Tuesday, September 30, 2008

i'm in LOVE!

Publix has a "buy one, get one free" on large packages of m&m's this week. I am not ordinarily tempted by candy or sweet stuff, but the hormonally induced sweet cravings of late have prompted some errant behavior! I found myself heading down the candy aisle in search of the aforementioned treat, and would you believe, they were almost bereft of stock! (Note to Publix: we're talking chocolate!) The peanut m&m's were gone, so I decided to try a bag of the almond instead. Oh my. Heaven! I haven't been a big fan of almonds by themselves (I don't dislike them, they just don't excite my palate), but knowing that they are good for you has increased my consumption. And now, bingo! I only worry that the chocolate will negate the benefit of the almonds--you know, like having a diet coke with fries...

Monday, September 29, 2008

i fear for the world

For two and a half years now we have lived on Lilac Drive. Look closely at that word--lilac--it is not a strange word nor does it describe a strange plant. In fact, it is a glorious example of God's creative talents and proof (positive) that she wants us to be happy. It is beautiful and fragrant. What more could someone want?

And yet I am shocked on an all-too regular basis when I am asked to give my address, I enunciate clearly, and the Person Taking Down The Pertinent Information asks me how to spell it. !!!!! Get a grip, people! This is basic! Either there are a lot of really bad spellers out there, or it's time to go back to, spell it with me now, b-a-s-i-c-s.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

adieu, good and faithful servant

This is how I think of him. Everyman. Humble. Wise. Thoughtful. Generous. Funny. Available. And so much more. What an enormous loss to us, this hero of film and life. We can watch the movies again and again, and though watching him is hardly a burden, it is what he did outside of film that is most remarkable and admirable. We will miss you Paul. Rest in peace.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

jammed

It's a full day today, starting with having a booth at a local school fair from 10-2 to promote my PC business, then heading to a Pampered Chef show at 3 (starts at 4), followed by a wine event hosted by some friends who are part of a "wine enthusiasts" group. They've returned recently from Australia, so the focus is on Australian wines. I expect to crash upon our return home!

Not much other news from here. Hope it's a grand weekend for one and all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

thinking outside the bailout

I haven't received the email yet, but yesterday I learned about an alternative suggestion to the proposed bailout plan. Don't give the money to Wall Street. Pay each citizen over the age of 18 instead, which amounts to approximately one quarter of a million dollars. With that money those who are indebted can pay off their debt (mortgages and credit cards), establish funds for their kids to go to college or set up accounts for retirement, all of which puts money back into the banks and stock market. Chances are we will spend the rest of the money, which will stimulate the economy, create jobs and restore confidence. Those are the parts of the suggestion that I remember. Sounds good to me. (Except I would still fire the "leaders" who contributed to this mess and send them packing withOUT a severence package.) What the heck is Washington's problem?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

return from the mountaintop

I was absent from this space yesterday because I was up on the mountain. Our bishop has adopted an alternative approach to the typical Clergy Conference model of having an annual gathering of all the clergy with a specific program/retreat focus with a featured speaker. (There are regular times for us all to gather throughout the year, so this would not be the only time for colleagial sharing and fellowship). Instead of one large group, he has been meeting with smaller groups of about 8. Intimate groups for sharing and connecting, getting to know and knowing again. And, we got to talk theology.

Some of you may think, "Well, duh!" But this was different. In two different sessions we focused on three questions. Who is Jesus? What does he do? Is God at work in the Diocese of Tennessee? These were conversations more like what took place in seminary over the lunch table, in the common room with cups of coffee, in quiet voices in a corner of the library... This was heart and soul stuff, mellowed from the earlier years, yet earnest because now there is Experience under the belt, Wounds from the trenches, and Truth from butting up against the same kinds of challenges and obstacles that wear us down.


I was gone for less than 24 hours, but the time offered the refreshment of days. We were casual, we had the view from the bluff edge, there was silence and laughter and prayer. And like God said in the beginning, it was good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

setting goals

(It's a slow news day here, so welcome to the minutae of my mind)
So often I think of goals as long term desires, things that require stepping up to the plate and exercising a discipline that doesn't usually manifest itself in an ordinary day, or for a collection of days. By virtue of Sunday's crossword puzzle, for instance, I've added a new travel destination to my list of places to visit (see picture: Cantabria, Spain.) Think $$$. Or, hitting closer to home on a daily basis, shedding the 40 pounds that have attached themselves to my person without permission in these last two years requires more than one day of careful meal planning and getting out for a walk. I do know that the best way to achieve a goal is to break the objective down into manageable (and measurable) steps, but I have found that those somehow get obscured in the daily grind, or lost from view when my eyes are set on that long-term accomplishment.

To get into the habit of taking smaller steps, I have decided that I want to practice the discipline of achieving short-term goals. My friend Clare got me thinking about this with a simple question/request--when I figure out how to keep the dining table clear of clutter, let her know! (Thanks, Clare, little did you know you were providing inspiriation for this!)

The dining table is now clear, thanks to our entertaining the other night, so I have been mindful of the habits that cause me to clutter it, and am redirecting my action: when I start to place something on the table I tell myself to put the item where it belongs. In a way I am channeling my friend Kathy, whose father-instilled mantra "complete the transaction" echoes in my head.

My first short-term goal is to get my office in order. This is a perpetual task because I lack sufficient storage for the things that accumulate here, and piles begin to collect on the floor or any other available surface area until the usual path to my paper storage, closet, or bookshelves has become obscured or, at worst, dangerous to traverse. I am also inspired by an HGTV show called Mission: Organization, which employs the useful and time-honored technique of "sort, stack and store."

I take this on because 1) this old dog needs to learn this not-so-new trick; 2) it's part of my recovery from depression; and 3) Ken is really tired of my clutter and he is well deserving of the reward of not having to put up with it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some decluttering to do!

Monday, September 22, 2008

scratching below the surface


I've never been an activist, political or otherwise, but there are some occasions when I do get inspired to get involved. In the political arena that happened more than 20 years ago when I volunteered for the Mondale/Ferraro campaign. I spent hours at local campaign headquarters stuffing envelopes, answering phones, and making calls. I attended rallies and went to parties on election night. I even got to drive one of the vans in Ferraro's motorcade when she came to the state (now THAT was fun!).

This year I am so appalled at the misguidedness of the populace who seem to want to vote for someone with whom they have something in common rather than someone who can lead that I am willing to step outside my comfort zone. It's time to put my time and effort where my belief system is.

Fortunately this is an election where Ken and I are in step, so when I received an email from MoveOn.org looking for hosts for an Obama calling party, we decided to give it a try.

Last night was "the event," and five people we'd never met before arrived to make calls to 30 people (each) in a battleground state to encourage them to volunteer for Obama in their local area. MoveOn did a great job organizing and planning this, and they provided everything we needed to get the job done (including a script, and an efficient way to report our results).

It's been hard to find a way to make a difference in this election, especially when door-to-door and phone calling techniques don't float our boat. But this was something we could do, we got our fire stoked, and the house got cleaned.

For everyone out there who wants to make an impact, I want to encourage you to make an effort to do ONE THING. It may make all the difference in the end.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

how do you spell CRISIS?

In middle Tennessee 85% of the gas stations have no gas. It was bad enough that prices were shooting toward $5 a gallon as a result of Ike, but apparently the gas stations refused to pay for the hiked prices and subsequently didn't have their tanks refilled.

Not so much of a problem for me, most of my journeying is around town (although I AM supposed to go to Sewanee on Tuesday for a clergy gathering, which is about 200 miles round trip). But what about people like Ken, whose livelihood depends on getting to the job site? Or most other mortals, who need to show up at a workplace in order to get paid? Public transportation is limited if you're outside of the metro area, and even inside--well, let's just say that cars are pretty much necessary (sad, but true).

Fortunately Ken filled up before Ike hit, paying less than $3 per gallon. But now it isn't so much what one pays, but whether or not gas is available. This is how we are spelling "crisis" here.

yard sale today!

No time to blog this morning, we're having a yard sale! Everything is out in the front yard, and though it is still dark, it's time to organize things to move 'em out! I'll be back this afternoon with some sort of entry or another. Have a great one!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

oh, Lordy

Well, it has happened. My little town is about to become the home of the country's first--brace yourself--Bible Theme Park. When the force behind this project tried to put it in another county south of here there was tremendous resistance, and meeting after meeting took place to debate its merits and the impact on the community, and the city council ultimately weighed in with a big fat "NO". No such process took place here. The mayor thought it would be a good idea, there was no community conversation, and yesterday it was announced that we would, indeed be the home of the new park. Apparently our own city council can overturn this decision, but it is unlikely to do so. Ken is for this, I am not. Yes, these are fun times here in Cedar City!

Supposedly there is no agenda, no denominational skew on how the bible is to be represented. It is intended to be an opportunity for "exposure and learning." Yeah. Right. Just like this image of God parting the Red Sea doesn't promote an image of God. Good Lord, deliver us!

heroes

We've started a program at church called "Gifts and Talents," an extended exercise to identify the spiritual gifts of church members for use not just in the church, but in the wider world. The first bit of homework was to identify five heroes or heroines, people we admire or who inspire us. It was my understanding that we weren't allowed to include family members, which is why y ou don't see my mother (my first choice) or grandmother on this list. I have to admit that this isn't something I think about often, but here's the list that emerged for me:

1) Henry VIII -- I hear that collective gasp. You're thinking about all those wives and how two of them lost their heads! I'm thinking about his love for God and his country, his sense of duty, and how he sought to use his theological training to confront and resolve the political challenges he faced. The tabloid version of Henry is well known, but the rest deserves to be known, understood and appreciated.

2) Barbara Kingsolver -- her graceful and insightful prose opens new ways of looking at the world, and through that sharpened lens I see God's fingerprints clearly. She is an amazingly gifted writer.

3) Melanie Wilkes (the long-suffering wife of Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind) -- she is one of the most compassionate and selfless people I have ever encountered on or off the page, and her love and devotion to the people the people in her life is gentle yet steely.

4) Steve Gushee -- priest and mentor to me in my early days of renewed spirituality. Steve has a passion for ministry and enthusiasm for life that he blends and balances well.

5) Hartford Friends Meeting -- I know this isn't a person, but a community can be a hero! Through this collection of Friends I learned about acceptance, tolerance, potential, the power of the Spirit, non-violence, and the meaning of the communion of saints.

Who are your heroes? Besides your mother...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

time for some tag!

A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs
B) If you don’t like a question you can make up a new one in its place
C) Tag 8 people to do this quiz.

1.How many songs are on your iPod? I haven’t a clue!

2. What music would you want played at your funeral? Bobby McFerrin’s 23rd Psalm, some hymns I’ve picked out, can’t remember what else I chose!

3.What magazines do you have subscriptions to? Paper Crafts, Cooking Light

4. What is your favorite scent? Curry. Oh, was this supposed to be perfume?

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it? Pay off debt, go to Scotland (the heather is in bloom!), build my dream house, invest the rest for future travel

6. What is your theme song? The closest I can come is Secret Garden’s Sleepsong. I’ll have to think about this some more

7. Do you trust easily? Generally, yes

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think? Think, which has its pros and cons

9.Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days? Sarah Palin as McCain’s choice of running mate, ignorant voters, The Republican party in general

10. Do you have a good body-image? Is this a trick question? Because the answer is actually yes, even though I want to lose weight

11. Is being tagged fun? That depends on the questions

12. If you had more hours in the day, how would you spend that time? Reading

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately? Blogs

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? Jules is fun, affirming, creative, energetic, and loving (to name just a few qualities)

15. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head? There WAS one, but now I can’t remember what it was

16.What’s your favorite item of clothing? The one pair of capris that fit me

17. Do you think Rice Crispies are yummy? no

18. If you had $100 to give away, who would you give it to? Junior
19. What items could you not go without during the day? My computer, and though I wouldn’t call them items, my dogs
20. What should you be doing right now? Cleaning up in the kitchen

I tag Jayne, Clare, Ruth and Debi (sorry, my blog world is still small!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the funky little church...

This month I am filling in at my old church, Epiphany. This past Sunday was the first day of Sunday School/Adult Forum, and the time during which the adults were gathered was spent talking about what types of program/content was desired for that hour during the coming year. There was a lot of good discussion, and a healthy number of people (14--about a third of the adult attenders) were gathered.
from the old days, Pentecost 2001

As if often the case with small churches, open ended conversation inevitably turns to growth and increased membership. At one point someone shared that a visitor had remarked about the church, "it's a funky little church with good vibes." Everyone laughed and took a minute to think about that, and we concluded that it was, indeed, a "funky little church" and it did have good vibes. Someone jokingly suggested that we put that description on the sign out by the driveway, and I seconded the not-quite-made motion.

By the time we left church that morning the sign had, in fact, been changed! Unfortunately the sign faces a road that doesn't get much traffic (the main traffic runs behind the church), but at least it is there, and perhaps it will start some people talking. And you never know. The way God works someone may need to make a detour in their travels that takes them past the church, and our little sign might be just the invitation they were waiting for.

In the meantime, we'll go right on being funky.

Monday, September 15, 2008

one last look

We bid farewell to some furniture soon. Tomorrow, a new couch "ensemble" arrives. I bought this couch and loveseat four years ago after ten years of wear left the former one very tired looking, and began to lose its comfort. This set, sadly, began to sag about six months ago (it was sooooo comfortable in the beginning). There's a reason that Rooms to Go prices their furniture cheaply! Now there's no comfort when you sit or recline, and with Ken's already bad back, we had to do something.
Don't ask me why, but I had it in my head to check out La-Z-Boy. Back in August we visited one to scope out possibilities, and were lucky enough to find what we were looking for (this after I firmly said No to Ken's first choice, which looked like a man-cave candidate.)
The outgoing set holds memories. It was delivered shortly before my first In-Real-Life meeting with members of the Cabana Crew, scrapbooking buddies who, up to that point, I only knew through an online message board for scrappers. I think they were the first to see and sit on the new furniture. When I moved to the mountain, Dooley would lie on top of one of the back cushions of the loveseat where it afforded him a great view out the window of the neighbor's yard, complete with dog, goat and chicken activity. (That back cushion still won't return to its original shape no matter how much I manipulate it!) The couch was also a favorite place for Dooley to take a nap, with or without a human snuggle companion.

I am eager for the arrival of the new, however. The new arrangement will open up the room, and make it feel less congested. It will also bring more light into the living room, since the couch now sits in front of the window. It does include a recliner for Ken, as well as a sofabed. Eventually we will replace the carpet with a hardwood floor, but one upgrade at a time!
Now to clear the space for the new (the old will be part of a yard sale on Saturday). Stay tuned for the "after" pic!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

fabric alert!

It was an innocent errand, really! I had time yesterday, and the dining table was cleared off (two days in a row!) so I had room to set up the sewing machine. Ken has been reminding me that he has a pair of shorts to repair and a couple of pair of pants that need to be shortened. Time to get to work! The dilemma was that I had no thread that came even close to the color of his shorts, a grayish dark green faded somewhat by wear and wash (I'm sure you can picture it perfectly now).

So off I went to Lebanon's one and only fabric store that also doubles as a vacuum cleaner sales and repair retailer (a natural combination, don't you think?), though more accurately, they really only carry quilting cottons. You won't hear me protest! I only needed thread, and found a decent color match within minutes.

At the sales counter, a transaction was taking place that seemed more complex than a house closing. It was going on and on and on... I decided to spen some time looking around, a very dangerous thing for me to do in a fabric store. It didn't matter that I had no money to spend on fabric. My whole being was experiencing inner peace simply by being in the midst of all those glorious patterns and colors. The reality that I couldn't afford to get attached to any of it, however, sent me back to wait my turn at counter.

While I waited (and it continued to be a good long while) I spent some of those many moments looking over what was within my reach. A magazine caught my eye. "NO!" the voice of reason inside me warned. "It's just a magazine," the stronger voice countered, and before I knew it it was in my hands along with the thread.

The bad news is that I can't afford to go shop to make any of the creations in the magazine that tempt me. The good news is that I already have a LOT of fabric. The dilemma--most of it is packed away because we simply don't have the space for it in this house.

But stay tuned. I'm a problem solver by nature, and the little gray cells will work on this over the next few days, I'm sure. After all, Christmas isn't so far away.

Friday, September 12, 2008

it's not easy being green

Does it take an advanced degree to note fairly obvious details and keep one’s ears open? I went to the grocery store yesterday and, as usual, took in my reusable bags. As it turned out I didn’t take enough bags in with me. You know, that “oh, right, we need ______!” syndrome. (Of course, if my bags looked the one pictured here I'm sure I'd taken every single one in!)

Anticipating that the bagger and her ever-so-efficient helper would reach for plastic when my bags were reaching their limit I said, “I’ll just take the watermelon as it is (half a watermelon, covered in plastic), and it can go on the floor of my car. I really don’t want to use plastic.”

The bagger looked up at me, questioning my judgment. “It might leak,” she pointed out. And you think the floor of my car would object, I wondered? The dirt and dog hair don’t want company? “That’s okay,” I replied, “the floor can handle it. I’m not going far.”

Then the efficient helper reached for the chicken and before I could take a breath it went into a plastic bag. “I’d really rather not use plastic,” I repeated, receiving a dull stare in return. There was still room in my bags to accommodate the meat, but the efficient helper gathered up the chicken in its plastic and reached for the beef, fluffing open yet another plastic bag. “Here,” I offered her the stew chunks, “may as well just use one bag for both,” I suggested, thinking that placation might ease the dull, fixed expression on her face. She grudgingly obliged.

Then she reached for the peaches, already in a bag of their own. I snatched them up quickly, placing them in the top section of the cart next to my purse. “I know you must think I’m crazy,” I said with a smile. “I really don’t like to use plastic.” The efficient helper turned and moved on to another lane where she could fill up more plastic bags against customers’ wills.

The bagger was more forgiving. “Can I help you out with that?” she asked. I begged off. “Have a nice afternoon,” she said with genuine cheer. “And also with you,” I nearly replied, but caught myself in time. “You too,” I smiled, and schlepped my purchases to the car.

my favorite exchange from "the interview"


GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

Hat's off to Charles Gibson for rising to the occasion pretty well. He missed a few follow-up opportunities, but mostly he kept on point, and tried to keep Ms. Palin on point. She's been well coached on deflection techniques.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

pros and cons

Life in flux is not the most fun place to be, but there are some advantages to the current state of affairs for me.

I love being home. Especially since I've outgrown most of my clothes I can lounge in sweatpants and t-shirts and not worry about hair and makeup. I like being in this environment and surrounded by a space and "things" that bring comfort. It's convenient to prepare food or meals according to my own schedule. It's nice to be able to take time out to spend with the dogs. I can do laundry or clean the kitchen as a break from other tasks. I can catch up on tivo when I need a diversion. I have flexibility in my schedule to work in just about anything I need or want to.

But I miss regular contact with people. I enjoy working with a team or a staff because it gets me out of my own world and makes me aware of the challenges and joys in the lives of others. Contact and interaction connects. It's helpful to my own sense of purpose to feel that I am working toward a goal or outcome with others. My life may be about me (and Ken), but life is not about me. I'm a player in the mix, and I want to contribute to the mix. To some extent I can do that now, but not in the same way as when I'm "out there" in the world.

But for now I love being home, and I savor this time and the blessings it offers, even in the midst of its challenges.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

and so it begins

Catalogs arrive in our mailbox on a somewhat regular basis, but yesterday there was a bundle. "Ah, the Christmas onslaught has begun," I thought to myself. Now my assortment of catalogs doesn't hold a candle to what crosses the threshold of my father's door (he only shops through catalogs), but we receive enough to take out a few trees. Fortunately we recycle our magazines, so I don't feel quite so bad about how many of them will accumulate over the next several months. And it is fun, now, this far away from Christmas to go through the catalogs and see things I like.

I enjoy dreaming about a Stonewall Kitchen breakfast or happy hour spread (love their stuff), or the ambience of Yankee Candles in the living room. An outfit from Coldwater Creek has caught my eye, and Crate and Barrell furniture makes me want to redecorate the entire house. Sears didn't call their catalog the "wish book" for nothing!

Now to start thinking about what to get for the people on my list, and make a plan of action. Last year it was a last minute rush for everything, and I don't want to go through that again. That is not the way to enjoy the holiday. I might just take a page out of my friend Maria's book and start listening to some Christmas music, take my time with the catalogs, make a cup of tea and start my list. Ah, it begins...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

who am i?

Regular visitors to this blog will have noted that it's received a bit of a makeover in the last week or so. Although I'm a person who takes comfort in what I call "continuity," I also appreciate change as a kind of refreshment. The blog is one such example. Redecorating a portion of the house would be another.

As a result of current events (see most recent post) I've also been doing a lot of blog-surfing in the last several days. I've found some great blogs out there that I intend to visit regularly, as well as some that simply aren't my cup of tea. Many of the personal blogs have profiles, or descriptions, of the blogger. In a nutshell they try to give you some idea of who they are and what their context is. At the least, it's a glimpse of how they see themselves (or perhaps how they want to be seen).

My own profile has been pretty bare since this blog was created. Anne, Tennessee, is the information you learn. Meager, wouldn't you say? So I've been trying to think of what I might write in that little corner of the blog to tell the world who I am. I confess that I'm stumped. It isn't that I couldn't offer up my age, marital status, occupation (which at the moment seems to be a moving target in some respects), stuff like that. But that just isn't substantive enough, or at the least, not what I'm shooting for. Oddly enough, for a fairly confident person I seem not to have much confidence about how to describe myself these days.

So, I'm offering up the opportunitiy for y'all to take a stab at ghost-writing my profile. Any takers?

Monday, September 08, 2008

boiling it down

Okay, after careful consideration I’ve decided to speak my piece. I began this blog as a way to share news and photos with friends, and that continues to be its primary purpose. There are times when I have vented my spleen about one thing or another, but I have chosen to keep lightening-rod topics away from this place. I have gone back and forth with myself about this self-censoring, and finally concluded that censorship is fear-based. As a rule I choose my words carefully to be sure that what I write is clear. I will endeavor to maintain that effort in this post as well. Should what I write offend anyone, please understand that I don’t write to offend, but to express my view. And it is just that, my view. Here goes.

I have been fascinated by the introduction of Sarah Palin into the national political landscape. When I first learned of her selection my reaction was one of disbelief. The little bit that was known about her made it very clear that she lacked the credentials for the job for which she was being tapped. Forget Bristol’s pregnancy, forget Troopergate, forget the pageant wins and sports journalism. Forget, even, her evangelical conservatism. Her life and times and experience were too parochial. Had she decided to throw her hat in the ring to run for president her campaign would never have gotten off the ground. She simply doesn’t stack up against the competition.

It’s been pretty clear, however, that she wasn’t chosen for her experience, or even what skills she brings to the table that might solidify the Republican ticket as the best representation of leadership from the party. An interview I heard recently offered the commentary that by June, McCain had elicited as much support from the Republican base as he was going to. The limit of his appeal had been reached, and it appeared that it wasn’t sufficient to beat Barack Obama. That is, in a sense, all I need to know. If the candidate doesn’t have what it takes, then the candidate doesn’t have what it takes. The choice of Palin doesn’t alter McCain’s appeal as a leader or shore up his own credentials. If anything it demonstrates a lack of authenticity and integrity in the man, and that is a deep concern to me. If the party platform is adjusted, through Palin, to woo the religious right and those stances are at odds with McCain’s views (and there are more than a few where that seems to be the case), then duplicity is at work.

As for Palin, there’s plenty of information now available on the internet to assess her politically, both in terms of what she values, how she works and how she exercises authority. To me her style appears more autocratic than democratic, and she uses her charm and charisma to get away with that. There’s been plenty of debate (and yes, criticism) about her contradictions, and I have no need or desire to elaborate on any of what has already been noted. I will observe, however, that her pageant training has served her well. I don’t trust the gracious and disarming smile. And I do wonder why we haven’t heard more about the $20 million deficit that she left Wassila as a parting gift.

It comes down to trust. Whether I agree or disagree on the issues with one party or another is one thing. What we need in a leader is for their yes to mean yes, and their no to mean no. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

the weighting game

Chalk it up to age, I guess, and that thing called menopause. Over the last 18 months my weight has been out of control. Out of nowhere it simply began to climb. My eating habits had not changed significantly, and though my exercise decreased, it wasn't so radical a change in lifestyle to explain the weight gain. I have never been so heavy in my life, never felt (literally) the odd experience of bulges getting in the way. I've never had an overly active sweet tooth, but since my 20's when I made a conscious choice to forego desserts and sweet things (except on occasion), sugar has not been a temptation. Give me salt any day!

Now, all of a sudden, I have cravings for something sweet. Publix's "no sugar added" Turtle Tracks ice cream has found its way into my shopping cart a number of times in the past couple of months. I blame this on wandering hormones.

Although I couldn't keep up with the really healthy diet that I started a couple of years ago (and yes, it was effective!), I am health conscious with most of my food choices. It has been maddening!

Yes, exercise would be helpful. Unfortunately I no longer have access to the pool/gym. When our membership was up for renewal we couldn't afford to keep it up, and neither of us had been for months. I ought to walk in the neighborhood, but have lacked the discipline to get myself out the door. Once the weather is more comfortable that should be easier.

My doctor and OB/GYN have not been helpful. One says "watch what you eat," (I do!), the other says, "Welcome to the club." I guess the cultural obsession with weight and dieting, especially among women, has numbed their ears to this woman's genuine plea for help. I should insist on them paying attention, but like many in this world I succumb to the "authority" of doctors (and I should know better, I grew up with one!).

The "good" news is that I seem to have stopped gaining. Now to do something to lose. I'd be happy with two pounds a month at this point. Anything that suggests I'm moving in the right direction. Anything that allows me, some days down the road, to discover that the pants I'm wearing feel loose. I can be patient. There are no bathing suit appearances in the known future. I just want this maddening experience to end.

Friday, September 05, 2008

sorting out feelings

I've been engaging in an internal debate recently about a situation in my life that gets my virtual Irish up (I have to go back about 8 generations to find the Irish dna in my family tree, so the impact is fairly negligible). Someone who is part of my life behaves in a way that serves to bounce me back and forth between feeling hurt and feeling angry. I'm not sure if the anger is masking the hurt, or if the anger has its own place of honor. It's probably both. I vascilate about speaking my piece. To what extent is healing from the hurt and dealing with the anger my work to do? What needs to be shared in order for the relationship to progress beyond my wounded and irritated state to a different place (which could be better or worse)?There is the whole "being honest" thing, which has its virtues. There are also risks. Risks can also be masks that prevent us/protect us from being vulnerable, and in that way can be a path-of-least-resistance response. As I say, I vascilate.

I mention this here because it is one of the things that occupies more of my days than I would like, and because it is a piece of life that I think we all, over the course of time, have in common. There are a variety of ways to deal with such occurences. At one extreme there are those that speak their minds and don't appear to be concerned about how what they voice affects others. At the other end of the spectrum are the eternally silent who either accumulate the wounds or find a way to process them and move on.

There is no textbook answer, only factors to be weighed, decisions to be made, and consequences to be handled, one way or the other. I try, in most cases, to aim for honesty. Sometimes a relationship, and the context in which it lives, is so complex that each wrinkle that occurs within it must be addressed on its own terms. Life is not easy. At the very least I make every effort to place myself in the Light, as Quakes are fond of saying. Whatever the choice, there is no better place from which to make it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

new look

As you can see, I've changed the look of my blog a bit. It was time! I'm mostly pleased, given the variables with which I had to work, and with my limited technical abilities! I'd really like to move the blog title and description to the bottom of the photo so that it doesn't obscure the actual sunset and is easier to read, so if anyone can tell me how to do that (i.e. what html code do I need to insert?) I'd be very grateful. I spent way too much time playing around with all of this yesterday and finally called it a day. (A leter note: obviously I got around the problem, although that seems to have created another, albeit smaller, one!)

In other news from the Cedar City I've made some very good progress in the tidying up department. The domestic diva was in rare form on Monday and made significant headway in three--count 'em, THREE--rooms! In my office not only did I get accumulated piles sorted and pared down, but I also managed to do some filing. Gasp! If I didn't know better from my own first hand involvement I might think an imposter had moved in and was trying to fool people.

And finally today I want to wish a happy birthday to my friend Kip. Today is a landmark birthday, and from what she writes on her blog she appears to be wearing it well, in spite of the fact that she doesn't exactly relish this accomplishment. Happy Day, Kipper!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

before and after

Here are pics of the Adirondack chairs that I painted recently, sitting on our new deck! The lighting was less than ideal when I shot the "before" picture (backlit--I still don't know how to force the flash on my camera!), but you get the idea. I found an Adirondack-style side table on Overstock.com that is winging its way to us as I type, and plan to paint it to match (unless I leave it as a contrasting piece). I also found some fabric to make some pillows (much harder than I anticipated--this shade of green, somewhere between avocado and apple-green, is tough to match!), so once that task is accomplished this will begin to look like a real seating area!
There have been requests for a picture of the deck. I haven't done that yet because there are still a few touches needed: a railing on one side, for instance, and stairs! The railing is waiting on a little problem-solving effort (and then the time to implement the solution and install the railing), and the steps are waiting on some ground-leveling to take place, which in turn is waiting on other things! At the moment the deck is essentially a platform, but we're loving it nonetheless (as are the dogs). It's still a little strange to look out the living room window and see it there!

Stay tuned for pics of the above-mentioned upgrades to the chairs, and who knows, maybe even the deck "in progress."
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