Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet My New Personal Trainer

There's a lot about my new fitness trainer that I like. He's got some coordination issues similar to mine and he seems to also prefer the path of least resistance. However, he didn't seem to have a warm up or wind down period. Other than that, I think he's got the routine. He is building "muscles in his shoulders so he will be strong". I haven't learned to say "weeeeeeee" as well as he does while working out, however. I'm too busy sweating and trying to stay vertical and it's hard for me to do more than one thing at a time - particularly on a piece of exercise equipment, stationary or not.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


You get a sack and put chocolate candy in it. Then you put it on someone's doorstep and light it on fire. Then you knock on the door and run. When they open the door, they see the fire and stomp on it and melted chocolate goes everywhere.

Thank you Tyler! May you always be so innocent! LY

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eyeball Soup with Cat's Claws and Witch's Warts

Chaos reigned supreme as the grandkids came and decorated spookie cookies. Everyone got fed soup with snakes on the side and witch's brew to drink. I think they had fun. When it was winding down, I actually laid on the floor and thought I could have them come and decorate Christmas cookies so it must not have been too bad.

Well, maybe not everyone was having a crazy time

The finished products:

After the cookie mess was over, I was amazed to see little boys so excited to chase each other with Eeyore purses slung over their shoulders! They were screaming like girls, though, so I guess it all fit. Nate even got into the melee and allowed himself to be tormented which is pretty well a first. We missed Joe and his family (they're deer hunting) but I'm sure we'll catch them another time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1 Picture = 1,000 Words

I was so jealous of Betty getting to keep the Smart Card the day we went into Chicago. I couldn't sleep. I had trouble eating (ha, ha). I wandered around wringing my hands wondering how I could convince her to give it to me. Finally, on Monday, my last day in Illinois, I was forced to come to the realization she was not going to give up her Smart Card. I proceeded to concoct a plan whereby I could coerce my sis into making a special trip back to the Barrington Train Station so I could get my very own Smart Card. My plan worked and I felt immediate relief. Especially since I ended up so much smarter than her: My $20 Smart Card cost me $21. Betty's only cost her $20. I immediately put my card in a secure place in my purse so I could totally absorb the full effect of it later. I felt empowered as I left the train station, knowing I would soon be smart in two states, Illinois and Utah!!

And then it was home. I decided next year I will select one of the seats by the emergency exits. They have lots of leg room and overhead storage space. Besides, who would know if I got the emergency door opened and slid down the chute first without helping everyone else? The television cameras usually aren't on scene that fast and it would hopefully take anyone still alive longer than that to locate their cell phones and turn them on. Anyway, that's the plan at this point.

My life was waiting for me, too. The escalator had barely started its descent when I recognized his shoes. I'll have to think about that for awhile. It was the same feeling I had when I finally saw Betty and Allen at O'Hare. Relief mixed with happiness mixed with comfort tied together with a lot of gratitude for someone ready and willing to rescue me from blending into anonymity. I wonder if there will be the same proportion of strangers to friendly faces in heaven as there was at the airport? I hope the numbers will lean more towards friendly ones. Are there gates and escalators in heaven? Security? Let's hope I've packed my bags more efficiently by then and hopefully not all my baggage will catch up with me!!!! I could ramble for quite awhile on this but I think I'll quit now. It's good to be home. I'm stinking excited to go back.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Layman's Theory of the Suitcase

  1. The efficiency in which one can pack one's suitcase for a short trip is a direct indication of how efficiently one uses one's time in one's own life.  

  2. The way one's suitcase looks after living out of it during said short trip is in direct correlation to how one left one's house before said short trip. 

  3. The closeness to which one can repack one's suitcase after said short trip is directly proportionate to one's ability to merge seamlessly back into reality after returning from said short trip. 

  4. The percentage of items hanging out of one's suitcase or stuck in the zipper of one's suitcase after finally getting it closed is equal to or less than the number of items in one's life still hanging out there undone, waiting upon one's return. 

  5. The weight of one's suitcase after repacking to return after said short trip is equal to or less than the weight one gained on said short trip.  

If any of the above-mentioned theorems can be proved true through either mathematical or practical methods, I am in deep doo-doo. Not just up to the tongue of my shoe deep doo-doo but, at the very minimum, mid-calf deep doo-doo. Not like any of it would be any great surprise, though.

I went with Betty and Allen to my niece's house and had dinner with her and my two nephews and their families. Oh, my! Amazing to see how their children each have characteristics of them when they were little and playing with my kids. Or rather my kids were bugging them. Rich brought me some pictures he had taken that contained members of my family from 1981. I thought I was going to cry! I now can honestly say I have an angelic picture of Nathan! And there's a picture of him in front of my orange VW Beetle. I loved that car. Anyway, I had a ball watching all their kids play together and pick on their grandpa. Thanks for the fun time!

I guess it's home tomorrow. And then the countdown begins . . .

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Annual Chicago Shopping Spree!

Yup. We've decided to try and make this an annual event. Which means that the first one has been a riot!

Today, Betty and I conquered not only the train but also downtown Chicago! We are woman, hear us roar! We bought a "Smart Card" and boy was it worth its weight in feathers! We were smarter from the get-go only not everyone around us realized it. Had they been aware of the smartness they were sitting around, they would have gleaned all they could from us. As it was, we just had to revel in it ourselves.

We also got more than our fair share of exercise in because we lost the caramel popcorn store we had smelled when our expedition first began. Between Betty's OCD and my just plain directional stupidity, we did relocate it. Third time around. I was assured this delicious, third-generation recipe caramel popcorn would last until I got home but there were no specifics as to whether that was in the bag or on my thighs. I give you one guess . . .

We found killer deals at Macy's, too. Lots of their stuff was 50% off. This is one bargain neither one of us could pass up! I have such a purse fetish anyway. Who wouldn't expect me to come home with a new one? And bigger. Forget the fact that I'm flying on a very small plane!

Check out the sale price on this can't-live-without-it bag:

Yes, folks, a mere $214.00 for this purse. Sale prices are marked. Now that Alan has fallen off his chair in shock and total disbelief (ha, ha), I want you to know I resisted the impulse to snatch up two of these money-saving deals (if something is half price, it's only reasonable to buy two of them). I maintained my country-bumpkin dignity.

And, dang it, I forgot to take a picture of this so you'll just have to take my word for it, (sit down - it will be difficult) but please believe me when I say I really did go to not just one, but two different WalMart's. Shocking, I know.

And, highlight of highlights, you can buy Max in a six-pack of 24-oz bottles here. When I saw them at the store, I just stood there and caressed a pack. Then I noticed a lady was trying to get around me. Betty apologized for me and the lady actually acknowledged that it was fine, she had recognized the special moment for what it was and was more than willing to treat it with respectable reverence. Could I have been that obvious??????

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Did You Know. . .

Mary Traverse died a couple of weeks ago. She was the 'Mary' in 'Peter, Paul & Mary'. I mention that now, not only because I like - love - Peter, Paul & Mary, but because I got to act out one of the songs they sang so harmoniously - Leaving on a Jet Plane.

Yup, I did it, left on a jet plane. I think it was a jet. It was certainly smaller than I expected. My first clue regarding its size was when they announced from the boarding gate that any carry-ons larger than a duffle bag would need to be "Pink Tagged" and left in the JetWay. The plane was too small to store any of the larger carry-ons. Which, by the way, they'd said nothing at all about on the website and during all the confirming and reminding and such. All "Pink Tagged" bags would be waiting in the JetWay at O'Hare to be picked up. I had a quick little vision of a scene from Bewitched or Star Trek where something was there one minute and in some other planetary system the next. However they did it, though, it worked.

My second clue as to the size of the plane was when we started actually boarding. The door was tiny. I seriously did a double take before reaching it. I wasn't sure I could do it. Then I convinced myself it was only a door and doors open up into much larger spaces. Hmmm. Not always that much bigger. Any flight attendant working on this airplane would have to weigh less than 100 lbs and have no body in her hair whatsoever. My seat # was 20D. May I just tell you now, there were only 20 rows of seats and, of course, 'D' was against the wall. Not window - wall. I'm pretty sure seat 20D is situated directly over one of the two GE Turbo Engines that help keep the plane in the air (I read the little info card situated directly behind my barf bag in the seat pocket in front of me). I tried not to think about emergency landings, crash landings, storage compartment doors flying open and duffle bags flying out, engines catching fire or me being trapped here in this corner flailing my arms wildly while biting, scratching and screaming my way out from underneath it all. I guess maybe smaller planes don't have the smoothest rides, either, because it was pretty bumpy. But. . . I made it!!!!!!

I stepped off the plane into the JetWay, found my "Pink Tagged" carry-on had been beamed to Chicago just like they said it would be and then walked down the corridor into a new world. I just stood there. Going from a claustrophobic position to more space than I knew what to do with was a little overwhelming. Talk about Country Rat visits City Mouse! All that aside, I had to go to the bathroom. No way was I going to see how small the lavatory facilities were on that little plane! I figured it was best to go now while I was still somewhat lost and disoriented.

Well, that was the best decision I have ever made! They have the coolest toilets! It perked me right up to the point I had to take a picture. You pass your hand over a sensor and the plastic cover on the toilet seat rotates to place a clean seat cover for you. Of course my dear sweet Amber had to question as to whether or not it was actually a 'clean' one or they were just rotating through the same ones. I have to believe it was a clean one. Sometimes you just have to take things on faith! I guess I should have actually taken a video of it as it rotated. Oh, well, take my word for it.

Anyway, I'm here. Betty and Allen were waiting for me, just as they said they would be - with smiles but no signs (and no guns). And I have my own room with a basket of chocolate and other yummy stuff and Max in the fridge. What can I say???

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not Just Greener . . . Bigger . . . on the Other Side of the Fence.

About a week ago some family members, including grandkids, and I were out picking garden stuff. I will try not to use identifying names in order to protect the guilty. Off and on there have been two large labs that visit our house. One is  black and one is white. They're big but they're friendly. When I try and shoo them off, they come and lick my hand or roll over so I can rub their belly. On this particular day they happened to be cavorting around the neighborhood when they evidently heard noises from the backyard and thought they were invited to join the fun. However, one of the 'generic' grandkids is extremely afraid of dogs. Except it's a fear that's not that cut and dried.

He's brave when it's on his terms - like when the animal in question is considerably smaller than him or when there's a fence between them or lots of adults around he can turn to for protection. For instance, he's quite proud of himself for becoming friendly with the horses that are pasteured in the lot next to our house. He'll throw a leaf or two over to them to eat or gently pet their nose when they stick their head over the fence to eat our grass.

So, anyway, we're all in the garden, black and white labs join us - totally surprising him. He was caught between the garden and the fence and saw his only escape route to be jumping over the fence. Which he did. His peace for escaping the dogs was short lived as he no sooner got on the other side of the fence than one of the horses thought someone had come to either play with him or feed him. The horse came trotting towards him. That's when I hear the total meltdown.

Have you ever heard a meltdown? The sound of it is about as uniquely identifying as the mushroom shape after the bomb. I didn't get to see the feat that went with the sound, but according to his mom, he didn't climb back over the fence, he didn't jump back over the fence, he "threw himself back over the fence".

I've been thinking about this incident a lot the last few days. I can't help but wonder how many times I throw myself out of the way of something I see coming that I'm not ready for or willing to deal with at the time. I make a choice to detour instead of facing it head on. And how many of those 'detour' times, do I find something worse waiting in the wings? I can't express my gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who allows me the otherwise impossible option of being able to jump back over the fence or 'throw myself back over the fence', returning to a much safer place.

I had to talk till I was blue in the face to convince my grandson that I wasn't laughing 'at' his fears, just at what it looked like when he chose to react the way he did. He finally cracked a smile. I wonder if I were sitting off on the sidelines watching myself if I'd be doubled over in laughter, too. Are my 'detour' choices, and the antics involved in surviving their consequences, as comical as his were? It's definitely given me a new visual to consider when facing some situations.

Ramble, ramble, ramble, blah, blah, blah.