Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unicycle Rose's Chicken Update

Seven eggs today! Again, all different sizes and color.  It’s sort of neat how individual these eggs are; sort of like people. All covered differently on the outside but various and softy-like on the inside. I've been picking up our eggs because of the boy’s busy schedules. I feel like the So-Cal-Caroline Ingalls’s putting on my boots and entering the coop with a bucket to collect the gems.  This brood of chickens brings out the Pioneer-ette in me! Really!  And …  it’s not only the eggs, but gathering firewood at night, our peach tree is blossoming and Pa-Teckie strums the gee-tar at night. AWW, Shoot! Life is good ;0)
Benson lov'in on the chicken while Daniel hand-feeds her. Is it just me, or is this picture DANG KEWT?
Daniel and My Teckie visited the feed store this weekend and are planning to get them some baby chicks, just for the sheer joy of raising them! I am neutral on this fowl development. We absolutely don’t need eggs, but the experience is what they are after. Honestly, it seems, "unpretentious pleasures" are what make this often-crazy life matter AND "unpretentious pleasures" keep life effortlessly enjoyable. No? 

Shoot Ya! Keep it simple.  I'll keep you posted on the baby chick progress.

Next on our Chicken Report?

Alas, I announce THE WINNER of the 2012 Quote of the Year:
 “Someone done-stole my shelless egg!” 
 - My Teckie, July 4, 2012, not joking

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Balance Tip O’ The Week

Wash your hands – Mom said so!
This is every mother’s mantra, no? Staying healthy during the flu season is a balancing act in itself! Washing your “manos” too much leaves hands feeling tough like beef jerky, while not washing is disgusting and risky.
Beautiful day to hike, horrible day to feel rotten!
The dirty turth? Germs are not for sharing!
I chose this Balance Tip because Daniel is sick … again. He insisted going on our all day hike Monday, although he was not 100%. Driving home, he admitted he shouldn't have gone because he couldn’t breathe!  That night he coughed his way through “Zero Dark Thirty.” Symptoms were growing faster than bad bacteria.  Fevers, baths and much Advil later, bronchitis is “in da howse!” 

He is on day two of steroids, breathing treatments and antibiotics.  Alas, he is turning the corner towards good health.  PTL!  (That is text code for Praise The Lord!)
Here's a reminder to Always wash your hands before:
Preparing food or eating
Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
Before  removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:
Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
Using the toilet or changing a diaper
Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes, or waste
Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated
This is my common sense Tip O' The Week
Good Luck keeping balance through the sick season!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Question for Each of Us


 
The quote below is worth reading. It raises a question for each of us!
And, I don't mean "Now What?" This is much deeper ...


Becoming Ourselves
Kayla McClurg
When I reflect on the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr., one thing that strikes me is obvious: he didn't start out to be who he ended up being. He didn't set out to be a visionary leader, intent on making an impact on the country and culture of his day. He allowed himself to be created. Slowly, layer by layer, choice by choice, he became himself. He didn't choose "leader of a mass civil rights movement" from a list of vocational options. His identity emerged gradually from within as he yielded to the guidance of the community and listened and prayed and read and participated and took the risks of creativity that were uniquely his to take.
Underneath who we think we are, who people expect us to be, are as-yet-undiscovered aspects of our true identity--layers waiting to be uncovered. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the minister of a local church, husband and father, a dedicated preacher who devoted hours to preparing sermons that were theologically sound and probing. This was a good fit for him. He wasn't searching for a new identity. But he found himself interested in the writings of Henry David Thoreau about civil disobedience and Gandhi's thoughts about nonviolence. He became interested in some folks who were questioning the color barriers in their town and were beginning to devise ways to stand up to them. He didn't have answers, only questions. He followed the questions, exploring the hints that came layer by layer, thus becoming more of himself.

Twenty minutes later the same young man who had a reputation for giving sermons only after hours of preparation was standing before a crowd of about 4,000 people speaking extemporaneously of the challenges and opportunities that lay before them. Part of what he said was this: 
Sometimes a person gets tired.... We are here this evening to say to those who have mistreated us so long that we are tired--tired of being segregated and humiliated, tired of being kicked by the brutal feet of oppression.... We come here tonight to be saved from the patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.

King knew he had a calling--to be a preacher and a father and a citizen. What he discovered little by little was that these dreams would be fulfilled far beyond his imagination. What about us? Are we still becoming ourselves? Are our deepest callings still unfolding, beyond our imagination? Or have we become too patient with being less than we really are?
 Information on Martin Luther King is borrowed from the biography called King, a Biography by David Levering Lewis.
Source: Unknown 
Many Cheers to MLK, a faithful, God-seeking Man! Clink! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Now What?

Finally .... my huge Chicken Puzzle (It's 2 feet by 3 feet!) is completed and glued together.
Now what?
 I wasn't sure either. So, I put her on my unicycle for a photo op.
My Pièce de résistance - "Chicken on a Unicycle"
I wish I could say that this puzzle represents the achievement of no snacking and self-control.  I don't like to lie, so truth be told, I fell off the wagon/unicycle, but found peace and simple joy in placing each of the 1000 pieces.  But, now what do I do with it? It's a ginormous chicken-shaped drink coaster or door mat!
I'm not a third wheel, I'm a Unicycle!

I have been diligent in riding Blanche and sleepwalking in the morning. My Teckie and I did our four-mile "Run N' Ride" this afternoon. We have perfect weather these days. Super sunny!

CHICKEN REPORT: Our real chickens are "chickeny." In other words, our feathered friends are stinky, squawky and busy. All eight of them are laying! We have more eggs than the Easter Bunny and I'm a tad burnout on egg dishes. Now what?  

KID REPORT: Daniel's CYBA basketball team has won their first two games!  I hope he is on a winning team this year. That would be a pleasant first. Lucas is driving us everywhere and has finals next week. He has talked us into dying his hair black with a wash-out dye. That took me some real soul-searching to allow, but that's a whole other Oprah. Speaking of which, did you see the Lance Armstrong interview? Did it leave you speechless? I'm not "sold" that he is regretful, other than regretting he got caught! Lance Armstrong is one guy who is asking himself, "Now What?" Perhaps, I should send Lance Armstrong the Chicken Puzzle since he will have plenty of empty display space for the large chicken puzzle on steroids..

Now back to cleaning house for Uncle Dave's Birthday party. Cheers to our loveable Uncle Dave who turned forty-five on the 17th! Cheers to chickens and unicycles everywhere!
 Clink! Cluck! Clink!
(Now what?)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Balance Tip O’ the Week

My puzzle is an enjoyable-hard challenge,
The BEST kind!
Be Kind; Everyone You Meet
 is Fighting a Hard Battle
  Personal battles take on a gazillion different styles and characteristics.  I’m talking about THAT battle (unique to each of us) to heed the angel or devil on our shoulders or, like many folks, who crusade a fight for good health or making the right decisions. Either way, we are all in the middle of something.

It’s true that things may look peachy-keen on the outside, but inside most are in a tug-of war with a person, place, thing, health, habit, fear, realtionship, finances or??? Just fill in the blank!  
 
Why wouldn't you keep this Balance Tip handy? Especially at a time of year when bills are high, flu is rampant and sunny days are short. There’s not a soul on this planet that won’t benefit from grace, consideration and compassion.

BE KIND because everyone is in conflict whether big or small, obvious or not.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fourthgradeisms

If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.
~Jean Piaget
What is a Fourthgradeism?  That's unintentional original thoughts that fly from my student's mouths that leave me laughing as I gently correct their misunderstanding.
For example, this one Fourthgradeism happened when we were reviewing abbreviations in English. Unrelated to the English lesson, I made conversation on the playground, and asked, “What part of town do you live in?” She answered, “Right by CARMEN DOCTOR. “

Carmen Doctor? Ahhh, “Dr.” translated to doctor, but I know she meant Carmen Drive!
 A student asked me, what I wanted for Christmas when I was ten.  Was it money? I responded that “back then” you received presents and not cash.  However, I let him know that my grandfather gave me $50 and this was a BIG deal because thirty years ago fifty dollars was a lot of money. He thought about that, then asked, “Is that because of inflammation?”

“HUH?” I thought. Oh yes … Inflation, my friend, it’s inflation!
Another example? My students had to write a pen pal letter to practice basic letter structure. I cracked up when one of the letters I reviewed was addressed as follows:

 Dear Unibrow, (yes UNIBROW!) Another one was being sent to MATILDA!
And finally, while reviewing California History and the road that, in 1769, Portola and Father Junipero Serra traveled on their expedition north along the Mexican BAJA peninsula ... a  student’s hand shot up and he asked. “Is this the same guy who invented BAJA FRESH?”

Yes, these are the children that are yet to be altered by adult society! I love working in fourth grade!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sweet Temptation

I can resist anything except temptation.”
Oscar Wilde
Rolling along on my unicycle this morning, I laughed internally over a response I received from my post titled “The Puzzle of Balance.” The response is evidence that many are struggling to maintain healthy self-discipline or in other words, “keep the balance.”   

This woman’s response is relatable, funny, and honest:
“Oh, UnicycleRose, you ALWAYS inspire me! My plan for the New Year was to start eating healthy. I have been sneaking ice cream every night because Jim (her husband) likes his ice cream at night and so I eat it after he goes to bed.  I eat so much of it that I have to sneak out the next day and replace what I eat.  So when Jim went to the store the other day I told him not to forget his ice cream; well he thought I told him to get me some ice cream and he bought 2 half gallons of it! Now, in the back of my mind I know that there is a half-gallon of chocolate chip in the freezer and by yesterday, it was all gone. So now I have to go out and replace it before he sees that it's gone! I don't know how I am going to live knowing that it's there and be able to resist eating it again.  But I have to start eating healthy again and not gain my weight back. I pray and pray but I know God expects me to do the footwork! So I know exactly how you feel, and even though I don't do puzzles, I read.”
 
The visual of her story cracks me up! All that hijinx and tip-toeing around for ice cream!

Truth is …  life can feel like a battle to do what you know you should do versus what the little devil on your shoulder is tempting you to do.  I encourage you (and me) to flick him off like a bee and resist the sweet temptation.
 
Time to work on my puzzle ;0)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sleepwalking

I was up at 5AM this morning to walk four miles.  It’s crazy because, “Baby it’s cold outside” and I MUCH rather snuggle in bed. You might say that scootin' that early is pretty much sleepwalking.  If THIS is what it takes to get my body back in balance, then it’s all good!   

As for maintaining self-discipline, I slipped a bit today, but will forgive myself. When I returned from Fourth Grade I was hungry and had some “no-no’s.” I won’t let it get me down.
However, this morning my showered husband announced that since our "BIG WEIGH-IN" (don't try this at home) he has already lost 1.5 pounds!  What is THAT?  He cuts back to two helpings of dinner and only one dessert and still loses weight in forty-eight hours!

I say blame Eve! Why did she have to eat that darn apple? Women battling self-control across America are crawling up Holiday Hill with  Quadro-Boob (Definition: when  your boobs are too big and spilling out your bra and it looks like you have four of them) while men, "The Adams," zip up that very same hill on a  motorcycle! It’s not fair! The truth is thisLife is not fair. Fare is what you pay to get on the bus!
So ...  I am sleepwalking forward and sticking to my plan. Now, I shall have my newly-permitted son drive me on errands and hope he does not run another stop sign or throw the car into "drive" where he intended "reverse."
 
As for tomorrow? Quadro-Boob and I will attempt four miles on Blanche.  I should not complain. If I have to gain weight, what better places to have it settle but Boob A and Boob B?
 Let's stay positive people ;0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Puzzle of Balance


Day Two of practicing self-discipline and I haven’t fallen off balance … yet. Daniel came home from school sick, so we are loafing at home today. I admit I was happy to skip work. It was wonderful to see my students and their Christmas decorations draping fourth grade (still staying up by the popular nine-year-old vote), however, my body is lazy and tired … Snap out of it!
Chillin' with my sickie
 Because of this challenge to shed “Festive Mode” and regain self-discipline, I have gone without my usual holiday “Eat, drink, and be merry” whenever I want routine. For the record, I am NOT giving up sweets or wine. Are you crazy? Vices are reserved for weekends; at least that’s the plan. The result, I hope, is a  healthier, better-balanced life.

I realize to avoid snacking, my hands, and mind must stay busy because I’m a high energy gal. Funneling my “oomph” is key. THIS is where my busy body finds a solution in the simple joy of puzzle building.
If I want to eat junk (call me Candy Queen), I puzzle.
If I want a glass of wine, I puzzle.
Thanks Janet! Who knew the Baryard Strut is what I needed?
At the rate I feel temptation, it’s possible this Chicken Puzzle be done in a week! 
 Honestly though, it feels good to connect Baby Blobs of puzzle pieces to form a Big Momma piece. Not sure why, I do know that building a puzzle provides quiet time and a sense of accomplishment. On my living room puzzle table, I find peace and some back pain from hunching over.  Like reading a good book, puzzling keeps me in self-discipline mode and brings balance to a busy life that’s hungry for restored steadiness.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of
power and love and self-control
2 Timothy 1:7

Saturday, January 5, 2013

100%

Happy 100% Day!
This score hides from most of us during school years. A tough grade to achieve, I give kudos to Lucas for passing the Driver’s Permit Test with a 100%! Who does THAT … especially after missing fifteen the first time around? Lucas. This kid is a survivor on so many levels and I am pleased that he put the "pedal to the metal," so to speak, and prevailed. Lots of studying of the California driving laws occurred here these last weeks. The same time I was sitting on my Unicycle Butt enjoying “Festive Mode,” Lucas was soaking up driving laws like ShamWow! 

After his first driving lesson today, he’s free to hop in the third “family car” we bought this week and go with any twenty-five-year-old (or above) licensed driver for practice.  If you are available and don’t have prior convictions, please make contact.

This is where I miss Grandma Fish, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Matt. Taking a starter teen driver on the road is something only family is willing to risk. He has my Italian Clan to lean on as he learns the delicate-balance challenge of doing ten things at once (scan mirrors, clicker on, watch speed, slow down, pray, speed up, wink in reivew mirror, ignore cell phone, etc, etc.). I know he will make mistakes along the way. Again, if you are available and don’t have prior convictions, please make contact ;0)
Can you tell I am proud and frightened all in the same breath?

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Party is Over

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid
Proverbs 12:1

January is the time to redress in self-discipline
The Christmas trees are down for the count and Baby Jesus and his Holy Nativity crew tucked in for an eleventh-month slumber. Where Santa and Frosty sat, dusty circular frames stare back. With all the "Fluff-N-Stuff" of Christmas put away, my house looks bare as Howie Mandel's big head. It's so sparse without the lights, ornaments and chotchka ... I feel stripped bare without decorations in every nook and cranny of our home.

The naked truth is the month of January screams, "The Party is OVER!"

January is re-group and slow down time.
Down shift to third gear time (if forced to learn to drive a stick shift, you get it).
Back to work time (on Monday)

Like I said, "Party OVER!"
Leaving bad holiday habits behind is a good thing except it requires self-discipline. Any attempt at life balance, whether it be cutting back in one area, or creating new habits, strength of mind and restraint are required.

 It is challenging, uncomfortable, even painful at times.  At least for me. It's easier and more fun to stay in "Festive Mode," AKA:
Pajama mode.
Eat, drink, be fat and tipsy mode.
Forget boundaries, goals and indulge mode.
Come on, it's the American way mode!

That easy-mode road won’t lead to Balance and Satisfaction (BS). Here are some suggestions I found to work some positive BS into your life!
1. Discover ways to devote more time to the activities and people that matter most to you. This is a tough one.

2. Give yourself alone time. Hop in the bath or read a good book? I decided 
to start a 1000 piece chicken puzzle as soon as I finish “Fierce Beauty” by Kim Meeder :0)

3. Exercise regularly. I took weeks off and can feel it! It takes mucho self-discipline to get me off my can. Yesterday, I hopped on Blanche for the first time in weeks and did a two-mile spin around the hood. Must.Do.That.Often!

January is the time to re-calibrate and love on me some good-old-fashioned discipline ... starting Monday, of course!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

High after Christmas, Hi to 2013!

Hello 2013 and cheers to the real-life-balance challenges that await all of us! Clink!
Rock climbing while waiting for our tram
I reflect on our family adventure to Palm Springs after Christmas. The highlight was the aerial tramway that, BTW, is the largest one in the world and only one-of-its kind in the western hemisphere. Oh, you want more tram trivia?  Perhaps you hope to try out for Jeopardy in the New Year. Well, Alex Trabeck needs you to know that this tramcar holds 80 people and has a slow cabin floor rotation turning twice per trip. In this carefully balanced goliath, we moved from Valley Station up 12,708 feet in a cabin weighing 35,600 pounds. Talk about getting high after Christmas!

In my sick-little head, I feared the big earthquake would hit (I HATE seismic activity ) while traveling up to  Mountain Station, suspended and swinging our way up to the San Jacinto State Park .... Game over! It stressed me to be soaring with many strangers speaking a potpourri of tongues, being held up by metal cables, traversing up where you can clearly see the San Andreas Fault from the top. I prayed. We made it safely, and the exploration began.
Beeee-u-tee-ful!
Our hike on the Desert View Trail was breathtaking. Literally! The air is so thin that high up that I soaked in God’s beautiful wonderland as I passed the inhaler around to Lucas and Daniel. And, it was freezing, having seven feet of snow and being 26 degrees! 

To think just thirty minutes ago were we're in the desert and not in the arctic/alpine zone at 10,834 feet! The views of the Coachella Valley were amazing!
Waiting to head back to the desert
It was an exciting, memorable day and it ended back in Palm Springs at dinner with my parents. Then Overboard and I went to visit the Indians. In my family “Visit the Indians” is code for “go to the casino.” While there, I played single-hand black jack and won enough moola to buy the iPad I'm tapping on. I know, I can't believe it either! Nor can my Teckie whom is a PC software engineer and sooooo "Un-Apple." He was not supportive at first then I caught him with Irene the iPad in another room. It's all good, so sorry Bills Gates.

Feeling lucky!
Driving home from Palm Springs I knew darn well that it was, December 29thTHE five-year anniversary of our house fire. However, this ride back home was not a “nail-biter” or full of anxiety like in 2007. I was sure that our casa would not be black with stinky ash or char and force us to move out for nine months to be rebuilt from the ceiling up. That was a crazy year!

My Teckie has his foot on recalled heater that started the Fire of 2007
 On that note, while playing a holiday game, my son had to answer the question "Have you ever witnessed a Christmas miracle?" He thought about it and after some discussion Daniel concluded that the House Fire of 2007 was indeed a miracle, although at the time it felt like anything but a desired supernatural gift. However, God really can turn struggles into rainbows and unicorns, but we can't see that in the middle of the chaos! 
2007 - Putting the house back together
As for celebrating New Years, it was gamey, not like hunting and shooting  quail, but we played many family-friendly reindeer games, ate yummy food, and kissed our loved ones at midnight.

Celebrating 2013
Beware, he is driving to a street near you ....  soon, maybe!
I pray for 2013 to be a BLESSED YEAR with a foundation of good health and togetherness (My top favs). Years are like humans, they come in all different forms, personality, and characteristics, don’t they? Some you treasure and others can’t move along fast enough as you hang on to hope that the next will be better.  I commit to God no matter what circumstances attempt to push me out of balance.  In closing this long post (thanks for hanging in there), I depend on Him in keeping good balance on and off my unicycle. I expect and anticipate many changes but know I can’t meet those trials or triumphs without Jesus Christ. Praise Him for surrounding me with love, acceptance of change, forgiveness, health and the valued encouragement to and from people He places in my path. To Him all the glory be!
 Again, Cheers to 2013! CLINK!
Oh ya! Please pray for Lucas as he makes a second attempt at passing the driver’s permit test this Friday.  
Yes, this will be a year of new experiences for us!