Monday, November 03, 2008

Anticipation, Tribulation, Jubilation (almost)

Well, it is November again, and you know what that means ... NaNoWriMo has begun! That's right, it is once again National Novel Writing Month, and I am competing again. My post title refers to the predominant feelings I have had regarding NaNoWriMo this year.

First, ANTICIPATION! I have been anticipating this month for nearly 10 months. Why? Because now I have an excuse to write, write, write up a storm, and I probably won't hear too much grief about how much time I am spending on the laptop.

Unfortunately, anticipation made way for TRIBULATION when the month started and I still didn't have a plot, characters, anything even remotely creative to throw on paper. So what did I do? I started two ... that's right, two ... different stories on November 1st. I started with one story, switched to another and wrote over 2200 words in that vein, and then returned to the original. I am considering the other story to be written another time, but for this month it was a good way to get the creative juices flowing and at least some words on paper.

Now, I am feeling some JUBILATION (almost). The almost is because I have managed to write over 7K words on my original story, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to stretch it out into 50,000 words. However, I know that if I am going to do anything this month, I can't allow myself to fall into questioning when I am doing ... this is the month to push my doubts away and just write furiously. It has been too long since I allowed myself to just create without worrying that it was worth it, and it feels good to get to that point again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I find it an interesting coincidence that the title of this post reflects two things ... 1) My (almost) age; and 2) the score I received on Dr. Phil's test. Below are the questions and scoring rubric, in case you want to take this test yourself; if you do take the test, please post your score in the comments to this post. Thanks!


Dr. Phil's Test

Below is Dr. Phil's test. (Dr. Phil scored 55; he did this test on the Oprah show - she got a 38.) Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out!

Don't be overly sensitive! The following is pretty accurate and it only takes 2 minutes. Don't peek, but begin the test as you scroll down and answer.

Answers are for who you are now --- not who you were in the past. Have pen or pencil and paper ready.

This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 Simple questions, so grab a pencil and paper to keep track of your letter answers to each question.



1. When do you feel at your best?
a) In the morning.
b) During the afternoon and early evening.
c) Late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) Fairly fast, with long steps
b) Fairly fast, with little steps
c) Less fast, head up, looking the world in the face
d) Less fast, head down
e) Very slowly

3. When talking to people you...
a) Stand with your arms folded
b) Have your hands clasped
c) Have one or both hands on your hips
d) Touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) Play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with...
a) Your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) Your legs crossed
c) Your legs stretched out or straight
d) One leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) A big appreciative laugh
b) A laugh, but not a loud one
c) A quiet chuckle
d) A sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) Make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) Make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) Make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted. You...
a) Welcome the break
b) Feel extremely irritated
c) Vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
b) Black
c) Yellow or light blue
d) Green
e) Dark blue or purple
f) White
g) Brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are...
a) Stretched out on your back
b) Stretched out face down on your stomach
c) On your side, slightly curled
d) With your head on one arm
e) With your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) Falling
b) Fighting or struggling
c) Searching for something o r somebody
d) Flying or floating
e) You usually have dreamless sleep
f) Your dreams are always pleasant

1. a=2 b=4 c=6
2. a=6 b=4 c=7 d=2 e=1
3. a=4 b=2 c=5 d=7 e=6
4. a=4 b=6 c=2 d=1
5. a=6 b=4 c=3 d=5
6. a=6 b=4 c=2
7. a=6 b=2 c=4
8. a=6 b=7 c=5 d=4 e=3 f=2 g=1
9. a=7 b=6 c=4 d=2 e=1
10. a=4 b=2 c=3 d=5 e=6 f=1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and the n, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you’re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


If it were up to me, I would sell (almost) everything in my house for $50,000 dollars, and then I would use that money to start over. With $50,000 I could get the things that are really necessary (shelter, clothing, food) and enough "extras" to keep my kids and me going for quite some time. I could probably manage to do that with $20,000, but then whoever got what I currently own would be getting quite the bargain.
The things I would keep:
  • Photos
  • Vacuum cleaner ... this is an old canister vac (belonged to my Grandmother); it is the best vacuum cleaner I have ever owned.
  • Shredder ... purchased this year, and this is one of those "indispensible" items.
  • Stereo ... this gets used pretty regularly, so it's either keep this one or purchase another.
  • Sewing machine ... I don't use it very often, but Owl does
  • Some clothing ... mostly things for the kids, although there are a very few items of my own that I wear often enough to keep.
  • The hanging wicker chair my parents bought for me when we lived in Italy; every time anyone sits it in they declare it to be their favorite chair.
  • Music ... nearly all the CDs I own and everything purchased electronically. I'd probably have to purchase an external hard drive to remove the items from my current computer so I could put them on the new computer I'd buy.
The things I would replace:
  • Computer ... I would purchase a laptop rather than a desktop, mostly for the convenience of portability, but also because most current laptops are faster than my old dinosaur.
  • Kitchen items ... pots, pans, dishes, cups, utensils. I don't think I'd take anything from my current kitchen (although maybe the two frying pans I purchased this weekend).
  • Clothing
Things I might replace:
  • Books (although we have a great local library...)
  • TV/VCR/DVD Player
  • DVDs ... this, of course, would depend upon the previous line
Of course, I'm sure that there are other things I would come across in the process of boxing up my current belongings to give to the new owner. Also, since this type of decision is currently not completely up to me, this is just a "pipe dream".

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Recycling ... In The Extreme

I try to recycle; and for my area, I think I do a pretty good job. Sadly, this past summer, our University recycling center closed to the public; they now only provide services to the University. There is (and has been for some time) a recycling center that provided more services ... including taking used oil and batteries ... but that is about 15 miles from our house; with gasoline nearly $4/gallon and the relative size of the house in which I live, it is not feasible for me to store the recycling items long enough to make a single trip worthwhile. Therefore, I have had to reduce my recycling efforts to: 1) cardboard - corrugated and the paper that is used to make cereal boxes; 2) paper - mixed and shredded paper; 3) cans - aluminum and tin; 4) glass; 5) plastic - milk jugs and soda pop bottles. This is a much shorter list than I am used to, and it has had an effect on the amount of trash going into our barrel for pick-up. :(

However, even as hard-core as I have been, there are some things that I never would have considered as recyclable. Take, for instance, this article from I understand, on a conscious level, that condoms are made from rubber, and that rubber BANDS are the core of your typical hair band. I also understand, on that same conscious level, that some of the condoms used in the hair bands in question were found to be inferior at the factory and were never used for their original intended purpose. Unfortunately, even having that knowledge at the conscious level does not keep me from having the initial reaction of disgust.

Additionally, when it becomes clear from the article that not all of the condoms used inside the hair bands were sent directly from the factory, but instead may have been recycled AFTER use ... disgust and outrage battle for the upper hand … and end with a resounding EWWWWWWW!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I have been reading a book, The Marriage Sabbatical, and I must admit that I have been in a much better mood than I’ve felt in a long time. My mind is caught up in the possibilities; racing headlong into the fantasy of solitude, freedom, adventure. If I were to get such an opportunity, I would like to take at least three months, and I would use that time to focus on three things: 1) writing without interrupting; 2) exercising regularly; 3) eating more health consciously. I would surround myself with music (I suspect that, quite often, it would be louder than my family likes) and not much else; material things are of little consequence.

However, I don’t know if I would actually take a sabbatical from work – I probably couldn’t afford to take more than a month away – nor do I know if I would simply use the time to live separately (to live alone, for the first time ever in my life) and reflect for personal growth, or if I would use the sabbatical for more formal study.

For as long as I can remember, since I first had the ability, I have written. Short stories, poems, personal journals (not the food-tracking kind), novels – I have been writing “novels” for years, though not with much success. Unfortunately, I haven’t written as much in past years as I had when I was younger, taking lengthy breaks between frantic writing stints (my last major effort occurring November 2007 during NaNoWriMo). Feeling this way and knowing that I want to write, that I HAVE TO write or my soul withers, I have been considering returning to school to obtain a degree, either Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or a Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing. I would prefer an MFA. According to the University of Idaho website, “The M.F.A. is the terminal degree for those wishing to teach creative writing at the college or university level.” Although I enjoy my job, it is just that … a job. I would like something more fulfilling, and I definitely believe that writing creatively (and possibly teaching creative writing) is my niche.

Now I just have to be determined, be willing to make the necessary sacrifices, be willing to step outside my comfort zone, and I CAN do this.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is Procrastination Healthy?

Seriously, Is Procrastination Healthy? is an actual article and, being the procrastinator that I am, I just had to check it out. Here's what I learned:

Procrastination is good (i.e., "The peculiar genius of desperation and 4 a.m. logic is a fecund contributor to the national product."), except when it isn't (e.g., "When relationships are ruined, spouses feel betrayed, bosses are disgusted, and a person is frozen, frustrated, and disillusioned with that nonperformer staring back in the mirror ... procrastination is an enemy to mental health.").

Also, did you know that there are six different types of procrastinators? 1) Perfectionists, 2) Dreamers, 3) Crisis Makers, 4) Worriers, 5) Defiers, 5) Overdoers (all defined in the article). What I want to know is … what if someone falls into more than one category? For example, I tend to be a dreamer and a perfectionist (although occasionally I am either a worrier or a defier).

Furthermore, research has shown that procrastinators don’t benefit from time-management training because procrastinating is not an inability to manage time, but a “glitch” in the procrastinators’ personality style. So … in order to overcome the tendency to procrastinate, or at least to reduce the frequency, the procrastinator has to change her thinking.

I know that sometimes procrastination is healthy, but, when it comes to my writing, I’m the dreaming perfectionist who never gets started … I’ve been meaning to edit my NaNoWriMo 2007 novel, and I haven’t even begun the process (which includes printing the document out, single-sided and double-spaced, and reading through it with pen in hand). However, this procrastination article, and several other books I have been reading, just might get me started.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I realized that by turning Unearth My Muse into a weight-loss blog, I am being unfair to myself. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against weight-loss blogs (just check out my blogroll). I absolutely LOVE PastaQueen (formerly Half of Me), and The Diet Naked Blog led me to Mel … and her other site, Actual Unretouched Photo. Some day, when I’m worthy, I hope to meet her (and possibly introduce my brood to hers).

However, in turning MY blog into one solely about weight-loss, I am taking the easy (for me) way out. A review of my first post, and my sub-title, shows something of my original goals. First and foremost, this is supposed to be a place where I can stretch and exercise my writing muscles. Secondly, it is a place to record the happenings of each day so that someday, when I am old(er) and gray(er), I can come back and be reminded of my day-to-day life.

That being said, I might still comment on my weight and anything weight-loss-related that strikes my fancy. However, I am not going to limit myself to one relatively narrow focus.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


According to, my daily intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) should be:

6 oz. grains
2 ½ C. vegetables
2 C. fruits
3 C. milk
5 ½ oz. meat & beans
Limit solid fats and sugars to 265 calories a day.

Here’s how I think I can apply this to a plan for losing weight:

4 - 1-oz. servings of while grain bread/crackers/brown rice (2 oz. less than recommended)
5 - ½-C. servings of vegetables; 1 serving for a snack and 2 servings at both lunch and dinner
3 - ½-C. servings of fruit; 1 with breakfast, 1 with lunch and 1 for a snack/dessert
3 - 1-C. servings of milk; 1 C. fat free milk with each meal
2 servings of meat or beans, 1 each at lunch and dinner
1 sweet treat ≤ 100 calories

Now I just have to apply this philosophy and begin exercising on a daily basis, and I should see some (happy) results.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh, no!

This morning’s weight = 194.4 lb. Ugh! I wish I could be happy with my body; D is always telling me how gorgeous I am. Unfortunately, I don't feel gorgeous. I don't even feel pretty. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that I’m ugly; -- (most) people don’t turn from me in disgust or fear -- and I have some features that I actually like … pretty eyes, nice cheekbones … but for the most part, I don’t feel like any special.

Why is weight such a big deal for me? I’ve had people outside my family show surprise when I mention my weight. One person even told me, “You wear it well.” Unfortunately, I just don’t feel attractive, or that I’m wearing it well. And it is more than the number on the scale (although that is a big part of it); I also know that I am not in good health … I get winded going up the stairs at work; my feet hurt all the time; I can’t walk faster than a 15-minute-mile without my heart pounding. For my own health and the sake of my children, I need to make better choices with my food and my activity choices.

I know that what will work best: 1) track everything that goes into my mouth AND 2) exercise regularly. Unfortunately, I am losing the battle with keeping a clean-enough living space for regular exercise at home, and the bad-weather months are on their way, so I’m probably going to have to get a gym/fitness center membership … then I’ll actually have to use it. Also, I am atrocious at tracking my intake; I’m just not that dedicated (or organized). Further, I give in to temptation way to easily (no willpower WHATSOEVER); and there are so many tempting things. You see my dilemma.

But, if anybody cares (other than me), I’m not giving up. I’m going to keep working at this.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Weight

It's only been a week, but it feels like longer. I didn't weigh in on Monday ... because I forgot to weigh myself. I was headed out of town for a 1.5 day seminar in Seattle, WA and in the rush to get everyone else ready for the day, and then finish my own packing and getting myself out the door, I didn't get around to weighing myself.

Also, while I was gone, I made use of the hotel fitness room on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings; I used an elliptical machine for the first time Tuesday morning, and managed ten minutes before the program I selected became much too difficult to continue. Then I moved to the treadmill and walked for another ten minutes. On Wednesday, I used the treadmill and walked for just under fifteen minutes, completing a mile. I then did some leg lifts to work my abs. I've continued with a few small crunches to work my abs, and also did some squats while waiting for the water in the shower in reach an acceptable temperature yesterday. My current goal is to incorporate exercise in my daily routine, so that it becomes, well, routine.

Oh, and yesterday I also went with my son's Cub Scout troop for a hike; we spent about two hours on the path, about an hour spent climbing the trail, fifteen minutes milling around at the summit, and 45 minutes coming down. That was quite a workout.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow if any of this activity, paired with my new habit of eating only when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm full, has caused any change in my weight.

Friday, September 05, 2008


D is out of town this week, attending the Photoshop World Conference in Las Vegas. He has reported to enjoying himself, though he has expressed surprise and shock at the cost of food. Apparently the low-cost buffets are the stuff of legends; started on a grain of truth but no longer based on reality.

I find myself wanting to take advantage of this time "alone" (I'm not really alone, as the kids remain in my care). Just some of the things I want to do: 1) Watch movies - D and I have such different tastes in movies that I feel I should use the opportunity to watch my action films; 2) Read books; 3) Write - I haven't done any significant writing in months; not since completing NaNoWriMo last year; 4) Exercise; 5) Eat like I'm on vacation - raw cookie dough and Dr. Pepper while watching afore-mentioned action movie(s) [takes me back to weekends in College with my girlfriends]; 6) Sleep.

I am torn as to which activity to give my attention to, so I am ending up doing (almost) none of the above; I did get some extra sleep because Lumpy went to sleep with me one night, and Tigger did the next night (earlier going-to-bed time for me so each of them will get enough sleep). I act as Tigger did earlier tonight while trying to decide what to have for dinner -- I treated the kids to TV dinners -- there were so many that he wanted to try that he was unable to settle on a single item. I think he finally just opened the freezer door, closed his eyes, and reached.

Unfortunately, in my indecision, I have managed to let the time pass without doing any of the things outlined above. Not that the time was a total waste, as I have managed to write this post and also listen to some wonderful music, but it has passed without my full attention and, thus, is now lost.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Weight Update

I know, I know. I didn't update this blog with my weight last Monday ... which is surprising considering that my weight was (slightly) lower last week; on Monday I weighed 196.8, down 0.2 from the previous week. This week, however, I am happy to report that there has been a more significant loss. My weight this morning was 193.4. Woohoo! I am trying to follow the guidelines in The Weigh Down Diet; eat whatever food I want, but only eat it when my body is truly hungry, take the time to eat slowly, drink a calorie-free beverage (water or tea) with my meal, and stop eating when I feel full. I also tracked my caloric intake for a couple days last week, but I am not very good at doing that. Other than that ... the loss is a mystery. I haven't started exercising, yet (I plan to start tomorrow, with either a quick workout in the morning, if I wake up early enough, or a walk during my lunch).
With my goal to lose 50 pounds before my birthday in 2009 (mid-November), I better get to work.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mixed Bag

D and I passed our 10th Anniversary on Friday. SHOCKING! We each took the entire day from work to spend time together; a big breakfast at The Old European restaurant (open daily from 6am-2pm) , "The House Bunny" at the movie theater, a large seafood meal at home with the kids, and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" after the kids were in bed. Surprising, I know, but neither D nor I had ever seen "Fast Times..." prior to Friday night. We also watched "Used Cars", a Kurt Russell movie from 1980, last night.


Unofficial Movie Review: The House Bunny. This movie is rated PG-13, and I think that might be a little too relaxed: adult content (scantily clad women, frequent innuendo) is highly inappropriate for young teenagers. However, even though I was skeptical, I did enjoy the movie. I would not purchase or purposely re-watch this movie, but it was good for some laughs. Rating: 3 stars (out of five).


The school year is about to begin, and even though classes don't start until Wednesday, we have school-related activities tomorrow (Kindergarten Orientation Night) and Tuesday (Back-to-School Night at the elementary school). I am also leaving work early tomorrow to have a special lunch and one-on-one time with Owl since she is about to start High School. I'll try to report on that later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


As of yesterday morning, I am the heaviest I have ever been, with the exception of my second pregnancy -- I weighed 199 pounds on the eve of Tigger's birth. I don't know why, but at some point in my life I promised myself that I would never weigh more than 200 pounds, and I have been diligently battling food for (most of) the past twenty years to make sure I kept that promise, previously afore-mentioned pregnancy excluded. I am now dangerously close to breaking that promise, and I am almost frantic in my desire to keep that from occurring.

Last month, I thought I had found an answer … the Weigh Down Diet. Of course, I thought The South Beach Diet was the answer before that, along with the 3-day Fruit Flush diet, The Atkins Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, etc. As I mentioned, I have been taking part in a prolonged conflict with food for more than half my life; they say that hindsight is 20-20 and I look back at my 135-pound high school self and regret all the time I was unhappy with my weight and build. I was a cheerleader my senior year, and I wanted to be the girl that was thrown into the air, but I had to accept my status as “base”.

For my current self, I know that the weight I am carrying around is not healthy … I get winded going up stairs, my ankles and feet hurt almost constantly, my waist measurement is 39”, my BMI is >30. I realize that I must make changes in order to lose some of this weight, and it can’t be another diet that calls for drastic changes. In fact, I now believe that a diet is not the answer at all. I need to add physical activity into my day. Certainly healthy food choices will also be necessary, but throughout the war I have relied on controlling the food rather than on exercise. That is about to change.

My goals:
1. I will achieve at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days per week.
2. I will use exercise bands to achieve three days of strength training each week.
3. I will post my weight on this web site every Monday.
4. I will post any insight as to weight fluctuations, up or down.

I will appreciate any support you provide (be it through your comments or your prayers).

Oh, and my weight as of yesterday morning was 197 pounds.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day of Fun (and relaxation)

We had a bit of fun today. I hope these are memories the kids will keep:

First a little back-story -- on Friday D and I purchased another vehicle … three months ago we had two, now we have four (and there are still only two drivers in our house). Anyway, through the generosity of D’s mom (“Thanks, Mom!”), we were able to purchase a 1996 Chevy Astro. Today we all took a ride, to the local Baskin Robbins. Each of us got a milkshake: Oreo Explosions for Owl and Tigger, Peppermint for D, Mint Chip for me and Strawberry Cheesecake for Lumpy (most of hers is still in the freezer).

When we got home, D had to leave again -- he has training for work in the nearest metropolis (far enough to drive, too far to come home every night) -- so the kids and I went to the local outdoor swimming pool. We stayed about 80 minutes. Lumpy was having a great time, but her lips were purple within the first half hour; as her teacher has pointed out, she has “no insulation.” Tigger kept bouncing off the high diving board; I jumped once and then dove off the lower board a few times. Owl and I, alternately, watched Lumpy working on her swimming and doing handstands. Although Lumpy rarely let go of the side of the pool, she did work on putting her face in the water and “swimming feet.”

I’m not sure why I’d not thought to visit the pool earlier this summer, and with only 9 days left before school begins, there aren’t that many more opportunities for us to swim, but we might try to go back again before the summer is officially over …

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back To School

Eight hours (over two days) and $376 dollars later, three intrepid adventurers have been outfitted for the next phase of their respective educational journeys; Lumpy begins, Tigger slogs on, and Owl can see the summit – it is distant, but within sight. That's right, as of the last week of August, all three children will be attending the local public school. I am both terrified and exhilarated by this knowledge. I feel, alternately, ready for, and bewildered by, the speed with which this is occurring. We only moved into this house yesterday; Lumpy was 4 weeks old, Tigger had a year to go before Kindergarten, and Owl was beginning 4th Grade -- now Lumpy is beginning Kindergarten, Tigger has taken Owl’s place in 4th Grade, and Owl is entering High School (FRESHMAN YEAR!!!!). Aaaagh! How did I get here?

On a positive note, Lumpy now shows excitement about starting school; up until Friday she was still showing more anxiety than any other emotion. With more than two weeks left before school begins, she was sorting through her new clothes to decide in which order she would wear them. Shopping for her was surprisingly simple; once she determined that the clothes fit, she wanted them all.

Tigger didn’t initially want to look for clothing at ShopKo; he wanted to go to the Old Navy store. After a quick cell phone conversation with D, though, he was ready; he ended up picking three new pairs of pants and six shirts (three polo’s and three t-shirts that can be worn separately or paired). His favorite pants are camouflage-pattern cargo pants; lots of pockets and a canvas belt.

Owl is so slender that almost anything looks good on her, and she also has a very good fashion sense. I’ll admit, the fact that shirts are now longer than in past years also pleases me mightily, and she has embraced that style wholeheartedly; it just works to make her look even taller and more slender.

Although the process wore me out, I’m glad that we did it now rather than waiting … the sheer number of other shoppers on the weekend before school is exhausting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Many topics, no cohesion

I've added a new blog to my sidebar; A Kiss, A Hug, and A Squeeze. I only found this blog today; and I am already in love with Alana's writing. How often do you come across something where, within just a few lines, you find that you can SO TOTALLY RELATE? That's what happened to me today when I started reading this blog. I am going to have to make some time to read her archives...


I haven't done a good job of posting about my weight and diet and such on this blog ... because I haven't been doing much to lower my weight, or making a healthy 'life change' regarding my diet, and I certainly have not been exercising. Part of this is because of my (poor) eating habits; 1) I am an emotional eater, so I eat when I'm angry or sad (which seems to be most of the time these days); 2) I am a mindless eater, so I eat whenever I am doing something that doesn't keep my hands busy (i.e., reading or watching television); 3) I am lazy, so I don't take the time to prepare healthy snacks, so when I reach for something (see #2 and #3 above), I choose unhealthy options (i.e., frozen ice cream treats, chips, uncooked pasta [macaroni, rotini, or angel hair are my favorites]). Part of this can also be attributed to my poor sleep habits; I don't go to bed early enough to get up early enough to exercise in the morning, and if I exercise in the evening I won't be able to sleep.


I recently bought a new (toy) tool. A Whirlpool Duet Sport with the Sanitary Wash cycle. I have been "outsourcing" my laundry, at least the washing part, for several months; unfortunately, that does not mean that somebody else has been doing it, that just means that I have been leaving my home. However, I did get the washing machine for a $70 discount because it was the last one in stock, and it has a VERY small dent on the top, and I. HEART. THIS. MACHINE! It is more than just being able to stay home to get this chore done: it is extremely efficient in both water and detergent usage, it will wash enough clothing at once time that I have to split the load in two for the dryer, the clothes don't take as long to get dry.... I could go on, but I'd rather not be a bore.


I need to keep a notebook with blog post ideas. The ideas come to me when I am far away from my computer, and by the time I get a chance to type ... poof! ... the ideas are gone. However, I am determined not to purchase another notebook for this purpose. I am a lover of paper, especially bound into a cute and/or useful notebook, and I should have more than sufficient resources already available to preclude another purchase. I have to admit, though, that this is a test ... and I hope to pass.


I think I know why Owl really likes ellipses. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I am entering a contest. Here's to winning (maybe)...

This video is called: How to lose 192 pounds in 7 seconds

Pasta Queen is one of my favorite bloggers, and I really want to read her book (but it hasn't become available at the library yet ... and I'm really cheap). If you want to take part in this contest, go here:

Good luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I'm feeling a little down right now. I realize that is one of the symptoms of my condition, but it seems to have been more pervasive lately; I guess I need to go back to my counselor for another session, and I should also be better about taking my prescription regularly.
There have been reasons for the sadness, too. Foremost: our family pet, our precious "Bijou", passed away sometime in the wee hours of the morning the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. She had hyperthyroidism and had lost a significant amount of weight, so it was not a total surprise. That does not, however, make it any less heartbreaking. To make matters worse, Tigger found her when he woke up that morning. He really loved her (probably still does); the first thing he did every morning and the last thing he did at night was to find her so he could pet her and give her hugs ... she obviously loved him, too, because she tolerated him following her around. I feel guilty because she died alone; not that I think our being with her would have stopped anything, but there is still the guilt. Also, it seems that she knew what was happening; all of us have recollections of her coming and spending at least a brief period of time with each of us, alone, that last evening. As Lumpy says, "She was saying good-bye." I think Lumpy is correct.
Here is a picture of her, before she got so sick and thin. Please excuse the quality of the photo; it was snapped with a cell phone camera.
As you can see, she was a beautiful grey tabby. What you can't see is that her fur was extremely soft and plush. She had lighter markings on her chest and belly. Aside from her physical characteristics, she was also extremely playful and an excellent mouser. Although D found her as a kitten, she was living with his parents when we met. She came to live with us after we discovered mice in our kitchen; she was barely through the front door when she saw the mouse boldly sauntering across our kitchen floor; that was his last saunter ... I had never seen a cat move so quickly. We never saw anything else of that mouse, either.
We called her our "Lion Tamer." We had an old stuffed lion that we gave to Bijou for her own; she would toss it in the air and catch it, roll on it, etc. The most memorable actions, though, was when she would grab it with her front claws, latch onto one of its ears or the scalp (for lack of a better word) between the ears with her teeth, and then rip at the rest with her hind claws. Owl still has the remains of that stuffed animal in her room ... the head, tail and paws are relatively intact, but there are only strips of fabric holding them together; the stuffing from the torso is completely gone, strewn hither and yon.
Bijou was also a bit clairvoyant ... she knew that I was pregnant with Tigger, and then again with Lumpy, before D and I even knew I was pregnant. Of course, her way of letting me know was less than pleasant - she would stand away from me and make this hissing noise deep in her throat, like she was trying to hiss past a hairball, and every time I tried to walk by her she would attack my feet. This behavior continued through to the end of both of my pregnancies, only letting up when we came home with each baby. It's not that she seemed especially interested in either one at that stage, but she was less prone to treating my feet like they were invading her territory.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Three Months

Wow! It's been three months since I posted anything here ... and the time has alternately raced by at supersonic speed and crawled like a slug on ice.

Anyway, I figure that I have been going at this all wrong. I originally came here to find, to uncover, to UNEARTH my muse, if you will. Unfortunately, she appears to be taking a hiatus. I think she's hiding because I have been waiting for her to sneak up behind me and strike me dumb with her inspiration; I don't think she likes physical violence. She may also believe that "God helps those who help themselves."

So, rather than waiting for my muse to clout me randomly with motivation, I have decided it is time for me to do what I love to do ... and that is to write. "I write for the same reason I breathe; because I would die if I didn't." I think I paraphrased that poorly, and I don't know who to thank, but it is definitely how I feel.

I can hear you now. "Ha, ha. Obviously that is not true, because she hasn't written for three months, so she would be dead." But in actuality I have been writing; just not here. As time permits, I may share some of my off-line thoughts and words; or I may just have so much to write (and I'm sure you are all waiting anxiously) that is new that I don't have time to share the old stuff.

So that's how things are going to be.

Oh, and I am still trying to lose weight. I am starting the "South Beach Diet: Supercharged" on Monday, June 23. I will post my starting (again) information at that time. I could ask that you wish me luck, but I would prefer that you wish me willpower and stamina.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Big, Fun, Scary Adventure replayed

Wow! It has been over one-and-one-half months since my last post. I guess that's one of the Big, Fun, Scary Adventure goals where I'm not going to succeed. In fact, I have altered my Big, Fun, Scary Adventure goals (slightly for some, more drastically for others. Here are my changes (since I couldn't figure out how to make this show up on the side bar:

1. Take part in NaNoEdMo 2008 using Edit my NaNoWriMo 2007 novel 'Station Slvation'.
2. Lose at least 20 pounds, but hopefully more like 30 pounds.
3. Exercise in a fun way (yoga, dance, kick boxing) at least four times per week, 30-minutes per session, starting now (March 19, 2008).

1. Learn to play the violin/fiddle.
2. Write and post on my blog at least three times every week.
3. Take part in NaNoWriMo 2008 and win, again.

1. Teach my 4-year-old to read using 'Hooked on Phonics'.
Any goal that is no longer possible, because of failure to do it yet, has been shaded in gray. New additions or alterations are in bold. Not that I am so bold as to assume that anybody is reading this ... just for my own recollections in future.
I am also going to join Mel and "Diet Naked." Beginning next Monday, the day after Easter, I am going to diet the G.I. Diet way. I am going to plan and prepare my meals the day before; I will not come home at lunch but instead will use that time to eat sensibly and get some walking in; and I will start an exercise streak with a goal to exercise every day. If that doesn't help me to get started on "Big" goal #2, then nothing will.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Feng Shui Horoscope - Part 3

Finally, the meaning to the answers:

1. Which is your favorite color: Red, Black, Blue, Green or Yellow?
Red - You are alert and your life is full of love.
Black - You are conservative and aggressive.
Green - Your soul is relaxed and you are laid back.
Blue - You are spontaneous and love affection.
Yellow - You are a very happy person and give good advice to those who are down.
2. Your first initial?
A-K - You have a lot of love and friendships in your life.
L-R - You try to live your life to the max and your love life is soon to bloom.
S-Z - You like to help others and your future looks very bright.
3. Your month of birth?
Jan-Mar: The year will go very well for you and you will discover that you fall in love with someone totally unexpected.
Apr-Jun: You will have a strong love relationship that will last forever.
Jul-Sept: You will have a great year and will experience a major life-changing experience for the good.
Oct-Dec: Your life will be great; you will find your soul mate.
4. Which color do you like more: Black or White?
Black: Your life is about to get better. You are more than ready for the change.
White: You have a friend who completely confides in you and would do anything for you, but you may not realize it.
5. The name of a person that is the same sex as you?
This person should be your best friend.
6. Your favorite number?
This is how many close friends you will have in your life time.
7. Do you like California or Florida more?
California: You like adventure.
Florida: You are a laid back person.
8. Do you like a lake or the ocean more?
Lake: You are loyal to your friends and your lover. You are very reserved.
Ocean: You are spontaneous and like to please people.

So, based on my answers:
I am spontaneous and love affection. I have a lot of love and friendships in my life. My life will be great; I will find my soul mate. My life is about to get better and I am more than ready for the change. Carrie should be my best friend. I should have twelve close friends in my life time. I like adventure. I am spontaneous and like to please people.
While I don't know that everything listed here is accurate, some of it rings true (very true).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feng Shui Horoscope - Part 2

As promised, here are my answers to the Feng Shui Horoscope.

1. Which is your favorite color: Red, Black, Blue, Green or Yellow? Blue
2. Your first initial? B
3. Your month of birth? November
4. Which color do you like more: Black or White? Black
5. The name of a person that is the same sex as you? Carrie
6. Your favorite number? 12
7. Do you like California or Florida more? California
8. Do you like a lake or the ocean more? Ocean

Tomorrow, the answers!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Feng Shui Horoscope

I received this in the form of an e-mail forward, and though I am not going to forward it along, I am going to provide this as a three-part post. First, the questions. Second, my answers. The third post, will be an explanation of the answers (and if you play along, you'll be able to see the meaning of your own answers, too).

Here are the questions:

1. Which is your favorite color: Red, Black, Blue, Green or Yellow?
2. Your first initial?
3. Your month of birth?
4. Which color do you like more: Black or White?
5. The name of a person that is the same sex as you?
6. Your favorite number?
7. Do you like California or Florida more?
8. Do you like a lake or the ocean more?

I'll leave out the ninth line, where you are supposed to write down a REALISTIC wish, and the forwarding requirements.

Come back soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A 'Getting to Know You' Activity

1. Were you named after anyone?
Not particularly ... my mom found my name in the Bible and liked it.
2. When was the last time you cried?
Can't remember
3. Do you like your handwriting?
Usually not, although I like my signature.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat?
Roast beef (preferably with cheddar cheese on a croissant and heated; or on a french dip sub).
5. Do you have kids?
Yes: Owl - 14-years; Tigger - 8-years; Lumpy - 4-years.
6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Yeah, I'm a likeable person. :)
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Who, me? ;)
8. Do you still have your tonsils?
9. Would you bungee jump?
Only if I had to (i.e., to save a life).
10. What is your favorite cereal?
Cracklin' Oat Bran (my husband calls it 'cat treats')
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
If they have laces, every time.
12. Do you think you are strong?
Not really, either physically or emotionally.
13. What is your favorite ice cream?
I can't remember the name, but it has swirls of raspberry sherbet and chunks of chocolate.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Their smile ... and if they smile often.
15. Red or pink?
16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
Being overweight and out-of-shape... does that count as 2 things?
17. Who do you miss the most?
My grandfather.
18. What color pants and shoes/socks are you wearing?
Red and blue plaid pajama bottoms and tan 'memory foam' slippers.
19. What was the last thing you ate?
Steak fries dipper in tartar sauce
20. What are you listening to right now?
21. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
A deep jewel color; probably a purple.
22. Favorite smells?
My childrens' hair when it is clean; chocolate; raspberry; pumpkin pie spice (cloves and cinnamon, especially); evergreen trees, oranges, citrus-scented cleaners.
23. Who was the last person you spoke with on the phone?
My husband.
24. Favorite sports to watch?
Winter olympics skating events; baseball - in person; local college football - in person; Summer Olympics - gymnastics
25. Hair color?
Light brown (although my youngest says it is 'yellow, like mine.')
26. Eye color?
Most people say green; some say blue ... some of both.
27. Do you wear contacts?
No, although I used to.
28. Favorite food?
Steak with A-1 sauce or horseradish. Almost anything somebody else cooked.
29. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings, definitely!
30. Last movie you watched?
Evan Almighty
31. What color shirt are you wearing?
Navy blue 'hoodie' sweatshirt with "Magic Kingdom / 2005 / Walt Disney World" printed on it.
32. Summer or winter?
Neither ... Spring
33. Hugs or kisses?
Both (from family)
34. Favorite dessert?
Ice cream ... or cheesecake.
35. What book are you reading now?
I just finished "I Heard That Song Before" by Mary Higgins Clark.
36. What is on your mouse pad?
Pictures of my kids from a trip we took last year.
37. What did you watch on TV last night?
Didn't watch TV last night; don't watch it very often.
38. Favorite sound?
My kids' laughter.
39. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
Neither, I've "gone country."
40. What is the farthest you have been from home?
Does it count if I lived there? If so, Italy.
41. Do you have a special talent?
I can type very fast ... I write creatively.
42. Where were you born?
43. What time is it now?
6:30 am

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Big, Fun, Scary Adventure

I received an invitation the other day from Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month (better known as NaNoWriMo). The invitation was to take part in Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge 2008.
The Challenge works like this: All of us come up with a list of things that we've long dreamed about doing, making, or being. These can be hard-nosed acts of practical skill-acquisition, such as becoming a ninja and learning to kill people with one's eyebrows. Or they can be fantastical notions such as going back to school and getting a degree in business administration.
To take part in the challenge, you just need to post at least one big, fun, or scary goal for yourself in the BFS forum of the NaNoWriMo site. Then, come January 1, we'll roll up our sleeves, pack a lunch and a change of underwear, and set out into the unknown together.
I am competing, and though it is already the 3rd day of the year and I am slacking on at least one of my challenges, I am going to do my utmost to get back on track and do the things I have listed (check the sidebar, above my blogroll).
If you would like to take part, as well, just go here to sign up.