Saturday, March 31, 2012

Body Positive

Beauty Comes In All Shapes and Sizes
I spent a large part of yesterday being naked with probably fifty women.  They ranged in ages from twenties to sixties, and of all body sizes and types and of many ethnic backgrounds.  And they were all beautiful.

Now before you go thinking I'm so pervy weirdo, I'm not.  I'm not running out and joining a nudist colony anytime soon.  That's not what I got from this experience.  It's just amazing to me that as body conscious as I am - knowing every lump, bump, bulge and dimple and with "oh my _________ is too big"  or "my ______ is too small" - all of that disappears when naked in a group setting.  And I think it's true for everyone there - there is no place to go, no where to hide as you move from sauna to dipping pool to soaking tubs and back again and there wasn't any slinking or slouching or scurrying from place to place.  Women just were as they were.  There was laughter and fun and talking in the sauna - snack bar recommendations "get the kiwi smoothie".  And there was NOT ONE MENTION of fat, thighs, the latest diet regime - none of the "normal" woman-bonding-speak that one hears.  And every women is beautiful in the sauna.

I wonder how much our body image - especially of American white women - really is cultural? Does our/my "uptightness" with being naked translate to feeling less-than because we don't have a real idea of what other women look like?  Is being comfortable naked the precursor to a positive body image.  And maybe it's not even a positive body image, maybe it's getting to the point where it's not all about the body - that when you've seen one _____, you've seen them all?

This spa  is really cool.  You pay for admission for 24 hours!  And you can buy other spa services ala carte if you want them.  Otherwise, you can spend you time in the sauna and steam rooms, dipping pools etc.  To leave that area, you don a "uniform" - a very comfy almost flannel-like elastic-waisted shorts and shirt and go into the open or coed area.  You can grab food from the restaurant and sit down in the most comfy recliner known to man and watch cable tv or just take a nap.

There are also all sorts of other rooms - nine, I think, where you can go in (in uniform) to rest, relax, stretch, do yoga, meditate - each with a different theme or aromatherapy.  We talked with two women who had come down from Oklahoma after working a late shift - they had been there since 2am - and by this time, it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  They were just having a blast.  It really was an amazing experience.  And the kiwi smoothie really was awesome.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Everybody is Beautiful.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friends And Family Calling Plan

Yesterday I got back on the Phone Friend calling plan and called an acquaintance of mine, Marty, who is also a cyclist and asked her if she wanted to go on the ride with Her Honor. .  So we agreed to meet at the starting point.  There were about forty people, I guess.  I didn't actually count, but the line stretched out for a long way.  We had two police officers along as well.  It was a great group.

When we get to the half-way stopping point, Marty says "Let me introduce you to HH, she's my cousin."!! And so I got to meet HH and ride with her for a while.  It was an out-and-back ride, and so we met one of the police officers and a woman that I had met in the parking lot just coming in.  Holly, while she wasn't struggling,  was on a comfort bike and was just much slower than those of us on road bikes or hybrids.   She was a very nice woman in her mid-sixties - one of those very cute little pixie ladies.  HH said that she was going to stop and ride with Holly and Marty told  HH to go on with leading the rest of the group and  that she and I would ride with Holly back in.  So that's what we did.  Marty told HH and the police officer that she had HH cell number and we'd call if we needed them.  We were on the Trinity Trail, so we knew the lay of the land pretty darned well.

We had a lovely ride on a picture perfect spring evening and a nice visit with Holly on our ride back in.  It did take us some time, but it was about the experience, not the exercise.  At one point Marty did comment that HH would be waiting for us at the starting/ending point, but I did not really think she would.  But there she was (along with her driver and the two police officers) and she greeted us all by name and we chatted for a bit.  As we were loading up our bikes, Holly and I were talking about our ride and our evening and I said something about her being friends with HH - and Holly said "I only just met her at last weeks' ride".  I'll say this about HH, she has a way of making everyone feel like they've been friends forever (and she can remember names like nobodies business".

Since I have begun to be more open to people and things - being more positive, expecting good things - the universe had awarded me with such rich experiences.  My life has taken on a much different texture and I am grateful for all these experiences.  As Simply Me said just yesterday "As I Say Yes To Life, Life Says Yes To Me".  I had no idea that just a shift in my thinking, attitudes and taking small actions would offer such personal rewards.  Not that last night was huge, but it was much bigger, different and more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.  I reached out to someone that I don't know that well and look what happened?

I'm up and ready for spin class - today is Glee-Day.

Phone-Friend-Challenge:  HH's cousin.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others. Say Yes To Life.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jersey Girl

I need to shop some sales!
I need to find some more sales or else give up my Pearl I. attraction.  Actually, this jersey was reasonably priced, I suppose, as it's not near top-of-the-line - but I wanted something with a little longer sleeve and a bright hard-to-miss-me color.  This fit the bill.  I may have to switch to mens' jersey to get a longer, less fitted sleeve.  I'm not a fan of the "sausage casing" look.

I also picked up a couple of adapters and was advised by the LBS just to keep them on the valve stem (after closing it, of course).  So I'll try that.  I've never personally aired up Inez' tires, so I'll give that a go tonight before my mayoral debut.

Started watching the documentary Hell On Wheels last night about the 2003 (I think) Tour de France.  Very interesting so far.  I dozed off, so I'll pick it up again, perhaps tonight.

I'm meeting tomorrow with Patty, the woman who is interested in helping me with my housework.  Right now, there is just not enough time to get everything done that I need to do.  Last night, I finally sat down to eat at 9pm!  I worked late, ran to the LBS, went to the grocery store, came home, threw on some shorts and went outside to work in the yard until it was too dark to see.  Came in a prepped dinner.  Ate.  Cleaned up the kitchen and watched a bit of the aforementioned documentary and then it was bedtime.  The next few weeks look to be scheduled just as heavily.  So, I'm buying some time.  It does feel weird and indulgent, but I'm trying it out for the summer.

Patty is a neighbor whom I first met when I got the key to this house.  The Prior Owner asked a few of the neighbors to over to meet me - those available mid-week, mid-day.  She is retired, but active and is just looking to make a little extra money.  I am hopeful we can work something out and that she finds it worth her while.  I'm hoping for a couple hours every Friday to mop the tile floors in the kitchen and dining room and to clean and mop the bathroom.  For those who have help - is that reasonable to do in 2 hours?

Anyway, I'm already running late for the day.  Wednesday is/was no-spin day, but since I'll have to leave a bit early to catch up with Her Honor, I need to get in a bit early, too.

I have absolutely fallen off the radar with the Phone-A-Friend challenge.  Will try to resume.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Find a way to make things fit.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sigmund The Sea Monster

Topiary By Roxie
Spent a spectacular spring evening outside trimming back more shrubs.  I'm not trying to do any fancy trimming - mostly I'm Edward Scissorhanding everything into a Sigmund The Sea Monster topiar form.  If you look at some of the shrubs in the back ground of the backyard photo you can see some of my handiwork.

Cycho-Cycle this morning was a killer, per usual.  And I'm always glad when it's over and I'm always glad that I did it. 

I've heading over to my local bike shop to get a Presta adapter.  I've got two pumps and no adapter.  So here's a question for all you presta using cyclists - do you use an adapter as a stem cap so that it's always with you? 

I'm also on the fence about clipless shoes/pedals.  I'm leaning towards SPD's, as I can see myself doing more touring than racing.  Plus, I believe SPD is the spin class standard - if I've got that wrong, please let me know.  I'm looking at shoes/pedals tonight, too.  It's supposed to be rainy later on in the week, so I'll wait to take Inez in for a tune-up and new pedals then.

Sea Monsters In the Chorus

Spa day is coming up with Pebbles on Friday.  It's not the run-of-the-mill spa so this could be interesting.  I don't know what to expect - more like the Turkish baths, I think.

Party plans are continuing to gel.  Invitations will go out next week!

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Get In Shape.


Monday, March 26, 2012

In A Sunburned Country

Pincushions in the front garden
It was break-out-the-sandals and get-a-sunburn Sunday in Texas yesterday.  And it was glorious.  I worked out in the yard for several hours yesterday morning, doing battle with marauding periwinkles.  The jungle backyard looks a little scalped, but it will bounce right back, I think.  I think I could have taken the weedeater to it if I'd done it a month ago, but it was too tall and too viney and I think had I done it that way, I would have ended up in a twisted ball of frustrated hate.

I called Talia to see if she was up for a ride and she was - but she wanted to ride the rails-to-trails (BTW, Angela Pea, if you are reading this, I don't have good contact info for you - the email bounced).  So that meant de-mothballing Cha-Cha.  Which was a good thing, after hours being bent over in the yard, my back was screaming at me, so Cha-Cha's more upright and smoother ride was just what the doctor ordered.  And I did my first (I didn't know I needed to be doing this!) almost bike maintenance.  I took Cha-Cha off the trainer and she SQUEAKED.  So, I gave her a good de-greasing and a bath and got out the chain lube.  Thankfully, I'd bought some ages ago but had never used it.  I aired up her tires, strapped her to the back of MalibuKen and headed for Parker County.

Rode with Talia for about two hours on the trail and it was just grand.  Came home and needed to stretch out the other way, so it was back into the back garden for more zen and the art of garden maintenance.  Got in about dark - the days take?  Five refuge bags full of stuff either pulled by hand or trimmed with hand clippers.

And in what could turn out to be an amazing turn of events - the possibility of traveling to Viet Nam with a native speaker in October has presented itself.  I don't know all the details, but have expressed interest.  It's part humanitarian aid and part tour.  If I am supposed to go, then it will all work it's way out.  But it certainly was a bolt out of the blue - from my sister's co-worker.

Historically, I wouldn't have even mentioned it - as to not "jinx" it.  But I am trying to adopt the philosophy that things have just as much chance of working out - no scratch that - things always work out for the best - it just may be that I can't see it at the time.  But in any case, I am affirming that the offer was made and that I would like to go - just putting it out there.  I want to go with Nui to VN.  So there.  I said it.

Spanish lavender abloom in the front yard.

I've a meeting with my accountant this afternoon, so instead of foldering up all my info, I'm sitting here writing this.  I've already looked through this stuff and I think it's already together - I'm just a little nervous about having all the house stuff together.  Although I don't know that it will matter - I only paid on the house for six months of the year and with interest rates so low, I don't know that I will even get/have to itemize.  But that's why I have an accountant - at least for now.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Live Authentically.  Affirm your desires.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

To Market, To Market To Buy A Fat Pig

14 Floors of Fun!
Now that was like taking a drink from a fire hose!  Nearly eight hours of continuous pin-balling from floor to floor, from store to store.  It was a bit overwhelming, but super interesting.  Valerie did make some purchases for re-sale and I make a couple of market sample purchases - a pink summer weight pashmina, a necklace and a belt.

I was concerned that this trip would trigger my housewares addiction, but honestly, I didn't find that much that was interesting.  Yes, it was cute, but I'd pretty much seen it all before.  What I'm leaning towards these days are home accessories, soft goods bed and kitchen textiles that are "prairie style/romantic country/shabby chic" done in chalk paint or made with linen, fine cottons and perhaps a hint of burlap.  Not overly ruffle-y or Kountry, but more streamline.  An organic look - natural fibers with a touch of classic, simple design with a touch of femininity.  What I saw a lot of was a lot of stuff in what I call the "Tuscan" palette. 
I still love a rusty red as much as anyone, but it doesn't really go with my house.  

I also got to practice keeping my hands out of other peoples' business and keeping my mouth shut.  Valerie's approach to this and her choices wouldn't be mine.  But this is hers and not mine and unless she asks specifically, my lips are sealed.  Not my P.I.G.  My sincere wish is that she is right and I am wrong and that she is very successful at this venture.

I did manage to get some Scissorhanding done Saturday morning before leaving for Dallas.  And declined a dinner invitation in order to get the mowing and trimming done after getting home.  I was whipping and spurring to get it done before the sun went down, but managed to get it taken care of.  I'll drink another pot of coffee (small pot) and then I'll hit the dusty trail to the backyard to whack away at the periwinkle that is out of control.  If I cut this stuff back pretty hard now, it should still be under control by The Garden Party and won't have that  "freshly scalped" look.

I really can't believe how unruly everything is looking.  I will need to look back at the pictures I've got of this place from the real estate listing to give me an idea of what it needs to look like, as I've not had much pruning practice - it's not like I'm fashioning fascinators from ficus, but things do need a trim - this ain't the jungle.

After a morning of yard maintenance, my plan is to get in a couple hour ride this afternoon - and then drop Inez off at the bike shop for her scheduled tune up.  Hopefully, she'll be done by Wednesday for the evening ride, otherwise, I may hold off on putting her in.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Develop a clear vision.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Pert and Perky

One Lump Or Two?

The invitations have come in (pictured at left) and I'm happy with how they turned out.  I ordered them through Zazzle and they arrived much sooner than I expected.

There are lots of things to be excited about around here.  Valerie has invited me to go to market with her tomorrow.  She's investigating a new business venture and wants to check a few things out.  I am giddy with excitement.  I've always wanted to go to market (17 floors of stuff, I'm told) and so now I can. 

I'd planned to work in the yard most of the day tomorrow as I practically had to machete my way into the house on Wednesday.  This spring growing season is C.R.A.Z.Y.  I figure I'll catch up around the fourth of July!  Anyway, it will all get done in time for the party (or enough of it, anyway).  So I'll postpone yard work and the bike ride until Sunday. 

I still have a couple of spots that need some plants and I haven't had the time to get to the nursery to pick something out.  I'm leaning towards a silvercloud artemesia for one spot, some Mexican petunias to replace an area that's a pain to mow and probably some moss roses for a rocky area that is hard to water.  Plus, I need to mow and trim back the vinca that wants to take over the world!  All fun stuff.  Seriously.

And something new to do!  Our mayor is an avid cyclist and is leading rides through the city!  This will be my new Wednesday evening activity as often as possible.  Isn't that so cool?  I'm chuffed.

And finally, after what seems like forever, I started really cooking for myself again.  What I had been doing was merely feeding myself, but last night I fixed a proper (and really good) meal.  Yes, it was simple (chicken breast and roasted brocolli) but it was done to perfection.  I'm a damned fine cook and I need to treat myself to it more often. 

On the health front, oh my goodness - I now know first hand about carb-loading and hydration - otherwise known as bloat!  I was so water-logged yesterday that my boobs were actually perky again!  And I know I must have logged a half-mile heading back and forth to the ladies'.  Feeling much more myself today. 

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Poised for possibilities.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Christie Crack

Holy Moly - not to sound like a shill for the Christie Company, but man oh man, those are some fine treats.  And they were served with every meal (except breakfast) and at every break at the conference.  And to make matters worse, in a couple of locations they had little ovens and were being baked right there!  Oh the humanity.  Oh the size of my ass.  On the last day, I just said No.  Finally.  I'm just glad I had some stretchy pants to come home in.  Seriously. 

A Room With A View
I had a great conference in Nashville - save my treat addiction.  I had a lovely balcony room overlooking the conservatory.   Very nice.

I did yoga one morning and then hit the gym on the other.  The treadmills had Solitaire!  They also had internet access.  I loved it.

Running way behind.  Lots of catching up to do.  So that's all for now.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Saying NO to the first one is easier than saying NO to the second. 

I'm sure the number is in OMG-range.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jumping Hurdles On a Bicycle

Let's Get Ready To Rumble!
All that worry for nothing!  Ain't that always the way?  The group could not have been more welcoming.  It was the perfect way to be introduced - although we learned nothing of p8celines and dropping back - we did have a fabulous morning of biking with folks our own age - and who, either by choice or by talent, didn't leave us in the dust.  Talia and I held our own.  It was a great experience.

We met and talked to lots of other cyclists (lord, they are a talky bunch - especially about gear - which I know next to nothing about the mechanical stuff)  People were telling me all about Inez' ancestry - when they used to have "the first" Allez and how they wished they could buy another (vintage) one.  We also got invited on several other  regular rides - I am especially interested in a local DOD group breakfast ride that happens every Saturday morning.  They ride about 1 1/2 hours (meandering route) have breakfast, and they come home a direct route.  They have three groups, including a "cruiser" group (mine!), so I could keep right up - according to the guy who told us about the ride.

What a difference another day makes.  This is the same ride at which I failed so miserably the other day.  Granted, we didn't take Heartbreak Hill (I didn't know there was a ride-around), but even so, on my ride the other day, I was sucking badly before I even reached the hill.  I don't know if I was trying to go too fast (although it didn't feel like it) or what, but yesterday I think I could have easily doubled or tripled our mileage.  I still had plenty of lung and leg after completing the 22.

In Garden Party News, I have secured Pebbles' as the downstairs help.  She has agreed to come over early (we'll see :-)) to help with set-up and prep and then serve as scullery wench/party overseer so that I can mix and mingle with my guests.  Slater is still iffy as the staff photographer, but I think that would be awesome to provide my guests with great pictures as their party favor, especially if they go to the trouble of getting gussied up!

Putting the last minute touches on packing for Music City and writing this blogpost, all while sharing my morning coffee with Jimmie Dale Gilmore.  She was sleeping on my front porch this morning when I got up.  So we've been sharing neighborhood gossip and a nice visit - but it's just about time that I send her on her merry way.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Be Anxious.  Be Nervous.  Do It Anyway.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's Like Learning To Ride A Bike

Not actually Inez, but it's her twin sister

I'm off on my first group ride this morning.  And I'm nervous.  Talia will be with me and this is a no-drop ride, but even that adds pressure-to-perform.  I mean, I do want to get better, to know more and the only way to do that is to move out of isolation.  And this is the whole reason I bought Inez in the first place is so I would have opportunities to ride with more people.  I was getting very tired of riding solo.  So, today is the day.

I don't know why this makes me so nervous - maybe a throwback to gym class or something.  There is just so much that I don't know and that not knowing makes me really anxious.  I'm really moving into self-doubt here - which is not my usual place when taking on a new activity.  Hmmm.  This is not like a group exercise class where I can easily adjust my pace/effort to satisfy my own need "not to hate every f*n second" of whatever I am doing.  And to quote, well, me "I'm not getting a grade or paid for this, so I'll do it exactly as it pleases me" just doesn't seem to fit riding a bike when everyone will actually see how good/fast/whatever I am.  I just need to remember to be true to myself and my abilities.  I do not have to prove anything to anyone.  I am worthy and I AM a cyclist if I choose to call myself one.

I'm heading out for Nashville in the morning, so I may be scarce or I may camp all over the internets - just depends on how the conference goes.  It is interesting that they offer yoga classes every morning.  I've never been to a conference that did that - I've signed up for that and am looking forward to it.  Just found out this a.m. that two of my favorite cross-state colleagues will not be attending - for a very scary reason - one was just diagnosed and began treatment for youterin big C.  Downer news, for sure.

I've ordered printed invitations for the Garden Party, so now I need to put my back where my money is.  I've backed myself into a corner here - which is how I pretty much work the best - under a bit of pressure - so now I've got a focus for getting my yard work done - in little increments of time - 15 minutes of pruning here, 30 minutes of weeding there - and by end-of-Aprilish, all will be ready to go.  Oh, and the guest list has doubled - in for a penny, in a for a pound - the yard, etc will need to be as clean and pretty for 20 as it would for 40.  All I need is some more finger sandwiches.  Might as well go big or stay home!

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Stretch and stretch some more.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Perfect Outfit

Inspiration table
Well, darn it - no amazing ideas for the coat-of-arms.  I'll keep percolating on that one.  In the meantime, my outfit for the Downton Abbey inspired tea party has almost come together.  That lace jacket?  Will look spectacular and period-piecey over a ankle-length linen skirt that I already own.  I have some 20's style shoes and I just picked up a straw cloche that I will embellish, complete with birdcage veil.  And while it may not be an authentic recreation, it's close enough - plus there are no specialty pieces.  And aside from the cloche, all are pieces I already owned.  As for the cloche, any embellishments I add will be removable, because I will wear that hat.  I am a hat person at heart.  I will need something to go under the lace jacket.  I've seeing old, vintage full slips being embellished with additional laces and trims that are amazing to look at - that would be fun.    I think all of this worn over some sort of up-cycled petticoat of some sort would be amazing.  I wonder if I have any trims left over from making my wedding dress a billion years ago?  I'll take a picture of the stuff and post soon.

I've got the menu planned  - finger sandwiches, two types - chicken salad on dark bread and cucumber sandwiches on potato bread.  Homemade lemon scones with homemade lemon curd.  Fruit tray.  Decorated Costco brownie bites and those Costco French cookies.  Flavored iced tea, water, hot tea and coffee.

If I can convince my mother and sister to unearth it for me, I'm bringing my silver (plated) service pieces home and will set up tables out in the back garden.  I have tablecloths and damask table skirts, laces and stuff I haven't looked at in more than a decade.

And in other outfit news, I finally broke down and bought myself some padded biking shorts.  When I bought Inez, I bought a biking dress that came with a pair of liner shorts, but the legs were just too tight.  And so today, I wore my new shorts out to meet a friend for a ride AND I wore them right into a convenience store.

Tomorrow morning is one of two tests to confirm the doc's diagnosis that the plumbing can be easily patched with outpatient surgery.  Scheduling the second test was nearly impossible due to my crazy schedule, so it won't be done for another month.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Outfit your planner.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Calling All Creative Types!!!

Help Wanted:  I need a Coat of Arms!  I am putting together a tea party for a Sunday in April and I'm doing some rather tongue-in-cheek invitations.

What I've got so far:

The Divorce'e MyRealLastName

requests the honour of your presence for Tea in the Garden of

The Collinwood-Smythe House Or Menopause Manor (haven't decided)

High Tea Attire and Hats Especially Encouraged.....

And I want  to create a Coat of Arms to put on the invitation

With the silhouette of a metal chicken with the motto "At least it's not towels"

In case you forgot:
 the best story in the history of ever

Other Ideas/Examples Appreciated.....

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Day Well-Lived

Channeling my inner Stevie Nicks

What a fabulous Sunday!  DST agrees with me - I don't get up QUITE so early.  I spent my early hours filing paperwork and pulling together information for my taxes.  CPA appointment coming up soon.

A bit before nine am and I had washed clothes, mopped floors and generally put my house in order.  I decided it was time to throw an impromptu brunch - so I called my Mom, Sis and Valerie and asked them to be here at 11:30 and I headed off to the store to pick up a few things.

If you are even thinking about starting to entertain more, the brunch is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to go - if you keep it simple.  This was a girl-only deal, so I didn't feel the need to serve any sort of breakfast meat.  I prepared my "confetti" crustless quiche, sliced watermelon, artisan bread from Central Market, my homemade "schmear" of cream cheese, cinnamon and a little sweetener.  Plus coffee.  My bill at the grocery store was 15 dollars and some change - with 7 dollars plus being for the coffee alone.  And I didn't even make my own "confetti" - I just bought pico de gallo from the condiment bar at Central Market.  I didn't have that much time, and I was able to buy all I needed for a buck fifty!  I'm not that convinced that I could have bought all the ingredients for that.  I could have done more, but it really wasn't necessary.  Plus, I have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.  It wasn't about the food anyway.  Valerie hadn't seen my family in years - so they had a grand time catching up.  And then we went shopping.

There was an etsy-type show in town, so we went through that, followed by the flea market.  We then hopped across town to a antique/booth store and that's where I fell in love with the lace jacket.  It is a little costumey, but I love it.  Don't have a place in the world to wear it, but something will come up.

Got home from shopping, visited a bit more and then company left.  I took in a quick meeting and rushed then rushed home to mow and trim the front yard before sundown.  After that?  Dishes.  Lots and Lots of dishes. Ah, well.  Small price to pay.

All in all, one of the most productive, fun days I have had in a while and I am grateful.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Have a brunch bunch.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Blind Date

I didn't find the foyer table of my dreams but Pebbles did find an amazing buffet table that will eventually make it's way home with her.  She didn't drive her "clown car" - the little Toyota Matrix that can haul an a-mazing amount of cargo - we've yet to fill it up, it seems.  Instead, she had Slater's fancy pants Audi, which will haul mere humans, but promises to keep all their butts warm.  She will have to make another trip into town on Saturday to retrieve her bounty.

After touring the show, we went out to a Japanese place recommended to me by my boss this very day at lunch.  It was awesome - the food, the service, the menu and the space were all excellent.  It will become a go-to place for me.

It was a small space - an old building with a narrow, brick-walled side.  Barely enough for two tables wide, with long banquettes along the wall.  Seating was close, even to the table adjacent, which gave Pebbles and I front row seats to what appeared to be a first date if not a blind date.  It.was.not.going.well.  She was a non-talker.  I don't know if she didn't like what she saw or was naturally disdainful or just quiet.  The guy (who revealed his age to be a bit older than me) was trying awfully hard to keep the conversation going, but she was having no part of it.

The food was served in courses.  I don't know if there was a specific order to service, but each dish was meant for sharing and only one served at a time.  Based on TheBossMan's recommendation, we started with the roasted peppers.  As they were delivered to the table, the man begged our pardon to ask what we had ordered/what kind of peppers?  I answered and proffered the plate to share, as there were far too many for Pebbles and me.  I offered to both him and his date.  He was game, but she demurred.  Anyway, they left soon there after for parts unknown.  If there was a rest of the evening, it didn't look to be too promising.  Just made me realize, yet again, that dating is fraught with peril.

Tomorrow will be another workshop meeting and after that, I don't know what.  The weather is supposed to be nasty.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Get the buffet.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Of A Kind

This could be my undoing
I am taking a half day off of work tomorrow and going to the antique show with Pebbles.  I am so excited - which could be dangerous for my wallet.  I'm still sort of in the market for a round foyer table but if I don't find one, no big deal.

The rain has started up here and is supposed to last all weekend - I'm still in an organizing frame of mind, so I'll continue with my organization/optimization of my space. 

I've now moved my workout clothes into the hall linen closet since I'm in to those several times a week versus the extra blankets, which I accessed like never. 

I also tossed (put in the donation basket) a jacket I bought while in Florida last year.  There was a reason somebody got rid of it and that reason is that it always looks like crap.  No amount of ironing and starching and folding and flipping or fluffing can make it look decent.  It's gone.  I keep trying to make it work, and I just can't.

Speaking of "I can make this work" - Pebbles and I had an interesting conversation about that very topic.  "I can make this work" sounds like an "unsinkable molly brown" kind of attitude, but for me, it signifies a willingness to accept less than.  And I've done it a million times in a thousand ways.
Interesting concept to investigate.

No other news that's fit to print.  PAF:  1

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


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Calling All Knitters

If I provide the wethers, can you provide the sweaters? 

Too cute! 

"The Bucket Residence, the Lady Of the House Speaking"

"Our Hyacinth"
I cannot see the word Hyacinth anymore without having that phrase run through my mind.  The attached picture is of one of the flowers currently blooming in the garden. 

Not much to add - dance lessons last night weren't the most fun I'd had standing up.  Inexperienced instructors, I think.  Great dancers, but a little too much detail and not enough practice.  Oh, well.  I need to get my private lessons scheduled. 

I am grateful that today is a rest day and grateful to have yet another blood draw finished.  Did get a bit of disturbing news from the results of the thyroid scan, so it will be off to the endocrinologist for me.  Seems to me that I'm just playing a game of "Russian Roulette" and something is bound to stick soon.  I am not bringing that on, but I am tired of this.  I am supposed to be healthy, dammit. 

Bad weather is supposed to move in for the weekend, so maybe I'll get some housecleaning done.  I've made some local inquiries and have found a woman who is interested in doing a little bit of work for me - it's bad when one feels the need to clean up before showing the housekeeper around.  I don't know if we can come to an agreement on scope of work and money.  But I'm willing to try it, at least for the summer.  I want to work in my yard.  I want to pursue other endeavors and I do not want to mop floors, clean grout nor scrub tile and aged bathtubs.  I will try to buy time, instead.

PAF:  1

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Watch BBC.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tiresome Tuesday

Jasmine on the back fence

I surely did not want to get up this morning.  The alarm had been going off for several minutes before it finally caused me to stir.  I sleeping hard - which rarely happens.  I wish there was some sort of metering system that would monitor my sleep and automatically prevent the alarm from going off if I am asleep in such fashion.  I stumbled and fumbled around here for quite a bit, but I did get my behind to spin class - the hardest one of the week.  I'm glad it's on Tuesday and over for the week :-)

Mundane life stuff is happening around here - got another blood draw in the morning.  Meeting with my accountant next week.  Beginning to get prepped for my upcoming trip to Nashville.  If anyone has any "must sees and dos" in Nashville, please let me know.  I'm sort of at a loss.

This conference is offering morning yoga, so that will be interesting - it is a huge conference, so it might be a giant class.  The way it works is that you sign up and pay in advance, and then you get your yoga mat upon check-in and you keep it through the conference and turn it in the last day.  I'll need to figure out some other exercise options as well.  I can't remember what kind of gym facilities are at the G@ylord, as the last time I was there, I was still a runner, so I was running out of doors.

PAF:  1

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Without adequate rest, nothing else really works.


Monday, March 5, 2012

If I Had A Hammer

Hammer:  to ride fast in big gears

If I ever had a hammer, I certainly didn't appreciate it.  Man, oh, man.  I took Inez out to the lake yesterday.  I drove Inez out the to lake - I didn't ride out there from The Closet like I used to do on Cha-Cha.  Eighteen months ago, nearing my 50th birthday, I rode Cha-Cha out to the lake, up Heartbreak Hill, around the lake and out of the park and back again for a round trip total of 44 miles.  After hauling Inez out there on the back of MalibuKen, I could only make it halfway up Heartbreak Hill.  I finally just gave up and turned around.  I wasn't going to walk her up the hill.

Fitness does disappear quickly - between the extra ten that I'm packing around and the dropped level of my activity in the recent months, I was astounded at how tough today was.  And not particularly enjoyable.  Oh well.  I hope to pick up some fitness in spin classes and that it will go better next time.

I'm not going to beat myself up over the weight gain and the fitness loss over the last 18 months.  I've had a lot of other stuff going on in my life - the breakup, the house purchase and getting settled in here.  I've been knitting together a new life and grieving the loss of the old one.  And my fitness has suffered.  I haven't been motivated - and I don't know that I am right now.  I do know that I'm enjoying my spin classes and I'm looking forward to some group rides and I have got a couple of those coming up pretty soon.

And to tell on myself:  after Pebbles left last night, I decided that I desperately needed some ice cream.  So I got in the car to go get some.  There was too much of a line at the closest DQ, so I started to another supplier.  I somehow managed to talk myself down from that ledge and drove home empty-handed.  I parked in front of my house, only to remember that I'd forgotten to plug in my cell phone to my car charger (outlet charger is dead).  So in order to charge up the battery in the car phone, I decided to drive FARTHER away to get ice cream, and so I headed out yet again.  Got well away from the house, enroute to pick up some Ben and Jerry's when I was able to talk myself down for the second time in one night.  So I drove home, again, without the ice cream.  And just left my cell phone plugged into the car charger.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Poppy Longsticking

First Poppy of Spring
Yesterday was a wonderful day.  Spent time in the garden and discovered this little red gem of a treasure tucked back behind the Texas sage.  The shot came out pretty good, too.  I didn't crop this one, but probably need to.

Workshop was really awesome yesterday.  I enjoyed working with the new folks (the ages skewed much more heavily in my favor) and the other instructor is awesome.  I still suck mightily at this, but that's not the point.

I'm going to try to get a ride in this morning, if my motivation can hold until daylight.  I'm a bit down this morning, as I did some stupid eating last night - too lazy to fix myself a proper and satisfying meal, so I just ate unsatisfying stuff and too much of it.  Not like it was cake or chips or something, but my tummy is rumbly this morning from too much onions and peppers.  Pico de gallo (with mayo) on zucc slices does not a meal make.

I was making pico in order to have it ready to make egg things for next week.  I've decided that I do better with making the strata-like concoctions in a pie plate - two meals at a time.  I don't overcook those, so I enjoy them more.  But having the pico done in advance makes it super easy to just whip up a little faux-quiche in a quick hurry.  My original plan was to make a faux-pasta with the zuccs to go along with a nice piece of salmon (wild caught frozen from Costco), but I wasn't really that hungry.  So I just fixed myself a little tapas.  And then some more - probably not even over for calories for the day, but I don't feel froggy this morning.

Slater bailed out on the leisurely ride today in order to ride with his hardcore mountain biking buddies - and Pebbles is not really wanting to ride today, so I'll try to get mine done before she gets here.  I need her help in moving the dining table and the rug in order to put down the new rug pad that I bought.  Plus, I want her to color my hair for me, as she does a better job of it that I do solo.  We are doing an exchange of some other stuff, and perhaps go to the new riverside restaurant .   But knowing Pebbles as I do, it doesn't behoove me to get my heart set on any one thing - expectations are just resentments under construction - so I'll go ahead and do my thing and wait to see how it all turns out.  Oh, her intentions are good, sometimes her follow-through isn't as I would like it to be.  She sometimes overestimates what she is physically able to accomplish in a day.

So there it is.  I'm hoping for a lightning strike of motivation to hit here in about an hour.  I think I'm going to haul out and ride around the lake.  I've never taken Inez out there.  Another potential plan is to then drop Inez off at the LBS for her tune up and buy some bike shoes and clipless pedals.  Yikes!  Those things scare me, but since I'm on a spin bike four days a week, it would be an excellent (and safe) way to practice using them. Talia has already fallen and hurt herself, as she was unable to disengage quick enough.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Enjoy spring.  Hold the onions.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ode To A Hardware Store

No my local store, but I have been by there
I needed a can of spray paint so I opted for my local hardware store, rather than the big box.  I need to remember to take them as many of my dollars as possible.  It's just a more pleasant experience, not to mention helpful.  I picked up my spray paint and wandered the aisles in a fit of nostalgia - everything from canning supplies to plumbing goods.  It's hard for me to pass up ball canning jars - the cute little wide-mouth shorties are especially alluring.

Anyway, I needed the spray paint to further my optimization project.  Last night everyone opted out of swing dancing, which was fine by me, as I was really tired.  However, I didn't want to waste my entire evening, so I opted for my 15 on, 45 off productivity methodology and began to look at optimizing the space that I do have.  Since I've been in the house for nearly ten months, it's time to look at doing some things differently and moving things around.

The bathroom is especially difficult, as there is not much storage space for all my beautification needs.  So I've been looking for a basket that would fit on the back of the toilet to contain all my stuff and would easy to pick up en masse when company is coming over.  I found a basket in my stash, but it was red and red won't go in a old aqua and coral bathroom.  So spray paint to the rescue!

Other optimizations include moving the extra bedding to more out-of-the-way storage.  They were taking up some of the more accessible real-estate in the hall linen closet.  I'm moving the bedding up high and moving the stuff I use more often down low.  I'm tired of chasing down the step ladder every time I need a roll of TP!

I'm having my brunch and then it's back outside for some more work.  I've already trimmed back some salvia bushes and have a few more to do.  Plus lots of tidying up.  And it wouldn't hurt to mow again!

Then it will be in to clean up and regroup with the new comedy conglomerate at 2pm.

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


Friday, March 2, 2012

You're Soaking In It

I could use this room with a view right about now.  Man, yesterday's spin class (followed by a session of ab work) followed up with hours in the garden has me sore and creaky this morning.  I'm glad to have an "easier" spin class on tap for this morning so that I can work some of the kinks out.

I did get a lot accomplished in the garden yesterday, but man, oh, man, there is still a lot to do.  I will just need to keep after it - do some on a near-daily basis.  It's not hard work, but right now, things are growing like gangbusters, so it is a lot to keep up with.  I know that this time of the year from March through April will be hectic and then it will settle down - I've lived through the summer here, and it's pretty easy.  (She said hopefully).

I'm going back to hear the Big Band tonight - and if all goes as planned, Valerie and her dad will be joining me.  He is 76 and doesn't socialize much and she thought he might enjoy hearing this.  So we'll see.

I'm planning on more garden work tomorrow, followed by another workshop on Saturday.  Pebbles and Slater are coming over on Sunday, so we'll try to fit in a ride then.

PAF:  1  Streak:  2

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


Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's Blooming?

I spent until sunset working outside last evening.  Oh, man.  It's days like that that make me so thankful for the CSH.  Getting out to work in the yard in the early spring is just wonderful.  Now remind me of that come August!  I'll try to take some pictures of what's blooming around here right now:  dafs, of course, pin cushion flowers,  Carolina jasmine, vinca, salvia, creeping phlox (I think), grape hyacinth, regular hyacinth, crocus, snow drops, loropetalum (I think), rosemary, some other sort of yellow-flowered viney thing that I haven't identified yet.  I'm sure there is more and I hope to see most of it today.

I've just returned from the sing and spin class.  Not as much fun today, as up until now, I'd managed to avoid all things Miley or Justin and today's class was loaded with it.  But still, a great work out and I showed up sporting one of my two Miz "I am my own superhero" T shirts.  Unfortunately, I didn't show up soon enough to sit on the back row, which is my preference - the only bike left was front and center!  So the instructor got to read my shirt all morning :-).

I'm home today, as I have a couple of doctor appointments - bone density scan and thyroid scan - so I'll be glow-in-the-dark when I'm through with those.  I decided rather than hopscotch back and forth to work, I'd just take the day in equal parts sick and vacation time and garden in between appointments.  I've got an appointment set up with the uro-gyno specialist in about ten days.  Plus, my regular doc wants me to consult with an endocrinologist.  So that's got to get scheduled.  Sheesh.  Good thing I'm healthy, no?

Slater and Pebbles (well, Pebbles, actually) flaked on getting signed up for the bicycle maintenance class on Saturday, so I've postponed that until next month so that we can do it together.  Turns out, there will be a tour ride in Dallas on that morning, so we'll ride the bikes on a fully supported tour of Dallas (including some of the great old house areas) and then follow up with a mechanical class.  Woo Hoo!

Well, the second pot of coffee has finished brewing, so it's time for me to kick start the next session of the day.

PAF:  2

Today's FPG llink.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  March on.