Daily Affirmation

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Small Miracles

After a perfectly wretched day yesterday, where I had my patience and ego stretched to the limit,  I limped home early enough to make the 6:00 yoga class.  I figured I couldn't feel any worse,  and was hoping for a miracle.  And you know what?  I got it.  Partly from yoga, but largely from my granddaughter Lexi.
Last week I'd sent off Easter packages to Lexi, Matthew, and Mia.  (Hayden got left out this time - I couldn't find anything for her that wasn't bulky and I was trying to keep mailing costs to Puerto Rico down.  AND, this year at least, she won't know the difference.  Bad Grandma?  Maybe... but sensible Grandma?  Yes.)  I'd mostly forgotten about the packages until last night when I came home from yoga (nicely stretched out, detoxed, and relaxed, thank you) and L said "You had a little person call who wanted to talk to you about her Easter surprise.  She will call you back before bedtime."
What is it about these little ones that can turn the worst day into something quite special?  I felt better after class, but when I heard that Lexi had called me, every ounce of fatigue just faded away.  I waited and waited, and we had to go to the store (so annoying that we'd eaten all our food!) so I tried to call them, but ended up leaving a message that Mema would be at the store but I would have my phone.  Sure enough, in the middle of Henry's, I got the call.  A sweet little voice went on and on about I don't even know what.  I caught one thing: "Mema, it's my favorite."  She kept talking, (Lexi is a talker) and I tried to keep up - I had no idea what she was saying most of the time. I'm out of practice listening to and deciphering little ones, and it's even harder over the phone, but it was a wonderful thing to have her want to talk on and on to me.  I had sent her some Starburst flavored lip balms and apparently, they are her favorite thing.  Her mother said she would open one and smell it, and then put it on.  Awhile later she would open another and another.  How I wish I could have been there!
So you know what?  I'm going.  In May.  To Denver.  I haven't been there in awhile, and I need to go and spend some time with just them.  When they're here for the wedding it will be busy and there will be lots of people to attend to, so it won't be the same.  It will be a quick trip, but I'm excited to go and spend some time with them.  Hopefully the snow will be long gone by then. 
But isn't it amazing how such a small person can revitalize you after the toughest day?  The magic they perform is powerful and strong, and yet to them it is the most natural thing in the world.  Miracles of the heart are just part of their daily routine.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday - And not a moment too soon...

The Santa Ana riverbed is close to my house.  There are bike and walking trails that wind along it - you can actually get all the way to the beach if you have that much energy.  There are lots of birds who live there: ducks and geese, and egrets - or cranes.  I came home from work a little early today, as I planned to finish the day working from home so I'd be able to go pick up my new glasses.  I was looking out my bedroom window (delaying the working from home part of the day) and I noticed a crane walking along the hillside, snapping up grasshoppers as he (she?) went along.  We see these birds all the time along the riverbed, but they don't often venture over our way.  They're very interesting to watch - all long legged and gawky, yet somehow graceful at the same time.  I snapped a couple of pictures for your enjoyment, and then I photoshopped them for my enjoyment.  It was a nice end to a nice day.  I find I'm a bit of a bird geek.

Oh, and my new glasses?  I'm lovin' them!  They're kind of preppy cool - a little Buddy Holly, a little hot but brainy office girl.  And most important of all, I can see, and wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dream Big, Dream Wild

Seen on the inspiration board at yoga:

If you want to achieve your wildest dreams, you must first have some wild dreams.

For some reason, that just appealed to me.  I have wild dreams, and then I get all sensible and set my sights lower.  From now on, I'm going to dream WILD.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MiaMoo Designs Giveaway

Hey everybody -  my daughter, Katie is having a giveaway (in honor of her 30th birthday) on her Mia Moo Designs blog - a big Gerbera Daisy flower clip.  It can be worn as is, or clip it to a headband, like Mia in the picture below.  If you have a little girl, or know of a little girl who would look  sassy and cute in one, hurry on over there, wish Katie a Happy Birthday -  and get in on the fun.  Her clips are beautiful - even big girls like them!  The drawing will be tomorrow, so get going!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Big Boys' Race

Tonight was the long anticipated Pinewood Derby for Big Boys.  L had to be there right at 6:30.  He didn't want to miss a thing.  I was dragging my feet just a bit, but finally got myself out the door.  We "walked" into the cultural hall (I was walking, but I swear L would have been running if I could've run too.)  All the man-boys were gathered around a big table, applying graphite to their wheels, making final adjustments, and weighing in.  L's car was a huge block of wood car.  His theory was, the heavier the car, the faster it will go.  Hmmmmm.... my heart had heavy misgivings as I looked at the other cars.  So trim, so pared down.  I tried to keep a positive look on my face.
L's car was racing in the "Open" division.  Basically, that means anything goes.  No weight requirements, it can have any crazy old thing attached to it, etc.  I took a look at the competition and felt a little better.  The Bishop's car was a skinny thing with balsa wood attached on top, and a rubber band propeller.  Heh.  That thing will be slower than anything, I thought.  No weight to it, and the propeller will slow it down.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  There were 3 cars in the Open Division.  We raced 3 times, and 3 times L's car came in dead last.  A huge, heavy slug of a car.  The winner every time?  The crazy propeller car.
But in our politically correct, and polite society, there came solace.  Everyone was a winner!  The man-boys all came away with award certificates (L's was a third place!  Third out of 3, but no one needs to know that, right?), and their choice of one of several types of large chocolate bars. (YES!  There was my validation for being there!)
It was actually a pretty fun evening.  The best part was watching L play with one couple's little twins.  They really seemed to like him, and he was having fun.  I think he's practicing for when the grandkids come in June.

PS: A huge weight rolled off my shoulders today: I found the florist we'll be using for the June wedding.  She is creative, very talented, and just starting out in business, so she's also very reasonable.  I seriously wanted to kiss her.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Summer and Gardens

How about this warm weather, huh?  (In So Cal anyway)  It's felt like the beginnings of summer the past couple of days.  I know it won't last right now, but it just gives you a hint of what's to come.  It's made me excited to go to Home Depot and buy six packs of flowers to pot. Pour Miracle Grow on everything and watch it all go crazy.  We have a bouganvilla plant on our porch.  Twice its all but died from the cold of winter.  This past winter we truly thought we'd lost it for good.  All the branches were just little dry sticks.  But the past couple of days with all the lovely sunny warmth, several little green leaves squeezed out, and I believe it's resurrected itself once again.  Maybe they always die back in the winter?  Anyone?  I just thought they stayed green year round, so I'm always surprised when it looks so dead, and then by the end of summer it's lush and green again.
I'm really looking forward to summer this year.  Summer means a wedding.  Family arriving. Grandkids running around.  Tea parties and games.  Late nights laughing with the girls,(for a week in June anyway) eating JoJos from Trader Joe's and drinking Diet Coke.  Beach days.  Bonfire nights.  No work for a whole week!
Later in the summer, I get to meet a blogging friend who will be here in the area with her family.  I'm very excited about that.  I'm planning a trip to Denver sometime this summer. We are negotiating dates as I speak.
Every day I trudge to work, becoming less enchanted with being there as each day passes.  For now, it's a necessity.  A means to an end.  What makes it all bearable are the magical days that weave into the monotony here and there.  A little travel, a lot of family, a milestone event bringing a new family member, little ones growing like beautiful flowers in a garden.  A new blogging friend, Robert Brault, (see his blog here) had this wonderful thought he wrote on his blog this week:

What is a gardener, after all, but a magician's assistant?

I loved that quote.  Every time a flower blooms, or a plant comes back to life, I feel like I've just assisted the Master in a mini creation.  It's the same with my family.  I know they are not my creation entirely - they have been who they are for a long, long time.  But I was honored to assist Heavenly Father in raising and loving them here on earth, and having some influence in the lives of the new little ones - in short, I have been lucky enough to have been the magician's assistant.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I love Me A Weekend

Weekend Highlights:

1. Mia called me on the phone: "Hi Mema!  It's MI-a!"  Made my day to hear that little voice. And I found out that:
2. She went swimming and used "lots of big arms."  Huge deal.
3. We were both painting when she called.  When she found that out I heard a little gasp and then Katie laughing.  Katie came on and said that Mia was so excited that I was painting AT THE SAME TIME AS HER that she was running in place.  That gave me a laugh.  Mia is our little artist.
4. Hayden can roll over, so now she is all over the place.
5. We had dinner with L's brother Rick and his wife Diana.  Rick fell 30 feet while rock climbing a few weeks ago.  He's sporting a sort of "halo" around his lower leg that's holding his broken heel together.  (The other one was also fractured, but not nearly as severely.)  He's lucky to be alive, and we were so glad we could have some fun with them.  Ironically, he's a podiatrist.
6. Scott and Ashley came to church with us today.  Scott had a great time seeing old friends in the ward, and it was fun introducing Ashley around.  What a beautiful girl she is.  Ash had to go to work, but Scott came over after church and we had a nice visit.  I really enjoy being with my kids.
7. Dinner with L at Cafe Rio.  Brand new one just built in Laguna Hills.  I tried their salmon taco - they just don't make anything I don't love.   After dinner we drove to my office ( on a SUNDAY - it felt soooo wrong to be there!) because L had to weigh his Pinewood Derby car.  Yes, you heard right.  Our ward is having an adult activity Friday - a Pinewood Derby - and you wouldn't believe how excited all the men are about this.  (Do I really have to go to this???)  L has carved his in the shape of a Ferrari.  We'll paint it orange with a white stripe.  Ooooooh the excitement...  It'll be fun just to watch all of these man-boys play with their little cars.
8.  Dessert: a Lemon Drop Frostings cupcake.  It's calling to me down in the kitchen, so I'm going to answer the call.

Did everyone survive the lost hour of Daylight Savings this weekend?  I had to take a nap.  I NEVER nap, but I had to today.  You wouldn't think one little hour would make that big a difference, but it does.  Weird.

Another week begins.  What highlights will it bring?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Random Nap

I just got back from Tai Chi.  While I was at class, L went to the gym, and then to Henry's for some provisions.  They were having a 2 for 1 sale on certain items.  He got two containers of detergent.  I'm always running out of that stuff right when I've got just one load left to do.
He also got two containers of Hagen Daz.  *sigh*  Kind of defeats the purpose of struggling through Tai Chi and losing my balance on the eagle pose, (I am really REALLY bad at Tai Chi) but I can't say the sight of lemon sorbet and rocky road didn't bring a tiny smile to my face.

Back to Tai Chi.  I understand we're supposed to get all inside ourselves and imagine we're pushing energy here and there, but I have such a hard time getting past my upper arms flapping around.  Totally distracts me.  Plus, one of the mirrors is a little warped so it makes me look even sturdier than I already am.  Disturbing.  I much prefer to turn my back on the mirrors, and then I can imagine myself the way I want to.  And soon enough, after much struggling and wobbling it's relaxation time.
Tonight, we had a man join our group for the first time.  Saleem.  He moved through the poses in a button down shirt, sport slacks and wearing a watch.  I think he enjoyed it very much though.  When we were laying on our blankets in relaxation pose, he started to snore.  Awesome.  Totally broke my concentration.  I got the giggles.  But hey - we were supposed to relax, and he obeyed.  Even surrounded by 4 women.  I think he'll come back.  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What Happened to the Girl Scout Cookies?

L got ambushed by some cute little Brownies or Girl Scouts outside the grocery store the other day, and he ended up buying some cookies.  It's really hard to say no to little girls plying you with boxes of cookies.  I can remember being really excited that it was Girl Scout Cookie time.  My favorites were always the peanut butter sandwich cookies and the Thin Mints.  And the Samoas.  L brought home the peanut butter sandwich ones - his favorite.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't these cookies used to be delicious?  And bigger?  They're so tiny now - like doll cookies.  And they're kind of hard and not nearly as yummy as I remember them being.  (It's been a few years since I've had them.)  We noticed that they have a new baker now - ABC Bakeries.  I think it used to be Burry, or something like that.  Anyway, somewhere the recipe definitely underwent a change, and not for the better.  Pity.  They used to be really good.  I get that they need to skimp on the quantity to make more money for the Girl Scouts, but it's disappointing they've cut back on quality too.  Now I'd rather just give them a donation and skip the cookies.  Probably a wise health move too.  

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Looking Cool in the Workplace

I enter my work building through an underground parking structure.  Let me back up: I don't have a permit to park in the structure - I park just outside it, and then walk through it to the elevators.  Guarding the stucture on both entrance and exit sides from unauthorized parkers are those big wooden rails that go up and down when you swipe your key.  Directly above these rails are offices with big windows.
When I arrived at work this morning (always in a hurry because I'm usually a couple of minutes or more late) I gathered up my always-giant purse, and headed towards the closest rail.  The plan is to sweep gracefully by it on my way into the structure.  This morning, however, I had on a long black cardigan, which caught on the rail, so as I was walking fast (but gracefully) past, my sweater kind of dragged it with me for a second before I was able to shake loose.  In that split second it ricocheted back with a kind of B-O-I-N-N_G! before coming back and smacking me, causing me to lose my balance and stumble into the planter, tripping over the ivy ground cover.  Of course my purse was swinging wildly all over the place too.  
I quickly glanced up at the office windows above me, and wondered how many people saw me get spanked by a parking lot rail and then stumble like a drunken sailor into the weeds.  I'll never know, but it was kind of hard to take myself seriously the rest of the day.

The really sad part is that it's not the first time it's happened.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Say Yes To Whales

My daughter emailed me the following story.  I enjoyed it so much I had to share it - I hope everyone hasn't already seen it.

Recently, in a large city in a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans). They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.
They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT? Therefore, they don't have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.
So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.
Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good grief, look how smart I am!¨

So now, my beautiful friends, next time you look in the mirror, please see reflected your wisdom, your life's experience, your beauty and intelligence, and most of all, your happiness with yourself.  Because big or small, we are all daughters of our Heavenly Father, and we need to find happiness in what makes each of us unique.  And when next we meet, let's make sure we enjoy some chocolate together.

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