Sunday, January 28, 2007

happy anniversary ... sort of

Today is the anniversary of when I was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago. That's a strange anniversary to recognize, but let me tell you how much it's changed my life, mostly for the better. Seriously. For the better. I feel better. I know my body better. I am more aware of both this chronic disease as well as how it affects my body. Diabetes is among the greatest lessons I've had in surrendering control. Yes, I have to control the disease in terms of taking insulin, checking my blood sugar and keeping in mind how walking and sleeping, for example, affects these things. It's a process I continually have to manage. Key word: Manage. I don't expect to control the disease but I certainly manage it as responsibily as I can. What a lesson for a perfectionist!

Friday, January 26, 2007

completely random (and probably useless) trivia

"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with your right. (Yeah, I just tried it!)

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt". (Are you doubting this?)

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.

The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. (This is so great!)

The words "racecar," "kayak" and "level" are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes). (LOVE this concept!)

There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious." (Yes, a-e-i-o-u!)

"Typewriter" is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

Almonds are a member of the peach family. (Really, random.)

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. (That's just weird.)

Babies are born without kneecaps They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age. (SERIOUSLY?)

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite!

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

The average person's left hand does 56 percent of the typing. (Lots of random typing trivia ... which I appreciate as I sit in front of my computer often and am a stickler for the home-row keys.)

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket. (A tad scary!)

The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

There are more chickens than people in the world. (I feel like I should be able to make a joke here ... )

Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma. (Maybe I should have paid more attention in science class.)

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes or shark attacks. Watch your ass.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television. (Really?)

The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache.

Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning. (Maybe I should start eating an apple while I drink my Diet Dr Pepper in the morning.)

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first Marlboro Man. (Appropriate, really.)

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why. (I definitely don't.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. (Lovely.)

Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first U.S. president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal." The second? William Jefferson Clinton

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Secret Garden for Cate

I just ordered this for Cate's room. I figured I needed some of it to pick the paint color and it make more financial sense to order the six-piece set because it was mostly what I wanted. I'm thinking I'll pull out the green for the walls and use the red for curtains and other accessories, including painting the rocking chair I have. Any input?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

cleaning & creating

This is how I spent some of my afternoon with football games as my company.

CLEANING.


PLAYING.


CREATING.


I plan to decorate my space soon. Today I just enjoyed being in it.

(SIDE NOTE: You'll recognize one of the pictures from this post.)

Meet the baby ...

We are planning to adopt this baby girl. She's due May 10. Her name is Catherine Anna and we'll call her Cate.


Long story somewhat short: My sister found out an 18-year-old girl she knows wanted to give her baby up for adoption and ended up putting us in touch with each other. This was right at Christmas. Details started to come together this past Wednesday and then Greg and I went to Bloomington, Ind., on Thursday to meet with the birthmother and see this amazing ultrasound. The birthmother is 25 weeks or so pregnant.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My work day ... BY THE NUMBERS

--I wore three shades of brown in my one outfit. It doesn't seem to be a problem.

--My alarm was set for 6:15. I woke up at 6:50. Keep in mind I am supposed to be at work at 7. Turns out the alarm was set for 6:16 p.m. not a.m. Duh. By the way, I got to work at 7:16.

--I keep telling myself it's Jan. 17. I can't seem to keep up with the date. I have no idea why.

--One of the beauties of small-town life is that in 68 minutes I can go home, make a sandwich and watch an episode of "Boston Legal." Then my lunch break was over.

inspiration

I've been getting e-mails from Inspiration Peak. Some have made me stop and think. Well, of course, there have been those I just deleted. Today's struck me:

The adventure of life is to learn.
The purpose of life is to grow.
The nature of life is to change.
The challenge of life is to overcome.
The essence of life is to care.
The opportunity of life is to serve.
The secret of life is to dare.
The spice of life is to befriend.
The beauty of life is to give.
The joy of life is to love.

--William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994
American author and columnist

he wisely speaks

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the hour. And there are things to be considered ...

Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader."

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time!"

"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly. 

"Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. 

"The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. 

"We are the ones we've been waiting for."

--attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder
Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A new monologue for 2007

Her column from Sunday.

BY ROCHELLE RILEY
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

It didn't begin with New Year's. I never make my resolutions on the first day. But after two weeks of reflecting on goals for 2007, I decided what I want to accomplish: Everything.

It was with that in mind that I walked into Room 164 of Reno Hall on the University of Detroit campus Thursday night and stood with about 15 other hopefuls to audition for "The Vagina Monologues."

I'd never seen any performances of the groundbreaking work that began in the basement of a New York café in 1996. Five years later, it became a tour de force performance piece at Madison Square Garden. It featured some of America's biggest female stars, including Jane Fonda and Oprah Winfrey.

I knew the history: Playwright Eve Ensler conducted hundreds of interviews with women about their sexuality, their fears, their tragedies, their vaginas. Then she wrote monologues that became a play that became a theater staple at colleges and in communities across the country as part of an effort to end violence against women.

Every V-Day, as the annual global movement is called, benefit performances of "The Vagina Monologues" continue to raise money and awareness and to fight against slavery, rape and female genital mutilation, among other crimes against women. Last year, volunteers hosted more than 2,700 V-Day events; they'll do it again next month.

But that history isn't what prompted me to sit on a stage at a local college and read a monologue about vaginas.

No, my motivation came from a friend who encouraged me to share her 2007 mantra. My friend, Karen, told me to "live life inside out."

Another friend said she plans to live like she was dying. (Oh, that Tim McGraw -- he of country crooning and soulful words.)

Me? I plan to live like I mean it. Every day. So if I decide, on the spur of the moment, to walk into a comedy club and do a stand-up routine, I won't hesitate. If my daughter asks me to ride a rollercoaster, I'll pray to survive. I plan to sing at an open-mike night.

So when the notice came about open auditions for a community play, I didn't hesitate. I drove over. I strode in. I sat at the edge of the stage. And I read.

When I was done, I realized that it felt good, really good, like catching a trout on a line that has been lonely all afternoon, like baking a cake that isn't lop-sided, like watching a guy walk into a telephone pole because he's looking so hard at you.

I still have to finish writing my novel. I still have to read the new James Patterson Alex Cross mystery this week. And I'm going to buy a huge canvas and paint something emotionally magnificent (although artistically insignificant) for my family room wall.

But more than anything, I plan to say "yes" more than "no" and dream big instead of plan small. I plan to live life inside out, like I was dying, like I mean it.

Now, that's a resolution -- and I find out Tuesday if I got a part.

they walk among us ...

Here's an e-mail forward that made me laugh, and made me wonder what I say sometimes ...

Some guy bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: "Free to good home. You want it, you take it." For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it. He eventually decided that people were too un-trusting of this deal. It looked to good to be true, so he changed the sign to read: "Fridge for sale $50." The next day someone stole it.

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, "Does the sun rise in the north?" When my brother explained that the sun rises in the east, and has for some time, she shook her head and said, "Oh, I don't keep up with that stuff."

I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I told him, "The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." He responded, "Is that Eastern or Pacific time?" Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, "Uh, Pacific."

My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard one of the administrative assistants talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the shore. She drove down in a convertible, but "didn't think she'd get sunburned because the car was moving."

My friend has a lifesaving tool in her car. It's designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk.

My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were discounted 10 percent. Since it was a big party, we bought two cases. The cashier multiplied two times 10 percent and gave us a 20 percent discount.

I was hanging out with a friend when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain. My friend said, "Wouldn't the chain rip out every time she turned her head?" I explained that a person's nose and ear remain the same distance apart no matter which way the head is turned.

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area. So I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. "Now," she asked me, "has your plane arrived yet?"

While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into four pieces or six. He thought about it for some time before responding. "Just cut it into four pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat six pieces."

Monday, January 15, 2007

taking a creative break

I think the rain finally stopped. I say I think because I've been down in the basement scrapbooking for several hours. And I've enjoyed every minute of it. I'm finishing up a project I'm making for someone else, but I'm mentally taking lots of notes for my own stuff that is next on the scrappin' agenda.

While scrapping, I've been watching "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Such a sucker for that movie! (See, I blogged about it once before and I have the soundtrack.) I relate to Lena most, especially in this moment she shares with Kostas:

Lena: I'm kind of jealous of her ... well, because she knows who she is.
Kostas: Don't you?
Lena: Um, I don't know. I think I know who I want to be.


OK, back to my creative mess ...

one day, probably not today ...

The rain was so constant I stopped noticing it. Sunday morning was a bit of a tease when the rain stopped, but just as I thought that I heard more pitter-patter in the already existing puddles. My flooding backyard -- Lake Taylor, Greg likes to call it -- is proof of the wet weekend. Maybe one day soon the rain will stop. Surely I'll notice.

Perfect weather to say in our house, and that's what we did mostly. Did laundry. Cooked supper. Washed dishes. Watched UK basketball. Watched NFL playoffs. Scrapbooked. Cleaned up the house. Watched recorded TV. Paid bills. Balanced bank accounts.

One day, not today, not tomorrow, not this season, probably not next season either but one day, you and I are gonna wake up and suddenly we're gonna be like every other team in every other sport where winning is everything and nothing else matters. And when that day comes, well that's, that's when we'll honor them. --Jack Lengyl in "We are Marshall"

We did leave the house Saturday afternoon to go see "We are Marshall." There were some things about the story that made for the typical sports movie. But the end really put it in perspective (I can say this without ruining the movie because it's a true story. It's like saying the Titanic sank.) by saying how long it took them to truly rebuild into a good program. Sure Jack Lengyl (Matthew McConaughey's goofy but endearing character) got it started, but it took much more time than he gave. I thought it was a touching still realistic approach to telling this story that's so worth telling.

Friday, January 12, 2007

remembering a decade

Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?" They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him. If you tell grown-ups, "I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof," they won't be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, "I saw a house worth a hundred thousand dollars." Then they exclaim, "What a pretty house!" That's the way they are. You must not hold it against them. Children should be very understanding of grown-ups. --Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of "The Little Prince"

It's been 10 years since I was in high school. Seriously. (Yeah, supposedly there is a reunion in the works. We'll have to see how that all turns out!) In some ways high school seems like it's lifetimes ago and in other ways I can remembering the social dramas and classes in that building in Buckner.

I think college has passed. My husband has even had time to earn a graduate degree that makes it appropriate to put esquire after his name. Wait, back up ... Before that I met my husband, we dated, broke up a few times and then married. We've known each other for almost nine years (Feb. 7 is pretty soon ...) and will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this summer. I've grown up enough that I want to be a mom now and I've worked in my current job for 3 1/2 years, even though it seems much shorter.

And people around me have changed and grown. My "little" brother has a 3-year-old and my parents sold my childhood home. My dad works in Jacksonville Beach much of the time, and when he's not there he likes to be in Indianapolis. Of the two girls I thought would be my best friends forever, I have grown closer to one and never talk to the other. Thankfully another girl who shares my perfect melancholy personality stayed around here after college.

This all got me thinking about connections. People all have their individual personalities (made up of strengths, weaknesses and plenty of quirks) but that's not as important as who people are together. We all have our things (both serious and seemingly insignificant) that bond us to others. We have the TV shows we watch, the board games we play, the song people sing, the jokes that prompt much laughter, the words we use, the times we cried and the crafts we made. Some relationships are more complicated than others. Some we need every day; others are perfect (and somehow intended) for a given moment.

I graduated from Oldham County High School in 1997, that's 10 years ago come this June. And while I'm awfully thankful my world didn't freeze there, I realize the importance of those moments and connections and want never to forget to ask if she collect butterflies.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

fantasy politics?

Minnesota political junkies find outlet for nerdy enthusiasm in online fantasy legislature

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Linkert has high hopes for his first-round draft pick, Sen. Ann Rest.

“She’s been in leadership and she’s had lots of experience,” he said of the veteran Democratic state lawmaker. “She’s had a history of sponsoring bills that get the governor’s signature.”

Linkert manages a team he calls the Minnetonka Redress, which competes in the Minnesota Fantasy Legislature — and yes, it’s pretty much as nerdy as it sounds.

A few weeks ago, 44 aspiring “team managers” signed up to participate in the league, a spinoff of Fantasy Congress, which was founded last year by a California college student.

Both are similar to fantasy sports leagues, but instead of tracking touchdowns or home runs, managers win a point every time one of the six lawmakers on their team introduces a bill. Points escalate for every step the bill takes through the legislative process, with the motherlode — 100 points — awarded if the governor vetoes the bill and is overridden.

“My fantasy football team was so bad last year, I figured I might as well try this,” said Nate Dybvig, a media consultant and manager of Sine Die Sadists, which invokes the Latin term for the end of a legislative session. “You can pretty much make anything into a fantasy sport these days, it seems like.”

The Minnesota league is sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio, where online editor Bob Collins serves as the league’s “commissioner.” He said he pushed the idea because he’s constantly looking for new ways to get information to online consumers.

“Our online users don’t want to just read radio copy that we slap onto the Web site,” Collins said. “They like to push buttons and be entertained, and I want to find ways they can do that and get information.”

It’s also a way to bring attention to the work of rank-and-file lawmakers, since news coverage tends to focus on legislative leaders and veteran committee chairmen and chairwomen, he said.

Collins said it seems to be a success so far. He’s heard lawmakers are following the action, and he said the fantasy legislature Web page is generating 500 to 600 views a day. If it continues to succeed, a much larger league is possible next year, he said.

He started small, limiting play to two leagues and 44 teams. No prizes are planned other than “the worldwide respect of political wonks,” according to the league’s Web site.

The slots filled quickly, with teams like Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, Confidential Sources, Moderate Mayhem and Wonk Cubed managed by an array of bloggers, party hacks, political junkies, insiders and other hangers-on.

“I’ve sort of lost interest in sports the last couple years but I’ve gained interest in politics,” said Linkert, a 33-year-old stay-at-home dad. “I thought this would be a good and fun way to learn about the state legislative process.”

The league conducted an online draft in December. The rules were pretty simple: Every team of six lawmakers had to have at least two Democrats and two Republicans. Unsigned lawmakers went into a free agent pool, and a redraft is held every Saturday to allow for trades or free agent pickups. Collins updates standings as often as he can.

Some managers picked their players by poring over the Legislature’s Web site and noting lawmakers with a history of introducing lots of bills. But, given the sliding point scale, it was also important to consider which lawmakers introduce bills that actually move toward the governor’s signature.

Dybvig was excited to land Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, who has been among the Legislature’s more prolific bill sponsors in recent years. “I got a couple of guys who get me a lot of yards and I figure that’s more likely to get me into the end zone,” Dybvig said.

Abeler himself is a little worried that his party’s recent slide into minority status might hurt his chances of winning the fantasy league’s MVP.

“Being traded to a non-contending team is kind of tough,” Abeler said. “I’ll be facing some tougher pitchers. But I’m glad I have a cheering section.”

random happenings

NOT THE CANDY BAR: When I blow my nose, my ear crackles. My ear has either hurt, muffled everything on the left side of my head or added additional pressure (literally) to my head since Christmas Eve. That's 19 days for those of you keeping count. My doctor said Monday that getting rid of the ear infection is the easy part, it's all the aftermath (drainage, congestion, etc.) that takes awhile. Apparently. And now a cold sore is seemingly brewing in my mouth. Lovely combination.

MULDER REALLY DOES LIKE ST. LOUIS: Mark Mulder is coming back to the Cardinals. "I had fun here and the one thing that ate at me was that no one in St. Louis — not the coaches, the fans, even some of my teammates — nobody in St. Louis has seen what I'm capable of doing," Mulder said from his Arizona home. "Even in 2005, it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't what I'm capable of doing. That wasn't the sole reason for coming back, but it was one of the reasons."

SERIOUSLY EXCITED: For the first time in six weeks, "Grey's Anatomy" is new tonight. if you can't read between those lines with the long break starting the sentence, I'll spell it out for you: I've missed my Seattle doctor friends. Seriously.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

hesitant anticipation

Anxiously waiting doesn't always translate into impatience. Sometimes it's just pure anticipation of something exciting. And hesitation doesn't always mean lack of confidence. Sometimes it's just realism that lots of logistics will have to come together. Once details start to work out, the hesitation becomes less and less.

Monday, January 8, 2007

re•lax verb to make less tense or rigid; to make less severe or stringent

Resolutions are funny things. People are so quick to make them and just as quick to break them. During the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about what I want this year to be about for me, a resolution, if you will. Then I read this and my train of thought simplified. In fact, I almost made SIMPLIFY my word, my simple resolution.

Then I thought awhle longer on it ...

Really I want my year to be more about chilling out and going with the flow and living life. To sum all those things up in a word: RELAX. And I don't mean like go-to-the-beach-every-day relaxation but enjoy-life-as-it-comes relaxation. I want to learn to relax in my environment here.

I hope 2007 is the year Greg and I get to start our family. I hope it's the year we make a little more progress making our house more our home. I hope 2007 is the year I learn to enjoy all these things and more with a calm heart. Relax.

(For the record, I realize I'm making this resolution of sorts a week into the new year, but, hey, we still have 51 weeks to go.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

seriously inspiring

This new scrapbooking tool I got for Christmas is fabulous. Seriously fabulous. It cuts out shapes and letters, but the best part is I can use my QuicKutz fonts with it. (I got this one for Christmas from Greg.) I'm seriously impressed with the merging of tools for my hobby -- so much so I am inspired and wish I had more time to sit here in my basement and play.

The best part of my Cuttlebug tool is Peggy surprised me with it. I didn't even know to ask for it! And she got me this font to go with it.

First-run reruns

We've been watching a lot of the second season of "Boston Legal" at our house, thanks to a Christmas present from my sister. The show is so quirky that it cracks me up. Alan Shore is definitely my favorite character. He's missing Tara, and so am I. In general, watching television shows on DVD is fabulous. And to think, we still have all the third season that has aired, thanks to our TiVo-wannabe.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Ringin' in the new year ... in Nashville

I love long weekends, especially this time of the year.

Ours started at the Music City Bowl on Friday afternoon. And, let me tell you, there was a lot of blue there.



Then continued in Nashville with Greg's family. We stayed two nights near Opry Mills, where we did some shopping with our Christmas gift card from his parents. We also went to see "Ice" -- an exhibit with lots of stuff carved from ice.

There were statues.


And a gingerbread house.


Of course, the event had to have a corporate sponsor.


We wore these parkas, and, still, it was cold. Notice the red noses!


We also went on the boat ride through the Opryland hotel -- something Elijah really enjoyed.


OK, so we enjoyed it too.


And here's Ethne. She's precious and has the sweetest personality.


We finished the Nashville excursion at the Titans' game Sunday afternoon. Rain came steadily during the first half, and the sun shined during the second half. Game summary: The Titans played better when superstar Tom Brady was in the game for the Patriots. Hmmm ... Doesn't make sense, I know.

Happy 2007.