Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flip-Flip Walk

I've mentioned in my blog before that I am in an "Artist Way" group, based on the Julia Cameron book, The Artist Way. Now we're working thru her book, Walking in This World. There are a few things she asks that you do daily and weekly. One is a 20 minute walk at least once a week.

I run daily, and I walk my girls (and by "girls" I obviously mean Zoe and Scout, my Siberian Huskies!) several times a week. But I NEVER walk alone.

So the other day, it was just a beautiful afternoon. The temperatures are finally coming down! It was a crispy, cool 87 degrees so I decided to go on my Flip Flop Walk. I opted to wear my flip-flops to remind myself this was a leisurely walk and had nothing to do really with physical excersize.

I went out my front door, and as I passed my side fence gate, Zoe and Scout both looked so sad that they hadn't been invited. I felt horrible. This must be what Moms feel like the first time they leave their kid with a sitter?!

But as I got down my street, those guilty feeling subsided and were replaced with thoughts of "Hm. I've never walked in my neighborhood alone in the 6 1/2 years I've lived here." I tried to really look the trees, at the squirrels, at the sky...the stuff it seems that you should notice on an ARTIST WALK.

When I saw another person walking, I felt so oddly self-conscious. They must have been dying with curiousity all about why I was by myself, why I was in flip flops while walking, why I was walking at such a slow pace, why I didn't have any friends or pets, etc. I'm sure that is ALL they could think of!

I noticed that 2 of the 5 people I saw during my walk were talking on cell phones. Cell phones! That is SO not connecting with nature. And others had on headphones!!! Unbelievable.

Yes, for my 20 minute walk I was paranoid about how I looked to others for the first half, and then slamming my judgments on this disconnected world we live in. I hope I lighten up.... I know I will. It was just funny to have such a different perspective simply by wearing flip-flops and walking alone.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Throw Your Own Party

Tonight I went to my friend Wendy's birthday party. She made up these really cute invitations and she gave me mine when I saw her the other day. It had this hilarious picture of here as a baby with this huge head of hair and it said "Being 38 is Great". It then went on telling us the time and the place of her party. Well, the party was great fun and here are the lessons I learned regarding adult birthday parties:

First of all...YES! Embrace your age, whatever it is, and know that it's GREAT!
I've wasted a lot of time, way too much time, worrying about my age as I get older. I get the impression my friend mainly just feels blessed with all the days she is given.

Secondly- CELEBRATE...not just birthdays but tons of moments along the way, which I feel pretty sure Wendy might just be the queen of. Once you're an adult, so many people just stop making a big deal out of their birthday. This seems wrong. That was one of the favorite holidays when I were a kid and it still should be! I'm just as worthy of that celebration now I was then!

And thirdly, THROW YOUR OWN PARTY!!! I called Wendy when we were on our way to her party. She was saying how excited she was about her party and all her friends coming to help her celebrate. I think it is so cool that she thought up her party agenda, made up her fabulous guest list, and then combined her different groups of friends to make such a fun party. We started off at Al's Pizza and then went to Whirlyball. (See above photo of Whirlyball in action!) I asked if she had planned all of this and she said yes, adding, "You can either wait for your friends to throw a party for you, or you can just throw it yourself!"

It was Wendy's 38th birthday party and she threw a great party for herself and her friends!!! I gotta get her back by throwing my own party when my birthday rolls around!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rocky Raccoon

Last night I went to eat at Roma's- mainly just to check it out to see how it's changed since it went from being "El Arroyo" to "Roma's".

Well, what's changed is that it's no longer a Mexican food restaurant, but is instead an Italian restaurant.

What hasn't changed is the raccoons that hang out and eat with you on the patio.

Apparently, I've changed. I used to think the raccoons were cute (they are- from a distance!) and I didn't mind them hanging out right beside me and I think I even tossed them some tortilla chips to munch on from time to time. However, last night, altho at first I was amused by them, I became sort of grossed out and even a little scared.

I saw a few of them eating some bread. Then I saw a couple of them fighting over the bread. Then I saw several more of them climbing on the deserted tables. Then as others came right over to my table begging for food like scary, and perhaps even rabid dogs, I got a little freaked out. Unfortunately, these raccoons are so use to being around people, nothing I did seemed to scare them away. Loud clapping, stomping my feet, and angrily yelling out NO did nothing to deter them.

Once my table was the only one with people sitting at it, the raccoons seemed to be taking over to the point of I didn't even feel welcome anymore. I saw them climbing on all of the tables, grabbing food off the abandoned plates, sticking their heads in used water glasses, and tearing into packets of Sweet and Low. I wondered, "How did/does this place pass health inspection?"

My feelings about the raccoons reminded me of how my feelings have also changed when it comes to my neighborhood squirrels. When I first moved in and saw about 5 squirrels playing in my yard I said, "Look how cute! All the yards in my neighborhood have tons of squirrels running around!" Now that is is NOT cute to me. Now I know that those squirrels pelt my dogs and me with the pecans they are ruining, they dig up most of my plants and flowers, they bury pecans in my yard and in the process make ugly little holes all over my yard. However, the difference between the squirrels and the raccoons is that the squirrels allow me to cook out and eat outside without completely taking over the party! They keep a more comfortable distance and I don't feel like they might attack me if I don't share my burger with them.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sweet Potato Fries

In the past year, this is my best food discovery. I had my first sweet potato fry at the West Village Burger. They are the reason I kept going back there because the burgers aren't that great, and the people who work their are almost always rude to me but the sweet potato fries trump all of that and keep me coming back.

Then last night I met my friend at Cafe Express and much to my delight (and I do NOT use the term "delight" loosely EVER), they had sweet potato fries.

The BEST place, though, to get the sweet potato fries is Cafe Lago, BY FAR. Perfect crispy-ness, lots of them, PLUS they are always accompanied by other great food! (And I am NOT just saying that because I play there on Friday nights!)

Sweet pototoes have loads of nutritional value. Yes, I know, fries are well...fried. But I still think they've got to be healthier than just the run of the mill standard french fry. And actually, who cares about that part of it anyway???

"Oh Lord I feel fine today...Walking on cloud nine today
It's strictly on account of my SWEET POTATO FRIES!"

Monday, August 21, 2006

What's It All About, Alfie?

Today I shared the waiting room at my endocrinologist's office with in older couple who looked to be in their 70's. I was killing time while I waited reading a book. But I was so distracted (in the best way) by this couple.

When they first came in, the woman asked her husband (of course, I'm just assuming this was her husband but I feel sure I'm right...) if he could help her put a band-aid on her elbow. "Well, yes ma'am!" he answered so sweetly. It was really just this simple exchange between the two of them, that for reasons I really don't understand, completely moved me to tears.

Maybe they reminded me of an older version of my own parents when I would go with Mom and Dad to Mom's doctor's appointments during her experience with cancer. I think I realized my parents never got to grow quite that old together...

Or maybe it was emotional to me simply because of the sweetness of growing old with someone that you love, and hoping that I get to experience that. I tend to look at aging as something to dread, but I am filled with hope when I see how good it can look, like it did in this couple today.

I realize my strong emotion of this very small event seems out of proportion. But even now as I write about it I feel very emotional again... I wonder what that is really all about?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Public Napping

Today I treated myself to a yoga class called "Restorative Yoga". I went into it knowing it was going to be gentle and relaxing but I had NO idea to what extent!!!

When we first walked into the class, we were told to grab 4 blankets, this huge pillow, a lavender-smelling bean bag for covering our eyes, 2 blocks, a belt, and a 10 pound sand pillow.

We basically used all of this equipment to make us extremely confortable during our 1 1/2 session of public napping. The instructor would tell us how to position ourselves and have us lay in each position for about 10 minutes.

I can remember when I use to take Yoga classes and I felt so antsy during the relaxation portion of the class. Apparently I've changed a lot since then. I really didn't feel antsy at all. I felt sort of like I do when I get a message. Almost asleep...but not quite. In fact, a few times I think I heard a little snore come out of me.

By the end of the class, I didn't even want to have to get in my car to drive home. I didn't want to ruin this vegged out feeling! It's funny how rare it is to just lay there and relax and do NOTHING. And to think that it's so good for us and necessary! So I will happily pay my $15 for this cozy public napping from time to time. What luxury!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Today I went to Northpark Mall so I could see the movie "Little Miss Sunshine". (Read my review in my "Reviews" section if ya wanna!!) The parking lot was PACKED. Once I got inside and saw the crowds of people and heard the music, I remembered that there was a "Model Search" going on up there today!

There was a catwalk type of thing set up and they were having a fashion show. I walked as fast as I could without it being called running to get there. There were so many people I couldn't really get close enough to see it anyway. But right as I got up there, it was OVER. Whaaa. Whaaa. What a disappointment.

I am so curious about the whole fascination with modeling. I don't consider myself shy, but I know that posing and having so many eyes on me would never be a good time for me. I have no problems getting my picture taken with people, BUT I realized a few months ago that having my picture taken alone is just akward. I had to have my picture taken for something (entering a modeling contest, which I lost, which is why I have such an aversion to the whole idea of this...just kidding!), and even though my friends were taking my picture I just felt so stupid. Afterwards I was thinking that might just be one of the worst jobs in the world for me.

So I would've just liked to have watched these young, aspiring models. I wonder if that's fun for them? Apparently, lots of people like to watch because there were tons of spectators. But what else are you going to do when it's on the 2nd solid week of over 100 degree temperatures?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Testing 1 2 3

This is a picture of Snowflake. I am just trying to figure out how to post pictures from iphoto so this is my test.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Non-Domesticated Family

My brother found some tiny kitties living down inside one of his outdoor flower pots. Unfortunately, the Mom Cat ran away as soon as he began watering his plant and the kitties were left behind.

So my brother, Brad, became the foster parent for these two kitties. He named them Salt and Pepper at first because we used to have bunnies when we were kids, one black/ one white...Just like these kitties. But soon, Salt became Snowflake, because it just fit her.

He called a vet to find out how to take care of these little babies. They figured since they had just barely opened their eyes, they were about a week old. They looked like little hamsters they were so teeny. Smaller then my hand! He brought them over to my house yesterday evening and together we fed them special milk out of a dropper.

These little kitties were just so helpless...We were falling in love with Snowflake and Pepper. We couldn't tell, but we decided Snowflake was a girl, and Pepper was a boy.

The vet had told my brother that the Mom Cat might not come back and if so, he'd need to feed them for a while until they got older and better able to fend for themselves.

Last night he put them back in the flower pot to see if the Mom Cat would return...and guess what? SHE DID!!! Not only that, today my brother saw not only the Mom Cat with the two babies, but the Tom Cat too! A happy little family of four! They hissed at him as he came near them. Little did they know, he had been Snowflake and Peppers foster parent for a day.

When he told me about seeing all 4 of them, my first thought was, "Oh good! I'm glad they have a dad around too!" Kids and kitties seem happier when both parents are around!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Keep That to Yourself!

Today I had to go to 3 different stores looking for a bubble-pack envelope. As I had to keep going from store to store I kept trying to console myself saying, "There is a reason for this. There's a reason I'm having to go to 3 stores to find such a basic item."

Well, I think I found my reason. Sometimes, to hear someone else ranting and being a total bitch is a good reminder to check in and make sure I'm acting like a decent person.

I heard a little kid making little high-pitched screaming/crying noises. And actually, I didn't even hear the kid until I heard this woman say to the Mom, "HOW DO YOU STAND TO LISTEN TO THAT NOISE AT HOME?" Either the Mom ignored her, or she just wasn't as equally loud as this woman and so I didn't hear her reply. But then I heard the lady ask again, "NO REALLY, HOW CAN YOU STAND TO PUT UP WITH THAT?"

The Mom said, "It doesn't bother me at all."


"Well, then you don't know what you're missing..."

Her ranting went on a little longer than that. I can't remember all the details but I do know that although the kid was screaming, the mean woman was the offensive one!

This lady sounded like someone who not only didn't like kids and puppies, but perhaps hated the world in general. I know she hurt that Mom's feelings and made her mad. The child was old enough to understand what the lady was saying, so if she was paying attention, her feelings may have been hurt as well.

From the looks of things, the lady seemed a little crazy. But even if you're crazy, is it okay to offer your mean unsolicited opinions? What was her intention I wonder?

After listening to that woman, I breathed a little sigh of relief... I may have been feeling a little cranky, but I was so glad I was no where NEAR what that lady must have been feeling to say such unkind things to a stranger. I was reminded lots of times, most of the time, okay NO,- ALL of the time, crankiness shouldn't be taken out on others!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New School Year

I used to be a teacher. I taught 1st and 2nd grade. Since I'm not a teacher now, I don't keep up with when it's out, and when it begins each year. But a friend mentioned today that one of our mutual friends who is a teacher goes "back to school" this week. WHEW. I can remember what the beginning of the school year felt like. I can remember from a student's perspective and a teacher's perspective, and for me anyway, they were very similiar.

I was always excited for a new school year. I had big aspirations of staying organized and on top of stuff. That never got past about the first 6 weeks though. But that's the cool thing about school- You've got lots of new beginnings- Lot's of time to make "resolutions".

I loved getting fresh new supplies. I loved getting back into the swing of things. I loved seeing who was going to be in my class each year. I loved going on the shopping spree Mom would take me on before school started each year.

And more than any of that, I love it, right now, that I am not as frantically busy as teachers are at the beginning of a school year. I'm am still in the middle of my summer! :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

This is Gross, But I Think You Should Know

I had the tv on this morning, and in the 5 minutes that I watched Tyra Banks I learned a fascinating as well as disgusting little factoid I'd like to share here today!

The show was on the topic of germs. I don't have a big problem with germs. I know tiny, microscopic bugs are crawling around EVERYWHERE and I'm okay with that because I know that's just the way of the world. Germs don't bug me. (I love saying that.)

OK, BUT...

I learned today that when you flush the toilet when poop is in it, tiny little pieces of poop go flying out everywhere and they spray all over everything in the bathroom. The doctor on the show said that it's much like fireworks!!! Yay!! Fun!!! So, if you leave your toothbrush out on your bathroom counter...STOP IT. Put it in the drawer. And close the lid on the toilet before you flush it!

Germs don't bug me, but poop on my toothbrush does.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Things That Make You Go HMMMM

I just started reading the most fascinating book. It's called "20/20 Thinking", and it's all about the brain and how to take care of it. It's one of those books that as I'm reading it, I keep making annoying noises like "Hmmm!" and "Whoa..." There was one little part I read last night called "39 Fascinating Facts About Your Brain". Here are a few the highlights. You just might make annoying noises as you read this as well, so be prepared.

*The brain weighs about 3 lbs., is about the size of a grapefruit, and is pinkish-gray.
*Brains have gotten bigger. Your brain weighs about 8 ounces more than your great grandmother's brain did.
*Even while you're asleep, 50 million nerve messages are being sent back and forth between the brain and various parts of the body, every second.
*The brain is the consistency of soft margarine. (ewww!)
*Your brain smells like blue cheese. (ewww..really, ewww!)
*Information only stays in your short-term memory for just a few minutes.
*By the time you're 8 years old, your long-term memory has stored more information than a million encyclopedias.
*At age 5, a child's brain is already 9/10 of its adult weight.
*By the age of 75, the weight of your brain will be reduced by 1/10 and the flow of blood through your brain reduced by nearly 1/5.

I'll stop there. That's quite enough for one sitting. Anyway, the brain is clearly an amazing thing. This book tells you supplements you need to intensify your concentration, ways to overcome forgetfullness (lay it on me!!!), mood-enhancing foods, and "much, much, more". I had eggs and blueberries for breakfast so I should be very, very smart today...

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

My Summer Vacation

I feel like I've just returned from a relaxing vacation. I'm slightly suffering from my post-vacation let down. Whaaa. The funny thing is, I didn't go on a trip. My neighbors did. Well, I guess I DID take a trip...A trip across the street!

My neighbors I don't really know all that well had a pool built just a few months ago. I hadn't even seen it. But about a week and a half ago, I ran into the "mom" of the family at Target while we were both grocery shopping. We said our neighborly hellos, and then she told me they were leaving for Florida the next day. I told her if she needed me to do anything while she was away, I'd be happy to. No, no, it was already taken care of. But then came the magic..."Feel free to come over anytime while we're gone and use our pool." And she said it like she really meant it.

Later that day, the "dad" of the family called me to reiterate the invitation to the pool. Then he asked me to come over so they could show me a few things. Ok, no problem. Let me help you!

So they showed me stuff. Like how beautiful the pool is. How sweet their dog is. Where the pool lights are. How the umbrella's work. They warned me that the dog would be swimming with me. Could I handle all this stuff?

Umm. Yeah. Pretty much. They told me they were leaving around 1 o'clock the next day. I was feeling right at home in their pool by about 3pm. Their dog, who is now known to me affectionately as Molly, swam with me, just like they said she would.

EVERYDAY they were away, I went over and laid around at their pool. I read my new favorite book while I was there: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I thought about how great life is. I napped. I jumped off the diving board when I got hot. I watched the butterflies hovering over the Lantana. I listened to the waterfall. Molly and I developed a real friendship. She was happy to have me there as company and I was more than happy to provide it!

I didn't want the other neighbors to see me as I walked over there each day. I liked having this little oasis all to myself...well, Molly and myself. Every now and then, the "daughter's" boyfriend came over to do his chores he was getting paid for...watering the plants, feeding Molly- I felt pretty stupid anytime I'd see him being it that I had never been to their house before, and now I had become a permanent fixture.

I took a couple of my friends over to show them how lovely "my pool" was. I talked about "my pool" incessantly whenever I was away from it.

So it was a sad day when I walked away from "my pool" for the last time. It was the perfect vacation for me. I'm already anticipated their next summer holiday so I can take my vacation again.