Friday, March 27, 2009

Read a good book lately?

It's been such a busy week. I'm sure you're feeling it too. For goodness sake, life never slows down, does it? This week busy means good though. It means busy with people, my library life and all of the wonderful people I share my time with there, the needs of my family, getting through that crazy book that I hated and then loved.

This is good stuff - life. Even when it's hard, still good. Because we have each other. And right now that's what's important. It's what gets us through. And those people, those everyday angels are found in the most peculiar places, aren't they? You never know when a friend, a confidant is right around the corner ready to listen, share your troubles or what not. That's how it's been for me. Here. At my job in the library. Books have introduced me to the most amazing people. And like that book that's assigned for book club. The one that you never would have picked up had it not been a "have to," a book club book. I would never have known these incredible women had I not opened my mind and my heart. To something new.

Thank God for good books.
That God for the good people that he has blessed me so richly with.
Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

when life dishes you a lemon...

go for a run. That's what I did this morning, although that wasn't my original intent. Shortly after 4 a.m. my internal alarm clock rang leaving me wide awake. Rather than lie there thinking, worrying over issues of the day, I figured I'd get up. Get productive. I thought that maybe I'd use this early extra hour to get in a little reading for book club. We're all struggling along with this month's selection - The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. And although I can agree with my gals that this is a bugger of a read, I don't not like it. There's just something about this little book that has me intrigued.

That was the idea, but instead I chose to stir up a batch of banana oat bran muffins, pack up our breakfasts and lunches and get an early start at the gym. I climbed into the car, excited about the fact that I'd be to the gym by 6:15, turned the key in the ignition and...nothing. Stupid me. Last night before I set to prepare dinner I ran out to my car for the audio version of The Secret Scripture (which I've also been listening to - I love the reader's Irish brogue). I turned the key to eject the CD from the player, and inadvertently left the key in the "on" position resulting in a battery devoid of juice this morning. Bummer! I thought. But then, taking in a breath of fresh air I kept my promise to myself to move this morning and set out for a run.

Perfectly cool, humid air. The sound of my breathing mixing with the tunes on my iPod. All of it made for the perfect start to my day. Talk about karma!! Not getting upset, not throwing in the towel, but making good out of something that had all the potential to really piss me off set the tone for my entire day. The result of that choice made all the difference in my day.

And that takes me back to my amazing meeting with my New Earth Gals last Saturday where we discussed the miracle of having the power to make choices every second, minute, hour of each day. Our meeting had such an impact on me that I can hardly explain. I (we) have the power right in my hands to make choices that have the potential to take me down two separate roads - success or disappointment. Every second. Minute. By. Minute. You choose. I choose.

I'm not taking this lightly. I am, however, taking control of the choices I make. Conscious control. And you can bet that as I pulled into the garage this evening I made sure to shut the car off. All the way. And take the keys out of the ignition.

i choose health
i choose love
i choose to take responsibility
for the choices i make

Monday, March 23, 2009

wishes granted...

how i wish i could have begun my day today
writing, sharing
memories of a beautiful weekend
coloring my mind in jewel tones
how i wish i could have begun my day today
by whispering to you the joy i feel
the hope
the excitement
this being the first monday as i enter into my 50th year
with 353 days ahead to prepare for
a whole new decade in my life
how i wish you could feel too
the tickley, anxious, alive feeling
inside me as i look forward
to being, doing, saying, living
according to my own scruples
that of a childgirlwoman who is realizing wings
that remained hidden until now,
folded in wait for the day
when at last i could decipher
the song my heart has been beating
since the day my story began
how i wish you knew
how i just couldn't wait to start putting it down
here where i share
everyday miracles
with you
whose heart beats the same song
as mine
but alas, today is monday
and while i was wishing
i was also working
so i had to wait until now
to say
hello friend
happy monday

p.s. very cool photo courtesy of - neat stuff.
it made me think of all the words in my heart that i love
to put here for you. thank you and thank you some more!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thoughts on this first day of spring...

"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been." I'd take Newberry Award winning author Madeline L'Engle's words just a step further and say that you don't lose all of the ages you ARE. You see, I think this becomes an issue with us as we age. We lose track of who we once were. Gosh I hate that term - age. I don't feel like I've ever "aged." I just feel like I've sort of grown up here and there. Sure, the bathroom mirror tells me otherwise, but in my heart, my soul I'm still the 4, 12 18, 27 year old girl/woman that I once was and will always be.

Some days I really feel like a "grown up." Actually physically feel it, being aware of my height as I walk. Other days I can hear my 10 year old laughter bursting through my pipes as I play, run, indulge in a big fat wonderful life. And sometimes I'm as moody and pissed off as a 15 year old convinced that the world/my parents don't understand me. Each and every experience we've had all through our life. That's who we are now. Amazing, isn't it? And who knows what's around the bend? For me, even though I so love what I do - my job at the library - I know there's something waiting for me to add even more richness to my life. There's a little voice telling me there is something more to do, another direction for this child/girl/woman to take.

What is my heart telling me? Inspire. Make a positive impact on lives of others. Give confidence and support to someone who needs direction. Help people make positive changes that lead towards a richer life. Take what I've been through, learned, done, all my positivity and show others that they can do the same. I'm not sure what form my aspirations will take - life coach, speaker, writer...who knows? But just by dreaming, by entertaining the possibilities that come with each new day, I know that I can do pretty much anything I set out to do. You can too. We have it in us. For heaven's sake, we're wonder women - thismuchiknowistrue!

And today? This glorious first day of spring, my 49th birthday, I'm going to allow myself to be everything I always was, everything that I am now. I'm going to be a (teenage) daughter (most likely getting a lecture from my parents) at breakfast, I'm going to be a 4 year old and laugh, laugh, laugh with my grandson's preschool class this afternoon (I'm the mystery reader today and I have a really funny book - can't wait to share it!). This evening I'll be playing the role of strong woman, confident and sure, as I network and rub elbows at a professional engagement. And I wish I could say that when it's time to turn in I'd be the wide eyed child awake long into the night with a flash light and a book I can't put down. But instead, I'll be the teenager forcing myself into homework - reading a book that feels like a bad assignment. Yep, you guessed it. I'm having a really tough time with The Secret Scripture too.

Be whatever your heart calls for today - and honor every part of you that ever was and what is to come. Be open to every possibility that the universe wishes to share with you. And trust in yourself. Happy first day of spring...a portion of Seasons by Vivaldi is playing on my radio right now. My heart dances just hearing it.

the pic? a random google image that fit perfectly. a little girl being big. remember when you used to dress up and clunk around in your mom's heels? and i just love her flowery dress,
so suitable for spring. my hair looks just like this each and every morning.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

three days and counting...

the smell of it
the taste of it
the sound of it
velvet whispers tickle my skin
telling me
i'm here
but even so
we'll be playing hide and seek
some days i will wrap myself around you
and other days i'll be hiding in corners
but just the same, i'm here
like a lover
for the chance
to warm you with

happy 3 days before spring

p.s. today i heard it. when i walked out of work i heard the sounds.
i get excited about the first time i hear them each spring.
the little peepers. waking up. saying hello.
saying we're hear to sing you into summer.

p.s.s. i've been messing around a little bit with a new diet blog.
it's kind of boring right now - just my crazy food life.
i plan to do much more with it.
it's just a baby blog right now. K has inspired me:)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A short stack of healthy advice...

All morning long I've been working on the coolest project. Last week one of my co-workers took me up on an offer I made to her about her daily bread. Over time we've talked about dieting, exercise, taking good care of ourselves with what we eat - how we move. I've shared with her some pretty dramatic results I've been able to reach by doing just those things - eating consciously and moving my body in the direction of the gym most mornings each week. We commiserate, I try so hard to motivate, she does her best to do better, knowing a significant lifestyle change is in order.

So about this co-worker (let's here-to-fore refer to her as K) asked me if I'd help her out with some tips on healthy meal planning. I suggested to her that if she was willing, I'd take that a BIG step further (if she was up for it) and help her with an all-out eating plan - breakfast through dinner with snacks in between. She agreed and I was thrilled. If I didn't do what I currently do for a weekly paycheck, then I'd LOVE to do this!!

K and I sat down and talked about her eating habits, likes and dislikes, and what she hoped to achieve. K doesn't like to spend too much time in the kitchen, so that was an added challenge. (You see, I hang out in my kitchen. It's where I de-stress - I love to cook.) I gathered my notes and promised to put together a diet and exercise action plan for her. I've spent the better part of this morning doing just that. I can't wait to meet with K tomorrow to go over the plan. I know she's excited too. She said to me, "there has never been a time that I have more open to change, to try something new, then right now." I've done my best to give variety, flavor, color and fun to her eating plan, and I'm convinced, I just KNOW, that she'll be feeling so good by feeding her body well. I'm so damn excited.

And as I said, if I could do this for a living too, then I certainly would. I believe in the power of eating well. I know it works on so many levels. I've shared with you in the past my blood pressure, cholesterol, heart crap blockage issues. Last fall my cardiologist gave me 6 months to reduce my total cholesterol levels with the promise that if what I did failed, I'd be on Lipitor for sure. I did my homework reading most everything I could and came up with a plan for my self. And it worked. My recent results are astounding - my total cholesterol level dropped 33 points in 6 months. With food. And exercise. My triglyceride level is 26 - that of a healthy 12 year old girl. Please understand, you don't have to be over 40 to have high numbers. My sister-in-law had a total cholesterol level of 359 (yikes - call the cardiologist!!) at the age of 30.

Bottom line is, the time is now to take good care of yourself. That means taking an interest in what's going on INSIDE your body. Set aside your obsession over whether or not your jeans make your butt look big - focus on what's going on with your heart. Skinny jeans won't keep you alive for the long haul, but a healthy heart sure will.

As if this post isn't long enough already, I wanted to include my recipe for the best doggone pancakes you'll ever eat. It's my own recipe - nutrition packed, loaded with protein and just plain goodforyou! Make a stack - enjoy a few for breakfast, one or two as an afternoon snack (instead of a candy bar from the vending machine) or with tea before turning in for the night. MMMmmm good!

Have a happy, healthy, take-good-care-of-you kind of week!

p.s...once I figure out the technological bugaboos, I'll post K's goodforyou plan. 10 days worth of healthy eating guaranteed to bring out the best in you! oh, and the pic? my pancakes and K's map to well being.

Terri's Healthy Girl Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal (go buy some, keep it in the fridge)
1/4 cup oat bran (go buy that too)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon (lowers blood pressure)
1 1/4 cups soy milk (plain or vanilla)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (throw out the log cabin)
1 whole egg
blueberries, strawberries, bananas - whatever you like
cooking spray

Blend the flour, flax seed meal, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together soy mild, maple syrup and egg in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir briefly until mixed. Spray griddle or flat fry pan with cooking spray and heat the pan to medium high. Pour out pancakes in 1/4 cup measures sprinkle with fresh blueberries, strawberries, or fruit of your choice if desired.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

This recipe makes about 12 nice sized pancakes. I love to eat them with a tiny drizzle of syrup or some good quality vanilla yogurt. I'm fussy about my yogurt. I only buy Trader Joe's Organic Vanilla yogurt - creamy and wonderful, no splenda or scary artificial crap involved.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday and spring is one week away...

This morning as I write I'm enjoying a bowl of organic steel cut oats, washing it down with a big glass of OJ and feeling mighty grateful to be on the upside of being down. Wow...what a week - cold, flu, sinus infection - I was clobbered all at once! No big deal though, I'm so much better now, it was just my turn. That's all. I've been healthy all winter long, so I've nothing to pout about. Plus, thanks to the never fail "flu diet," my pants are a bit looser on the hip.

Funny thing is though, last weekend after 24 hours of misery and WAY too much time spent in the "powder room," I thought hmmm...let's see if there's at least a slim silver lining to my malaise. I stepped on my bathroom scale, glanced down and yelled (screamed actually) WTF??? (and i used the real words) That shitty, lying little hunk of metal was trying to tell me I had gained 12 pounds. Then I remembered...the Grandbeans had been futzing around with the scale during one of our countless brushyourteethwashyourhands sessions. Relieved, I laughed while adjusting the gauge, stepped back on was happy to see 4 pounds shed. Not that it matters really, but if you're going to be spilling your guts in agony it's nice to be rewarded at least a little for your efforts, right? So, that being said, it's back to feeding my body health in the form of food. Steel cut oats? Yum. I mixed in a few cloves of roasted garlic and a little carrot puree and topped it with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan and some pine nuts. Feeding my body right just tastes good. And I've got a double batch of my home made granola in the oven. Someday I'll share that recipe with you - it's the best, hands down.

I wanted also to say just a few more words about the book that I raved about last week - Iodine by Haven Kimmel. My passion remains about this one. The writing was spot on. With phrases like, "I loved him with an ache like a hillbilly song" I couldn't help but to fall in love with this writer, her writing. But I want to be honest with you, this book isn't for every one. It's not The Lovely Bones, it's not Wonder When You'll Miss Me. This book is gritty, a cacophony of madness, pain, myth and delusion. But it's redeeming as well. Intoxicating. It's been a long while since I've read a book that I think about in the minutes after I wake in the morning. The reviews on Barnes and Noble and Amazon are mixed. In my opinion, those that gave less than favorable ratings just didn't get it. This is a book where the reader has to place trust in the author. I did, and I was entranced. And the ending. OMG the ending. It all comes together right there.

And speaking of writing, again I thank you. For reading. My writing. I take seriously what I do, what I say. I am humbled that you pay attention.

So, lucky us. For health. For books. That give us wings.

the picture? my beautiful granola sitting upon the painting that tyler and i did together
while ella napped during our visit last week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

oh, don't let's ask for the moon. we've already got the stars...

i put down my book
folded my glasses and shut out the light
covered in a tapestry of warmth
listening to the wind
i imagined it was a kite
my hand reaching
latching onto the tail
soaring, swinging wildly through the night
the clouds and the moon
coloring this nocturnal adventure
holding on with all my might
through hair pin turns
the ups and downs
sometimes scared, almost letting go
but holding fast
morning comes, and with it
sunshine, springtime
new life, fresh start
and me
richer, stronger, more sure of myself
for having held on
not knowing where the ride would take me
suddenly aware that i have wings
which allow me to fly
i just have to believe
in me
and the stars, the moon, the sky
and destinations unknown...

the title? well said from one of my very favorites, bette davis.
the picture? van gogh starry night.
the movement in this picture says what my heart feels,
also one of my very favorites.

Monday, March 9, 2009

the road to hana...

you tell me your secrets
i trust you with mine
the sound of your laughter
chases away clouds
and allows the sun to shine
you're the best friend that i never knew
but always, forever had
it wasn't until the turn of a page
the sound of the ocean
that we finally had our sleepovers
laughing ourselves silly
me talking, you holding the wheel
who was your favorite brady girl
i learned you liked green olives on pizza
and the scary stuff too
the c-word (you), the a-word (me)
both of us learning to trust in life again
promising secrets to be kept forever
my shoulder yours
yours mine
in knowing you
i discovered
sister of my heart
without words we speak
with our hearts
a conversation
that can only be understood
soul mates
you and i

happy, happy birthday
my dear nans

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I dare you...

to pick up this book
by haven kimmel
and put it down willingly
how did i miss this author
i have a copy of a girl named zippy on my book shelf
but this...
Iodine by Haven Kimmel
gritty, razor sharp,
edgy, a little uncomfortable
but real
i wish i could write like this
tonight it's me
this book
a bowl of buttered popcorn
crown and diet keeping ice cubes company in my glass
spring whispering that it's close at hand through my window
the house is quiet
the only sounds are the words of this book
filling my head
what would life be like
if not for the stories
we read to ourselves

p.s...if you liked Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis, then you're going to like this!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Checking in...

Sometimes it sucks to be the eternal optimist. Seems like no matter what the situation, I'm always trying to see the silver lining, the bright side, refusing to let disappointment steal away a moment of life. Ephemeral, precious, never to be taken for granted. I've stated in prior posts my philosophy on life. Most who know me well know how upbeat and positive I am. I guess I should forewarn the reader - this is not your typical "every thing's coming up roses" post.

I don't know if it's the weather (I've even looked at the bright side of that - delighting in the beauty of silvery snowflakes glistening in the street lights, that whole deal), the grim economic news (which I avoid by simply tuning out), or just what. I've just been in a bit of a funk. For weeks now, a funk. I wake up in the morning deficient of enthusiasm. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. Simply said, I just feel sort of empty, which is ridiculous I know because my life is filled with friends and family. But that's just the way I feel lately. That's why I've been a little resistant to blog. I worried that my feelings would spill into my writing. Or that I wouldn't write what I feel thus giving an inauthentic representation.

I'm not saying these things in an attempt to send out a poor me shout. I'll get through it. We women always do, don't we? I just wanted to be honest. To say that I'm sorry to those who check my posts and haven't seen anything new in a while. Every party indeed has a pooper; I just hate it when the pooper happens to be me. And in this case, I'll practice the advice I tend to preach to my sister, my daughters, friends, when they're in a similar state. I'll go within. I'll take care of myself - focus on how to feel better.

I began my ditch the emotional bullshit therapy last night. I spent the past 24 hours with my little Beans, Tyler and Ella. Took a vacation day today and slipped into a time warp. I became quasi-mommy - RaRa to the Beans, and I loved every minute of it. We painted, colored, sung, danced, took walks with our shadows on a gorgeous late winter day. Screw Prozac, just spend a little time with someone under 5 and you'll regain your perspective before you can say "Backyardigans" five times fast. Tomorrow morning when I make my way down to my kitchen the first thing I'll see is the picture Tyler drew of himself along with me and Ella. Us three with big smiles, bright eyes and crazy hair (which actually pretty well resembles the mess on my head). There's no substitute for the good feelings which have come from the time we spent together.

When they left to go home tonight Tyler got that "all saddy" look on his face. He had as much fun as I did, and like me he was sad to say goodbye. And my heart stirs just thinking about how important they are to me, and me to them. My heart honestly, physically stirs.

As people, as women, we maintain an incredible resiliency. We just keep going, keep doing. We get down in the dumps, feel sort of purposeless on occasion. But we take a deep breath. Brush our emotional selves off. And we move on, realizing that what's important, what matters, is our own creation. And we create our emotions too; we're solely responsible for our happiness, our tears, our sense of worth. It's not anyone else's job to pull me out of this funk, but mine alone. It won't take much to turn things around. Especially when I consider my blessings, particularly two named Tyler and Ella.

Thank you Tyler Bean.
Thank you Princess Buttercup.
You made my day.