Thursday, August 30, 2012

Snake Farm

The pile of tubes is growing!  Not actually mine.  
Well, Hell's Bells.  I was so stinking proud of myself.  I got a flat on Saturday's ride and went out and changed in Wednesday morning to be prepared for the municipal ride.  I was a little late getting home and was all ready dressed and went into the garage to find Inez with another flat!

So I put my last good tube in.  I guess I must have missed something coming in through the tire during my first change that morning.  I just checked and this change seems to be holding up fine.  I don't have a spare tube yet, so it's back to the lbs for me today.

In the meantime, I got a metric ton of yardwork done last night.  The backyard was so neglected since the tree fell over two weeks ago.  That got taken away on Tuesday and so I spent last night mowing and edging and raking and pulling up flowers that I've come to think of as weeds.  Too many of them and they are too leggy and they reseed all over the damn place.  I will not let all of this get ahead of me next year.  Me and my pruners will strike fear in salvia and four 0'clocks everywhere.

So I didn't get my ride in last night and missed seeing several people (Hi Angela), but I did go to spin class in the morning, so there is that.  I'm getting ready to head to the gym to throw some metal around and do some ab work.

I am having all kinds of trouble finding/getting the appropriate vaccinations.  Grrr.  But learning in my VN history class how successfully mosquito warfare was used against European invaders, I'll keep trying.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Get your backup plan a backup.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Being Grateful Is An Action

I heard someone say that this week followed by the explanation that if she were grateful for her health, she should treasure it and do more for her body.  If she were grateful for her home, she should mow her yard in gratitude.  If she were grateful for her car, then she should make sure it stayed clean and nice.  Being grateful, she said, was an action - not a feeling.  

So right now, I am grateful for my body and my health, so I'm off to the gym to lift some weights.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Act Grateful.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Posh Nosh

A little Whine and Cheese ala Roxie

I had a lovely weekend.  Talia came in on Friday night and we had a great visit.  I can't say I recommend wine as a pre-ride nutrient, however.  The 7:00 am start time came awfully early when we were up gabbing until nearly midnight.  It was just the three of us, Wendy, Talia and me, but we had a great ride and good breakfast afterward and scattered to the winds by 10:00 am.  Hard to beat that!

The remainder of Saturday had me working hard at keeping the focus on myself and practicing good self-care.  I mean, I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later and I don't even know when it started, as I didn't ask - but Bick is dating someone exclusively and has been for some time.  I don't know what's the best scenario - someone who is "better" than me or "worse".  Anyway, while not unexpected and not surprising, hearing it was a bit pinchy.  So I slowed way down and just leaned in and felt all the emotions that came up.

Saturday evening, friends called me to go to dinner, which I didn't really feel up to, but I did agree to join them later to listen to some live music.  Had a great time.  Yesterday took me over to Pebbles' (Slater away this weekend getting his motorcycle license in prep for VN) and another one of the 90 minute warm yoga classes.  Plus we went to a garden center and a posh consignment furniture place in her hood.  Never know what's going to turn up there.  We did some more trip planning, and are making plans to look like pin-cushions.  Went out for a very posh brunch and then I made my way home.  All things that are a part of my life for which I am grateful.

Headed out to walk the hills here in the 'Heights this morning.  Beautiful, beautiful morning.  Managed to trash pick a little something for the front porch - a container to set a plant in.  So, Bonus.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Treat yourself lovingly.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Thing Most Doctors Fear

The thing most doctors fear is a menopausal woman with a list.  I heard that last week on NPR, I believe.  A (intern) GP or PCP or whatever we call them nowdays - they used to be called "the family doctor" - was interviewed and he said that was what he feared the most.  Well, brace yourself, Dr. Bob, as my appointment is at 1:45 this afternoon and I've got a list.  Topics to include, but not limited to:

Should I get a Hep A and B shot for my upcoming trip?  Any other vaccinations that he might recommend?  I'm certainly not vaccination happy, but I want to be smart, too.  What does he think about my hashimoto diagnosis and does he consider me an outlier and sub-clinical?  Are there any other solutions besides HRT for these mfn hotflashes and night sweats?   I need some damn sleep.  Renew that RX!  Give me a second opinion on the corrective surgery coming up in a couple of weeks.  Oh, and will you refer me to a different endocrinologist because I HATE mine and his office staff too?  They do not return calls.  Ever.  After three attempts, I just gave up.  Funny thing, the topic of thyroid came up with Wendy the other day - turns out, she goes to the same clinic and has had the exact same experience that I have.

I also seem to have suddenly developed a belly after being flat-bellied over the last few years, regardless of where the scale registered.  I'd chocked it up to the aforementioned menopause, which I am sure plays some part, but it finally dawned upon me that I get no form of exercise outside of cycling these days.  And while good form on a bike requires good abdominal/core strength, it does absolutely nothing to improve it (from what I've read).  It's no wonder I look like I'm carrying Aunt Eula's meatloaf around in my jersey!  So I headed to the gym this morning - not to be the cardio queen, but to do hit the weight room for some upper-body and ab work.  I am still plagued with shoulder impingement/rotator cuff issues and I probably will be for the rest of my life, so I really have to watch the upper body training and not overdo it.

I'm home this morning waiting for the A/C guy to come and install the part(s).  Here's hoping that goes well. Tonight is dinner with Valerie and Kendra at one of my favorite restaurants but I plan on making it an early night.  Talia is coming into town late Friday evening to spend the night and we are riding with the early Saturday morning bunch.  

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


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hitting The Books

What have I gotten myself into?  And how much has the classroom changed since I finished grad school TWENTY.YEARS ago?  Quite a bit, apparently.  Part of the classroom experience is like a gameshow, where we have (to buy) and use these little handheld, electronic voting devices.  It's how our quizzes will be administered, as well.  No more scantrons for me!

And the rigor?  Well, this is a senior level history class with SEVEN required reading texts.  SEVEN. Costing right at $300 dollars.  I blanched when I saw that.  I'd forgotten how expensive books are/were and Pebbles has only been out of college for OMG eight years!  (When and how did that happen?)  Anyways, so I am not going to throw down that much green for the reading materials for a class I'm auditing, so I checked out (see what I did there?) all the library resources at my disposal and have secured all but one of the books, Free Of Charge.  I'll have to read ahead on some of them to get get them back before their due date, but since I don't actually have turn in finals or take quizzes (unless I want to), I can still get what I came for without buying and subsequently owning, a back-breaking amount of books.

So I've started reading the history of VN.  Again, I am amazed at how ignorant I am.  This part of the world was just never on my radar.  I wouldn't have been taught it in high school because we probably used history books from the 60's.  I didn't have any direct knowledge or experience, as I knew no one at the time who served.  It truly was a foreign war to me.  We didn't watch the news and we didn't take the newspaper.  We lived a pretty isolated existence, as far as world experience goes.  So, the historical backdrop to the war is all brand new to me.  And again, I am aghast at my own ignorance.  I've been reading and I've been able to stay focused.  Perhaps this subject will hold my attention in a way that other books and topics have not as of late.

The tree guy stood me up - says he left a message on my phone telling me that he was rained out.  I have no such record of a call, but then again, my phone service with this particular phone is CRAP.  So next Tuesday.  If I were a betting man, he's trying to get me to bug off, as he wasn't happy with the quote that his bidder gave me and tried to jack the price and I told him that I expected him to honor the quote I'd been given.  So I'll give him one more week to make good (he's supposed to be back in my area next Tuesday) and if not, I'll write up a scathing review on Angie's List.  But it was interesting to see how frustrated/pissed/angry/ I got when I called him when his crew didn't show.  I mean, I kept my cool with him, but afterwards, I was pissed.  Looks like I need to work on my anger/frustration management.  I think that's part of my whole avoidance thing - is what am I to do with this energy, these frustrated emotions?

Looks like I've got some other learning to do.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Knowledge is power.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Things that were okay yesterday:

1.  The AC is fixed temporarily.  A new part(s) is being ordered.  Yes, it's the same part as last time and also the part one step upstream from that one.  Perhaps that was the real issue all along.  We will see.  In the meantime, I'm cool.  And no one is mentioning replacing the system.

2.  Yes, I did manage to get my homeowner's policy on Reatta South cancelled.  And re-instated.  I was supposed to be on electronic billing/notification and had been for years.  However, they stopped sending me notices in April (I pay quarterly) and it just slipped my mind.  My sister uses the same insurance company and has her bills auto-drawn from her checking account on a monthly basis and she gets a mailed notice that looks like mine and  so when she saw those come in for me, she assumed it was a notice just like hers and she didn't think it was anything serious.  Anyway, I did have to pay an idiot penalty, but it did give me the opportunity to review the coverage out there, so I've decided it is all okay.  It did, however, take me over an hour on the phone to get this taken care of.  The good news and personal growth for me is that I did it!

So, those were two things that I just "handled" yesterday without any panic.  I talked my panic-prone self out of panicking.  And I gained some valuable insight into my relationships - a real leap in logic, I know, but valid  for me nonetheless.

One of the tenets of being codependent is not being able to take care of oneself and looking for others to do it.  I had always dismissed this as not applying to me because mygod, how I took care of so many other people.  I'm the caretaker, I'm the responsible one.  Right?  Except when I'm not.  Turns out, I've been harboring a secret rescue fantasy.  Me.  A rescue fantasy.  Perhaps this isn't news to you, but it was surely a revelation to me.  When I wasn't "coupled" anything and everything that went wrong was cause for severe anxiety and panic.  It always felt overwhelming and I just wanted someone else to take care of it:  car repairs, home repairs, car buying, anything involving negotiation or important decision-making, taxes, anything that involved the law or attorneys.  I never translated that overwhelmed feeling of wanting someone else to handle it into wanting someone else to take care of me.  Which led to feelings of "needing" to be coupled.  It fed that feeling of, well, I don't know that it quite qualified as desperation so much as relief from being overwhelmed and it certainly was part of the drive.  Me, Ms. Overly Responsible did not want to be responsible for making decisions and perhaps a mistake, in my own life.

And here's the real kicker - a man who was capable of taking care of those things?  I would set him up on a pedestal as some kind of superhero.  I would attribute all sorts of virtue and values to a man who could do what millions of other people do as a part of their everyday life.  But I made it a SuperPower and gave the bearer a cape.  While the ability to deal with life and all it's negotiations is a good and valid thing, it shouldn't be the thing that binds me to someone.  And this was especially true of Bick, who is highly skilled, competent and decisive - the Gorilla Glue Trifecta.

The lack of confidence, the absence of belief in myself and my ability to do/handle things, really has permeated so many aspects of my life.  For me, it's part of that whole perfectionism thing - not being able to handle the thought of making a mistake because what would people think?  I look so forward to more of life and less of giving two shits about what people think.  Oh, and I also discovered that I tend to bind myself to any decision that I DO make - even when it's wrong - I keep trying to turn that ship around, rather than just take a swan-dive off the gang plank and swim for shore.  Now I realize that there are really few decisions that are THAT important.  It really isn't all black and white.  I can change my mind.  I can make a mistake.  I can choose to do it differently.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Trying to be perfect is always a mistake.


Monday, August 20, 2012


F'n Growth Opportunities This Week:

1.  Getting a sliver out of my RIGHT thumb.

2.  Dealing with a not-working-AC yet again.  Same symptoms as last time.  I'm trying not to panic and assume the worst.  Think about the tree, Roxie, think about the tree.

3.  I sat straight up in bed over the weekend and realized I hadn't paid the homeowner insurance on Reata South in godonlyknows how long.  All of my bills are on auto-pay and I don't think about them anymore.  That particular bills is mailed out there on a quarterly basis and has no option for auto-pay - which is just often enough for me to fuggetaboutit.  I shot off two electronic payments but I need to follow up with them today.  Oh, how I do hate this kind of business - especially when it's my own dumbassery.   Dear Residents of Reata South, When I ask you to tell me when I get any mail out there, please do so!   I just need to find out if I can get the bill sent here without changing the policy to a landlord policy, as it is not rental property, but I don't live there.  My umbrella-liability-insurance agent has it covered as my property, but that policy would have to change, should it become income producing.  Sheesh.

4.  Today my first day of my Vietnam history class and the A/C people are supposed to call me between 10 and 2.  What are the odds that they call between 11 and 12?  We shall see.

5.  No biking over the weekend.  I just wasn't feeling it.  Don't know why, but I wasn't.  My riding buddies bailed for various and sundry reasons, so I just stayed home and worked in the yard.  I'm sort of glad about it, as I heard there was a pretty gruesome suicide discovered out there just about the time I would have been riding through, had I chosen to go solo.  I am thankful that I missed being there for that discovery.

6.  Trying to function on about half of the sleep I need.  Loss of the AC on Saturday night didn't help.  At least last night was cool.  My hope is that they get this puppy fixed today.

Thus ends the whining and griping for today.

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


Friday, August 17, 2012

The Forest For The Trees

New Brunswick
Really good news on the tree front!  And yet another example of my either/or black or white thinking.  Turns out, the tree guy suggested that the remaining part of the tree was perfectly healthy and that we should just trim completely away the part that had fallen (but not quite separated) from the other main trunk.  I told him that I wanted to replace the tree with a better tree (it was a Hackberry, not a Chinaberry (whatever that is)).  He pointed out to me that I have a red oak that is about 8 feet tall right there and with the fallen part of the tree out of the way, it will do that much better!  Well, hell's bells. Looks like it will all be okay.  They will come back and trim, seal, cut up and remove all the debris for $125.  Sounds like a deal to me.

Oh, and as an added bonus - the pine tree that I thought was dying - he said looked just like most pines do in Texas at this time of the year.  Just add a little more water and give it some fertilizer.  He said I should probably limb it up a bit and I will do that.  He also suggested that I go talk to my scary-and-as-yet unmet neighbor to get permission to take a branch off of his tree back at the crotch instead of just at the property line.  Gulp.  I hate knocking on doors worse than I hate the damned telephone.  Oh, well, It will have to be done.

Wendy and Janice and I planned to ride on Wednesday night, but with a late breaking post from The Honorable, Wendy and I opted to join her. Including us, there were a total of 9 people that rode.   That woman is amazing on a bike.  She's been off for 7 weeks due to injury and so came back on her hybrid due to some double-vision that is persisting from the concussion and wanted the stability of that bike - with platform pedals.  And she still smoked Wendy and me.  HH apologized for slowing us up - I told her that we'd been "whipping and spurring" to keep up, which is the honest truth.  But it sure was fun.  We all met her husband for a drink and dinner - patio time in Texas - and it was wonderful.  Good thing it was on the patio and I was in my bike kit, as a whole big tumbler full of ice water was spilled on me.  Cooled me off really fast!  All in all, a great evening.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  See the forest.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

When I was at Pebbles' this past weekend, she loaded me up with more hand-me-downs.  Don't get me wrong, it's always nice to have something new to wear - especially something that I didn't have to shop for and pay for.  However, space is very limited over here at CSH, so I've spent quite a bit of time over the past few days trying to make stuff fit.  And there is just too much stuff.

This is yet again another spot where my frugal nature gets in the way of my own best interests.  I'm really happier with fewer things, fewer choices of things that I really LOVE rather than things that I just have.  So in addition to ironing, tacking up sagging hems and replacing missing buttons (that child is HELL on her clothes), I've also been winnowing out some of the things that I don't love.  And if I look in my closets, a full 75% of the contents are NOT things that I purchased.  Most are hand-me-downs from Pebbles, some are gifts from my mom and others are leftovers from my neighbor's largess (and wealthy) friend.

I remember being so excited when given the bag of nice clothes and exercise gear from my neighbor.  Well, it turns out, the original owner must have been a very petite person as everything "fits" but is just too short.  And what I really needed in the way of exercise gear is sports bras - I only have two.  Most of my other exercise clothes (treadmill and yoga, etc - no running for me) have built in bras.  So in order to make use of these gifts, I cut way the shirt part, leaving just the bra part!  Score.  And the stretchy/spandexy part that I cut away, I'm planning on trying to wear upside down sort of as a modern dickey (we'll call it a rickey) under low cut shirts.  Brilliant, I say.  No use adding the extra fabric in this heat - just a tube-top sorta deal to cover up some decolletage for work.  We'll see if it works.  I've seen them for sale as just tubes of stretch lace about 6 to 8 inches wide.  If not, I still have the sports bra out of the deal.

I've also been cleaning out the closets and putting stuff in the donate basket (if it was mine to give away - Pebbles wants her stuff back (packrat!!).  Much more so after reading about Project 333.  I don't know that I'll get down to 33 items right now, as we are in the "shoulder" season.  Our summer dress code at work has passed, but it's still too damned hot to wear full-on business attire, so I'm stuck with trying to limp through until cooler weather and get into the "bulk" of my wardrobe - fall and winter appropriate things.

I've also been setting aside my too worn to donate Tshirts, with the idea that I will eventually bust out the sewing machine and do something crafty with them.  I still want to finish decorating my front porch and make it into a room.  And use it!  I have been out there so little this summer.  I've found some curtains for it and I'd like to make some pillows, etc utilizing the tshirt material for embellishments.  I am giving myself a deadline - if I don't do something with this stuff while I'm off recovering from surgery, then it shall just be trashed (not fit for donation).  There.  I said it.  Just because something could be usable, doesn't mean that it's usable for me.  And just because someone gives me something, I do not feel obligated to wear it, use it or keep it.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Separate the wheat from the chaff and keep only the good stuff.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Getting a Broader View

photo by biogeonerd

As I sat down yesterday morning to write in my journal, I started with the date, as I always do.  August 14.  The day my father was killed 41 years ago.  That's always the first thought when I see or hear or write that date.  My second thought is always "I wonder how my life would have been different had he lived".  And yesterday, my response was different.

"What if it was a gift?"  Whoa.  His death was the real start of my "story", my terminal uniqueness, my victimhood.  I've carried it around for years, it was part of my defining narrative.  That had he lived, my life would have been so much better.  I wouldn't have experienced the hardships, financial and otherwise.  And yesterday, I saw, I felt, I knew, really for the first time (duh!) that those were the thoughts and fantasy-escapist thinking of a ten year old.  I have no way of knowing what my life would have been like - if it would have been easier or better.  I just don't know.  The possibility that it could have been worse never entered my mind.  Yesterday's revelation certainly broadened my view and showed me once again there are many things that I don't KNOW.  It was my story and I believed it - certainly as a coping strategy - but it no longer serves me and yesterday, it just fell away.  While it had been my truth, or what passed as my truth, it wasn't THE WHOLE TRUTH.  

After thought and input from others, the tree is coming down and out.  I need to put a replacement in that spot.  I've got another pine tree right off the back door to the house that will need to come down and it is far too close to the house anyway, so no replacement is needed there.  I'm thinking of leaving it and building/having built some sort of table thingy around it.  Suspend a repurposed chandelier with solar lights, attach an umbrella stand holder, fashion some sort of cool table-top.  Who knows.  That will be sometime down the line.  The tree guy is coming over today at 2 to give me an estimate.  If it's decent, then he says they can probably finish the job today.  

Looks like there isn't a municipal ride tonight, so Wendy (one of the women I rode with last Saturday morning) suggested we all go for our own ride, so we are doing that.  Angela Pea - we are meeting at The Woodshed at 6pm to do a 20.  Please join us.

Tomorrow night is book club with Valerie and Kendra.  We are, at Kendra's insistence, reading this book.  I just finished the first three chapters and I'm not "hooked" yet.  However, given my lack of attention span these days, I don't know that I can be anymore.

Friday night, I've been invited to a co-worker's daughters' birthday party.  While it's not a formal quinceanera (one daughter is 15 and the other is 16), there is a dinner and a dance.  He's invited the entire office, but I don't know if anyone else is attending.  I don't think I'll go, which violates my "go where the people are" tenet.  I feel like I do need to proffer an answer today - although no RSVP was requested.

That's all the news that's unfit to print.  Variations on a theme.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Broaden your view.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

T is For: Tired, Tuesday, Tires and Trees

I took the day off to take my mom to the cardiologist for a follow up appointment.  Turns out she postponed it.  I don't know what that's about.  Fear, I guess.  It was a check-up with a new doctor and she has white-coat anxiety.

Since I was already marked off, I'm taking the morning to just putter around.  I've already changed the flat on Inez.  Six minutes, including going out to the car and getting the pump!  Woo Hoo!  Actually, we'll call this a beginner's change, as I didn't have to mess with a C02 cartridge.  But you gotta start somewhere, right?

The group of us (four) (accomplished) women were talking on Saturday morning about the frustrations of all things mechanical.  I contend that this was purely a lack of exposure to even the most basic of mechanical axioms.  And by exposure, I don't mean "hand me that crescent wrench, Kitten".  I mean training, hands-on stuff.  That's what Noah gave Talia and I with our bikes and I was able to replicate on my own what I'd learned under his tutelage.  I'm not looking to rebuild a bike or a tranny or anything like that, but just some very basic knowledge - acquired in a non-frustrating situation.  I had to laugh - we all talked about getting frustrated and crying.  I call those garage-tears and it is comforting to know that I'm not the only one.

Sticking pretty close to high-protein, good fiber and gluten-free these days and I'm feeling better for it.  Now if I could just sleep - last night was another awful night.  That's part of the reason I went ahead and stayed home, at least for the morning was to just force my body to, if not sleep, at least rest this morning.  I was up for several hours in the middle of the night straightening and sorting closets, just to try to wear myself out.  I start to wear out at about 4am.  Sigh.  Oh well, I'm feeling pretty good now after staying in bed until 7:11.

I'm waiting for a call back from the tree service.  I asked around the office, cross-referenced recommendations with Angie's List and have got someone who is supposed to come out and give me an estimate.  The decision is do I want to take the tree all the way down and grind the stump or do I want to leave, as the previous owner has done, a stump to use for decorative purposes.  Is this a problem or an opportunity to add some art and whimsy?  I do know that I want to plant a replacement tree, so I'm leaning towards having the 14" diameter stump taken out and to try to plant something good in it's place.  It was a trash Chinaberry(?) tree that went down - but it did provide shade to that area.  Decisions, decisions.  Ain't that always the way?

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  When feeling flat, change it.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

McKayla Is Not Impressed

That picture depicts my attitude for most of the weekend.  Even though it was filled with good stuff, I was generally pissed off between the good times.  On Friday, I was certainly wearing the porcupine chaps, topped up by the lovely Christine's Sombrero of Hate.  I would have kicked the cat if I owned one - JDG notwithstanding.  I don't really know what caused the pissed-offedness.

On Friday, I was invited to the movies by Ellie, a biking buddy, along with several other women, to go see Hope Springs.  Wow, what a movie.

Saturday morning I went biking with Talia and two other women I've met while biking.  We had really good time.  We went to breakfast afterward and then on to the little local farmer's market, where I bought my first ever Isreali melon.  I didn't set out to buy it, but I only had $3.00 in cash on me and that was the only thing I could buy.  (The farmer's market trip was an impromptu decision).  I am sure glad I did - it was amazing.  I took it over to Pebbles' and we had it for an appetizer and dessert for dinner and as the majority of our brunch, plus there was still some left for Slater when he arrives home from his biking weekend.

Pebbles and I were supposed to go to a movie, but we ended up shopping (5.5 hours) instead.  I bought a new pair of shoes to audition for my traveling shoes, but they have failed to make the cut.  I cannot stand to wear them - but unfortunately, didn't figure that out until I actually wore them for some time.  Oh well, maybe my sister would like them.  I did buy another great white shirt, as one cannot have too many.  My total is now three.  Pebbles found a dress that will do in case she doesn't find anything better.

Bad night's sleep, caffeine (lack thereof) headache and a freak flat tire accident made me can our planned morning bike ride.  I don't know how it happened, but it's the second front flat that's happened when she's on the bike rack.  I didn't lash down the front wheel enough and it came lose and turned someway and the tire flattened.  I was in no mood to wrestle with that.  (Inez is sitting in the dining room right now, awaiting her maintenance).  Pebbles suggested we go to "water" yoga at her studio.  I don't love hot yoga, but she said this was just very warm yoga 90 degrees.  Ninety minute class led, not by an actual instructor, but by a soundtrack with great yoga-appropriate music and a voice over giving direction for the next move.  It's also done in a darkened room.  Can I just say that it was 40 kinds of wonderful?  The perfect blend of flow and stretch and relaxation.  It's what yoga (for me) should be.  Made me feel about a million times better.

And it's a good thing, as I got home and a freak storm blew through with high, straightline winds, an impressive lightning storm and very little rain.  I was watching it come in from my front porch, while in my back yard, one of my tallest trees was blown over.  Looks like I'll have to call the tree service.  Oh well, at least it didn't hit anything - although a crepe myrtle may be injured in the rubble.  I might have to get out there tomorrow to see if I can free that tree.

Some good bits, some bad bits and me with mostly a bad attitude.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Attitude is a choice.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Celebrating Eleven Years With Steel

Today is my 11th blogging anniversary.  I've been doing this in some form or fashion (with a few short breaks here and there) for over a decade - nearly 1500 posts, counting those that are still in draft status!  Can you image me electing to NOT hit the post button?  Sometimes it does happen :-).

Here's what I said last year with adjustments:

I have been reading OLJs for a long, long time. Almost since they first began, I guess. I am in no way able to compete with the fabulous, real, funny words written by others. This is for me - gor me to chronicle my thoughts as I move through the remainder of my life. Yep, it is downhill for me. I am 40 years old. I may live to be 80, but for the most part, my life is half over. The really great part of that is I get much more of a choice about what happens in the next 40 plus-or-minus, than I did the previous 40. That is something to be grateful for.

This journal is about making choices, choosing to be happy, choosing to be adventurous, choosing to be brave. And oh, how I hate this word- choosing to be empowered.

Yes, I am freckled and fluffy. The freckles are here to stay and I am working on removing a bit of the fluff. I want to be physically able in years to come to hike the Smoky Mountain portion of the Appalachian trail. I want to trek the Cotswold Way. I want to swim with the rays. I want to ride a zipline in Costa Rica.

That's how I opened ten   eleven years ago today. I was 40, Pebbles was getting ready to go away to college and I had just celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary, having been together for 15 years.

In the last ten eleven years, the changes have occurred at an almost exponential rate. Pebbles has graduated, married and is pursuing her career path, with some success. My ex-husband has been married now for eight  9 plus years and is presumably happy. And while I won't call what I am happy,  I am happy and I will say that I am more content in my own skin than I've ever been before.

I am still freckled, but most of the fluff has been replaced with sag ;-). But it's better than the alternative - I'm still here and still looking forward to what each day brings. My life is a lot less frentic. I am a lot less resentful and angry. And I've made some serious mistakes. I've made decisions and choices that I now regret. I have harmed myself and others, but I cannot change what was. All I can do now is learn from those mistakes and move forward. And moving forward I am.

And there has been a good deal of growth. I'm a much more serene - while I'm certainly not the serenity queen, there are stretches  long stretches where I am able to stay in the present - not writhing over the past, nor worried about the future. I've come to a greater acceptance of myself, freckles, foibles and all.

I still have a vision for my future - the woman that I hope to become - and the woman that I am - grounded, earthy, fit and passionate with a willingness to laugh at the slightest provocation. I look forward to a life filed love and passion.  In the past year, I've come a long way in creating a fulfilling life and you are a large part of that.  

And I am grateful.  Thank you.  Roxie

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Get Along, Little Anole

I spent quite a bit of time last night trying to round up a little anole and get him/her back outside!  Living with lizards is certainly a new experience for me.  I've never had them anywhere else I've ever lived here in Texas, but here at CSH, they are abundant.  And clever.  The good news is that I don't run screaming through the house any more when I happen upon one.  I do, however, check all my shoes before wearing!

It was overcast yesterday afternoon after work and I probably should have gone for a ride, but I desperately needed to perform some yard work.  I'm adapting FlyLady for yardwork use these days.  I've drawn a map of my lot and divided it into rooms.  So if my Flylady email tells me that this week we are in the kitchen, then that's the bed or area that I concentrate in out-of-doors.  Why, you ask?  Because I seem to have developed a raging case of adult onset ADHD.  I cannot concentrate enough to watch a tv show, a movie here at home or even read a book.  Honest to betsy, the whole reading thing has me flummoxed.  I used to be an avid reader and I cannot tell you the last time I sat down to read for pleasure.  Honestly, I blame the computer, the internet, Pinterest and Al Gore.  But back to the garden (speaking of being distracted!), if I don't have a plan, I just seem to go off on one tangent or another and I need to maintain some sort of focus.  Oh, putzing around is great fun, but it isn't particularly productive when things are looking so straggledy-ass here in the gardens.

Tonight, I'm venturing back out on the municipal ride.  I'm hoping it will head south rather than north from the meeting spot, but that remains to be seen.  Either way, I'll ice down the camelbak and have a go at it.

I'm back to focusing on remaining gluten-free, so those uncooked tortillas from last week are out.  Sometimes I just forget what I am supposed to be doing.  So the checklist right now is:  cut way back on dairy - some cream for my coffee is okay - a nibble of cheese here and there is fine - a cup of yogurt is just too much.  And gluten free - so out with the tortillas and eggbeaters and in with flaxseed hot cereal.  Me, who used to be able to eat the same thing for days on end, has now developed ADHD of the palate, too.  I get so bored with whatever I'm eating that I'm requiring change.  So for this week, it's flaxseed.  I am enjoying it and I'm not starving by lunchtime.  So there is that.

Crappy night of sleep last night, so I'll have to make sure I'm not wearing my cranky pants today.  It's hard to corral anoles wearing porcupine chaps.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Beware the lizard brain


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

But It's a Fast Heat

When I moved to the Collinwood-Smythe House, I was aghast at the lack of:  dishwasher, dryer and microwave.  Well, I didn't expect there to be a microwave and I wasn't really going to ask for mine back from Pebbles because really I had no place to put it in this One-Butt kitchen.  So I've lived without all three of these "necessary" appliances for well over a year.  Last week, a coworker was cleaning out her garage from the fruits of selling parents' homes and mentioned she had a microwave.  So now, I have, installed in my garage!, a microwave.  Honestly, I don't know how long I will keep it.  I've survived this long without it - but in this heat, it might be nice not to have to heat up the kitchen (not that I have cooked anything in nearly ever!).  Right now, however, it's seriously impeding my clothes drying space in the garage.

I rode again on Sunday, but absolutely had no legs left from Saturday's climbing.  They felt like concrete pillars, so I just took it easy and got in some revolutions.  Soon after, Pebbles called and she and Slater were going back to the nekkid spa  and asked me to join them.  Since I had a Groupon, I was in.  I went over there, did the spa thing, had some great Korean food and watched the Olympics on the big screen while sitting in the world's most comfy recliner.  There may have been napping involved.  I find it so funny that people, myself included, are just relaxing and napping all over the place.

Productive day at work yesterday and another planned for today.  I'm neck-deep in a project that I feel really strongly about, so that's good.  What's bad is that I've got out of the habit of 6am exercise classes.  I've been sleeping so poorly as of late, that I was just exhausted.  For the time being, it seems, a dose of melatonin is helpful, but it does allow me to sleep past time for the gym. Right now, I'm choosing sleep over exercise and I'm feeling better because of it.  Once this heat breaks, then there may be options for more exercise in the evening - but for now, my priorities seem to be sleep and watering the gardens.

I'm going to shoot for a Wednesday ride, if the daytime temp stays below 105.  Otherwise, it will probably be just another Saturday morning ride for me.  There is a Sunday ride in a neighboring county that looks interesting - it's just a club ride, but is ranked a 1-2 on the difficulty scale - which might allow me to build on my mileage base.  Who knows?

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Get fired up.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Peak Performance

from cyclenewbie
It was good to get away.  It was like hitting the reboot button.  I left the office on Friday about 3pm, loaded up Inez and headed the 40 miles out to the edge of the hill country.  Talia arrived before I did and had taken up residence poolside.  We visited - and I gave her a present that I'd ordered for her because she admired my Tshirt.  We met an woman at the pool, who, in spite of being an overzealousdisclosure, had a fabulous recommendation for dinner.  This restaurant was A-mazing.  I would seriously make the trip down there again just for dinner.   The food was wonderful, the atmosphere nice, but not stuffy and the Texas Trio appetizer will haunt my dreams for weeks to come.

We also followed our Overzealousdisclosure's advice and went here for chocolate pie (hey, we are riding tomorrow, alright?) and to hear "amazing karaoke".   Umm, not so much.  I'll have it stated for the record that I took two bites of said chocolate pie and decided it was not worth it.  Oh, it wasn't inedible - it was pudding in a storebought crust with some whipped cream on top - but it wasn't near good enough to bust the budget on.  And the karaoke?  Bawling calves in a hail storm.  Me thinks the trip@dvisor's reviews might not be "authentic".  When you see reviews from folks who only have given that one review, that's a red flag.  Still, it was a great evening.  We walked home to the hotel on the boardwalk and saw that amazing full moon over the lake.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Talia decided that we would ride out bikes from our hotel to the starting spot to get in some extra miles, as we were only doing the 20, and that proved to be the right decision.  However, we sort of just arrived and then started the ride - so we didn't see or get the opportunity to visit with other folks.  This ride was uphill for 15 miles, seriously.  With one really killer hill - which we've named The Spanish Inquisition - because it came upon us so quickly and we weren't expecting it AT ALL.  We turned this corner and there were cyclists off their bikes, going in all directions, and they were fit cyclists, too.  It was alarming.  I don't really know why we made the decision to go for it, when so many others were bailing, but we did.  I damned near got ran over by a SAG vehicle at the apex of the sumbitch.  It was, without a doubt, the steepest hill I've ever climbed.  But we both made it - but I think I might have turned one of my lungs inside out.  

And then we got to climb some more.  We finally reached the peak and there were some serious downhill twisties.  Never done those before.  That part was kind of scary, in that we were riding on sun-dappled roads, so I couldn't really see what was awaiting in the shady bits, plus the descent was on a road with houses and dogs and kids that could come out of any place at any time.  I was glad to be through with that part of it - but we pretty much descended for the final five miles of the official ride.  This ride probably won't go into the "I can't wait to do this again next year" category - for a variety of reasons.

Both Talia and I arrived feeling crabby and irritable and left all zen-like and wobbly-legged.  We also made a pact to stay off FB for the month of August.  I think I'll leave off pinterest, too.  Email and blogging only for me.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Keep pedaling.


Thursday, August 2, 2012


Regarding yesterday's fail, I agree with Helen in that there was probably some unresolved stuff that I wasn't aware of.  But I think a big reason (not excuse) that added to the fail was that I was generally pissed off to start with.

Over the past few months, I've been setting boundaries for myself re:  work responsibilities.  Over the years, I'd assumed others' responsibilities and they'd been happy to let me do so.  The stuff wasn't getting done and so I'd step into the void and do it - and that included managing staff.  It finally dawned on me that I was the one who made changes and corrections and generally upset peoples' apple cart, while everyone else got to be the "good guy".  So I've pretty much stopped this.  Letting the chips fall where they may and all that.  When someone comes into my office with a question or an issue that doesn't belong to me, I now respond with "Why don't we go ask XXXX?"  And we go in to that office and I keep my mouth shut.

But I needed some work done in order to do my an important system enhancement and since the other person had a year to do this thing and didn't, I have spent the better part of this week doing the work - and building up a huge resentment.  Again.  And because my part of this is so important, I've lost sleep over it.   So, all of that to say, when this other thing hit, I was irritated and tired and I reacted by doing something that wasn't my business to do and it wasn't very nice on top of that.  It came out sideways with a large side of snark.  My intention wasn't to be mean, but I did not behave like a friend should.    I got a FB message from a friend and I posted it on this blog  You may have seen it, before I came to my senses and pulled it - I know at least one of you did.  It was a highly inappropriate thing for me to do.  I hope to behave better in the future.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Not you - Me.
Yesterday, I let myself down and did not behave with integrity.  There's no unringing that bell and there was no excuse for the lapse in standards.  I reacted when I shouldn't have and took an inappropriate act.

Your Mom Goes To College

Family favorite *
Yep, I'm going back to college, starting in the fall.  It's been 20 years since (OMFG!) I sat in a classroom.  I am not actually "taking" a class, as I will be auditing a class on the Vietnam war.  It promises to teach me about the history of Vietnam and events leading up to and including the war.

I'm doing this because when I went to Istanbul, I didn't and I lacked the basic history structure in order to help make sense out of what I was seeing.  I'm hoping to have that framework in place, this time.  I'm looking forward to it.

In other news, it's too damned hot.  Supposed to be 108/109 today.  I will NOT be riding in the community ride tonight.  Yesterday, at 6pm, the normal start time, it was just too much to be outside and I'm not even going to attempt it today.

I am struggling with the heat and McDonald's new dipped cone - seems like I go through something like this on a yearly basis.  Not good.  Well, yes, they are good - that's the problem.  It's a habit I've let sneak in.  Time to quit carrying cash for a while.  I managed to survive yesterday without making the stop (and to pass up the wedding cake that was brought into the office, although I did have some of it on Saturday night - Italian Cream, my personal fav.  Food and mood has been rather bingey as of late.  I will be making logistical adjustments to help break that cycle.  Day One - done.  Tonight, I will go to a meeting (it's been four years since I started this process), so that will be change, as I've favored biking instead of meetings for the summer, and I'm fine with that.

Surgery is coming up in about five weeks - which means another month lay off of exercise.  Which, given my general puffiness right now, doesn't bode well.  But I will be just fine - if I can let that shovel stay right where it is.  Then it will be the big trip, starting in mid-October.

Friday, after work, I'm meeting Talia out in Granbury -a lake community about 35 miles away.  We are going out to dinner, then staying in a lakeside hotel before our next bike rally.  We are planning on riding from the hotel to the race and only doing the 20 (hilly) miles.  I am, however, concerned about us getting out of the heat ASAP, so I'm going to push that we drive to the race start.  Those 5 miles home just might be too much.

That's all I've got and it ain't much.  Summer malaise. Oh, one food related thing to add - I've discovered Mission's Carb Balance UNCOOKED whole wheat tortillas. I was burning out on boiled eggs for breakfast, and 30 seconds on each side, filled with some southwest-style egg-beaters makes for a yummy breakfast for about 200 calories and 4 net carbs.  So far, it hasn't been "triggery" for me.  I'm looking forward to breakfast again.

*My daughter, sister and I still, after all this time, regularly quote Napoleon to one another.  It never fails to crack us right up.  At family gatherings, Pebbles is likely to pull the movie out of her bag and there will be groans from others, as the three of us gather to quote the movie and laugh ourselves silly.  I know some folks fall into the "that's not funny" camp, but for me, I saw it for the first time (ages ago) with these two and we've been hooked ever since.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Eat the ham, Tina.