for my salad. I cubed some watermelon and drizzled balsamic vinegar lightly over it. (Doesn't sound good? You should try it - really. An amazing combo of sweet and vinegar. So tasty.) And a hamburger patty. That's not so special, but I'm trying to lose weight, and it's protein. And it was organic. So... there.
I'm going to slather on a facial masque, watch a movie, and just relax. I feel like I took strides today. Small ones, maybe, but still. I didn't sit home feeling sorry for myself. I did things and enjoyed my own company. And if I talked to myself out loud a little bit in the process, so what? Rome wasn't built in a day, and I've told you: I like to talk. And to be honest, the conversation was fascinating.

Friday, April 17, 2009

There's No One To Talk To In Solitary

What's wrong with me? When I tell people that my husband is in Utah visiting our (his) youngest son, everyone thinks it's a great deal - alone time to do exactly as I please. Read a book, go shopping. Enjoy the solitude. The problem is that usually what I'm pleased to do is to hang out with my husband. And contrary to most people, I can do the solo thing only so long. Then I want someone to talk to. When L and I travel, he plugs in his i-Pod for the duration of the flight, and he's as happy as a clam. Me? I'm looking around for someone who looks like they might be interesting and friendly. I've met some really fascinating people that way, and it would have been a shame to have ear buds in my ears instead. L doesn't see it that way - if he doesn't have to talk to another human, he's thrilled. Another problem is that I sit for 8 hours a day at my job. When I'm home I like to be out doing something - which I could do, but I don't really like doing things alone. Is that wierd?
L and I are in the habit of going for evening walks. If we go at twilight there are swarms of knats flying all over, so we usually wait for dark. I didn't go last night because I was a little nervous to go out by myself in the scarey dark. (It's amazing how I can talk myself out of things like excercise...) So I didn't, and when I woke up this morning I was 2 pounds heavier. Now this is only partially because I didn't walk my usual 2 miles. The other part is that my body has gone freaking crazy, and nothing makes sense anymore. I can eat, and lose weight. I can eat next to nothing and put on 5 pounds. Normal rules do not apply anymore, it seems. So, as a result, I'm constantly gaining and losing the same 3 pounds. This would be OK, but I need to lose about 25-30 of them. *sigh* Welcome to menopause.
Same thing with sleeping alone. I had to leave the living room light on all night, because for sure that will keep the crazy spooky things at bay. I guess when I slept by myself before I married my husband, I had my kids home to keep me company. This weekend it's just the TV on very loud for company. I'm beginning to realize what a baby I am about being on my own, and I'm a little embarrassed by it. It's odd too, because I used to do all kinds of things - always a project in the works. And then I started working full time, and it kind of disappeared. Never enough time. Somehow, I need to find that woman again and give her a swift kick. Or maybe a hug.
So tomorrow I have a haircut scheduled, and some errands to run. A book to find. The weather turned glorious so I'd like to be in the sun and do some gardening. I want an herb garden, and so far I have rosemary and basil. I've been using them when I cook and it's been a delicious adventure. I can browse the herbs at Home Depot tomorrow and choose some sage, and maybe some mint. Or maybe something I haven't even thought of. Oooo the possibilities!
So wish me luck on my solo weekend. I don't want to totally hate it. I'd like to conquer whatever it is that makes me so lonely with myself. Because I need a good friend in these situations, and it might as well be me.

PS: My laptop ate it's own hard drive today, so I'm having to bang this out on L's Mac. See... he's gone, and...well we already covered that. Anyway, luckily the Mac was freed up. So I'm sorry there are no pics to liven this up. I'm just not used to manuevering on this thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Keep Two Hands On the Chicken

L and I were shopping at our local Henry's the other night, being out of food and all. We'd just had dinner, and you know how hard it is to shop when you're not hungry. I'd picked up a bottle of shampoo (Aubrey Organics Rose Mosqueta - sounds great but don't buy it. It's so organic and natural it doesn't lather. Bleck.) and a pre-made Chicken Caesar Salad for my lunch the next day. Nothing else was looking good, so I just trailed behind L while he shopped. Seriously, I've never seen someone who loves to grocery shop as much as he does. I half heartedly chose some large tomatoes, and grabbed some sourdough bread. I was just going for the Irish Soda Bread (yes, yes, I'll always go for any kind of bread...) when I noticed that L had already grabbed a round of it. What else? What else?
Just to my right I noticed the little hot stand of market chickens. You know, the chickens that they roast or broast or whatever they do to them there in the store kitchen. They're always so juicy and tender and yummy. I love market chickens! I made my choice of the biggest and juiciest looking one, grabbed it by the paper carrying handle, turned around to put it in the cart and ....SPLAT!!!! The handle broke, and the chicken made a break for it, landing on the floor, juices and all. It lay there kind of sad and steamy, it's little wings outstretched. Just then L came walking up, and the exchange went like this:

L (not wanting to attract attention) : Pick it up!

Me: I can't. It's hot.

L (noticing that it's still steaming like crazy) : Oh. Right.

He then bent down and did the manly thing: he picked up the hot chicken in his bare hands and flipped it into the container. I think he burned his fingers a little, because he kept saying "Wow, that chicken was hot!". We found a grocery store guy to report the spillage to. He acted like it was a pleasure to pick up the defunct chicken and clean up the floor. *sigh* I love that store. I'm going to keep going back there. But not too soon. They need to forget my face first.
As we were driving home, I remarked that the little chicken had given it's life for nothing. No one would ever taste it's juicy goodness after having been on the floor of the grocery store. L seemed to find that funny. His shouders started shaking up and down.
Last night we had to go to the store again. This time for butter, since I went through tons of butter making those Easter cupcakes. Mmmmm... *licking lips and wishing I had one right now* Anyway, we stopped in at Von's. This time I waited in the car. No point in wreaking havoc on a second store.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On Growth, Maturity, and Easter Treats

This has been one of the toughest weeks I've had in a long time. Work has been extremely hectic - we're at our fiscal year end, and all kinds of things need to be finalized, documented, spreadsheeted, and reported on. One girl has been on vacation, and that always makes it more crazy. I don't think there was one day when I didn't have several balls in the air most of the day. I'm tired.
Easter Sunday is this weekend, and I haven't done one little thing about it, other than just think about it. I haven't been able to work up any enthusiasm whatsoever to cook dinner for company, or do anything out of the ordinary, other than send the grandbabies each an Easter card. {shaking head sadly and kicking the ground with the toe of my shoe}

Last night was Enrichment Night, and I'm on the committee, which, if you know me, is very ironic, because I don't like Enrichment Night, and I never, ever go. Just too many sisters in one room for me. I'll help plan for it. I'll help set up. But I don't go. So last night, I'm making my hour trek home from work, and I remember it's Enrichment Night, and my first thought was to totally ditch it. Just go home, and claim I forgot. And this is where we get to the part where I get to testify to you that I've grown, I've improved - my spirituality is virtually soaring. Because, my dear friends, I actually drove straight to the church! I did not go home first. Why? Because I knew I'd never go back out the door. I was valiant in my efforts. I set tables, I put green colored coconut into plastic cups to decorate cupcakes later, I filled water glasses with coconut flavored ice water. I made sure everything was prepared, and ready to go. THEN I left. This may not be much to most of you, but I'm telling you, for me it's huge. I wanted so badly to not go at all. They could have gotten along just fine without my help, and I knew it. But I did my due diligence. I'm kinda proud of myself for that. I mean, I know I'll never be a RS Pres, but that's probably just as well...for everyone concerned.
Back to Easter. I was looking at Bakerella's blog (located in my list of blogs to the right) and she has the cutest cupcakes and cake pops done up for Easter. I'm inspired. I want to go home right now and make them, and L is going to help me. And he will, too - and get totally into it. I'm kind of sad that I don't have any little ones to have Easter fun with, but I do have VT ladies. So hey - I'll make some Easter treats for them, since they usually get the short end of the stick having me visit them... {smacking forhead with hand} I'm telling you, it's an Easter miracle!

I'm wishing all of you large amounts of chocolate from your Easter Bunny!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kickin' It With Conference

I love conference weekend. First of all, I like listening to conference. Even though the message is rarely startling, or something I haven't been reminded about before, it's comforting to me that the message is the same. It never changes. Be good to and love your family. Repent of the errors of your ways (sometimes it's a long list, sometimes it's more brief). Strive to be more like our Savior. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. That's why we listen to conference twice a year for two days at a time. We forget, and we're easily distracted - at least I am.

Besides listening to the messages at conference, though, it's the one Sunday that is truly restful for me. I love cable. I can listen at home, comfortably, with no makeup. It's such a relaxing day while I'm being called to repentance. LaMar usually whips up something delicious to eat, and this time was no exception. We had Conference Quiche, complete with fresh basil from my fledgling herb garden. Sooooo good. It made the morning session quite tasty indeed.

In between sessions I took a book (Twilight - it's for book club!) out to the sunny patio to read, getting a tiny tan at the same time. Just for an hour. Just long enough. We listened to the afternoon session while cleaning the house up, and throwing wash in. LaMar left briefly to get himself a thirsty-two ouncer of Diet Coke. The furthest I got was the back patio with my book. It was heaven. Nowhere to be, no obligations outside my house. Just a peaceful day.

My VT came over in the late afternoon. She brought me the most beautiful yellow orchid plant. So Easter-y and pretty. We sat down and talked....and talked.... and she ended up staying for dinner. L whipped up a steak salad and guacamole and chips before she could say no. Does it sound like I never cook, or do much in general? You're probably right. I like to cook, but I'm saving it up for Christmas or something. I kind of handle the Big Deal Dinners, and L does the day to day. It's a good system.

One year for conference, L made Conference Cupcakes. They had little cutouts of Gordon B. Hinkley standing up in the frosting on top. A total crowd pleaser. But no matter what, it always seems to be a peaceful day of gentle instruction, relaxation, and tasty food. Because tasty food just makes the changing your evil ways part more palatable.

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