Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nada Mucho

Not much is happening over here. 
I am still not working. I tried it and complications got in the way. I am home and reading up a storm.... My favorite so far,  was a new release ...
"It Was Always Me" by Andie Mitchell. 
Her story appealed because having had an eating disorder in college, I connected with this memoir about her life as "the fat girl" who always struggled with food. Finally, after twenty binging/dieting years, she was successful in losing 130 pounds on her own. 
Her story is that she was chubby all her life and loved food. Who doesn't? She tried dieting, but finally decided that BIG is just the way she was. So, she kept on eating to 268 pound while but she developed her personality and intellect along the way. I don't want to spoil the story so I will put the brakes on. Her story  was a reminder how important BALANCE is in our eating habits and overall life.
So, here are some photos from the past weeks. Let's start with some good food (ironic, I know).
I tried out a new enchilada recipe. It has been over a month that I have intended to create these delicious babies, and finally I had a good reason to make enough to feed a small Mexican army. We carted them down to Hollywood to see Cutie-Pies new castle.
Old is the new "new"
It's gorgeous! Now they have a yard, garage, attic, basement and soon a new baby will be added.  It's really exciting for them (and this auntie too!) Their new home is beautiful and classic, located in an old Hollywood suburb. This remodeled casa is eighty-eight years old! It reeks of L.A. history and is "adorbs" if that is a real word. 
My guys loved the basement and  finished attic!
After the "tour" and enchiladas, all the guys headed to Bronson Canyon Park that is right up their street.
 Once there, they hiked  up to "The Batcave" from the original Batman movie in 1960's. I remember watching the batmobile roar out of this cave with Robin in the passenger seat. 

 There are many  awesome hiking trails in their nearby canyon/mountains. I can't wait to explore them.
Besides reading, hanging with family and trying a new enchilada recipe with high calorie "secret sauce", I have been attending many-a-basket ball game. Daniel's school team is undefeated and loving it. 
Undefeated and  it feels so good :)
His local city team, The Wildcats, are doing super with a current 2-1 record. Although, Daniel missed the game today due to being sick... yes, it's flu season. 
As for Lucas? He is in full-blown-college-scholarship mode. He has been accepted to two colleges and we are excited for him, hoping that scholarships will arrive on their magic carpets.
 Or, that he will get the commercial that he is auditioning for on Monday.
 Remember .... Dreams are free, right?
If those hopes don't come a'knockin - that's okay.
 What I covet is that we are together and healthy...
 Doing our best to Keep the Balance.

 In the big picture of life, love, God, health and togetherness are number one... that is the TRUTH :)
I like truth.
 And balance.
And enchiladas. 
And peace.
And basketball, for now.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Do I Miss Unicycling?

It's been a month since I hopped on Blanche and it will be another six weeks before I attempt to perch on my single-wheelie.
 Do I miss it? Not really. 
I do miss a brisk walk with my favorite music that I can't get out of my head. I miss taking The Wiener Sisters to the park and I miss a good-long stretch session. The past three weeks have been non-active; a different flavor of life for UnicycleRose.
 What I have not been doing?
 The Christmas break extension is unexpected, but welcomed. Although mentally ready to head back to fourth grade, my body was not. With this spare time, I've stumbled upon things that make me laugh, without even having to look on Pinterest! I like to laugh, although it hurts when I do these days.
So ya, I don't miss unicycling, but a hearty laugh that lingers and rolls? 
Miss it.
My Teckie will love this one!
How am I passing el tiempo?
A second book is finished ..."Wife 22" by Melanie Gideon. This non-fiction recommendation from a friend was a page turner. A story about a twenty-year marriage on the rocks, it is one that any forty-something, committed, monogamous wife/mother gets lots in.

Other non-active activities (isn't that an oxymoron?) I'm tinkering with? Cutie Pie's baby "Sprinkle." Unbeknownst to me, a second baby shower, small and simple, is now called a "Sprinkle," not a "Shower."
Cutie-Pie has only 8 more weeks to grow!
I found two games we have never played and I'm preparing those. Invites are going out soon and being that it's en mi casa, I need to think about decorating for Valentine's Day... you know, "festivate" the place. It's so empty around here since we deflated Christmas. It's almost time to crack-open my Valentine's box and bust out some hearts and love to fill the spaces.
This final funny is dedicated to my math-hating sister, Miss Piggy!
Hopefully, you found a smile somewhere in this post.
 Peace and Keep the Balance :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Inspiration

I've mentioned that I collect words of encouragement and inspiration, along with things that make me laugh. Here are some of my favorite inspiring words. All are wonderful reminders to stash in your back-mental-pocket as we kick off a new year.
 When I feel like I have done something that makes someone happy and they voice gratitude, it only makes me want to keep give/doing more. Right? This phrase is also a nudge to speak up and let others know their help is appreciated and that they make a wonderful difference! 
It reminds me to tell my husband how great he is at dishwashing and kitchen clean up :0)
When thankfulness is given a voice, it feeds hearts and churns up further out-pouring of love. The truth is every human needs to feel appreciated. 
Excellent words to remember because Satan wants us to forget!
 There is spiritual warfare all around.  Don't alow the devil to keep pointing out the negatives in your life. Cast him away when you feel that pessimistic loser on your shoulder. Flick him off like a bee so your eyes stay open to the light and blessings that make up the bigger picture of your life.
 Believe me, I have negative thoughts and past hurts that repeat in my head. The devil loves this, so to fight back I keep these wise words tucked in my heart. 
We already know what really matters in life, right? 
This is a no-brainer for many, sadly though, not for everybody. 
Eventually, they will "get it."
Ever since I discovered these seven simple words they (thankfully) pop in my head often. Thank you, God!
A reminder that The Creator of all things is on YOUR personal side and wants what is best for YOU is a truth that is easily forgotten. 
Doesn't it feel like the tides of life are against you sometimes? Remember that when that occurs, it is not our Lord, but the devil (again). At those moments it's critical to recall and know that God is on the sidelines of our lives ... cheering with the biggest megaphone and loving us more than we can imagine! How impowering!
God is for you, NOT against you!

My prayer is that in 2015 God will deliver inspirational words in your head at just the right time. 
Jesus is the giver of peace beyond all understanding.
 He provides footsteps that only go forward.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Surprise Ham From God

I ended 2014 with the candy puzzle and Anne Lamott book, "Small Victories"   finished.  I love puzzles and this author.
Anne Lamott sees God everywhere.
She is open to him 24/7. 
 One of the stories she shared was when she went to the market on her birthday. At check out she was told she won a ham! She doesn't like ham and considered declining her prize. Instead, she acted surprised and thankful, wondering what on earth God wanted her to do a huge ham. Waiting for the clerk to return with her huge slab of meat, she mentally named it "the ham of God."
 Isn't that hilarious?
Leaving the market, lost in thought, her cart hit a slow moving car in the parking lot. Startled, she looked up to find an old friend she had not seen in decades. This woman was in a junker car and in the dumps; no money for gas or food for her family.  Anne gave her all the money in her purse and asked if her family liked ham. She said yes and that her kids could eat ham at every meal. So, THAT is what God wanted her to do with that big ham ... pass it along and answer the prayers of someone else. 
These are the God stories I love hearing. 
It amazes me how God uses simple people to get his work done, if they are open to Him. 
Speaking of which ...
 I woke up having small pity party for one.
 I am sore and always impatient and have no choice but to lay low and keep swallowing Percocet. We usually host a small New Year's Eve gathering. I knew we wouldn't this year because the "party catalyst" (Me) couldn't pull off the prep. It bummed me out telling my friend we would have to pass this year. She said she understood.
When she told her kids the news they would have none of it. They insisted that we spend it together, like we are "supposed to do." We never realized it's an unintended tradition that means alot to them.
The next day, my friend called. 
She had no idea what was going on in my "farumphed" heart, as we barely talk due to life blocking the road. From my end of the phone, it felt like God called her up and said, "Ya know, your old friend feels crummy, so please bring her a party for me to cheer her up." 
On New Year's Eve, they arrived with pizza, guacamole, homemade peach cobbler, cookies, chicken salad, fireworks and I could go on and on.... they literally delivered a party to us like a piping-hot-pizza from Dominoes! She even promised to do all the work, clean up included, as well as being "my servant." Doesn't that sound like Jesus?
Last night, with blowers and ridiculous hats we welcomed 2015 like "we are supposed to do." She was using her kind nature to make it all happen. However, God knew how I was feeling, so (it appears) he used her beautiful-simple heart and delivered me a great big ham

Happy New Year! 
Cheers to 2015, CLINK!
PS. When I tried to explained all this to her, 
she was not happy when I called her my ham. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Re-Cap

Naughty or Nice?
A highlight on Christmas Eve is a visit from Santa Claus. He arrives amongst  jingling bells and carols led by Overboard!  Our friend Tom has been suiting up in character for as long as I can remember. He was the first Santa Claus my children ever met. In 1999, when Santa Tom jingled through our yard and into the Christmas party, Lucas, who was three, ran inside to the fireplace, pulled down his stocking and scurried it outside, offering it up to Santa Tom.
 How cute is THAT?
Aunt Cindy, Cousins Marinna and John
 Yes, the Red Suit means magic for little ones.
Nephew Benson is the only believer these days, but the nineteen other people there Christmas Eve watched his reaction and remembered the joy of being a believer.
Christmas morning is fun with our two non-believing teenagers. For the past five years we have held a treasure hunt for them to find their gifts. Being that they know most of their gifts, "The Hunt" sprinkles a little kid-magic into the morning. So, after we read the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible, we set them loose with the first clue:
"This open and closes six days a week."
Can you figure out where the clue was hidden? 
The mailbox.
From the mailbox, they were sent to "Go to the bowels of Mordor."
 Yes, this clue was brought to you by my Hobbit loving husband. The answer was the BBQ and the kids immediately knew where to look. I had no idea, but whatever. They share a language.
This year we created the most challenging hunt at their request. They love to be stumped and to run around having to think clues through. It's fun for us to sip coffee from the couch and watch them shuffle frantically around, as if they are being timed.  The final clue led them to our closet, as it is one of the few places that can hide a seven-string-electric guitar and skateboard ramp.
After the hunt, we we head up to Overboard's house for breakfast and to open more gifts. Benson loved the Legos we gave him, but not as much as the matching scarf set we gifted Miss Piggy, Lui and their kid-dog Cinco. I think they liked their winter accessories and will get some use from them now that Southern California is on the cold side. 
Cold to us, anyway.
The most thoughtful gifts I received were from Teckie. Along with The Carpenters Christmas CD and "The key to his heart" was this rock with the word "Relax" carved in it. 
 I need to relax and we all know it. 
RELAX is exactly what I have done since surgery. I have another small surgery tomorrow, so you bet this coming week will hold the same ... puzzles, napping and movies.
Today I watched "Get On Up."  
Tonight it's "Homesman, 
and tomorrow's feature is "Unbroken."
Actually, being forced to relax has been a good experience. 
A blessing. 
 I hope to incorporate more of this sort of thing into 2015 :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Simply Approachable

"Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him"-- and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds."-- Max Lucado

This quote places the lowly work of shepherding
 on the "Best Paying Jobs" list. 
That is, if you comprehend where true riches lie. 
Witnessing the birth of Jesus? 
Perhaps by being a regular, non-cluttered, overbooked, simple person
 God is able to approach us to share magnificent miracles ...
 like those shepherds over two thousand years ago. 
They had time to hear him.
Wishing you a SIMPLY spectacular Christmas Eve 
with eyes and ears wide open
 to receive unexpected heavenly gifts!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Time Killers

Rest for two weeks... doctor's orders. 
Okay, then. For me, this is an out-of-balance challenge! 
I have come up with ways to kill time while I'm stagnant.
The 1000 piece puzzle starts today.  Being that I love candy, this particular puzzle sweetly clicked. It's all old candy boxes and wrappers. The six foot "puzzle lab-table"  is set up and ready to be hunched over.  Puzzling seemed like a good way to kill time over the next couple weeks.  Any local friends who want to slow it waaaay down this busy Christmas week, please come on over and puzzle with me :)
The 1000 piece puzzle takes one piece at a time
Seeing movies galore will kill time too! 
Last night we watched the final Hobbit movie, "The Battle of the Five Armies." Talk about violent! Heads chopped off left and right, Orcs killed, Elves tossed away, Dwarfs beaten and Wizards tortured. Unless, you are a die-hard Hobbit fan, it may not be the pick-of-the-week for ya. Thumbs down from me, but it received three thumbs up from my guys. You be the judge :)
Hmmmm, I am in search of mellow-time killers to see me through the next two weeks. There is always blogging to take up a Chunk O'Down-Time. That will be an interesting time filler. I have saved many pictures in my "Things that make me laugh" file, and various stuff in my "Inspirational" file.
 Get ready to chuckle and feel warm and fuzzy.
After cruising Blanche around Gilbert, Arizona
May I tell you what absolutely will NOT be happening? 
Unicycle riding. 
Por Que? No es posible!
  Side note: Did I mentioned that we hauled Blanche to Arizona over Thanksgiving?  Riding a unicycle there sounded wonderful because roads are flat and wide.  I enjoyed a cruise on Thanksgiving morning. Folks were out in full-moving force, riding bikes, walking dogs and running. There was much "unicycle encouragement" from passers by... including that guy who started singing loud circus music from his yard. That was a first!
For now, Old Blanche sits in the garage instead of our living room, as it will be a couple months before I can ride. Oddly, my unicycle is  the very thing that inspires me to write. I will need to find other ways to get the creative juices flowing. Until then, I will chillax, build a puzzle, and hang around just killing time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Packing It All In

This past month of "elf work" has been joyfully consuming.
 I was running against the clock to squeeze in traditions, decorating and parties  before taking a hospital break for minor repairs. 
Decorating gingerbread houses is tasty and fun and always done the first week in December... so I can bark at my kids for eating off the candy for the rest of the month.  
These two kiddos have come a long way since our first gingerbread building experience twelve years ago.  
This year we imported additional Christmas spirit in hat form. It made for a silly night and the houses came out lovely!

In fourth grade, we decorated our class tree. 
 Our theme was "Let heaven and nature sing."
The kids made plaster ornaments with traditional Christmas sheet music on them. Then taking pipe cleaners, made some colorful treble clefs to accent. Personally, I think we had the best tree of all the eight classes, maybe I am biased? 

Our annual neighbor Christmas dinner and walk around the hood was fun. Many homes "over do" lights and decorations, and its an excellent reason to saddle up the Weenies, grab some cocoa and cruise the neighborhood. There was a meteor shower that night, so we spotted shooting stars up above. Very cool.
We have been living next to these folks since 1999 and watching these kids interact is a highlight. It's awkward at first, but soon enough they are giggling and watching ... what else? ELF!
 Speaking of Buddy the Elf, I treated my family to this Christmas decoration because we love watching that movie this time of year. I am sursprised we've only watched it twice thus far.
 There is more ELF to come, I just know it.
Here's another favorite decoration. This Precious Moments Nativity was a gift from my mother-in-law on our first Christmas, 20 years ago.  The backdrop is some art work Daniel made in third grade and ties this diorama together.
 A treasure. 
JOY is the ideal description of Baby Jesus coming to Earth.
AND, It wouldn't be Christmas without the traditional Italian Pizelle cookie! 
It's the ONE time of year I bust out the iron and bake my heart out. This year I had to do it twice because I messed up the first batch and they came out "not so good" AKA: horrible.  They were definitely not pizelles worthy of sharing. I scratched that first round and tried again. 
The second time they were "Pizelle Perfect." 
Buon Natale!
(That's Merry Christmas in Italian)
Then, the Christmas card struggle.
 I was NOT going to send out cards and felt okay throwing my hands up in the air over it. Then, we received cards from old friends/family who are ancient and may not have many seasons left. I know it means alot to old folks to receive a family picture card. Daniel and I whipped one up in a night.  I didn't order enough, because, remember,  I was not  going to send one out  in the first place. This card shortage stresses me out.
 The same thing happened last year - will I ever learn?
My high school peeps gather this time of year for dinner and gift exchange. It never gets old. We have been together through thick and thin, ups and downs, and I don't think I can find more accepting and loving ladies.  
True blessings is what they are. 
All. Year. Round. 
This dolled up Vixen was a gift. 
Totally adorbs, huh?
I squeezed in these festivities knowing that after the 18th I could only SIT and HEAL (Like a dog ... pun intended). 
"I just like to smile. Smiling is my favorite."
 - Buddy the Elf
Now, it's off my feet for two weeks!
 My VERY pregnant sister, Cute-Pie,  made us dinner last night. I sat back and enjoyed, however, not lifting a helping-finger felt odd. I don't sit still naturally, but am very thankful she stepped in. It was delicious and some valuable kid-cousin time was shared.
 These current conditions make for a different sort of Christmas. However, the real meaning hasn't altered one bit. Celebrating Christ's birth,  praising God for health and togetherness will always be my personal priority this time of year.
Happy Birthday Jesus!