Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

Six years ago, I gave my thoughts about Veterans Day here.  My three older brothers and my Dad all served our country by enlisting.  Our family saw all three branches of military service represented (Navy/Army/Air Force).  Here's one of my favorite pics of my Dad.  

It couldn't have been easy to make a decision to join a branch of the military, But I think many people feel the way I do, and as I did back in 2009.  I am so proud to say I am an American.  I am so honored to know that millions voluntarily step up to serve to protect us.  I'm so privileged to say, openly and from deep in my heart, 

And call me dorky, but I feel strongly about our flag, as well.  So to my friend who doesn't want to be credited for this picture (you know who you are!), thanks for the awesome picture of our flag!

Whether or not you are working this day, please know that there are millions in our nation who are grateful for your service to our nation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Words...That's it ... Just Words

We have some of the best conversations at our lunch table.  One teacher walked by and said, "It's always so enjoyable to walk past your table and just get the snippets of what you guys might be talking about.  Always entertaining!"  That it is!

So this week, we talked about words. How there are just some words that drive you crazy.  Some words that you can just do without hearing for the rest of your life.  Some that just inspire, or make you feel giggly. Some words that are just plain fun.

Like spelunking. Doesn't that sound like fun?  "Hey boss, can I have a day off to go spelunking?"  Sounds like a great day off. Or how about doppleganger? 

But then there are words you cringe every time you hear them. One of my lunch buddies doesn't like the word phlegm.  Right?  Even the way it's spelled. Kinda makes you feel phelgmy just spelling it.  Or how about mucus? Ewwwww!  Another says she doesn't like the word bulbous.  I guess I can see that. Kinda makes you think of a big ol' nose, Karl Malden style.
Photo courtesy CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Here's one...cutlet  Not sure how that one made the "don't like" list, cuz I just think it's a cute word. Kinda petite-ish. But one of the girls doesn't like it.

A few years ago, I wrote another post about words.  These were not words that necessarily create pictures in your mind, but will definitely elicit some sort of feelings as you read the words.

All of this sure makes you think about the power of words, doesn't it?  About the times we say things that might be meant one way but are taken another?  About how you may say to a kid, "quit your crying" but all they hear is, "I don't want to hear what you have to say."  Or how there can be a national debate on whether certain lives matter or whether all lives matter.  Yep, words are powerful...and fun...and gross.  But definitely powerful.

Hope I gave you some powerful thought today.  Go out and make someone's day with a kind word!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Back at it...once again...for the eleventeenth time

Once again, it's been 6 months since I've written anything here.  I can list a myriad of excuses, none of which are good enough.  But this week, I simply mentioned on Facebook that I need to start blogging again and it didn't take long for some of my fave peeps to chime in with agreement.  So here I am again...

I've signed up for a free course in the science of happiness that we heard about through my job. I think a number of us are taking it.  Week one was a bit tedious, but I have hope it will get much better. I signed up because I recently came to the realization that I was tired of being angry about things and that I was more fulfilled when I lived a happy life. Y'know... "If you can see it, you can be it."

I believe in the law of attraction.  Now, I have some friends who will roll their eyes at this, but that puts a smile on my face. I first got word of it when I watched "The Secret."  The message resonated with me.  This week, I received an email with this message:
You are an electromagnetic being emitting a frequency. Only those things that are on the same frequency as the one you are emitting can come into your experience. Every single person, event, and circumstance in your day is telling you what frequency you are on. If your day is not going well, stop and deliberately change your frequency. If your day is going swimmingly, keep doing what you are doing.
Sometimes, you need reminders to live with happiness in your life. Sometimes, you need someone to show you what life can be if you just face a challenge. At Costco this morning, I walked past a mom and her son who were standing in front of a tower of skeleton heads. He was desperately trying to convince her to get them and would not move from there. She told him she would not get them until he picked up the box (assuring him it was not heavy). Apparently, the little guy was terrified of the tower of heads, but still wanted them. When I walked past again, I heard her say it was silly to be afraid of plastic. So I stopped...and I watched out of the corner of eye. And he finally pulled the box out. And I cried. And I hope Mom saw the glory in what her son accomplished, because she said "it only took us 45 minutes to get to this!"  But I gotta tell ya...that little boy made MY day.

I am really, really going to try to write here more often.  I'm going to try to bring more happiness to this world.  Because I believe that so much of what is happening in our world today is because we are emitting that "what's wrong with the world" frequency, instead of "what's RIGHT with the world."

We've got a family party this weekend.  Celebrating all the new persons that have come into our family.  It's going to be a great time. And for those who won't be able to make it due to distance, I hope we get to Facetime with them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kevin!!

Today, we will celebrate my little brother's birthday.  Happy 55th, Kevin!

My little brother is mentally retarded.  I believe they labeled him as "severely mentally retarded" when he was a baby.  Whatever wiring mishap happened in his brain, he is also unable to speak using words. He makes sounds, very noisy, joyful sounds. And you will definitely know if he has missed you when he sees you.  He's a bit noisy that way, too.  And strong...so very strong.  He could knock you over with a hug.

When he was a baby, the seventh for my mom and dad, my mother knew within a couple of weeks that something wasn't right.  "He wasn't turning over like he should," is the one thing I remember her saying.  By the time he was diagnosed, the professionals predicted he would not live beyond age 30.  He was 5 or 6 when he first walked.
Pretty proud of himself!!

And we danced at my wedding...
He was 13 in this picture.
Kevin lives in a facility in Kankakee, IL  For his 50th, we celebrated at a local hotel, did it up big!! He was exhausted by the end of the party.
Kevin's 50th Birthday Party
I'd say baby brother is hanging in there pretty well!  Happy 55th, Kev!! Vuhvuhvuhvuhvuh!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

One Little Word for 2015

You may be familiar with Ali Edwards' One Little Word that was started back in 2007 and has grown exponentially in popularity. For the last two years, I did not choose a word since beginning this OLW journey in 2009.  Nothing showed up. Nothing spoke to me. And I just wasn't in the frame of mind to find one.

And 2014 was an odd year!  2014 brought lots of changes in my life. (I guess CHANGE would have been a good OLW, in retrospect). But those changes have made me realize what I want for 2015.

My word for 2015 is CREATE.  This time, the word chose me. 

According to Merriam Webster:   
cre·ate verb\krē-ˈāt\
: to make or produce (something) 
: to cause (something new) to exist
: to cause (a particular situation) to exist
: to produce (something new, such as a work of art) y using your talents and imagination

I want to create a healthy lifestyle, a garden that offers me that healthy lifestyle, a healthy home, simple living, art, abundance, open spaces,  laughter, joy, memories.  I want to write more. I intend to write more. That includes more blogging. And more pictures. 

I looked back at some of my old posts and it reminded me what I was involved with over the last couple of years. I really think so much of it lead me to this one little word, create!! And as I create in 2015, I intend to share.

It's funny, as I write the word intend, it makes me wonder how committed actions are behind that word. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Yoda:  "Do or Do Not.  There is no Try."  And I sometimes wonder whether the word "intend" is best friends with "try."  If that's the case, then I'm changing it to WILL. I WILL write more.  I WILL share more.

But as usual, I digress.

And what about you?  Do you have a word that will guide you, inspire you in the new year? I'd love to hear about it. Not only what your word is, but why that word!

I wish my visitors a peaceful, prosperous, safe, and successful 2015.  And I leave you with this:
jpg from http://yelenabosovik.com
(can't read the photographer's name)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A New Life - Part 2

As much as I wanted to stay current with updates, things/life gets in the way and before I know it a month has gone by.  But things are still going great. I'm down 20 lbs in 2 months. The one remaining med I'm on has been changed to reflect my decreasing blood pressure readings. Doctor assures me I will not be on this forever.

I also see a wellness nurse at each visit. Besides checking my weight, we talk about any concerns I have, recipes, temptations. The latest mantra is "ride the wave." I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that I will never eat another of CT's Butter Krisps or Leanne's Potato Chip/ Chocolate Chip cookies, but I'm going to ride the wave as long as it lasts. This lifestyle works for me.

I pulled the bike out of the back of the garage and try to ride most nights after work. Short rides. I'm so out of shape it's pitiful. But everyone knows that you have to take baby steps before you master something. And that's what it'll be! Tonight, I realized that working out or riding the bike is almost addictive. Yeah, those that know me will get this real confused look on their face about now.

And self talk...I've had plenty of conversations with myself over the last month and realized how important that is in this process.

And recipes? Oh my...life is good in this paleo/primitive lifestyle. Especially in the fall. I made this Butternut Squash Lasagna (with my marinara sauce) that was outstanding.
Photo and recipe courtesy of stupideasypaleo.com

My PG has decided to join me (at least partially) in this journey, so I've made these sandwich rolls, but instead of buying English muffin rings, I'm just put the batter in a 9x13 pan and cut up the "bread" into a dozen pieces. Tada!! He gets his "bread."
Danielle Walker's Against all Grain Sandwich_Rolls 5-2
Photo and recipe from againstallgrain.com
As I mentioned in my last post, I will advocate this lifestyle because I know it works. I've shared Dr. Kaskel's book with a number of people I work with because I believe what he has to say. I joke with one of my coworkers about how we will both be evangelists about this lifestyle. And each and every day, I thank the Universe for having whatever it is in me to continue this lifestyle.

Next things floating around this brain o'mine?  Yoga and journaling.  Until next time...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A New Life

Seven weeks ago, I adopted a new lifestyle.  I was on meds for blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. As an unwilling participant in this med-fest, I finally decided that since it just wasn't going to work for me, I needed to find a holistic doctor. I had been to a few doctors who either shamed me into going along with their plan, or "lied" to me by telling me that they would be willing to work with me toward getting healthier. I was not a happy camper.

One day, my lovely daughter texted me a picture with an excerpt from a book she was reading. "Mom, this sounds like this would work for you." Yep, it sure sounded like Peggy!!

So I got the book, read it in two days. Made up my mind right then that this all made sense to me and that I was going to try to see this doctor. And I can't begin to tell you how life changing it's been for me.

The long and short of it is I've gone from 5 meds down to 1.  The doc says I will probably NOT be on that one med forever.  In the first four weeks, I lost 15 lbs., my blood pressure numbers dropped about 20 on the top number and 14 on the bottom. I regularly workout because I have energy. I have energy because I'm not on the 5 med regimen. See the cycle here?

This Tuesday, I go back for another follow up. My plan is to share my adventure on this blog. If it helps even one person, it will all be worth it. Plus, let's just admit that writing is therapy for me.

Okay, so I'll bet you're asking what it is I'm doing. Here's the basics of it. No grains, no sugar. Eat when I want. No calorie counting. No carb or fat gram counting. NO GUILT! This plan works for me. I will readily admit that it won't work for everyone. Part of the problem is the indoctrination we have all had about fatty red meat. Wait, I'm loading you up with way too much information too fast. Let's just take this slower.

Image from
The book I read was titled "Living in Wellness, Volume One: Let Food Be Thy Medicine" by Dr. Larry Kaskel. Once you read that, and start digging into research on the way he thinks, you will find tons of stuff that support this lifestyle.

Picture modified from
One of my favorite sites is Danielle Walker's Against All Grain blog. She posts the yummiest recipes. My current hobby is finding and making some of the most amazing grain-free recipes. I made this sandwich bread that gives me exactly what I need when I want a piece of toast. Oh, yeah...this totally works.

So there's more for me to tell you about, but it's too much at one time. I will say this. Once you adopt this lifestyle, and people see the results (in your loose pants...YEA!), they ask. And when you tell them, you find out that others are doing the same thing. And you realize that there's a network out there for you.

Let me end this post in saying that I have always been a believer that what I've gone through in my life is out there to the benefit of others. I am a three-time cancer survivor and I will talk to anyone who needs to talk about their fight. The same goes for my weight/health issues now. I will advocate this lifestyle because I believe it works. So feel free to comment with any questions you have. No, I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. But I love talking about my passions. And this is one of them.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Party for a 4 yr old!

My Little Miss is turned 4 earlier this month.  Today is her family party.  When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she told me she wanted a "Bahbie."  Yes, she has a bit of a Boston accent for some reason!

And being a grandmother, I naturally want to get her what she wants for her birthday.  But I gotta tell ya...I struggled with this one.  Back 50+ years ago, when every other girl in the neighborhood had one, my sisters and I never had a Barbie doll.  And we didn't suffer any.
No, this is not Little Miss.
This is a Pick Your Plum ad.
But don't you just love these tutus?

My daughter never wanted one.  She was never into dolls.  She had one baby doll, a Cabbage Patch baby. This was one conversation about her doll.
Me: "Honey, what's your baby's name?"
Her: "Rob"
"Just Rob?"
"Yes."  That was it.  Cut and dried.  She just wasn't a doll kinda kid. She wasn't a girlie girl. I actually kind of liked it. She was tough.

So when Little Miss asked for a Barbie doll, I gotta say, I cringed. And I asked her why she wanted a "Bahbie."  Silly grandma...how could I not expect this answer.  "Because I want one."  Oh. (Little Miss is most definitely a girlie girl.)

So I went and got her a Barbie.  And I looked at it for a couple of days.  And I couldn't get excited about it. So I emailed her mom and asked if I could instead get her dress up clothes. And my daughter, who didn't wear pink from the time she started to choose her own clothes until one day when she was in college and realized that she needed to send me a picture because I wouldn't believe she was wearing pink, thankfully said she'd prefer the dress up clothes. She realizes that her daughter is girlie girl through and through.  No sense in fighting this one!!

And my sister thinks Little Miss might be channeling June Cleaver. She's helping Mommy clean the counter, but check out the pearls and bracelet!  Yep, just like June Cleaver!

And for the birthday "cake," Little Miss asked for brownies. With a little bit of green frosting. So I decorated it as inspired by the card I made for her. Yes, the writing leaves something to be desired, but at least it's homemade!

I'm looking forward to her party today.  She can be a little precocious crazy kid, or she can be as sweet as can be.  You never know til you get there!!

Happy Birthday Little Miss!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Golden Weekend, with a Lesson on the Side

This week was an exciting week!  Because of Team USA, and more specifically, because of one of our sophomore students, I've renewed my love of hockey.  Along with that, I've done some reflecting on parenting, and on handling whatever happens to me in life, and on realizing that you don't always get answers for the questions you have.
Brody Roybal
Image courtesy of teamusa.org
I work in a school district that has two campuses.  At one time (when I attended the school), the district was most definitely divided.  Different mascots (Eagles and Knights), different school colors (maroon/white and blue/gold).  A totally different culture.  Now, we are all one district, one mascot (Eagles), one school color combo (blue/gold) and a united culture. So it wasn't surprising that the east campus was cheering on one of our students from the west campus when he went to the 2014 Sochi Paralympics to compete in Ice Sledge Hockey.  Brody Roybal is a 15 year old sophomore, and he is a forward on Team USA. They won the gold on Saturday.  Very exciting games!!

I've been thinking a lot about Brody's parents lately.  I don't know them.  I only know what I know from the interviews I've seen and read.  But I am in awe of these parents.  You see, Brody was born without legs.  They could have easily felt cheated, with a chip on their shoulder, angry that they didn't know about it even after ultrasounds.  Instead, Brody's dad admits to pushing him "pretty hard sometimes" to be independent.  His mom remembers thinking he looked like the Peanuts character, Pigpen, when Brody was playing local baseball.
Edited cartoon from

The point I'm trying to make is that they realized the reality of Brody not having legs but decided that they wouldn't treat their son any differently than any other parent offering their kid opportunities.  Some day, I'd like to meet Michelle and Robert Roybal.  I'd like to shake their hands and tell them that they are as awesome as their son.
Brody's Mom - Spelling out USA
Some people come into your life for a reason.  Whether or not I get to congratulate that gold medal winner in person, I would like him to know that he and his parents have changed my outlook on life.  

A final note: (Removed on advisement.)