Wednesday, September 30, 2009


As some of you know, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November of 1997. While my diagnosis required a surgical solution and I did not have to undergo chemo or radiation therapy, I still consider myself a cancer survivor. It is my honor to present POD's post and I'll have more to say about my personal experience on October 2.

POD says:

I *so* like the idea of making yellow (eggs, lemons, lemon bars, lemon brownies, lemon pie, lemon chocolate chip cookies, lemon fudge, lemon chocolate pie) food to commemorate LIVESTRONG Day 2009 though I am not a food blogger -- still nothing can keep me away from looking and reading their blogs. LIVESTRONG Day 2009 this year is October 2nd to coincide with the date Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago. And not to be left out, I was diagnosed two years ago this date. Since Lance's recovery from cancer he has gone on to win the Tour De France 7 times. This year after a four year break from The Tour he came back and managed to come home in third place. (What the hell have I been doing?) The foodies have been blogging the LIVESTRONG Day for a few years. I'd like to see as many of us cancer/fitness/health/whatever bloggers as possible work to unify our blogwork to support LIVESTRONG Day 2009 as well. Because we aren't foodies or winos (in our blogs), one way to unite would be to write a short post on how cancer has effected your (our) life because I have a feeling it has affected most of our lives in one way or another. Then post that short post with the LIVESTRONG icon. This is one way of supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation by raising awareness of cancer issues world wide. It is a way for bloggers to share their stories, the happy and the sad, struggles and the triumphs. If you are lucky and have not be touched by cancer you are still welcome to participate. Then you can stop by my blog and leave a short comment with a link to your post. I'll put all the comments in a hat and pick 14 names of folks who will *win* a small LAF token of appreciation for helping us come together to commemorate the day. Sound like an simple deal? It is as long as you don't have a cancer diagnosis! This online event is an official LIVESTRONG Day event sanctioned by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Other links:,

POD post ends.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Get involved.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Simply Divine.

First things first. Here's the dress. It looks very good on her. There's a couple of minor alterations that need to be made, but it's pretty good right off the rack.

As I was sitting on a bench outside the bridal shop awaiting her arrival, I was reminded of a time about five years ago. Back then, I was sitting on a bench on a city street in Paris, having just arrived that morning and having found my way, using public transportation - bus and train - to our hotel. It was my first trip abroad and I was there to meet up with her. She'd left Texas nearly three months before to live and study in Florence for the semester. She'd spent a summer in Italy a couple of years before, but this time it was much less structured. She was to arrive from Florence on the overnight train and we were to spend four days in Paris before both going back to Florence.

I remember being so excited to see her that I sat in the cold, watching for her to come up from the subway. That day, I was coming along side to share a bit in her European experience. Today, I was coming along side to share a bit in her latest journey. So much has changed since that day in Paris - it's hard to believe that it has only been five years. I'm excited for her as she starts this next big phase of her life.

The dress took me away from my exercise today and I didn't get a chance to make it up, as I had to work from home until late to catch up on the work I'd missed today. Had I known the dress would really arrive, I wouldn't have gone in at all. Would have saved me two hours in drive time, to be sure. Oh well.

Tonight's dinner was good, although a bit disjointed flavor-wise. Not particularly complementary. I should have thought about that. Bick loved the bhindi masala. To which I say "Ha!" This coming from the man who doesn't "like" Indian food.

I bought what may be my MOB dress - a very simple, linen Calvin Klein dress. Plus, I bought a fun, long dress for Puerto Rico.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Share in the milestones.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

As You Wish

Except Not. Still no dress. Buttercup is getting pretty peeved. So that knocked out the plans for the great dress reveal. And the venue review. And spending the day with Pebbles Buttercup. Ah, well. She handled the disappointment in stride and I still had a nice day in spite of the change in plans.

I puttered around the house, straightened up a few things, gave myself a mani/pedi and went through the stacks of magazines that have been building up. I normally do not buy magazines - especially those of the home and garden variety, as that just fuels the desire for consumption in me - lifestyle porn, I call it. But for some reason, I had some leftover/unusable airline miles and I chose to get a couple of magazine subscriptions with them. One of the magazines I chose was Sunset. I love that magazine. But I don't like to keep them around. I go through them, pull out pictures and the like to use in my illustrated (NOT A SCRAPBOOK) journal and then discard the rest. So I spent a little time doing that yesterday. Lovely.

I got to spend leisurely time strolling through three grocery stores - which I like to do when I can do it unhurried. I let some high school kids give Malibu Ken a bath as fund raising effort. They were trying to get to Italy. Not the greatest wash, but the cause was good. Oh, and speaking of fund raising - ugh - I bought cookie and brownie mix from my neighbor's adorable little boys. I'm such a soft touch. I certainly don't need that crap in the house. And we've still got a box of cookie dough from last year that Bick bought. Hmmm. I need to figure out a way to get rid of that. Especially before the next stuff arrives - but those boys were so cute and polite that I couldn't possibly say no. Oh, and Bick had already purchased from another neighbor kid, so in a couple of weeks, Hillbilly Haven will be over-run with dough!

In the not so great column - I did cook the worst meal of my entire life, I do believe. I'm a pretty good home chef. I'll tackle most anything, but 99% of my failures come with fish. Last nights' fish was inedible. Tasted of lemon Pledge. We threw it away. Oh, and I got too interested in the History Detectives (I'm such a nerdygirl) and I let the sweet potato fries burn in the oven. So I got a bit derailed - dinner was broccoli, bread and peanuts.

And my next attempt at bath salts didn't satisfy the real "princess" around here - Bick. I found some essential oils today and mixed up another round, but Bathzilla still didn't think I got it right. I think he'll just have to pay the $14.99 per jar that they want for this stuff, cuz I am not. That's too much money for stress relief - it would stress me right out to buy it! I'll be just fine with my home grown version. I used it and slept like a baby last night (and so did he!).

Sunday's garden update: Looks like one brussels sprout plant has bid adieu. Everything else looks pretty good. The swiss chard is sprouting, but I've seen nothing from the spinach. Our peppers have been in over-drive as of late, doing their best to convince us to plant them again next year. They'd been so lackluster, that we'd scratched them off the list. We've got one more bed to amend, although nothing will go in it until spring. I'm planting an entire bed of my beloved Tarheel beans. And when the peppers come out, then I'll put that space in sugar snap peas.

I don't know what else is on tap for the day. The Greek food festival is in Dallas this weekend and we went last year and enjoyed it. It's a possibility. This is my off day for exercise, but I wouldn't mind a drive out to one of the lakes and a nice walk with SadieLuWho. Don't know. I do know that I'm enjoying my morning.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Beware of Rodents of Unusual Size.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Planning for Success

As requested, here's the menu for the upcoming week:

Saturday - fresh fish something and unusual vegetable something. This will be whatever appeals to me today as I move through my hunting/gathering excursions.

Sunday - Grilled pork chops with a green vegetable of sorts.

Monday - Feta and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breast with Indian okra

Tuesday - Middle Eastern Lamb with cucumber salad

Wednesday - Italian Chicken and Chickpeas

Thursday - Roasted peppers, vegetables leftovers and whatever stuffed in a pita for Bick, over baby spinach for me

Friday - every man for hissownself - I've got a meeting in town.

More notes on food-

I am fortunate in that I can tolerate and sometimes actually prefer "the same old thing" for breakfast. Through the week, my breakfast consists of 2 hard boiled eggs that I take to work and eat at my desk. My lunch is pretty much always leftovers from the night before. We purposefully cook proportions that allow for both of us to bring leftovers to work. I also pack an afternoon snack of 2 hard boiled eggs that I eat around 3:30 or 4pm. This extra protein boost lets me last until dinner time, without (pretty much) devouring the fridge when I walk in the door after work. I call that time the witching hour and it's the most difficult time of the day for me, eating wise. I probably am eating too many eggs, but they just work so well for transport and I do much, much better on a diet with a higher protein content, lower carb count.

One more cuppa coffee, then I'm off to the gym today. I'm getting a late start today, as I did not sleep well last night. I do believe with every ounce of my being that Bick was fighting invading space aliens in his sleep last night. I think he kicked a hole in the mothership. Rat Bastard.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Make decisions when it's easy.


Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dress Is In the Mail

Well darnit! Pebbles' wedding dress did not arrive today and so right now I am not sharing a wonderful moment with my daughter as she tries it on for the very first time. Instead, I am still at work. The bridal shop promises that it will be in on the 12:30 shipment tomorrow. We shall see.

Spin class today was awesome. Our instuctor just finished a big triathlon in Washington DC a couple of weeks ago. Ran a personal best and finished in the top third. I think that's a pretty big deal. She's my favorite spin instructor. I tend to work harder for her.

So my plans for the weekend include a long workout at the gym tomorrow. Then the rest of the day will be spent with Pebbles - having lunch, trying on her dress, going to take another peek at a dress for me, and visiting the venue for the not-a-shower-or-reception party that I'm throwing for the happy couple in December. It is my hope that we can get that nailed down. Whew! I've got one other wedding thing to finalize on Monday and then I think we are through with this hayride. (Everyone who believes that - stand on your head!)

Saturday is booked solid. Don't know what's on tap for Sunday. As I said, I may sign-up for a yoga nidra on Sunday. It's a special class at the yoga studio. Sounds like I will be paying $20 to take a nap - which a good nap is worth it's weight in gold, imho.

As for the other stuff - I feel good that I asked for what I wanted. I can choose to take other actions, but I was clear about my rights.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Keep with your appointed rounds.


pic November 2004 - me and Pebbles in Paris - that's the Eiffel tower sticking out of her cute head.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hot 100ish

Looks like I missed the deadline for SouthBeach Steve's end of year bash, but I'm joining in anyway, even if just here.

My goals for the remainder of 2009 are:

1. exercise 5 times a week
2. keep my wedding spending under control
3. drop ten pounds between now and then.

I'll update weekly. I don't like to set weight loss goals, given my obsessive nature, but this is a special deal.

Today's yoga class was wonderful. I think I'll take a yoga nidra(?) class that is being offered Sunday afternoon at my favorite, but far away yoga studio. I, too, think yoga can help one get through most anything.

Tomorrow, Pebbles wedding dress is supposed to come in. I'm to meet her at the bridal shop for the big reveal. I'm very excited. Then Bick is taking us both out to a fancy-pants place for a nosh. I'm planning on another spin class tomorrow.

May we all live in peace.


It did not go well.

Sigh. Not that I expected that it would. But I asked for what I wanted and offered a good compromise. So my only option here on the estate dispersal is to get legal. The nuclear option. This feels awful.

The comforting news is that I have yoga class today. Soon.

Take good care of yourself. Take good care of yourself. Take good care of yourself.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Can Do Hard Things

I can do hard things. Dana tells us/me this often. I really am so fearful. It's time to break all of this down to get a better understanding. I'm an avoider. I avoid unpleasantness whenever possible. I am afraid. I am really afraid of me. I am afraid of unleashing some sort of uncontrollable rage machine. I am afraid of being taken advantage of. I am really afraid of being out of control.

Today I did hard/unpleasant/difficult things. I:

1. went to a kick-ass spin class at lunch when I really wanted to just walk on the treadmill and watch HGTV.

2. went to a "get your financial/insurance/medical poa etc. stuff together" seminar today. This is the year I get all my arrangements made. I care too much to leave things in disarray - not that I plan on going anywhere soon.

and for the big finale

3. approached my Mom yet again on the disposition of our property in WA, settling my Dad's estate (he's been dead for 38 years) and making her wishes known.

It may be time for an adult beverage. What thing did you face down today?


"There's no need to fear, UnderBick is here"

Bick took the day off work yesterday and we headed out to Reata South first rattle out of the box. I'd talked with my insurance company and they said just to board everything up until the adjuster could come out and survey the damage. I made sure I had extra batteries for the camera and off we went.

I know the storm must have been frightening. The local news reports were reporting sustained winds at 70 mph with 90 mph gusts. Bick had just turned on the tv in the den that night and I was in the kitchen when the programming was interrupted with breaking weather news. He yelled to me that my house (and my Mom and Sister) were in a helluva mess. I was walking to my phone to call them when it rang and it was Mom. They were understandably shook up, nearing hysteria, so everything was a little overblown, but without electricity, etc. how the hell would one really know what kind of damage was done?

So, long story short, it was merely three broken windows and some broken limbs off of trees. The hardest part of the whole thing was securing some glass to fit the windows. Which surprised me, but our local home improvement stores don't stock glass and the only glass company that I knew of closed up shop a year ago. Unfortunately, they hadn't removed their web presence nor their phone from the directory. We were driving up and down the street where the shop was supposed to be when Bick spotted a couple of guys replacing some glass at a Whataburger. So we wheeled in and they directed us to their commercial glass shop that was much closer than the one clear across town. Unfortunately, we got there at lunch time, so we had to wait around for an hour and a half. But we got it all taken care of. I did learn something - that it is possible to sand glass. One pane was just a skosh off and gave Bick fits. Finally, he asked me if I had a sander and Roxie and her power tools came to the rescue.

Bick fired up the chain saw and cleaned up the fallen branches. Damned silver maple - it's got to go. In my frantic efforts to "do something", I joined Angie's List in the middle of the night, so at least now, I've got a handle on tree services, etc. That's usually the big part of my panic in situations like this - not knowing who to call. I always try to learn something in these types of situations so that I am not as fearful and panic-y the next time.

So today I need to call and unfile my insurance claim, as everything is dried up and dried in. Crisis averted. I can finally get my shoulders out of my ears!

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Know who to call.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Stormy Weather

Wind blew a tree branch through the window at Reata South. I'm off first thing in the morning to clean up the damage, deal with insurance, etc. Oy.

My Butt Is Draggin

Saturday, well, the best laid schemes of Vermin-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and men.... I didn't get my long workout in on Saturday morning. I chose to come home and get to work on the new Experience Brussels Sprouts exhibit that was going in the backyard here at Hillbilly Haven. It was a jungle out there! There was mowing and weedeating and cleanup. We've had so much rain that Bick and I felt like Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas hacking their way through the jungle in Romancing The Stone. I took down our summer tomatoes to make way for the EBS and we added amendments and I cleared and cleaned up debris for the better part of the day. Then came the planting. I got everything set out and then planted our swiss chard and spinach beds. Worked most of the day and then decided nothing do me but I have a Blizzard for dinner. And I did. And as has happened in the past, it did not agree with me. When will I learn? Don't answer that.

Sunday proved to be a much better day. I pulled Malibu Ken out of the Car Pavillion and onto the lawn for his first (by me) hand washing and detailing. He's very sparkly now! Just in time for more rain tonight. Ah, well. For one beautiful moment, there was Camelot.

So much for menu planning - it fell right by the wayside. Bick had thawed one of the ginormous steaks for his dinner on Friday, but ended up ordering pizza. So, we were going to have steak on Saturday night until the Blizzard hit. So the steak was switched to Sunday. So last night's dinner was a 1/2 steak, carmelized brussels sprouts and onions, Bick added some wild rice and I made him some peppercorn gravy to go with his rice. We also grilled some chicken breasts for today's lunches.

The bath salts were a moderate success. I tried to go sans essential oils, as my travels didn't take me to any place where they were available for purchase. I had some dried lavender, so I just used that, along with epsom salts, sea salt and baking soda. It smelled wonderful in the container, but without the essential oils, there was no "aromatherapy" according to The Nose (Bick) - the flowers weren't powerful enough to fragrance the salts. So, I'll add some essentials next time, but I thought it was pretty nice. And it was very fun to do!

On Sunday, I reverted back to what I know works for me. I got up and got dressed (ala Flylady) and I got started with some decluttering. I just let the momentum I'd built up power me through the rest of the day. Nicest day I've had in a while. I went to a local Mom and Pop nursery and bought some lemon thyme, curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley to use in my winter containers.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Start the day with your shoes on.


pic: Unknown Plumbers circa 2007 - Digital media.
I took this picture at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Sitdown

Saturday mornings are when I sit down to plan our meals for the week and try to cobble together a shopping list. Or should I say shopping lists? Since I'm now a Costco convert, I usually have to make a trip by there for a bit of this or that. Oh hell, that's wrong. I go to Costco if I need a metric ton of stuff. I go to the regular grocery store if I need a bit of this or that. So there's two stores to stop by, plus there is always a Home Depot run. Always. I don't know what we need from the big orange store, but I know that we will darken the doors sometime again this weekend. This week's errands also includes a swing by a craft store or health food store to see if I can find some lavender essential oils. I want to try to make some bath salts.

While in Seattle (jeez, was it only last month?), Bick bought me some wonderful, relaxing bath salts at the neighboring Whole Foods Market. And since we've been home, he's used up all of it. I'd like to try my hand at making my own - using my own herbs and such.

So now my errand list is up to four stops. Plus brussels sprouts; plus time at the gym. Oh, one other stop. I've found a place to buy farm fresh eggs here locally! YAY!

I heard from Pebbles and Slater yesterday as they were wandering around Central Park. I'm assuming they weren't lost. Long-time sufferers will remember my travels in Italy with Pebbles - she's content just to wander around until she stumbles upon something. No maps, no directions, no plan. Drove me flat dab crazy. I'm assuming now since she and Slater are both googlyphone empowered that they were in the park because that's where they wanted to be. They had toured MOMA in the morning and were headed off to The Whitney, after lunch at Carnegie Deli. (Ben Ash is right across the street and has AMAZING chicken liver sandwich.) But would she listen to her mother? NO! She's doesn't share her Momma's secret desire to be Jewish and eat chopped liver. Speaking of chopped liver, here's this week's meal plan:

Saturday - Pan sauteed fish - whatever fish looks good and fresh accompanied by whatever out-of-the-ordinary veg I stumble across.

Sunday - Creamy southwest chicken with cauliflower

Monday - Pork chops and cooked cabbage

Tuesday - Feta stuffed chicken breast with peppers

Wednesday - Easy Thai Coconut Curry chicken with green beans

Thursday - Korean meatballs with asparagus

Friday - every man for hisownself - I've got my meeting in town.

It's one more cup of coffee, some yoga time and then it's off to the gym. Let's get this party started.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Make your list and check it twice.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Dirt Farmers

I've just been informed that Bick has purchased TWENTY-SEVEN brussel sprout plants. Combine that with the FIVE I'd already purchased and what do you get? Not enough garden space. Where will I put my chard? My sugar snap peas? I don't know the answer to any of those questions but I do know that I will be wearing my "special" crocs and will be in the garden this weekend.

Spin class was awesome, although I know I will pay for it tomorrow. I need to remember to take some Aleve this evening when I get home from meeting.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Don't overdo it.


I hate them meeces to pieces

Reata North sits on ground that was once open grazing/ranchland. Unfortunately, no one told the field mice that the human beans had taken over. So a few/some/three/a bazillion have moved in with us, seemingly overnight. Ugh. The pleasures of country living. Given all the rain we've had for the last week or so, I think they think this is the damned ark.

We beat a path to the home improvement store last night to get better mousetraps and I have to say, as Trapper Bick was preparing them, I was doubled over with laughter. Snap! "Oh shit." Snap! "Damn it." Snap! "Ouch." Snap! "&^@!&***." You just can't buy entertainment like that.

In other news, Pebbles and Slater are in NYC for a long weekend. Lucky ducks. They are up there visiting one of Pebbles' college friends who lives in New Haven. So there will be trips back and forth between CT and the city. I'm green with envy. Should be a fun time for them.

I'm feeling a little more inspired today. A good night's sleep certainly goes a long way in improving one's outlook. Along with lovely emails from friends. Thanks, Dana. Today looks to be a good day. And I am hopeful the rain will hold off long enough to allow us to get in our fall garden! I've got some soil amendments to add, but it may be too wet to till them in. I may have to just sidedress with them and be done with it. Those brussel sprout sets aren't getting any younger!

Lovely guided meditation on youtube.

ETA: Off to a spin class.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Build a better mousetrap.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

iPod iNspiration

I'm assuming that the vast majority of us are iPod zombies. What podcasts do you listen to that you find inspiring? Actually, what movies, books and other things do you turn to for personal inspiration? I'm in need of some inspiration, both from the personal-growth and the personal-shrinkage variety.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Actively seek inspiration.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Running, Jumping, Climbing Trees

In heels as well..... My love knows no bounds....

Lose For Good

Here it is! Help feed those less fortunate at loseapalooza today. Lose For Good.

More later.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Locked Down and Out

The best laid plans of mice and men....I headed off to the cross-county Pseudo-Jesus Gym only to be denied access. LOCKED OUT. Granted, it had been a while since I've been to that branch, but my card worked before, darn it. So no gym yesterday. I did do some errand running and some straightening up, so all wasn't lost. Yet.

At some point in the late afternoon, I took leave of my good senses and ate way too much, and in a decidedly disordered manner. It was a binge. It's been a long, long time since I'd done that - but there was ice cream involved. Ah, well.

In other news, I've been pondering something that Jill posted on FB about breaking up with a famous person's tv show. I find myself growing more and more unpeaceful each time I read something going on in the world - violence, bigotry, general asshattery (Kanye, I'm looking at YOU), ignorance, politics, trashy (IMHO) reality tv in the Springer vein. I will continue to do what I can to follow my convictions and act locally, but I cannot take all of this stuff in and maintain any peace. I will also not look at ANYTHING whatsoever to do with weddings and receptions. I am putting myself on LOCK DOWN.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Garbage in, garbage out.


pic: public art in Princeton, NJ taken 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stacking The Odds

This morning I am doing activities that stack the odds in my favor of having a good week. I've done prep work so that my breakfasts will be easier to pack and go during the work week. I've colored my hair (yes, I went a little too dark and resemble Elvira, but not in a booby-way). I've removed my mustache so that I resemble Wayne Newton a little less and I'm getting ready to tackle my hobbit-feet.

After that, I'm going to go cross-county to spend some time on the treadmill at the other Jesus Gym that's not actually a part-time church - weather here is NOT cooperating. Then I'll swing by a couple of places to pick up a couple of clear bins. I'm working on decluttering an unused room in the house so that we can bring back in the big old ficus tree from outside. It's grown too big for the living room and it's time to go through some stuff that has accumulated and pitch or pack. I LOVE decluttering.

Then I'm thinking of treating myself to a movie - Steve, perhaps.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind others. What can you do right now that will make success easier to come by in the coming week?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Know This Much Is True

This is a back-to-basics post and it's mostly for me to reiterate what I know to be true for me. If I do these things in approximately the order given, I'll stay in a healthier and happier place. It's a positive list, full of things that I can do versus a bunch of "don'ts". I rebel against the don'ts. I firmly believe in that whole mind-body connection and that I have to keep all things in balance. So here's my list:

1. Practice loving kindness towards myself. Constantly berating myself never did a damn thing to make my ass any smaller or make me any happier.
2. Spend time daily meditating/deep breathing/getting centered. This makes dealing with all the other crap much easier. As Cammy said "be where you butt is".
3. The first rule of food: Eat clean. I'll worry about quantities later. I will not deprive, I will not starve. I will eat real, whole and identifiable foods. No junk, no trashy carbs. Good food and enough of it. If I worry about the "what I eat", the "how much I eat" will pretty much take care of itself.
4. Exercise is one of the nicest, most loving gifts that I can give myself. It is not punishment and I will not use it upon myself as such. I cannot overcome a bad diet with exercise. It may hold it at bay for a bit, but it is not sustainable. Exercise is necessary for many reasons, but not as a punishment for any eating behavior.
5. Progress, not perfection.

There's really not much more to it than that. If I follow the above tenets consistently, then I stay in a better space, both literally and figuratively. Spent a good, long time in the gym this morning. It was lovely.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Be consistent.


Pic: Kinsale Harbor, Ireland Dec 08.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Footloose Friday

My thoughts aren't coming together into anything at all resembling a coherent post, so it's just crumbs today. I'm looking forward to the weekend. Bick will be away this weekend, so I'm footloose. My plan is to peruse some of the smaller gardening shops and centers to see if any good winter stuff has arrived. I also need to color my hair. I'm showing far too many natural "highlights" these days. I've got to figure out a conversion strategy to go grey more naturally. And lord knows, I could use a good haircut!

Other plans for the weekend include a good long session at the gym on Saturday. I'd considered going out to one of the state parks for a hike, but the weather doesn't appear to want to cooperate. Rain is predicted for pretty much the entire weekend. I could shop the end-of-season sales for a summer-type dress for the wedding - we'll see. I am going to enjoy some leisurely grocery shopping over the weekend. I might even take in a farmer's market. Who knows? With Malibu Ken as my guide, the world is my oyster!

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Schedule things that bring you joy.


pic: The cabin, complete with The Big Head, at our friends' place in Poolville.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


It's time to hit the reset button. My focus wandered too far. I've been conjuring up stuff and imagining this scenario and that scenario and awfulizing all of them.

I came to realize this while in yoga practice today. I need to keep my focus pretty tight and let whatever else happens around me, happen. As Karen said in a recent post, nothing good really happens if I force it - or somesuch sage advice. I need to remember that.

I've resigned (at least for a while) my self-appointed job as wedding/engagement party/reception(s) coordinator. Pebbles said she doesn't want an engagement party and while they want a reception, they'll worry about that in the spring. Since his family and the majority of my family are tee-totallers, it looks like the reception will be in two phases - the family friendly variety to be followed later by a cocktail reception. And I just have to let all of this go. I'll help when asked and I'll write checks as I feel appropriate for me.

Now I just have to be able to fit into the mother-of-the-bride swimsuit!

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Narrow your focus.

braving the scale TOMORROW!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Doing The Right Stuff

My outlook is a little brighter today. Thank you all for the helpful comments. I do let this stuff get me more down more than it should. I do a decent job of handling stuff onesy and twosey, but when it starts piling on, well, I don't do so well. Plus, Bick, who is usually my greatest supporter, did something that really hurt my feelings - which I was wearing right there on my sleeve! He wasn't wrong, but his timing sure was.

I ate right yesterday, got some exercise and got some rest. I also spent some more time in the flower garden last night after work. Over the weekend, I cleared out the summer garden and my folly of a flower bed. Last year, I bought two very small moonflower plants and stuck them in the ground. This weekend, it took me ten contractor-sized trash bags to haul away the foot-long sized pieces as I cut them up. I'm sure I'll be pulling up moonflowers from now until kingdom come.

I also cleaned out my summer containers and over the weekend, I found some bright light swiss chard sets that I'm going to use as part of the ornamental containers. I got those put in pots, along with some cheap mums and a few other bits and pieces that I transplanted last night. I'll add some violas and pansies when they become available, as things look a little sparse. I've been looking for some black kale sets, but I doubt I'll find them and I think it may be too late it set them out for ornamental purposes. But I'll keep my eyes peeled. All to say, digging in the garden is a very zen (and sweaty) activity for me. It was good for me and I enjoyed it.

Dinner last night was fabu and easy! My favorite combination - I did a roasted pork tenderloin and threw in some broccoli to roast via this recipe. I didn't have pine nuts, so I didn't use those. I was too lazy to go back outside and get the basil, so I omitted that, as well. I didn't have a lemon, so I subbed in just a splash of rice vinegar, oh, and I cooked it for 18 minutes, at 500 degrees, right along with the loin. Yummy!

We'll be working on getting in the winter garden in the next few days. I found some brussel sprout plants (only 5), but we'll get them out. And I bought some swiss chard seeds to set out. I know I want peas, but I haven't decided what else. We are letting the tomatoes produce this fall for as long as they will, but the okra went bye-bye.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Do the next right thing.


pic: I took this over the weekend of the fence panels our friend built using cedar from his land.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Just Plain Strange

Enough of that stuff. Refocusing on the fun and the weird.

Our Friday night with our friends was wonderful. The food was fabulous. The champagne in chocolate cups was wonderful. Chocolate disks in our champagne flutes were spectacular. The hostess gift was a big hit. We ate very, very well.

The next morning they took us into town to have breakfast at their favorite diner. I do love a good diner and then we went to the local flea market to see and be seen. That's where we saw it, sitting on a table, under a lamp. Hell, it may have been part of the lamp. We were all so gobsmacked that no one
- A. thought to plug it in to see what it did when electrified and B. thought to look at how much they were asking for it. I did, however, think to snap a picture.

The Ugly

It's been a roller coaster of emotions around here lately and I'm looking for the barf bag. The good stuff - Pebbles and Slater, obviously. I do think they are rushing things - but I certainly cannot foretell the future.

I hesitate to write about the ugly as I've been trying to shift my focus from such things over the past few months. I don't want to wallow or whine. What I want is a different relationship and I am never going to get it. I just need to deal or not deal with the hand I've been dealt.

The ugly - the ugly has been perking for several weeks and I've been trying to ignore it, process it, let it be. But it keeps coming back. It turns out my recent new car purchase has really stirred up my mother. For a week prior to the car deal, I would get calls telling me that I was making a mistake.

"Everyone needs a truck. I need a farm truck. I guess I'll trade in Bling (Lexus SUV) and get a truck."

"What is going to happen if Bick leaves you? Where will you be then? How will you manage without a truck?"

"Your cousin Mark says you are crazy to get rid of that truck. Says he wouldn't do it."

Post purchase calls.

"How much did you have to pay?" ) "So, what did you put down?" "How much are your payments?" "Jeff only paid $xixixx for his Malibu, how much more did you have to pay?" "You haven't really told me how much you paid?"

"I've heard the swine flu is going around your workplace. Be careful. It'd be a shame for something to happen to you since you just bought a new car."

Then last weeks calls.

"Since you have the money to buy a new car, you can afford to fix some things around Reata South. I know the board fences don't matter to you, but they are looking pretty ratty."

"I think it's a shame that you live in finery with Bick and work your tail off up there and just leave this place to fall down."

"I want to buy your house. There's so much that needs doing and you are obviously not going to do it."

Then the topper -

"I need to borrow some money. Where are you? Why aren't you answering your phone? I need the money by noon today."

Now the rational and sane among you are like WTF, Roxie? Those of us who were raised to put someone else's (guess who!) needs in front of their own and to be responsible for THEIR happiness, dealing with this crap just ties me up in knots. Yes, I'm working through it and I am trying my best to behave as an appropriate adult with sensible boundaries, but today I understand why people snap.

I keep "shoulding" myself on this one. I should do this, I should do that. I should be able to take the highest road.

Last night I ate myself into a popcorn-induced coma and today I nearly snapped somebody's head off at the swine-flu emporium. I'm going to the gym.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Know when to call in the pros.

puffed up like a dead possum.

The Good

I'm excited for them. They say they plan to elope to PR during our Christmas vacation to get married on the beach - with Bick and I as witnesses. Bick has offered to be ordained in order to wed them, Princess Bride style. He's also offered to be the flower girl, but that was only in a drunken moment.

Monday, September 7, 2009

She Said "Yes"

Slater formally proposed yesterday. Pebbles said yes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

This Weekend And Last

Last Saturday morning, Meg gave me directions to the tow path at this park. It was an amazing walk/run. I was out for almost two hours! Gorgeous location. I came back into town, got cleaned up and went out for yummy Indian food to a Princeton restaurant that Meg had recommended for lunch.

I don't get enough Indian food in my life. Bick says he "hates" it and won't go to an Indian restaurant. Funny thing is, I make quite a few Indian-inspired dishes and he likes those just fine. I think he's just operating off a set of old beliefs that no longer really hold true. His palate has changed and expanded in our years together; so I'll continue to spice up his life and maybe one day the old fart will relent. As it stands, I do enjoy the cuisine whenever possible. I'm certainly not proficient at ordering from the menu, so the buffets work just fine for me - mostly because I do want a bit of everything. I did find at this particular restaurant, however, that I was the only person enjoying the buffet and I was the only non-Indian appearing person in the restaurant. They must know something I don't - but no matter, the food was yummy.

Speaking of food, because, really aren't I almost always? I'm stupidly excited about the hostess gift I put together for the Poolville Pagans. We are heading out there tonight to spend part of the holiday weekend with them. In trying to keep our food local, I've put together a basket of figs, local honey, local artisan cheese and locally grown pecans. I hope they like it. We are taking the almond sparkling wine (champagne) that Jilly gave me when I was in CA in the spring. I'd planned to take her up on her suggestion and serve it in chocolate cups, but I've been to three stores and can't find them. Bick was so enamoured of the idea that he's making one last-ditch effort at obtaining them today. Otherwise, I may just drop some dark chocolate pastilles into the flutes and be done with it!

I've got to come up with an easy-breezy appetizer for tonight and I'm coming up empty. I guess I could substitute the hostess gift, but that would be rather um, cheesy. I'll think of something. I just hope the weather holds out. It's raining here today and we usually spend most of our time out doors when visiting.

I'm undecided as to my exercise for the day. I'll make my decision when I hit the gym.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Eat local.


pic: House in Princeton with some amazing corn plants!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome to Allergy Central

I've started using the Pot, the neti pot, that is. It certainly does help and I haven't managed to drown myself, yet. Stupid allergies! I guess we are in high allergy season here in Texas, as the office sounds like a symphony of sneezers. I'm using the neti and a bit of meds to try to stay functional. If I take enough meds to knock down the allergies, then I am too "stoned" to drive and function. It's a fine balance.

Loved, loved, loved Julie and Julia. Streep was spot-on. I'd read Julie's blog during the time she was writing it, so I had a bit of background and I'd read Child's My Life in France, which was wonderful. Even Bick enjoyed it, as did Sandy. Sandy and I decided that our next task is to learn how to make souffles! After our sushi lessons, of course.

As for our sushi lessons, Bick arranged with Slater and Pebbles to come over and give Sandy and I sushi lessons as part of my birthday dinner! Won't that be fun? I'm so excited. Slater is supposed to provide Bick with a shopping list as part of my gift, we'll get to go shopping for all the stuff! Bick recently bought Sandy a sushi-making kit, so she'll come join us as well. And then after sushi, it'll be on to souffles!

And speaking of food, Meg's wedding reception dinner was beautifully prepared and presented - my favorite course may have been the palate cleanser - a blackberry cabernet sorbet that was out of this word! Yummy. Damn, all this food talk this morning is making me hungry! I lied. My favorite course was the cake. I'm pretty darn picky about cake, but her cake was absolutely delish!

Workouts have been regular, but I've been taking it easy. With the allergies, I just haven't felt up to snuff. But I am going to try to get in all my exercise for September, which means daily exercise of at least 40 minutes six days a week. That's my version of Lori's September challenge.

September does feel like a great month to restart, recommit or refocus. It's like a mini-beginning near the end of the year. Did you have some yearly goals that have fell by the wayside? Now's the time to dust them off for the month of September.

And speaking of September, which will forever be linked with the tragedy of the WTC bombing, I did make it down to ground zero to see the progress. There's not really much to see other than construction has made it up past the ground level. Lots of activity and lots of rebar - and lots of people there paying their respects. It's still a moving sight. There is a preview memorial museum near the site, but of course, I had luggage-that-must-not-be-checked, so I was only able to do a roll by on that one, as well. I also hit Times Square and Battery Park on my great subway tour of 2009.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Manage, naturally.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Ivy League

I spent from Friday afternoon until Sunday mid-morning in Princeton, New Jersey and I fell in love. It was my first trip outside of the Newark airport and New Jersey truly is "The Garden State". Green. Lush. Gorgeous. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they've received record amounts of rain in the month of August. And it rained off and on over the weekend - enough so that Meg's planned outdoor activities had to be moved indoors.

I walked through around and over Princeton proper and Princeton University. I will say this right now that old money trumps new money every damn time. The grounds at Princeton are incredible. There were archways that drew me into courtyards which led to other passage ways and other buildings. It was magnificent. Some of the buildings were open for touring - the Episcopal church is especially beautiful. I spent hours just wandering around - walking the streets looking at the architecture. So very different from central Texas.

I loved the train ride. It was so easy. Just hope a train from the Newark Airport and it took me almost directly into Princeton! My only mis-step was a moments hesitation at the airport train station when I arrived to see a train on "my" track, but I was not positive that it was mine, so I didn't just hop on. So I missed my first train and had to wait another half-hour or so. It's not the worst thing that could have happened.

The wedding was headquartered at The Nassau Inn in Princeton - an old inn on the National Register of Historic places - a beautiful structure with that old New England look to it. Lots of wood and very, very charming. The perfect blend of old and comfortable. I arrived, dropped my bags and set out to explore the burg. I stumbled upon the best, and I do mean the best resale/consignment shop I've ever seen. I seriously considered buying another bag to load up. The women of Princeton like good stuff and discard it regularly, it appears. I did end up buying a few things - a cuff bracelet, a beautiful scarf and the most perfect white shirt.

Friday evening was an informal gathering of wedding guests at Mountain Lake House. Beautiful venue with a gorgeous back yard area leading down to the lake. Unfortunately, rain kept us from enjoying the outdoor activities that Meg had planned. Still, a good time and good food was had by all.

And in the "it's a small world" category - it was during this dinner that I met a wonderful woman from Georgia, who as a college student in the late 60's had come to Texas to work the summer at a dooooode ranch in the Hill country - the same place that Bick and his family visited each and every year during the same time frame!

It's off for a little yoga and meditation this morning. It's wonderful to be able to travel to see friends and new things and it's also great to be able to enjoy being home. Tonight, Bick, Sandy and I are off to see the Julie and Julia movie. I'm looking forward to it!

More trip stuff later.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Marvel at the details life offers.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Need to Be Committed

I'm not feeling bad about myself or like a failure or anything like that. I just need to keep my big picture goals in the forefront. They are:

I want to live each day in a thoughtful, mindful manner. I want to be an importer/exporter of joy. I want to overcome fear. I want better relationships, starting with the one I have with myself.

So to get back in the groove/rut/my comfort zone/routine I packed my foods and beverages for the day and hit the gym at lunch. It felt good.

So trip notes: Yesterday I took the train into the NYC in the morning, but I was not able to visit any of the museums due to their restrictions on checking luggage. I understand, but it was still a bit disappointing. I'd read this on their websites, but decided to try it anyway. No luck. I ended up just revisiting some of my favorite spots. I adore Grand Central Station. I think it is an amazing structure. Plus, there is the Grand Central Market. Great, great food. When I was in NYC for the first time about 9 years ago, I remembered being awestruck by the place and I wanted to see how it stood the test of time and my exposure to more high-end foodie things. It held up well. As did the canolli!

And speaking of holding up well, while I was disappointed not to be able to tour the museums, I was pretty happy with the fact that I was able without much effort at all to schlep my 35ish pound carry on up and down all sorts of stairs. On the train, off the train, down the steps into the subway station, up the steps back to street level, and up and over the pedestrian bridge. I was busy congratulating myself on my prowess while truding up the pedestrian bridge near ground zero when I business-suited man asked me if I needed help with my bag. Perhaps I wasn't as Wonder Woman as I thought! I thanked him very kindly for his offer and told him I was doing fine.

I can remember being exhausted by nearly the same trip nine years earlier. Yesterday, I didn't bat at eye. Even with the bag (which was rolling most of the time, other than the myriad of stairs - I didn't want to wait for the elevators, if they even existed). Anyway, it was all good.

Still swamped. More later.

Home Again

I'm home, exhausted but exhilerated. Wonderful time, wonderful trip, wonderful friends.

My email inbox is bloated and so am I.

Back to the routine. More later.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Make time for friends.


157 ouch.