Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Universal-His Way

Today I picked up Zander from daycare and we went to Universal.  I knew we could only stay a short while because we had to get back to town for dinner and Vacation Bible School.  As an adult, when I go to a theme park I am always thinking about how I can get the most done in the short amount of time that I have. When Marty and I go we do the same, we do the most popular rides first, then gravitate towards the others and try to cram in as much as we can.

Well that is the adult way or at least my way- but Zander, as a kid, has a lot more on his mind when going to Universal. He’s almost four now and has his own ideas about what is fun!

First-the escalators and people movers.  Zander loves them.  Getting on and off is very exciting.  Then when you’re on it he just loves standing in one spot and enjoying the ride. I suggested on the people mover that we walk to go faster but no-he liked putting his arms out to keep me in one place better.
Next great thing to escalators and people movers- stone walls and metal railings.  They are great fun. He climbs on them, walks along them, and studies where they are connected.  One line was about twenty minutes long and the other two about thirty but he did not complain about the lines-he was too busy exploring. 
Zander also loves music.  Most places in Seuss Landing have very catchy music.  He is always swaying or bopping to it.  Sometimes I do not even hear the music until I see him in time with it-then I hear it.
Zander is also good about recognizing distance.  He loves to say, ‘look how high we are' or 'we are going to go way up there'.  He will say many times, 'we are getting so close' even though we have only moved a foot.
He also believes in taking breaks.  I learned this walking to the car when he told me, ‘Mimi-I need a break’. So we did- an ice cream break.  He also picked a couple spots for photo shots.  He stopped and said ‘take a picture of me’-of course I obliged.


When it was time to go, we had a long walk to the car.  So we took turns.  I carried him a bit, and then he walked.  We were both exhausted and happy to see that people mover again.  This time I did not even suggest we walk- I just enjoyed the ride. We got to the car, got some fresh water and within five minutes, he was asleep. I had told Zander on the way to the car that I thought he and I should sleep on the way back home and let Thomas (stuffed cat in the car) drive.  He said no-he wanted me to.  Oh well.

I learned a lot letting him control the day a bit.  I thought cramming a lot in was the way to give him the best time-he had other ideas and his way was a lot more relaxing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why write?

I was reading a new book on my kindle today.   One of my favorite bloggers did a compilation of her blogs.  Her book, Willa's Journal: A Box of Stars is delightful because it is really makes you think about everyday ordinary things. In one of her posts, she says she writes-because she can-realizing that other people may or may not be interested in what she has to say. I always was. 
This made me wonder why I write. Actually, there are so many reasons I may not get them all down.
I started keeping a journal before I was a teenager and still keep one today.  I am constantly jotting or recording stories I want to get done.  I have several tiny notebooks with notes, scraps of sentences, and many journals. My writings are mostly about my life and other amazing things.  I am a thinker and spend a lot of time thinking in my head about why things happened a certain way and how I could do it differently.  I also am amazed at the not so accidental timing and connections of things that happen in my life.  I learn from everything-good or bad and I am amazed at how intricate people and life are and how it all works together.  There’s a lot going on in my head….who knew? I think these words are what keep me up at night.
I write to…

Dump: Life is hard and painful and most of the time people don’t have time for your hurts because they are nursing their own.  I can dump every ugly piece and get it off my mind. I will not be judged or have to worry about my secret getting out.  Many times I have written things on paper that are-well; they are just too painful to say.  I will never be able to say them but at least I can write them.  I am entitled to my feelings and they need a voice.

Tell Someone Off: I have never done this in real life, only on paper.  It is not in my nature but some people need it! I do not like conflict but again, I am entitled to my feelings. Let’s face it-most of the time when you tell someone something they are not likely to listen.  It is not worth stirring things up.  Megan and I have been talking about things like this a lot lately.  It is hard to find a balance between having respect for yourself and just walking away from it.

Try and understand: Often by mulling over something that has happened and how I feel about it puts everything in place. I get a clearer sense of it. In the midst of events we often can only see what is right in front of us.

To Remember: There are so many stories from my life I do not want to forget.  There are people I don’t want to forget. I can see how people have been placed in my life at a specific time for a specific reason.  I consider many things that have happened in my life to be near miracles-there is no reason why it should have miraculously worked out as it did. I do not want to forget the wonder of it all. I tell my students-you and your life are important. Write it down.

To be amazed and thankful: Have you ever listed the things you yearn for the most? Have you ever written your prayers?  I have.  Then years later I am looking at old writings and I amazed at the prayers that have been answered and the absolute perfect timing.  Looking back it becomes so clear as to why things had to play out the way they did-pain and all.

To remember to pray: I care about people and so many people are hurting.  I am also very busy.  I like to write the names of people that have asked for prayer.  I keep it on my desk near my computer.  Usually in email or on Facebook people will ask for help.  I say I will pray and I need to write it so I will.  This also allows me to check back and see how people are doing.

To Heal: I tell anyone that will listen-writing saved my life more than once.  It helped me process things that I had stuffed.  It helped me dig out of things I was buried under and as much of a cliché as it is-I found myself and pulled myself out-one page at a time. Consider this-some of the most famous songs and poems were written when dealing with pain.

Last but not least, I write because practice makes perfect. Well, not really. For me writing is an extension of me and my mind as well as my emotions. As none of those are perfect, my writing is not either.  However, when I write consistently, my voice is truer.  I become braver and less critical. My vocabulary improves, becomes more embellished, and flows easily.

I wrote a book (the one that saved my life) and it is not yet published.  My dear friend/editor Robin asked me how I would feel if I did all the work of compiling it and then it never got published.  I told her I was ok with that because this was a huge part of my life and I liked having it put together.  Maybe one day I can share it with my daughter.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Who doesn't struggle with time management?  My friends always act like I am superwoman because I get so many things done. Obviously, I only share what I do get done-not what I don't.  They don't know how many times I start one project switch to another and another.  I plan to go to the computer for one minute and end up spending thirty.   I'm very organized-that's not the issue. I have so many interests and so many things I love doing it's hard to find time to do them all.  I'm never late for work, I always meet my deadlines or appointments but the things I want to do always come last.

I have to pull out all the stops in the summer to stay on track because I have a hard time staying on track with large open blocks of time-just my luck. There are a few tricks I do use that help me.  Maybe they'll help someone and I hope others will share some of their tricks.  

Working Backwards: This sounds strange but I came up with this because of work.  After students went home - I'd settle in to do my paperwork and such knowing that I have to leave at a particular time.  Then I would get so involved in what I was doing, totally immersed, all of a sudden I am grabbing my purse and keys and running out the door. Then I find out I've left without my shopping list, my journal, or the project I had planned to take home. So I started working backwards. As soon as students leave, I put everything that is going home in one area.  Then when I am ready to go, I have everything. I do this on my big errand days in the summer as well.  I put all my lists, coupons, cooler, and other items together first-with a plan of attack, before I start doing anything else. Working backwards has saved me so many times because I am constantly trying to do just one more thing!

Outlook Calendar: I use Outlook email and calendar at work and home.  I put as much as I can on there. When I add a doctor appointment, I put it on my work calendar (if within the school year), my home calendar, and my husband’s work calendar. I do the same for husband’s appointments. This way if one doesn’t look at their calendar, we can remind the other.  We know what the other is doing on a given day in case we need to schedule something. I also sync this to my iPhone.

Yahoo Groups:  Years ago I set up a yahoo groups for coffee club- my girlfriend group.  I set it up because we were always planning activities together. When I sat down to e-mail everybody, I had to make sure I didn’t forget someone.  I love the group because when I send an e-mail out saying I want to go see a movie -everybody sees it.  When someone responds with the time they can meet, everybody sees it.  Everybody knows what's going on.  There is also a calendar included. I can put birthday and other reminders on there for everyone.

I also have yahoo groups for my book club group. There are only seven of us and we rarely e-mail each other within the group (totally opposite of coffee club). The calendar feature for us is invaluable. We often choose our books six months in advance. I take that information home and put it all on the calendar. I can include the book title, the hostess, and hostess contact info. I set it up to remind people two weeks ahead of time and three days ahead of time. I can set up six months of info in just a few minutes and never have to think about it again. This has made my life easier. No more worries about forgetting to send a reminder.

Dragon Dictation: This is a free app on the iPhone. Right now I’m sitting in the parking lot waiting for my husband and I am speaking into my phone using the app ( I  just had to close the window so a passerby didn’t think I was crazy). When I'm done I can e-mail it, send it as a text, post to FB, or twitter. You can also copy the text and paste into any application. I most always email it to myself at home. I put Dragon Dictation e-mails in one folder until I need them. This is a great app for me as I don’t write longhand because I've had carpal tunnel surgery.  After a few sentences my handwriting is messy and my hand cramps. Even if I am sitting at home with other options, this is my best way to get a lot of writing down.  Once on the way to school, I composed an email to teachers and sent it to myself.  When I got to work, I pulled it up, did very little editing and sent it out.  What a timesaver! The only downfall to the app is that it does not save your information. It only records for a short time.  This blog was done in twelve sections.  I just numbered each one as I sent it. Note: Sending an email while driving is as bad as texting.  Obviously, I only do this if I am sitting in traffic.

Pampered Chef Timer: I know there are other timers out there but I like this one best. I can clip it on to go with me. If I set it for thirty minutes and it beeps-I press stop. The thirty is still there for me to press start again. I use this at home as I'm constantly getting off track-especially in the summer or when I have a huge block of time to manipulate. For all the people that say I'm amazing- if you spent one day with me I could burst your bubble quickly.  I am fragmented as I go from one thing to the other. At the end of the day, a lot of great things get done but I often feel like I’ve failed because they weren’t the things I had planned on. I may get ten things started but none of them got finished. I use the timer a couple ways.

1.       To keep from being overwhelmed:  I have always found that I put things off because I think I can't do it or it will take too long or because I don't know where to start.  When I came home from vacation I dumped everything on the dining room table-brochures, maps, my  activity totes. Every time I saw the pile I put it off but it bothered me.  I set the timer for 30 minutes and it was done! Sometimes a daunting task is completely finished because I'm trying to beat the clock. If it's not completely finished it is a lot less intimidating. This is a great thingsto do with kids when cleaning their room or dividing the day into work and fun.

2.       To Stay On Task: In one day, as all women know, there are too many tasks. You could spend all day on the computer doing different things and they would all be important but there are other things that need to be done.  I set the timer and switch tasks: cleaning a room, answering email, cooking, doing work for my business.

3.     To have Fun: I am a workaholic in many ways.  I love organizing , cleaning, and purging.  It may take me a while to get to it but when I do I am relentless and I get so involved I do not stop. I actually schedule fun time to break away.  I may take the dog for a walk, play on the computer or read (other than walking the dog I have done nothing else yet).

4.       To eat: I admit I set the timer today so I would eat breakfast and after that set it for lunch.  I get so immersed in what I am doing I could go from 6am to 5pm on nothing but a cup of coffee.  This is not good for me.  I should be having small meals and drinking water all day.

Monday I was home all day and I did not use the timer.  I spent all day on the computer-no games.  I was cleaning emails, cleaning files, doing work related to many jobs that I do-all important things but there was so much more that needed done. I knew I worked hard all day but it did not look like it and in many ways I felt like I failed. Thursday I was home all day and did use the timer and accomplished more than I thought I could. I was excited and felt like I had accomplished something and it looked like I had as well.
NOTE: I believe I first heard about using a timer through Flylady.
These tricks that work for me.  I'd love to hear your comments and any tricks that you use.
Another thing I have always wanted to do is to schedule a block of time for myself that I would use differently every day-Monday writing, Tuesday beading, etc. But I have not gotten that far yet. Has anyone done this?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

For the Love of Maya

In March of 1996, my beloved cat Theo went outside and never came back. I will write a story about him another time.  I seacrhed for months-put ads in the paper etc., but no luck.

My husband is tough, but he does not do well when I am sad.  First of all-I never really am.  In the worst of circumstances, my happiness is within and I am always happy. (Psalms 33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.)  During my time of grieving, he suggested we get a dog.  I had said many times that I wanted one.  If it was up to Marty, we would not have pets but he knew this was important to me.  Having to choose, I think he would be more of a dog person than a cat person.  He suggested I get a small dog-one I could hold as Theo was always on my lap.

I talked to my daughter Megan-a Veterinarian Technician about what kind of small dog I should get.  She said a poodle.  My response was not positive.  I didn’t want a poodle-they are too foo foo.  I always liked big working dogs.  Megan responded by saying that poodles do not shed, they are very smart, and poodles she had seen at the animal clinic where she worked had been wonderful. She also said that I did not have to get a foo foo haircut.  I have to admit-that sounded good. I looked online and found out about Coastal Poodle Rescue (CPR) and I liked the way they worked.  They would come and interview you and when you choose a poodle, you had time to see if it worked.  They always want their poodles back should there be an issue.

I wanted a black poodle.  I knew poodles had runny eyes and I thought it would not show as much on a black poodle. It also had to be female.  I started to look online.  One day Lin called me from CPR and said she had a dog that my work well for us.  It was a white female and she lived in Ft. Lauderdale.  Marty drove me down there and Ellie (her formal name) had dark drainage streaks under her eyes.  She was a little messy (due for a grooming). She gave us the evil eye and growled at both of us for the first ten minutes we were there. We went outside and she did stop growling.  Marty at one point just picked her up.  She did not snap at him and she just laid her head on his shoulder.  Down in the grass again, I laughed as she jumped around like a bunny and chased a palm frond. I could see she was happy and silly. We decided to give it a try.  I picked her up and she snuggled me all the whole way home.

I won’t say things have always been perfect.  I had not owned a dog in a long time so I had some relearning to do.  I will tell you though that from the minute I have brought her home, she has been a constant source of joy for me.

Because she is little, I always feel like I have a puppy. Who doesn’t like puppies?  I remember Lin from CPR calling to check on me and I was laughing because Maya is always being silly. She picks up toys and throws them in the air and then goes to get them and does it again.  She prances lightly on her little feet and hops around like a bunny-just like when I met her.  She has the smallest brown eyes that hook you early on and her face is full of expression. I love her dearly and love her more each day!  She still is a pup with issues-most of them are funny tho and can make up another whole story.

I was so sad to lose my Theo, but am thankful to a God who can take a sad time and allow for a blessing. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28)

This started as story about Maya nd my Grandson….oh well.  On to another post...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I want a parade…

That's right- you heard me, I want parade.  My good friend Donna told me that once when it was a friend’s birthday, her family had a parade for her.  Now I don’t know all the details but I am sure there were people, maybe signs, and maybe songs.

I want a parade for my birthday not because I deserve it or because I am better than anyone else. I would love to think that someone thinks I'm that extraordinary.  I would love to know that someone thinks I am so special that they would spend time together and do that for me.

I want to be a person that can make a difference in somebody's life.  I want to feel like I can’t be replaced and that I'm everything to someone or somebody.  I want to feel that I’d be terribly missed (if I decide to run away with my beads, my books, and my dog). I want to be that person.  I want a parade.

Anyone else?

Monday, June 4, 2012

I want a wife…

My husband and I watch a lot of shows that some people may find surprising: one of them is Sister Wives. Thankfully, husband admits that one wife is enough-he doesn’t need another.  Personally, however, I would LOVE a wife-for ME!

Don't get any funny ideas- that doesn't mean that I know longer want a husband, it just means I want a wife like me. I want someone else to worry about all these things once in a while so I can just be me.

Every day my head is swimming with all the things I have to do and all the things I want to do.  As with most cases, the things I want to do come last. I get up every day and there is wash to be done. I have to keep track of groceries so I have things to cook and pack for lunch. A quick stop at the grocery is never quick.  By the time I finish that and stop for gas and get home-it is late.  Then when I put the groceries away I have to clean the fridge a bit and organize the pantry it gets later.  Cook dinner and clean up and start thinking of the next day. By now, I just want to sit down.

This is why  I don’t get in my bead room as often as I like or write as often as I like.  I am a very organized person-that is not the issue.  I have many interests and things I like to do-oh okay-that COULD be part of the issue. I find life exciting and I want it all!!!

If someone else took on my wife brain for a day though, the things I could CREATE!!!

With summer here I am going to try and see if I can create full days with no duties so that I can spend time doing what I like to do.

Surely some time management and scheduling is needed.  I have actually come up with a few tricks that work for me. But that is another post.

In the meantime, I need to get to work!

Disclaimer: I love my husband and I love being his wife.  All my wifely duties are mainly self-imposed (being an over achiever is not fun). Being a wife is a full time job and I could easily be a stay at home wife and I would NEVER be bored.  Meanwhile, if you know a wife I could hire for a few days let me know.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

There's No Place Like Home...

We just returned after a bit of a driving trip.  We started out heading to St. Louis for the wedding of someone we have been involved with for most of his life.  The wedding was beautiful.  It was also great fun to be with friends after the wedding. We decided to take in St. Louis a bit before leaving town and I am glad we did.  We visited the zoo, the botanical gardens, and a couple local restaurants before we left for our next destination. Pappy's Smokehouse and Joey B's On The Hill both served up wonderful food.  I give them both five stars!

Next-Kansas City. When we were invited to the wedding, I immediately begged my husband to take me back to Kansas City. I totally enjoyed the Country Club Plaza-a huge mall of sorts where you are walking outside instead of in.  Kansas City is also known for barbecue. Last time we went to Fiorelli's Jack Stack and it was great so we wanted to go back.  On our first trip-it was closed so we went to Brio Tuscan Grill. It was wonderful and we were so glad to find it.  We enjoyed the plaza for two days and a great lunch each day.

My favorite place in Kansas City tho is Stuff. We were in Kansas City two days and my husband knew enough about I felt about this store-he took me there first thing both days. If I was to ever open a store, it would be like this.  Local artists from the area have filled this store with the most creative things I have ever seen.  You can't go just once because you'll miss something.  Add to that some great bubbly girls ready to help and it just can't get any better.  You can visit them online, like them on facebook, and shop online as well.

We left Kansas City to go visit my friend Neil and his wife of two years.  They live in Alabama. We trusted our GPS to take us there and ended up on a very long back road with no hotels, food, or gas.  After a long ride we found a Hampton and met up with Neil the next day. There's nothing like being with an old friend.  It is a very emotional experience.  As soon as you are together-the connection is as strong as ever.  This time, however, I was more interested in getting to know his wife. It did not take long for me to love her completely. I had to hold back tears many times-thankful that she is in his life and so thankful to get to know her. It was hard to leave them when we were just starting to have great fun but I also felt a great sense of peace knowing they had each other. Neil has been an important person in my life and I care for him a great deal.  There is nothing that can give you peace more than knowing someone you love dearly is living a happy life!

Next stop-Pensacola.  Cousins John & Lil always welcome us to their home. Molly (black lab) is part of the greeting committee.  We were sorry not to see Jemima (basset hound) this time -she lived a long and happy life.  Our time with the Kings is always a great mix of fun.  This time they finally let us take them out to eat.  I also helped John set up folders on his IPad.  Lil wanted to make earrings and I was so excited to help her make earrings and a bracelet to match. I love touring the yard-blueberry bushes, vegetable garden, scuppernong grapes, pecan trees, kumquats, and much more.  One time there were baby bluebirds. We talk about family stories and try to catch up as we only see each other every couple years.  I do cry when I leave them-every time.  If I lived closer I am sure I would be with Lil several times a week.  I want to be just like her when I grow up.

I am so thankful for this trip but even more thankful to get home.  I am thankful we arrived safe.  I am thankful for all the things we have here that has made it our home. I am thrilled to see Maya (mini poodle) again and thankful for my favorite comforts of home.

Tomorrow...the projects begin.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

30 Days of Creativity 2012

I don't know how, but last year I found the site 30 Days of Creativity. I challenged two friends, Mychele and Em, to do it with me.

I loved the concept of creating something every day in June. I love creating but often don't sit down long enough to do so. I have a room full of the coolest beads and other supplies, a notebook full of things I want to make, and a head overflowing with ideas.

Last year I got many projects done that had been sitting around for years. My friend Mychele and I did a lot if great things but the star of our group was Em. I think she created and posted every day. I was disappointed I didn't keep up but thrilled to think I may have inspired two friends.

This is the third year of 30 Days of Creativity and I am thrilled to get involved- this year I hope to post every day. Even though we are still traveling so far, so good.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Write On...

I love to write.  I say that all the time and then do not spend enough time doing it.  Once I start writing, I get lost in it and cannot pull myself away.  The first step to making time for  writing, in my case,  is to sit still for a moment.

I am always up for a challenge and often it helps me get things done because I don't like losing. If I "join" something, even though there is no scolding or consequences, I simply must complete the challenge.  And so I will participate in the NaBloPoMo June 2012 Blogroll.

I have to post every day which I will be glad to do.  As school is out, I can get my coffee first thing and relax and write-something I wish I could do daily.  I often wonder if I could develop a habit of doing this by being consistent over the month.  I want my daily writing to be more like breathing...something I do automatically-not something I put off for something else.

I have a small composition notebook I am writing in daily as a commitment to my students.  I have a writing cub after school and I had over 45 students this year.  I loved it in many ways but missed the intimacy of a smaller group. I am afraid that next year I will have even more students wanting to join and wonder how can I choose? I came up with a summer journal project after reading a book to some students.  I gave them the directives to see who could/would commit to write a few sentences a day every day, June & July.  I told them I would commit as well.

I am in a place in my life where I am continually reviewing what I am doing and trying to make choices that move in the same direction as my goals.  I am an inteliigent person, but I am many interests and am often excited and involved in so many things, I can lose focus.

I am hoping that by committing to the June Blogroll and to the Summer Journal Project (with my students) that I will develop a habit of quiet time for writing that I will continue when the summer is over.