Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Morning Wisdom

I've been out in the garden since 5am.
My most favorite time to be in the garden.

I found myself rushing around the house this morning in order to get out there as soon as it was light enough to see -
4:54 am.

But I was still eating breakfast and drinking my English Breakfast tea -
And then I had the crazy thought that the day was half over -
and it was 5:15am.

By 8am I am most certain that the day is half over, and I used to tell Aaron that when I home schooled him and he'd roll his eyes at me.

My Tuesday morning nugget of wisdom whilst digging out quack grass?

Being unhappy is a sickness of the spirit.
photo from cvj23.wordpress.com

I'm not talking about being unhappy cause all the $1.99 sale chicken breasts are gone from the market.

I'm talking about the real, weigh you down kinda unhappy.

I believe, much like a pain in your body is telling you that something is wrong - a pain in your spirit (unhappiness) is telling you something is wrong.

And you know what?
Unhappiness takes energy.
So does making changes to become happy.

Either way, you expend energy, so why not expend the energy you need to make the changes you need to become happy?

In my weight loss journey (a frog's breath away from 40lbs down) I find it's taking a lot of energy, that ofttimes, I really don't want to spend.
I sometimes reeeealllllyyyy  don't want to exercise.
I find that when I do, it's so much easier than scolding myself all day for not.

I find that the yoke of "I should have" is so much heavier, and requires so much more energy than "I did".  I am so much more happy with 40lbs off of my frame than I was before.  It's worth the effort, it's worth the short term pain, to enjoy long term results.

Expend the energy that's required to find your happy.
Whether it's losing weight, decluttering your house or something deeper - 
You shan't regret it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Last Time I Had a Hangover....

It's a weird day outside.
It's nearly June and the heat is running.

I thought a weird story was fitting.

Once upon a time - I promised Aaron the Boychild that I would take him to the Body World Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Photos of said exhibit shall be interspersed in this text -
be ye forewarned.

Promise kept.
Tickets bought.
I can't quite remember - but I think this was 2007?

The night before, I met up with a few of my gal pals - affectionately known as 'The Ya's"
Now - these girls like their wine - and so do I, but I really don't consider myself a drinker - in fact - I think it was this past December, the last time I had an alcoholic drink.

At the time, I was doing Weight Watchers.
I knew that they would all be enjoying wine, and that I really wouldn't be able to partake, but I wanted in on the fun - so I bought two tiny little bottles of Spiced Rum - you know the airplane sized ones?
I had all my WW points counted out - as I poured it into my Diet Coke.

Fun ensued.
More food.
More laughs.
More ensuing.

Well, they seemed to be having a lot more fun than I was - so I had some wine.
See - you can tell I'm not a drinker - I didn't know you weren't supposed to mix the two.

It was about 3am when I woke up at my friend Aisha's house - I might have been vomiting. 
Maybe, a little.

Glen came and picked me up - now get this -
G-Diddy - is awakened by a phone call in the wee hours of the morning that his wife is in no shape to drive and needs a ride home.
He comes and gets me.
He is laughing as he's trying to help me walk - and telling me how cute I look.
For reals.

When the alarm went off the next morning, signaling me that it was time to get ready to go to Chicago, I was mortified.

I do not believe I have ever been that sick.
There was no way in heck I was going to disappoint Aaron, and I got ready, all the while, having a bucket nearby.

I rode in the passenger seat in the fetal position with a bucket.

A plastinated cadaver displaying the human arterial sytem is displayed at BODY WORLDS 4 by Professor Gunther Von Hagens at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry on February 21, 2008, Manchester, England. Since its debut in Tokyo in 1996, the show has sparked controversy and curiosity. German scientist Gunther von Hagens, who created the show and developed the preservation technique used to preserve the bodies, called

We get to the museum, and I have no idea how I'm going to walk in.

We are standing in this large crowd of people, in this maze of red velvet ropes, waiting for the exhibit to open so we can file in.

I was going down. 
I crumpled.
I was now sitting on the floor.
I managed to get up and get to the bathroom - where they had a large marble slab to sit on.
The coolness was such a relief.

I mustered up the strength to leave, and found a security guard.
I told him how ill I was and that I needed a wheelchair.

Are you laughing yet!?

I was so sick.

Aaron, bless his heart - was so worried about me and was doting over me.
He was now pushing me into the crowded Body World exhibit in a wheelchair.

As we bumped into the heels of the people in front of us, they would turn around sharply at first, and then give me a look of pity.
All I could think of was how guilty I felt - realizing that these people probably thought I had MS or cancer -
but all I had was a hangover.

I ask you, are these the images you would like to see when you are on the verge of vomiting?
I thought not.

That day went down in history as one of the worst days of my life.
I was on the verge of vomiting the entire time while I was pushed around the museum looking at petrified body parts, ala Dr. Frankenstein.

Don't mix your spirits my friends.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Then There Be Two

The continuing adventures of robins up in the hood....
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a jumper -

Did I scare it out of the nest?
I chased that bird around the yard all night long - I put it in the nest six times.
It jumped out every time.
G-Diddy (Glen's new name for the week) kept telling me that's what they do - that there was no point in trying.
The night ended with the bird hopping under the large lilac bushes and my heart breaking in four pieces.
I can't bear to go back to the nest - I think I just need to let nature take it's course.
(By the way, didn't you just LOVE hearing it's little beak slapping itself shut?!)

Holly this is for you -

In other news -

I'm one banty short this morning, and have a raccoon in the trap.
I'm trying to decide if I should give the coon it's last supper.
Dead Coon Walkin'.
And that's all the news fittin' to print from NW Indiana.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crisis Averted

This story caused such a sensation on my Facebook page, that I thought I'd share it here.
Some of my friends say that they hate to comment on my Facebook status updates cause I get too many comments - and then they get too many emails and notifications.

I've been buzzing around here like a hummingbird on crack lately.
(That's one of my cousin's quotes)

Friday, I decided to tackle the east side of the house - it often gets neglected, because the only time I actually see it is when I hang laundry.

There was a tree that needed cutting down, an overgrown Sweet Autumn clematis that was growing like Kudzu, and Juniper bushes that were completely blocking the electric box.

That side of the house isn't brick - it's vinyl siding and it was green with moss.

I was suffienctly jacked up on English Breakfast tea and Allegra D - so away we went -

After edging and weeding, I tore the vine off the house - wish I'd taken a picture of the beast -

Literally, when pulling down the vine, this fell into my hands:

I immediately felt two emotions.
"I have more babies to nurse!  Into my bra they go!
"I have more babies to nurse!  Into my bra they go!"

The dread emotion overtook my excitement.
I saw the mother robin sitting on a branch with a worm dangling out of her beak, looking where her nest was moments ago.

My heart sank like a rock.

I think I ran around the yard in circles for a minute.
I Googled taking care of baby birds.
Feedings every 20 minutes from sun up to sunset.
And you thought you were busy -

I called DNR and they said to relocate the nest as close as possible.

I ziptied it to the Magnolia tree.

Don't you know that the mom bird found it within a few minutes?

I've been checking on these birds a few times a day.
Peter, Paul and Mary.
That's what I call them.

I feel utterly responsible for them. 

A storm yesterday afternoon blew two of them out of the nest - I recovered them, and put them back.
As of this morning they are resting comfortably again.

Here's the east side of the house post trimming, edging, weeding, and scrubbing the entire side of the house with a brush in my left hand.
Although - you can't see the siding in this pic..

I learned a few things on Friday:

Crocs, water and aluminum ladders don't mix.

Poison Ivy is - well, poisonous.

I'm allergic to Juniper bushes.

Robins are amazing birds, and I'll never see them as 'common' again.

And the most important lesson I learned Friday -

You can accomplish much when you stay home all day, as long as you don't fall off ladders, get poison ivy, or get a whole body rash from Juniper bush exposure...


Sunday, May 22, 2011

At Church This Morning...

Meet the worship team...

Communion time...

The choir...

The message...

 The offering...  
 Have a lovely Sunday.

Choose happy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Alter Ego...

Last week Karen at This Old House  had a great idea for a blog post - and I just had to jump on the wagon -

I'd like to introduce you to my alter ego -

I would so resemble Parker Posey, that I'd ofttimes be mistaken for her.
I've always longed for her wide palate, and shiny dark hair -

I'd also be rail thin and willowy


I'd do this with regularity.
I'd dress like this -

I'd be decidedly urban, living in Seattle.

I wouldn't own a car, and I'd walk to the local coffee shop daily where the barista wouldn't even have to ask what I wanted.

I'd be so jacked up on these, it wouldn't even be funny.

I'd work at home, in this apartment -

Mid-century Modern Apartment interior by Rona Landman design

I'd be Seattle's premier garden designer - highly sought after -

Creepy heads would be my trademark.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From the ManChild

The ManChild did this.
I still want to call him the BoyChild, and I just might.
It's my perogative.
He'll always be a boy in my heart.

We spent the day together yesterday, plodding through the rain and muddy greenhouses.
He's concerned about my arm, and wanted to help me carry things.

Even though I officially gave up worry on December 2, 2010 - sometimes I slip.
And I worry.
When I hear the teenage mouth - the teenage attitude - and the teenage stupidity -
I worry.

And then I spend a day with him -
and I see his beauty.
Inside and out.

My faith is restored.

Have a most beautiful Sunday afternoon. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Little House on the Left

I was well received.
I don't know where to start!

Law - let me back up.

Blogger is acting up a bit, and my last post - the Strawberry Pecan Bread is gone - where I shared that I planned on stopping at the 'Your Garden Almost Made Me Wreck' house.

My day certainly didn't go as planned.
I got up and did my weight training routine, and then instead of going straight into my cardio, I deemed it necessary to find the source of the odor in the kitchen that I'd smelled for the last 28 hours.

I tore things apart, and scrubbed with a brush and Pinesol.
It smelled like a rotten potato - I think the garbage bag leaked into the can, that's all I can figure.

Freshness restored.

Then I got a little company -
Then - it was noon.
High noon - and I still had 90 minutes of kick your butt cardio to do.
I thought of SO many reasons I shouldn't do it -
I was PMSY.
It was getting late and I needed to pick up the ManChild at 3.
And last but not least - the room upstairs has no A/C and it was nearing 100 degrees outside.

But up I trodded and grumbled.
It was an oven up there, and I started....and then - I took my shirt off - and then, you guessed it - my drawers.
Then my bra, etc.
Then, I was only wearing the heart rate monitor.


35 minutes into my workout I was nude, and breathlessly belting this little ditty.

                                    I'm a bit obsessed with Shirley Bassey at the moment.

For a split second - I feared that I would get company again, and have someone just walk in - which I don't mind - and say to themselves 'Oh, it sounds like she's upstairs'.
Mercy - what a sight that would have been.

But - I did it girls.  I did it.
How good it felt that I honored myself in the doing.

A quick clean up and off to get Aaron.
When I told him what we were about to do - he was so excited.
It was perfect, cause they were out sitting on their front porch.

I began my introduction with
"I hope you don't think I'm crazy", as I handed her the loaf of strawberry bread, a dozen eggs and a card where I expressed my delight and gratitude of her hard work in the yard.

This is where I'm going to stumble over words.
It was beautiful.
She was beautiful.
We sat, had tea - talked and talked - it felt like heaven.
Aaron was beaming the whole time.
The spirit about her home made you feel like time stopped and there wasn't a hurry or care in the world.  She gave us the house tour. 
Aaron took all the pictures for me - so I never really had a chance to take what I 'saw' - but I'm sure I'll be back.

We exchanged phone numbers and I'm not sure how to say this - but I need to know her.
I need some of her in my life.
Her name is Bonnie.

It felt like we were two 12 year old girls.

Don't you love Aaron's little photo edits?
He absolutely loved our visit - and I hoped that in some way I taught him something - to express gratitude - to pause and actually act on a thought - to find the beauty in the everyday.

I want to say a few things about this picture - just some observations.
Where have my breasts gone?
My ears stick out since I've lost weight.
How women can look pretty, with smooth hair, makeup, and accessorized jewelry is such a mystery to me.  It eludes me.  I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I shall never be one of them. 
I seem to think as long as I'm not in a state of indecent exposure, I'm fine.

Consider the lilies of the field, baby.

We spent over an hour with Bonnie and Bill.
Here I set out to bless someone -
and I received the biggest blessing of all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Pecan Bread

I love baking.  I do.  It makes me happy.

I'm not entirely sure why, but it could have something to do with using my mom's old spoons and bowls, or baking breads in my aunt's old bread pans.

When I bake - I feel this connection to my family in a way that warms my heart as much as the oven warms the kitchen.

I feel connected - I feel that I'm showing love in some way.
Doesn't seem right for the ManChild (formerly known as the BoyChild) to come for a visit and not find some fresh baked goodness going on.

I don't cotton to sending Glenco out among the English for the day without a little cookie or something in his lunch.

That's how I roll.
And - that's how I got so many rolls.


I adore quick breads.
There's something so homey about them, and well - they are quick.
The variations are endless - and when Aldi had strawberries on sale for 99 cents a box -
I went a bit nuts.

I ate four boxes m'self the first week.

Then I got four more.
Um, and four more.

My strawberries fresh from the garden - 2010

Needing to bake (yes, I needed to) yesterday, I thought...well, now if there can be banana bread, and pumpkin bread and the likes, then surely, there could be some strawberry bread makin' up in here.


I found  this  recipe on Allrecipes, and tweaked it around.

Use FOUR cups of strawberries, and ONE teaspoon of cinnamon.
Slice some of the strawberries, and halve some.
If you have strawberry extract around, I'd splash some in there.

I do think it's very good - BUT - I'm dreaming of a poundcake like strawberry bread, perhaps with a tad of heavenly cream cheese mixed in it somehow with more of a strawberry taste.
I'll keep playing.

This bread is definitely worth a go - especially with our beloved strawberry season upon us.

I'm bringing a loaf to the 'Your Garden Almost Made Me Crash' lady/man today.
I hope I'm well received!

Have I told you that I'm declaring this the year of the picnic?
Yes, it's true.
Please make this for your next picnic.
I thank you in advance.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Richest Chick in Town

I awoke at 3:45am this morning -
fully rested and ready for the day.
I've been sleeping like a log lately - and don't you think I take that for granted for one cotton pickin' minute.
Since I've been eating clean and exercising - I haven't spent one night up naked in the living room chair, hot flashing with insomnia.


No sooner than my feet hit the floor - I do declare I did have the deepest sense of gratitude.
I knew the day was going to be a 'keeper'.
The kind of day that you fold up and put in your pocket for a day that your heart feels a bit gloomy.

As the morning unfolded - I began feeling like the richest girl in town.
My chores and workout were done by the time it was light out - and I went to let the girls out.

Chickens - if you have them - you get this -
if you want them - you'll yearn for this -

There's nothing like chickens in the early dawn light.
It's nirvana.
The fluffy butts coming down the ladder, stretching their wings -
I adore it.

This sense of gratitude continued as I opened the freshly painted gate with the John Deere green handle.

Things at this ole Hillbilly Haven are needing some repairs - but this little green handle gave me hope that they'd all get done in due time.
I remembered how it looked 20 years ago...

Out of the corner of my eye - I noticed that the lilacs had bloomed out.

As I came back in - I noticed what a nice combination the yellow petunias were with the nasturtium leaves, and I looked forward to the hyacinth beans climbing and covering the kitchen window frame.

The aroma in the kitchen was heavenly -
the Strawberry Pecan Bread was done.
(recipe tomorrow!)

There be peace up here in the Hillbilly Haven.
Riches I tell you.
You can't buy this stuff.

As I gazed out the kitchen window overlooking the cornfields - my eye caught my old chair that I'll sit in and ponder my ponderings this summer with my morning cup of English Breakfast tea.

How I love that spot.

I opened my email and found a sweet email from my friend Cheryl encouraging me in my weight loss.

Another wonderful email from my beloved cousin saying he'd take the same weight loss challenge as me and we'd do it together.

Then I got this comment:

Fresh Garden has left a new comment on your post "Take This Broken Wing....":

I'm always here with you, I promise.
It broke me in half.

Sometimes, gratitude breaks my heart - perhaps in a way that a Dr. breaks a bone to reset it to heal properly.
That's the only way I can describe it.
It breaks my heart - but in a good and healing way.

Just because I don't get around to responding at times - please don't ever think I take your comments for granted.  They mean so much to me!

All of this happened before 9 am!

I left to pick up my friend for a doctor's appointment.

I drove by a garden that nearly made me wreck the car.
I made a mental note to stop by this week with a loaf of Strawberry bread and tell the gardener that her (I'm assuming) garden makes me happy. 
I have a feeling I'll make a new friend.

The afternoon was spent catching up with my friend after her appointment, over chicken salads (sssshhhh)
at Panera Bread.
Although we'd seen each other not too long ago, it felt like years as we chattered away.

I came home to more incredible messages of encouragement, and a lovely gift from a friend that had stopped by whilst I was away. 
(Thank you Sandy!)

I just re-read all the comments from yesterday.


I'm as full as a tick with gratitude.
I feel so full, I need to lay down.

While I may not have much by this world's standards - I do believe I am the richest gal in town -
and if I did win the Lottery or some other tomfoolery -
what would I do?

Why, I'd make a big cup of English Breakfast tea -
I'd let the chickens out at dawn -
I'd notice the lilacs and the petunias -
I'd sit in my chair and ponder -
And I'd blog and tell you all about it.