Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For Everything

My blog has served to be a window to my writer-soul and has allowed creative expression of so many things inside of me. I have crafted memories here on the cyber pages of C U SMYLE. It's been a refreshing way to get to meet new people and grow as a writer and a reader. But, as with everything in life, there comes a time for change. And, while it saddens me to say goodbye, I realize that the time has come to close the blog.

Thank you so much for your readership, comments and encouragement. You've made this such a fun project! ;)

*** *** ***

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Monday, August 17, 2009

Close

You know when there's that thing out there that you just know if you could get close enough to it it would be so life-changing?

....I'm getting close.

I hope to tell you about it soon. In the meantime, Happy Monday, friends. ;)

Friday, August 14, 2009

A One Minute Post

I love the The One-Minute Writer site and I often use it as a quick, fun creative outlet. I haven't had much time to post here lately but I wanted to share with you a response I wrote to one of the prompts on that site.

The prompt: Create a pick-up line.

And, so ....

Did you see that?

Did you see how quickly I went from so-put-together and confident woman to the giddy, awkward, omg I need to talk to you kind-of-girl when you walked into the room?

Please tell me that I can relax now while you buy me a drink?

I should have used that when I met Mr. Smart Guy! But, instead, I was falling all over myself with this weird nervousness and the inability to create logical sentences. lol Thank goodness he liked me anyway! ;)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday

"Love isn't a feeling, it's an ability."

-from the movie Dan in Real Life

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Diary of a Young Woman: Restricted

September 25, 1978

I'M ON RETRICKSHONE for going to the library.

*** *** ***

Apparently, I didn't hone my spelling skills until much later than this diary entry. It's funny the way I capitalized the punishment and not the action or the cause that provoked the punishment.

Ahhhh....just a young girl willing to risk it all to gain one more minute inside the glorious walls of a library and grab the opportunity to discover another world within the pages of someone else's writings.

Dangerous, eh? ;)

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Boat in the Water

A little fiction for the day. ;) I posted this over at Pictures, Poetry & Prose with a photo prompt of a boat sitting in the harbor. Hope you enjoy it.

*** *** ***

That brother of mine! What does he know?

Comes into town all highfalutin and showing off all of his fancy electronic toys and sleek looking car. You'd think he was a superstar on tv the way this town is acting about him. The whole town's done lost their minds! Hmph! If they even had 'em to begin with.

Now, don't get me wrong, there has never been any real competition between John and I. We're just cut from different cloths, I guess. He preferred to run to the big city and become a hot-shot-whatever-he-does and I chose to stay right here and run the family boat.

I never did have much taste for wanting much out of life besides what I have...which I think is everything. My wife, my kids, a decent man's work and a roof over our head.

Well, some may say I'm simple but there's nothing like this moment right here. Ready for the first wakes out into the water just anticipating a big catch for the day.

Ahhh! There ain't no salt in the city like this!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catching Up on Thank You's

Remember way back when Woofstock was happening and Copernicus and I were raising money for a local animal shelter? Well, I didn't formally thank those of you who donated on our behalf so I'd like to do that now, albeit a little late.

Thank you!

We raised $130 for the Richmond Animal League which contributed to the over $9,000 that was raised that day so that animals can continue to receive love, get healthy and enjoy safe living conditions while the animals wait for their forever home.

One of the coolest things that day was a photographer came up to us and said, "May I please take a picture of you and your dog?"

Beaming, as any proud Miniature Schnauzer parent would be, I said, "Of course."

She took a few pictures then handed me her business card and told me that my photos would be up on her website by the end of the day. I was so elated! None of my friends were with me that day to take pictures of us do the Strut Your Mutt walk so having a photographer take our picture was so cool!

Zee, the photographer, has a pretty amazing website so please take a moment and go check it out. Don't you just love how she captured us that day? Thanks, Zee!

Friday, July 24, 2009

On the Road Again

In the words of Willie Nelson...

"On the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again."

It's a Prius with a view! ;)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Monday

Monday I rise
with sleep in my eyes
ready to face the day!

No plans made yet
I'm ready to let
The hours have their way!

I hope to be
a girl - carefree
Allowing joy to stay!

Sweet peace and love
a day that's full of
Contentment all my day!

Have a happy Monday, my friend! ;)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Looking Forward


What's your light at the end of the tunnel?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Calling All Botanists!



Can you name this plant?
It looks and feels similar to an aloe vera plant but in a smaller, wider version.


It was discovered on an impromptu yet hilarious trip to Santa Cruz, CA yesterday. Copernicus was actually the first one to investigate the plant or ground cover or whatever it is because it was everywhere! He was in search of a place to go, if you know what I mean, and he was having a difficult time because California landscape is not what he's used to and change is not his forte.


So with all the business out of the way, we stopped for a few photo opportunities.



We were thrilled that we got to fit another hot spot into her vacation! But, we only had 15 minutes to be there and had to come back to catch her flight. So...

On the way back through the windy, curvy, hilly, oh-no-it's-nauseating trip, my eyes started watering. One eye started twitching. And, then, it was full blown allergic reaction.

My eyes swelled. My throat was tight. I felt like I was going to pass out.

After grabbing two Benadryl's and a shower, I started to stabilize. I am still feeling some after effects today but ....

I really need to know what the plant is. And, I promise, I won't touch it ever again! lol ;)

*** Just a quick update ***

My mom, a long-time Californian, let me in on what this disastrous plant is. It's called California Ice Plant and now I shall forever stay away from it. Thanks, Mom!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just Who Will You Be?

I picked up the book on my latest trip to the library, surveyed how small it was and then began to assess whether or not it would be worth reading. Its mere 91 pages that were bound in a 4"x6" format weren't that impressive to me.

...but it was the title, not the author, that hooked me. And, so I borrowed it.

I immediately found myself connected with Maria Shriver, the author, when she described certain phases of life where she lost her identity. Driven, ambitious and full of energy to accomplish much in life, she defined herself in many ways that were similar to ways that I have defined myself in the past.

Her book was written based on, and includes, a speech she gave at a high school graduation that revolved around the question,

Just Who Will You Be?

The emphasis was on who not on what.

....and I find myself in that question. I find myself feeling stripped of identities that provided me with a full sense of myself. The question of who will I be is profoundly applicable.

I am no longer "busy" with

small children

or a career

or anything

that might appear to give me a title or a sense of purpose. And, in that regard, I think am a little lost.

This idea of who not what I will be has planted itself within me at a startling apropos time. Maybe its the springboard for my future?

Just Who Will I Be?


"I've finally learned after all these years that I don't need to define myself with a certain job or a certain name or a certain role in order to tell myself who I am. I've learned that all my roles are simply a part of me - but they're not all of me.

I've learned that by looking at myself apart from my roles - by softening and taking off some of the armor I put on as a child and wore my whole life - I can more clearly see and feel the people around me. Now that I'm not obsessed about whether I measure up to other people's expectations, I've found a new gentleness and kindness in myself, for myself and for others.

Just Who Will You Be
- Maria Shriver

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Unbalanced

I bought the Wii Fit right before all the packing, moving and coastal craziness started. I was so excited because I love my Wii and I had heard nothing but great things about the new Wii Fit.

Well, things have finally settled down so I decided it was time to begin my new workout schedule.

Little did I know that as soon as I entered my height and weight and all of that great information, my Mii got lumpy and was given love handles. Oh! I guess that's really me ??

Ok, well...so I shook off that small insult and went through the balance game section that the system took me to.

OMG!!! How does it know that? Agghh...

But, regardless of the reality checks Nintendo provided me with, I'm still a fan. I love Wii Fit and am so glad I have it.

Wii, anyone?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday

"Not in the goals but in the transitions man is great."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celebration!


The stadium wasn't what I expected at all!

... oh, this is a single A team and not a AAA team?

There wasn't much to eat.
... at least for me, the vegetarian.

I knew I was supposed to "watch out for the ball!!"

... and I was, but my rear end still became the target for said such ball??

Yes! It really did and I have quite a nice 'shiner' to show for it but thought I should spare you the visual scariness of proof. ;) lol Please accept this photo of the actual ball that hit me as solid proof as well as the testimony of Mr. Smart Guy who witnessed the event.


Ahh...but it was still a great celebration amidst those minor details. I hope yours was just as fabulous... but without a bruise on your rear end! ;)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

God Bless the USA


We already know what will happen.

In just a few hours, we'll head out to enjoy our local AAA team's baseball game.

We will cheer our team on with lots of oohs and shouts! We'll eat lots and lots of food! We'll get to know the new players and guess at whether they'll be any good. Innings will pass.
...and hopefully, we will have won.

But as soon as the game ends, the fireworks display will begin. He'll take my hand and we'll sing. We'll sing loud and with all our hearts. We'll sing because we both believe in freedom and liberty. We 'll look at each other with thankful eyes that we have had the honor of defending those very things.

...and, like always, I will start to cry.

The fireworks display and blasting patriotic songs will stir up my patriotism. For it is truer than true, tears will spill down my cheeks as I sing along with a stadium full of people to Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA, and I will mean every word I sing!

...I will gladly stand up,
next to you
and defend her still today.
For there ain't no doubt,
I love this land....

God bless the USA!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Round and Round


.... or what caption would you use to describe it?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clah-Clunk

I put the key into the lock, took a deep breath ... and twisted it to the right.  

The clah-clunk of the releasing mechanism announced that I could enter while the smallest of squeaks emanated from the front door when I pushed it open and stepped inside the foyer.  

I was there for one fairly straightforward and simple reason; to make one last walk-through in the house to make sure we hadn't left anything behind before I signed the documents that transferred ownership to the new owners. But, instead....just as quickly as I entered the foyer, grief came tumbling all around me and memories streamed through my mind's eye and I was drenched in sobbing breaths and fast, salty tears that were a torrent down my cheeks.  

I stepped onto the carpeted stairs and moved one slow, heavy foot up the steps in front of the other until I got to our bedroom and stopped.  I stood in the center of the room, admiring the calming celery green color that Mr. Smart Guy had picked for the wall paint, and I listened. 

And ... 

I heard us talking about and praying for our boys over the years.  I heard us maturing and figuring out how to love each other better.  I heard the last conversation we had in this room finalizing the Coastal Craziness plan and how we knew it would be hard but we knew it was the right choice.  

But, as I stood there, I don't think either one of us knew the depths of difficulty and the emotional toll it would take on us.  I closed the doors quietly shut on the room and turned down the hallway.

**sigh**

I went to the laundry room, still able to smell the fresh linen scent and I watched.

I watched Army Guy, in for the weekend from Virginia Tech, grab his clothes off the clothes rack and head off to put them away.  I saw Dan the Man open the dryer in search of his then-favorite shirt at the time to see if it was clean yet so he could wear it.  I heard Theatre Dude yelling from the laundry room to see if I had washed and/or dried all of his guitar picks that might have been in his jeans pocket when I did laundry 'cause he couldn't find any of his picks.  And, I could see each of our puppies on their first day with us and how we lovingly set up their crated homes in the laundry room.  

I stepped outside of the laundry room and stood on the landing and just looked at all of the open bedroom doors and both of the stairways that went downstairs.  None of the rooms were ever just one boys room.  The rooms have always been interchangeable and have morphed into whatever our family needs were at the time.  

And, I saw them become ...

bedrooms, offices, music rooms, guest rooms, reading rooms, foster guy rooms, Katrina family rooms and ... anyone who needed a safe place to stay for the night away from the chaos of their life kinda rooms.  

And, I could feel my heart swell with love for each person that has been in our home.  I pray that their memories of staying here have made a small but lasting difference in their life.

I began to descend the steps into the living room that opened up with the kitchen.  I could already see the many ...

birthday bashes, cancer-free celebrations, chick nights at the house, Prom pictures, Superbowl parties, Smart Guy and his friends discussing their conspiracy theories, the movies we've watched, Homecoming nights, and, most importantly and most heartwarming, the conversations we've had.  The talks of politics and current events and shopping finds and new recipes and cool new bands and rock concerts and heartbreaks and conflict and careers and purity and freedom and boundaries and love and God.

Lastly, I stood in the foyer. I thought about how many times in the past years I had stood in that very spot saying hello or goodbye to people I love. And, even though I was still sobbing, a smile began to emerge on on my face.  

My family has lived a lot of life within these walls.  

I put the key into the lock, took a deep breath ... and twisted it to the left.  

The clah-clunk of the locking mechanism announced that the door was indeed locked and I was no longer permitted to enter.  

And, now it's their house.  

They don't know it but I prayed for them while I walked into each room of the house.  I asked God that he would bless their family with the fullness of love and joy that we have found while we lived here.  I asked that their pantry would always be full and they would not be hungry beyond their means.  I prayed that their children would find friends in the neighborhood and that they would love going to school and learning.  I prayed for the marriage ... that it would only get better in the years that they call this house their home.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Giving

I saw him from a distance with a small cardboard sign in his hand even though I couldn't make out what he had written on it.  He reminded me of that man I saw in San Francisco a few months ago.   This man, though, stood facing the cars that were coming in the opposite direction of where I was waiting at a stoplight. I watched him hold the sign up gingerly and wait patiently. And, I thought... 

  • He looks pretty clean and well kept for a street beggar.
  • His shoes were in fairly decent shape which is odd.
  • His clothing wasn't ripped nor earth stained, both of which are indicators of a homeless lifestyle.

I thought to myself, "Well, he doesn't look that poor so I guess I won't give him any money." And, then... I remembered what I read yesterday!

"Who are you to pass judgement on the servant of another?  It is before his own master that he stands or falls.  And he will be upheld for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4

I was embarrassed and humiliated by how quick I was to judge this man, this stranger, as though God needed me to decide if the man was poor enough for my standards to receive my help.  Gosh, moments like this one can be so heart leveling and I was leveled!  I was reminded that we all need help in one way or another and it is not our place to decide the worthiness of the recipient but to always be ready to love and to give what we can every chance we get.

Well, the light turned green and I pulled up to Starbucks to get my coffee.  I thought about giving that man on the corner some money, now that my heart was in the right place,  but I didn't have any cash on me at all. Well, lo and behold, I was getting my debit card out of my wallet and peeking out of one of the pockets was the corner of a $20 bill!  A miracle really because I had no idea it was there.  So, I decided to pay for my coffee with the cash and then give the man on the corner the rest of the change.

In order to make my way to the side of the intersection that he was on, I needed to go out of my way and not go directly on the path that would take me to my next destination.  To say the least, I was inconvenienced.  And, so it goes with giving to others.  There should be lots of times when our giving is inconvenient and sacrificial and done with honor towards another.  It moves our motives for giving to be in the place it's supposed to be .... in loving our neighbor more than ourselves.

I weaved through the parking lot to get to the corner that the man was standing on and pulled into the lane nearest him.  I rolled down my window and waved at him.  Thankfully, he saw me and began to make his way towards me.  And, I thought ....

  • His skin looks so weathered and dried out.
  • His walk shows a lopsided gait that favored one side.
  • He had been crying and I saw the shame in his eyes.
I put the dollar bills in his hand and he could barely speak as I greeted him with a "good morning".  He said softly, "It will be now".  

And, at that moment, I was reminded that I'm never too busy or overwhelmed to help someone. 

I pray tonight that he finds shelter, food, friendship and that when you see him ... you'll give much more freely to him than I did.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Change #1

It happened innocently enough. 

There was no motive behind my purchase other than I was out of reading material and needed a new book.  I mean, I had heard a few people talk about it in the past and they raved about how it radically changed them for the better. The topic didn't fall within my normally sought after genres that I bury myself in but, still ... I picked it up off the shelf even though I cringed at the crude and brash title. 


It was the subtitle that got me (like they always do). 

"A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous".

Ok, I do! 

 I bought it.  
I saw me in the subtitle.  
Don't hand me "soft" and "easy" but give it to me straight!  

It did ... and I will never be the same again.

Here's what happened.  I read the book and within hours was completely horrified at the way I've been eating or, to be more exact, at the nonexistent attention that I have given to what I've been eating. No, I'm not talking protein, carbs and fat content here or diet mamby-shmamby... I am talking - where did the food come from in the first place and what is the process of how it gets to my dinner plate.  

The book has a lot of spicy language with some funny jabs at the reader to keep it pretty sassy.  But, the big deal for me, was the book made me stop and really think about the statement - you are what you eat.  And, I realized I was eating crap!
 
So, I've made one radical change, Change #1, with a few others up my sleeve in the upcoming weeks and I'll keep you posted.  

Hang on to your forks and knives, friends, because .... (light drum roll, please)

I am now a vegetarian.  

Or, as Mr. Smart Guy laughed and said, "veg-a-freak-0"! 

Here's why and I've listed the page numbers of the book if ya wanna check it out for yourself:
  • The USDA does NOT protect the population with pure motives and is untrustworthy.  "Many high-ranking staff members at the USDA were employed by, or are otherwise affiliated with, the meat and dairy industries.  And if the group responsible for the safety of meat, poultry and egg products is run by people from the same  industries they're supposed to be protecting us from...well, that would be a conflict of interest.  And it is. An enormous, ridiculous, outrageous, catastrophic conflict of interest." (p93)  
  • The EPA is allowing us to eat an insecticidal protein deemed unsafe for human consumption.  "But the Environmental Protection Agency allows the use of StarLink for livestock feed.  Let humans eat the animals who ate the corn?  That's safe? Duh." (p110)
  • The meat we put on our table most likely came from a slaughterhouse. "Humane protocol calls for animals to be "stunned" before they are slaughtered.  For cows, this means getting a metal bolt shot into the skull and then retracted.  When done properly, using working equipment, this renders the cow unconscious.  But time is money, and slaughterhouses operate at lighting speeds, some killing one animal every three seconds.  Because thousands of frightened, struggling cows are not easy to stun, it is extremely common for a "stunner" to miss his mark.  Panicked hogs, also difficult to "hit", are stunned with an electric device." (p66)   The book goes on to explain the disturbing "bleed rail", hogs thrown into 140-degree scalding water to remove the hair from their bodies, and chickens with their beaks literally chopped off their faces so that won't peck each other and workers because of stress.
  • You are what you eat.  "Assuming you started with a healthy animal (highly unlikely), you've now eaten hormones, pesticides, steroids, antibiotics, fear, grief, and rage.  You are what you eat." (P77)
  • Antibiotics are not an appealing appetizer. "Half of the antibiotics made in the United States each year are administered to farm animals, causing antibiotic resistance in the humans who eat them.  A study at the University of California-Berkely linked eating beef to urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.  It just so happens that the most common infectious disease in women is UTIs.  You do the math. (p45)  
... and there's so much more information in the book!  I know some of it's pretty gross...but I hope you'll think about what you're eating today.  

Remember, you are what you eat.


Signed with love,

~ a one-week vegetarian ~

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Met So-and-So

A few years ago, I was traveling on business and I sat behind him on the plane. His accent was undeniable but I wasn't quite sure it was him....I mean...was it really HIM??!!  He had aged quite a bit and I just wasn't sure I could say with 100% confidence that it was him.  We engaged in a little small talk as we gathered our things from the overhead bin on the plane and that was it.  As I exited the plane I leaned over to the stewardess and asked politely, "Who is that?"  She smiled wide and like an informant overspilling with a juicy tidbit she replied, "Robert Plant".

Robert Plant?  You mean, the Led Zeppelin kind-of Robert Plant?

So I made my way in the small airport to the baggage claim area and there he was. As I stood next to him, I  stole the quick I-don't-want-to-be-seen-gawking kind of glimpses of him while I tried to act nonchalant.  But, inside... I was trying to build up enough courage to ask for an autograph but all of my brain cells were saturated with star-struck immobility.  The baggage rolled off of the conveyor belt, we each picked up our things and parted ways.

*sigh*

I just met Robert Plant.

I quickly called home to relay what had just happened and my elated emotions quickly began to deflate with each skeptical question that was posed to me:

Did you take a picture?  You have a camera phone, ya know!

Did you get his autograph?

So....you have no proof that you actually met and talked to Robert Plant?

I tried to explain as best I could that I got completely and utterly star-struck and that was why I had no proof.  I only had my story and my word that this is indeed truth!

Then, a few months passed and our family was at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum when Mr. Smart Guy spotted Donald Rumsfeld,  the then Secretary of Defense, who was enjoying the museum with family and friends.  Instantly, Mr. Smart Guy and our boys became stalkers trying to get the best picture possible of him.  Plans were quickly being formulated by Dan the Man and Theatre Dude to approach Mr. Rumsfeld and ask for his autograph.  But, in the end, no one had the courage to approach him nor get a photograph with him.

I quickly brought the story back full circle to my encounter with Robert Plant so that they would understand why I had no autograph or photo of him.  I guess sighting someone who is influential in our world does strange things to people, eh?

So, imagine my surprise when just yesterday, I sighted another celebrity in the airport.  My trip back West wasn't planned...it was just a spur of the moment, my-heart-emergency and I needed to be with Mr. Smart Guy!  

My itinerary was simple:

3:30am - leave the house.
5:30am - plane leaves for Philadelphia.
7:10am - plane leaves for San Francisco.

Easy enough, right?  NO! 

I made it to Philadelphia and my flight to San Francisco was cancelled due to maintenance issues.  I stood in line at the customer service counter for 2 and a half grueling hours with my co-passengers in an effort to get re-booked on other flights.  Flying is not glamorous!

Lo and behold, there were no more flights that day on that carrier and so they switched me to a different carrier.  Sadly, I had to wait 6 hours in the airport before we left and to top off the best of the day, I was making a connection in Chicago.  Did I mention that I was awake at 3am that morning?

** ugh **

I finally left Philadelphia and, without any issues, thankfully made it to Chicago.  I had a 2 hour layover and was waiting for my flight to San Francisco when I spotted him.

Still though, I wasn't quite sure it really was him. So, I took a picture just in case it was.  

And, then  .....

It was him!  It was him!

....and I jumped out of my seat and approached him ....

"I'm so sorry to bother you but I love worshipping with you and you are amazing!  ... um, can I take a quick pic of us?"

Ever gracious and truly humble, he obliged and I took our photo.  I shook his hand.  I smiled and complimented him.  And I wished him well.

My friends, I met David Crowder!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dog-gone Good Book

The subtitle of the book, Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics and Organic Pet Food, is what really caught my eye and I just had to read One Nation Under Dog by Michael Schaffer. It was the most statistically driven book I've read to date regarding the 4-legged friend population and the lengths that pet owners now go to so that they feel their animals are well taken care of.  I found myself laughing, and feeling a little guilty, when I found myself within the pages and things quickly came to my attention with how I care for my Miniature Schnauzers:

Yes, both of my puppies go to Doggie Daycare.

Yes, both of my puppies luxuriously lounge on the bed with me and Mr. Smart Guy.

Yes, Mr. Smart Guy is called "Daddy" and I am "Mommy" to our fur babies.

Yes, the puppies' diet is an "upscale, premium food".

Yes, the puppies get lots of toys and treats.

With that being said, I felt right at home within Shaffer's pages.  I am "normal" in the current trends of dog ownership.  The cool thing about this book though is that Schaffer takes a look at the ongoing innards of the pet industry, currently a powerhouse $41 billion dollar generating machine, and how products and services cater to the now 60% of U.S. households who own a pet.

If you're not a dog lover, this read probably won't be for you.  However, if you are like I am and love your dog(s), you'll find lots of information, humor and a reflection of your pet spending habits within the pages of the book.  

"Michael Schaffer has written a thoroughly researched, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud expose of our love affair with the pets in our lives.  Go find yourself in One Nation Under Dog!"
- Nick Trout, Author


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy, er...Crappy Birthday

It began to rise 
Within its confines
Swelling past the edge 
Then spilling over
Into one tear
That turned into many
Forming a river
Of sadness

... and it was a Happy, er .... Crappy Birthday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Phobias

Today, I'm immersed in a different kind of "Dust Covered and Discouraged". Instead of choosing and tossing garments in my closet...I've moved on to the garage and am making different piles this time:

Keep ... Junk ... Goodwill ... Need Mr. Smart Guy to Choose

So, as I've been adding stuff to heaps and mounds of piles,  I happened across yet another can of bug spray! 



Oh, they're not mine .... they are Mr. Smart Guys!  He is the one who has a bee/wasp/hornet/anything-that-buzzes-nearby phobia as is evidenced by my garage findings.  I collected ALL of the cans and just smiled because of a funny memory; I remembered a time early in our marriage when we had pulled up to a fast-food drive through.  He was driving and placed our order and then coasted up to the pickup window when, all of a sudden  ........

he freaked out!!

And, it was just as he was handing me my drink.

He jumped out of the car and started waving his arms around like a crazy man while I was dealing with a spilled drink all over me.  Can't you just see the chaos that ensued after that? lol

Hmm...maybe I should have put a can of spray in the car? ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Dog's Day

I am joining so many others in my community to help raise funds for the Richmond Animal League so that they can continue their mission of providing hope, help and homes for animals in need. They really do some great work! ;)

Copernicus and I are participating in the "Strut Your Mutt" walk on 5/30/09 and are asking...um, begging, you for a donation. Our goal is to raise $500... and we hope you'll help us.

Please visit our secure, online giving page and throw a couple of bucks our way, won't ya? ;)

Thanks!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Pictorial


Prom 2009

Prom 2009

Prom 2009 - The SWAG

A Letter

Strawberry Picking & Eating

First Hike of Spring

So Much Water

Spring!

Spring Musical - GREASE!

Theatre Dude's Solo "Hand Jive"


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hats?

I wonder...how many hats are you wearing in a 24-hour period?

Let me know in the comments section or even on your own blog (just be sure to let me know that's where your answer is).  I'll give you a peek inside my current wardrobe changes, if you'd like ...
  • Real estate negotiator (we're in the final details of having a signed contract)
  • Dog trainer (for the last time, Copernicus, leave the rug alone!)
  • Contract bidder (how much will it cost to have a condensation drain line extended?)
  • Mean mom (no, you may not wear "sag".  I don't care if it's cool. NO!)
  • Chef (vegetable soup and a loaf of homemade bread)
  • Model (subject of an already-late photo project at school)
  • Maid (dishes, laundry, floors...spotless!)
  • Cheerleader (for my favorite on The Biggest Loser)
  • Writer (stretching it a bit but maybe "blogger" would be more accurate)
  • Scheduler (hair, guidance counselor, vet appointment, doctor appointment)
  • Crawl space dweller (braving the environment to prevent standing water)
  • Taxi (I know you're late...ok, I'll take you to school)
  • Wife (loving Mr. Smart Guy from afar)
...no wonder I'm tired!  ;)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Looking Back

Copernicus

He has not allowed himself to be in the moment because he's been so intent on looking back to how things were, instead of how things are, that he refuses to allow himself to be happy.  He has been unruly and stubborn and is just making himself miserable by pining away for things that aren't going to happen.  Unfortunately, he's been caught up in all of the change of our Coastal Craziness and he's letting everyone know exactly how unhappy he is.  

He's been acting out-of-sorts by:

  • grumbling
  • being anti-social
  • chewing the foyer rug 
  • taking toilet papers streams through the house
  • not obeying simple commands on purpose

But, I saw a glimpse of the old him.  Just a small glimpse of a happier puppy who was ok with life for just a moment.  But, it wasn't until I said, "C'mon, Copernicus, let's go for a ride".  And, there, in the moment, I saw my sweet, lovable puppy.

Oh, Copernicus...put your Change Agent cape on and join the rest of us, won't you?  Take all of the change in stride and look at the brighter side - you're an only puppy for a little while.  You don't have to share anything right now and you get all of the treats and walks and lovin' and belly scratchin'.  That sounds like a pretty sweet deal for you, puppy. ;)

In the meantime, I'm doing my part and trying to spend as much time with him as possible. And, repeating, "I love my puppy, I love my puppy, I love my puppy", because things are really getting out of hand.  A rug?  Sheesssh....he didn't even do that as a little puppy guy! 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just in Time

He came home from show choir practice limping and favoring his left foot from being kicked by a choir-mate.  (um, is that even a word?  What on earth do you call a peer show choir person?) Anyway, it took some serious coaxing on my part to get Theatre Dude to agree to having it checked out by the doctor.  He was solely focused on his character in the upcoming 4 performances of "Grease" next weekend and the fact that his "wardrobe" does not include a cast! After much parental persuasion though, he finally acquiesced and we were off to the doctor's office.  

Once there, I quickly found the need to amuse myself while he was getting all checked in so I whipped out my iPhone and snapped a quick picture.  He said, "Mom!  What are you doing?"

I was, of course, giggling!


.... and taking another photo. ;0


1 x-ray
1 nice doctor
2 great nurses

... and we're out the door with:

1 pair of crutches
1 ace bandage
3 prescribed "icings" a day
0 weight on the foot for 3 days
1 more x-ray in 7 days (just to make sure)

Um, did I mention that he's in "Grease" next week with 4 show performances? It's gonna be tough keeping him down!  However, looking on the bright side, he'll get tons of sympathy from the chickies and even be granted permission to ride the elevator at school.  Ahhh...the finer things in life, don't you think?


In all seriousness, I think it's pretty ironic that Theatre Dude played football, offensive and defensive line positions, for 7 consecutive years and didn't sprain or break anything.  Who knew show choir was so dangerous? Sheesh!!

But, I'm thankful that I made it home just in time....to be his momma. ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not so Glamorous

I just wanna rant a little so that I can dispel the myth that my current travel schedule is glamorous...just in case you were thinking that! lol ;)

As I sit in the airport this morning and wait to board my plane, I am keenly aware of the pain involved with flying.  There is a lack of seating that is woefully evident and not accommodating to the mass of travelers in this area.  It's a good thing I got here 2 hours early so that I could get a seat! ;)

Oh, wait...I just had a fabulous idea...."The Spa Spot".  Anyone want to throw in some venture capital monies toward my idea?  It would be a spa setting within the airport where passengers are allowed to peacefully wait for their departing flight at a cost-per-hour fee without:

  • Listening to the extremely loud woman who is talking on her cell phone and can be heard by everyone within a 4-block radius.  And...she's totally oblivious to the fact that others may not want to here her conversation.
  • The screech of the airline employee blasting something unintelligible over the loud speaker is minimized so that I won't require a visit to an audiologist afterward to get checked for permanent damage.
  • Constantly scanning the overcrowded, not-enough-seats in the seating area to ensure that there are no elderly or physically challenged travelers who needs my seat more than I do.  Maybe I could actually relax in my seat and not feel so guilty that I actually have a seat.
  • Soothing aromas would immediately begin to push out the anxious thoughts of flying or being in a plane with a gabillion people or the swine flu and the bummer that no one is wearing masks.  
  • Earthy, world music would be settling weary hearts down instead of the hard rap music that's blasting distorted bass through that guy's headphones that he's sharing with a few of us that are seated around him.
  • Inviting ergonomic chaise lounges with freshly laundered blankets so that you could stretch out before you get cramped into tiny, hard spaces on the plane that, more likely than not, have someone who will spill over onto my side and take the armrest plus a few more inches. 
If you'd like to contribute to the Spa Spot please let me know and we'll begin to move forward with negotiations. ;)

So, now I'm off.  Ready to brave another travel experience that hopefully will go without mention.  Well...past those things that I've already mentioned.  *snicker*  

Signed...the not-so-glamorous, not flying the friendly-anything skies,

me.  c u smyle. ;)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back and Forth

He's staying.  He's going.

.... and we go back and forth.

He's staying.  He's going.

No!  He's my puppy and aaahghghhh, I can't bear another goodbye!

.... and we go back and forth.

** sigh  **

ok, no more back and forth.

  Daddy loves Newton.  

Newton loves Daddy.


Newton stays with Daddy on the West Coast while I journey back to the East Coast.

It's paw-fect. ;)


By the way, Newton is laying on his just bought and now loves Molly Mutt dog duvet.  Go check them out...perfect for a high quality doggie product that makes it easy to keep my old pillows, blankets and t-shirts out of landfills.  ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Loss

When I heard the news, I completely cocooned myself with the information as I grasped and struggled and tried to make my way through the emotions of how to comprehend such loss.  You see, one of the guys who my family has had in our lives for a number of years, now a junior in high school, just lost his parents in a car accident.  In just one second, he became a family of one.  

And...I am grieving for him. 

And...I'm sad that I can't be there to hug him, or to hold his hand or to tell him just how hard it is to watch his heart hurt.  I'm sad I can't be there to help hold his head up so that he could breathe his next breath despite the enormity of his loss.  

And...then, I had to let Theatre Dude know what had happened.  A conversation within text, a very long three thousand miles away and I let out a heart-sigh when I realized we received the information at about the same time and, of course, Theatre Dude had already contacted him...letting him know we loved him.

And...now, a few days later, I'm faced with making decisions and putting a plan of action in place should a potential event like this happen in my own family; especially given our high risk situation of Coastal Craziness.  

And...as sad as this post is, I hope that you will join me and put a plan of action in place as well.  
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Puppy Nanny

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, Puppy Nanny!
Happy Birthday to you!

Let me introduce you to my friend...the birthday girl .... the Puppy Nanny!


She loves my puppies just as much as I do! 




We go on great adventures together!


.... and I love her much!  

Happy Birthday, LA! ;)

Monday, April 20, 2009

What a Match!


Mr. Smart Guy & Newton

... a match made in heaven.

(literally!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Night Owl in the Making

Once upon a time, ms. c u smyle loved to get up early in the morning.  She believed in the saying that, "the early bird catches the worm".  Not that she wanted a worm at all but she loved getting up while everyone else was sleeping and the house was quiet. She rose before the sun came up and happily went about her day's work until nightfall.  

But, then, as soon as the sun went down and the moon dared to flicker in the sky, ms. c u smyle would become tired.  So tired that she typically would be fully asleep by 10:00pm at the latest. Alas, ms. c u smyle was always the girl to end the night before everyone else in the house.

But, then ... the prevailing winds blew her into a new rhythm of sleeping patterns.  Gone was the girl who accomplished at least 50 things before 8am and, instead, a new girl emerged who barely can crawl out of bed before 9am.  

Who is this girl?  

Mmph!  I guess she's a night owl in the making! ;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday

"I don't want to live -- I want to love first, and live incidentally."

- Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Girl of Expectation

"An inviting, high-velocity ride through our most treasured mental act - deciding.  This is truly one of the most accessible and richly informed books on human choice.  It's a must-read for anyone interested in the human mind and how cutting-edge research changes the way we think about ourselves.  A marvelous success."
- Read Montague
Brown Foundation Professor of Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine

... I read that and I was hooked so I picked up the book, "How We Decide", by John Lehrer and have been making my way through it at a surprisingly slow pace (at least for me, the bookworm). I'm almost at the point where I want to draft an outline of the brain and label each new part that the author brings up so that I can put a visual with it.  Hey...I think I'll do that! lol :)

Anyway, despite the author's hard core bend as an evolutionist, he really does make the inner workings of our decision making system more palatable.  In fact, in the beginning he caught my attention as he described the predictions of dopamine,

"But happiness isn't the only feeling that dopamine produces.  Scientists now know that this neurotransmitter helps to regulate all of our emotions, from the first stirrings of love to the most visceral forms of disgust.  It is the common neural currency of the mind, the molecule that helps us decide among alternatives.  By looking at how dopamine works inside the brain, we can see why feelings are capable of providing deep insights."

Oh, so there is regulation of my emotions, after all?   ....huh!

But, I really got excited when he said,

"What's interesting about this system is that it's all about expectation.  Dopamine neurons constantly generate patterns based on experience:  if this, then that.  The cacophony of reality is distilled into models of correlation that allow the brain to anticipate what will happen next."

It sent me flying over to Wikipedia to see what it says about dopamine, 

"Further, dopamine neurons are depressed when the expected reward is omitted.  Thus, dopamine neurons seem to encode the prediction error of rewarding outcomes.  In nature, we learn to repeat behaviors that lead to maximize rewards."


What??  I have a system within my brain that is providing me with expectations?  This news is huge!  

Here's why...if you had a conversation with Mr. Smart Guy about the one thing that sends me into an emotional twirl he would simply say, "She's a girl of expectation."  And, he's right.  

I plan, I do, I expect.  I am a girl with expectations and I tend to reel from the disappointments when they aren't met. But, to know that this may be happening in my brain and I'm truly unaware of it?  Could it really be possible that my expectations in life aren't based on emotional choice but are the result of neuron activity responding to past experiences? 

Now that's something to think about! 

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Believe

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. 

~ AMEN ~

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Diary of a Young Woman: Nothing Really

The diary entry began...

January 11, 1978

Dear Diary,

Nothing really!

Dee

I find it puzzling that at 12 years old I would have nothing at all to record about that day and what appears to be a lot of other days in that year.  Where are the writings of interacting with my family?  Where are the writings of what school was like and whether or not I was learning?  Where are the writings of my hopes and dreams and aspirations for when I grew up? Where are the writings of how much I loved our beloved family dog named Duke?  Where are the writings that reveal a young girl trying to figure out who she was in the chaos of puberty?

I'm sad I didn't record those things that surely must have shaped who I am today.  I'm curious to know why I didn't record conversations and interactions and emotions but instead felt that my day was just nothing really.  I wonder if, in the process of maturing, I needed those days of nothing really so that I could weather the storms of growing up.

And...as I find myself in a day of nothing really, I'm now thinking about how I will record my day in my journal later tonight so that when I am 60 or 70 years old and reading back over the years of my writings, will I be able to remember who I am today?