Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keepsake quotes

I'm cleaning out my desk, and found a paperclipped bundle of quotes and sayings tucked in one of the little cubbyholes. I'm going to put them here, probably never to be looked at again, but they meant enough to me at one time to print them out and attach them to my refrigerator. Maybe they'll mean something to someone else someday.

There are only two things you "have to" do in life – you "have to" die, and you "have to" live until you die. You made up all the rest.

One of the best ways to begin familiarizing ourselves with the virtue of patience is to reflect systematically on its benefits. It is the source of forgiveness. It has no equal in protecting our concern for others, however they behave towards us. When patience is combined with the ability to discriminate between the action and the one who does it, forgiveness arises naturally. ~ Dalai Lama

Every behavior you participate in will have a consequence. ~ Brian Tracy

Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thought and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results. ~ James Allen

An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run. ~ Sydney J. Harris

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.

Keep nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris

Happiness is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.

Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three or four things a day unsaid. ~ Harlan Miller

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were." ~ Cherie Carter-Scott

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Remember: If a dog was the teacher, you would learn things like:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
  • Enjoy every moment of every day!
When choosing the path of Life, you are choosing a road of obstacles. May they be as simple as speed bumps, or as complex as a step drop off a mountain. No matter what the obstacle, you must know there will be a big pile of pillows at the bottom of the mountain.

When choosing the path of Life, you are choosing a road of obstacles. May they be as simple as getting a detention in your schooling years, or as complex as losing a love one. No matter what the obstacle, you must know there will be a big group of people who love you, waiting at the bottom to cushion your fall. ~ MEM

The brief guide:
  • less TV, more reading
  • less shopping, more outdoors
  • less clutter, more space
  • less rush, more slowness
  • less consuming, more creating
  • less junk, more real food
  • less busywork, more impact
  • less driving, more walking
  • less noise, more solitude
  • less focus on the future, more on the present
  • less work, more play
  • less worry, more smiles
  • breathe


10 Days

Still haven't been to the doctor ... it's just so darned easy to avoid waiting rooms and X-rays and my doctor suggesting that, ahem, as one gets older one can expect a little pain.

Yes, he's said things like that to me in the past.

So I've not taken an intentional walk for four straight days now, which is killing my mileage goal for the year. I'd planned to walk yesterday, but I missed a step coming down from a stepstool and wow, did I ever feel it (and am still feeling it).

I'm keeping busy. I just don't really feel like writing. Or knitting. Or painting interior walls. The things that are keeping me busy are cutting grass, mostly, and decluttering. My husband's church is having a rummage sale in a couple weeks, and we're taking advantage of that event to clear out some, um, rummage.

If I were moving in a couple weeks, I could probably get rid of a lot more rummage. I'm not quite there yet in my thinking, however.

One thing I've been pondering is this: Just how many drinking glasses does a two-person household need? We don't entertain much, and when we do it's generally just one other couple. If I were going to have a larger event, I'd most likely buy disposable drink and dinnerware. I'm thinking of keeping six large and six small tumblers, which would take care of the rare times we need(?) real glass glasses at the table.

Probably no one remembers what their iced tea was served in anyway.

Anyway. I'm still alive. Still having pain. Still keeping busy.

How about you?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Struggling

I'm barely managing to get my four miles a day in lately. I see a visit to the doctor in the fairly near future to see what's going on with my right leg. I've been rollering it, thinking it might be iliotibial syndrome. 

I wish our healthcare system here in the good old US of A allowed one to go straight to physical therapy without going through an MD first. Insurance companies won't pay for PT if it's not prescribed first. I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, but I'm pretty sure that's where I'm headed. 

Lucky is home by now, I'm sure. His final trail journal entry is here. With all the hoopla about Scott Jurek and his supported speed record, Lucky is way more inspiring to me. I feel pretty lucky to be walking four miles a day on a paved road. He averaged about 15 a day on a trail. That's impressive.

I'm still maintaining the weight loss that happened the month of April, but not making any progress toward the eventual goal. It would be very sad for me to think that the strict Whole 30 is the only way I can lose. Looking back on the 2013 experience of almost making it to my goal and then gaining back a bunch o'pounds, I think a strict Whole 30 could be the only way to maintain. 

Much. Thinking. Ahead.

The first load … pans and dinnerware and the
food processor, oh my!
The dishwasher was installed last Tuesday, and is working well. I didn't realize that these newfangled energy-saving machines had such a long cycle. Nearly two hours, start to finish, but I guess that's normal. The water-saving feature that makes it energy-efficient results in using more electricity and an extended cycle. 

Not sure how that saves energy, actually. 

But it's kind of fun knowing I don't have to stand at the sink for an hour cleaning up a boatload of dishes after a big cooking session. 

Lots o'graphic design work going on here. Many, many ads for a program book for an annual meeting coming up in September. Quarterly newsletter goes out Monday or Tuesday. I feel somewhat chained to a screen lately, but since it's hot-hot-hot and humid-humid-humid, I'm glad to have an excuse to not be weeding the flower beds. Heh.

And with that … time to fire up Photoshop and get to work!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

He did it!

Lucky scaled Mt. Katadhin yesterday, early afternoon, ahead of schedule. He hasn't updated his journal yet, so I won't link to it, but I will when he does. A remarkable achievement!

Just checked again (five minutes later) and here's the latest entry.

I know one shouldn't compare oneself to another as far as fitness goes. We're all at different points along a line beginning at bedridden and ending at setting a speed record for hiking the Appalachian Trail. With tennis and soccer and baseball and marathon and jump rope and swimming medals and trophies in there, too.

But I can't help but compare Lucky's being 73 and hiking more than 2000 miles in five months to my efforts to get four miles a day.

I didn't do it yesterday. Only 1.45. I was hot and dehydrated and hungry and hurting. And I just turned around and went home.

Easier to do that on the road I live on than on the Appalachian Trail, for sure. But I'm smack dab in the midst of those summer doldrums, and need to find a way to get motivated again.

At any rate … here I go, all about me, when this is Lucky's day! YAY!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One down, one to go

Well, Scott Jurek did indeed break the supported speed record for hiking the Appalachian Trail, by about three hours.

Lucky isn't able to update his journal – he's busy covering those last 50-ish miles! – but the weather in Maine has been decent and he should get to Katadhin tonight.

Guess I'll have to find something else to do for a while.

HAH! That's not difficult. Our Democratic women's group is hosting the statewide annual meeting. We're selling ads for the program book, and I'm doing the artwork for those ads. We have to stock a hospitality suite with snacks and beverages, collect items to put in goodie bags, make sure the banquet favors are completed on time (and don't break in the meantime!), and a host of other little and big tasks between now and September 18.

I don't have anything else to say this morning … I do, actually, but I don't have time!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Wow. I had no idea.

So it's been a while. Again. It gets easier and easier to let the blogging go. I suppose keeping up to date on Facebook is usurping blogging these days. It's certainly easier to post a captioned photo there than it is to string my thoughts together into several paragraphs.

Sometimes easier is better. But not usually.

At any rate, I've been busy or I would have been writing more often.

I've been too busy to even check e-mail. As I've been going through the last several hundred or so, I found one from MapMyFitness that offered this:
Those two weeks of no exercise in late May and early June killed my progress for the year. But I'm less than 40 miles below my 600-mile mid-year goal, so it's still not unreachable.

And, frankly, most women my age aren't putting that many hours into fitness. So yay! Debbi for the win!

And USA WOMEN for the World Cup win last night! What a lot of fun that was, and I don't think anyone expected the US to dominate as they did.

The knitting, running walking, reaping and eating is pretty much the same as it ever was. I hope your holiday was everything you wanted it to be.

I would hope all the feel-good 4th of July feelings would result in less divisiveness as a country. But the number of rebel battle flags I see flying would indicate otherwise.

What's it going to take?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

History, right before our very eyes

I said in a Facebook post this morning that this week has been amazing, but not very graceful. Except that part on Friday afternoon when the President of the United States of America sang Amazing Grace at Clementa Pinckney's funeral. (What a wonderful celebration of a life well-lived and too-soon-ended that was.)

We've lived through an awful lot of history. For me, the list includes (not in chronological order):

  • Man on the moon. 
  • Berlin wall coming down. 
  • Civil Rights Act passed (and I think today we know that passing a law doesn't necessarily change minds or hearts). 
  • The assassination of President Kennedy (who was this country's first Catholic President). 
  • Bob Dylan's first album release (you knew I had to get an historical Dylan reference in there, AM I RIGHT?). 
  • The election – twice – of an African-American president. 
  • The closest thing to health care reform I'm likely to see in my lifetime (I think Medicare for All will someday be available, hopefully for my grandchildren). 
  • Marriage equality for all.

The not-so-graceful comments on Facebook are discouraging, because they show me that we need to do more educating, more good-exampling, more opening of hearts and minds. ALL of us. I'm not going to sit here behind my screen and point fingers at you. If I think you (not you, of course, but you know who I'm talking about) need to be more tolerant, then I've just unequivocally proven that I could use a little more tolerance in my 'tude, as well.

(If the haters were better educated, they'd KNOW that marriage equality doesn't mean their pastor is bound by law to marry a same-sex couple. But then they'd have nothing to fight about. And oh, my, they do love to fight. And there I go pointing fingers again! This tolerance thing is SO HARD.)

This week has been breathtaking in its intensity. I had a personal stake in the Supreme Court's decision about the Affordable Care Act. Most SCOTUS decisions don't really touch me personally, but that one definitely did. Some politicians are still promising to repeal the ACA, but offer no alternative.

Which leaves me wondering … why? Why do they not want ALL Americans to benefit from good medical care? Why do they think those who qualify for subsidies are lazy-ass freeloaders who ought to take better care of themselves? (Yes, I replied to a comment like that.) And file for bankruptcy if they get cancer, which really doesn't only affect rich people who can afford health insurance.

The only answer I've seen to my "why" question is that those subsidies are giving our tax dollars to  people who don't deserve it.

That's kind of how I feel about my tax dollars being given to Halliburton, or any other government contractor who profits from sending young men and women to fight an unwinnable war. And then when those young men and women come home (IF they come home), they're faced with homelessness, joblessness and a Congress that doesn't want to take care of their medical needs.

We don't get to pick and choose where our tax dollars go. We assume our elected officials will be good stewards of our money. You know what they say about assuming, though.

IN MY OPINION, Democrats do a better job at governing than Republicans do. The current Republican-led Congress pretty much proves it. The President spent a lot of years reaching across that aisle and coming up empty-handed. Now that he's a lame-duck President, and fearless by his own admission, well … shit's getting done.

Good for him. Good for America.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Lucky update

Our friend Lucky is less than 300 miles from Katahdin, Maine, on his hike of the Appalachian Trail.

He's in New Hampshire, but has just 16.5 miles to get to the Maine border. Here's his most recent entry. It's more of a placeholder; hit the "Previous" link to read full journal posts.

Experienced hikers say that the last 20 percent of the Appalachian Trail is 80 percent of the work, and it sounds like Lucky agrees.

My walks continue to get slower. My hip never really doesn't hurt these days. I'd hoped that getting back to solid paleo eating would help, but it doesn't. The only consistent thing about the pain is that it's almost completely gone after a night's rest. I don't have much trouble first thing in the morning, and so that's when I take my walks.

It's been so hot, that morning also is the best time, temperature-wise, to be outdoors.

Yesterday I cut back all the weeds in the herb-garden circle, covered the bed with compost and then my husband and I layered pieces of cardboard over the whole thing. We put rocks on the cardboard to keep it from blowing away and next spring we'll have a nice weed-free bed in which to plant flowers. A lilac or butterfly bush in the center, with perennials and annuals surrounding it. AND MULCH.

Mulching is a big job, and mulch isn't cheap, but I'm more convinced of the value of it as this year drags on. All my lovely landscape beds are full of weeds, and we haven't had enough rain to soften the ground to make pulling – or even digging – them a manageable job, for me anyway.

The combination of a normal walk and a big gardening job really did me in, though. Let's just say I played lots of Scrabble on my phone yesterday afternoon … sigh.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Been a while. Sorry about that.

I really just want to post pictures of puppies
and baby goats
and kittens. (Did you know there was a subset of kitten pictures on Google Images called Kittens With Guns? ACK!)
I'm still walking, still eating mostly primal/paleo, still knitting the never-ending pullover. And still wishing something would happen to bring the country together, in a good way.

I think I'm going to be waiting for that for quite some time.

Facebook has been my rant-and-rave outlet lately. If you follow me there and you're tired of it, feel free to block me. I just can't keep it inside. But I also don't want to alienate either of you who are still reading the blog, so … puppies! Baby goats! KITTENS!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It starts with food

The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that the food industry has until 2018 to eliminate trans fats from food. The New York Times has a good wrap-up of the decision here.

At least it was a good wrap-up, until this:
Saturated fats are still an enormous problem in the American diet, and health experts emphasized that Tuesday’s action should not give consumers a false sense of security.
Saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. The general consensus is that high cholesterol levels lead to heart disease. In my opinion, that's what the makers of cholesterol-lowering drugs want you to believe, and they'll go to the ends of the earth to protect their profits.

If you do a Google search for "eating saturated fat," you'll find the information YOU want. If YOU think eating saturated fat is bad for you, you'll find a credible, peer-reviewed article to back you up. If YOU think consuming saturated fat is less of a problem than Big Pharma thinks it is … you'll also be validated.

What if we find out, years from now, that saturated fat – found in butter, meat, cheese, eggs – wasn't the bad guy, but growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, or something else the agricultural industry uses to grow more food with less effort and more profit was?

That's a big what if.

I'm not arguing FOR trans-fats. They were invented to make packaged products shelf-stable. In other words, trans-fats were developed to make processed foods last longer and cost less. What consumer doesn't want that?

I'm not arguing FOR saturated fats, either. I eat them, but that's my decision, my menu, and you're free to serve yourself whatever you like. My saturated fats come from grass-fed cows and free-range chickens, for the most part.

I'm mostly arguing AGAINST a pharmaceutical industry that wants you to take their pills every day of your life, and a food industry that cares more about making food cheap than making it healthful. In both cases, these giants are better stewards of their bottom lines than they are of your health and welfare.

And, sadly, our government seems to be complicit.

Rant over.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Done!

One of my favorite parts of any event is coming up with favors.
The blue item on the left is a tiny matchbook notepad using a
paint chip for the cover. My business card is on the right, plus
candy. Workshop attendees NEED candy, right?
If I made my living doing presentations like I did yesterday, I think I'd be very happy. The fun part was creating it. Actually presenting was kind of nerve-wracking – I've never watched a presentation that went 100 percent smoothly, and mine was no exception – but it went.

We had a pretty good turnout, and the feedback was positive. Now to see if any of these club leaders actually follows up and begins using social media.

Part of our meeting was also watching Hillary Clinton's campaign kick-off speech, and it was so fun being with a room full of like-minded people! It reminded me of the early Obama campaign. We had house parties for lots of major events back then. I'd love for that kind of enthusiasm to catch fire again. Honestly, though, Clinton doesn't have the spark that Obama did.

She certainly (in my opinion) has the credentials and experience to be President, though.

I was SO TIRED when I came home yesterday. Being "on" took more out of me than I'd thought it would. But you were right, Timi: It was, indeed, very satisfying to finish and present the project, and now I can say I'm not a Keynote (Apple's version of PowerPoint) virgin.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Making up for lost time

Two weeks sick in bed means lots of stuff went undone. Plus we had the exterior of the house painted this week. I feel like updating the blog has been last on the priority list.

And there IS a list! It's been very satisfying to cross things off as they're completed, especially the Keynote project. (P.S. I LOVE KEYNOTE. Love it, love it, love it.)

When I added it to the list, I also added percentages, because creating a presentation like this isn't something you can knock off in an afternoon or two. When I crossed off 80%, I felt really, really good. I knew it would get done, and I knew it would get done on time. I wrapped it up three days ago and have been rehearsing it.

Here's the thing: I've never done anything like this before. In previous jobs and volunteer positions, I've never been required to present a couple hours' worth of information to a group of people who are expecting good, solid content. In my job, I was always a worker bee. Volunteer posts meant I took minutes or wrote checks or got someone else to come in and present a program.

So I'm nervous, and hoping it all comes off without a hitch. Fortunately, the audience is Democratic women, who are very forgiving.

The meeting is tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it, for sure, but I'll be glad when it's over.

I started walking again this week, thinking I would start out slowly and work my way back up to four miles a day. But Tuesday was the first day, and it was so nice outside that I just went the distance. I kind of wiped myself out for anything else productive that day, but I did the same thing Wednesday (and then went food shopping) and Thursday (followed by a thorough sweeping of the porches after the painting crew left).

Lest you think that sweeping a couple porches is no biggie, our back "porch" is actually more of a patio that extends from one end of the house to the other. (Floor plan here; the back of the house is the living room side.) I can't even guess how much distance it covers. But when it's 90° out, with relentless sun beaming down, it was quite the job.

After tomorrow's meeting, I should be able to get back to work on the interior painting. And maybe if it rains a bit – thus softening up the dirt – I'll get some weeds pulled. They really took over the landscape beds. It was bad before … it's just awful now.

BUT … it's lily time. And they really are lovely this year. See?