"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

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.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday and the weekend draws to a close....

This will be a short post tonight. I do have a lot to share but tonight my heart is heavy for Stephanie.

Three years ago today, I took her beloved Mitzi to the vet and put her down. It was peaceful as well as being the right thing to do. We were all set to have a celebratory time today and remember her when we got the call from Jack's mother that her beloved Carnegie had suffered a massive stroke and was paralyzed from the neck down and was slipping away fast.

The weather here was dreadful when we got the call. There were tornado watches and warnings and heavy blinding rain. We cried with her and held her and she gave in no longer insisting that Jack take her home. Their friends came and got him and made sure he was not suffering. They took him to a vet to be checked and he was already gone.

We did finish the day and celebrate together. Our Easter dinner conversation revolved around how all things happen for a reason and this was no exception. I reminded her that he was now the "Fat Man" (his nickname) watching over us all along side with Mitzi, Billy, and Onyx (her first cat).

God Speed Carnegie. Watch over Stephanie and wait for her as only pets can do. Fat Man you will be missed by all that loved your coat as well as you teddy bear disposition. I will post pictures of you when I can find them this week.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Anonymous…is a term that not many people can apply to me.
2. Time with SF is a the best part of my week.
3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity... - Shakespeare was indeed a wise man.
4. The flowers and the outdoor activities like pool parties and golf is what I look forward to most about Spring.
5. Who needs therapy when there is a motorcycle and an open road calling my name.
6. Cadbury eggs, peeps and pectin jelly beans MUST go into the Easter Basket!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a little special time with SF, tomorrow my plans include finishing up the Easter basket for Zoe and having Stephanie and Zoe over for a visit and Sunday, I be staying inside and packing up items that I don't need before I move.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thoughts On Thursday

WOW! So much to share! Last night I got to see and ride on the Blue Flame and SF at the Mucky Duck for dinner and a show. She was so excited because she had swapped out the stock pipes for this set. They give the bike an even deeper "throat" and gives it much more power.

The original stock pipes were too quiet and drivers in cars and trucks did not hear her. Changing out the pipes and re-tuning the engine added the power and sound that allow the bike to perform better and, more importantly to me, make it loud enough for drivers to hear. This will ensure that she is safe when she is on busy roads. That will give me a certain piece of mind about her safety when she is riding.

Yes, when the show was over, we took a little drive around the area so that I could get a feel for the bike and have SF get a feel for how she needs to ride when I am on the back. For those of you that have never been a passenger, there are "rules" that go with being a passenger. I'll go into that later, but for now it is more important that I remembered them and the ride was wonderful. SF did tell me that she was the kind of rider that does not like her passengers holding onto her waist. An occasional shoulder is okay, but the strap and the sissy bar are enough combined with using your thighs to keep you in place and safe as the passenger.

The concert was wonderful and we will try to make the next three Wednesday shows, as Patrice will not be back to the Duck until the fall due to her touring schedule. She played some old favorites with new twists, plus, she and the band played some classics. She was in a wonderful mood and made some funny comments about people talking while they were performing. She is a bold artist and the audience appreciates her for that. She even acknowledged us as we were sitting in the audience when she said that she had to play Rufus or she would never hear the end of it. The version was more "funked" up and the Congo drums and African drum additions were great.

Dinner was good too. Sometimes there is just something wonderful about an old fashioned hamburger. My trainer is not happy with me, but she will just have to deal with it. We each had two Magic Hat beers (buy the beer and keep the glass) along with our evening and food. We always have water while we eat, and this was no exception. I added bacon and avocado to mine and SF added cheese and bacon. They were served on an onion bun along with fries and a pickle spear. All in all, the meal was very much worth the lecture from the trainer!

The date also had special meaning. I have been on my journey for ten months now and starting of month eleven. It is also the start of the ninth month that SF an I have been sharing time and doing things together. The combination of the concert, dinner, and sharing the evening together was a fitting way to mark the date. I feel remarkably at peace with my self and my decisions and look forward to each day now with energy. My co-workers tell me that my mood is contagious and that makes me feel so much happier. I can thank my Big Sis for that.

Yes, I will give her full credit! She has been that voice that helps me daily. Even when I am not such a good Lil' Sis, and I don't reply to emails....I am listening and thinking about what she tells me. Floating, soaring, dancing, and crying when I need to have all helped me cope and forge ahead.

I cannot forget about any of my bloggy peeps. You all have been the best friends that I can ever imagine having in my life. You have shared, cared, and even more in this journey and I am honored and humbled by all of it. Some of you have shared recipes. Some of you have sent yarn....special thanks to each of you that did. Some of you have been here for me in person and that has been extra special!

My camera is full of knitting and crochet pictures. You will be overloaded with them after Stephanie and Zoe leave Sunday. They are spending Easter with me and I can't wait! Happy Good Friday! For those of you with the day off, enjoy! The rest of us, well, don't work too hard and enjoy the rest of the last work day. For golf enthusiasts....don't forget about the Masters....I am liking the new sensation...Rory McIlroy. I think I still want to see Tiger do well, but I am also loving the fact that I can see Greg Norman again.

Easter Bunny love to all.....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday Temptations

Okay gang, last night my team lost in the Men's NCAA final game. I am rooting for Louisville tonight in the Women's NCAA final game even though I know UConn will win....that's the way it goes. After tonight, we will have to wait for the WNBA to come on and watch the games on TV. That's the way of sports....

Are you ready for Easter? I have been crocheting a few things for Zoe. Thanks to Mel, I have been making these. I looked around on Ravelry and found this too. I want to make these too if I have time left after I make this. I decided that this would be a great way to make use of scraps and make an Easter holiday very special for Zoe. I hope Stephanie and Jack understand and appreciate it....I'm sure they will.

I made reservations today for the hotel in Bryan for the Anniversary trip. The hotel is one off those quaint places you would imagine to see if Route 66 was still as active as it was in it's heyday. It is also VERY close to mom and dad's house. Bryan is one of those quaint towns with downtown centered around a very historic city hall building. Here is another one. Trying to find a good picture of it is almost impossible unless I take one while we are there. I must admit, I am getting excited about the trip and the chance to see the family.

As part of that, I know that there are a few things I need. SO, this week's temptations will be clothing and such. Just bear with me.....I think that a nice bath robe is a good idea, and I like this one. I think I like the English Lavender color best but could live with the Ice Pink one if I had to choose it. I know myself and I think that this one may be more suitable to my body temperature. It also matches this pajama bottom and top. Of course, I could also sleep in this and this, depending on the weather there.

I was also looking around for shirts. I love this shirt, even though it is a man's shirt. Of course I would have it tailored just a bit to make it fit slimmer. It just looks so comfy and perfect for summer. I love three-quartered sleeve shirts and love this in Deep Fuchsia, Mid-Blue, Foliage, and Otter Brown. They are great for evenings out when you travel because you need a light sweater or wind-breaker on top of it and you're set. Of course, we all know that I am hooked on sleeveless shirts, and this one is no exception. I love the China Blue, White, and Crystal Blue solid version. The Blue Multi is my very favorite and will most likely be the first one I get.

Still looking for clothes, I found this dress. It looks so comfortable and I think it will be a great choice to travel with. Still searching for shirts, I came across this one. There are so many colors to choose from. I love White, Spice Brown, Blue, True Blue and White stripes, Surf Green and White strips, and Seaside Pink and White stripes. What a fun shirt! I also found this bathing suit cover-up. The hard choice is the color. I am leaning towards the white, but may go for the black. While I was looking at the cover-ups, I found a few one-piece suits that may be more appropriate for relatives. This is one example. I always love black suits but I would also consider the blackberry or Merlot version. I like this one too except for all the straps on the back. I also took a quick peak at Coldwater Creek and found this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.

Okay...off to watch the final part of the basketball game. Have a great evening and the rest of the week!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Manic Monday

Super fast post this morning as I drink my coffee....

I am back from the YMCA and drinking my coffee. Great way to start the week! Intense cardio is great for Monday meetings!

First, I miss Jessica! The weekend was a little off kilter, as I was planning to go see her new place and spend the weekend a few hours away from home.....but work had other plans. Had to put in time, so I was unable to drive that distance and see her, the new digs, and go to The Tinsmith's Wife. I will be redeeming the rain check and making the trek out there because it will be SO worth it!

Good things did happen....the weather was fabulous and I was able to enjoy it both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, SF and I spent the day doing all kinds of things, including watching some sports at Hooters. There is just something fun about an unplanned stop to grab a cold beverage (Fat Tire) and some wings while watching sports on that many TV's. We always have fun watching sports and Hooters lets us watch so many without anyone fighting over a remote....(no fighting would really take place, as I can watch almost anything - or knit if I don't like what's on).

SF has been riding the new bike and loves it! Actually, I did try on helmets and I think that I found one that is right for me. My head is so small that I need an XS. Go figure...all that hair but a peanut head....I also tried on this shirt and LOVE it! They did not have my size, but I will be looking for it over the next couple of weeks. And loving sleeveless shirts for summer, I want this one in white. It will look great with black shorts or a black skort. Now, don't laugh, but SF wants us to get matching shirts. We agreed on this one and this one. It will be an interesting thing, as I like women's shirts and she likes men's, so I may have to have the tailor make some alterations to make it a little more fitted. A girl has to do what is needed to get that perfect fit....

I want these for the bar. I also think that I want a set of these as well. For those of you that don't recognize the skull, it is Willie G.'s skull. He is the grandson of one of the original founders of Harley-Davidson. I am not a big skull lover, but his is unique and that is the appeal. July in Ohio will be fun with all the HD riders in my family - my dad, my youngest brother and his wife, my uncle, and SF. I'm not certain if I will even see her with all the bikes on hand....OY, I'll be in the kitchen with the ladies or on the porch knitting and getting sun....no bike for me until I have the degree.

Speaking of degree, I have the appointment to have the degree audit set now. I will be meeting with the counselor (I forget the politically correct term) on Tuesday, April 14th. I am a bit nervous, but I think it will be okay regardless of the outcome.

My Clapotis is almost done and it looks great! The yarn is delightful to work with and I will have to get more to make some socks. This has been a super fast knit and I am looking forward to making several. I need to whip one up for my baby sister. She lives in NJ and works in NYC, so she is always in search of warm things for her neck....she may even get a cowl too, but we'll see. My Princess Wrap is on skein number two and looks great too. I will be finishing the Clapotis today or tomorrow and then the Princess Wrap before the end of the month. I can't wait to block the Princess Wrap and find the perfect sun dress to go with it.....perfect for a summer dinner date....

Okay gang...off to work....Opening Day for Baseball! GO Astros!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thoughts on Thursday

Guess what....I have had one of those ah ha moments. Granted, it is partly due to the help of my counselor/therapist and partly due to a wonderful and caring woman that has been my friend for what seems like a lifetime.

The counselor made me face all of the fears that were real and those that were imagined. She reminded me that all the skills I needed have always been within me and all I have to do is give them the chance to do their jobs. She reminded me that as I grow these skills help me remain focused and grounded if I let them do their respective jobs.

My friend reminded me that I was stronger than I was giving myself credit for. She reminded me to let go and float. Go with the currents and not fight them. Let my emotions go and let what ever happened just happen. She also reminded me to breath, deep cleansing breaths.

What does all of this mean to me? Well, several things actually. It made me focus again. I have taken a DEEP breath and made the appointment to have my degree plan audited. I am still a bit nervous, as according to the counselor, some of the credits are old and due to the program I was admitted under, some of the credits could actually be obsolete and no longer valid towards the actual degree. The good part, I am okay with what ever the outcome will be, because I know that I can still get it done and this will just be a test of my metal.

It means that I have remembered that there are people around me that love me in spite of myself and are there to help me should I ask. That sounds easy, right? Not really. I am a proud woman and admitting that I need help is hard. I have been trying to become strong and independent and some how I confused those goals with needing love and support. I thought that if I asked for help dealing with something that I was no longer being independent or strong. I have been shown the difference and now know how to cope should I feel this "challenge" coming back.

And I also eluded to mind-reading. I have been strongly reminded that no one is a mind-reader and that casting out hints to avoid conflict and/or confrontation is not the way to communicate. So, with that in mind, I have also faced that head on. I have had a come to Jesus talk with SF and we are working to dissolve some of my fears. Funny part, she rarely gets my sense of humor, so she never even realized my hints were aimed at getting her to ask me anything. Once I pointed out some of the hints, we laughed and began to talk about them, one by one.

Do I feel better? Most assuredly! Am I more comfortable with myself and the path I am on? Yes, I think I am. Do I have all the answers? No, and you know what? It's okay too. I don't have to have all the answers. I can count on someone else to be strong when I can't and it doesn't make me any less self-sufficient or independent. It makes me human, and yes, I am very human. I may not know how to be a partner yet, but I think I have a good idea. I find the idea of learning how to share and be an equal hard to wrap my head around; however, not impossible.

This week has ended a few weeks of panic and allowed me to return to "normal". I am grounded again and actually funny again, even though SF still doesn't get all the jokes. She is a stubborn one. She is still excited to go with me to Ohio in July to meet my entire family for my parents' 50th anniversary party. She will meet my siblings, my parents, my nephew and nieces, and all their respective partners. She will meet my father's relatives and also any of my mother's that are physically able to make it. We have purchased the plane tickets for an outlandishly cheap price of $257.40 round-trip. I have the hotel secured and she is getting the rental car.

Hopefully, between now and then, she will learn to understand my sense of humor more, or she will be totally lost with the family....yes, they come with a disclaimer and I have duly warned her. She has been given every opportunity to change her mind. The purchase of the tickets was the point of no return. She now has a April, May, and June to figure it out....good luck with that.....

And you, my bloggy peeps, have been the best audience this past few weeks. If I could scoop you all up and celebrate together I would. Each of you has a special place in my thoughts and prayers and even though I don't always comment on your blogs, I am reading....Now that the real and imagined stress is in remission, beware, I can begin commenting again at the drop of a hat.....

Happy Friday to those of you that have to work tomorrow....for those of you that have the day off, I love you too... :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It must be close to a full moon....

I know that the next full moon is not scheduled until April 9th, but if this week is any indication as to how people are going to behave that day, I should stay home that day. We have had the oddest people show up at the facility and the phone calls and emails are even weirder.....

Seriously...I am glad that March has official ended, thus also ending the first quarter of this year. What looms ahead in the second quarter? Well, for starters it will be Zoe's first Easter and I have been knitting a little jumper that is almost finished. These are the events by date for April:

04/12 - The Third Anniversary of Mitzi's passing
04/21 - My sister in law Bobbie's birthday as well as my ex-husband John's birthday
04/26 - My brother in law Tom's birthday
04/30 - My Uncle Chuck's birthday

I don't want to post May and June's events just yet, but I can tell you that my sister's birthday is in May and that will be fun, as she will be turning 40! And May 15th is the last day of the Spring Semester of college.

I forgot to add luggage to the temptations yesterday. SWCNLBN has all the luggage that we purchased together and that is okay with me. I have a new life and thus should have some new luggage as well. Ever on the prowl for a bargain, I went to the JC Penny website to start. Why? Because when I purchased luggage for Megan for her Italy trip that is where I found a four-piece set for about $90.00 and shipping and handling was free at the time. I found this set and I think that it would be perfect. I just need to decide which color and order it. I think that I would like red, but I have been told to look at a color less used so that I can spot it easier....what do all of my world traveling friends and bloggy peeps think?

I also saw this set and it has a garment bag. How often would that really come in handy? I also thought that this set was cute but I have never heard of the company before.....

So there you have it...tell me about your luggage preferences. I need to know so that I can make an informed decision....