Thursday, August 31, 2006

Don't Blink!

Yesterday my husband sat on the deck after he got home from work, determined to get a picture of the humming birds that have been frequenting our feeder. This is a tricky notion with a camera that can be considered positively 'Antique' in the world of digital photography.

I'm hoping that by giving my husband these opportunities with my camera he'll come to the realization that "Margie NEEDS a new camera!"

It's a pretty good picture though, ya think?
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Waiting for answers...

I sent the following e-mail to the guys at Pet Fish Talk and hoped to catch their internet broadcast show today, to see if any or all of my questions were addressed. Sadly I missed it and now I'm sitting here wondering and waiting for answers... I hate waiting for things... Especially answers to intriguing questions!

It seems that you can listen to recorded broadcasts of the show a couple of days after it has aired live... So I guess I'll just have to wait a couple of days... Did I mention I hate waiting?

btw: I don't mean this as a slam against the guys at Pet Fish Talk but I seriously can't believe that I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for an internet broadcast of a discussion about fish and yet I've NEVER even seen one episode of 24! I could seriously screw up the Nielsen Rating System!
Via e-mail:
Hi Guys,

Ran across your site trying to find some information on the type of fish my daughter surprisingly came to own.

My daughter owns a 'Painted Turtle' and we buy 'feeder' fish for it on a regular basis. The type of feeders we buy are 'Rosy Reds' and we purchase them from a local fish dealer 'Just Fish'.

The first batch of feeders we got included the fish you see pictured here. However, the turtle never ate this fish. We did notice early on that this fish looked quite different from the others but it became truly unique when it managed to stay alive long after the rest of the fish had been eaten. It seemed the turtle and the fish had forged a relationship and now they have lived compatibly in the same tank for roughly 3 months... By the way, the turtles name is 'Neville' and we named the fish 'Lucky' for obvious reasons.

We had assumed that 'Lucky' was a male until the day we found babies swimming around the tank! We weren't quick enough to save the babies before the turtle made a meal out of them but to our surprise a few weeks later 'Lucky' gave birth AGAIN! This time to 8 strapping young-un's and because my daughter witnessed them being born she was able to harvest them and put them in a separate bowl of water.

Okay, so here's the questions... And I have several.
1. What kind of fish is this?
2. Do you have any idea how it might have gotten mixed up with all the rosy feeders?
3. Could a rosy have bred with this fish?
4. Are or will the feeders impregnate lucky on a regular basis?
5. This may be a little out of your area of expertise but are there some fish that turtles just won't eat and is that why Lucky and Neville are living peacefully together?
6. There isn't any way that the fish could be breeding with the turtle right?... NAH!
7. Is this the weirdest thing you've EVER heard of?
8. The babies are currently living in a bowl without a filter but the water is being changed every few days and my daughter is currently feeding them finely chopped up turtle pellets which our turtle decided he didn't like very early on... Are we doing them any dis-service by raising them in this manner?
I can't wait to hear what sort of answers you have to these questions!

Thanks for your time!
Margie Blystone (Mom)
S. Blystone (Daughter & Caretaker)
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Limbo Land

I HATE Limbo Land (not to be confused with 'Lego-Land')... Limbo Land is that place between events... That spot on the calendar that has nothing written in.

I can look back and see all that I've accomplished... I can look forward and see all that I need to accomplish but that void in between leaves me perplexed! What should I do? I could do something creative but my creativity seems to be driven by anxiety... The anxiety to meet a deadline... I DO have some deadlines that need to be met but they're not looming over me at this time. They're currently far away in the distance, like bandits on horseback approaching my little town... Ready to pillage my village but they're still so far away that I can barely make out their figures... So I deal with the threat by continuing my lollygagging.

Where did that come from? I haven't watched any Westerns lately?

Behold the great Procrastinator! When she could be on top of things... She chooses instead to complain about her boredom... She deserves every bit of stress she lets pile up on herself!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Protection from that HOT South American Sun...

This time we find Anna seeking some relief from the heat... She wouldn't want to burn that lovely blonde complexion!

We've heard tell that she's been seen sipping Margaritas 'neath a beach umbrella with a hot young cabana boy. When a local reporter approached her regarding the rumors she merely ducked her head down and replied, "No comment and why don't you go back to bothering Britney Spears?"

One wonders where we'll spot her next and with whom?
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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Anything Can Happen Day...

While on vacation when the kids were young, we used to incorporate a day that the family would refer to as 'Anything Can Happen Day'... This is when the family would climb in the car and we'd have a vague idea of a place we'd like to see or visit. We'd point the car in that general direction and off we'd go allowing for 'Anything to Happen!'

Today feels like just that kind of day to me... My walk this morning included my husband and together we walked further and longer than I normally do because we were enjoying the morning and the conversation. Also because he kind of challenged me with the comment of, "Hey, I can keep going!"... Well, I walk every day so if HE could keep going than I certainly could!

Later, my friend LB (who from now on I'll just refer to her as 'Pan')... Pan and I got together with our girls to attend the 'Grand Opening' of a new shop downtown... 'Liz & Iris' Magickal Gallery'
... We'd been hearing a lot about the gallery from another shop we've begun to frequent 'Art Space On Main' where I recently started taking pottery classes. There's a resurgence in our town to bring back Main St. and in so doing the town is incorporating the arts... The transformation is exciting to see and be a part of... Which is why Pan and I wanted to be a part of the opening of this newest addition.

Anyway, we witnessed the ribbon cutting for the new shop and spent some time admiring the artwork and other items they have on display and we got to meet Liz & Iris... Two vivacious women who obviously love life and could hardly contain the excitement of the opening of their dream. That's when I decided I wanted to try something kind of new and exciting for myself and got a 'henna tattoo'... I'm most definitly NOT a permanent tattoo person... I could never put something on my body that doesn't come off because I change my mind far too often... I'm positive that if I ever did decide to do it (which would never happen) five minutes after enduring the pain and seeing the final product I'd say to myself, "Well damn, why didn't I choose the __________ instead?" If I'm anything it's that I'm indecisive over just about everything!"... So henna seemed like a 'safe' yet completely outside the box kind of thing for me to do. Iris told me that the ink will flake off as it dries and the design could last roughly 2 weeks depending on how much I wash or scrub at it... So right now I'm feeling kind of funky, sexy, flirty with my henna'd ankle... Mostly because my ankle seems to have been spared the 10 lbs. that I regained... Most of that weight plastered itself to my mid-section.
My daughter thinks it's just "okay."... My friend Pan doesn't care for body art... But CB (Pan's daughter) thinks it's cool... I wish she would've gotten it done too! My husband and my son haven't seen it yet but I'm sure I'm in for some serious eye rolling.

So I'm feeling like I've honored the basic idea of 'Anything Can Happen Day' and since it's only 3:00pm... I'm looking forward to what else lies in store.
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Friday, August 25, 2006


Newlywed Girl has now become 'Want to run/walk a marathon? Girl'
Our e-mail conversations have gone something like this:

Newlywed Girl: Not sure if you'd be up for this or not...but I thought we could see...I have ran one of these about 4 years ago and said I WOULD NEVER DO IT EVER AGAIN...but then I was thinking, if I could walk and had someone to chat with...hmmm...let me know what you think? It would be another great goal to complete...and it would kick us in the butt to get ready for the tough holidays!!

Then she includes a link to the Baltimore Marathon.

My Reply: I was SO up for the challenge (walking, not running of course... because I'm NO runner!)... However, the day of the marathon is the same day we're hosting the '3rd Annual Jerry Blystone Memorial Golf Tournament'... Which means roughly 25 or 30 people at my house, some for the whole weekend... Major Bummer, because I've always wanted to try a marathon of some sort... Not running mind you, never running!... But walking and chatting sounds quite lovely! Are there any other walk/run events coming up?

So she sends me this...

Newlywed Girl: Ok...well I have found it. Here is a 15K in Wilmington the 8th of October, so that is like 9 miles...then there is the Philly Half Marathon on the 19th of November. So you up for these? Because I figure we can get our legs going and warm up at the one in October, and then work our way up to the Half Marathon. Let me know what you think, here is the link to the one in October. and here is the link to the Philadelphia one.

I'm no slouch so I send this back...

My Reply: I could do 9 miles NO PROBLEM.... No running though, we have established the NO RUNNING correct? I think this is an EXCELLENT opportunity for us to further our agenda at weight loss and overall fitness! So, I'm IN!!!

SOoooo, I've never done this before... it looks like we register online? I'll write it in sharpie on the calendar and give it a go... The way I see it is this... If we feel like the Oct. event is a success then we'll register for the Philly event... Sound good? We are SO going to be rockin' our svelte bodies and slim new jeans come January!

And This...

Me: BTW,
Does it worry you at all that this event it sponsored by a RUNNING CLUB?

And This...

Me: OMG, Look at all the pictures of people RUNNING!!!! I couldn't find ANY walkers???
Click Me

And then I started getting silly.

Me: ...Okay, maybe these two... That look of pain? Yeah, that'll be me... The one in the green.
Click Me

By this time I'd lost all self control and sent her this...

Me: I call this one 'Nipples'
Click Me

I'm not sure where this is all going to lead but this morning I sent her this...

Me: I think I'd die of embarressment if in my first marathon I came in a couple of hours behind the rest of the group... Die I tell you... Just DIE!

Perhaps there's some nice little marathon for people with prosthetic legs or some such thing? Can we start out with something like that?

I'll keep you all posted!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Boomerang Effect...

(This photo of my niece used merely for editorial purposes.)

I like to think of myself as a professional... That I'm capable of anything I set out to do and when I do it, I do it with style, flare & originality!

I recently took on the job of creating '50th Anniversary Party Invitations'... The client is a friend of mine and I was pleased that she had asked me... However, it was very important to me that I treat this like any other job... Done professionally and with quality!

The job called for 75 invitations... 75!!! I've done cards and announcements before but they usually total 25 or 30... So this was a BIG job for me... I stressed a bit over the availability of the number of supplies I'd need (ie. ribbons, adhesives, accents) but I was determined to prove to myself that this size job would not be that big of a challenge.

I made a sample piece that included a scanned photo of the couple on their wedding day, printed on cardstock with a vellum overlay that included all of the details of the party.... My printer doesn't seem to appreciate having to print on vellum so each overlay took roughly 4 min. to print... Then it was imperative that I gave the printed vellum time to dry or the ink would smear... So roughly a day was spent on printing and drying time.... I ran into problems along the way with the printing of the base of the card with the photo on it, but after a mini break down over that, I figured out a solution that took some extra time but worked out better than my original plan.

The job was due on Friday and I managed to complete it on Monday because hey, I am NOT good with pressure and deadlines so I worked extra hard to not have it hanging over my head. When I delivered the job Monday afternoon I left with such a lightness that I hadn't felt for about a week because I had several other irons in the fire during that time. I went home, laid down on the couch and fell asleep for about an hour.... ahhhhh! wonderful!

Later that night I got a call from my friend, "Ah Margie?"... Me, "Hey, hi! How did your mom like the invitations?"... "Um, she loved 'em but ah, I hate to say this but there's a typo and I wouldn't mind but it's in the phone number for the rsvp."..... You know those moments when the only sound you hear is that one that's similar to holding a shell up to your ear so you can hear the ocean? Yeah, that one!

75 invitations with the wrong phone number.... ONE little wrong number!!! A '4' was supposed to be a '5'... The thing is I remember catching that typo early on and changing it but somehow, somewhere along the way that change never got saved into the file!!! My friend actually considered calling the incorrect number and asking the person on the other end if they would be so kind as to field all of the calls and let her know what the final count would be... All so she wouldn't have to make me feel bad.... What a good friend.... I had considered just using a pen to ink the correct number in by hand but ruled that out for two reasons: 1. It would make the whole invite which was quite classy, look sloppy! 2. Some rather elderly people will be receiving these invites and they need to be able to see the rsvp number quite clearly.... Another idea was to slip an insert into the card that made note of the incorrect number... In my mind all that would serve to do is point out what a lame'o the person who made the cards turned out to be... So NO, I reminded myself, this is a job and I'm SUPPOSED to be a professional!!!

I brooded about the whole thing for the evening... It wasn't so much the fact that the job needed to be redone and the time that it would take... It was more about my pride. I REALLY wanted to believe that I could do as good a job as a high profile, custom card designer.... Instead I came out looking and feeling like an idiot!... All over ONE little wrong number!!!

I spent a couple of hours mulling over that fact that IF I had just taken that extra instant to look over the first copy I printed out, I could've saved myself all of this frustration... That one instant could've changed everything! Then it occurred to me... There are people in the world who wish they could take back an instant in time because that instant meant life or death... Because whatever happened in that instant, had far reaching effects and ultimately changed peoples lives. All I wanted was an instant back so I could gain a little dignity and not have to re-do a job? How selfish was that? At that point it was like 'Cher' walked up to me and virtually slapped me across the face and said, "Snap out of it!"

So Tuesday I reprinted all the vellum overlays with the CORRECT phone number... And yesterday I picked up the invites (because I could still re-use the base pieces), I cut all the ribbons loose that are used to hold the two pieces together, strung new ribbon, adhered new accent pieces and viola! The job is complete and it's not even Friday yet!

I guess it's because I met the challenge of fixing a problem when it needed it, that I feel much better and more like the professional I wish myself to be.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Word of the Day...

I simply HAD to pass this along from dooce, my all time favorite blogger.

Bershon - (ber-shawn)

"Bershon is pretty much how you feel when you're 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweater and then pose for a family picture, and you could not possibly summon one more ounce of disgust, but you're also way to cool to really even DEAL with it, so you just make this face like you smelled something bad and sort of roll your eyes and seethe in a put-out manner." (quote from
Sarah Brown can be seen feeling bershon here.)

The parade of 'Bershon' pics on Flickr made for a great morning laugh. When I have time I'll see if I can dig up some 'Bershon' pics of myself to share with you all.... Until then, here's my 4 yr. old niece feeling totally 'Bershon'...
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Me & Johnny Cash...

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Okay, so I haven't quite been 'EVERYWHERE Man' but seeing it all mapped out like this I guess I've seen and done a lot in my nearly 42 years... As a result I hope you'll follow me as I take a walk or should I say a long 'drive' or 'flight' down memory lane

Having divorced parents meant that when they did decide to travel I got twice the vacation. My dad always favored places like 'Yosemite' and seeing old ghost towns in 'Nevada'. With my mom vacations were more of a splurge. It was with her that I saw Hawaii for the first time and got kissed by Don Ho (anyone remember 'Tiny Bubbles'?) Other vacations involved traveling through Northern California, Washington & Oregon to visit all of my mom's aunts and cousins.

When I was a pre-teen my mom, step-dad & step-sisters moved to Chicago and I spent the summer in a van traveling cross country to their new home and flew back to my dad's home in California once the destination was met. It's amazing how it can take weeks to drive somewhere but mere hours to fly home.

There was another summer when I was 13 that I flew to Chicago. While there we spent a few weeks traveling to places like Gatlinburg, Tennessee & Kentucky's 'Mammoth Cave'. While in Kentucky we spent a beautiful night under the stars taking in a live outdoor performance of 'The Stephen Foster Story'... I'll never forget how much I loved that show even though my step-sisters and I moaned and groaned at the very idea of having to sit through some "Hick show that they couldn't even afford to hold inside." Our trip through Kentucky meant camping and I remember freaking out over encountering my very first tick! And then there was the tornado that skirted our campground in southern Illinois... Quite a nail-biter that night!

My first trip to the East Coast came at the age of 17 when I went to Cape May, New Jersey to meet the family of my 'boyfriend' at a full scale family reunion. The year after that I went to his boyhood home in Virginia for Christmas, this time as his bride to be.

At 19 yrs. old our honeymoon took me back to Hawaii, there weren't any Don Ho sightings but this time I got to snorkle while holding the hand of the man of my dreams... So who gives a crap about Don Ho!

Early in our marriage there were many trirps from California to the East Coast... Once to Florida to meet his Grandfather... Another to Massachusetts for yet another family reunion. Reunions take place in my husbands family every four years... Always an election year in order to give everyone a topic to discuss... Like they ever really needed one?

Once the kids came along our vacations included my husbands parents & extended family... The group of us would rent a beach house on the very southern tip of North Carolina at a place known as 'Ocean Isle Beach'... Not far from 'Myrtle Beach, South Carolina' there was golf galore for the guys and the women would mostly hang with the kids and shop when the guys weren't golfing.

There have been many trips over the years to New Jersey... A few to NYC and too many trips back and forth to my in-laws home in Virginia to count, (Each and every one of those visits to Virginia being exceedingly wonderful by the way... In case you're reading this mom.)

Last year we opted for a new beach rental... One much closer at 'Bethany Beach, Delaware' and this year we're headed back again in mid-September. The same cast of characters along with good friends will make up this years vacation and I'm sure there'll be many stories and pictures to blog as a result.

Me and Johnny Cash... We've been everywhere man!... Well almost!

There Will Be Squealing!

I'm soldiering on in my attempt to achieve a svelte physique... Even though my ego took a major hit last night, I managed not to placate myself with food and instead had a cup of tea. I'm well aware that if I'd chosen the route of stuffing food into my face I'd have felt even lower today. What I DID do was wake up early and walked off some of the stress... And now, in the light of day, things don't seem nearly as bleak as they did last night.

I'm fortunate to have found a partner in accountability... 'Newlywed Girl' and I are both going for the 20 lb. loss by Christmas... That'll mean 40 less pounds of weight holding the earth in its orbit. She suggested that when we meet our goal at Christmas we'll celebrate by shopping in tax free Delaware and reward ourselves with new clothes from the After-Christmas sales. I'm so thrilled she offered the suggestion... Not only has the accountability helped immensely when I find myself saying, "Just one more helping can't hurt."... or... "Must I walk in this humidity?" but the incentive of having someone to share 'skinny' clothes shopping with is just too delightful!

When I lost my original 30 lbs. it was a given that I needed to buy new clothes... Oh, the delicious torture! It was SO thrilling to try on pants 3 sizes smaller than I'd been able to fit in for years... And Jeans no less, I hadn't worn jeans for almost a decade because I couldn't stand the feeling of sitting or bending over and feeling like someone had driven a machete throw that roll in my mid-section. So as I was standing in that little dressing room at JCPenny I wanted to squeal for joy! Not only did the jeans fit but they were COMFORTABLE! And the really great part was that there was space between the top of my thighs... I hadn't seen light through there since I had my second child!

Squealing out loud in a dressing room is never a good idea when you're shopping by yourself... Others in the immediate area might be concerned by this behavior and wish to put distance between you and themselves. Luckily I had the presence of mind to consider this fact and limited the squealing to the inside of my head. Somehow squealing in your head lacks a certain sense of credibility, so when 'Newlywed Girl' and I hit those after Christmas sales it's gonna be a whole different story... Because yes! There will be squealing!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Flies or The Boats...

(Above photo taken in Florida added purely for editorial purposes.)

Last week our family had dinner together at a small family owned restaurant along the Chespeake Bay. The restaurant had a beautiful setting on the water with its own little marina. The hostess seated us right along the window so we could take in the view.

Everyone was quite content until my son noticed several flies in various states of decomposition in the window well next to him. For the next 15 min. we had to listen to him air his complete distaste with our seats and the restaurant in general. That's when my husband told him, "Son... You can choose to focus on the flies or the boats... In fact, that's kind of an analogy for life in general... It's up to you." So we spent some time discussing how the flies are always going to be there in life... They're just the not so pleasant part of existence... They won't hurt you, they're dead... So why not choose to focus on the beauty beyond instead?

This was all going over quite well until a rogue fly flew over to our table... I tried to shoo it away and it landed directly in my daughters soda where it promptly died!... So much for our sweet little analogy... We were All pretty disgusted after that!
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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tres' Magnifique!

Ooo La La! Another Anna sighting... This time taking in the great works at the Louvre... Naturally, after having read 'The DaVinci Code'.

She is really stylin' that feather boa but the red hair-bow is SO 80's... If ONLY she'd remove those dark glasses so we could get a peek at those lusterous chocolate colored eyes!

Oh Anna, we all adore you and can hardly wait until your next photo shoot!
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Poor Gimpy Goose...

Each morning as I've walked for the past week... I've come across a gaggle of Canada Geese that have found a rather pleasant grazing spot amongst the construction sites. Geese are such fun to watch... There are always one or two that hold the job of 'spotters'... They're always at attention while the others graze... I'm assuming they take turns at the this job, but it's just so difficult to tell them apart one can never be sure.

Among this group of early morning feasters is the saddest fellow... I've come to refer to him as 'Gimpy' as he has a bad leg and limps in a way that's just painful to watch. I think the geese are starting to get used to me 'huffing & puffing' past them each morning as they don't bother flying away like they did the first day or even honking and shuffeling off like the did the second and third day. Today they pretty much remained where they were... Except for 'Gimpy' who it seems needs to be extra careful about getting an early start at escaping if he needs to.

Because he was the one limping so piteously I was able to tell him apart from the others and get a closer look at his leg this time. It was the saddest thing to see... The leg is quite swollen and knobby in places the other one wasn't. I'd certainly like to help this bird if I could but it would be impossible to catch him because he has no problem with flight and if I did catch him... What they heck do I do then?

Nature has a way of handling these things and if I interfered I'd probably only make bigger problems for 'Gimpy' and his/her brood. It just strikes me every day I see 'Gimpy' how fragile some of us are, and yet we 'Gimp' along and have to work a little bit harder to keep up with the group.
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Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy 71st...

Contrary to what it may appear... I'm not some freaked out Elvis fan who just returned from an annual pilgrimage to 'Graceland'... Quite the contrary actually, I just happened to have this pic on file that I took of a mural on the side of a building in Falls Church, Virginia.

When I ran across it I thought to myself, "Hey didn't Elvis die in August?" After a brief online search I found the quote below and the date of his death... This week! How could I pass up the opportunity?

On a side note and at the risk of being sacreligious... My husband and I have a theory, well his really but I quite agree... That one day, perhaps in a few hundred years or so... Elvis will become a new religion... Those who worship at the church of Elvis will be known as 'Presletarians' and their prayers will all end with "Thank ya, Thank ya vera much!"... And man, are their services gonna ROCK!... I can hear the choir now singin' 'That's All Right Mama'

"Rythym is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it, you have it all over."

-Elvis Aaron Presley
Jan. 08, 1935 - Aug. 16, 1977
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

File this under the category of 'What's That About?'

I was glancing through my 'Kohl's' circular this morning and came across this ad for 'Tony Hawk' sport wear for young men... This is only one of the pictures they advertise... But I promise you, every single one of the young men and boys pictured have the same nasty looking scowl on their face... You know the one, "Whaddya think you're lookin' at?" expression.

This ad does not... I repeat, DOES NOT make me want to go out and buy 'Tony Hawk' wear for my son... And since I can't picture too many young men perusing the pages of a Kohl's flyer... I seriously doubt the advertisement is aimed at anybody but middle aged mom's like myself... And I can tell you this... These smart-assed looking kids DON'T make me want to spend one dime on 'Tony Hawk' sports wear.
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The Battle of the Bulge...

Sadly, the 'Fat' found me... I can run, but I can't hide... Uh, actually I can't really run, but I can walk a pretty good clip... And as for hiding... Well, my body mass makes even that difficult!

Yesterday I went to my 'Endochrinologist' for a regular check-up and found out that I'd gained 10 of the 30 some pounds I lost BACK!!!! AAAAAAaaaaaarrrrrrggghhhhhh!!!! You can only imagine how much this frustrates me! Those extra pounds I lost were just waiting... Hiding away behind the refrigerator and the cupboard doors. Those sneaky bastards!!! And when I wasn't paying too much attention, (Most likely while I was just trying to survive the heat)... They jumped me from behind or to be more precise jumped 'On My Behind'... And my Arms, Legs and Mid-Section!!!

I was afraid to get rid of my fat clothes JUST for this reason... But I'll be damned if those pounds are going to drag me back 'Up' to where I was on the scale. Today I have a NEW campaign!!! 'Drop 20 by Christmas'.... It's Do-able!... Just 5 lbs. a month!... I can handle that! I'll ramp up to walking twice a day but more importantly I'll go back to how I lost the 30 lbs. in the first place... I'll pay close attention to 'Everything' I put in my mouth... This of course is going to make Thanksgiving Suck!... But if I keep in mind that when I eat too much it leaves me feeling like crap then maybe the deprivation won't be too terrible.

I read an article in 'Diabetes Forecaster' last year that talked about the rigors of being a 'diabetic' and having to watch food consumption so closely... It stated in the article that it was okay to take a 'Diabetic Vacation' once in a while... Well I've been on a permanent holiday for quite awhile now and it's high time I get back to work! Since there's nothing quite like 'Accountability' to provide motivation, I'm screaming it loud and clear 'Drop 20 by Christmas'... That's what I'm gonna do!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

From a Stephen King Story I Once Read, Titled - The Mist...

Look! A dragon that fits into the palm of your hand... Just barely! Another one of my daughters critter friends that stayed with us just long enough for a photo op. He didn't stay long enough to warrant a title but I like to think of him as 'Puff' OR how about the name...
'Are you sure the duPont chemicals in our backyard aren't having an effect on the growth patterns of our wildlife'
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back in 1994...

It used to be that before making a purchase over $30 my husband and I would consult as to whether we really 'needed' the item... That was when the kids were small and a trip to the toy store wasn't so much about them begging me to get something for them but instead involved me looking for an item that would keep them occupied for a while so I could indulge in a little 'Me' time. I remember $30 was always the limit for said item.

As my van was sucking up $ after $ of gas this morning I was struck with the notion that I should consult with my husband before I filled my tank... Because it went WAY over our agreeable amount of $30... Gas prices really suck! I'd much rather be buying toys.
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Monday, August 14, 2006

When there's time...

I like to just enjoy the little things in life!

Damn, my hand sure looks wrinkled! :(
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Sunday, August 13, 2006

When the Papparazzi gets to be too much...

Anna was trying her best to remain incognito but alas her cover was blown and the press managed to get this shot whilst she sunned herself on the beach in St. Tropez.

Sorry Anna... Guess it's time for a new disguise.
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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Nature Girl Strikes Again...

Last evening as my daughter was searching for her friend the 'Praying Mantis' she found something even MORE amazing!

This beautiful
Luna or Lunar Moth... This isn't the first time she's been lucky enough to come upon one of these beautiful creatures. One Fall several years ago she found a very large catapillar about the size of an obese gherkin pickle... It was bright green with orange spots... She kept the catapillar in a screened bug house and fed it regularly... Eventually the catapillar made a cocoon inside the bug house and stayed that way for so long we thought it had died... The following summer she was standing in the garage and heard a noise coming from the shelf nearby which held odds and ends... She followed the noise and there on the shelf, inside the bug house was this ENORMOUS green moth... At that time we had no clue what we were looking at but fortunately we had the internet to help us out... The life of a Luna Moth seems quite pitiful to me... An egg becomes a catapillar that spends it's 'catapillar days' eating as much as it possibly can... Then spends most of it's life sleeping in a cocoon until it can at last emerge into this amazingly beautiful creature... But the irony is, it has no mouth so it only lives long enough to mate and lay eggs before it dies... So basically it's Born... It Eats... It Sleeps... It has Sex and then it Dies.... What's the purpose? Other than to enchant us with its beauty?

I swear this girl of mine is a magnet for all of the amazing things that nature has to offer... I've learned it doesn't just happen by chance though... She has the uncanny ability to look past the ordinary and see all of the wonders beyond... That and maybe there is a bit of magic she posesses... She attracts butterflies who on others would simply flutter away but with my daughter they perch upon her fingers and hang out awhile so my daughter can give onlookers a lesson on how they eat with their long probiscus or simply a chance to admire the beauty in the detail of a Swallowtail or a Monarch's wing design.

There's a story one of the staff members at my kids school tells of a visit to the creek with my daughter... He reiterates the story so well, I'm sure I won't do it justice but it went something like this... "I was sitting on a log reading my book and 'S' was doing all of those things she normally does when we go to the creek... Walking around in the water, eyes darting back and forth, posture always at the ready... Lifting old logs and picking up large rocks... At one point she walked over to me with a salamander in each hand... So I looked at her and I said, "Wow... I've come here many times and I've never seen a salamander before and you have two of them?"... That's when she looked back at me with those big brown eyes and said, "Do you ever pick up rocks and look under them?" And I said, "No, I haven't." And she said, with that flabbergasted look that only a kid can give to an adult who just doesn't seem to get it... "Well you should."

My daughter makes me think we ALL should look under the rocks more often.
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Friday, August 11, 2006

Some Get It... Some Don't...

My husband and I have a favorite card... A card that to this day can make us start snickering and eventually result in the two of us snorting and holding our sides. Part of that reponse comes from the day we found the card...

We were shopping in a craft store 'MJ Designs' that not only had crafts but a card section also. My husband was searching for a card for his sisters birthday when he ran across the one seen above. He came up behind me as I perused another aisle in the store and dangled the front of the card in my face inviting me to check it out... So I read it... And of course I thought... How stupid is this?... Then I opened the card and this is what was inside....

No text... No nothing... Nothing but this really strange looking guy with an even stranger goofy grin. My initial reaction was... "Huh?!?"... And then I looked at my husband and he looked at me and we both burst out laughing... We both looked at the outside of the card again... Opened it up... Again... And the second time we laughed even harder! It got to the point where we had to walk away from eachother because we were laughing so hard that every time our eyes met we'd nearly pee our pants! The moving to opposite ends of the store thing served us well for the first couple of minutes but eventually I could still hear him a few aisles over snickering away and I'd start giggling all over again... We were both wiping away tears we were laughing so hard and by the time we went to purchase the card we could barely walk our sides were aching so badly. The girl at the check-out looked at us like we were insane... Which some who look at this card and don't understand the humor would probably agree... Maybe those who don't get it think we are certifiable and should've been committed a long time ago.


If any of you out there look at this card and are struck with the same response my husband and I had... Then you're definitly OUR kind of people!

btw: We purchased 4 copies of the card that day and have bestowed all but 1 copy to like minded friends... That last copy I keep in a special memories box.
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Used to Creep Me Out... Now it Fascinates Me...

I spent last evening with my daughter in the front yard sitting in the grass along our stone covered landscaped bed... I was helping her look for crickets to feed a praying mantis that we found. When my daughter managed to catch a cricket she grabbed a thin reed and used it to pierce the cricket so she could hold it up to the mantis and therefore 'hand feed' the thing... You know, like the mantis was a pet of some sort.

I was fascinated... I mean, I've watched her feed the turtle blackworms and fish so now I'm not nearly as squeamish about these things as I used to be. Unfortunately this particular mantis wasn't interested in the banquet my daughter set before him/her... Maybe 'she' had recently finshed off the head of her mate and just wasn't hungry anymore... They do that you know. On the other hand, maybe 'he' was simply confused by such a generous display?

My daughter says she has hand fed the mantis's, mantai(?)... Uh, 'Prayers' she found before and they've been more than happy to except her offerings... She even prided herself that this one had grown so large and strong (I think she recognized him.)... Believing she had a hand in that... And you know, I really have no doubt that's exactly what she did!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

World Trade Center

Today my son and I went to go see the new 'Oliver Stone' film - 'World Trade Center'... I've been doing a lot of online research and came to the conclusion that this movie sounded like it was going to be a fitting tribute to the heroes that suffered and tragically lost their lives on that fateful day.

I thought this movie would be a good one for my 16 yr. old son to see... A positive experience, witnessing the triumph of the human spirit and the true meaning of the word HERO. However, I didn't think my 13 yr. old could handle a movie like this. My son and I even found it quite difficult... At one point he wanted to leave when the two trapped officers John McLoughlin & Will Jimeno are subjected to terror after terror. I explained to my son that if we left the theatre now (1/2 way through the movie) we were going to walk away with only the horrors fresh in our minds... We already know these guys make it out alive so we should stay and witness that. We hung-in... Holding hands on and off and when I began weeping my son put his arm around me and hugged me.

On Sept. 11th 2001 I remember so clearly that helpless, hopeless, disconnected feeling... Wanting, wishing there way some way I could help. It's strange that today, while watching that movie... I somehow felt more connected because I (in a very small way) shared the experience.

I didn't lose a loved one on Sept. 11th... No one I knew personally perished... But to this day I grieve... As I'm sure do we all. I believe though, that this movie helped me with the healing process... It gave me an opportunity to 'meet' the heroes (however abstractly)... Today I sat in a dark movie theatre and I prayed for these heroes to be strong... I prayed for them to be safe... And even though it's nearly 5 yrs. after the event... I finally felt connected.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Falling off the wagon... Repeatedly!

Last year when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I immediately stepped up to the plate and carefully monitored every morsel of food that went into my mouth... I also took up a daily exercise routine of walking 2 miles a day. By doing these things I was able to control my blood sugar and lose a LOT of weight.

Now it's a year or so later and I've fallen off the wagon... I keep trying to climb back on...
Picture this: Wagon lumbering down the road at an even clip... Semi-fat woman (me... Not Semi like a Mac truck but Semi as in sort of) jogging behind... tripping, falling, picking herself up and lunging once again for the wagon... Grabbing hold and trying to lift one leg onto the wagon as the other drags mercilessly along the ground.... At last giving the old heave-ho with a resolve buried deep from within... Finally achieving complete lift-off from the ground and rolling onto the bed of the wagon... ONLY to have gained enough momentum in order to roll right off the other side!!!

Cut to Semi-fat woman (me) lying in the dirt on the side of the road and struggling once again to raise myself up and begin the fight all over again.

Damn sad picture isn't it? But I swear I'm going to keep up the fight until I'm riding in the front seat of the wagon and steering it all the way past mid-size to the house of mid-life 'Babe-alicious'!

Wish me Luck!

Monday, August 07, 2006

They mock me...

I've always been fortunate enough to have perfect eyesight... That is until NOW!!!

I never REALLY believed, but it's TRUE!!! You turn 40 and everything starts to go straight down the crapper! I can vividly remember the days when I used to be able to thread a needle without cursing... Not anymore, now I have to reach for the 'GLASSES'... They're not as much an aide for seeing but more of a reminder that I'm getting old. Not only that but the case mocks me every time I open it up to retrieve my specs... C'mon, is it just me or does that say S A D on the interior cover of my glasses case? So every time I try to do something with my bleery old eyes I stubbornly refuse to give in and be mocked by an inanimate object... That is until I poke myself with the sewing needle 6 or 7 times... Then I relent... Grab the case and quickly open it... In that same instant I say out loud, "SHUT-UP... I KNOW!"... Because it's simply stating the truth.
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Sunday, August 06, 2006

There's just no pleasing me...

I'm sure most would agree that this week was beyond miserable temperature wise... The heat was such that when I walked outside I felt my skin beginning to melt off of my body.... Not the fat unfortunately, just the skin! So I did what every other hot flashing woman my age would do... I hunkered down in my basement (the coolest spot in the house) and dreamed of the weather pictured above... Of course, during the time I was subjected to the knee deep snow all I could do was dream of the weather I'd been facing all this week!

Maybe it's better not to dream about extremes?
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Saturday, August 05, 2006

How does he do it?

January 2001

My son is now 16 yrs. old and he still stands like this... He never realizes when he's doing it, which is all the time... And he says he finds it completely comfortable. My husband and I have witnessed people around him look on in wonder and then try to mimic this posture... Ultimately they end up stumbling... Heck, I can't even do it without falling over.
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Friday, August 04, 2006

The Campaign Begins...

My birthday is still a couple of months away but it's time to enlist in the campaign for a better camera... The picture above is of my niece 'L'... She's a mover and a shaker... The camera I currently own, while it IS wonderful can not keep up with the likes of little 'L'... Therefore I'm laying it out there for my husband (since I know he reads my blog) and I'm saying this:

Canon EOS baby!!!

If I had that camera I could become world reknowned... Well, at least in that little world in my head where the bunnies all live... My husband knows EXACTLY what I mean by that statement.
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Thursday, August 03, 2006


Our first brand new car that we drove right off the lot was a Mazda 626 LX... It's imperative that when you're shopping for a new car the you keep in mind the important things to look for... Like, does it get good gas mileage? Will it be reliable? And... Am I getting a fair price for the vehicle? When my husband and I went looking for our 'first' car together we went with these 3 thoughts in mind but when we climbed behind the wheel of the Mazda 626 LX there were two items that left those other important items wallowing in the dust... The first item was the vents on the dash oscillated back and forth at the push of a button... Therefore insuring the comfort of all the passengers in the vehicle as the fan would at some point hit everyone square in the face and then keep on moving. We had never seen anything like this in a vehicle before so it must mean we had to have it!

The second item was not only a way cool Equalizer with lots of buttons and lights all ready built in for the stereo... But a 'Joystick' which controlled the sound to all four speakers in the car... My husband being a computer 'geek' was especially struck with the coolness of this item even though the best sound quality was acquired by keeping the 'Joystick' in the middle position... It was however, we later found... A LOT of fun playing with the little 'Joystick' especially when listening to the very beginning of the song "Too Much Time On My Hands" by Styx.... This of course not being recommended to be manipulated by the driver while the vehicle was in motion... It was however a fun diversion for the front seat passenger.

So when it came time to make the decision on which car we should purchase the Accord and the Camry just didn't have what it takes to win us over... Because their fans didn't oscillate and no 'joysticks' to play d.j. with... Lucky for us, the Mazda turned out to be a pretty reliable car.
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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cars I Have Known... Part 3

I couldn't wait to get my drivers license when I turned 16... My parents however made it next to impossible for me to realize that dream as they enforced the 'Catch 22' of "You can't get your license until you can afford your own insurance and your own car." With the paycheck I brought home from the shoe store where I worked about 17 hrs. a week and the rent I payed to live in my own home, there was no way I could come up with the money... In fact it would be miraculous considering the fact that I had to pay for all of my own clothes, food (when I wasn't home for a family meal due to my work hours) and toiletries... With those kinds of boundries there's a very slim chance I'd be driving even today at the age of 42.

Enter my knight in shining armor... My guy (the foot holder) saw to it that I got my license right after I left home at the age of 18. That's when my first car became his car a '74 Camaro... It was maroon with a black top and the sweetest ride... Well, ANY ride is sweet when you've been under the impression that you'd never in your life be able to drive a car. Until I came along this car was my boyfriends 'Baby'... He loved his car. That's why I thought he was going to leave me forever the night I raked the passenger side door along the beam that supported the car port at his apartment complex!

I stood out in the car port for a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how I was going to tell him about the crushed door. I finally came to the realization that no matter how much I dreaded it, I had to face the music... I couldn't stand looking at that door all night... So I walked into the apartment and before I could get even two words out of my mouth I began sobbing. He got off the couch and hurried over and hugged me trying to discern exactly what I was trying to say about the car... Finally he said, "The important thing is, Are YOU all right?"... I had mistakenly given him the impression that I had been in an accident with another automobile... The glorious thing was that he was more worried about me than he was the car.

I'll admit, he wasn't exactly happy when he realized that I'd caused the damage by pulling into the parking space too wide... But it was an easy mistake because I was having to pull in next to this...

A 1971 Plymouth Fury... The biggest, baddest, mother out there! This was my guys 'other' car... Okay, it didn't have the light rack on the top but it WAS in fact a retired police car that my boyfriend/now husband picked up while he was in college. He had the Fury painted deep sparkling blue and had vanity plates for it that spelled out 'BLTHNDR'... This was an awesome vehicle but it was quite literally, the biggest car ever made... Obviously the apartment complex car ports weren't designed for two large vehicles... Especially one which had the girth of a cruise ship. SURE, my boyfriend didn't have any trouble parking both cars in their tiny little berth but I was still rather inexperienced when it came to parking and heck, truth is... It's rather unladylike to exit a low slung vehicle like the Camaro whilst pinned up against a behemouth like the Fury with only a mere 6 inches with which to extricate myself.

So yes... I christened the car with its first large dent... a few weeks later my guy begrudgingly took me to a 'Homecoming Football Game' at my high school and after the game we returned to the Camaro to find that someone had sideswiped the drivers side door... He was much more upset at that incident than the one I caused... But all I could think was, now both sides matched... All my boyfriend/now husband could think was... "I guess my days of having nice looking vehicles are over."
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cars I Have Known Part 2...

After finding this picture I simply couldn't wait until tomorrow to blog about this car...

I'll never forget the old 1971 Chevy Station Wagon with the wood paneled sidewalls... In fact the picture of the one I found here online is the exact same color as the one our family owned. I was so pleased to find a picture of the open tailgate which exposes the fold down rear facing seat. That seat holds a very special memory for me because that's where my first 'real' boyfriend held my foot.

Not my hand... But my foot! Our entire family was loaded into the wagon and the guy that I was beginning to fall for climbed into the very back with me. We were all headed for Westwood in L.A.... Westwood used to be a kind of hot spot, hang out, fun place with lots of shops and restaurants just adjacent to the UCLA campus. Anyway, after a fun evening of dinner and shopping and just general family merriment we all piled back into the wagon and my guy and I jumped into the back again for the ride home. We had such a great time laughing, chatting and getting to know one another better... At some point I crossed my right leg over my left and he grabbed my foot and held it the rest of the ride home. I can recall the feeling as if it were just last night... I didn't want to budge one inch for fear he might let go... Of course I wished he was holding more than just my foot but I was only 17 and he was almost 24... He was my dad's friend so he was understandably nervous to be holding even my foot! It was magic though... 2 years later I married that guy and come this November we'll be celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary... But it all started with him holding my foot in the back of the family station wagon.