Friday, July 29, 2011

My Super Man

Superman, Macho Man show your spirit if you can, get off your seat and boogie to the beat!
Remember that cheer from grammar school? It’s stuck in my head because of my husband; he is my Superman, Macho Man! Our sixteen-year-old Whirlpool washing machine died. Old Bessie had a nice long super-capacity life and my husband set out to replace her. Calling from Best Buy he announced the $900 price tag and I suggested we wait for a sale and not rush into anything (although the thought of life without my washing machine tossed me into a bad-spin cycle). I started research on-line and my Superman, Macho Man continued when he returned. Guessing what the problem was with Old Bessie, he bought a refurbished timer for $40 and we waited for delivery. I prayed it was the right part while I schlepped dirty laundry to my parents and soaked in the following thoughts:

A)     How did Caroline Ingalls survive without a washer and dryer?

B)    Was Old Bessie’s problem properly diagnosed?  Per chance it was, could my husband, who has zero training in appliance repair, take her apart? Then put her back together?

C)      I doubted that the problem could be solved THAT easily. Regardless, I kept on praying.

Yesterday, the box arrived and after a long day at work, then dinner with friends, late into the night my Superman, Macho Man fixed Old Bessie. Unbelievable! I immediately ran a load while thinking how amazing my hubby is as Refurbished Bessie runs like a brand-spanking-new washing machine. And me? I’m off my seat and happily boogying to the beat of sloshing-agitating clothes!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cara

Big Blister, Carla, Miss Piggy, Tofsy, Kurt and Karl are just some of the nicknames for my older sister, Cara, who celebrated her 45th birthday yesterday. Forty-five sounds so old and it seems last week we were four-and-five together building sand castles, riding bikes, playing office and wearing matching outfits.

Those that know Cara would describe her as hilarious, responsible, hard working, creative, artistic, driven, playful, beautiful, athletic and unique. She is a good friend to many, an excellent dog–mom to Cinco, wonderful wife to Scott and a patient, loving Aunt to my boys. No matter what we call her, she’s known in my heart as The Best Big Sister and Dear Friend.
Let me share how my “Big Blister” acquired her nicknames:

Carla is her trailer-park name. One bored day we renamed our family with white-trash names. My younger sister is Candy, I’m Crystal and she is Carla; all spinoffs of our true names.
Miss Piggy is another name for her because she collected pigs growing up. Yes, swine.  As in, plump pink farm animals in all fabrics, figurines and collectible forms that decorated her room growing up.
Tofsy was a cartoon back in the late 1970’s that never made it big like the Electric Company or Smurfs. However, we loved watching it. Tofsy was a kooky character with golden-puffy hair that poked out on the side of his head like two bushy funnels.  When my sister lets her curly-wavy hair, go natural, she looks like Tofsy. No kidding. This zany hairstyle happens to her to this day … la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Cara named herself Karl over a decade ago after a bad haircut that looked too short and masculine. I’ll admit she did look like a man-woman and her wonderful sense of humor kicked in.
On that same note, years later, she decided to lighten the hair under her nose. You know how women grow a little stache and have to wax, pluck or lighten it? It was the first time she tried peroxiding them and days later, she tanned a dark golden brown. Under her nose, glowed what looked like golden-first whiskers on a fifteen-year-old-surfer-dude named Kurt. So we called her Kurt, had a great laugh and then she started waxing!

Can you tell how funny my sister is? In addition, these are just some of her monikers with silly side stories! I can’t imagine my life without Cara because her many nicknames, humor and our good memories have kept a smile on my face year after year!
Happy Birthday Cara! I love you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Breeze

Two hundred women were present at our Church event called Summer Breeze that featured inspirational speaker,">Sheri Rose Shepherd . Her joy for the Lord, humorous heart-warming stories mixed with truth and transparency renews our Faith by reminding us how much we are truly loved and adored by our Father in heaven. Basically put, she helps women be more comfortable with themselves and more open about who they are in Christ. She wants women to stand up and be the warrior God called them to be for His kingdom.

Being part of the Women’s Ministry has offered opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. After Sheri spoke, I gave our Ladies Getaway a plug and although nervous, God seemed to pull me through one word at a time. The night was a huge success and after her 45-minute talk, we served iced tea, fruit and cookies while Sheri sold and signed her many books. The night was a huge success and left me encouraged to seek God’s will and direction for my life. Gaining FREEDOM was her message and my only regret is not taking notes! If you don’t know who this amazing speaker, author and woman is fill you in.

Sheri Rose is a woman who can relate to almost any woman’s battle. This former Mrs. United States grew up in a dysfunctional home and was severely overweight as a teen. As a young woman, she battled depression and an eating disorder. She understands the pain that comes from a broken home and she knows what it means to fight for freedom from your past. In spite of an English teacher telling her she was “born to lose” and a learning disorder—Dyslexia—Sheri Rose has (in God’s strength) become a Best Selling Author, with more than One Million books sold, and her latest book, won the 2010 Retailers Choice Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
I’ve had her book “His Princess Love Letters” for years and open it up when I am feeling low or need a reminder of how much God loves me. I bought other books last night, “Life is not a Dress Rehearsal” and “Preparing him for the other woman ~ A Mother’s Guide to Raising her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family.”  After my unicycle ride tonight, I look forward to snuggling into bed and starting a new book.
Thank you Sheri Rose!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For the love of words, werds, or wurds

Reading how folks grew up with childhood memories still stuck in their head like a jolly rancher in their back teeth fascinates me.  I open the cover of my latest memoir and wonder. Where they rich? Where did they vacation? How were they disciplined? Were they educated? Rebellious? Ever bullied? Religious? Were they always funny, psychotic, talented, addicted or depressed? This has been a summer packed with non-fiction reading and currently I am lost in Last Words by George Carlin.

George Carlin was an interesting, often smut-mouthed, inventive comedian, thinker and writer. His ability to dissect words and find creative humor was his strength. I love words so I’m enjoying his story and am enticed by his twisted-unique mind.

For example, his “Questions.” These questions merit thought, but you are left scratching your head for insightful answers. At the end, his questions leave you frustrated and bamboozled. These George Carlin quotes are loaded with thought provoking queries.

·       What does it mean to pre-board? Do you get on before you get on?

   What was the best thing before sliced bread?
·        Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have an "S" in it?
·         Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
·         When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?
·         Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"
·         Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?
·         What if there were no hypothetical questions?
·         Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
How did he come up with this stuff? What an ingenious and artistic mind George Carlin had. Now, back to my book …

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pay it forward

Doing something for someone that they can’t do for themselves and expecting nothing in return is the definition of “Pay it forward.”  After watching this old movie last week, I felt inspired. How can I pay it forward? I thought about it for a day, and then realized, “We just did that last month!” At the time, I cataloged it as “overly neighborly”, but looking back, I think it was a “Pay it forward” moment:

Turning into our neighborhood late one night, a splayed-out woman lay on the side of the street.  She looked like a snow angel waiting to be run over.
“Stop the car!”
My husband flipped a U. I cautiously approached her, wondering if she was alive.  After gentle rousing, it was clear as vodka that she was waaaaay drunk. As in: blotto, smashed, intoxicated, zonked, inebriated, totally wasted … whatever you call it, this woman wobbled as I helped pull her up to stand. She held a bag of leftover Chinese food and garbled out her name. After a short-jumbled discussion, I could tell she needed help (in so many ways). She was not a threat and uninjured, so I placed her in our front seat and hopped in the backseat with my sons whose eyes were big as saucers as we drove the drunk-street lady home to the other side of our neighborhood. I prayed she would not barf. She mumbled how she had lost her job, was in a bad place, and so sorry and blah, blah, blah.  I was just thankful no body ran offer her passed-out self.  

When we got her home, I watched her sway like Kumbaya Singers on her porch as she apologized and thanked me. Growing frustrated watching her fail to fit her key into the keyhole, I did it for her. I helped her into the house, placed the Chinese leftovers in this complete stranger’s refrigerator and shlepped back to my family waiting stone sober in the drive way. Her son had since drove home and was thanking my husband for helping out his mom.
That is my “Pay it forward” moment and although risky, I don’t regret it. When you "Pay it forward", according to the movie, you do it in “threes” and then those folks "Pay it back" by helping three strangers.  The truth? Folks have graciously stepped into my life and unconditionally helped me when I couldn’t help myself and I am sure I’ll need more unsolicited assistance down the road. Apparently, generosity is contagious, so "Pay It Forward."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Balance Challenge #9 – No late night snack will deflate the rack

In light of gaining a lil’ extra weight, my next Balance Challenge is basic, although not easy.   If you have good eating habits, and well, um, mine have slipped through my greasy french fry fingers, this is a no brainer. My challenge is to stop snacking after 7 PM. This used to be my standard, but I’ve slacked off and added eight pounds that went straight to my rack (that I refer to as Boob A and Boob B) and hips (Think Lionel Richie and the Commodore’s song, “She’s a Brick Hoooowwse”).  I should not complain as this extra chub settled in my girlie parts. However, the truth is that balancing two-size-D bowling balls front and center has made the quest to “ride like the wind” on top of that tiny wheel difficult.  You see, when I need to give my undercarriage a break during a ride, I extend my arm and prop it on the seat, shifting all my weight to my arm and off my can. The only problem is wedging my straightened arm in between Boob A and boob B; they are in the way! 

Ending late night snacking is my baby step toward healthier eating habits and weight loss with the hopes that I will deflate my rack like a punctured over-pumped-up bike tire. It might not be much, but it is a start.  If you are looking for a simple healthy challenge, then join me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If things go wrong, don't go with them. ~Roger Babson

It was a lazy weekend for my husband and me, but my kids had off-the-charts-fun so the digital camera was full.  Being the compulsive-family-photo-historian, I couldn’t wait to down load the pictures of my older son and his friend from Arizona, and my younger son and his buddy horsing around. I suggested my son download the pictures.
Son:  “No problem. I know how to do that.”
He spent some time on the computer then left to use the bathroom. I nestled my can into the swiveling computer chair and looked at the photos.  I turned to the camera and DELETED all of them.  As in, good-bye, adios, sayonara.  The pictures on my computer screen vanished. I panicked, fearing the pictures were deleted from my camera and this world forever.

I discovered my son only VIEWED the photos, not downloaded them.  Farump! I fiddled with the camera praying to make them reappear. Nope, they were long gone.  Saddened, I realized these memories would never make it to the family photo album.  A rush of negative emotions flooded my frustrated head and I wanted to get super-duper-angry.  “C’mon!” I told myself, “It’s not like this is open-heart surgery. Yes, things went wrong, but don’t let it ruin the day.”  This was truly hard for me, but I decided to take a deep breath and let it go. I had to let it go a dozen more times throughout the day.
Wait, there’s a happy ending! When my techie husband arrived home, he worked some digital-camera-software-download-magic and resurrected the pictures from the deleted trash bin!  He is my hero and I am thankful that I did not let that Evil-Italian-Witch-Mother out of her cage earlier that day. So here’s my new plan:
When things go wrong, I am not going with them!

Friday, July 8, 2011

From the Mouth of Abe

Searching for my favorite patriotic quotes to decorate for the Fourth of July was a fun way to stroll down American History Lane. My favorite one is from the mouth of Abe:

Those words are food for the American soul to chew on, served up short, sweet and wise by Abe himself!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pyropalooza

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday.  American flags are the boldest and most beautiful symbol I decorate (maybe over decorate?) with. Watching fireworks from our backyard with friends and family is a perfectly patriotic way to wish The Ol’ U.S.A. a Happy Birthday. This year the shmoozing and high spirits were upbeat as the kids shared a major Sparkler Fest. Watching a small child hold that magical-glitter stick for the first time reminds me it REALLY is the little things that bring the most joy in life! The City Fireworks show started and I’ll admit, while spectacular, the Grand Finale was a big dud. Mr. Fireworks Dude made a mistake and forgot to light-off those last ten explosives simultaneously.
That’s okay, because July 3rd we celebrated with a Pyropalooza in my parent’s backyard. Grandpa Larry drove Daniel to Fillmore to buy fireworks and they were anxious to ignite the colorful smoke bombs, loud-sparky fountains and a box of assorted pyrotechnics.  Why do boys gravitate toward explosives and fire? Danger, risk and that feeling that “nothing will go wrong,” must create extreme exhilaration. The hardest part for my boys was waiting for the sun to drop so they could begin. Good thing there was a bonfire they could fiddle with while they waited. More high-risk hijinks!  I enjoyed the moment wishing a fire extinguisher was nearby.

My husband and son busted out their guitars creating an unforgettable memory. Listening to them strum with the smoky-fire smell looming while watching Daniel blow up the backyard leaves a remarkable mental picture. His finale was called “Pyropalooza.” That it was.

With the Fourth of July weekend over, we await another 365 days to repeat it.  Until then, I am thanking God for our freedom, safety, good health and a multitude of other blessings that blast off all year long.