Daily Affirmation

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Headache Had A Name: The Devil

Ever have one of those nights when, for no reason you can figure, you wake up with a screaming headache about 4:00 in the morning?  I did, last night.  I got up, and my neck was all tense and crackly but I didn't want to take my special Excedrin/Advil cocktail on an empty stomach, and (unwisely) reasoned that if I plopped one of my herb/lavender/rice filled pillows on my head and over my eyes it would help.  Uh, no.  It didn't.  I woke up worse than ever.
My husband got me something to eat and I took my cocktail and laid back to let it do its hoodoo magic.  In about 30 minutes I felt better and I went to my eye exam appointment.  
It was during the exam that the evil started to return.  During the countless "this lens or this one?" and holding the black spoon over each eye and trying to read tiny letters my head started to pound again.  
I finally got home and my husband was tearing drywall off the bathroom walls.  He'd gone to 7Eleven and gotten his Saturday morning Tub 'O Diet Coke, and - being that caffeine is my secret headache weapon, I took several hits of that.  And more Excedrin cocktail.  I had a couple of errands to run, and then I thought I could come home and lay down if I didn't feel better.  So, dashing in and out of crazy rain and hail storms, I finally returned and decided to see if a nap would cure things.  L had to run out and do some Elder's Quorum things and was busy laying up treasures in heaven for himself serving the brethren for the afternoon.  I got all cozy and curled up with my pillows.  And that's when the upset stomach set in - probably from so much Excedrin.  I dozed on and off, but could never quite really fall asleep.
We were due at my mom and dad's for dinner so, being as I didn't feel any worse up than I did laying down, I decided to trudge over there with L and have some dinner.  My mom had a salad, some warm bread, and a crockpot full of homemade minestrone soup.  I don't know when anything has tasted so good.  Maybe the headache was going to leave anyway, but I think it was just Mom's cooking.  As soon as I started in on that soup I could feel it start to ebb away.  By the time dinner was over it was gone.  We had sherbet and fresh strawberries for dessert.  My whole life, my mom has made the simplest dinners seem so elegant and soooo delicious.  And no matter how old I get, when I'm not feeling good, there's nothing like mom taking care of me.  It takes me right back to my childhood sick days of soft boiled eggs and toast, and maybe a little jello.  Only tonight it was minestrone soup and warm bread.  I was comforted, I was warmed, I was nourished.  Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It Ain't Your Mama's Trail Mix

The other day I went during lunchtime to Target.  Who doesn't love Target?  I love to wander the aisles there!  It's always a mini treasure hunt.  I went mostly to get some Cetaphil face wash, or rather Target's version of it.  (Best face wash EVER - recommended by my brother, who is a plastic surgeon!  Very, very mild, and very very cheap.)  ANYWAY - I ended up with a lime green croco embossed wallet - so cute, and my old one was thrashed.  Let's see, what else?  Oh yes, Starburst Lip Smacker chapstick packs for the little girls, some Easter Hot Wheels cars for Matthew (I didn't even know they made Easter Hot Wheels!), and then I came to the food section.  They had their own brand (Archer) of large, and also individual size packs of different trail mixes.  Sometimes it's nice to have something like that at work when you have to work through lunch.  I especially like the individual sizes, so I'm not tempted to mow through a large pack of trail mix the size of a potato chip bag.  I got a few different versions to try, and today I opened this one:


S'more.  Chocolate covered peanuts, pecans, little graham squares, chocolate chunks, coated marshmallows (crunchy - rather like the Lucky Charms marshmallows - and they are magically delicious).  May I just say: YUM!  It's a good thing it was just a small individual pack, because it was that scrumptious.  If you live by a Target store, RUN, RUN, and get this yummy treat.  You can thank me later.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flying Dragons

I had a dream last night that my 3 year old granddaughter, Lexi, could sing.  I mean, really sing - like a prodigy, not just like every other Primary kid.  She had a little book of music, and she was just belting out the tunes like a Broadway pro.  Everyone was amazed at her talent.  I remember saying "Well, she can sing so well, because she talked so early."  And it made perfect sense in my dream.  *nodding*  
I don't think that logic follows in real life.  I'm not watching TV at all tonight, partly to avoid another wacky dream, but mostly to attempt some discipline in the number of sleep hours I get.  
I just got home from Tai Chi and I'm tired from struggling to look graceful whilst moving from the "flying dragon" pose to the "dragon landing" pose.  Sounds simple enough, but I've found I cannot stand on tip-toe anymore without wobbling.  When did I lose that ability?  Maybe after one of the last 3 ankle sprains?  I don't know, but it made me slightly sad to face that fact.  I'll continue to work, and hopefully regain my tip-toe stance skills, but I have a mountain of muscles to strengthen.  
Do I sound discouraged?  I'm really not.  The Tai Chi class is the hardest one for me, and so I usually come away feeling tired and clumsy.  But tonight I'd forgotten to take my Excedrin/Advil cocktail before class, and I didn't wear my ankle brace.  And I'm not in any pain.  That's progress, my friends.  Even if I do still move through poses like a sleepy bear.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stopping To Smell The Roses

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Mia - who is trying hard to learn to say her "L's"  (la la love...)
2. L - he made me the best taco salad tonight.
3. A good hair day.
4. A hard (for me) yoga stretch class.  I am getting stronger
5. The tiniest hint of muscles in my upper arms - so exciting!
6. My yoga instructor's promise that all of my flab will be gone (one day)
7. Read The Scriptures.com - with this site I am finding it easy to get my scripture reading done every day.
8. My family - the good, the bad, the ugly.  I love them so much it's hard to be rational sometimes.
9. My comfy comfy bed.  I am going there now.  I hope I don't have a crazy bad dream about scarey ice skating door to door salesmen like I did last night.  (I think it had something to do with watching Ice Dancing before bed...)
10. I am thankful I can come here and write random stuff, and one or two of you actually read it.  It gives my day to day a little extra spice.  I love the ones who comment most especially.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finding Balance and Bangs: Finding Grace in the Grow-out

Tai Chi kicked my butt last night.  I went in all cocky, thinking I was getting pretty good at all of this.  There were 3 other people in the class last night, all much more experienced than I, and I quickly came to realize that the Debbie had been taking it easy on me.  Humbling.  Completely humbling.  We did a series of 7 poses, each a little more challenging than the last, and we had to hold each one for a couple of minutes "so our bodies would remember."  Ohhhh yeah... my body is still remembering...  It wasn't that the poses were difficult in and of themselves.  It was the balance required to hold them.  I discovered I have no strength.  I don't habitually fall over (unless my ankles give way) or run into walls, so I'm assuming my basic balance is OK.  I think my core is weak and my muscles in general are weak.  I had a hard time holding any pose for more than 20 seconds.  I became a little discouraged, but in a way it also made me determined.  I remember this feeling when I used to ride horses, and in particular when I was learning to ride them over fences.  No matter how many times I got ditched off the horse, landing in a heap on the ground (sometimes going over the fence myself, instead of the horse - in a spectacular dismount!) it just made me that much more determined to get up and try again.  I think it's that way when you really like something, when you truly enjoy it.  A challenge is good in those cases - it keeps things interesting, and it makes any improvement you see that much sweeter.  So maybe it's good that I'm terrible at this.  It'll only be up from here!
I have one more decision I'm facing:  Grow out my bangs - Yes? or No?  I think I'm a little tired of them.  My hair is wavy and it's work to keep them straight.  So any moisture, any sweat, any humidity at all, and they're going at all kinds of wierd angles.  I think I'm ready for a change - I just have to figure out what to do with them in the meantime.  I'll look for cute clips and barrettes.  My main concern is that they not look weird in June for the wedding photos.  I think they should be pretty well grown out by then, right?  5 months away?  Anyone else done this?  How did you handle the grow-out period?  And if you're in your 20's bear in mind that I'm looking for things that would look appropriate on me.  At age 50+.  I mean, I try to be cute and darling, but there's a place where that ends and silly begins.  I need to not cross that line.  Nothing worse than a woman who's gone from being reasonably fun and stylish to Glamma the Clown Relives Her Wasted Youth.  (Well, unless you're Betsey Johnson.  See below.)  Because from there it's only one short hop to spiked leather dog collars, expressive tatoos, and hot pants.  (Again, unless you're Betsey Johnson.  Then you'd just be wearing wacky clothes.  Expensive, wacky clothes.) Maybe when I'm senile and don't know any better, (my children could parade me out for the ultimate payback) but not just yet.  Keep it simple.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Off Day

Honestly, I don't know how to fit everything into my evenings.  Tonight we ate a quick dinner, I talked to Scott about (what else?) wedding plans, L and I went for a shorty walk, we went to the store for provisions, I returned my mom's call, and I've just caught up on my blogs.
What didn't I do?  Paint, walk longer, write a better post.  Call my grandma and aunt.  But it's time for LOST.  After the day I had today, I just want to get lost (get it? "LOST?") in some really good TV.  I don't want to think anymore, I don't want to talk about wedding receptions and who is paying for what anymore, I don't want to talk on the phone anymore.  I'm turning this off and heading for my room and soft cushy pillows, and my show.  I feel very unaccomplished and a bit lazy but I'm done.

On the up side, I wasn't achey today. I actually felt very good physically.  I had a great yoga class last night, and I'll have another tomorrow - yay!  Now if I could just have a good day mentally AND physically we'd have a winner.  Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feeling the Love

I'm back, I'm back!  L and I took a day away from home and responsibility to celebrate Valentine's Day.  We didn't go far - just to LA for dinner out, and a night away.  L always thinks of something thoughtful, and with all of the stress at work, even one night away from everything was heaven!  We went to dinner at a small Italian restaurant, and it smelled amazing the second we walked through the door.  Warm rosemary bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a beautiful salad topped with thick flakes of parmesan cheese, and finally the fettuccine topped with shrimp, scallops and artichoke hearts.  Flavorful, aromatic ingredients, all beautifully prepared and presented - a feast for all the senses!
When we could eat no more, we walked back to the car, which was parked along the street in one of those charming neighborhoods that boast little Spanish bungalow-type houses, built probably in the 30s.  We drove up through the avenues in the general direction of the temple, and ended up on Overland heading straight up towards the temple at dead center.  That view never fails to be both beautiful and inspiring.  I know it's not most people's favorite temple, but I'm fond of it.  After all, it's where I was married...(twice, actually, but who's counting?)  So what better place to drive to on Valentine's Day?  I love the huge front lawn, and the way it sits up on a hill, and the way it's lit up at night.  It seems to be protecting the little neighborhoods around it.
We continued to drive, further up into the streets above the temple, into Beverly Hills and the beautiful homes there, back down into Brentwood, and finally back to our hotel, which was close to LAX.  I love to take drives - I love to see things I haven't seen before, or maybe just see them in a different way, and the drive is so relaxing.
Back at the hotel, we got comfortable, and snuggled up to watch the Olympics, and smooch a little. Nothing is more romantic than being next to the love of your life, whether at home or in strange hotel rooms.  Girls younger than me might argue, but there's just something so...so... satisfying and yes, even sexy about hanging out with your best friend - the one who knows you better than anyone.  I never get tired of it.

So now we're back home, settling into routine.  I'm sitting at my table that L made for me, and outside are a couple of the young fathers on our street, out playing with their kids, watching them ride their bikes and scooters.  I love to see daddies out enjoying their little ones, and having a great time with them.  So much happy noise.
I wish I could have seen my little ones today.  I had to content myself with sending some treats, and cards with my love written in them.  Like so:

I made one just like it for Lexi and Matthew.  Pretty good, huh?  I made the brownies, and took a picture of one.  I did the rest on Picnik.com, and L printed them and trimmed them to card size.  Then we ate the brownies.  It was a lot of fun.  The kids will like the candy bracelets best, but this is what I enjoyed most!  And last, but not least, here is the "card" I made for L.  It was made with Photo Booth on my Mac.  I can't even tell you how many times I had to retake the pictures until I finally got this one that was halfway decent, but I sure had fun doing it.  Then over to Picnik for the special effects.  He loved it.  I mean, it screams I Love You, doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Detoxing and Weaponry

Last night was the yoga detox class again.  I had a bad headache when I went.  I'd had it all day long, had taken Excedrin until I couldn't take any more, and I'd had more than one Diet Coke (medicinal - for the caffeine.  Cures headaches, don't you know?)  Nothing, nada, zip.  Still there.  That's not a good sign.  But I went to class anyway, ever hopeful.
We slapped and tapped and pounded on all kinds of pressure points and chakras.  We concentrated on our intestinal tract (translate that to ab work) until I was ready to scream.  But at the end, the lights went low, and a soft blanket roll was placed under each person's back and neck to open up the chest and breathing.  Hey.  Wait... the headache was gone!  I was almost afraid to move again, but it was gone, really really gone!  And just like last week, I lost pounds (yes, plural POUNDS) over night.  Now, you can say that it's just water weight, but I don't care.  I feel lighter today.  I think there really must be something to this detox business.  Sure, it would be even better if I hadn't gained back the 2 pounds I lost last week over the weekend, but I haven't yet mastered the trick of permanent weight loss.  Try, try again, I always say.  (And again, and again, and AGAIN...)
Before I left the studio last night my fellow yoga practicers and I got to talking, and I noticed for the second time what gorgeous glowy skin everyone had.  I asked about it, and everyone agreed that yoga will do that for you!  SWEET!  I also noticed some polished wood sticks, or canes, and a sword.  Our instructor said that they are used in Tai Chi, when we get more advanced. 
This just gets better and better.  I will have glowy skin, I will be graceful and limber, and I will brandish a weapon.  The sword is cool, but I kind of have my eye on one of the curvy polished sticks.  There's some kind ceremonial looking drum in the corner too.  Once a week we're going to have a drum beat class.  I can't wait.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Bed Nazi Goes Shopping (and other activities)

The rain was crazy this weekend!  Beyond our back patio, there are several large pepper trees that line the hillside we perch on top of.  These trees are messy, dropping leaves, berries, and spiders onto our patio.  In the fall and winter it's a lot of work to keep it all swept up off the patio, and in the summer there are always spiders everywhere that spin gigantic webs from the trees' branches.  The bright side to these trees is that they house hundreds of birds - many of them hummingbirds.  These little guys are always flitting around, first hovering on one of our patio trees, and then on another potted plant.  I never get tired of watching them.  The trees also provide privacy from the street below and the houses across the street.  It's not all of the trees I object to - just the ones that encroach on our patio.
Over the weekend it rained especially hard, and the wind was really blowing.  After the worst of it had passed I happened to look out of our bedroom window, which faces the back of the house where these trees are, and I noticed that something didn't look quite right.  Then I realized that the largest of the pesky trees that makes the biggest mess on our patio had literally blown down (it's HUGE!) and was resting on the tree just below it on the hill.  It had taken quite a bit of the hill with it, and sprinkler pipes were exposed, hanging in the air above what was now a huge hole.  It was kind of startling to think that, if it weren't for the tree below it, the whole thing would have landed on the street below.  I'm actually not sad that particular tree is gone, and I think there should be enough trees left for the homeless birds to find new digs. I'm just glad no one got hurt.  I'm going to keep an eye on the hill though - it would be just my luck to wake up some rainy night with my house sliding down the hill.
L and I went out shopping on Saturday in the pouring rain to get some new bedding.  Yep, I'm the Bed Nazi (as L calls me).  I can't stand it when sheets and comforters start to look sad and droopy.  We had kind of an idea of what we wanted: more color, more texture, and/or pattern.  We scored on all three counts.  We found a lovely burnt orange paisley duvet cover, and one of those silky looking embroidered light quilts.  A beige striped set of sheets rounded the set out, and we already had some eggplant velvet euro shams.  I'd seen a ruffley eggplant pillow in Pier One so we went to get that, and also found an orangey tapestry one to coordinate with it.  So now the bed is a festival of colors that we love, and everything is all soft and cushy.  It was so much fun to find all of the patterns and colors and textures and put them all together!  While we were in Macy's we saw a gorgeous bed that I'm still dreaming about.  It was a dark wood, and would look gorgeous with what we picked out.  Maybe one day...  Right now, I'm enjoying what I have.  We felt like we were on vacation in a beautiful boutique hotel, all wrapped up in gorgeousness and luxury when we snuggled in bed.  What do you think?


The rest of my weekend was spent doing chores (laundry, laundry, laundry...) and I did go to my Saturday morning yoga class.  This time it was yoga stretch and meditation.  I absolutely love it.  There was one other lady about my age in the class, although she'd been doing it a lot longer than I have.  One thing I'm noticing about these yoga ladies is that they have lovely skin.  Is this a benefit?  I hope so!  The class about killed me with ab exercises (which I desperately need), and also some wall push ups.  My little arm sausages and my riblets are sore today.  But not too bad.  I am going to my class tomorrow night for sure, and we'll do the whole week all over again.  I really do love it.  Unless I look in the mirror (which I try very hard not to do) I can imagine that I am willowy and graceful whilst going through the poses.  I can picture my posture improving.  And during meditation, I try to imagine that my whole body is lighting up with health and vitality.  One day it will be true.
I also spent some time painting, trying to finish some little projects I'd bought and never finished.  When I get some finished we'll have a giveaway.  I also went through some photos that I'd taken last year while in Puerto Rico.  I practiced retouching them with the new program I purchased on Piknic.com.  (Check it out - it's so much FUN !!)  Here are the ones I worked on.  One is a picture of one of the charming doorways in Old San Juan, and the other is a house there.  Everything there is so charming and Old World.  A lot of it is in disrepair - it's an island, and everything takes a beating from the weather and salt air.  But oh, how I loved wandering the cobblestone streets and looking at all of the charming architecture.  So here are the retouching efforts I completed this weekend:




So now you have a little idea of why I enjoy Puerto Rico so much.  I totally get why it's irritating to live there, but to visit - it's a little-known paradise.  The lure of my granddaughters notwithstanding (for the next year anyway), its old-worldly and historic, with gorgeous beaches and rain forests, and crazy little frogs that sing you to sleep at night.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm A LOST-ie

Last night was the long awaited season premiere of LOST.  I love this show, but it's so confusing!  Who's with me?  Anyone?  I mean, last season ended with Juliet being swept into a deep hole by a magnetically drawn chain.  We saw her at the bottom of the deep shaft, badly injured, and banging away on a hydrogen bomb.  Then a big flash. Assumption: Juliet is dead.  Syed gets shot in the last episode - he's still hanging on when the season premiere starts. 
I rushed home from my hair appointment, watched a quick recap of last season's finale (complete with quick reminders and explanations of little details you might miss or not notice - soooo helpful!) and THEN we settled in for the big 2 hour premiere, Trader Joe's kettle corn at the ready. 
Oh. My. Goodness.  WHAT is going on???  Juliet is ALIVE???  Yes she is, and Sawyer, Kate, Jack, Jin and Hurley are frantically digging to get to her.  But alas - she dies.  Sawyer is distraught, but the character who talks to dead people (I can't remember his name) says that she is telling him that "It worked."  (The bomb blast was supposed to reset time and make the original crash not happen.  Thus, they would not be on the island.)  But wait - it worked?!?  Suddenly, we're in an alternate time, and we can see all of the characters landing safely at LAX.  We see the island buried beneath the ocean.  We don't see Juliet, but as she was dying, she was talking to Sawyer about having coffee with him.  Was she in that alternate time?  We don't know...
The survivors make their way to the temple on the island, where The Others live.  (The island's God-figure or Christ-like figure - usually dressed in white -  told Hurley where to find it after he was killed by John Locke/the Man In Black who has taken on Locke's appearance - he is a shape shifter.  *Don't ask...*)  He said that Syed would be saved at the temple so off they go.  The Others are not happy to see them but when they mention Jacob's name (the one killed by the shape shifter evil person) they suddenly change their tune and drag Syed into the temple.  There is a healing pool there, but what's this?  The water is no longer clear.  It's murky.  They don't know if it will heal Syed, but they try their  best.  It doesn't seem to work and they pronounce him dead.  But just as the episode ends, Syed opens his eyes.  ???!!!???  In the alternate time period, John Locke and Jack both have luggage problems with the airline upon landing at LAX, and find themselves together at the counter.  Jack (who is a spinal surgeon) hands Locke his card (Locke is still paralyzed from a fall, and in a wheelchair. Before the time reset, the island had "cured" him)  He tells Jack his condition is irreversible.  Jack says "Nothing is irreversible."  A foreshadow??  WHAT IS GOING ON?
There's a whole season ahead to unravel these mysteries.  I have every confidence that all will be revealed and explained.  But it's so hard to wait.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oooooooommmmm...

Just so you know, I went to yoga class last night - even though I'd had the most wretched day imaginable.  I was determined.  I arrived and the instructor sat down with me and asked me all kinds of questions about this and that - what were my physical limitations, what did I hope to gain from yoga exercise, etc.  (Limitations: I practically squeak when I move, like the Tin Man. Goals: I want to be willowy and graceful.  Not possible?  Well, maybe just fit, then.)
Much to my surprise, I was the only one there for class.  The studio just opened, and I guess you have to give these things some time.  As luck would have it, Monday night's class was the Detox Yoga.  We started stretching, and then every so often we would tap and slap at various pressure points all over the body.  Kidneys, down the legs, abdomen, neck, arms, pretty much everything.  I thought "this is a bit wierd" but I played along.  I breathed, and slapped, and massaged.  We stretched out prone on our mats, and we stretched and breathed some more.  We imagined we were breathing in light, and the light was lighting up everything inside.  We relaxed, and I had to worry about not relaxing too much, because I will snore. 
At the end of it all, we bowed to each other, and I went home.  I actually felt fantastic!   I mean, bad day?  What bad day??  I felt great -  partly because I followed through with attending, but I think there's really something to the detox exercise.  And this morning, when I woke up, I'd detoxed 2 pounds!
I'm going back.  Not tonight - because I'm getting my hair did tonight.  (The gray is completely and screamingly obvious, and covering gray trumps yoga)  But Wednesday night I'm back - this time for Tai Chi class.  I loved having the class all to myself last night, but I'm realistic enough to know that she needs some more customers.  If you're in the area, you could go too.  Anybody?  Anybody???

I can do this.....
But my favorite is this!

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