Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Niagara Falls Photo-Blog-o-rama

High Roller Hubster (note the empty pockets!)

Seneca Niagara - Our Swanky Hotel - Photo #1

Seneca Niagara - Our Swanky Hotel - Photo #2

Even the Elevator Bank at the Seneca Niagara was swanky - check out the stained glass

The Happy Couple on the American side of the Falls :-)

Pretty daffodils on the Canadian side....
Spring is on the way, despite the ice still visible in the Niagara River.

Took this photo from my barrel right before I went over the edge (bumpy ride on the way down, but obviously I survived...). :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Love Never Fails

I was going to put a photo on today's blog of my beautiful friend C, the one who just got married over the weekend. But considering she's on her honeymoon in Cancun, I can't really call her and say "Umm, do you mind if I post your photo on my blog?" So, to preserve her anonymity I won't.
Let me just say this: I've known C for about 8 years. C is one of those friends that when you meet, you just immediately click with, like you've known each other for years. Not only that, but she totally and completely INSPIRES me. C is an attorney; she also teaches law part time; she has also written TWO books (and yes, these are "real" books, you can walk into your local bookstore and buy them); and she also runs a Christian arbitration service; AND (big breath), as though all that is not enough, she's the mother of 4 beautiful, well-balanced, funny, smart kids.

And did I mention she's gorgeous? And a woman of tremendous faith? And a woman of great emotional strength and resolve? And one of my heroes?

So anyway, I wasn't going to miss her wedding for the WORLD.
The wedding was amazing. Not for it's over-the-top beauty (although it was beautiful), but for its tremendous love. The place practically reverberated with LOVE. Real love, the kinds that Paul wrote about in Corinthinthians. It was wonderful. I have no doubt that C and her new husband (we'll call him B) will be married forever.
I almost never cry, but I (and pretty much everyone at the wedding) was weeping openly. Tears of joy that this wonderful woman was emerging from her valley of tribulation with a wonderful man and a brand new life ahead for herself and her children.
It was a great, great day.

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end." First Corinthians 13 (selected), The Message translation

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend at Niagara Falls

Hubster and I just got back from a long, lovely weekend at Niagara Falls.

We went there for two reasons.

My beautiful friend C was getting married (amazing wedding - one of the most beautiful, moving, love-filled weddings I've ever seen); and hubster and I decided we were in need of a romantic (read: no kids allowed) getaway, to celebrate our anniversary a little early this year.

It was fabulous. Western NY this time of year is unpredictable (C told me "It might be 70 and sunny, or it might be snowing... so be prepared!"). Luckily, it was 70 and sunny (however there was still visible ICE in the water at the Falls - amazing!). We stayed at the Seneca Niagara Hotel & Casino, within walking distance of the Falls. The hotel was gorgeous - very upscale and posh (a pleasant surprise considering the great internet rate we got!)

However, I must add that I'm still recovering from the hour or two I spent in the casino. Here are my thoughts on casinos:

1. People who hang out in casinos are a really unhealthy looking bunch. REALLY. I practically got run over by an 80 year old man in his wheelchair. He had his oxygen cannister strapped to the side (oxygen canula in his nostrils) and yes, cocktail in one hand. I'm SURE the only reason he wasn't smoking is because oxygen is flammable. Amazing.

2. If you're a non-smoker (like me), and you enter a casino (even for an hour or so), by the time you leave, you'll have a nicotine buzz and will feel like crap the next day (I STILL feel like crap and have a horrible cough.) I'm seriously thinking of calling a pulmonologist to make sure I didn't do anything permanent to my poor lungs.

3. The amount of smoke in a casino is so intense that it soaks into your hair, into your clothes (including your undergarments) and even will dry out your contacts. ICK. (I wonder - the people who work there.... if they contract lung cancer.... is that a compensable Workers Comp claim? I would think it would have to be, because it's a work-based exposure.)

4. Apparently I'm missing the "why-gambling-is-fun" gene. I put $20 into a slot machine just to see what the hubbub was about. I pressed a few buttons. There were some lights, and some mildly appealing electronic noises, and that was it. The ride was over (and my 20 bucks was gone) before my watered down cocktail was even gone. (On what planet is THAT fun, and why?)

However, the hotel and the restaurants at the hotel were wonderful. The Falls (both the American and the Canadian sides) were breathtaking (this is my 2nd time at Niagara, and I'm just as in awe as I was the first time), and the wedding was amazing. More on the wedding tomorrow. I have to go find my nebulizer now (kidding.... but still....)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today's Musing

"On the way to 'better' or 'best', don't forget to enjoy the journey along the way."
- James Cash Penney

(I've probably mangled this quote.... I heard Dave Ramsey state it on the air today while driving and didn't have a pen and paper with me.....) However it's definitely a worthwhile thought for those of us, like me, who become a bit uber-focused on goals and tend to forget that the "journey" is to be savored as well....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We have a new visitor who has been living on our front porch for the past week or so.
The kids and I have named her Elizabeth.
She looks just like the GEICO lizard.

I snapped this photo of her napping yesterday afternoon. It was a typical sunny April day in Atlanta. I'm sure those bricks felt really warm and nice to a lizard, which is probably why she stretched out those little back legs of hers. :-)

She's really very cute. Even though I'm not at ALL into reptiles, I'm growing rather fond of Elizabeth.

I hope she hangs out with us for awhile.

Lime Time

I love my new "lime clock". Isn't it cute? Every time I look at it it makes me want to go have a refreshing Mojito somewhere. :-)

(Props to fellow blogger-mom Abby for posting a pear clock on her blog... she's the one who gave me the idea in the first place.)

AND having a little clock right there reminds me that "HELLO? You should be WORKING, missy, rather than playing on the internet."

So, it's all good.
Plus I get my recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Doing Life" Together

My pastor, PK (Pastor Kevin) gave an amazing, relevant, funny and meaningful teaching on Sunday about marriage.

Kevin's messages are always great, but this one was especially great.

So, if you're looking for a wonderful teaching on marriage (whether you're a Christian or not), follow this link, then click on the "Marriage" message link from 4-20-08. You can listen to it online, or you can download it free online and burn it to a CD.

PS: Unfortunately, you obviously won't be able to "see" a lot of the visuals Kevin uses in his teachings - but the message is still very much worth listening to.

No Country for Lars

Yes, it's movie review time.
Got your popcorn ready?

Hubster and I watched two VERY different movies over the past several nights.

Last night we watched "Lars and the Real Girl" starring cutie pie Ryan Gosling as the handsome yet delusional Lars Linstrom, a young midwestern man who orders a sex doll off the internet, promptly falls in love with her and announces to his family that she is a missionary and has come to stay with them. The movie is quirky-funny (which normally I love) but never really gets going.... just sort of stays stuck in second gear. The truly bizarre thing about the plot line is that the entire town buys into the fact that because poor Lars really believes that Bianca (his "half Danish, half Brazilian" doll) is real, then by golly, they'll just have to treat her as though she's real as well. So, the family dresses Bianca in a new outfit every day. They wheel her around town in a wheelchair. She goes to the beauty salon and gets her hair cut. She accompanies Lars to a holiday party, and even goes to church with the family. And, in an almost unbelievably silly ending, Bianca "dies" and they have a Real Funeral, complete with casket, graveside service, etc.

At one point during the movie, my husband looked at me and said "I'd give anything for a car chase right about now..." and I nodded and said, "Me too, honey. Me too."

Movie number two was the Feel Good Movie of the Year (JOKE), "No Country For Old Men". I was actually really excited about this movie because: 1) I normally love the movies that Joel and Ethan Coen direct ("Fargo" is a favorite movie, as is "Raising Arizona"), and 2) Javier Bardem is awfully cute.

Well, let me tell you right now, Javier Bardem is NOT cute in this movie. He is the Terminator with an ugly haircut, and he's absolutely terrifying. He kills everyone. And I mean everyone. The only person he DOESN'T kill is Tommy Lee Jones' character, and the only reason he doesn't kill him is because their paths don't directly cross.

The movie is over-the-top violent (Cronenberg could even learn a thing or two) and there is absolutely NO resolution at the end, and NO hope. It's desolate. It's vultures circling corpses (figuratively, of course, not literally.....). It's Chernobyl at midnight. There is NO HOPE HERE.

The next DVD atop our TV is "Enchanted". I don't think I've ever looked so forward to a Disney movie in all my life. :-)

Simple Rules to Happiness

The Nursing Home

The 92-year-old petite, well-poised and proud lady,
who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock,
with her hair fashionably fixed and makeup perfectly applied
even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the
nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator,
I provided a visual description of her tiny room,
including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.
"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old
having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room... just wait."
"That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied.
"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.
Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the
furniture is arranged... it's how I arrange my mind."

"I've already decided to love it.
It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up.
I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed
recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that
no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones
that do.

Each day is a gift and as long as my eyes open,
I'll focus on the new day
and all the happy memories I've stored away
just for this time in my life."

"Old age is like a bank account.
You withdraw from what you've put in.
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness
in the bank account of memories."

"Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank.
I am still depositing."

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

~Author Unknown~

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Fine Art of Faking It

My 12 year old son is home "sick" today.
He sprained his ankle late yesterday while playing basketball.

Now, I've had a sprained ankle and I realize it hurts but last night I could see him "sizing up" the situation, as far as staying home from school....

Anyway, after the injury, I put ice on it, elevated it, then had him walk around a little bit just to make sure nothing was broken, then wrapped it up nice and snug in an ace bandage before he went to bed.

This morning I unwrapped the bandage - swelling was still there - but it wasn't black and blue. I announced, much to his disappointment, that he had to go to school. But, I told him he could wear anything he wanted (including the formerly "banned" gray muscle shirt that I hate so much....)

So, 10 minutes pass and he comes dramatically down the stairs, WINCING IN PAIN WITH EACH STEP (wearing the gray muscle shirt, of course). I refuse to fall for this dramatic entrance, and promptly pour him a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk. He realizes that he has to "up the ante" very quickly as his bus is due to arrive in less than 5 minutes.

I turn around and he's fake-crying.
Now, to get ANY boy to fake-cry takes some effort, but especially my boy, who just doesn't cry. I was a bit alarmed and thought perhaps I hadn't taken his pain seriously enough. So, I told him to go back upstairs and rest and he wouldn't have to go to school today after all. He nodded, and stoically proceeded back up to his room. But before he ascended the steps, he turned, looked at me and asked "When can I come down and play video games?"

Yes, I was duped.

Today's Thought

"You are a living breathing magnet. What you attract into your life is in harmony with your dominant thoughts." -Brian Tracy

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Incredible Beer Launching Fridge

Believe it or not, my pastor used the below video clip today to illustrate a point he was making in his teaching. (AND it's an awfully funny clip, so I thought I'd post it on the blog.) Enjoy. :-)

People Are Weird

From the "I Just Don't Get It" file....

I have a GREAT job opening that I'm having a HELL of a time filling. My client runs a top notch operation, pays his people a very generous base salary, very good commission, and then on TOP of that, also awards them with great yearly bonuses when the company meets its (attainable) goals. To say he values his people is an understatement. His company is growing leaps and bounds. People who work for him see their career sky-rocket.

So, anyway, he's been looking for a new Account Executive for his firm. A couple of weeks ago, I find him a PERFECT candidate. This candidate could not BE more perfect - she has the education, the skills, the work background, the personality, the general "spirit", etc. he is looking for. Basically, she's a recruiter's DREAM.

So, I get these two together for an interview and... the heavens open up... there's rainbows and butterflies everywhere, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is singing in the background.

My client proposes (makes an offer of employment) and my candidate giddily accepts. I stand to make a nice fee, AND stand to help someone's career move forward VERY quickly. (All good things.)

My candidate goes back to her current employer and turns in her notice of resignation. 24 hours later her current employer (who, heretofore, had basically IGNORED her completely, passed her over for raises, promotions, etc.) now suddently CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT HER, and matches the offer of my client. (AND, they pull out the Guilt Card.)

My candidate, because she is still relatively young and doesn't realize that she's being played, falls for this guilt-laden trap, and accepts the counter, thus snuffing any chances of growing her career with my client and his fast growing firm. She chooses instead to stay with her current company who last week barely showed her the time of day.

And now, I have to start my search, all over again.

I just don't get it.

A Moment of Silence Please

Had a blast at the Biltmore, but last night on the way home, we hit (and killed) a BIG mangy stray dog that wandered out onto the highway, and in front of our car.

Of course when we hit him it was late at night, and we didn't see him until we were RIGHT on top of him - we were going about 70 and there was nothing we could do to avoid impact. It was - BOOM - loud and fast and scary. :-(

It was a bummer for lots of reasons:
1. Poor big mangy dog lost his life.
2. Was a major buzz-kill for what, otherwise, had been a fabulous weekend away with the girls.
3. Totally messed up the front end of Chrissy's brand new car (stuff like this always happens when you're driving a brand new car.... have you noticed???)

So, after the scary impact, we coasted over to the emergency lane and called 911 because the car wouldn't move - it was pretty badly mangled. Of course, the 911 operator wanted to know exactly where we were (we had no clue... we were in East Bumble.... no buildings or lights or cross roads anywhere).

It took Barney Fife and his posse about 30 minutes to locate us (good thing none of us were injured....) BUT the good news was, once they got there, they were able to remove the portion of the car that had wrapped itself around the tire and the wheel well, thus enabling the car to once again roll forward, and us to continue our journey back home to Atlanta.

One more adventure to tell the kids about. But I'm still sad about the dog.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What The Heck Was She Thinking???

I saw this picture of Ivanka Trump today.
I'm a little freaked out by it.

Her BREASTS are like, totally over the top.

Now, normally I never notice a woman's breasts. Like, ever.
But look at these things. Obviously, they're implants. (Oh, do ya think???!)

They look like they escaped from the latest Tom Clancy Cold War Submarine Drama...

What the hell was she thinking when she signed up for these??? Did she lose a bet? Or was it some dare gone horribly, horribly wrong?
Poor girl. She probably can't even sleep on her tummy anymore. That would be a bummer.

Biltmore Bound

Tomorrow morning, about 30 seconds after my kids hop on their schoolbus, 3 girlfriends and I pull out for a weekend at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.

I've been to the Biltmore House twice in the past - it really is over-the-top opulent, and absolutely AMAZING to me that a family of 3 (THREE!) people lived there, as their "Summer house".

But, the house itself is not my favorite part of the estate. The gardens and the winery are.

The gardens are breathtaking - there are some rose bushes there that are over 100 years old! And the scent of these roses - oh my. Roses these days are basically scent-less, because they've been "engineered" to be big and bright, but the Biltmore roses are the old-fashioned kind that have just an amazing, heady ROSE scent that is impossible to describe. (Ah, how lovely it must be to be a bee or butterfly and just fly directly into a rose and walk around inside it.) :-)

The winery is also quite impressive. They have tastings (and the wines are really quite good), and we're scheduled to attend a "wine and chocolate seminar" Saturday afternoon. Eventually (after the buzz wears off), we'll drive home late on Saturday.

Can't wait. Girl time, with good food, beautiful flowers, good wine, good talk, and good music.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

le printemps est retournee

I'm sure I butchered that phrase. I was trying to say, en francais, that Springtime has returned, at last.

Spring in Atlanta is normally not so fickle as it has been this year. Lately it has been extremely chilly, gray, and rainy (not that I'm complaining about the rain, mind you.... the North Georgia area is still in the throes of the worst drought in All Recorded History, so rain is a most welcome guest...)

However, today I was literally awakened by birds chirping in the trees right outside my bedroom window. I looked outside and was greeted by that lovely Spring-Blue sky (soft and warm), and the day was completely perfect. The cherry trees are still blooming (the blossoms have turned from white to a lovely shell pink), and the dogwoods are starting to come out and so are the azaleas.

It's almost like God has reached down, taken my still partially frozen soul from my body, warmed it gently between his palms and breathed softly on it, and then put it back into my body. I just feel so happy and peaceful. Happy, peaceful, and extremely thankful to have such a magnificent creation to enjoy.

As John MacMurray (one of my favorite nature photographers) put it, nature's beauty is wildly unnecessary (meaning, of course, that nature's beauty serves absolutely NO functional purpose and is designed only for the pleasure of the one who views and inhabits it.)


I just received some news that shocked me to my core.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, I have received some news that has caused me to CEASE my workday, turn off my radio and immediately begin blogging.... because, quite simply, the WORLD MUST KNOW.

(ahem)..... (clearing throat...)

My dear friend BuzyBee (pictured above - isn't she pretty??!!) has NEVER HAD A MOUNTAIN DEW. Yes, I can HEAR the collective gasps of disbelief in the audience. I know, I know.... I really almost think this should be a CNN breaking news e-alert, or perhaps even a topic to be brought up during the Obama-Clinton debate tonight... this is really, REALLY a major event.

It's true though. NEVER. Ever.
Let it sink in. The shock will, eventually, pass......

(It's only because I've KNOWN her since..... 1981, I believe?.... that I can tease her this mercilessly.... and it's all because I heart her.) :-)

May I Just Say....

... How much I love my husband, and what a GREAT cook he is?

I didn't get home from my Bible Study last night until 930. (Now, before you picture a 'stereotypical Bible Study' with a bunch of blue-hairs sitting around reading the KJV Bible and doing the "superior dance", let me tell you that my Bible Study is really much more of a Girls-Only-Group-Therapy .... it totally rocks. It's a small group of 8 women - we're all believers - and we meet every week to talk, share, laugh (a lot) cry (sometimes), pray, discuss, debate, etc. Everything is on the table - marriage, children, sex, politics, death, etc.... you name it, WE discuss it. And of course we talk an awful lot about God and Jesus and our awe and love for the Almighty.)

So, anyway, back to what I was saying.... Bible Study ran over (2.5 hours can go by so quickly when you're in deep discussion with wonderful friends) and I didn't get home until 930 and hadn't eaten anything since lunch (and probably should have gone immediately to BED!) but Sweet Hubster had left a note on the counter that said "Dinner in the microwave"

So, I open the microwave to find his home-made fettucine carbonara, grilled steak (medium rare and absolutely perfect) and steamed broccoli.

I ate like someone who had just been released from prison - BOY, did I marry a good cook.
And then I went upstairs, and gave him a big sloppy kiss, got in bed next to him and fell immediately asleep with my full happy tummy.

A good day, it was.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Strangest Secret

Shortly after I went into business for myself and left Corporate America behind (along with my nice guaranteed income, good benefits, and "plush cubicle"), I discovered a great audio recording which was made many years ago called (you guessed it) "The Strangest Secret", by Earl Nightingale.

Below is a link where you can listen to this audio online, free. (You have to endure a little bit of Mark Viktor Hansen talking in the beginning, then a few more times during the middle, but it's worth it....)

The principles in this audio are wonderful, and if you follow them, it really will change how you view the world, and how you view "success". (And not just material success, but success in any part of your life....)

I highly recommend it; there's a lot of wisdom in Mr. Nightingale's words.

I Heart My Job

I'm a recruiter, which means I help people find work. Some of the people I help are absolutely delightful, and some are absolutely the dregs of society, arrogant, haughty and all-around icky.

However, I consider myself really lucky. I get to work for myself and I get to work whenever I want (which, truthfully, tends to be a lot.... my husband likes to complain about how much I work). But, when you're self-employed, you "eat what you kill" as they say. So, I work a lot.

But, the coolest part about my job is not the fact that I get to work at home (which is pretty cool), or that I get to work barefoot, in shorts and a tshirt (also quite cool), or that I get to make my own hours (cooler still) but the Most Cool part happens when, like earlier today, I help someone find a really GREAT job and they tell me how much they appreciate all I have done for them, and I realize I have made a very real, and a very positive impact on their life.

I just LOVE that.

I prayed for a LONG time (back when I was a cubicle-dwelling corporate DRONE....) that God would lead me to a job where I could help people, and help make a difference, for the better, in people's lives. And He has led me to a place where I can do that.

AND I get paid.

How cool is that?!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Angel Oak

This tree, just outside Charleston, SC, is estimated to be about 1,400 years old. I used to visit it fairly regularly when I lived in Charleston and have always been in awe of its beauty, even more so than its size.

Think about its age for a second. 1,400 years. Think of all the people (and all the cultures of peoples) who have passed by it.... and of all the children who have played on its branches..... and of all the rulers who have been in power while this tree has been alive.

Pretty amazing, huh?

Too bad trees can't talk. We might be able to learn a lot from them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chicken Little on my TV

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really tired of turning on the national news every day and hearing Brian Williams, Matt Lauer, and Every Other Anchorman out there tell me, with a VERY SERIOUS FACE, that the American Economy is in very serious trouble.

I think we've been informed.

It seems to me the more the American public has this Consistent Bad News dripped into their psyche (not unlike Chinese water torture), soon that becomes all they can think about, all they can talk about, and before long, they're wringing their collective hands with worry and looking around in a near-panic. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And I think it's incredibly irresponsible of the media to circle like sharks around these same "bad news" stories again and again. Our culture is very open to suggestion, especially from a well-dressed anchorperson who we listen to every single day (and tend to trust).

I think I'm just going to have to do without any news for awhile.

After all, what will be will be. We've endured recessions before. We'll continue to work, save, and take care of our family, just like we always have. There's certainly no reason to assume that we'll soon be wandering the streets, naked and being pelted with garbage.

People need to remember: you become what you think about; therefore it's critically important to fill your mind with positive thoughts as often as possible.

Turn off the news and realize that YOU are the captain of your ship, so start steering.

Relationships 101

Dr. Les Parrott came to speak at our church today. He was incredible.
He spoke about relationships, and how, if you're not emotionally healthy when you enter into a relationship, that relationship is doomed to fail, because a relationship is only as healthy as its unhealthiest member.

Wise words.

He also talked about how "Hollywood Wisdom" gives us such silliness as the line from Jerry McGuire ("you complete me") and instead of thinking this is romantic, we should really be aware that the only relationship that can TRULY complete each one of us is a personal relationship with God, our Creator. In fact, that's the way God designed us. That's why we all have this little gnawing "Is this IT?" question mark floating around over our heads until we come into relationship with God. He designed us this way.

Anyway, I thought Parrott's talk was brilliant. He quoted liberally from Ephesians 3 and 4 (using Eugene Peterson's "The Message" translation). I always love listening to a well educated, forward-thinking intellectual, who also happens to be a passionate follower of Christ.

So cool.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Houston..... I think I've SOLVED the Problem

So, yesterday, because it was 82 degrees here, I decided to clean out my closet and pull out all my really cute Summer clothes, and try everything on.

I was excited..... until I tried everything on.
I discovered a Very Big Problem: my clothes have mysteriously shrunk in my closet over the Winter and now my once curvy (but now ample) derriere won't fit in any of my cute capris and shorts.

How could this have happened?, I demanded of myself in the mirror.

So, being the dorky sleuth that I am, I armed myself with pen and paper and decided to track what I ate yesterday. (After all, I don't consider myself to be hugely gluttonous..... but there has to be SOME reason why nothing fits anymore....)

Here are the results:

Icy Cold 20 Oz Mountain Dew (ah.... love my Mountain Dew.)
4 Nutter Butter Cookies (Breakfast of champions.)

Mid Morning Snack:
Leftover home-made mac & cheese (none of that Kraft crap for me, thank you...)
1 more Nutter Butter cookie

Late Lunch:
Met my friend Dawn at Chipotle and had a big burrito - ate the whole thing because it was just so darn good. Their guacamole is da bomb.

Hubster made grilled chicken, rice, and corn.
After dinner, the kids and I had some Dulce de Leche ice cream.

Yes, I think my razor-sharp deductive reasoning has solved this mystery. Tremendous intake of fat and sugar, combined with almost NO intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, combined with complete aversion of anything resembling exercise.

No wonder I can't fit in my capris. Honestly, I'm surprised it's not worse. I keep THIS up, I'll be the female Walter Hudson.

So, starting today, I'm cutting WAY back on sugar and starches, and I'll be making at LEAST a cameo appearance at the gym a minimum of 3 times per week. These are reasonable changes that I can maintain. I'm old enough to realize that Reasonable Changes are the name of the game...

I weighed myself this morning (and NO, I will NOT be posting that number here...) but I will be posting my progress.

And off we go. :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Neither Rain, Snow, Sleet or Hail.... but Definitely Termites

I had a bit of a surreal experience this morning.

I've noticed over the past few days that our mailbox has been leaning forward, somewhat precariously. I attributed this to Carlos, our yard guy, hitting the post one too many times with the weed whacker. (Carlos is a great yard guy.... weeds don't stand a chance.)

So, I go out today to assess the situation and barely touch the mailbox and the whole mailbox/post combo (which is quite heavy) falls completely over. Kaboom. Termites had completely eaten all the wood that was beneath the ground. Absolutely amazing. It was basically sawdust.

Our house is protected against termites, but I never thought about protecting the mailbox post.

A couple of hours later, the postman came by. I assumed he would park his little truck and politely run the mail up the driveway and knock on the door. No such luck. He took one look at the "absentee post" and kept right on driving.

Gee whiz. So much for their little Valiant Creed that they spout off. (Reminds me of Newman, the postal carrier from Seinfeld.... remember him? he wouldn't even deliver in the RAIN!! I'm sure termites would have sent him over the edge!)


10 Year Old Angst

My 10 year old daughter thinks I'm the Meanest Mom on the planet.
I told her last night (when she asked me for the 458th time "When can I get a cell phone?") that it was "not in the forseeable future".

She looked at me with tear filled eyes and told me (with complete seriousness) that is was "humiliating to be the ONLY FOURTH GRADER IN THE WHOLE SCHOOL without a cell phone."

Oh, the humanity.....

Strangely, my 12 year old son could care LESS about having a cell phone. He's blissfully happy with his comic books and video games...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Drink Called "Beverly"

I took my kids down to the World of Coca-Cola today. (When you live in Atlanta, there's all sorts of fun stuff to do.)

We met up with my college roommate, her daughter, and one of my best friends (who happens to be the sister of my college roommate) and her kids. All 10 of us traipsed through WOC - it was a blast! (The 3 grown-ups were reminiscing about the LAST time we had all been to the World of Coke, and realized it had been back when we were in college.... needless to say, a long, LONG time ago. )

The World of Coke Museum has since relocated to a new (and VERY nice) building, and it's just Da Bomb. I don't even really LIKE Coke, to be honest (shocking for an Atlantan to admit, I know.... I can't help it though... I'm a Mountain Dew Girl), but I really enjoyed the WOC. We spent close to 3 hours there. There really is so much to do; the Grand Finale of the tour is, of course, the huge "tasting room" where you get to taste literally dozens of Coke products from all over the world (most of which are not available in the U.S.).
My favorites were the Latin American beverages. There was one from Paraguay that tasted like Guava (yum), one from Chile that was really good, and one from Mexico that was yummy too. There was also a Mango one from some Latin American country (Belize, maybe?) that was really tasty too.... I'm still buzzing from all the sugar.

The African sodas were weird. Not really bad, just weird. There was one that was bright yellow and was called Pine Nut soda (?!?)

The European ones were OK, except for an Italian one called "Beverly". Beverly tasted like licorice, but more bitter. After awhile, my kids and I just enjoyed watching the faces people made after they sampled "Beverly". Some of their faces were priceless. (Where is "Candid Camera" at times like this???)

We finished off the day with a late lunch at another Atlanta institution: Mary Mac's Tea Room. Not really a "tea room" per se, but a classic Atlanta eating establishment where you're given a little white slip of paper and a pencil, and you write down what meat and veggies you want to eat. The portions are ridiculously huge, and while you're waiting for your meal, your waiter brings out enormous baskets of steaming yeasts rolls and cornbread. The yeast rolls are akin to a Taste Bud Orgasm (no joke).

I had meatloaf, hoppin' john, creamed corn, and (of course), sweet tea. And lots of yeast rolls. (Have I mentioned the yeast rolls???) :-)
Pure Gustatory Bliss. I'm sure I gained a good 2 or 3 lbs. from lunch. But damn, it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Words Escape Me

It takes a lot for me to be rendered speechless, but I was indeed speechless (and slack-jawed) after watching this. Are these women really trying to HELP Mr. McCain's chances, or is this a "stealth attack" from the Clinton camp?

I almost think McCain should call a press conference to loudy denounce any affiliation, knowledge, or approval of this video.

It's painful to watch. LOL.


Yes, my darling daughter has arrived safely home!
I hugged and kissed her in front of her entire Girl Scout troop (thus, provoking Tremendous Embarrassment because she's at the age where it's utterly UNCOOL to be hugged and kissed by parental units...) However, I didn't care. I showered her freckled little face with lots of little kisses and hugged her again and again and again.

All 3 chaperones told me what a funny, smart, and thoroughly enjoyable daughter I have. Of course I just beamed with pride. And now I'm blissfully doing her laundry and unpacking her bags. I don't even care that she spent the entire $50 I gave her on candy and over-priced stuffed animals ... I'm just UBER-happy to have her back in the house.

My little nest is once again complete.
Happy sighs and twitters are plentiful, once again. :-)

PS: Her older brother acted like he could care less when she was gone, but now they are talking happily in his room and laughing - they are still Very Best Friends, despite their protests to the contrary.

My Sad-Mama-Funk Ends TONIGHT!!!

My precious daughter will arrive back home from her 5 day Spring Break trip (with her Girl Scout troop) tonight! I am SO excited!

Now I can stop wandering into her empty bedroom like a sad refugee mom and touching her stuffed animals and being oh so melodramatic and pitiful.

Hubster and I had planned on sending BOTH kids away for a one week camp sponsored by our church this Summer, but (needless to say) I'm REALLY re-thinking that at this point. I think having both kids gone for a full week would send me over the edge.

My friend Jenn told me this is probably "good preparation for when they go to college". (I love Jenn, she's a great friend, but she's not a mom.... all her comment did was make me REALLY sad thinking of that inevitability when BOTH of my kids are out of the house, living their own lives, and the only way I can lure them back on a regular basis is with a home-cooked meal (and considering I'm a Lousy Cook, this will be tough.....)

Regardless, I have my cell phone in my lap and am eagerly awaiting the phone call from my daughter to tell me exactly when she'll be arriving. I really, really, really, really missed her. She's going to have to submit to lot of hugs and kisses when I pick her up, no matter HOW embarrassing that is. :-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Life's Strange Sadness

My 78 year old father is in the hospital - he had heart surgery today at St Joseph's, in Atlanta.
He did very well, especially considering his age, and considering his assorted health complications.

But anytime he has gone into the hospital (which is quite a bit the past several months), I stop, pray, then sort of hold my breath.

And, of course, he's my Daddy. Who I happen to love very much. And who I full well realize will not be around forever.

I hate the fact that parents grow old. I hate the fact that I will never (at least not in this life) know my parents in their prime, when I am in my prime. Wouldn't life be grand if parents would only age to a certain level and then you could know them on more of a 'peer' basis? And aging would just..... stop....?

I look forward to the eternal life that the Bible promises believers, where we will each be given a new and perfect body; one that does not succumb to disease, death or aging.... one that is not crippled by physical ailments, or flawed by mental illness. What a wonderful, amazing new world it will be.

I greatly look forward to seeing each of my grandparents, who I only have foggy memories of. In fact, I can't wait to get to really know them.

And I won't even get started about how excited I am about being in the presence of Jesus, because then this blog will go on ALL NIGHT, and I'm already starting to cry a bit as I write this.
But, suffice it to say, despite life's sadness, there's the promise of much, much beauty and joy that lies for us on the other side. Beauty, happiness, and completion for our souls, I guess is the best way to put it. And that completion will SO make whatever trials we endured while here on earth seem so very insignificant.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thoughts for Today

Do you live your life according to the Someday Principal? (As in, "Someday I'll do this".... "Someday I'll do that"). Everyone does this, to one extent or another. I know I do, although I'm trying hard not to.

We're reading a great book in my small group called One Month to Live - it's all about living life fully in the present, because our time on the planet is finite and if you wait for "someday" to begin living, you're going to be disappointed time and again. TODAY is all we are promised.
Here are some great quotes....
  • Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. - Alan Sachs

  • Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it, I say! Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. - Pope Paul VI

  • Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. - C. S. Lewis

  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller

  • Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake. - Henry David Thoreau

  • It is never too late to be what you might have been. - George Eliot

The Perils of Being Your Own Boss

I got burned yesterday. Not literally, but figuratively.
I'm a self-employed recruiter and every now and then my sixth sense tells me that a certain candidate is "trouble".... it told me that with this particular candidate (we'll call him JOHN) but I chose to ignore my sixth sense, because one of my clients was interested in interviewing him for a very nice sales position. (Sales placements pay a higher commission than others, so I guess the thought of THAT possibility made me clamp my hand over the protests of my sixth sense.)

Anyway, the interview was yesterday. JOHN was going to be meeting with the President of this company, as well as with the Director of Operations. BIG interview, for a very good job. I had confirmed with him the date, time and directions for the interview, given him their office phone number, my office and cell number, etc. In short, he had ALL the information he could POSSIBLY need.

Half an hour after his interview was to begin I get a call from the Director of Operations. JOHN is a no show. I call JOHN's cell. He doesn't pick up. I use the paging feature. He doesn't return my page. I called, emailed and paged him through the remainder of the day (each time getting more and more annoyed that I had chosen to ignore my sixth sense).

He never had the courtesy (or professionalism) to return my calls, pages, or emails.
My husband said "Maybe he's dead on his kitchen floor". Maybe, but highly unlikely. I think he's just an irresponsible person who acted unprofessionally, and simply doesn't care.

Obviously very frustrating.
After I finish shredding his resume this morning, I'll be apologizing to my sixth sense, and listening to it from here on out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Eastern Promises

I love Viggo Mortensen. I've had a crush on him for years. (In fact, if you look at my blog, I've blogged about him several times.... a bit sad and pathetic for a 40 year old woman, but hey, what are you gonna do?) It's OK though... hubster has a similarly unrealistic crush on Selma Hayek, so there ya go.

Anyway, this weekend we rented "Eastern Promises" ... Viggo's latest movie (and the performance which won him an Academy Award nomination).

In the movie, he plays a Russian mobster named Nikolai. As always, he has the role down pat. Everything. The accent, the mannerisms, the tattoo "storyboard" on his body, etc. Viggo is thorough and clearly takes his craft very seriously. He is definitely NOT an actor who skates by on his looks (although he easily could....)

However, there was one scene in the movie that I wasn't quite prepared for. Yes, that would be the Naked Bathhouse Fight Scene. In this scene, Viggo's character is basically being set up to be murdered, and is left in a sauna where he's sitting, naked and unaware. Enter two leather clad, knife-wielding thugs; bloody vicious hand-to-hand combat ensues. The visual "punch to the face" is that Viggo is totally (and I mean TOTALLY) naked through the whole scene, and it's not a little 10 second scene either. Cronenberg, the director, leaves NOTHING to the imagination. (As Austin Powers would say "It was all there, baby... his twig and berries...") To say this scene was a bit unnerving and alarming is an understatement. But, once again, it proved what an amazing actor Viggo really is. The fact that he could retain his composure while filming such a horrifically violent, graphic scene (and while being naked as a jaybird) was pretty amazing.

Cronenberg, as usual, never really resolved the story line and resorted to his predictable tactic of gratuitous violence designed to manipulate his audience but, with Cronenberg movies, that's his style and most people know that going in.

All in all though, great cast, and pretty good movie.

Chalk up another great performance for Viggo.
A fine actor.