Saturday, December 31, 2011

If I win a whimsy:

This is what I'd like.

Isn't it beautiful?  I speaks to me. 

What I Made Today: Win a Happy 2012 Whimsy!

What I Made Today: Win a Happy 2012 Whimsy!

This is a great way to start the year... or any day.

New Year's Eve

Oh look: it's New Year's Eve.  Has this been a year or what?

I continue with the ragged tradition of setting out goals or intentions for my year.  I also continue with my ragged tradition of keeping them in the back of my mind and not sweating them too much.

Last year, I lost 20 lbs.  I'd like to say it was from healthy eating and exercise, and maybe the healthier eating was a big part of it.  However, I am eating better food because I don't have much of an appetite.  The doctors are checking me out, and I've given them strict instructions not to cure me until I lose 20 more lbs.

And so, number 1:  Lose 20 lbs.  Continue to eat good food:  rainbows of fruits and veggies, whole grains, light white proteins... Continue to Eat the Angel Way, even more.  I also intend to exercise the Angel way this year... move my body in ways that make me happy, stronger, more flexible, and more energetic.

Number 2:  Become financially independent.  Bob and I are writing a budget (although I haven't told him that yet.)  We are going to stop wasting money on things that aren't important.  I am going to SIMPLIFY.

Which leads to Number 3:  Simplify my house.  Purge, recycle, donate... why do I need three can openers?  Because I couldn't find one and bought another.  You can see how this ties to number 2.

Number 4:  Continue on my spiritual journey to the center of my soul.  That was supposed to sound poetic, but I think it sounded sort of pompous.  (Number 4.5: sound less pompous.)  What I mean is that I want to find out what I'm supposed to do with my life.  I'm 51.  It's time to get serious.  Sort of.

Well, here they are, written out in fine pompous words.  It's up to me now...


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Happiness

I have missed a couple of days on my happiness project.  It's not that I didn't have many things to make me happy, it's that one of those things was oxycodone/acetaminophen that I was prescribed after my gall bladder surgery.  And my motto is "Friends don't let friends blog drunk" or stoned or under the influence of too much caffeine.

Monday, we arrived at 5:15 am to prepare for my surgery.  The intake folk at Palmetto Baptist were wonderful, professional, efficient and friendly without being irritating.  Not one asked me "how are we feeling this morning?"  My doctor did ask if I was ready, which made me wonder what would happen if I said no.

I went home and my darling husband took care of me all day.  OK, he gave me drugs and hogged the TV remote, but he's still a peach.

Good drugs, good insurance and excellent heath care.   Gotta make you smile.  And be grateful, because I know I am fortunate to have all of this.

Tuesday, I felt a little bit yuckier, but not terrible.  I took drugs and slept between writing and knitting.  I am knitting something, and am proud of myself because I've never succeeded in knitting more than a small triangle.  

Today is Thanksgiving; the day we set aside for gratitude.  When asked what I am grateful for, I always say "family and friends, home and hearth," because those are the basics.  I don't want to leave them off, ever, because I am blessed to be able to take them for granted.

I am also thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life who make me laugh, give me hugs, help me think.

I am thankful for my children and grandchildren, and I pray that they will all find the way God wants them to go.  Soon.  Not that I'm rushin'...

I am thankful for my friends, virtual and real.  I am thankful for love without judgement or limits. 

I am thankful for things that are happening in my life, my heart, and my mind; and for the people who are helping me on the way.

I am thankful for so much, I think I'll stop.  Thank you thank you thank you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday morning

Friday, Bob and I went to Brookgreen Gardens on our way home from Myrtle Beach.  Brookgreen Gardens was the home of the Huntingtons and houses the wonderful sculptures by Anna Hyatt Huntington and other marvelous sculptures they collected.

It is a garden, and even in the winter, it has lots of happiness potential.

There are berries and camellias all winter long.  There were even some roses and sage flowers of some sort.  And pansies, of course.  It wouldn't be winter without plantings of pansies.

The sculpture and the trees are beautiful.

Diana and her hound... she's here a lot.
We had a lovely lunch in the middle of the garden in the old kitchen building.  I ate a vegetable wrap with dill sauce and iced peach tea. 

It was an afternoon full of happiness and appreciation for the joys of life... big and small.  The small being, I was able to walk around the garden for three hours without too much twitching from my twitchy hip.

Yesterday, Saturday, I read alone most of the day.  I took a warm bubble bath and read some more.  The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordon.  I'm almost finished, then I'll give it back to Mark.

Gabe and Brendon spent the night... and now we are getting ready for church.  I guess I'd better help...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Red sky at night/ red sky in the morning... mixed messages


Last night there was a beautiful coral sunset over the ocean.  I'll put in the picture when I can download it.  Of course, the picture can only represent the vision --- you'll have to imagine the smell of salt and winter in the air, the cold embracing the city.  Since I'm in SC, I welcome cold.  I know some of y'all have already had enough.  This morning there was a crimson sunrise.  Beautiful, but what?  Red sky delight or warning?  Oh well.  We'll see.  Still stunning.

I love the beach in the winter.

I enjoyed the seminar yesterday.  PTI tax has interesting amusing speakers who don't cross the line into silly or (heaven forbid) political.  Taxes are what they are.  Congress makes a new mess every year, and every time they "simplify" taxes, we get new clients.  That's not political, that's life.

I love good continuing education seminars.

In my continuing farewell to my gallbladder tour, I had a wonderful fried seafood dinner at Drunken Jack's in Murrells Inlet.  Bob, Bruce, and I went down there last night.  It was too dark to see the inlet, but you can just feel the water, can't you?  They also had yummy sounding not fried food, but that wouldn't be a farewell to my gallbladder, would it?

I love good seafood at the inlet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good news/bad news

The good news bad news is that I am in Myrtle Beach in an ocean front hotel getting ready to go downstairs for another tax seminar.

Yesterday's blisses were pretty easy to find, I'll just have to narrow it down.

I rode down to Myrtle Beach with Bob.  That alone helped me relax enough to be an not unpleasant person this morning.  The weather was great on the ride down.

Once we got here, the fog rolled in.  I couldn't see anything from the balcony but fog, and I could hear the waves thundering beneath it.  Very very cool.  It was even cooler when a thunderstorm hit later in the evening.  We could see the rain dancing over the ocean.  Bob said it was like watching ghosts.  We slept with the balcony door open, listening to the wind and the surf.

We went to Outback for dinner.  It was close and I decided to eat a blooming onion as a farewell gesture to my gallbladder, which is leaving me on Monday. 

The color of the day is gray, but I kind of like that. 

On to tax education!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stretching for Happiness

Yesterday was a day.

A day that makes me stretch to find the happy places.  But they are there.  Sort of.

First, I went to an orthopedist about my supposedly herniated disks and arthritic hip.  He poo-pooed them both, having seen much worse.  The fact that he himself is getting his knee replaced may have lowered his sympathy level. 

That is ok, because I don't want a hip replacement or back surgery or any of those horrible things.  I want to be able to sleep through the night, sit on the floor, and let my grandkids and lovely niece sit on my lap without me screaming.

And, I have high hopes, because he is sending me to a physical therapist.  YEAH!!!!  I hope he does massages and gives me exercises that will make me feel better.

Happy moment number one.

I probably shouldn't mention that I left the office, went the wrong way, got lost & found, took the elevator the wrong way, made it to my office and walked into the office... wait that's my second story.

I'm in my office about 10 minutes when Gina gets in from her class. 

"Your car sounds funny."

"I noticed it was making a weird noise when I got out."

"Really, how long ago?"

Moment of enlightenment.

I run hobble outside.... yep.  I left my car running.  And thought, I wonder why it's making that sound, like it's still running...

At least I didn't lock the door.

Why is this happy moment number 2?  Well, it made us laugh for the rest of the day, and we have a new catch phrase:  "I know this may seem dumb... well not as dumb as leaving your car running..."

Number three.  Number three.

I'm going to have to go with the weather again.  Bee-you-tee-full.  I'll take it as long as I can get it.

I guess that's the point, huh?  Find happiness where you can and embrace it.  Not too hard or it might break...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

South Carolina Fall

Spring in South Carolina is one of my favorite days, but I have to say that autumn is the very best.

Yesterday was one of the fine days of Autumn... 78 degrees, sunny, with a mild breeze.  The leaves that change are glorious: yellow maples and crepe myrtles, red maples and dogwoods, orange oak;, all blazing out among the still very green pine trees.

The air seems as if God has set the thermostat for the perfect temperature.  As the wind brushes my very light-weight sweater, I feel no temperature to notice.  It's not hot; it's not cold.  It's just right.

And that is one thing that made me very happy yesterday.

When I got home, I took Mark to Gamestop so that he could fix the arrangements for a game he has preordered.  When I first went to Gamestop, or any shop like that, I just sat back and let my kids speak the gaming language.  Now, I'm a tiny bit more comfortable, but I still love to see my 13 years old walk up to the store manager and start talking about games, system requirements, and whatever.   The people who work at these stores are gamers.  That's great for the kids customers and for parents, uncles, grandmothers, etc who go into the store and say, "Um my grandson plays some game that seems to involve a blue... animal..."  With a few questions, the folks at Gamestop figure out what you mean, find out what the game system is, and send you on your way.  Maybe I've been lucky, but I've had great help at several stores.  We usually go to the one on Two Notch (Columbia), but I've had help at others.

And that, believe it or not, is number two.  A trip to Gamestop.

Number three also involves shopping.  I went to Bi-Lo with Bob and Mark.  We each had a little basket and we picked up a few things for dinner.  I got American Grain bread and feta cheese spread, fresh pasta, an apple and a pear.  Mark and Bob got other stuff.  We all ate whatever we wanted when we got home.  Did I mention that my stove needs a new motherboard?  Anyway, it was a pleasant trip and I am very much into bread and cheese these days.

Number three: a trip to Bi-Lo where we didn't kill each other.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I read that people who sit down and write about things that made them happy during the day are happier people.  I think it's three things and they can be things that were just bits of joy, things you did that made you feel accomplished, things that helped someone else.

I think I will try this, especially since I tend to freak out during the holiday season, which leads quickly to tax season, which leads to melt downs, night terrors and loss of patience at home.

Since it's 7:28 am EST, I'll think about yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I told the story of Joseph in Egypt to the combined Sunday school classes at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.  The children ranged in age from 7 to 13 (since my grandchidlren weren't there) and they all listened well and talked about what was important to them in the story afterwards.  It was terrifying but very cool.  They are wonderful kids.

I had a conversation with Mark, who is 13, and Joseph, who is 22.  It doesn't matter what we talked about --- they are my sons and it's always a wonderful thing to have a real conversation.

I spent a good bit of the day reading in bed with my husband Bob.  We were both a little under the weather, and the closeness was a comfort.

Right now, for today, I am about to have a great (I hope) cup of coffee.  That's a great start.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Where did the time go?

It's been four months since my last post on this blog.  Where did the time go?

Part of it went to (sort of) taking part in the Blogblast4peace countdown at The Matriarch's Corner, another of my blogs. 
Part of it went to Gardens of Time and Sims Social of Facebook. 
Part of it went to catching up at work after a fairly disastrous beginning of the year. 
Part of it went to working on the board at Carolina School for Inquiry, a child-centered inquiry-based multi-aged public charter school in Columbia, SC.
Part of it went to reading and taking classes at St. Michael & All Angel's Episcopal Church.
Part of it went to my family and their needs and wants and whatevers.
Part of it went to myself: falling apart at 51 & trying to sew myself back together.

I should make a pie chart...


So now it is November 4.  I have thought a whole lot about peace in the last three months and I think it's helped me find some personal peace.  The dreaded holiday-with-family-drama season has begun and I'm not freaking too much.

OK, I did schedule gallbladder surgery for November 21, and that might interfere with Thanksgiving a little.  I'll still be able to go to the dinners (one Thursday and one Friday), but if I need to leave early, everyone will understand.  No dramatic, "I can't believe you just said that!" but more of a "I think I'm going to puke, see ya later."

This is really really going to be a hard candy Christmas.  My son and daughter-in-law and their three children may be homeless in January, although they are taking steps to find a place with another couple (bless their hearts).  My husband and I have a house and are making enough to get by, mostly, but there won't be a lot of stuff under the Christmas tree.

There will be a tree, though, and I think we'll try to observe Advent more meaningfully this year.  We will go and look at light displays (the more color and plastic reindeer, the better).  We will make and eat cookies if my range gets the new mother board it needs.  (I am not kidding.  The damn stove has a mother board.  You'd think it would cook for me, or at least make some suggestions...)

Anyway, this season from Thanksgiving to New Years Day is about family and community not about money. 

And as our parents get older, we wonder if we'll be able to have these same damn arguments every damn year for very much longer.  I know that since my Mom died five years ago, I actually miss her yelling "Use the ricer!  It works better!"  every time I made my cardiac mashed potatoes (with the beater... "remember when Kathy broke the beater making mashed potatoes?")  Well, not really, because her voice is still in my head.

And as our children get older, to that in-between age where there are no toys for them and they'd rather go naked than wear the clothes we bought even if we bought them in the cool store... ("Yesterday, Mom, it was cool yesterday..."), we wonder how much longer we'll be able to lay claim to first place in their hearts.

Then the children who have another in first place, a wife or husband and children of their own, will come by briefly as they go to visit other relatives and other friends.  The hugs and candy-cane kisses make every Christmas bright, no matter what day or for how long.

I wonder if I can enjoy this season this year.  Put aside the annoyances.  Forget the to do list.  Avoid the Martha Stewart magazine.  Just eat candy canes and hug people I love.

I wonder...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

There is supposed to be a picture here.  Oh well.  I'll work on it later.

In 1890, one of my great grandmothers got off of this ship in New York City.  There was no Ellis Island for her to go through.  She was met by a porter named Mr. Murphy, who was reportedly "the blackest Irishman she had ever seen."  She came alone, a young woman from Ireland looking for a place to live her life.  She moved to Charleston, SC, where she found a job as a maid.  The family story (for what it's worth) is that she changed her name from Bridget to Annie because people made fun of Irish maids named Bridget.

In 1894, another of my great grandmothers traveled from a very small town on Prince Edward Island to another small town called Stow, Massachusetts.  She too was a young woman looking to make a life for herself.  Her brother in law, a minister in Canada, arranged for work in the US for young, unmarried women.  She worked as a maid in the house of a widower with a small child.  She later became a bookkeeper.

I'm not sure what they thought their lives would be like in the United States.  I know they expected to work hard, and they did.  I suppose they expected to make friends, and I think they did.  Both women worked for several years before eventually marrying and having children.  Their children gave birth to my parents, and for that I am greatful.

When they came to the United States, they came for economic opportunity, although it's unlikely either of them used those words.  They came to work.   Blanche Eleanor may or may not have felt welcome among the descendants of Puritans, but I don't know. She brought the quiet strength of a people who had been chased out of France, Germany, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe, brought to Prince Edward Island as Foreign Protestants to settle an English land few Englishmen wanted to colonize.   And although people made fun of Irish maids named Bridget and there would have been plenty of signs saying "NINA" --- no Irish need apply, it seems that Annie found her place in the thriving Catholic community in Charleston.

Whatever they felt when they arrived, they stayed and strived and, if I do say so myself, made wonderful contributions to this wonderful country.

Thank God for America, and Thank God for our Immigrant Ancestors.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Morning Pages

With eight days left in tax season (not counting Sundays which are feast days), I am having trouble focusing on what needs to be done now and spending time thinking about what I want to do after tax season.

For once, my son's spring break is after tax season.  We are taking a family trip the weekend after Easter, so we won't go out of town for spring break.  We have a long to do list --- chores, school work, chores; but we are including day trips to fun places.  The zoo, the State Museum, the Congaree Swamp, the book store...

I am very itchy right now.  I have a lot of work to do between now and April 18, including tax returns for FRIENDS who ALWAYS wait until the last minute (you know who you are) and payroll deposits and reports for everyone.  I want to go shopping for cute Easter stuff.  I want to plant some stuff.  I want to read a book that was not published by the Internal Revenue Service.

Oh well.  I'll make it, I have so far.  But then what?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who has the time?

A good friend said that she didn't understand bloggers.  She thought they must be the biggest bunch of narcissists in the universe.  I had to confess that I have three theoretically active blogs.  She looked at me and she said, "how do you have the time to do that?"

The answer is "I don't."  And you can see that by the sparseness of my blog entries.  I also don't have the commitment to writing everyday, no matter what.  I wish that meant that when I do write it's interesting and relevant, but we all know that's not true.  So why do I blog?  (Other than the narcissism thing.)

Well, I need to write.  I often write junk, whiny stuff, silly stuff, but I need to put the words that float through my brain on paper... or computer. 

"So why not write in a journal?"  she asks.  Excellent question.

I do.  I have lots of journals.  Some are spiral notebooks, some have pretty pictures, one is a large fake leather bound tome that I meant to make into a multi-media journal until I realized I'm a one trick pony.  I write.  Just the other day I picked up an old journal and started reading through it.

"This time I really will lose weight..." I wrote, over and over again.  I did notice that I've been having headaches and backaches for a couple of years now.  I don't know why I always think of that as a new thing...

When I write in a journal, I know I am writing to no one.  I don't even read it again, really.  Sometimes that is great.  Sometimes it's self-destructive rather than positive.  Sometimes it's just plain boring.

When I write on line, I know that someone might read it.  It might be someone I know, in which case I don't want to say anything to hurt any ones feelings or cause someone to sue me.  If I were really narcissistic I wouldn't mind getting sued because then people might find my blog... which is not a bad i...

That was scary.  Where do these things come from?

It is more likely that someone I don't know will read the blog.  And in that case, I'd like my whining to be universal, or at least galaxial.  I want to make sense to someone who is not me. 

When I write in the blog, I don't do a lot of editing (shocking, huh?) but I self-edit (also shocking).  It makes me think and not just react.  I have to put things down in a logical way, and that helps me think more logically.  I have to express ideas and options and other viewpoints, which makes me explore ideas and options and other viewpoints.

So when do I find the time to blog?  When I have to.  When do I find the time to read the blogs I follow?  When I need to.  And why do I blog?  I'm a narcissist, of course.  A whiny one at that.

Peace to you all & thank you for feeding my addiction.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thinking some more about eating styles

I've done a little looking around to see what other people think about your Myers-Briggs type and your approach to food, and it's been interesting.  Like any trip around the Internet, it had its highs and lows and a bunch of irrelevant side trips, but what the heck.  The journey is interesting.

In order to do that justice, I'll need to organize my thoughts and make links and stuff, and I don't really have time right now.  So instead, I'll babble about Introverts and Extroverts.  Or mostly Introverts, because I don't know much about Extroverts.  Not that that will stop me from speculating...

So this is what came from a conversation with an Introvert.  Introverts get energy from being alone.  My theory is that if introverts are around people for too long and don't get their "me" time, they might over eat to get energy somewhere else.  My I friend pointed out that he doesn't like to eat with other people.  That whole breaking bread community thing is an anathema to him.  (Word of the day)  And so, he isn't going to over eat in front of other people.

Now, think about this:  he is at a conference and around people all day and is low on energy.  He doesn't eat much if anything at the banquet lunch.  His energy is low.  What does he do?  Well, I would be eating Snickers bars all day, scarfing them in the corner when I got a chance to be alone.  And when I went home I'd probably eat cheese with potatoes and cheese.  And then I'd go to sleep.

And what about Extroverts?

I can see a couple of possibilities.  Say that an Extrovert is also at this conference.  She is getting lots of energy from the people around her.  She might forget to eat food, because she is so caught up in the flow of energy.  She might over eat to make the togetherness last (I'm picturing the never-ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden.) 

I also wonder if Extroverts eat more when they are alone because they are low on energy and feeling lonely?

I wonder how the other factors affect this.  An ESTJ might plan the meals, knowing she wouldn't eat unless she thought about it.  And INFP might eat in public because she didn't want to hurt any one's feelings.  And INTP might pack fruit so he wouldn't eat the candy on all of the tables.

I guess I'll keep thinking about this...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eating and personality styles

I am taking a class at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church about Life Gifts... life gifts, spiritual gifts, personality, values; and how to use them for God and community and ourselves.  Last Sunday, we talked about the Myers-Briggs scale.  In the past, I've thought that I was INTP --- introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving.  That means I get energy from being alone, I am a big picture information gatherer, I use logic and reason over feelings, and I like it loose and easy in the scheduling department.  I have recently decided that while I do value reason and logic, I usually go with Feeling.  I want everyone to be happy and get along, and work to make that happen.  Sometimes, especially if I'm around a whole lot of Fs, I have to channel the T and say "OK, that's enough whining, 'getting your feelings hurt' is not covered by worker's compensation."

Yesterday, when I was writing on my eating blog about how I came to Eating the Angel Way, I wrote that I used to eat to make others happy.  OK, I still do sometimes.  I was in line at a covered-dish lunch and the lady next to me said, "I made the beet and Brussel sprouts casserole."  So, of course, I put some on my plate.  Also, I'll take the food that no one else has tried yet, because I don't want the cook to be hurt.  Although I draw the line at fried chicken (WHAT?  EVERYONE LOVES FRIED CHICKEN!  WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU?)  I've eaten sausage biscuits I didn't want because someone offered it to me, donuts, cake, hamburgers... you name it (except fried chicken).  Why is that?  Because I'm an F!  I eat like an F!

Is that cool or what?

Which made me think of some other things about food and eating and personality styles.

For instance, as an NP, I love Eating the Angel Way, except the food diary.  I wonder how a Sensing, Judging person (who would want an orderly, step-by-step process) would deal with ETAW?  Oh wait, I've seen it.  They keep the food diary religiously, then put their colors of food in a chart (I do love me some excel) and then plan how to eat a rainbow and white light food every day. 

Is that cool or what?

I wonder how other traits affect the way we eat? 

I eat more when I have to be around people and don't get my quiet time.  If I don't get my solo-energy boost, I have to get it from food.  Preferably cheesy mashed potatoes.  I wonder if Extroverts eat more if they are stuck by themselves?

I bet somebody has thought of this.  I think I'll use my LifeGift of research and check it out.  I'll let you know what I find.

Eat well, drink water, keep your feet warm.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Waking up

It has been two months since I blogged (can that be right?) and I'm going into a full-blown tax season rant.

Yesterday sucked.  Not because it was Valentine's Day & I didn't feel the love.  In fact, it was my dear husband deciding to take me (and Mark) for a romantic dinner for three that salvaged the day at all.  I had called to whine vent, and he said, "Let's go out tonight."

Yesterday sucked because it was Monday and I wasn't feeling great this weekend.  I didn't work on Saturday, so I knew I'd have the pile of everything with indecipherable notes on my desk.  I was right, and it took about and hour to sort through that before I got to the basic Monday crap.  But that isn't when the day started to suck.

It started when I took 45 minutes out of my getting ready for work time to write an email to my representative supporting the charter school bill in the SC House.  I couldn't just write "I support it," because I think it's complicated and important that I explain that charter schools are a part of the solution and not the end of public schools.  And so I wrote a well-thought out e-mail... ok, not the best, but better than average, and I sent it through the SC Legislature on-line website, and....

I got an automated message saying he doesn't read the e-mails but his constituents should call him at a phone number.  Where I would have two minutes to give my well thought out opinion, which would undoubtedly be ignored as well.  

And that made me mad all day, over and over, again.  I voted for that arrogant SOB in the primary and the general election (although I'm not sure he had opposition).  Which also makes me feel mad and powerless and frustrated.  Because what does he care if I vote for him?  He's supported by a narrow group of people who control enough votes in the single member district that he doesn't need to read e-mails or take phone calls. 

And that is what put the dark shadow on my day and made me feel miserable, helpless, and frustrated all damn day.

And today, if I let it.  But I think I'll drink another cup of coffee and read some blogs and not let this bother me today.