"I have never felt that anything really mattered but the satisfaction of knowing that you stood for the things in which you believed and had done the very best you could." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flying Under The Radar

Just a quick post to let everyone know the following:

1. I am still very alive.
2. SF and I are just fine.
3. Zoe is almost crawling. According to Jack, "She has lost all of her gears, except reverse".
4. I am officially now firmly in a size 14 and loving the changes!

I will have a longer post as soon as a few issues have been handled and I have the "all clear". Don't worry...all is good!

Look out San Marcos and Austin...I may be in a driving pattern near you soon....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Okay, I may have officially lost my mind...

I have been bitten by the running bug yet again. At lunch I registered for this. According to the ticker, I have 183 days (including today) to get myself ready to run thirteen miles. This is seven more than I did in February. I am nervous and excited all at the same time. I have called my running advisor and I will be getting some new running shoes within the next two weeks. My current pair will suffice until then.

I am thinking about adding a meter to the side bar to track my progress and also adding some stats to keep me focused. Heck, I might even let SF take some pictures of the progress, because I know that the additional training will do this old body good.

Wish me luck and/or light candles for the loss of my sanity....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How much better can life get?

Check out this to get a glimpse of Megan, Stephanie and Zoe at Lambert's Cafe!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Temptations

As promised...here are the current temptations....

SF spent a great deal of time designing the house that she thought she would some day share with the woman of her dreams....so, as the reigning candidate (hehe) I am honored to be able to utilize top of the line/state-of-the-art appliances. However, I am in need of a few extras if I am to bake and cook like a good Southern Wife. I must have this in Tangerine. It will allow me to whip up all those holiday creations that I need to make to satisfy the girls and SF. I also need this as soon as possible. I already have a 2.5 Quart one that is perfect for SF and I to use for just ourselves; however, with the holidays in mind and entertaining the kids, I want to make certain that I have one big enough to handle the job.

While SF and I were discussing future entertaining needs, we agreed adding some new dishes was in order, as we both have older sets that are perfect for just ourselves but not so appropriate for any entertaining. After some discussions as to what we thought would meet our needs we agreed upon Fiesta Dinnerware. This past Friday (07/10/2009) we decided to stop by Macy's to check them out before we purchased any large quantities. We decided to get the 9" Lunch Plate to start our test with. We chose two in Peacock so that they would go with some of our existing dishes in case we didn't like them....

Well, we have used them all weekend and have decided to get busy purchasing the quantities that we want/need to make a full set. We now have to get six more of the Peacock Lunch Plates. We have decided to mix and match in lieu of a traditional set of dishes. We will be purchasing the Square Dinner Plates and the Square Salad Plates in Tangerine from JC Penney. We will be purchasing the bowls in Peacock from Macy's. As you can see, there is a theme here. We are utilizing the colors of the Lady Vols. Silly as it sounds, we both love the Lady Vols and since I am a Tennessee native, it seemed perfect. The colors will add a splash of color to the existing palate and will boost the white Mikasa Elegance pattern. SF was wise when she had her Direct Buy membership to get a service for 16 in the pattern for next to nothing.

We are also discussing glasses for entertaining. All adult beverages should be served in the appropriate glass. Having stated that, we are comfortable when it is just the two of us drinking in plastic/polycarbonate glasses because of the amount of time we spend in the pool. However, we do need to invest in pieces that we can utilize inside for adult entertaining. Having said that, we would both love to have a complete collection of Riedel; however, that would be unrealistic.

We have found some patterns that we can discuss. We like this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this to start with. We are trying to find something that looks substantial without looking masculine or too old world. We both agree that we want something that is suitable for our age but no so old fashioned that it dates us. Please send suggestions if you have any....we are stumped, well sort of...

Okay, I can also safely say that I am almost finished setting up the retreat room. It is truly the one place in the entire house that SF did not leave a footprint. I have been considering keeping the Moroccan theme but updating it just a bot to make the room look a little more sophisticated. I came across this bedding while I was looking at curtain rods for our bedroom. I also liked this one and this one as well. Of course when I saw this I almost broke down and ordered it first without any additional shopping. I do like many of the elements in the picture and will most likely try to duplicate as much of it as possible while making it my own.

I have also been exploring what to do in the vast space that is our walk-in closet. Back in the late summer, before either SF or I were ready to admit that we might even be dating, I went with her to The Container Store. That was really torture for me, let me tell you...seriously, I LOVE that place. She bought 10 of these racks. When I arrived with my stuff in tow, she had saved me two of them, not knowing how many I would really need. Lucky for her, in the beginning I only needed two. However, as I have begun to get more comfortable with myself and my choices, I have added some items and now I need to go and get two more to accommodate future growth. I also want to add two of these, two of these, and one or two of these. This will get the closet functional and if I need to, I will add a few of these as a last resort.

There are a few other minor things that I need to get SF organized. The Utility room needs this ASAP! It also needs this too so that she will stop using the showers and the towel racks...The garage also needs some help and this is the first thing that I need to purchase.

Okay, I'm sure that you are all either bored or wanting to get new stuff of your own now...so consider this installment complete....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Yes, It has been a month.... :(

Actually, it has been thirty-three days to be exact.

I have always wondered why when you move in with someone that you seem to drop off the planet for a few months. Even though I vowed not to let it happen, somehow the days turned into weeks and then a whole month.

So much has transpired in the last thirty-three days. First, My dear friend Megan has given birth to a beautiful son. We have also lost so many famous people. I will not name them all here, but I do wish them all God Speed. I also extend best wishes to my other friend Megan on her latest trip to her parents. I know exactly how she felt.

The last thirty-three days have seen SF and I begin to transition from her house to our home. We have begun the melding of habits, possessions, pets, and all other rituals. No more dancing around subjects to avoid conflict. No more modesty of any sort...you know, trying not to admit that your body makes those noises or omits those odors..hehe...Finally free to admit that you do or don't like a habit, like dogs near the table while we are eating or cats on the bed. We are able to discuss subjects rationally and without conflict. That is not to say that we have not had a fight yet, because we have. The good part is that neither of us resorts to any comments that are negative or hurtful. We have been able to stick to the facts and resolve the issue fairly quickly.

With our schedules being as they are, we don't do much Sunday evening through Thursday evening. We are fairly boring, going to bed by 8:00 PM CST and getting up at 4:00 AM CST. It is a routine that I had a hard time adjusting to totally, but it has gotten easy. It allows me time to visit with SF in the morning, go to the YMCA for at least an hour daily, and get myself to work. The best part is that I am free to make the choice.

I get up on my own, make my own coffee (thanks to the birthday gift), get myself to the YMCA and get to work on time without any one's assistance. Why is that important? Because in the past, I was content to let some one else get me up, bring me my first cup of coffee and badger me into going to Bally's to work out. Now I find peace in my own abilities to care for my own needs. I revel in the fact that I can and do care about myself enough to make the effort.

For those of you that have been following for a while, you may recall that I had been discussing the trip to Ohio for the Parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary. It was a HUGE success. There are some pictures in the slide show that you can see. But here are some of my favorites.

The trip was wonderful in so many ways. It was good to see the siblings again. It was good to see the other relatives that were able to come too. It was also wonderful to see the number of people that call my parents their friends. They were from all walks of life and all socio-economic backgrounds as well. My youngest brother was a wonderful emcee and made everyone feel at ease in order for them to be able to go up to the microphone and tell their own unique stories about my parents. Not one to be bashful, I waited until there seemed to be a lull in the people that felt comfortable going to the microphone. I do not need a microphone, as I took drama at the Memphis Little Theatre and can project quite well. It was wonderful for everyone to be able to nod and listen as I related, as the oldest, why my parents are loved by not only their family but by their extend friends and family as well. I scattered a few anecdotes within and brought some tears to some eyes, made some smile and made others laugh with fondness.

I was proud of the woman that stood there in front of the friends, family, significant others and SF. She was confident, radiant, and self assured. So very different than the woman that would have been there a year ago. It felt liberating.

We all enjoyed the rest of the visit. We went to Stoney Ridge Winery and brought back a case of wine. We celebrated my birthday. We helped my relatives on and off my dad's motorcycle for their turn at a ride. I got a special ride with my dad, which was priceless.

We have been home almost a week and back to our routine. We are back on our eating program so that we can shed the pounds we have gained during this first thirty-three days. We have been getting the house ready for Stephanie, Jack and Zoe. I hope to have that accomplished by Wednesday with the hopes of having them over this weekend.

Knitting was non-existent the last few weeks; however, I have since rectified that and I will be finishing the projects on the needles and getting ready for fall knitting. I will also begin the Tuesday Temptations again this week. I have a few that are directly related to the conversion of the house to home....

More later my friends...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

Well, I have no big surprises for you today. The new network has a little hitch in the get along but we have figured it out and hope to have it resolved before the end of the week. We continue to settle into a daily routine that accommodates all of our needs.

One funny thing to report is the fact that Eraser loves SF. Case in point, last Friday SF had the day off. After my "normal" morning routine (I will spare you the very boring details) I told everyone good bye and left for work. I got a call around 10:00 AM with a morning check-in and was advised that when SF awoke, Eraser was curled up around her feet. When they both were a little more awake, Eraser went up to SF and plopped down and wanted love. SF was able to rub her like I showed her how and even got purring from her. Stephanie was dumb-founded but glad.

Sassy is still not fond of Ambre, but she likes Frankie because he is calm and does not chase her. Both cats actually prefer Frankie more for that same reason and Eraser will actually lay on the tile beside him in the evenings if SF and I are on the couch together watching TV or talking. They lie just close enough to be together but do not touch each other.

The WNBA Season is off to a good start and we have been watching as many games as we can. That is hard to do when you go to bed as early as we have to in order to maintain our sleep and our routines. There are three games on tonight but they are all web casts, so I doubt we will watch.

I do have a few temptations to share that all relate to the upcoming July trip. I bought this last week and they will be delivered tomorrow. I also ordered this dress Monday to wear to the renewal of their vows. I am torn on shoes and could use a vote. I have picked the following pairs:

  1. Bandolino Yinta3
  2. Franco Sarto Fancy
  3. Franco Sarto Dash
  4. Nine West Mocha
  5. Ralph Lauren Teagan

I need something with a decent heel but not too high. SF is taller than I am (5'10") so I can have a 3" heel but I don't think that would be practical for the event or to wear to work later, as I will be able to wear the dress to work as well. So all you fashion conscious peeps need to tell me what you think.

Okay, that's all for today....getting ready to shut it all down and head for the casa and a dip in the pool before dinner...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where did six whole days go?

I can't believe that I have not posted since last Thursday. I have been very busy but I will do the Reader's Digest version for your sake....

Friday I was able to leave at 1:30 PM. It was a blessing. I was able to get the last load of belongings from the apartment and get the payment to the maid for cleaning it so well. That was the best $50.00 ever spent! Sunday I turned in the keys and the final utility payment. It was bittersweet.

Hard to believe that one year ago Saturday I was moving into the apartment. I was full of loneliness and fear about what would happen in my life. I was wrought with depression and self-doubt. I was floundering, separated from my house and the life I had known for the last ten and a half years.

I am pleased to say that I have come full circle. After seeking professional assistance I have learned to control what I need to, to ask for help when I need it, and to accept myself for who I am. I have accepted the past as the past and will continue to learn from it as I grow and move forward.

I skipped over Saturday and need to back-track. We both got much needed cuts, color, and high-lights in preparation for the July trip. I have pictures of the new "do" and will be finally able to download them from the camera tonight. After the hair, we ate at Hooters and rode the motorcycle the rest of the day. It was amazing! I wore my new helmet for the first time and what a difference it made!

Sunday after I returned, we did some light house work and laundry and spent the evening watching TV and talking about some issues that we needed to resolve. Nothing major, just normal stuff that pops up when two people try to merge different lifestyles together into one.

Monday was a long day, as I did not sleep well. I am still getting acclimated to the noises of the house and my head wouldn't stop thinking of stuff either. We had breakfast for dinner, which was a real treat for me.

Tuesday was easy. I had to get some groceries before I got home and then I made a light dinner. We have been watching the Women's Softball Championship and last night we watched part of game two between Florida and Washington.

Bed time rolls around early (8:00 PM) most nights because we are up at 4:15 AM Monday through Friday. We are getting into a routine that works for all six of us and still allows SF time with Frankie and Ambre while I have time with Sassy and Eraser. We are also still working out our "down" time so that we both have time alone to re-charge and let go of issues that followed us home from work.

Hopefully the network I designed and set up last night works tonight and I will be able to post Thoughts on Thursday from my new location and share some pictures. Keep your fingers crossed but do not hold your breath....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thoughts On Thursday

Hard to believe that this week is rolling by so quickly. The last two nights I have been by the apartment and picked up almost all of the remaining contents. I have a small load for tonight and the maid will be there Friday to get the place ready for me to turn in the keys and the final walk-through.

The house is starting to settle down as well. I had told SF that it would take the cats and dogs a week to get settled and develop a routine that worked for them. Sassy has her routine in place now and the only thing she needs is the cat chair from the apartment. Eraser is just now getting her turf set. She has been lurking about and has developed a morning routine that seems to be the final pattern. She loves the dog beds and spends as much time as possible in them. She is also fond of plopping down on the tile in front of the bedroom door and keeping the dogs in or out as the case may be.

For the most part, Frankie and Amber are resigned to the fact that the cats and I are now permanent fixtures in their house and lives. They follow me around and are getting better about accepting commands from me as well. Amber is still jealous when I get more attention from SF than she does, but that will settle down too. The only hurdle that remains is the leash. Amber does not walk well with me yet and that can be a challenge when we are trying to get them accustomed to my lead so I can take them to the vet if there is an emergency.

I do have pictures on the camera. Why haven't I shared them yet? Well, I have not set up the PC's yet and I cannot locate the camera cable yet either. Hopefully I can locate the cable tonight and get the PC's set up to the network as well. I would have attempted it last night but I was late getting home and we watched the tribute to George Strait last night.

The longer commute and the newness of the living arrangements have not yet provided me with enough quality sleep, so bear with me a little longer and I will get it all together...., or so I hope. Funny, it seems so odd to be saying that I am having adjustment issues, but I am having to learn how to share a bed with someone again and get accustomed to the issues that go along with that as well. I am also having to re-learn sharing a space with another person. Hard to imagine that in one year that I would learned to love my single space so much that sharing provides new challenges.

A special thank you to AHJ for her lovely card. SF was touched by the gesture and wants to learn more about my interwebz friends....

Okay gang....back to work....have a wonderful Thursday and get ready for Friday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Temptations

Greetings! First, I want to take a moment to thank all the Veterans for their services. I was unable to post this weekend, as I still do not have the PC's hooked back up after the move.

The move was fairly uneventful, as far as moves go. Nothing was broken and nothing has been misplaced. Now before you think I am a miracle worker, it is all moved, but not all unpacked and set up. SF had the room almost ready for me to work in but there are still a few things that need to be relocated with the other areas of the house before I can begin to set up the area.

I still have to retrieve the remainder of my clothes, the contents of the kitchen, and a few items from the living room. I should have all of that accomplished by tomorrow night and then I will get the maid in on Thursday so that Friday I can turn in the keys and be officially done.

It will be a slower process with unpacking and getting settled in at the new house. Do not read into that statement. SF and I have agreed that we want to go slow and not put any undo pressure on ourselves to get it all finished. We have plenty of room in the house and one chaotic room with a closed door is not a pressing issue. I will have the critical items all unpacked and put away by the end of the month.

My temptations for this week are simple. Sunday, SF convinced me to walk here. Sounds harmless right? Wrong! We made it there in about 10 minutes but not before a huge downpour. We were soaked to the bones but it was fun. The rain only lasted about ten minutes. Afterwards, we walked around the mall area. I like the way it is laid out with the stores built like an old town center. I can promise that there will be more temptations from this place because they have several stores that I love.

From there, we walked just a little bit further to BJ's Brewhouse. We were hunger and decided to order the AVOCADO EGG ROLLS (Crispy golden wontons wrap a tantalizing blend of avocados, cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, pine nuts, chipotle peppers and spices. Served with a sweet tamarind sauce). Of course, since it is a micro brewery, we had to order a beer. Of course, I had the two darkest ones on the menu. We also ordered a turkey burger and an Angus roast beef dip sandwich.

When we were done, we headed back to the house. We were so full and sleepy that we laid down on the floor with the dogs and the cats. We fell asleep until around 6:00 PM when another storm hit. The thunder and lightening woke me and then there was hail. We decided that we should actually get showered and got some staples from the grocery store.

Now, we all know that everything is bigger in Texas. The H.E.B. near the house is no exception. In fact, it is the largest H.E.B. in all of Texas. It even sells furniture. I was amazed. It was sensory overload. The coffee isle alone was a wonderland. And the beer and wines were almost as plentiful as a liquor store. We picked up the basics and I plan on a complete investigation of the store in the very near future! They even have sushi and cooking classes.

Monday was the best day. After getting a good night's sleep, we got up and did a little look at the yard and got the pool ready. Yes, SF has a saltwater pool with a door from the bedroom right to the hot tub. How convenient?! I will have to get some pictures this week so that all of this makes sense to my visual friends. We swam and lounged most of the day, even eating our salads on the patio.

I was even able to convince SF that I needed to cook dinner on the grill that had never been used. We had grilled chicken breasts with grilled veggies. Simple but very healthy and I cooked it all outside so that we did not heat up the house. We even ate dinner poolside since the weather was so nice.

Before I forget, I am also happy to report that everyone has gotten acquainted with each other. Sassy has been bossy and exploring the new digs since Sunday. Eraser had me worried at first but she was back to her alpha position today. She hopped right out of her cage and went straight to the dogs' bed and plopped down. She dared them to come to her and then they figured out that she was now the total queen of the roost. SF left for work at 6:00 AM and the four of them were underfoot until I left at 7:00 AM. It will be interesting to see what transpired while we were gone.

There will be pictures later this week of everything!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Temptations

Garden has been planted in very colorful pots. I have planted Opal Basil, Sweet Basil, Rosemary, Yerba, Spearmint, Portulaca, Torenia, Zinnia, Texas Star Hibiscus, Flowering Maple, and Lantana. The Spearmint is for Mojitos. I bought a muddler and I read this on how to properly use it. As soon as the plants have bounced back from the transplanting I will take pictures of them.

SF has been telling Frankie and Amber about Sassy and Eraser for the last two weeks. I'm not sure if they get it, but I have been telling Eraser and Sassy about the dogs as well. She has also been getting the house ready for the three of us. Really adorable actually. She has her own set of temptations that she has hinted at wanting to make our collective lives easier.

She has listened to my cooking escapades the last nine months and she has decided that we need this. I have this one and I love it but it will only cook enough for the two of us with little or no leftovers. She is also looking forward to me acquiring a tagine. She has been curious about the Moroccan food since I took the class. She is also looking forward to the clay pot cooker. Funny part about all of this is the irony.

Let me explain. When I was married to the girls' dad I cooked every night. I cooked what he wanted in the same manner that his mother taught me so that her baby boy was happy....yes, I loved cooking. Hrumph. When I met LG/SWCNLBN she cooked because she got home at least two hours before I did. I cooked on special occasions and for certain parties but not much over the last ten and a half years. Then, blammo I am right back in the kitchen. For the last year I have had to get up daily and fall in love with cooking all over again. SF can cook, but I think that for both of us, we will enjoy sharing the opportunity to work together daily to prepare food that is good for us and is exciting. Yes, there will be the old faithful standbys but we will have adventure.

I have been looking at a few gadgets that I will need since my drive time just doubled. I have an IPod Shuffle that needs to be better utilized. It has been my faithful companion for running since it clips onto whatever I wear. I also have a Sony NW-E005F Walkman that also love. At 2GB it holds a ton of music. I need to clean her up and load her with driving music. Suggestions are officially solicited! The Caliber has an awesome sound system and she needs to be utilized. Of course, CD's are also fun, and I love mixes. So, if jam mistress mel is lurking, I could use some of your special magic again. You are my secret lover...hehe...ooppss, I guess it isn't a secret any more...

For safety, I think I need a Bluetooth headset and this one looks like a good fit and is recommended for my phone. My car has an AC/DC slot in the console so I don't really need any chargers. I can simply take the one for the house with me if needed. And a real bonus is the console. I can flip open the top and the slot will hold the phone so I don't need any other add-ons. A chauffeur would be the only other thing I could ask for....

Okay...I need to get myself to bed so I can work out in the morning....I have more temptations but they will have to wait....

Quotes that have been on my minds as of late

Intimacy is being seen and known as the person you truly are. - Amy Bloom

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. - Marcel Proust French novelist (1871 - 1922)

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do. - Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else. - Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault. - Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world. - Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

I am guilty, are you?

Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do. - Voltaire - French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Well, what have we here?

I have been radio silent, sort of. I have been checking on Twitter and FaceBook when I can, but there is not a lot of spare time in my days at the moment.

Mother's Day was amazing. Stephanie, Jack and Zoe came into town. We piled into my Caliber and met SF at Mama's Cafe. Jack was in rare form and he and SF were all set to discuss motorcycles. Stephanie and I sat side by side and we enjoyed them having so much fun. We ordered beers and chips and salsa while we waited for Megan to arrive. The menu is not too fancy, but I have loved it forever. I ordered the pork chops with black-eyed peas and cabbage. YUM! SF had the fajitas, Stephanie had the Black and Blue Bacon Burger, Jack had the special (Catfish and Shrimp), and Megan had the Grilled Chicken Salad.

We were at the cafe from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. From there, we had to make a stop at the apartment to get the much needed diaper bag for Zoe. We headed to Marble Slab. It was a special request from Stephanie for dessert. There is not one close to Huntsville and we wanted to indulge her. SF was good, she had frozen strawberry yogurt. It was AMAZING, I know, she shared. :) We all ordered and she paid. I protested but I was reminded that it was part of Mother's Day and she wanted to. We were there from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM. We sat a table and listened to the wonderful music and shared the treats with each other. We laughed and had such a wonderful time. It is so wonderful to see SF interact with both girls and Jack. She continues to amaze me.

From there, we walked back to the car and the truck. SF hugged Megan, Stephanie, Jack and kissed Zoe. I walked her to her truck while Stephanie and Jack got Zoe into the car. She scooped me at the waist and wished me a happy Mother's Day as she kissed my neck. I got a wonderful hug and a special kiss. It was good to let the girls see our relationship. I'm not sure how Megan felt, but I know that Stephanie wants me to be happy. She got in the truck and told me she would call me Sunday. We all came back to the apartment and had some more beer and hung out.

Sunday was amazing! For breakfast I fixed pancakes. For dinner, I fixed pork tenderloin and veggies. We ate nine pounds of tenderloin and a half of a pot of potato leek soup. They helped me load the dishwasher and clean the kitchen. We got them packed and on the road home so that they could celebrate with Mary.

I also found out that I got a 96 on my web design final! Yippie! I ended up with two A's this semester! I now go to see the counselor on the 20th to see what is available for summer school. If nothing is available, I will be a little further behind than I expected. I am prepared! I am excited!

Fast forward! I am packed. The non-essential items have all been packed and the walls are bare. The cats are a little freaked but okay. The U-Haul is reserved...yes, make all the jokes you want. But it has been WAY longer than the second date.....I have help to load the U-Haul and it shouldn't take too long since the apartment has 500 square feet and not much furniture. We are hoping to have the entire process completed by 1:00 PM. I hope so, as I want to be able to rest in the afternoon. We will have the remainder of the day to get the cats and the dogs acclimated and ourselves as well. That will also give us Sunday and Monday to rest and start the next phase of our relationship.

Am I nervous? Yes. I am a bit nervous and I have had a panic attack, or two....but, SF also admitted that she is a bit nervous too, as she has not shared a house in five years...we both have adjustments and that is good...

Okay...off to bed...more tomorrow....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baby Zoe's Debut

Baby Zoe's Debut
Originally uploaded by pingec

Tuesday Temptations

Not really but for me this is a wonderful post. Tonight I submitted my web design final and thus, this semester is over, except for receiving the final grade. I know the professor liked the submission from the gleam that I saw in his eye. But I do not want to jinx the grade....

Okay...I am a virgin on this next part of the post. I have a video of Zoe...I have gone to Flickr and told it to add it to the blog....the Tadpole is getting so big and I loved having them here for the weekend.

I have added items to the slide show and I will post more about the weekend later tomorrow. SF out did herself with the cards this time. She had me misty eyed and Stephanie was as well....

Off to sleep...my brain is exhausted from the core dump....

Friday, May 8, 2009


Yes, I have been MIA, but this has been a BUSY week.

Work has consumed me this week. We had a booth at the OTC. I was the organizer, and I have had my hands full. The show ended yesterday, but we still have the booth to breakdown and all the contents need to be shipped back to the office. I hope to wrap all that up today. I am also working on our upcoming Open House, the Annual Shareholders Meeting, and the next Board of Directors meeting.

Now, throw preparing for a final, packing to move, and "life" and my schedule is packed most days. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. My final is on the 12th. I have an appointment with the counselor/degree planner on the 20th to discuss Summer School and Fall enrollment.

As far as the move, I have a long "To Do List" and I am working on it. I have contacted the old vet and asked them to make sure that Onyx's records remain associated with LG and the old address. I also asked that Nina remain associated with that address until I can talk to Megan. I have met the staff at the new vet and I like them. The female vet loves big cats and is fascinated with Eraser. She has some ideas as to how we can get her a little slimmer. She is a tad bit too big even for her breed but the vet said that she has an excellent heart and I have taken wonderful care of her. She has flourished and is such a lover kitty. She loves to cuddle in the morning with me when I drink that first cup of coffee. So different from the cat that attacked LG on a regular basis.

I have also contacted the local YMCA and my membership here will be transferred. At some point I may cancel it and switch to the LA Fitness that SF belongs to, but not just right away. I am lucky, as my current trainer at the Y also works at the new one and we can still create a schedule that will work for both of us.

I have also changed the address on my driver's license. It should be mailed to the new house in the next two weeks. As soon as I have that, I will change the insurance and a few other things that need a copy of the license for their records. I still have to get an EZ Tag, but probably not until next week.

I am still a bit nervous about all of the changes, but I am reassured by the fact that SF is making sure that I am not being pressured. She is an amazing woman that insists that this has to be the right thing for both of us. I am encouraged to maintain current friendships and she expects me to continue to attend my knitting circles and other interests. She is truly very different than anyone I have ever known and I am honored to be a part of her life and to have her in mine.

I do have a ton of other stuff to share, but I must get to work so that I can wrap up the week and get ready for Mother's Day with Stephanie, Jack, and Zoe!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not as good as Ansel Adams, but I am published...

FlickrMail / Inbox
From: Emma J. Williams
Subject: Schmap Houston Seventh Edition: Photo Inclusion

Hi Lisa,

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo has been selected for inclusion in the newly released seventh edition of our Schmap Houston Guide:

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center www.schmap.com/houston/activities_galleria/p=60970/i=60970_10.jpg

If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, then this same link will take you directly to your photo in the iPhone version of our guide. On a desktop computer, you can still see exactly how your photo is displayed and credited in the iPhone version of our guide at: Houston Arboretum & Nature Center www.schmap.com/?m=iphone#uid=houston&sid=activities_galleria&p=60970&i=60970_10

Finally, if you have a blog, you might also like to check out the customizable widgetized version of our Schmap Houston Guide, complete with your published photo: www.schmap.com/guidewidgets/p=14121128N02/c=SK20192125

Thanks so much for letting us include your photo - please enjoy the guide!

Best regards,
Emma Williams
Managing Editor - Schmap Guides www.schmap.me/emma.williams

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Remember the moments....

My Big Sister reminded me once of a quote by Cesare Pavese, "We don't remember days; we remember moments." (28.7.1940).

I owe you a longer entry, but at the moment I cannot transfer the thoughts from the weekend eloquently enough to merit a longer entry.

Instead, I sit here lost in the wonder that is SF. She has been sick the last few days and has been taking medicines from the doctor. We had a wonderful "date" on Friday and a wonderful day Saturday (Flamingo Party and all). She did not feel up to the Harley Owners Group meeting today, so we agreed to get things done and rest.

When she called me this evening, I was just finishing up my laundry and getting ready to grill my dinner. She thanked me for accompanying her to the Flamingo Party and being such a good sport with the group. Then, to my utter amazement, she asked me where I would like to go for Mother's Day for dinner.

She continues to amaze me. She has no reason in the whole world to even be concerned with the day; however, because she loves me and knows that my daughters are my world, she wants to make sure that I get the celebration that I deserve. She wants to celebrate me as their mother and celebrate Stephanie's entrance into the life that only a mother understands.

So, for the time being, I do not remember the days....no instead, tonight I remember the moment...

Sleep well SF and get well soon...ILU....

Friday, May 1, 2009

9 Signs You've Met The One

Yes....I have relationships on the brain today....so just read this article too....

5 Reasons Why Good Relationships Go Bad

I wanted to share this article that I read this morning. Funny, as I read the contents I was amused, as it seems that SF must be way ahead of the curve this time. She has been the factor in the relationship that has insisted that all five of these issues needed to be addressed early on in the relationship and that until we both agreed that all of them had been properly addressed and foundations laid that nothing else could or would take place.

As hard as it is to admit, Emotional Cling Wrap hit home. Both of the previous exs were very controlling and it took me a while to understand the need to develop autonomy. I am proud of the individual interests that I have gone back and cultivated. I am also proud of the cultural and charitable events I have developed. I have things now that I know I need to insist that I maintain. I am not so naive as to believe that as SF and I develop into a true couple that there will be the need for compromises, as we both need to maintain individuality as we merge into "us".

Another one that was interesting was Too Physical Too Fast. That continues to be an area that SF remains resolute in maintaining. I admit, in all of the relationships (i.e. "Dating") I can remember, I can't recall any previous person being so resolute in believing that this was necessary. As old fashioned as it sounded at first, I must admit that it has been a blessing. There has been no undo stress from having been intimate too soon and not building a friendship first.

Read it for yourself and if you are about to re-enter the dating arena, consider the advice.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What a strange day this has been. I forgot this morning to let you know that Adam's dog Sancho turned four on Tuesday. I was invited to share 'za and Blue Moon last night and I loved it. But wait, you say....Wednesday is normally when SF and I have a date. This is true. But, SF has been feeling bad all week and she wanted to get to bed and get better so we could still have the weekend.

Our relationship is so special that it pains me when she feels bad. I admonished her for not calling the doctor yet. She promised me that if she woke up this morning and did not feel any better that she would go to the doctor. I noticed around three PM this afternoon that I had missed a call at 2:41 PM. I checked the phone and it was SF. She had left me a voice mail telling me that she was on the way to the doctor because she wanted to get better and she knew it wasn't allergies and she needed medical intervention. She told me that she wanted to be able to see me for all the things that we had planned for the weekend, because she loves our time together. How can you not say aw.....

I also want to share a song. One of my co-workers went to a wedding this weekend and Lucky by Jason Mraz was the song that the newly married couple chose to use for their first dance. I listened to the song on iTunes and I'm still debating on if I like it, but I do confess that I have been reading the lyrics over a few times and I must say I can identify with them. I too believe that I am lucky to be falling in love with my best friend.

I also took a BIG step for me....I changed the address on my driver's license online today. It will be delivered to the new address within fifteen to twenty days. I took care of a few other items that have to do with the move as well. I have located a dry cleaners and that is a relief. I have also talked with SF's vet. I like them and I will have my previous vet send Sassy and Eraser's records to them by the end of May.

Speaking of Eraser....she will be getting a lion cut like this one soon. Eraser will be getting her summer "do" the same weekend that I move. According to the vet, it is the best time. I will drop her off before I start moving and Sassy will stay with her. When we are finished moving, I will pick them both up and then they will get to meet Frankie and Amber. They are SF's French Bulldogs. According to the vet, it will be easier for Sassy to adjust to the "new" Eraser and both of them to the dogs this way. I'll keep you posted.....It will be interesting to see what her before and after weight is....I will tell you that she is a BIG cat. The new vet is fairly certain that her pedigree is 90% Maine Coon and 10% American Bobtail. It will be interesting to see if her personality changes.

Okay...off to bed...tomorrow is Friday and I have to get the booth items to the Reliant Arena for the Offshore Technology Conference. I also have to look over some litigation and get some time with the attorney. After that, and hoping that SF is better, we have a date.

Thoughts on Thursday

Just a short note to remind everyone that today is the annual Dining Out For Life event. This is the link for Houston, but you can also go to the main site and find your city.

Second....I think I forgot a few birthdays....

Happy Birthday to:

John - 04/21
Bobbie - 04/21
Tom - 04/26
Uncle Chuck - 04/30
Luis - 04/30

I am working on the April KAL: Princess Lace Wrap and I had to rip back because some how I lost a stitch.....that's what I get for knitting before the second cup of coffee....The wrap is super easy and I am using some wonderful yarn and I think it will be a wonderful addition to the summer evening dates or just special dinners on the patio with SF. And, the Clapotis KAL is almost done as well. I plan on getting both of these projects finished this weekend, yeah along with all of the other things already on the calendar.

Luckily I can knit at the Harley Owners Group meeting and no one will dare say a word, especially SF. I want to finish them up before I move and I also have two Pay-It-Forward gifts that are so close to the finish stage that I need to get them off the needles too....

Okay off to work....gotta pay the bills unless I have a sugar mama volunteering.....any takers?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Water logged Wednesday.....

First, I want to comment on today's quote:

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

Oh how true this is. I have taken the time to learn from the mistakes I have made in my last two relationships and I am hopeful that as the saying goes, "the third time is the charm". I have allowed myself to be vulnerable, sharing my imperfections and my checkered past. I have allowed myself to be human, no longer striving to be perfect or Mary Poppins. I have allowed myself the right to say, "I don't know" and not feel guilty or compelled to find the answer; allowing others to share what they know with me instead. I have shared the "warts" and let others decide if they wanted to learn more about me and acknowledging that some may not want to take the time. Has it been easy? No, and I would be foolish to let you believe otherwise. It has been a journey that I should have taken many years ago but I am glad that I have taken it. Will it end? No. I trust that I should spend the remainder of my life learning more from my past, from others, and moving forward.

Second, for those of you that are aware that Houston and the surrounding areas got "walloped" with any where between 8 and 11 inches of rain, we are all okay for the most part and drying out now. This story sums it up. This picture is about a mile and a half from my apartment. It is Briar Forest and the Beltway. What you cannot see is the four lanes that normally hold traffic and the lovely landscaped esplanade. When I went to bed Monday night it was to the constant downpours, thunder, and lightening. When I awoke at 4:00 AM CST it was to thunder so deep that the windows were vibrating. The water was up to the middle of the welcome mat on my porch and one of my neighbors (Peace Officer) has a truck with a lifted frame told me that he made it through the waters but it took him 45 minutes to go three and a half miles. I stayed put, did work from home via the Internet, and went into the office around 9:30 AM CST. Needless to say, the day was a bust in more ways than one....but the good news is that I had no damage and neither did SF.

I do have some temptations to throw at you....a few months ago I convinced our new CEO to let me switch to a Kuerig coffee maker and the pods associated with it. It was a worthwhile investment and we have already seen the returns from the switch. There is less waste and that is economically sound. Now that we have it, I want this one for myself. I am not certain how SF feels about items on the counter tops, but I would love to have the K-Cup Carousel for the coffee pods so that they are not hidden away in a drawer. Of course I would also like to have the Milk Frother Accessory for the times when I want to make espresso as well.

I still need a second chair for the bedroom that will also double as my retreat once I move. I love the first one but want a pair so that I have a sitting area. I also think that I want this rug to go in the sitting area. I am keeping the Moroccan theme in place that I started when I got the canopy bed in the first place. I realized that I needed a shelf or storage unit for knitting and books in there, so I think that this will suit my needs. I think a couple of these to safe guard projects and double as storage will be needed as well. I also want to do something similar to this for the room as well.

I also wanted to share this article. I think that the three top tips that are shared in the article are priceless. I have learned about these three principals in my sessions and can't agree more. I will admit that I like number three best....any tips out there that you feel need to be shared as well?

Monday, April 27, 2009

In 2007 I posted this menu for a Kentucky Derby Party that I held. I was having a discussion with SF this weekend about hosting events at the house later down the road. She didn't understand, so I had to explain.

I had to explain that I am really a home body and while I do enjoy going out to see people, I much prefer having people over and letting me entertain them. I told her about the last Derby Party that we held at Chez SWCNLBN. It was fun and I really did enjoy the whole process.

She is not certain that she can handle too many people for the first one, but she has agreed that she will branch out and give it a try. Obviously, we will not be having a Derby party this year but I am already working on a pool party in August. Why so far off? A couple of reasons do actually exist.

First, May is too packed with moving and other life events. June will be a "get to know" month while I learn the house, the new city, and the new life with the dogs and such. July is already getting full with my birthday, my parents' anniversary party and the Rod Stewart concert...

Okay....off to get ready to get in the rain and head to the casa

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday and another weekend comes to a close....

What a wonderful way to end a weekend....Friday was just as wonderful as Wednesday and Thursday. SF works a 9/80 program at her facility. She had Friday off, so she was rested even though she had two crowns put on (finally) that afternoon. I had no plans to meet her and was leaving work at 5:30 PM and actually planning to spend the evening doing laundry and packing some more boxes. She however had other plans. She is full of spontaneity.

She called me while I was leaving work and asked me where I was and what I had planned. I could tell she was plotting against me, so I said uncle with little or no resistance. She admonished me for working late on a Friday...but I knew she was kidding. She asked me if I was in the mood for a pint of St. Arnold's Brown Ale and some music. A short date since we had early haircuts scheduled. Of course we all know that I said yes....I'm a sucker for a good dark beer, good music, and the company of a woman that adores me. And best of all, the Duck finally had the Anniversary Guiness available! YEAH!

Did I say that out loud? Yes, I did and I am happy that I can say it. Funny how life works out when you let yourself get out of the way. We had a perfectly wonderful time. We had two beers apiece, black bean queso, and dinner while we listened to some wonderful music. Funny how time stands still when we do even the simplest of things. As a date always must, we part ways and go home alone. I am not complaining, far from it. I love the way that this relationship has grown and continues to unfold.

Saturday came faster than I would have liked, but I was able to get my workout accomplished (the trainer knew I had beer, so she was ruthless), my laundry washed/dried/folded, and my shower before SF called to tell me where to meet her. We were leery of the weather, as Friday evening Mother Nature dumped over 5" of rain on her part of town and we were headed that general direction for the haircuts. We were able to get haircuts, lunch at Souper Salad, and a trip to San Jacinto Harley. Just as we headed back to drop SF off at her truck...the rain began to drizzle. Quick goodbyes and off into the afternoon we went.

I came home and cleaned the place from top to bottom, soaked in a hot tub and knitting for a bit. I was tired and was asleep by 8:30 PM. Yes, I am old I know....but I'm okay with that. I woke up at 5:30 AM refreshed and ready to meet the day. We all know by now that means coffee for me. Two cups is the norm. I was able to get a bike ride in this morning before SF called to see if I was still game to take a ride in the country with her on the motorcycle.

Duh...let's see....ride on bike - Hell Yeah! Time with SF - Double Hell Yeah!! Beautiful Sunday in Texas - No Brainer! Of course I said yes and we agreed on a time and place to meet. Now, riding on a motorcycle with SF is not about glamour. Not with her, as safety is more important. That means that we wear jeans, appropriate footwear, tee shirt, and a helmet. I know that she is serious about this and I do not push the issue, as I want to learn from her and be prepared when I am ready to buy and ride my own.

We headed out 290 to Waller and took Farm to Market Road 2920 to Tomball. The trip that direction had the wind to our backs thus the ride was mostly uneventful. I have ridden on the back of a few bikes before, so I knew how to be a passenger. The only caveat that she has, no holding on to her. She prefers the passenger to hold on to the sissy bar or the luggage rack for every one's safety. Works for me, as I sit taller in the seat than she does and holding on to her would have been uncomfortable for a long trip. We had so much fun driving through the country. There were only a few cars on the FM roads and that let us open her up and she what she had to offer.

We stopped in Tomball and after a pit stop, we chose a scenic route back down to 290 so that we could head to Crossroads Harley Davidson. We wanted to stop there to check on my helmet and to check on the Harley Owner's Group meeting. It is slated for Sunday, May 3rd at 11:30 AM. I am also excited, because they told us that the next Heels on Wheels is slated for May 6th. The trip back into town was a bit rough, as we were riding right into the wind. I was able to shield myself a little behind SF, but not too much.

When the ride was over and we were back at my car, I was surprised at how tired I was. I had a little sun burn on my arms....not enough sun screen. I also had a chapped face, as my "loaner" helmet does not have a face shield. Good thing I have great lotions for my face and arms. We said goodbye and when I got home I shed the hot clothes and laid on the floor under the air for a little bit. Water and finally dinner were the next steps. I had a little ironing that I wanted to do and that was all.

SF checked on me to see how I was and to let me know that she had made it home safely. She wanted to make sure that I was okay after this ride, as she wants to sign us up for the Iron Butt Ride to Gruene TX. That will be a long ride (300 miles) and today we only did about 125. I think that we will be fine, but we have one more trip on the agenda between now and then. I am excited and loving the new adventure.

Okay...off to bed. This week brings the end of April. I have to go to class for a group assignment on both Tuesday and Thursday. We have a "date" on Wednesday and a concert on Friday. Saturday we have a Flamingo Party and then Sunday is the Harley Owners Group meeting. We head into May as the last month of school for me and the last month in the apartment....

Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Finally Friday!

Fast post this morning...a longer one will be later today or tonight.

The event at the Brick House was AMAZING! We met at our "normal" meeting place and after a check of my helmet by SF, I climbed on and we rode to the event. We had to use major highways to get there because it was rush hour. I was amazed at how easily SF navigated the traffic and we made it there in about 25 minutes. In Houston's rush hour, that is amazing all by itself. Especially since we had to take 610 through the Galleria and 290 West to Pinemont.

We arrived early enough for the Blue Flame to get a spot that made sure she was well seen by everyone already at the Tavern and all those arriving. When we rounded the corner to pull into the parking lot, there were about 30 bikes there. A gaggle of men came right over as SF brought her to a stop to let me off so she could back her in to the chosen spot. As I was taking off my helmet, the men were so excited. They greeted both of us as if we were long lost friends and made us feel welcome. They oohed and aahed over the bike and asked a ton of technical questions....they told her that she should take the best in show for the night. We never heard the announcement but if she did win, SF will get an email letting her know.

There was officially 200 bikes at the Tavern last night. We met lawyers, doctors, CEO's, nurses, school teachers, and every other type of person in between. Of course there were more Harleys than you could shake a stick at, but there were all other varieties in between. It was like the best kind of showroom for me. I was able to ask some of the women why they made their choices. It was a wonderful teaching and learning event. It was also a blast to be among them. I felt so free and like I had found a long lost set of friends. I can also see my parents at events like this. I can see my dad meeting and greeting the riders and my mom doing the same inside.

The night went too fast, as week night dates tend to do. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't end and that is okay. I know that she feels the same and when it is time, they won't have to really ever end....

More later!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thoughts on Thursday

Wow, it is Thursday already.

First, the Rocket's are tied in their playoff series but we have lost a wonderful seasoned and future hall of fame player to a terrible injury. He is slated to have surgery Monday to repair the injury but he has already stated that he will retire after 18 years as an NBA player.

Second, I hope that everyone did something special for Mother Earth yesterday for Earth Day. It is unfortunate that we need a holiday to remind us to care for this planet that we live upon. We should respect her every day. My latest cause on her behalf is a good one. I have been looking into trying to get our City Council to make apartment complexes provide and participate in recycling programs. Wish me luck but don't hold your breath.

Third, to any of you that provide administrative support, happy Administrative Professionals Week. Hopefully, those that you support have taken notice and done something for you this week. I know that I appreciate my support and I have let them know. One of my staff was so sweet, she gave me a beautiful African Violet to thank me for all that I do for her and her area. She had no way of knowing that she gave me my second most favorite flower ever. My office is the perfect place for it and I have a self-watering pot that she will look great in.

The resurrected workout has already begun to pay off again. I love what focused exercise can do for a body. I was able to wear a pants suit yesterday that I had only worn three other times before. It was the one that I purchased for Megan's graduation from high school. SF was blown away when she arrived for our Wednesday date. She kept repeating that I looked amazing in black and especially in that outfit. I admit, I had hoped for a positive reaction because I felt pretty confident about how I looked when I looked in the mirror before I left for work, but I was not really expecting her to be that taken in by the outfit. After all, she has seen me in other suits and dresses before.....during the course of the last eight months.

I have to also admit that while I was waiting for her arrival, I was chatting with some very nice men that are with some various music reviews around the state. They were there to watch the show and as soon as their posts are up, I will link them in a review. One of the men was trying his very best to get me to commit to my availability, as he saw no rings on my left hand. I eluded him by simply saying I was waiting on a very special friend. He backed off a bit but watched our interactions after her arrival. When the show was over, he introduced himself to SF and told her how lucky she was. He told her that I was charming and very attractive and that she shouldn't leave me unattended to very often. I loved her response. She thanked him for his concern for my virtue, for noticing my beauty and charm, and them without batting an eye, she told him that there was no need for her to worry about me being unattended because I know how to say, "Thanks, but no thank you" and that I am not a possession to own but a privilege to be with.

WOW! There were several folks milling about waiting to talk to SF about her bike that agreed with her and told her the same. They told the confused guy that they way she feels about me is one thing that most guys will never get and not to beat himself up about it....it was amusing.....he looked so perplexed.

Tonight we will be riding the bike to a Ladies of Harley event. It is going to be held at the Brick House Tavern and Tap. One drawback...this is VERY close to where I formerly lived with SWCNLBN. I'm not worried about her showing up unannounced, as I know that she has general disdain for bikes and bikers. I'm also fairly certain that she and her spies would not want to make a scene in such a public place. I am excited about attending. SF has added me to her H.O.G. membership. I have already received my email welcoming me to the group. We will be meeting immediately after work and then I will climb on the back of the bike and we will head there for the event. I will post about it Friday. I will have the camera with me as well and will get some pictures of the bike in all her glory.

Okay...off to work we go! Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Temptations

Okay....so I promised you some temptations....

First, let me wish a happy birthday to John and to my sister-in-law Bobbie.

So, we all know that I am a beer snob. I have been patiently awaiting the arrival of the 250th Anniversary Stout to be delivered to the Duck. They have not received their delivery as of yet and I am doubting that they will get their shipment before our date tomorrow. I have a few stand-ins....like Pipeline Porter. Another old stand by is Young's Double Chocolate Stout. If forced, I can also drink Newcastle or Boddington's.

After thinking about all these beers, I decided that I needed some new tee shirts. I want this one first. I know that this is a man's shirt, but I like it as well. I like this one too, and brown is one of my new favorite colors so it is perfect! I would also wear this one with pride as well.

SF and I are collecting quite a set of bar ware items. However, I know that we are in need of these, these, and these. I think that we need a set of these but I can't justify them yet... I would also like to have this outside for parties as well so that we don't loose a hand-held one. I want this for my bottles....

I also saw a few other goodies....I have decided that these are the boots I want for riding on the bike with SF. I found several pairs on eBay that are all new-in-box that were purchased and never worn for a number of reasons. I think that at $46.00 to $70.00 a pair versus $188.00 a pair I can get them and still feel good. I also saw these on another site. They are new and a great price as well. While looking for boots, I also saw this jacket.

For those of you that don't know me all that well, you won't understand why this is so funny. I'll explain. My birthday is July 4th. For years I have fought any and all attempts to have a red white and blue themed party. That also goes for most gear that has a flag on it. Something about this one seems okay and that is a bit frightening. I could see myself wearing it with pride...perhaps I have a fever of some kind....

Okay...off to class and to stop at Ben and Jerry's for the free cone....Go Rockets!

9 Foods That Reduce Stress

Reach for these items next time you're feeling under pressure, under the weather, or just too close to that breaking point. Munching on these stress-free foods will help pull you back into the game.

Oranges: A German study in Psychopharmacology found that vitamin C helps reduce stress and return blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation. Vitamin C is also well known for boosting your immune system.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes can be particularly stress-reducing because they can satisfy the urge you get for carbohydrates and sweets when you are under a great deal of stress. They are packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins, and the fiber helps your body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner.

Dried Apricots: Apricots are rich in magnesium, which is a stress-buster and a natural muscle relaxant as well.

Almonds, Pistachios, and Walnuts: Almonds are packed with B and E vitamins, which help boost your immune system, and walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure.

Turkey: Turkey contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan. This amino acid triggers the release of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical. This is the reason why many people who eat turkey feel relaxed, or even tired, after eating it. L-tryptophan has a documented calming effect.

Spinach: A deficiency in magnesium can cause migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. One cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily needs for magnesium.

Salmon: Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease. A study from Diabetes & Metabolism found that omega-3s keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.

Avocados: The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that one of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium (avocados have more than bananas).

Green Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, and other dark green vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins that help replenish our bodies in times of stress.

More Stress-Busting Tips:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink an energy shake for breakfast.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day, which will keep your blood sugar stable (when blood sugar is low, mental, physical, and emotional energy decreases, and stress increases).

Oz Garcia, Ph.D, is one of the most sought-after wellness consultants today. Dubbed “Nutritionist to the Stars,” with more than 25 years of experience, in the past Oz has shared his knowledge of antiaging solutions and nutrition with Donna Karan, Hilary Swank, Kim Cattrall, and Kimora Lee Simmons.

OMG - I will be taking advantage of this today

EtotheM shared that today is Free Cone Day. CHECK THIS OUT!

I love ice cream, so you can bet that I will be getting myself to one of the locations around town today!

Not Tuesday Temptations, but they will be posted later today....

Tuesday....perhaps I need to create a countdown calendar. LG has one up I'm certain counting down the number of days left before her summer vacation begins. Remember, she believes that she has the hardest job in the whole world and that she deserves her vacations more than anyone else. Yeah right, .....but no more rant from me, as too much about her just gives her power she no longer deserves from me.

I actually need two calendars. One for the Bikini Body unveiling. I have been working on it but I will admit that I got a little relaxed the last two weeks. The trainer took my measurements Sunday and I was not happy. No more relaxing for me....today at lunch I will be going to Academy to get a stability ball like this. I need the ball to work harder on the mid-section (aka six-pack) area. I have been utilizing one at the Y with the trainer and I love the results. I just need one at home so I can do them here when I feel the need to do so.

I also have added my Giant back into my evening routine. Back in 2000 LG and I bought bikes to ride together. Didn't happen that much, but this past year, mine has received some overdue riding time. So much so, that I may need to have the tires looked at for tread wear. I have had her on sidewalks, city streets, crushed gravel, and every surface in between. I take her to Memorial Park and ride the trails there. I am very familiar with the park layout, as it was where I did most of my training for the Rodeo Fun Run. I also love Terry Hershey Park. It is oh so close to my office and that makes it even easier to change at work and head there before others get off work. Looking at the Park's layout, you can see why it is so much fun to get there before it gets too crowded. I also like to go early Sunday morning if I don't swim first.

The second countdown calendar would be for several combined events. May is filling up fast and I'm not sure how it all happened. There is a Flamingo Party, Cinco de Mayo, Stephen and Bobbie's wedding anniversary (11th I think...), Mother's Day (Stephanie's first one), the first anniversary of Megan's graduation from SFASU, the end of this semester for me, my sister Michelle's birthday, Memorial Day, my sister-in-law Marilyn's birthday, a day trip to Gruene with SF and the H.O.G. riders, and the final full month of my lease in the apartment.

There will be more elaboration on these events later in the week. at the moment, I am getting my Temptations post ready to start....enjoy the start of the day and make it a good one. If you can, check out Venus in the sky. I have been able to see her in the early morning when I am coming back from my workouts.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Water logged but drying out finally

Wow, Saturday in Houston and the surround areas was wet to say the least. This news story pretty much sums it up. The amusing part, if there is one, is that SF and I were slated to attend a Parrot Head party/Crawfish Boil. We never made it. We did try, but Mother Nature had other plans for us. We had a cooler with adult beverages and we were prepared for the event. We made it to Clear Lake/NASA (Johnson Space Center area) and the roads were totally impassible. We pulled up into a church parking lot and backed into a slot in their covered parking to sit out the deluge and let it subside from the roads.

We sat for two hours listening to music and drinking adult beverages. We had entertainment as well. We watched as a variety of vehicles attempted to negotiate the roads. Of course, many failed and had to be rescued. There were several gallant men and women in Jeeps with winches that helped pull these silly people and their ruined vehicles from the mud and water. SF has a Tacoma that is high but has not been lifted, so we knew that there was no safe way for us to negotiate the high waters.

When the rain finally gave up and SF felt it was safe enough to venture out, we did. She knew the area well enough to know which roads to avoid, so we continued on down towards the Kehma area. That is the closest area to provide demographics as to where we were headed. As we got to the main entrance of the subdivision we were going, it was totally under water and that same water was up to the middle of the first ten or so yards on either side of the road. SF knew where the back entrance was located, so we traversed the roads to that entrance and it was almost as bad. There was no way in until the water receded. Under "normal" circumstances, that could have only been a couple of hours. This was not a "normal" day. As we made it to the back entrance the thunder, lightening and rains started up again.

We called the host couple and told them that without a pontoon boat, no one was going to be able to get to them for a while. SF and I agreed to head back to our part of the city and get dinner. We decided that we wanted seafood and headed for Papadeaux's. We had raw oysters as an appetiser. I must admit, I am really happy that SF loves food as much as I do. She is much more adventurous than LG ever was and we have a lot of fun trying new things. SF ordered three pounds of Crawfish and I had the New Orleans Jazz Scallops.

After about three hours eating, drinking, and laughing we were ready to see what the city looked like. The sky was amazing. The clouds were grey and white and the sun rays poking out were so many shades of reds and blues that I was sad I did not have my camera with me. We had allowed enough time to pass that the roads for both of us to get to our respective abodes were dry enough to be traversed.

The night ended safely and I had no idea of what we had actually sat through until I watched the Weather Channel this morning and they showed pictures of many of the places that we had driven through on national television. Corny as it may sound, the hand of God must have been on our shoulders yesterday and allowed for us to make safe decisions to ensure that we had another day to do what we are slated to accomplish.

To that point, I am off in a minute to do my grocery shopping, get some much needed pet supplies for Eraser and Sassy, and drop off clothes and books at the Women's' Shelter. I also have some laundry to iron and fold from yesterday morning.

Stay dry and safe if you are in the path of the storms that we are sending East today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just a speed post here...nothing really

I know, I missed Tuesday Temptations....don't shoot me...I had my degree audit and when I got home, I really didn't feel much like posting. It is not all bad. I have been going to college under a special program for adults. I knew that as I read the fine print that there was a chance that some of the credits would not survive.

Long story short, I have lost only five classes. Unfortunately, two are directly related to my major. On the bright side, the counselor told me that in some instances she has seen people loose ten or more credits. She asked me to send her my resume, as my work experiences may be able to help me gain credits. I can't explain all of it and nor do I need to do so.

While I was driving home, I contemplated the discussion she and I had and in the silence of the drive, I remembered that nothing is placed in our path that we cannot handle. This is just a small test of my metal and I will be fine. I can handle the set back with grace. The current semester will be over on May 15th and together we will lay out the classes for summer school (both sessions) and then review and move forward. Will I be done in December of this year? I doubt it. Reality will be December of 2010 and I am fine with that.

I have some wonderful stuff that I want to "tease" you all with, but I will save it for later on in the week....for now I am off to finish the current repeat I'm on with the Clapotis and then on to bed by 9:00 PM so I can get to the YMCA early in the morning....after all, I have that goal of a two-piece bathing suit by May....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Manic Monday

Not really, but the Bangles song pops into my head from time to time, along with I Don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats. Work was good and Monday is actually my favorite day of the week.

I spoke with Stephanie today. She is doing okay and Jack is making her leave the house this evening to visit friends. I know she will be okay. She is the female version of Dr. Doolittle and this will not get her down for long. She actually found a stray kitten last week that they believe is pregnant and the shelter will not take her yet so Stephanie, Jack and Mary (Jack's mother) are feeding her and watching out for her until the shelter will take her. So Stephanie has a "project" and that will cheer her up and let her pass her love for animals on to yet a new "baby".

A certain amount of pondering about life takes place in my life now that I am at peace with myself and the space that I call home. With the demons exercised, or at least at bay, I allow myself to think when the mood strikes me. I am not a huge fan of television, and with no sports on Monday to garner my attention, I knit in the quiet and allow myself to unwind. Listening to the clicks and clacks of the needles and stitch markers of the Clapotis, I had one of those moments.

I realized that I am indeed lucky for having taken the paths I took to get to the junction that now stands before me. I am thankful for the experiences and the pains that both John and Laurie brought into my life and that of Stephanie and Megan. Again, ever so mindful of the role I played in the relationships, I take full responsibility for all the parts that were mine to share and bear. I accept the things that I did and did not do that added to their initial success and then to the failures.

I look at myself and the journey that I have labeled the Waltz with SF. To those of you that have spent any time in person with me as of late, you will get my sarcasm. For the others, just believe that half of the humor is in my animation when I discuss the Waltz. SF is from the Panhandle of Texas. They do the two-step in a much different manner than we do. It is very formal and very much like a western version of a ballroom dance.

Thus, SF and I affectionately label the friendship and the relationship we have the Waltz. We are very deliberate in our steps and every thing is in accordance to proper etiquette. Now, before you think it is boring, there are moments of sheer spontaneity. But overall, the comfort of having a friendship that truly combines honesty, humility, sharing, and yes, love of each other has taken some work.

I use the word love to point out that part of my reflections tonight were about how you need to truly love your best friend. My Big Sis called me Easter morning. That meant more to me that she knows. To be able to hear her voice at unexpected moments is a true boost to my soul. She had no way of knowing that I needed her strength more than ever when she called. She had no way of knowing what the day meant to Stephanie nor the news that we had just received. She called because she had sent me an email that I responded with my answer prefaced with the need to tell her to be calm. Why, because a very tiny part of me needed her to love me for the answer and support me for the choice. I should have known that she would totally understand and support me, because she loves me.

That is what I was reflecting upon as the needles and the pattern continued to unfold. I thought about Jessica and how I am excited for her as she starts the next chapter in her life. Yes, I am sad that her chapter unfolds in a city that is now three hours away, but it is part of loving her as my friend and supporting her as only a friend can do.

I thought about Melanie and Samantha. Two of my "sisters" from Ravelry and knitting. They are family in every sense of the word. But they are also my friends. I love them and protect them as best I can over the interwebz. That also goes out to Joe, who is recovering from a little surgical adjustments, fine tuning if you will. Hurry your ass up already. I miss your wit and charm.

I extend these thoughts to Megan as she prepares her family for the Tadpole. She has been the most amazing friend for the last three years. She has been my Yankee ears and shoulder and I will be forever grateful and only hope that I can be the same friend to her. That also goes out to Amy. She is a free spirit that dons civil war costumes that she and her mother make to re-enact battles so that we can honor all the men and boys we lost in our civil war.

I could list out names all night and I would. For those of you that I did not immortalize in print this go round, please believe that the same love I feel for those mentioned is also shared with each of you.

Love is a funny word. Too often people associate it with romance and family. Love is so much more, as evidenced by the information below:


(1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (maternal - love for a child)
(2): attraction based on sexual desire (affection and tenderness felt by lovers)
(3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests (love for his old schoolmates)
(4): an assurance of love (give her my love)
(5): warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion (love of the sea)
(6): the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration (baseball was his first love)
(7): a beloved person (darling - often used as a term of endearment)

I love my friends based upon the admiration and common interests that bind us. I love them for the devotion that they have for their own lives that allows them to freely share with me, as well as others.

I will admit that at some point the love for a friend can pass on to the next level and then it becomes a deeper and stronger version of all the things that established it in the first place. Once it gets to that level, you are fortunate indeed. You have been able to traverse the waters of friendship into a relationship that is meant to build you up, care for you in times of need, and most of all, support you as you continue to develop and step forward into the next level.

My knitting has put me into a wonderful calm this evening and while I do not know what awaits on the precipice of the dawn, one thing is certain. I have the love of SF and all the meanings that we choose to utilize as we continue the Waltz. I also have the love of friends and family, affording me an invisible suit of armor that I wrap myself in to ensure that I can do the same for them in return.

Sleep soundly my friends. Safe in the love of your partner, your husband, your wife, your lover, your self. Knowing that for some place in the cosmos, my love has found its way to you as yours has found its way to some one else.