Daily Affirmation

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Biking & Nostalgia - Memorial Day 2012

Our Memorial Day was 9 parts relaxing, with a pinch of physical thrown in along with a heaping spoonful of nostalgia.  Surprisingly, we both slept in until 9:00!  That's something that just never happens around here, but it sure felt good.  We had breakfast, got ready, and soon had the bikes loaded onto the rack and were off to the bike trail!  Previously, we'd done the end of the trail from out in O'Neill Park at the end of Yorba Linda/ Anaheim Hills, clear through to Chapman Avenue in Orange.  We'd also done the last 5 miles from McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana to Huntington Beach and back.  But we'd never done that middle section, so that's where we headed.
All kinds of people were out riding, ranging from the serious cyclists to old duffers like ourselves, to families out for a family ride, to kids riding to the beach.  The first part of the trail was lovely, winding past a green golf course.  After that, it got mean.  The winds off the coast were blowing against us and it was a struggle (for me) to keep going down under each overpass, and then pedal up against the wind on the other side.  I was determined to do at least 5 miles each way, though.  We sort of lost count at one point, and I don't do well when I don't know where I am goal-wise.  I need that goal to keep me going when it gets hard.  We finally agreed to stop at Warner Avenue, which was the next overpass.  L pulled out his phone with the mileage app on it, and we'd gone 6.8 miles!  Over our goal!!
We must have looked exhausted and heart attach prone because a group of girls riding by stopped and asked if we were ok.  Mixed emotions there.  While it was VERY nice of them to ask, it was a little embarrassing to appear as if we needed help.  Maybe they just wanted to make sure we didn't have a flat tire or something.   But note to self: work on fitness so I don't look like I'm going to die when I'm out riding.  I don't know if that will happen though, because no matter how fit I am, I seem to be a prolific head sweater.  Yep, sweat stinging my eyes and everything.  It's ok when I'm going along because the breeze/wind cools me off.  But when I stop... well, I suspect I look extremely overheated, triggering young girls to ask if we're/I'm ok.  *sigh*
We got back to the car, which was parked just a short way from downtown Orange, so we headed to the Orange circle, which is the center of town with a roundabout that goes around the historic fountain in a little park.  There are four streets that feed into the roundabout, which can get a little crazy if you're not used to entering and exiting it, but I've always loved old town Orange.  My friend Marion and I used to walk from my house all the way down there (a few miles), shop all day, and then walk back.  Non-stop talking.  Endless energy.  This was when we were about 12-13 years old, couldn't drive, and wanted a little freedom away from home.  So we walked.  Probably unheard of today, but I have really fond memories of doing it.
The Orange Circle has gone through a resurgence.  It's full of antique shops, little boutiques, bakeries, and wonderful little restaurants.  Chapman University is a few blocks to the north, so it's also busy with student activity.  I love college towns.  The surrounding neighborhoods are full of lovely old Craftsman cottages, most of them well kept up, and on Memorial Day many of them were all decked out with flags, and color from beautiful flower gardens.  So the following is a sampling of what we saw there.  It reminded me of being in a small town (and Old Town Orange is about the closest thing to a small town in Southern California!)  Do you remember the movie "That Thing You Do" with Tom Hanks?  Filmed in Old Town Orange.  We went there a couple of times during the filming to watch how it was transformed into an east coast downtown of 50's - early 60's vintage.  I love it there.  It's where I grew up, and it still seems like home, jam-packed with so many memories over the years.

Later in the day, when the sun wasn't so bright, we came back to the Orange Circle to take some pictures inside the park of the fountain, the flora, the flag, and the people.

A lovely old orange tree in the park. If you look closely (enlarge the picture if you can) you'll
see names and hearts carved into the trunk and branches.  The street exiting south off the circle (Glassell) 
is just beyond.

This adorable gentleman with the snappy hat very kindly let me take his picture, along with his cute dog.  
Theywere just sitting there, enjoying the early evening. Roses surrounding the fountain 
just in front of him.

Closeup of the dog.  So cute!  Made me want one just like him.  What a face...

The flag flying in the park, flanked by one of many palm trees.

The historical Orange Circle fountain.  Once a year the students at Chapman University
have an "Underwear Run" and they run through the fountain. A few years ago they broke it,
costing the University several thousand dollars to repair it.  Now they try to barricade it off during 
that time, but I imagine the students still find their way in - although hopefully they're 
more careful now.  Shops on the south side of the circle in the background.

Glassell Street looking south. Most of the buildings around the circle are still
original with decorative upgrades such as new windows, doors, etc. But it all looks
amazingly like it did when I was 12 - just repainted and spiffed up.  Newer cars.

So that was our Memorial Day.  After the photo session, we came home and BBQ'd hamburgers, just the two of us.  We were sunburned from our morning ride, properly exercised, and had satisfied our yen for nostalgia and small town values with a trip back in time to the Orange Circle.
Next weekend the pace definitely picks up.  We'll be inflating the blowup bed, shopping for kid friendly food, and making sure all toys are in working order in anticipation of the arrival of these two little beauties:

Beach days, playing with the fairy princesses and their castle, having picnics, playing games, learning to play hopscotch.  Disneyland thrown in for good measure, along with a family BBQ.  I'd better start eating my Wheaties.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day: the (Un)Official Start of Summer

Saturday - the first day in a long weekend.  More specifically, Memorial Day weekend, the harbinger of summer.  It's been cool here, though - doesn't feel much like summer, although it's supposed to warm up by Monday.  I'm not in school anymore, I have no kids in school anymore, so there are no real markers for me like "school's out" for the official start of summer.  So Memorial weekend is it, I guess.  Break out the white shoes. (Remember that old rule of no white shoes except between Memorial Day and Labor Day?)
Today was kind of cool-ish, with a light breeze blowing.  It was hair salon and pedicure day - the big duo.  So much pampering!  The best part is always having someone else wash your hair.  Heaven... But the foot massage runs a close second, I have to say.
I've been feeling a little restless lately.  I can't really put my finger on it, other than to say I need some kind of creative outlet.  I know I've mentioned it before, but I haven't yet found the project, although I'm getting close.  I saw these in the Pottery Barn catalog, and they got me inspired, in a fabric painting kind of way.

The main problem is that I don't sew... but next week I'm going to buy a yard of fabric, and see what I can do.  It's been awhile since I've done any painting at all, let alone on fabric, but I have a couple of ideas that I'd like to try out.  It's hard to explain, but I sit at a computer all day long doing work that is repetitive and boring (But I'm not complaining!  Happy to have the work!  *nervous laugh*)  Work is work, but after all is said and done, I need to set the worker bee free, and have some fun making something beautiful.  Something not entirely practical.  Something that comes from me, rather than a spreadsheet.  Stay tuned on that.  More to follow.
We went to the movie "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" tonight.  If you haven't seen it (or even heard of it) I urge you to seek it out and go.  It's not an "Avengers" action movie, or even "Men In Black" but it will make you smile.  I promise.
After the movie we ate at Bruxie's, a local waffle sandwich place.  If you've never had such a treat, I'm sorry for that.  L got the chicken and waffle sandwich: fried boneless chicken breast, a little maple syrup, and cole slaw all folded inside a waffle.  I had that last time, so tonight I went for the pastrami, cole slaw and guyere cheese (and a pickle!) all folded into the waffle.  Mine was good, but the chicken and waffle is still the winner.
Still in the planning stages for our visit from Katie, Zach, and the girls.  While I was getting my hair washed, scalp massaged... ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz... ! ? Oh yes, when I was busy being relaxed at the salon today, I was thinking about and planning different things we could do together.  I'm getting excited!  Two little girls (and one big girl) to have girly fun with.
And then a couple of weeks after that, we will fly to Denver and see the other little ones.  I just got some fresh pictures of Ronna and baby Skylee:

She's already changed so much from the last time I saw her!  Yes, I know - babies will do that, but it makes it so hard to be far away from them.  I can't wait for Lexi's chatter, and to hear Matthew's little voice again.  June is going to be a great kickoff of summer!
So next week I'll just drone away in my little upstairs office waiting for the fun to start.  My desk faces the window that overlooks the street.  I watch my neighbors come and go, taking kids to school and going to work.  The man across the street is a local pastor and he comes and goes all day long.  At around 10am when the street is quiet, a little rabbit comes out of hiding and hops around eating grass and foliage for a few minutes.  Big black crows swoop down and grab bits of this and that from the street or from front lawns.  Cats saunter through yards (but the bunny is long gone by then).  Gradually kids come home from school, neighbors return from work.  My next door neighbor (who has recently retired, I think) is sometimes out flying his new remote control helicopter.  He crashes it into my house sometimes, and I'll hear the thud.  Luckily, no broken windows. Yet.
I start work at 7am when the sun is low, and finish between 3 and 4pm when the street is alive with kids and bicycles and scooters.  I pick up the mail and start dinner.  I watch Ellen sometimes and then The O'Reilly Factor while making dinner.  It's all so routine.  And dull.  It will be good to have the little girls here soon to shake L and I out of our doldrums, and freshen up the joint.  That's the best thing about being a grandparent - the grandchildren keep you from being complacent.  They free up your imagination, and make you believe in magic again.  They keep you young - at least for a few days - and then when they leave you collapse and take a big nap.  But you'll risk that exhaustion because the shot of juice they provide during a visit is completely addictive.  You can never get enough of soft cheeks, sweet chatter, and little hands in yours.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Creating The Perfect Solar Eclipse

I was so excited for today's solar eclipse.  I had my camera at the ready, but was a little confused as to what time it would be happening in Southern California.  I was pretty sure it would be around 6pm, but it was still so light outside I wasn't sure.
We were both hungry at about 6pm and so L asked if I'd like to accompany him to In 'N Out for a Sabbath Day hamburger and fries.  But of course, I said, grabbing the camera, you know - just in case.  As we were heading down Lakeview Avenue, I risked burning my eyeballs out and looked towards the sun, and it seemed that the light was a little funny - almost like the sky looks during a fire.  Just not quite right.  It looked like the eclipse was happening right then.
We were in an industrial area, so we pulled into a parking lot that had a clear view of the sun.  If we looked through the upper part of the windshield where it's more tinted WITH our sunglasses on, we had a really fine view of the eclipse just beginning.  Very exciting!
It only lasted about 15 -20 minutes, during which time we were aiming the camera and snapping away.  It was way too bright, however, and we have none of the special lenses and/or filters you'd need to take a decent picture.  But we tried, and then we couldn't drive for a few minutes while our retinas tried to recover from looking directly into the sun.
Here is how it went:

Through the windshield - you can see in the upper right hand corner that 
the moon is just barely starting to move across the sun.  Really - if you 
look hard, and use your imagination a little...

A couple of minutes later and that moon has moved in even more.  You see it, right?

And here we are getting frustrated at our futile and failed attempts to photograph a solar eclipse.
I've given up and have just played around in  Photoshop to get a cool effect.  
Looks like the end of the world.  Sort of...

Ah... much better.  L got busy in Photoshop and we've constructed our very own solar eclipse.
I'm sure it's what it would have looked like had we had the proper tools - other than Photoshop, I mean.  
I don't care - I'm totally happy with it.

Did anyone else see it?  It was supposed to be pretty good if you were in Southern Utah.  I even know a couple of people who left this morning to go to Utah to see it.  I called my dad, who is visiting my brother in Salt Lake, to see if he could see it, but they had a heavy cloud cover and he couldn't see it.  I almost wished I hadn't called, he was so disappointed.  He loves stuff like that.  I'm thinking a trip to the  Griffith Park Observatory is in order for Father's Day.  We can study the stars and the solar system to his heart's content.

We made our reservations to fly to Denver in June for Matthew's birthday.  Flights, hotel, and rental care all arranged for!  It's going to be a fun trip, including a trip to the Butterfly Pavillion where I understand you can see all kinds of butterflies in the conservatory and you can also let Rosie the tarantula crawl on your arm.  Well, not on MY arm, but maybe on L's arm.  I'm a giver like that.

We're very excited to see that little boy turn four, and also see 6 year old Lexi and 9 month old Skylee.   

But before that, on June 2nd, guess who is coming here to see us for a few days?  This little girl, Hayden -  

and her big sister Mia -

and their mom and dad!  Mia is all ready to spend the night with Mema and Papa, and we're going to have a fun few days playing and probably having more than one dance party.  The summer is starting off just right.  All kinds of fun to look forward to!  Mia hasn't forgotten seeing the Princesses at Disneyland a few years ago, so we're working that into the schedule again, as well as whatever else they want to do.  A beach bonfire?  Let's do it!  I imagine we'll be celebrating Scott and Mia's birthdays with the family while we're all together - so hurry up summer - let the good times roll!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This One's For The Girls

This has been a different kind of Mother's Day.  My own mother is MIA - I have no idea where she is.  I've tried the home phone, I've tried the cell, and there's no answer.  I had plans, I really did.  I was going to take her for a manicure or pedicure, and then to lunch.  But she and my dad were not going to be here - they were going to my brother's in Utah, so we made loose plans to do the same thing once they're back in town.  I happened to call her a couple of days later, and the plans had all changed: now they weren't going to leave until after the weekend, but it was too late to make the manicure appointment adjacent to mine by then, and she said they were busy getting ready to go anyway.  But I at least wanted to call and maybe go by with a little gift, and I can't get hold of her  at all.  It's like she's a ninja.  I'll keep trying...
I've come to the conclusion that Mother's Day, besides being the day to honor the person who did most of the heavy lifting during the formative years, is also a day to honor and show love to all of the special women in our lives.  In my case, that includes a special aunt, my daughter (who is my special "schister"), my daughters in law (who are, in my mind, like actual daughters) my granddaughters, many nieces, and a few good friends.

My mother has always shown me the way to care for my own family.  When my babies came, I was astounded at her genius.  She knows everything there is to know about soothing a crying baby, showing infinite patience to toddlers, and yet tolerating no nonsense.  From her I learned the joys of eating together as a family, of knowing that every morning there would be breakfast on the table before school.  My clothes would be washed, dinner would be cooked, the house would be clean, she was always home after school.  And if I was sick?  Soft boiled eggs, plain jello, and 7Up.  Maybe some toast.  I learned from her how to be my favorite thing: a mom.  I am currently enrolled in the class of Grandmothering 101, which she teaches to perfection.  I honor her.

My Aunt Margie is my mom's sister.   She would come over after work, and on weekends and play with us, take us to the beach, and let us ride in her little Triumph with the top down. (My love of convertibles comes from her.)  She has always treated us as if we were her own.  When I struggled with math homework, she would help me.  My dad is a math genius, but he lacks the teaching gene.  And my mind doesn't make logical pathways.  It's more like a freestyle dance.  First here, then there, then 5 steps ahead, back again, and sometimes it just does the hokey-pokey.  Math doesn't thrive in my head, and I was a major math thorn in my dad's side.  So Margie would patiently explain over and over again until I understood it enough to complete the homework.  She was a godsend, and she has become a fixture in the lives of my children as well, attending graduations and celebrations of all kinds.  I honor her.

My daughter taught me how special the mother daughter bond is, and how your heart both swells with pride when they are big girls and leave home for the first time, and how it also breaks just a little bit.

She is spunky and bold.  She is tender and sweet.  She is a mother herself, with two sweet daughters who love to please her.  Just yesterday, Mia had her pick a "flower" from her handmade Mother's Day card (the flowers each one represent a separate chore) and then she spent the next hour dusting the house for Katie so Mommy could take a little nap after coaching soccer all afternoon.  Then, as a special bonus, she got Hayden dressed and ready to go to the playground.  It makes my heart happy to see how these little girls are learning from her and from each other how to love, and how to be mothers.  I honor Katie and her sweet girls.

In addition to a daughter, I'm blessed to have such special daughters in law.  Ronna and Ashley are the icing on the cake.  They love my sons (I'm so thankful for that!) and Ronna is also an excellent mother.  Her three children are loving and sweet, and Lexi is the little mother hen watching over the other two.  She is helpful to her mommy, and she carries on sweet conversations with Mema every time I call.  Ashley never fails to make me feel special and like an essential part of her life.  The two of them are a wonder.  I honor both of them, and also little Lexi and Skylee, who are learning all about being great mothers from Ronna.

I have nieces galore - both in my family and L's who are my idols when it comes to great mothering and/or being amazing women.  If I'd been like them when I was their age, I'd be miles ahead of where I am today.  I don't know whether they realize it or not, but I watch them, and learn so much from their beautiful examples of kindness, righteousness, and devotion to good.  I've also learned how to shed my shell a bit, and put myself out there.  They've taught me the joys of cutting loose through their total acceptance of me.  I honor them for the women and mothers some are, and the women and mothers the others will yet be.  (Thank you Sarah, Emily, Sherri, Margot, Ariana, Krystal, Kandace, Kaylene, Karina, Brittany, Kassidy and Madison!)
Good friends.  Where would we be without those good women friends?  I have one who has been with me since the early days.  Since we were 11.  She knows me inside out: the good, the bad, the ugly.  She's seen me at my childish worst, and at my stupidest.  She's seen me make my dumbest mistakes, and she's been with me in my high points.  She lets me get away with not seeing her for great lengths of time, and acts like it was just yesterday when we do connect.  She has taught me everything about being a great friend, and about handling horrible adversity with great grace and courage.  I honor her most directly and with such high esteem and gratitude.  She is the gold standard of friends.  She is the sister I never had.
I've been blessed with other great women in my life who have had powerful influence on me as well.  They teach me about acceptance and patience.  About putting others first.  About appreciating the diversity and great quirkiness in all of us.  It's what makes this world go around - it's the spice in our lives, and I do like a lot of spice.  Mucho caliente.  Some I've known for awhile, and some of you (as in my great blogging sister friends) I've only known for a short while.  But know this: if I come and read about your lives and take the time to answer and comment, you are important to me.  I think about you when the computer is off, take joy in the good,  and pray that your life's problems will resolve.  A couple of you I've actually met in real time and knowing you has blessed my life like no other.  (You know who you are!)  I hope to eventually meet all of you - wouldn't that be fun?  But no matter what, I honor you.  For the women you are, for the choices you make, for the example you lay out in front of me.  You've taught me a thing or two along the way, and I've tried to emulate the courage and faith and pure gutsiness I've seen. You're all - each one - a wonder.

So to great women who play such important roles in our lives - whether they are here with us, or have been gone awhile; whether they are mothers, sisters, friends or other relations - I honor each and every one of you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Can You See The Glow?

I'm back, I'm back from my weekend of never ending flowing estrogen.  And you know what?  I had a good time.  The conference (Theme: Seek the Good) was amazing.  Inspiring.  A kick in the pants, reminding me that I have much to learn.  There was a parallel conference going on in the next auditorium for girls ages 12-17 (Time Out For Girls), and at the beginning and end the girls joined with the women.  It was, first of all, wonderful to see all of the multi-generational communing going on, and it was absolutely joyful to experience being together, all ages of us, and laughing, crying, and embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly of being (and becoming) a woman.
Every presentation didn't score a direct hit with me, but I could tell that somewhere in that vast auditorium it was resonating with plenty of others.  And I could at least see the intention and wisdom behind the words.  I could feel and understand points of view I hadn't taken the time to consider before.
The first evening we arrived at our hotel, dumped our belongings, did a quick wardrobe change and set out on foot to forage for dinner and then walk to the convention center, which was only a few blocks away.  It was a balmy evening, and the beach was only a couple of short blocks away.  Nice sea breeze blowing salt air our way.  As we sat in a little deli eating dinner, we watched the girls and mothers (some with babies) and grandmothers walking towards the venue.  They were obviously LDS women, and I made the comment to my friends that I felt like I was in Salt Lake City.  Here in California, it's rare to be out in public and feel surrounded by others of your faith, so it makes you feel comfy, yet a bit odd all at the same time.
We made our way to the convention center after our deli sandwiches, and settled in for the evening's program.  First up was Laurel Christensen and her topic "What Are You Waiting For?"  I loved what she said about how we tend to wait for this or that event, or for a problem to resolve, or ... the list can be endless.  She offered the opinion that we shouldn't sit and wait, but rather stay busy.  Busy improving, learning, growing.  We can pray for help, but until that help/assistance arrives, keep moving!  Keep pushing forward.  Never stop trying.  Good things to remember.  One thing she said also resounded with me: when praying for guidance, assistance, intervention, remember to ask boldly.  Be clear on what we are asking for.  I tend to be a little wishy-washy when I pray.  Perhaps I'm just being polite, not wanting to appear demanding.  But she had the opinion that we should really ponder and consider the things we need and desire, and then ask boldly and clearly for the help we need to accomplish those desires.  I liked that idea, and have been giving it some serious thought and action.
The rest of the evening consisted of a musical presentation that none of us really enjoyed.  It wasn't something I could relate to at all, although I'm sure some did.  So we (the ladies in my little group) left early.  As we walked back to our hotel, it was such a beautiful night.  We had that big moon up in the sky, the air was warm, and it was a quick walk back to the hotel, as we laughed and talked amongst ourselves.

At one point, across the street was this large hotel, the top tower lit up in red.  Behind it is the moon shining brightly.  This is just a bad iPhone picture, but it really was lovely.
When we got back to the hotel we changed into our jammies and had ourselves a little slumber party for an hour or so - until I looked over and Liz was asleep.  Time for Wendy and me to go back to our room.  It took me just a few minutes to fall asleep, but not until I snored.  *DARN IT!*  Getting older is rough sometimes, isn't it?  And embarrassing.

Morning.  6:30am.  Time to get up, shower, be ready on time.  This is something that doesn't come naturally to me.  I find I'm easily distracted, swayed from my mission to get ready.  But when I am with others, I'm pretty good, because I want them to like me.  So I was ready before 8am for breakfast.  And what a breakfast: for $12.95 we got watery scrambled eggs, wilted bacon, sausage that was fairly tasty, and the usual selection of bagels and breakfast breads.  I chose the eggs, bacon and sausage and an English muffin.  Not worth $12.95 but what are you going to do?
This time we got to drive to the convention center.  My ankle was very happy about that.  We found our seats, as well as some other friends from church who were also there.  First up on Saturday was Hilary Weeks.  She is a composer and pianist, and played her music for us, and also talked.  Loved her.  So real.  So down to earth.  We laughed and cried and laughed some more.  Hers was the gold standard of presentations.  Basically, her theme was look for the positive things in life.  We all know this, but it's good to be reminded - and especially to be reminded in a way that makes me laugh AND cry.  So often as women we are so hard on ourselves, so intolerant of imperfections (and we all have them).  I think her talk resounded with everyone there.  We were prepared to love ourselves and everyone else no matter what after she spoke.  And more importantly, to be more charitable and patient towards those we maybe don't understand all that well.  We all have stories to tell.  And most of them would surprise and soften even the most hard boiled of us.
Soon enough it was time for the lunch break and we headed across the street to California Pizza Kitchen.  Good food, long LONG wait.  But after the inspiration of the morning I was feeling mellow and fuzzy and patient with everyone, and I really enjoyed the time we all spent at lunch.  We were late getting back, and missed some of the program, but I think I've said before that being late to things doesn't really bother me at all.  Some of our group were bothered, but I didn't get sucked into it.
There was another really good talk by Emily Watts that I very much enjoyed: "Saving The Princess."  In a nutshell, it was about not missing the treasures hidden everywhere along the Game of Life.  The goal is not getting to the end first, it's how you conduct yourself along the way and how much treasure you can collect and hold onto.  It was a chance to reflect on all of the little treasures we sometimes ignore in a day, or during a week.  We need to take time to enjoy those sweet quiet moments with children, spouse, friends and to listen quietly for inspiration and help in finding our way along.  Sometimes I'm so busy playing the game I forget to listen.  I ask for help, but I don't hear the answer.
And then Hillary came back and played another song.  Women were smiling.  Women were singing along.  Many were dancing in the aisles.  In know - it sounds silly, but it was a joy to watch.  (I am not a public dancer, but I wish I was...)  Because we're all still the girls we once were and we love to be joyful, and we love to be silly and young at heart.  I enjoyed being with my friends at this estrogen fest, but I was thinking how much I would have loved to have had my daughter and DILs there with me as well.  They would have loved it.  Maybe next year at one of the many locations around the country.  Maybe we can talk my mom into going with us.
When I got home Saturday night, all I could talk about was this part of the weekend, or this person's talk, and I could see L's eyes rolling back in his head.  He is good at understanding me, but he starts to lose it when asked to understand womankind in general, and the things we consider fun and valuable.  So I had to condense and keep a little bit to myself.  I was so glad to be home with him again though.  I do love being with the girls, but enough is enough.  It was good to lean myself into the curve of L's arm on the couch and try to explain the complicated weekend I'd had away.  So much goodness and value, but hard to explain to a man.  Maybe it's just enough that he loves me.  He doesn't have to totally get it, and I think that's true of all relationships - and perhaps the overriding theme of the weekend.  We don't have to completely understand each other, or agree with every little thing.  The difference is part of the fun.  Part of the mysterious puzzle.  All we need to remember is to love and accept each other.  Support each other in times of trouble.  Listen to each other's troubles, and help one another buck up.  Look beyond the shallow exterior and find the treasure within.  We are each one gems, unique and lovely on our own.  But put us together, and what a glorious treasure we are, colorful and shiny and bright.  It was a good weekend.
Now - you've listened to me go on and on.  Hopefully you've been able to relate to some of it without actually experiencing it.  But here is my little gift for your week.  Lately I've been enjoying these videos from The Piano Guys.  This is one of my favorites.  Enjoy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time Out For Women

I'm going to be spending a Friday and Saturday with some friends at a women's conference in Long Beach.  Time Out For Women.  The ladies I'm going with all went last year (to Fresno!) and loved it so much they decided to go every year, and this year I got an invite.  As with all things that disrupt my safe little routine, I was very excited to be invited and to attend, but now that it's tomorrow, I'm having my usual neurotic doubts and misgivings.  What if my ankle acts up, what if I'm achey all weekend?  What if I just want to come home?  What will they think when they find out how much I really hobble around at the end of the day?  What if I'm no fun?  You see how my mind runs.
Add to the angst that I've lost 5 pounds, and I have a weekend of eating out ahead of me.  I feel pretty confident at this point that I can be sensible, but I worry that I'll lose my mind and go rogue with a hot fudge sundae.  Or lemon merengue pie.  Mmmmmmm....  wait, where was I?  Oh - so you see that if dessert's on the agenda I'll have to excuse myself, go up to my room, and take a shower or something.
It's when events like this come up that I realize that I never go anywhere anymore.  I still have my corporate wardrobe - the things I'd wear to work everyday.  But my weekend clothes have gotten shabby or (more likely) too tight.  I tend to wear the same couple of things to everything, especially as the weather has moved from winter to spring.  I just don't clean up that well lately.  I've fallen in love with my yoga pants (so comfy, so soft, so forgiving!) and I feel like a cranky baby when I have to gird my loins with jeans or some other similarly tight pants.  It's a real dilemma.
Today I went out shopping.  A quick trip.  I wasn't in the mood for a full on mall trip, so I just made a quick run to Birch Street Promenade.  It's one quick block of movie theaters, shops and restaurants, and I can usually find something I like at Ann Taylor Loft.  Not today though.  I came back with one pair of cropped khakis.  I was happy about that, but they had colored jeans in such gorgeous shades: cobalt blue, bright orange, fuschia pink, bright chartreuse.  I wanted a pair desperately, but my caboose is just not in fighting form yet.  5 pounds is not enough of a loss.  I made myself put them aside until I can be down at least 1 size, and they don't fit me like a second skin.  Color like that is hard for me to resist because I just love looking at the color.  Yummy, yummy color.  I have a hard time telling myself that on my behind it's just a little too much color right now.  *sigh*
So I contented myself with the boring yet reliable khakis.  It'll be fine - I only need 2 days worth of clothes, and I always tend to over pack (another phobia of mine - I hate being caught without something I might need!)
I won't go on and bore you with the minutiae of The Diet (just because it consumes my life doesn't mean it should be a main event in yours) but I really am doing well.  I've lost (mostly) my craving for sweets and snacks.  Today was a little hard because I've had a headache  ALL DAY - and that always makes me want to eat because maybe I'll feel better.  But I didn't let myself get fooled by that today and stuck to my lean protein, my soy smoothie (blackberry chocolate - a winner!) and a cup of thawed frozen edamame beans with salt and pepper for a snack.  Lots of water.  For dinner?  L is going to have to take me somewhere because we're out of food - well, there is nothing to cook for dinner except canned chili - PTOOIE!  I should have gone to the store, but my head was aching...  yes,yes, I know I managed to go pants shopping, but that's different.  And for the record, I didn't feel well the entire time, so it wasn't all fun and games.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I'll be busy having fun with the ladies and secretly wishing I were home.  (I know - I'm hopeless, but does no one else miss their own bed and their husband?  Maybe I'm more weird than I think...)  And then when I do get home, I'll remember it all as the best time ever.  Next week, when I catch up with you all again, just see if I'm not right about that.  For me, ladies night out is so much fun just before, and right after we actually are in the midst of it.  But during it, a large group of women just makes me tongue-tied and lonely.  Chalk it up to a loose screw; something haywire; a character flaw.  But this is a new, untried group of friends, and I am getting older (and hopefully better) so hope springs eternal, and I go off with optimism.  Sort of.

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