Saturday, December 20, 2008

When Winter Gives You Snow


When winter gives you snow,
Build a snowman.
Name that snowman!
Make it come alive
Like Magic!


Magic is everywhere at Christmas time-
It’s when Jesus was born.
And He came to bring us all hope.
Christmas reminds us to always have hope.

And if you notice the Christmas magic is missing
In your life
Or in someone else’s,
Create some of your own;
With your love, your kindness,
Your generosity, and your compassion.
Do something simple or do something grand,
Just do something special for whoever you can.


And when Christmas is over
And the New Year rings in,
Continue creating magic with kindness
Again and again and again.

Merry Christmas!!!

~Sheri

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Burrrrrrr



Burrrr...it’s cold outside, which means it’s cold inside too. The main floor of my house is particularly chilly, because all the warm air is escaping to the upstairs. Even though the kitchen and living room are cool, it’s nice and warm upstairs – perfect for sleeping. It’s like the polar opposite of my childhood.

As a child, my father was quite conservative with the heat, so he reasoned that heating the upstairs of the house, when we spent so little time up there, was money wasted. Of course, my sister and I strongly disagreed as we marched off to bed wearing our winter hats and gloves to stay warm as we slept. We tried to be clever by leaving the door at the top the stairs cracked open to allow some of the heat to rise up, but I could always hear him saying, “Somebody forgot to close the door upstairs.”

My sisters and I would get sneaky and crack open the vent to our room a little to get some extra heat, but as the boys walked by on the way to their room, they would discover our plan and rat us out. Sometimes, my sister and I would jump in bed at the same time and get ourselves as warm as possible – meaning doing scissor kicks quickly to heat up our bodies – and then realize that neither of us had remembered to turn out the lights. Shoot! After arguing over who should sacrifice themselves and get out of bed to turn out the lights, we usually just resolved to sleeping with the lights on. Occasionally one of our brothers would be coming up for bed and we would ask them to flip the switch for us, but they seemed to think our dilemma was funny – so the answer was usually “no”. ( typical big brothers )

I remember wearing long flannel nightgowns to bed, which I hated because they always managed to either get twisted around my body or I ended wearing the whole thing around my neck like a scarf before the night was through. They did work well in the morning though, as I stood over the floor vent – doing my best impression of a Goodyear blimp. Once my body temperature reached normal, I would throw my cold jeans over the vent in an effort to warm them up before putting them on. It was my childhood version of “hot jeans”.

Even after we all moved out of the house, Dad never did heat the upstairs unless we were coming home for a visit. And even then, he didn’t go crazy with the thermostat – he kept it nice and lukewarm. The in-laws have joked over the years that they dress their kids in their warmest Pj’s to sleep at grandpa and grandma’s house. Sometimes when visiting, we would catch my mother tweaking the thermostat to warm the house up a bit. Of course, she’s like me at my workplace – if it’s cold, I just crank it up to 80 thinking that will make things heat up quicker. My dad loooooved that!

A few years ago, my dad put in a geo-thermal system, which is fantastic because the heat is distributed evenly and the house feels warmer– hallelujah! Only twenty years too late!

Funny that now as an adult, I don’t keep my house cozy warm either. I like sleeping under warm blankets and I don’t like a lot of hot air blowing on me. I do want my house nice and toasty, but I also want to conserve like my father did. If you had told me that I would feel that way someday when I was sleeping with my long flannel “scarf” and winter hat to keep myself warm, I would have said that you were crazy! I guess it’s true what they say, “Never say never.”

There are many things my father did – my parents for that matter – that I never thought I would do once I was in charge of my own life. But such is the cycle of life that as we get older, we often realize the brilliance of our parent’s madness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Celia prays....I pray....

I met a new patient this morning who absolutely broke my heart. I’ll call her Celia. Celia really revealed herself to me today and told me things she didn’t believe she could share with her loved ones because of who she believed they saw her to be. But I, being a mere kind stranger with listening ears, with whom she had nothing to prove was her chance to let go and unburden herself. And unburden herself, she did.

The details of Celia’s unfortunate situation is not the story here, it’s the way she has suffered through it silently and almost shamefully. She has not gone through it all alone – she has been married 37 years – but other than her husband, she has taken on the worry, the stress, and the anxiety primarily by herself.

She has let no one – not her grown children, not her siblings, and not even her friends – in on the real story of what’s happened to her. Because she feels the need to sugar-coat reality for her loved ones, she is left to share her sad thoughts and deepest fears with me – a total stranger. When she does speak to family and friends, she tells half-truths to keep them from worrying. So, in a sense, she is holding herself hostage in this prison she has created that allows nobody to visit her, comfort her, and give her what she truly needs.

She claims the anonymity of it all gives her peace; no judgements, no pity, no worry, no gossip…..but chances are, these are self-imposed ideas and while the possibility of one or two of them are true, with anonymity comes isolation.

Celia believes that taking this on – just her husband and her – without anybody knowing the truth of her trials will give her the strength to overcome the challenges she faces. She talked a good game with her bright smile and cheerful attitude, but I did not see peace. Instead, I saw a woman talking herself into the biggest lie of them all – that we can do it alone.

Celia clearly has a strong faith in God, which is a good start, but God gave us our family and friends for a reason. They can help us through the hard times and provide us the shoulder we need to lean on. While God may surround us with His love and His strength, His love is best felt through the arms of loved ones that he has so generously given to us. Heck, for as much as family drives us crazy, the least they could do is wrap their arms around us when we need a hug! I think God gave us family because they are bound to us forever with no returns or exchanges allowed, while friends are the ones we get to pick out ourselves and return as we like. We choose our friends. Of course, I’m certain God places them in our path and it’s up to us to let them in and be our friends, but we do choose our friends.

Not only do we choose who our friends will be, we choose the type of friendships we will have with them. They might be fun friends, occasional friends, similar-interests friends, or maybe just convenient friends. These are all great, but nothing is better than a true blue friend.

A true friend is the kind you let into your world to see it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly. They know the stuff only your family should know. Remember, family is stuck with you, but friends can walk out whenever they want. Real friendship is trusting that they’re not going to walk just because you‘re a little “cuckoo”. They know what scares you and terrifies you - what motivates and inspires you. They know what you pray for and what you dream of and they pray and dream for those things too. Let’s get real – if you win the lottery, what friend’s not gonna share it with another friend – especially the true blue variety?

Of course, the best kind of friend is the Double Decker friend – the sister who’s also a true friend – I’ve got two of them! Then you’ve got the “I’ve known you since you were five, I know all the idiot boys you think you loved in high school and of course, I would be honored to stand up with you as you finally marry the real love of your life!” I got five of them. But don’t forget the thirties – you need real special friends for this rockin’ time of life and I scored two of the very best – Jen and Sarah. Life gets more complicated as we get older, which means friendships are not all about fun and boys anymore. The stakes are much higher, so choosing who chooses to stand up with you now, is more important than ever. I know in my heart that every one of my “friends” would be devastated if I kept the secret Celia is keeping from her friends and family.

Celia prays that God will heal her without anybody ever knowing what she really went through and I pray that God heals the part of her heart that hopes for that wish to come true.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Toot Toot!


I love food. I love cooking it. I love baking it. I love tasting it. Sitting outside on a beautiful sunny day reading an enticing cookbook is one of my favorite past times. And as much as I love a good recipe, I can barely recall one that I haven’t tweaked a little bit. I think all good cooks tweak their recipes a pinch or two in an effort to add a touch of flare.

I think of recipes as mere suggestions on how to blend a variety of foods to acquire a particular flavor. I’ve found that if I do have a recipe in front of me, I follow the recommendations the first time to see if I like the flavor they're working for. Then, when I eat the cuisine, I start checking off things in my head that I would add or change to possibly improve it.

I have two straight-up rules – one for baking and one for cooking – that I follow every time I’m in my kitchen. One: If I’m cooking up something for dinner and the recipe does not call for onion, I just assume they forgot to write it down and I throw some in. Two: If I’m baking something delicious and the recipe does not mention vanilla, I know they forgot to write that one down, and I add an extra tablespoon or two just to make up for somebody forgetting – how dare they! Many times, I like to think of Vanilla and Almond Extract as long lost loves that never should have been separated and I reunite them and allow them to share the credit and the spotlight when people comment on the fabulous flavor of my desserts.

Of course, the more time one spends in the kitchen, the better one gets at knowing what foods play together well and what foods make beautiful music together. Eating at fabulous restaurants has been my greatest teacher when it comes to knowing what food combinations will make a big splash in the kitchen. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that almost everything goes well together. I’ve been at restaurants and read menus that made me lean back in my chair and think,
“No WAY!”

YES way! YUM!

I admit, I’ve gone a little overboard once or twice with the theory that all foods play well together in the kitchen. My taste buds, as well as my pride have taken some serious hits in the past, but luckily these little culinary bombs have only gone off in the privacy of my own kitchen.

I’ve learned the hard way never to make a recipe the very first time for a large group of people. I made an eggplant lasagna for the whole family once and it quickly became apparent that I had never worked with the purple vegetable before because it was so tough. Every single dirty plate came back with a slab of eggplant on it. Add to that, the lasagna itself was painfully bland. Very disappointing.

On the other hand, when I create something truly stellar, I do not hesitate to toot my own horn. If I make something that I absolutely adore and want to devour myself, I will literally “Toot Toot” my own horn. Why not? Good eatin’ is good eatin’!

Tonight the horn was blowing crazy loud, after I threw together some foods that I had a feeling might be happy together. I made some mouthwatering meatballs that contained ground beef, chopped spinach, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, chitpole sauce, salt, pepper, and of course, large pieces of onion – so large, that the ends of them are sticking out of the meatball as you roll it, bake it, and eat it. Oh, and when I rolled them into their little odd-shaped balls, I tucked a perfect piece of Gouda cheese inside, so there would be a surprise lava – if you will – oozing from the center. Kind of like the tootise roll in the center of the Tootsie Pop – that surprise never gets old!

The one Golden rule with this type of cooking is that when you hit the jackpot like I did tonight, you savor every single moment of the flavor, because you didn’t measure a darn thing, so your chances of performing this magic trick again are not good. But you can’t worry about that right now. All your attention should be on the culinary masterpiece sitting right in front of you. With each bite, notice how your taste buds come alive over and over again as if drunk with happiness! Let them enjoy this moment that may never come again. It’s what makes the moment – and these meatballs – so special!

“Toot Toot!!!”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Posing Monkeys

I just completed a six week photography class, which in my mind, made me more than qualified to run a real photo shoot. I had great ideas and locations in mind, but my dilemma was finding people to pose for me. Luckily, five little “monkeys” were being driven in from Louisville, KY by my sister and her husband last weekend.

“Monkeys” can be a little difficult to work with sometimes because of their sporadic nature and their resistance to sitting still, but no one would argue that they are the best and most beautiful things to photograph.

Believe it or not, the photo shoot did got as smoothly as planned. Apparently, I haven’t learned everything there is to know about proper lighting and avoiding blurriness. ( Hold On! My computer just told me that blurriness is not a word – whatever! ) I don’t know what went wrong. As the monkeys moved about, I moved with them, snapping pictures like a maniac. Isn’t that what the professionals do? When I took a moment to see what kind of shots I was getting, all I could see was a bunch of blurry monkeys. I could feel myself getting frustrated and anxious because I knew my models would only last so long, which means I had to pull it together, quick!

Over all, the monkeys were fantastic to work with – real naturals -and I look forward to working with them again, because next time, I’ll do better. I did get a few shots that I’m proud of – photos that captured the true essence of them. I can actually see the spirit of each and every one of them shining through in the pictures. It’s like magic!

At first glance, many people comment how similar the three older girls look because of their mutual brown hair and brown eyes, but I see three completely different faces, personalities, and individuals.

I love that at their age, they still celebrate and believe in the beauty of themselves. They all see themselves as the pretty princess in their own story and it never occurs to them to see themselves as anything other than magnificent. Oh, how I wish that feeling could last a lifetime. But every woman I know, including myself, grows up to see a reflection in the mirror that no one else sees but her. She will see every blemish, every gray hair, every extra pound, every funky mole, and every knobby knee. She’ll see everything, except the reality that all these “flaws” do indeed make her beautiful in her own way.

I’m starting to believe that if we’re doing this “life” thing right, we should be able to make it through all that internal trash talk and end up on the other side of it. And when we do make it to the other side, we should be aware of how unique we are and celebrate that. We should know who we are, be proud of it, and use that confidence to live our best life. Not acknowledging and celebrating the woman we are, and still working to become is not only our loss, but also a tremendous loss for everyone around us.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was my impromptu lecture for the women of the world!

Excuse me for a moment, as I now step down from my soapbox.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway…..

As with the end of any big photo shoot, dessert was served for a job well done. At least, that’s the way my photo shoots are gonna go down! I made a Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle as a treat and since the monkeys did so well, I gave them each a long spoon and let them dig in and devour as only kids can do! Amy and I did some serious damage to it also, only because it was soooooo good – if I do say so myself!

Yum!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Night... to Goodbye




My younger sister, Amy moved away to Nebraska ten years ago after getting married to Eric. We had never been that far apart before, so it took some getting used to. Even though we’re not twins, we’ve been asked the question many times, which we find ridiculous, because we just don’t see it. We used to stand in front of the mirror, look each other over, and laugh, “I just don’t see it.” When strangers ask us if we’re twins, we answer them with, “No, we’re not twins, but we were born on the same day." That always gets a few odd looks!

We were both born on April 2nd – just two years apart – which means we’re both Aries – which means we both like to talk a lot. One of the first times she called me from Nebraska, we talked for nearly two hours. I remember, because I heard her husband’s voice in the background and then my sister laughing.

“Did you hear what he said?”

“No. What?”

“He asked what we could possibly talk about for two whole hours.”

Now I was laughing right along with her. Little did he know, two hours for my sister and I was peanuts. Ten years ago, when we paid per minute for a long distance call, we justified that paying 8-10 bucks for our conversation was better than any movie playing at the theatre. Now that we have the phone plans with unlimited minutes, all bets are off and the only way to end our conversations is for the batteries to die in one or both of our phones. Even the Energizer Bunny is no match for me and my sister. We’re so incapable of ending our conversations that sometimes when one of our phone dies and we get disconnected, we both just walk away, rationalizing that the phone did for us, what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

We both agree that this problem stems from our childhood, when we slept in the same double bed every night. Our mother would yell for us to “GO TO SLEEP!” and we would try, but there was always something more to be said. Eventually, as we grew tired, one of us would say, “Okay, Good night.”

“Good Night.”

“OH! Just one more thing……….”

Now, we only live three hours away from each other – not that it matters – and we admit that when we see each other’s name come up on the caller I.D., we hesitate to pick it up because we know that we cannot get on and off the phone in less than an hour and sometimes we just don’t have the time. Still, more times than not, we pick it up anyway. We start many conversations with, “Ok. I don’t have much time. I just have one quick question…..”

Whatever!!!!

The other night, after an hour on the phone with each other, the first “good bye” almost took, but then one subject led to another and the conversation continued. Once again, I heard Eric’s voice in the background, followed by my sister’s laughter.

“What did he say?”

He asked, “When you say “Good Bye” does that just mark the end of the first hour?”

We laughed together. Poor Eric – what he has to put up with. In our defense, our conversations are totally productive. We pick each other up when we’re down, we brainstorm about how to make our lives richer and more meaningful and more fun. We talk about ideas and dreams and aspirations. We’re both dreamers, so there’s a lot of talk and very little follow through, but we got grand ideas and some day, we’re gonna rule the world – just you wait and see. At the very least, we’re gonna be on Oprah!

Love Ya Sis!

Call ya tomorrow…….

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No More Poop Dungeons!

The discussion of sensing water faucets followed me to work today, and I got some interesting and potentially useful advice on how to handle dysfunctional bathroom equipment from some of my patients.

“Lulu” had a good suggestion right out of the gate. She asked me if I had tried to clear the sensor mechanism.

“What?”

I never thought about the sensor getting gunked up with soap residue, therefore inhibiting the sensor from properly sensing. Brilliant! Of course, she followed this simple practical advice with her second suggestion, which was a little less practical. She recommended I try flashing the faucet.

“What?!”

She reasoned that if the theory on the color black disrupting the sensor was indeed correct, then flashing the faucet - exposing my bare flesh – just might be the answer. Of course, you hope a nun or a mother with her young son doesn’t interrupt this experiment…....

Amazingly, this bathroom conversation with “Lulu” lasted for nearly thirty minutes. Once we had solved the problems of sensing water faucets, we moved on to toilets and automatic flushing.

We’ve all been in a stall where the toilet refuses to acknowledge our presence and fails to flush when we’re done. No matter what dance you do, no matter how many times you get up and down from the seat, it simply ignores you and remains silent. Irritating!

Then there’s the toilet seat that you have to leap from to keep from being sprayed because it’s flushing action is so violent, that the water goes everywhere. Scary!

And there’s always that one toilet that rushes you out of the stall by flushing before your business is done – what’s that all about? Rude!

As annoying as all these little defects can be, I would still take them any day over the outhouse I used in the mountains of Canada. I hadn’t been in a real outhouse since I was a kid, when our family went camping out west for weeks at a time. I forgot how awful they can smell. When I used the one in Canada two weeks ago, I painfully moaned and groaned the whole time and officially swore off poop dungeons for good. I could have used a good toilet spray after that experience.

But enough about toilets and outhouses…………..

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nothing.


So, I’m at the North Market this morning with my sister, when I excuse myself to use the ladies room. When it’s time to wash my hands, I load up on the pink soap and place my hands under the faucet.

“Oh. This is one of those sensing no-touch faucets – great.” I think to myself.

Nothing’s happening.

I move my hands closer.

I move them farther.

To the left, maybe.

Oh, of course, a little more to the right.

Nooo……

Maybe I’m too close.

Maybe I’m moving too quickly.

Maybe my hands are too high.

Oh wait, there obviously too low.

Noooooo…….

Maybe I need to step back a moment before I lose my cool.

What am I supposed to do with all this soap and no water to rinse it off?

I turn around and notice the toilet’s got a lot of water in it – Groooooooss!

Somebody told me once that the sensors can be thrown off by the color black. Of course, I thought that was ridiculous when I first heard it, but now as I stand here soapy and wearing black, I find myself wishing a lady in red would walk through the door.

Right about now, my sister probably thought I fell in…..

I take a deep breath.

I walk away for a moment to regroup.

I sneak up on the stubborn faucet, slide my hands under it, and BSHHHH! - a quick burst of water gushes out for just a second. If I would have blinked I would have missed it, but what I did get, was gonna have to be enough.

Now, I go to dry my hands under the blow dryer.

A sensing no-touch blow dryer.

Nothing.







Still nothing.

I walk out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bear?! Where?!




On my last day in the Rockies, we ventured up to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for some sightseeing. We were heading to Peyto Lake when Torben graciously agreed to take the road that promised the possibility of seeing wildlife. I was encouraged not to get my hopes up, but I really wanted to see a bear.

We hadn’t been driving long, before we noticed a few cars stopped on the side of the road. Sarah and I immediately jumped to the biggest conclusion, but Torben thought it was probably just an elk. As we got closer, Sarah and I squealed with excitement as we both spotted the beautiful brown grizzly bear walking alongside the road in the ditch.

As Torben pulled the car over, I was jumping out of my seatbelt, sliding to the opposite side of the car and gearing up my camera. I rolled down the window, poked my head out to see him, and thought for a moment how much better I could see him if I stood just right outside the car. I decided, however, that seeing Mr. Grizzly from inside the car would have to be enough. There was a slight sprinkle outside, so I did my best to keep my camera from the rain. I snapped one picture after another as the bear slowly made his way closer to our car, digging for berries along the way.

One gentleman got out of his car and stood right next to ours. Do you know what you call a man who stands twenty feet from a bear voluntarily?

Brave?

No.

Adventurous?

No.

Torben’s answer was, “Stupid!”

I know the man was exercising poor judgement, but I seriously wanted to be stupid with him. The bear was so docile and seemed completely unaffected by all the cars and cameras, which could definitely give one a false sense of security. I knew things with this bear could change on a dime, so the poor man stood alone wearing his stupid sticker, while I got all my shots from the car.

There was this teeny-tiny part of me that hoped the bear would get angry and charge the “stupid” man so I could get some killer action shots. After all, my photography class was meeting the next week to show off our favorite pics. I could get a picture of a real, live, charging bear! Who’s gonna top that? That’s right. Nobody! Of course, the very biggest part of me said a quick little prayer for the “stupid” man and his safety.

After the man got his award-winning shots that could have only been captured standing outside a vehicle, in harm’s way, he made it to his own car, safe and sound. I – the non-stupid tourist from Ohio – left the scene with 23 blurry shots of what looks like a bear – because I’m an amateur photographer and every part of my brain that held pertinent information on how to take a great picture went suddenly dormant and I set the camera on the worst possible settings for this occasion. Luckily, the bear hung around long enough for me to correct my mistake and I got some decent shots of Mr. Grizzly, as you can see above.

We were fortunate enough to spent twenty blissful minutes with the beautiful bear before he finally disappeared into the evergreens. As we reluctantly drove away, we were still buzzing with excitement. Everybody in the car agreed that we were totally blessed to have had this experience.

Of course, we were barely three miles down the road when Sarah said, “Wow. Sure would be cool to see two bears today”……..

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bombs = NO Bears!


I went to visit one of my best friends in the Canadian Rockies last week and one of the things I noticed while I was there was the many conversations about bears. I heard it all: from seeing bears, backing up slowly from bears, running from bears, spraying bears, hiking in large groups to scare away bears – you name it, I heard it. Maybe it was just me, but it sure seemed that the subject of bears made its way into most conversations, so of course, I started feeling a little nervous about the hikes we had planned to take in “Bear Country”.

This nervousness intensified just a touch on the day we were driving to our Chester Lake hike and my friend Sarah turned to her friend, Torben and asked, “Did you remember the bear spray?”

“Nope. Didn’t you?”

“Nope”

Torben didn’t seem too concerned, Sarah seemed just a little concerned, and I was silently freaking out in the back seat. “What?” It’s like they were playing Russian Roulette with my life here. Were these two people really my friends or was it their plan all along to drive me to my certain violent death? “Let’s see how a little Ohio girl does in the mountains with a big ol’ black momma bear. Ha Ha Ha!”

Obviously, that conversation only played out between my two ears, but I did speak up and calmly inquire about proper protocol upon meeting a bear. When we arrived at our destination, we realized that it had snowed at least a foot, so that alone, lessened the odds quite a bit that a bear would be out looking for food – thank goodness! My friends also reassured me that if we stayed together, chances are we would be just fine.

Great plan - except my little eliptical cardio workouts back home were no match for the three hour uphill climb in the mountains. You would think that the incentive to stay close for my own safety would be enough to motivate me to keep up with my friends, but I always found myself lagging behind. Add to that, Torben - being the man he is - was dropping fart bombs at a rate so great and with a stink so foul that I believe they could have killed an actual bear – strangely comforting, really. Still, every time he dropped another one down my way, my vocal cry of agony was so great that Sarah would actually turn around in alarm, fearful that I had spotted a bear.

I knew I had to find the strength to pass Torben and save myself. My worries were no longer about surviving a bear attack – heck, what sane bear would approach a stench like that? Of course, there’s always the possibility of a crazy bear in the mountains. But, if that kind of odor actually turned a bear on, then I was safe – I smell like roses! Torben, however, would be in big trouble! My new goal now, was getting ahead of the pack and breathing in the fresh mountain air.

I did it! Sarah and Torben had mercy on me and let me lead the three of us to Chester Lake and it was beautiful. The whole hike was breathtaking. I got a little grumpy at the end b/c I was getting tired, but it was totally worth the trip. We never did see a bear that day and I choose to thank Torben for that. Sure, we’ll never know if his stink bombs actually kept the bears away, but if you would have been there with me that day, I’m confident you would be thanking him too.

Still, I would have liked to seen a bear at some point on my trip to the Rockies….

stay tuned…….

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Six Insignificant Things



I’ve been “tagged” by my friend, Jen to reveal Six Insignificant Things about Myself. The challenge here is to determine what is significant and what is insignificant. Would the insignificant things be the little quirks that make us the funny individuals we are? I suppose these small details could be considered insignificant, but I think they just might be the key to our uniqueness – the things that makes us special – or in my case, goofy.

Whatever! Six random things about myself. Let me think for a moment.

Well……

One) I believe with every delusional fiber of my being that if I eat an obscene amount of cookies or candy at one time, my body won’t know what hit it, will be unable to process it properly, and therefore, my body will not suffer the same consequences it would have endured if I had spread the gluttony out over the course of a few days. If I eat five cookies in a row, it is as though the body will process it as one. The teeny, tiny, intellectual corner of my brain recognizes this logic as complete BS, but every other part of me considers it truth. Majority rules!

Two) When I don’t want to get out of bed in the early morning to go to the gym, I make a deal with myself. I tell myself that if I get up, get dressed, and go to the gym, and the only thing I do when I get there is use the ladies room and come home, I still get credit for going. Lying in bed, thinking about the intense workout waiting for me, makes me want to pull the covers over my head, but if I lower my expectations of what I need to accomplish when I get there, it makes it less intimidating. ( I have yet to only use the ladies room….) It’s a strategy, people – and it works!

Three) Every time I pass a Mini Cooper on the road, I let out a small whimper. I liken it to the scenario in which a lady at the next table gets served a dish of creamy alfredo pasta as I responsibly order the broiled fish.

Four) My single pet peeve in life is people who drive slowly in the Pass Lane on the highway. There are many rules for the road and this particular one helps keep traffic moving. If I have to pass someone using the inside lane, I actually talk to the driver as I pass them and explain to them the rule they are breaking and I ask them to watch me and learn from my actions. I try hard not to come across as condescending or rude, but sometimes I’m afraid they sense my attitude from afar. My intent is certainly not to offend anyone. I just want them to understand this particular rule and apply it, so the next time we meet, we don’t have to have this conversation again. I would much rather prefer to just drive by…...in the pass lane.

Five) Ever since I was young, I have fallen asleep while creating my own dreams. I may reflect on one or two things of the day or think ahead to the tasks for tomorrow, but then I shut it down and enter my very own Disney World, where dreams do come true. I will either rewrite my day as if it were more interesting than it was or I dream of the way I would like tomorrow to unfold. Did you know Matthew McConnaughy lives at Disney World? He does. I used to wonder if God was insulted by my rewrites or suggestions, but I've come to believe that I'm probably God's favorite program on the comedy channel. “What will she come up with next?" he laughs.......

Six) When I meet my husband and we get married, I will pay him to clean the bathtub.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Parade Reform


Why do we go to parades?

Seriously?

As kids we only went for the goofy clowns and the candy they gave us, but why do we still go as adults? Is it just for the kids? I’m starting to wonder….

As I sat and watched our big Oktoberfest parade this weekend, I found myself bored, uninspired, and totally unexcited – not a great combo for me! As I sat there impatiently waiting for the clowns and their candy, I found myself wondering when someone decided that simply driving a car down the street qualified for entertaining parade material. At least spruce up the ride a bit and try driving the car with your feet. My best friend and I did that a few times down side streets in high school and it made for great entertainment!

Parades are just no fun anymore! From the expressionless faces of the people lining the streets, you would think we had gathered to watch a funeral procession. There were only a few clowns throwing candy at the kids – which is fine – but now there’s people handing advertising material to us adults. How did those crazy telemarketers find me on this street corner? I tried to avoid making eye contact with them so they wouldn’t give me their loot, but they just went ahead and dropped it in my lap anyway!

There were a few lively acts during the parade and I noticed the energy level of the crowd escalated quite a bit during those moments. It started me thinking about the obvious need for Parade Route Reform. I’m afraid the ritual of parades will disappear by the end of the century without some serious change.

It’s only going to be a matter of time before thousands of people refuse to sit on a curb just in hopes of getting a few free Tootsie Rolls from some clowns. Parades should be entertaining! I think parades should be like a walking Circus. If you want to drive a tractor in the parade, do some wheelies with it. If you want to ride your horse in the parade, let’s see it race or jump a Shriner in one of those mini-cars. And I want to see a clown do some clown tricks – maybe some juggling or back flips. If schools want to march their band in the parade, choose a song with some pizzaz! Wouldn’t it be great if their music got everybody jumping up off the curb and dancing like fools? Now, that would be a parade!

I’ve got a vision, I just don’t know who to talk to about it. With everything going on in the country today, Parade Reform would probably fall a couple hundred notches below the Economic Bail Out Plan on the nation’s “To Do List“, but if something doesn’t change soon, I’m afraid parades could be a thing of the past…….

I’m just saying…...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's Gonna Be A Great Day!


Several weeks ago, I had a craving for Graeters Ice Cream. When it was time to pay for the yumminess, I handed the girl one of my gift cards and warned her that there was only 77 cents left on it. After she cashed it out, I handed her another of my gift cards to cover the remaining amount due. She slid the card through the reader, looked at the screen and said, “This card only has one penny on it.”

“What?” We both laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, as I pulled at the last gift card in my wallet. This one had some money on it for sure, because this one was given to me by my sister-in-law for my birthday back in April – I think…..

She swiped the card, did a double take of the screen and again, “There’s only one cent on this card too.”
"What? Seriously? That’s crazy! When did I eat all this ice cream? Dang – now I’ve gotta pay for this sinful splurge out of my own piggy bank!”

When I recounted this story to my sister-in-law, she too was surprised that I had used up the gift card that fast, but machines don’t lie, right?

Now, fast forward a few months to present day. Since Fall is rapidly approaching, I pulled out one of my Fall bag/purses that my sister made me last year. As I reached in the bag, I pulled out a mini wallet. I recognized it as a gift given to me by that same sister-in-law on my birthday. I opened it up to see a picture of my three adorable nieces and nephew in the first sleeve. Very sweet.

As I flipped it to the next sleeve, my eyes focused in on a perfect, bright, shiny, magical, Graeters Gift Card! Yippeeeeeeee! It was like finding a long lost treasure that I didn’t even know was missing and to think it was right under my nose the whole time! It was like opening my birthday present all over again! More Free Ice Cream For Sheri and Friends!

Ahhh, the magic of lost treasures found!

It’s gonna be a great day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cha-Ching!


It’s been said that a man and a woman can say the exact same sentence, but mean two different things. Example: Both parties can stand before an open closet door and say, “I have nothing to wear.”

What the man really means is, “I have nothing clean to wear.”

What the woman really means is, “I have nothing new to wear.”

As I stand before my closet this morning, trying to decide what will fill the suitcase for my Canada adventure, I find myself saying, “ I have nothing to wear!”

In black and white reality, this is absurd. I could clothe my entire neighborhood with the clothes I own. Of course, many of them would be shoeless, because unlike most women, I don’t have a shoe addiction. But if they showed up wearing their own shoes and undergarments, we could have ourselves a real fashion show.

But dressing myself is not a black and white issue. It’s about colors and fabrics and style and comfort and how to make it all work together. I want to wear something that feels like me, expresses who I am, fits me, and compliments me. If something fits all four categories, you can wrap it up, bag it, and charge it, because you've just made yourself a sale! Cha-Ching!

So, as I’m looking through my closet, my first instinct is to go shopping because, “I have nothing to wear!” But as I engage in a little self-talk, the reasonable and practical side of me points out that nobody in the entire country of Canada has seen me in any of the clothes I consider “old“, so it’s all new to them! I could cross the border in my favorite jeans and t-shirt from last year and the Canadians would be totally clueless. And if I take another step towards reality, I would realize that nobody in Canada really cares what I’m wearing, just as long as I’ve got my passport.

This ridiculous dilemma plagues me every time I pack for a trip and every time I actually get where I’m going, I find that I don’t really care what I’m wearing. When I walked out of the airport in Rome last spring and breathed in that Italian air, I could have been wearing a toga and high tops and I would have been happy. I don’t need new clothes to go see my friends, Sarah and Torben – I’m going for the food, the friends, and the fun.

Still, Sarah did mention hiking and I don’t have true hiking attire, so I might have to do a little shopping today, because I can’t hike in the Canadian Rockies with simple sweats and running shoes – that’s just silly.

Cha-Ching!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Lessons Learned


A man named Matthew Kelly – author and speaker – handsome Australian, once said that the difference between pleasure and happiness is that pleasure cannot be sustained beyond the act that gives us the pleasure, but happiness lingers long after the experience that produces it. If you think on that for a moment, you’ll realize the Aussie’s right!

Today after Mass, I decided to take a new way home and missed a street or two, got myself turned around, and ended up in the “keep on movin’” part of town. There are so many one way streets in this city – I know, because I’ve challenged a few over the years – that once you get going the wrong way, it’s hard to turn around. This morning I felt like a dopey mouse in a maze - turning onto street after street - eventually finding my way back to the church. Once there, I decided there was nothing wrong with taking the old way home. At least that way got me home!

After my self-induced detour, I decided that treating myself to some ice cream would make me happy, so I drove to Graeters and got myself a kiddie-sized scoop of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. Let me tell ya...it did the trick. Oh, the pleasure of eating ice cream is always divine! Mr. Kelly was right though: ice cream gone – pleasure over! (Gimme more...gimme more)

Fast forward a few hours and I’m outside enjoying the beautiful fall-like weather. The thought of going to the gym flashes through my brain, but my lazy ass tries to talk Mr. Brain out of it. Then the brain reminds the ass that it’s left cheek is sitting on a kiddie-size scoop of ice cream and the gym is the best place to get rid of it. Fifteen minutes later, I’m at the gym, warming up for a spinning class.

Did I mention that I learned two lessons today? One, being Pleasure versus Happiness, and the other one …….

I’ve had some interesting and specific severe pains when doing spinning sometimes that, despite my injured pride, have caused me to leave the class – devastating to my ego! It hasn’t happened for a long time, but when it does, I pray feverishly that God take the pain away. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked too well.

Recently, my father was talking about praying over things. He said that sometimes we must tell God that we lovingly accept whatever it is that ails us. I told him that was ridiculous, because that means that I’m saying it’s okay, and it’s not Ok – I do NOT accept the things I do not want. Dad insisted that sometimes we must accept what we do not want, before it can be taken away. Whatever!

Today while spinning, the pain came on again and I started praying intensely for God to release the pain. It wasn’t working. I made the decision that I would die today before I left this class, so I decided to try my Dad’s grand idea. I repeated over and over again that I “lovingly accept this pain”. I repeated this mantra for nearly ten minutes and then like magic, it completely disappeared! I don’t understand it, but I’m grateful for it.

Maybe Dad’s right. Maybe sometimes we have to accept things for the way they are before we can move beyond them. Huh! Score another one for dear ol’ Dad!

In regards to lesson one, I should tell you that I was very happy after I finished my spinning class. I was very happy on my drive home. I was still a little giddy at dinner, and even now as I write this, I’m happy!

Both pleasure and happiness are wonderful, but happiness definitely lingers…...I like that!

( don’t worry – working on the source of that pain )

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Sure-Fire Laughfest


My very favorite past time is laughing and if I want a sure-fire laughfest, I just watch little kids play soccer.

My five year old niece, Emma played tonight and she’s a natural born soccer player. I’ve been watching her older brother, Mitchell play the game well for years now, but this is Emma’s first year at the sport. I was so proud of her tonight as she scored two commanding goals. She looked so pleased with herself. She has a real love of the game and she has seriously good focus.

Even though I go to her games to support her and root her on, I admit it’s not the only reason. See, the beauty of watching five year old girls play soccer is that there’s so much entertainment wrapped up in one 45 minute game. Running down the center of the field, you have the serious players like Emma and Sophia who give you hope that a goal just might be scored before the night is through. Then there’s the goalie who’s lying on the ground until one of the coaches lifts her up like a rag doll, reminding her of the duty of her all-important position. Of course, there’s always one girl standing in the corner, eating her hair, who’s only chance of touching the ball is to accidentally get hit by one. And you can always count on at least two of the girls hugging each other at midfield, unaware that the ball has just rolled past them. And let’s not forget that one child who is completely oblivious to everything happening around her. She literally has no idea why she’s on the field – she just came for the snacks. Did I mention the girl who is so focused on the ball and her footwork that she never looks up to see that she is driving to the wrong goal – again?

It’s like watching a Broadway comedy sometimes with an intermission and everything. Most of the funny business happens in the first act alone and then just gets repeated in the second half. It’s a shame they don’t serve peanuts and popcorn. All in all, the girls play great and I am super proud of Emma. She plays with real heart and she plays with joy and that is really fun to watch.

Thanks Emma!

I love you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Namaste Cleo!


When I was a little girl, my favorite part of the Catholic Mass was The Sign Of Peace. As a child, the reflection and reverence aspect of the Mass that makes it so special was a little lost on me, but shaking hands and smiling at everybody around me during “Peace” was right up my alley.

The sign of Peace is when you turn to those around you, shake their hand, look them in the eye, smile, and say, “Peace Be With You”. As a kid, it was all about checking out who was sitting behind me and smiling at them – which I thought was fun! As an adult, this gesture carries a much deeper meaning for me. “Peace Be With You.” What a great thing to say to someone! Who couldn’t use a little more peace in their lives?

“Peace Be With You”

In India, they have a similar greeting – Namaste. Even though there’s no exact interpretation of this word, the intent is clear: “I honor the spirit in you, which is also in me”. I love that idea. To me, it means respecting the person standing before you for who they are and where they are in life and recognizing that we are all on our own path, trying to find our way to the same place – whether we know it or not – and all of us are doing the best we can to get there. Even the looney-tunes of this world, who seem completely lost, are doing the best they can with what they know.

Today, I saw a patient, that I‘ll call Cleo, who when I first met her, seriously challenged my patience. Even the girls at the front desk were voting on what flavor of crazy she was. When I meet patients such as this one, I just kill ’em with kindness, cover ’em with compassion, and do my best to tickle their funny bone. Most people can’t resist this trio and Cleo was no different. It wasn’t long before she was putty in my hands. As time went on, I watched her crawl out from underneath that crazy, grumpy shell of hers and emerge as a sweet, sensitive soul with a fiery spirit.

In countless ways, Cleo and I are as different as two people can be, but we quickly discovered some small and interesting things we had in common. Every appointment she has with me, I learn a little more about the person she really is and I see her tender heart. She makes me smile when I see her now, and despite all the madness in her world, I respect the spirit in her, which is also in me. I haven’t determined what flavor of crazy she is yet, but whatever it is, I honor the person she is and I honor the person she’s trying to become.

Namaste, Cleo, and Peace Be With You….

I Would Rather Go To Confession


It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a serious attitude problem when it comes to blind dates. Even though I'm an optimist by nature, some might say I’m a walking illustration of pessimism when it comes to believing that this cruel and awkward method of matchmaking really works. I can easily exasperate the most patient person in the room with my excuses, complaints, and theories on why it will never work for me.

I do declare myself a stubborn woman, who is determined to meet a man in her own spontaneous way and tries her best to resist meeting someone in such an obvious manner. Nothing worse than walking into a restaurant, meeting a total stranger you know nothing about - except that he’s “nice” - then sharing an entire meal with him. It’s weird sitting two feet from a stranger, who’s as acutely aware as you are that the sole purpose of this ’meeting’ is to sniff each other out as potential spouses. (Are you feeling the attitude yet?)

Honestly, I would rather go to confession!

I can sum up my all blind date experiences over the years, by saying that I have never wanted any of my first dates to call me for a second. I won’t say that any of these experiences were terrible because they weren’t, but I won’t lie – I went to bed most nights praying their jeans made it through the spin cycle with my number tucked away in their back pocket. I admit, I met some super nice, handsome, intelligent, successful men over the years, but none of them captured my attention or left me even remotely intrigued. Sadly, very few of them ever took up residence in my memory bank past the first twenty-four hours.

I always thought the guy was feeling the same way, too. Surely, he noticed that although we had pleasant conversation, that’s about all we had. Certainly, he noticed that the evening fell a little flat after the salads were served and by dessert, all the fizz was gone. Surely, we were on the same page about that.

Nope.

Within 24-48 hours the email or call almost always came in and I would most graciously decline his invitation for a second date. There have been a few exceptions where I accepted a second date, because I thought, “maaaaybe”.... But I only remember having one third date.

Well, last week the earth must have rotated off it’s axis, because I actually had my first good blind date. I will spare you all the details and skip to the part where I say that “I liked this guy". Of course, I know very little about him overall, but he made me laugh – and that scores big numbers in my book. Without analyzing the whole thing, I’ll just say that I enjoyed his company and when he asked for my number to call me for dinner, I happily handed it over - that was a new feeling! To top it all off, when I awoke the next morning, one of my first thoughts was, “I hope he calls me. I think we would have fun. I could use some fun”.

Yeah! So that was like a week and a half ago and Mr. Funny hasn’t called. Can you say, “Disappointed”? How about, “Bummed”?

It’s amazing what thoughts run through your head when the phone doesn’t ring and you realize it never will. I’ll tell you what I did notice though – the thoughts that run through my head now, in my thirties, are not the same thoughts that ran through my head in my twenties.

Ten years ago, if a guy wasn’t interested in me, my first reaction was, “maybe he was looking for somebody prettier, smarter, blonder, quieter, blah, blah, blah“. But now, when he doesn’t call, none of those thoughts make it to my brain, because I know better. There could be all sorts of reasons he deleted my number from his phone and I‘ll probably never know what they are. As curious as I am, I know deep down, in the end, it doesn’t matter.

What I know for sure, is that if he recognized the spark of something special in me, he would have called me. If he doesn’t call, it simply means he didn’t see the magic in me - the same way I didn’t see the magic in all the men I chose not to have a second date with myself. When I look past the disappointment, I can see that I am capable of having a good experience on a blind date, so maybe I’ll agree to another one someday. Until then, I’m still banking on a spontaneous, destined, fairytale meeting between me and my prince charming.

Wish me luck…...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Grass & Weeds for Dinner - Yum!



Since seeing the naturopath, I’ve been trying to incorporate more greens into my diet. I normally eat free range, antibiotic free, organic beef and chicken. I toast my Ezekial bagel in the morning with free range eggs and I eat plain yogurt without the sugar. Who‘s got my medal?

But I’ve always managed to skip over the suggestion of eating mainly fruits and vegetables. I tell myself that the apple and carrot stick I eat with my noon meal is a feat worth rewarding – such as chocolate pudding for dessert, but in my heart I know it’s a lie.

I lie to myself all the time. Sometimes I call it justification or rationalization, but it’s all BS. I know that the key to health is more vegetables, not more chicken wings. I’m as guilty as the next girl for believing that avoiding the worst foods is the only ticket to being healthy. It’s important of course, but so is actually feeding the body the high quality foods.

I don’t know why I can’t make myself crave grass and weeds on a plate drizzled in vinegar. Crazy as it sounds, pasta with creamy, buttery sauce sounds so much better. Why is it that I fight the urge to eat a warm, decadent, chocolate, gooey, brownie over a fresh plate of lightly steamed lima beans? OK. I pretend there’s some great mystery here, when in reality, the answer is….because warm, gooey, brownies ROCK and will always win out over Lima beans – steamed, blanched, or dipped in sugar.

The secret is to wake up one day and realize that feeling good, looking healthy, and fitting into my jeans from week to week means being a real adult and doing what is best for myself. When I was younger, I could hide the beans in my pockets and trash them later. But I know better now, and it’s important to make good decisions for my well being. Of course, being an adult means I don’t have to stuff the lima beans in my pocket because I can choose from hundreds of other wonderful foods to eat.

I’ve been doing the grass and weeds deal for a couple weeks now and I feel ten pounds lighter. The scale has confirmed that it’s just a feeling, not reality, but I consider it a start. Reality is that there is no secret to health and vitality. If I center my diet around vegetables and fiber, I’m going to be healthier. I think it’s time protein and grains take their rightful place as the real side dishes on the plate, not the main event.

I know taste buds can be altered with time and that's my objective. It seems insane to think one day I’ll lust over spinach like I do chocolate and ice cream, but if even half the love is there for the green guys, I’ll count it a tremendous success!

Gooooo Broccoli!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All The New Colors And Flavors


Today is a big day for my niece, Natalie. Today is her fifth birthday! In honor of the family’s recent Road Rally adventure, my sister organized a scavenger hunt for Miss Natalie. After a few presents are hidden in fun places, the birthday girl will be given clues on where to find them. As my sis explained this grand plan, I was imagining how totally exciting that would be for Natalie!

I have to smile when I think of Natalie Rose, because she’s so spirited, dramatic, bouncy, and ornery with stellar brown eyes. I think of how I love her and the marvelous energy she brings into my life. It takes me back to when my first nephew, Andrew was born over eighteen years ago. I was so head over heels in love with that child. The love I felt for him was the purest, deepest, and happiest I had ever experienced up until then. I also, distinctly remember my sister telling me she was expecting their second child and how an immediate wave of guilt washed over me, because I new this baby was going to get totally ripped off in the love department when it came to his Aunt Sheri. My heart was already spoken for – by a spunky two year old boy.

And then Nicholas was born and – Wow – the love rushed in. Right from the start, he was the complete opposite of Andrew. He was sooooo mellow. And amazingly enough, there was more than enough love in my heart for the both of them.

And when my brother and wife had their first baby girl, Emily, she was without a doubt, the most beautiful little girl with crazy brown eyes I had ever seen. More love. Definitely feeling more love. Her personality was a breath of fresh air too. Now, I had three new little spirits in the world to love. What could be better than that?

Well, if three is happiness, then eighteen is bliss. Austin, Sarah, Mitchell, Kayla, Johnny, Danny, Abby, Hannah, Ashley, Emma, Zach, Isabella, and Xavier have all come barreling into my world and added all sorts of new colors and flavors to it. Of course, sweet baby, Joshua graced our lives for a mere seven months, but grace us, he did. It’s been fourteen years and I can still see his sweet smiling face. He’s our family‘s angel in heaven now and always.

I owe my parents big time for putting in all the time and effort to have five kids, because now I have four friends for life (actually eight if you count the in-laws, which I do ). Then thanks to my siblings and their wild ambitions to raise an army of children, I reap the benefits again.

If my life story does not have a chapter entitled, “My Children”, then at least, thanks to the rest of my family and their child bearing ways, there will be many exciting chapters filled with love, magic, and madness!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm Back!


I haven’t felt like myself for awhile now. I’ve been unusually tired, a little overwhelmed at work and slightly unfocused. I consulted with my friend and naturopath about it and discovered there are some valid reasons for my recent lifelessness. I am now working on correcting the problem.

One change I noticed that pushed me towards getting some help was my lack of mischieviousness. I’m not a trouble maker, but I do like to think of myself as the queen of April Fool’s Day and typically try to honor that day a little bit every day. The other week I pulled a funny on a patient and got such a high from it, that it revved me up for the rest of the afternoon. I realized then, that I missed that feeling. Most days I was feeling so tired and uninspired that the creative spark I needed to roll with a great story was missing.

Today however, I saw a glimpse of my old self when I easily convinced a patient to believe total nonsense. I had him going good for awhile and I loved every minute of it.

This patient, who I’ll call Edward, is a very intelligent and successful man with a definite ornery side to him. He tries to pull something on me nearly every time he sees me, and in my current “weakened” state I have nearly fallen prey to his antics more than once. Normally, I would be dishing out my own dose of delusions with someone of this nature, but lately, I’ve lacked the brain power to think up and carry out such deception. Until today, that is.

Today we were discussing having pain in unexpected areas. Eddie’s been suffering with elbow tendonitis for some time now, and was expressing his concern for the amount of pain he felt when I palpated the muscles in the areas above and below his elbow. I assured him that these areas wouldn’t normally be painful if there wasn’t a problem, but he found it hard to believe that someone might not feel pain there like he did when such pressure was applied.

To prove a point, I palpated the muscles in his face and asked if he felt pain there. He laughed and said, “No”. I explained that some people do have issues with the muscles in their face and they are extremely painful just as he was experiencing pain in his forearm. That caught his attention.

Then, like magic, a spark was ignited and I was off and running.

With a serious face and professional tone, I slowly explained to him that some people suffer from myofascial restrictions in the lower jaw muscles. These restrictions can create a tightness in the muscles so extreme that it could actually force the mouth into an involuntary frown. If these muscles were not attended to, the “Smile” muscles may become weak over time and make it very difficult for the patient to smile at all. A person could actually lose their ability to smile due to a dysfunction in the facial muscle tissue.

As his face showed obvious signs of concern and deep thought, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I had him and now I just had to reel him in. He was clearly mulling over what I had just said, when I continued on. “Have you ever known somebody who is grumpy every time you see them? It’s like they can never manage a smile – only a frown.” Eddie’s eyes got large as he got all excited, “I was just thinking that! There are people I’ve met like that! They always look unhappy! Could they have that condition you’re talking about?”

“Absolutely! You should tell them that you know someone who could bring their smile back to life. When you leave here, you should call every grumpy person you know and tell them you have the secret to their happiness. Tell them that you know someone who can turn their frown upside down. You must share the good news with them Eddie! You must!”

And then I smiled at him.

And he knew he had been had.

It was the very best part of my day!

Thanks Eddie!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm Going With King Banana!


So, I’m out shopping for Buckeye gear for the big weekend, when I decide to stroll through the ladies section. I need to find one or two more dress pants for work and I noticed a few with reasonable price tags. According to Tommy and other designers, I’m a solid size eight, so I confidently walk back to the dressing room with my size eight selections. As I go to slide into the first pair, I have problems getting them past my hips. I do that silent giggle thing, as I realize that I grabbed the wrong size – probably a four or a six - how silly of me. However, when I check the tag for confirmation, the tag clearly reads “8”.

Whoa! What’s up Tommy? What’s up Michael Kors? Am I an eight or what? According to this "Jenni Max" girl, size eight is a just a pipe dream for me! Which of you designer clowns know how big my hips really are? Style and Co. here thinks I’m a size twelve, which is funny in the “not so funny way“, in that last month I bought a pair of slacks from them that assures me that my hips are indeed, a solid size eight. So which is it?

How do I get up one day with size eight hips, run through my day, eat carrots and cauliflower, sleep seven hours, and then wake up the next day with size twelve hips? Seriously, how does that work? And how do I wrap my emotional brain around that? Do I wear eights on Monday to make the day more bearable and then slide through Friday four sizes larger knowing that sweats on Saturday is just a day away?

And who do I believe? Do I strut my stuff in the twelves, believing in my heart that I’m really a perfect eight or do I prance around in the eights, knowing deep down that they’ve suckered me into buying a pair of pants because I wanted to believe I was an eight. ( Good strategy, if so )

Or do I believe Banana Republic? I have a pair of their jeans that clearly labels everybody else as crazy, because they claim I’m a size six. I admit, I’m oozing out of them a bit, but my hips like ‘em just fine. I’ve never felt comfortable leaving the house in them, but I do put them on whenever the twelves try to make me feel bad about myself. I figure the twelves can’t be right if the sixes are. I think I read somewhere once that Banana Republic is the king of the jean industry. If King Banana says I’m an over sized six, then I choose to make that my truth.

If Jenni Max and Style & Co. want to label me a size ten or twelve, then they can just keep hanging from their hangers, because they’re not coming home with me!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My New Career!



I’m good at what I do for a living and I consider myself successful at what I do. But like many people, there comes a time when your career isn’t as exciting as it used to be. You don’t get up every morning with that same fiery excitement that you used to and you find yourself daydreaming about the second half of your life and what different things you could do to fill your time and still earn a paycheck doing it.

My daydreams of change have always centered around creativity. Maybe I would become a photographer or writer or painter or even a professional clown. Whenever I do something creative I lose all sense of time. I get so lost in an idea that when I finally check the clock, I gasp at the amount of time that has passed. How wonderful to be so engrossed in what you’re doing that time magically slips away. It’s my perfect example of being completely present in the moment.

Since I usually lean toward the creative world, I was surprised to find my true calling in a different arena this weekend and I owe it all to my brother and sister-in-law. They were the master minds behind the Road Rally my family participated in this weekend. It was just like Amazing Race, except we never left the country, never jumped out of an airplane, and no camera crews were following us around. It was awesome! I was definitely born to compete in Road Rallys.

Speeding down the road looking for clues, decoding secret messages, spotting hidden treasures, and taking silly photographs is what I was born to do. How do I make money at this, you ask? Well that’s definitely the tricky part. Actually, every great idea I’ve had in the past ten years has been marred by that particular glitch.

Did I mention that my team won the Road Rally? Another reason to make it my job – I already know that I excel at it. Of course, I did not win this race all by myself. My brother-in-law, Eric and my nephews Andrew, Austin, and Johnny were all valuable members of my team. Even though, my inner “Nancy Drew” did shine through as the leader of these “Hardy Boys”, I appreciate the large role they played in our victory. I’m certainly willing to take them along for the ride if they want. Heck, Andrew’s eighteen so we could work together and I could give him 30% of our winnings. I don’t know who’s gonna pay us to run around and play Indiana Jones all day, but if that fool is alive and well, Please God, send him my way!

I just want to thank Scott and Renee’ for taking the time and putting in the effort to make this Road Rally a success! We all had an awesome time and thanks to the two of you, I’m gonna quit my day job!

Um........... Can I come live with you?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Day With Izzie


My sister’s up from Louisville for the weekend because the whole family is gathering Sunday for a Road Rally, which is like a scaled down Amazing Race. I can hardly wait to Rally because I my intention is to win! But today, Amy and her husband took the four oldest kids to Eric’s brother’s for the day, and they left sweet baby Izzie with me – Yeh! (She’s 18 months old )

We went to the Pet Store to pick up food for George and then visited with all the animals. She didn’t make a single peep as she took it all in. After oo-ahhing over the puppies and laughing at the parrots, we left to do some grocery shopping. Once again, she remained silent as I loaded the vegetables all around her in the cart. When she got her hands on the red leaf lettuce, she worked it over as if she was trying to pulverize a bag of potato chips. I guess that’s what you call a tossed salad!

As I type this, she sleeps peacefully just three feet away as she most likely dreams of the puppies and talking parrots she met this morning. It’s been three hours now, so I’m thinking it’ll be any moment that she opens her big brown eyes and giggles at me.

Whoa! Talk about timing! “Hello, sweet girl”.

I’ve gotta go! There’s a beautiful park down the road that’s calling our name!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Whoooooa! That Was Close!


To prepare for the carpet installers to come and coat my floors with “Champagne” I had to move a lot of stuff from the third floor to the second floor. That meant countless trips up and down the stairs with my arms full. On one of my trips, I got careless with my footing and did one of those, “Whoooooa!”, where your foot misses the step, your body lurches forward and you fight to pull yourself back before you somersault your way down the stairs. As I took a moment to center myself, I thought of all the missed falls I’ve had on this staircase. My chunky Steve Madden shoes from years ago, were by far the greatest cause of near mishaps. I don’t know how many times I saved myself from disaster in those shoes and then reprimanded myself with, “SHERI!!!! BEEEEE CAREFUL!”

I’ve often thought about what would happen if I fell down the stairs and knocked myself unconscious – what would I do? Seriously! If it was a Friday or Saturday when I had no plans, it could be days before someone found me. Of course, if I had a man picking me up for a date, then he could swoop in and save the day. WOW! Dating could save my life!

When I shared this long-time concern with one of my best friends, she just laughed at me. This friend lives in Canada, which means she’s gonna be the last person to find me – what’s so funny about that? I’m dead at the bottom of the stairs while she’s hoopin’ and hollerin’ it up at a hockey game, completely unaware of my demise. The game of hockey would never be the same for her after that!

My other best friend laughed at my concern too. She lives much closer and she would be the first one knocking down my door if I failed to show up for an ice cream social. In fact, she would call in the helicopter police to meet her at my house to help her knock it down!

I’m thinking the best case scenario would be if I tumbled on a work day. The girls from the office would be knocking down my door at ten minutes past the hour, because I’m nothing if not reliable. Reason number 22 for being a dependable employee - if you fall down the stairs and knock yourself unconscious, your co-workers will come looking for you.

Actually, best case scenario would be to simply walk down the stairs one at a time like I learned to do when I was three years old. After thirty-some years of practicing this basic skill, you'ld think I would have mastered it by now!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Men Just Want A Little Respect


Spending all day with a diverse group of patients can lead to many captivating conversations. I see all walks of life in my office, which makes every day interesting. I have this one patient, who I’ll call Stuart, that I just adore. Stuart and I got along swimmingly right from the start. Our conversations were always highly spirited as we jumped from one subject to another, each of us waiting for our turn to speak. He’s a pastor at a local church, who’s married with three teenage boys. He is what I call a “high quality individual“. On his last appointment, while discussing fabulous books we had read, he gushed over the book, “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerich. Apparently, he gives it out to all the married couples he counsels and it always gets rave reviews.

Since my future husband is lost in space somewhere, it seemed the perfect time to read a book about getting along with your spouse. I figured it couldn’t be too hard to respect a man who wasn’t there. After all, the imaginary men are the most fantastic to date, because they’re perfect in every way! What’s not to respect, right?

According to Mr. Eggie, men need respect like women need love. In a study of 400 men around the nation, when forced to choose one of the following scenarios, they were asked which they would prefer to endure?

A) to be left alone and unloved in the world
B) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone

Seventy-four percent chose to be alone and unloved rather than feel inadequate or disrespected. Gee! How many times do women make their men feel inadequate? Yeah.

Every page I turn I see the truth in what he speaks. All that women want is to feel genuinely loved. We want to be the center of one man’s universe. As much as that is true, the men we love ( even the ones lost in space that we patiently wait for) desperately want to feel respected. According to Eggie, if a women shows disrespect to her man – and we do it ALLL the time – then that man finds it difficult to show love to the women who does not respect him. When a man does not feel respected for who he is, he withdraws from his woman, and the woman takes that to mean he doesn’t love her enough. This begins the Crazy cycle, as he calls it. This cycle doesn’t have to start with the woman. In fact, it probably starts with the man doing or saying something seriously stupid. Whoa! Did I just say that? Wow! I need to practice my respect speak before my space boy finds me.

If you read this book, Mr. Eggie will convince you that these two elements of Love and Respect are indeed the core issues between a man and a woman. I think this man is a genius and I’m going to start practicing these techniques on my bunny George. There are days when I poke a little fun at him and I realize I may be emasculating him and that’s why he retreats when I try to love on him. Sometimes, he looks at me like I’m about to take his life, as he runs to his little den. I don’t ever want to see that look of fear in the eyes of the man I love. So for practice, George is gonna get nothing but respect from me for awhile and we’ll see if his aloof attitude changes into Looooooooove.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Preparing For A Funeral

As it is so many times in life, death comes sooner than expected. We think if we plan well and take good care, everything will be alright. But sometimes, if we’re not paying close enough attention, sickness slowly settles in. So slowly, that by the time we notice that death is near, it’s too late to breathe new life into it.

Sadly, I am prepared to officially bury my garden tomorrow. It will be tilled under, way before it’s time. Tonight, as I took one last look at my wilting and shriveling plants, I thought of all the gardens around the world that are still alive, vibrant and producing award winning produce. Why couldn’t my vegetables thrive this year? Was it the year of the strawberry?

June-bearing strawberries made their yummy debut in my garden this spring and I took that as a sign that it was going to be a fruitful summer. It wasn’t. It seems that when fruit entered my garden, the vegetables staged a boycott. I had no idea there would be a conflict. I always thought fruits and vegetable got along. I know they play well together in salads.

Anyway, I’m gonna make the trip to Lowe’s tomorrow to pick up the refuse bags that will serve as the carrying coffin for the deceased vegetables. I’ll walk them to the curb and wait for the big red truck to come and take them away. They’ll enter the recycling world, where they can be reincarnated into something different for next season. Maybe as vegetables, they missed their calling and next year they’ll thrive better as mulch.

Wouldn’t it be wild if they came back to my garden next year as mulch? Unless they plan to come back to suffocate the strawberries – that would be bad! Maybe they should just move on and I’ll do the same.

I tried to post a final picture of the garden, but Blogger apparently thought it was too bleak to post, because it refused to upload it. Maybe it's for the best. A person could wilt just looking at it.

Instead of dwelling on what wasn't this year, I choose to remember all the years before, when it wore big green leaves and produced juicy red tomatoes. I'm looking ahead to next year and dreaming of all the possibilities!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Poor Stanley



So, a funny thing happened at work today. I had this sweet patient – let’s call him Stanley – who I’ve known for nearly a decade. He’s been going through a rough patch lately. His elderly father just passed away, he’s been experiencing a lot of neck pain, and they finally confirmed that his thyroid is officially “dead” - which explains his debilitating fatigue. As he starts to catch me up on all the details, I invite him to lie down and relax. So, now he’s lying down, with his eyes closed, as he’s proceeds to tell me everything that’s going on in his life.

As I’m listening to every detail, I notice the tiniest, tiniest, little, black spider playing Tarzan in his blond hair. I don’t like spiders of any size, so I’m still listening to him, but I’m keeping my eye on the baby spider. I watch him jump from strand to strand as I try to decide what to do. Normally, I would come right out and tell a person this kind of thing. I certainly never hesitate to let someone know their zipper’s wide open, or lipstick’s on their teeth, or spinach is in their teeth, or my personal favorite – their shirt is inside out or on backwards. ( That usually happens to the mothers who have a million things to do in a day) I tell them these things, because I would want them to tell me!

But I didn’t want to tell him. So I lightly blew on his forehead, as if I was trying to blow out candles on a cake, hoping the spider would just blow away. I wouldn’t normally consider doing this, but this man isn’t interested in girls, so I took the chance that he wouldn’t even be phased by it, and I was right. He just kept on talking. I guess I had forgotten that spiders aren't much affected by a little breeze. I’ve seen one clinging to a flower once that was being blown sideways on a windy day. Those guys definitely know how to hang on.

So, I decided to capture the strands of hair the spider was playing in between two fingers and whisk him away. Stanley noticed that. He asked, “ Oh, was there a little piece of fuzz in my hair?” I wanted to say, “No Stanley, there was a spider in your hair – yuk! gross! ” but I felt certain that would upset him. Stanley is a very neat and hygienic individual. He’s always put together, everything in his house is white, and his Beemer convertible is cream colored with light beige interior. I honestly felt like the idea that a spider was crawling in his hair would seriously bother him – it sure bothered me! So I replied, “It’s all gone now!” and left it at that.

Stanley left the office feeling better, while I was left feeling a little itchy, because I’m not real sure where that little guy went. I’m slightly paranoid that I took him home with me.

Please God, don’t let that be true!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm A Commandment Keeper

So, I’m doing a bunch of weeding and trimming tonight and because I’m out of refuse bags, I decide for the first time to throw them in the big green trash can. No biggie. Until I took notice of the big white label covering the inside lid that clearly reads, “DO NOT PLACE THESE ITEMS IN THIS CONTAINER: Furniture, tree limbs, appliances, building materials, automotive parts, paint, and oil.

What?! How have I never seen this until now? Eight years and hundreds of trash days, and I’ve never seen that sticker. Apparently, I’ve broken the golden rules countless times over the years. I’m amazed they don’t drive their trash truck right by my house yelling, “Rule Breaker!” as they blatantly leave my trash behind.

I’m a Commandment Keeper and I don’t consider myself a rule breaker – unless we’re talking about speeding, ‘cause I don’t follow that rule too well – but other than that, I’m a good girl. I know I haven’t thrown any appliances in the green can, but when it comes to every other item on the list, I’m guilty!

Even though I’ve never seen that sign before today, I admit that I was told once by a friend that building materials were frowned upon in the green can. He informed me of this after I had torn up all the white ceramic tile in the kitchen and had boxes of it in the garage, waiting to be disposed of. Mind you, he did not tell me NOT to do it, he just said it was frowned upon.

I remember the first morning I rolled that forbidden load to the curb. I watched from the window, as I peeked through the blinds, waiting to see what would happen. As the trash truck pulled up, I could feel my heart beating in my chest. The big plier hands reached around the can, lifted it up, dumped in it, and poof – white dusty smoke filled the air. I held my breath, waiting to see what would happen next. I was sure the driver was going to jump from his truck, run to my door and yell, “Hey Rule Breaker, Congratulations! You’ve just been X’d off my route!” But he didn’t! I’m not sure he even cared, which to me was permission to refill the green can with more taboo materials. After eight weeks of breaking the rules, my garage was finally clean. It felt good and bad all at the same time.

Of course, had I seen these rules written in bold, red letters, as I did tonight, I would have hesitated to dump the stuff in the green can. But, I‘ll admit, I probably would have done it anyway. I’m a girl living in the suburbs. When I got trash, I throw it in the trash can. What else am I supposed to do with it – decorate my lawn with it? I’m going to do better, though. I want to be a true blue Commandment Keeper!