Tuesday, February 23, 2010

she got off the couch...

wake up call today...50th birthday is a mere 25 days away and personal goals have not been met. over the past few weeks i've slipped into a dangerous pattern. home from work. replace work clothes with baggy flannels and a big sweat shirt. hardly sexy. it's a wonder the huz doesn't laugh when he looks at me. whip up dinner (healthy mostly, i've stuck to that). dishes, and trying not to be pissed off that i'm the one who always does them, and chastising myself for not setting the "i'll cook you clean" rule a hundred years ago when we got married.

onto the slow drift into brainlessness courtesy of our new big screen tv. endless episodes of the office (my favorite show-pure genius). the bachelor, which has me hooked at the lip. i like vienna. no one else seems to, but i do. the olympics. and i'm sorry, but i just don't really care about that this time around. in my old age i've grown sensitive to watching people fall in a death dive down an icy mountain. too much stress for me. i'd love to watch the skating, but knowing how much don doesn't really puts a damper on my enjoyment. when we're watching, i almost feel like i have to say to him, "don't worry, it's almost over. the song is almost done." and skating stresses me out too. this is the olympics for cry-eye, and still one spill after another. you'd think once a skater reaches this point you wouldn't see so much of that.

my winter nights have grown incessantly monotonous, and it's time to turn the tables (or should i say, turn away from the tv?). tonight i'll be in the kitchen baking something wonderful up for my book clubs and for the job club at the library. and in the evenings to come, i'll forgo the tv for my little studio - to write, to make jewelry, create cards...use my creativity instead of having it sucked out of my head courtesy of our energy sapping mega watt tv in the family room. my entertainment, an audio book. my sanity, regained.

and one more thing...no more breaks from the gym. had an eye opener at the doc yesterday. another stress test, another close look at my heart. talk about perspective! had a good work out this morning. plan to have another tomorrow. goal is 5 days a week, no fooling. i'll follow my healthy girl regimen to a capital T. i did 45 minutes of walk/run/climb cardio and it made me feel like a million bucks. i need that. we all do.

i did want to share a recipe that's helped me to stay healthy and keep my spirits up this winter. i found this recipe in my new favorite cook book - clean food: a seasonal guide for eating close to the source with more than 200 recipes for a healthy and sustainable you by terry walters. i hope you take the time to brew some up for yourself. the author defines this as "medicine in a glass" and i totally agree. there's just so much about it that's ridiculously good for you. the kukicha tea can be found at wholefoods, trader joes or online.

found inspiration in a beautiful blog today. i hope you enjoy it too.check it out...

stretching after a long stint on the sofa
and ready to move...


iced kukicha fruit tea

boil 4 cups of water. remove from heat and add 4 kukicha tea bags and a stick of cinnamon. let sit to brew for about 20-25 minutes. remove tea bags and squeeze out excess tea. pour brewed tea into 2 quart pitcher. add 1 cup pomegranate juice (i use pom, available for a good price at costco), 2 cups all natural apple juice (i use organic from whole foods) and 3/4 cup orange juice. toss the cinnamon stick into the pitcher. chill thoroughly. enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

and if i had it to do over again, i wouldn't change a thing...

32 years ago when i was seriously "wet behind the ears"
i made the ultimate promise
to love, honor, cherish - for all the days of my life
who knows what they're getting into
when they make those promises?
too many of us don't.
that's what keeps the divorce lawyers
happy in their big houses and expensive cars.
i didn't either, but i've learned along the way
how much i can give.
how far love goes.
that successful marriages demand selflessness,
putting those i love before myself,
especially in the difficult times.
difficult times? we've navigated our fair share.
my marriage has survived and thrived
through struggles challenging enough
for most to bail, jump ship.
i hung on though, my husband too.

because true love does exist.
we discovered it in the fall of 1975.
and an honest love does indeed conquer all.
true love bravely admits
"i am because you are."
true love promises
in good times and bad i will be by you
for all of my days, without fail.

sometimes easy, sometimes not so much
but always steadfast, true...
something to count on at the end of each day.

when times get tough
(and no matter how pretty your wedding day, they do)
i am here for you and will love you like no other.
don and i...
we have it.
so many wonderful memories,
our beautiful family
but through it all we've always been able
to count on each other.

more of the same ahead,
for who can predict the future?
but i know in my heart
that every decision i've made where
my marriage is concerned
i've made for the right reason...
because i love this man.
soul mates do exist and he is mine.
and i stand true to the promises i made
on february 18, 1978
because that's what a marriage is...
knowing the definition of a promise
and knowing how to keep it.

in love for life...


photos...the flowers don gave me for our anniversary
courtesy of the chicago botanic garden

p.s. our date also included a trip to the movies
i HIGHLY recommend "up in the air" with george clooney
it really makes you think...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

a brownie recipe courtesy of liz...

i've been meaning to get here all week long
but a crazy hectic week has made that impossible.
one thing i must share with you though
is this incredibly rich and delicious
and ridiculously healthy
recipe for brownies. black bean brownies.
trust me, i'm going to make a believer out of you.
this recipe comes from my friend liz...
one of my lovely book club buddies.
here's what you'll need:
one package ghirardelli brownie mix (triple chocolate)
one 16 oz. can of black beans (undrained)
an 8x8 baking dish
a few sprays of pam
empty your brownie mix into a mixing bowl
dump the beans into your food processor
process those beans 'til they're smooth
pour the beans onto your brownie mix and mix well
turn the batter into your prepared baking dish
and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes at 325 degrees
(you may need to add a few minutes of baking time)
you'll know the brownies are done when the batter
pulls away slightly from the sides of the dish.
cool completely (and savor the aroma - YUM!)
when cooled completely slice and enjoy
i like to sprinkle a dash of organic powdered sugar on top
but that's not really necessary - they're delish without
i prefer to keep them in the fridge
because i like them better when they're chilled
but that's just my preference.
how about that?
brownies, with pretty much zero fat
and loaded with fiber and protein.
decadence that's good for you!
i ate one every night last week.
with a ice cold glass of soy milk.
guilt free bliss...
show yourself some love,
mix some up for yourself this weekend and enjoy!
love and brownie crumbs...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

if i was...

a month...july

a day...saturday

an adjective...real

a color...sky blue

a flower...queen anne's lace (wild and unrehearsed)

a musical instrument...smokey sax

a fruit...strawberry

a shoe...flip flop

a planet...venus

a taste...fresh

an emotion...buoyant

a song...ravel's bolero

a store...entwined (a favorite floral boutique)

a book...simple abundance by breathnach

a scent...rosemary mint

a tool...looking glass
a tree...oak

a creature...a cat stretched out in the sun

a verb...forgiving

happy tuesday with love...
a fun exercise in creativity found in the blogosphere
where far more creative minds than mine roam free

photo...taken last summer at "dave's cabin"
my very favorite place to be

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Very Happy Valentines Weekend...

Love. It's what we're all about today, it being Valentine's Day, or the end of it at this point. My day has been simply wonderful, picture perfect. My whole weekend as a matter of fact. Left straight from work Friday night to head down to Springfield for my niece's final "big show" in her cheerleading career - the State ICCA Cheer Competition. My sis coaches the team, so it was a pretty big deal for both of them, especially considering that Caity (niece) is a senior, making this event particularly bittersweet.

What a day. Cait's team was about the 9th one out yesterday morning. The first 8 were okay, good cheering, fun to watch. But wow. When the Richmond Burton Rockets took their places the floor came to life. Watching them I knew right away - this is what a 1st place team looks like. You could see it in the way the judges sat up and took notice. God, that was fun. And what pride my sis must have felt, watching her precious daughter cheer her heart out. I was as proud as if Caity were my own daughter. But then again, I AM her Auntie:)

After 8 straight hours of one team after another, the awards were announced. Caity's team took first place out of 22 teams in her division. It was the happiest moment...tears, laughter, hugs. All their hard work paid off in a very sweet victory. One girl performed with two broken fingers, another with a fractured ankle. You'd never have guessed, as these ladies left everything they had right there on the floor. How lucky I was to have been there, a moment worth a million bucks, that's for sure. The sweetest part was that as the girls pulled into town the local fire department was there, sirens blaring and lights flashing, ready to escort the girls into town, right up to the front steps of the high school. Talk about home town spirit - Richmond, Illinois has it down pat!

Before I went to work on Friday I mixed up a batch of sugar cookie batter. I knew I'd be pooped by the time I got home last night (after midnight). This year for Valentines Day I wanted to bake up heart cookies to give. I'm sure glad I took the time because that's how I started my day today - listening to my favorite CD (Terra Guitarra - check it out at http://www.patchouli.net/), slurping my coffee and baking cookies.

I wrapped them with love and headed off to deliver - a batch to my neighbor who lost her husband to cancer a few months ago, some to a friend who is alone in her brand new home, batches to my daughters and their families, a batch to my parents, and of course a plateful for the love of my life, my husband.

No fancy words tonight. Just spilling from the brain to the keyboard. Am giving huge thanks today for this blessed weekend. For the people I love. For my husband - a very good man. I'll write more later in the week on love as Don and I celebrate our 32nd anniversay on the 18th. In his Valentine to me he wrote "does this make 34? And each year I love you more and more." 34 years and this wonderful man has agreed to be my Valentine. Lucky me!

Wishing you love - the long lasting kind...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


the day began in sparkles
following a pre-dawn rumble
foundations moving me from sleep
into the wide awake
ironic this movement
so uncommon in my corner of the world
my heart beats fast
familiar with the shift
the restlessness and unease
a feeling i've tried to supress
through short winter days
and endless winter nights

all the day long
i focused on the beauty
ever present at every turn
blue eyes drinking in
the winter-ness
of this february day
my neighbor mr. joe
lost in the snowy white
as he clears a path to his door
i stop and watch
a snowy cloud wrapped around him
and i smile
as i watch
winter, a swirling dance partner
to an unsuspecting mr. joe

the table where the deer feed
frosted in a layer of white
no more corn for the deer
the huz grows tired of feeding them
once the christmas bells grow silent
poor things, makes me so sad
that look in their big brown eyes
as they approach an empty table
the promise of fresh green grass
still a long way off
my currier and ives world
a simple wednesday
and i write tonight because i couldn't sleep if i didn't
not really saying what's in my heart
but the writer in me longing
(with every breath i take)
just to write
for the sake of writing
and wondering, about this whole blog idea
who really reads, who's really out there
but reminding myself that it's me i'm answering to
just me, my own best/worst critic

longing to say more on a cold winter night
but sleepy and stopped short
sapped of the energy
to do what i really love doing...

playing with words

p.s. i miss you nans.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"hope is the dream of a soul awake..."

i look back in amazement at the curves and turns my mind has navigated over the past week or so, where more often than not, i’ve felt so blue. dreary sadness, melancholy... emotions manifesting in tears of misunderstanding and frustration coming from god knows where. tear drops falling in gloomy splotches, melting my words into inky blue puddles on the page.

i’ve found that i’m not alone in this mire of unquestionable yuckiness. seems everyone i talk to this week is slogging along the same dismal path. winter blues? seasonal whatever-you-call-it disorder? regardless of the true cause, this dull phenomena rests on the winter weary shoulders of a number of people i’ve spoken with recently.

the important thing to remember here is that we recognize this for what it is – a temporal experience. one that can be fixed, or if not fixed then certainly helped along a bit. there are things we can do to get us through to the sunny side. by remaining aware and in the present moment, we understand the impermanence of bleak times such as this.

by being aware, you realize that with a smile, a conversation, a flash of sunshine between a sliver of cloud, this. too. shall. pass. the past 24 hours have provided me with any number of just such instances. as a result i believe its safe to say that my funky fog seems to be lifting.

liberation came yesterday in the form of a tiny green bud resting in a shot glass lying in wait for me on the kitchen counter. a short note of encouragment from my husband sat next to the glass. aware of my mood he searched through the snow for a “ray of sunshine” for me. naturally, i thanked him, but i have to wonder. does he comprehend how his thoughtfulness warmed me back into feeling a bit more myself? warmth to melt the ice. love to lift my heart.

that tiny green bud in all its hopefulness. inspiration. proof of warmer, sunnier days to come. and by being aware, by remaining in the present moment, not allowing myself to become “snowed under,” i was able to recognize love looking me in the face, changing my direction. in a shotglass. a tiny green shoot. a note scribbled...a map leading me up a snowy path right back to myself.

blue skies and sunshine...

title quote - a french proverb

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

tuesday sort of thoughts...

feeling my way through the waking hour
i stumble over a cat
startling light bounces blinding reflections as
i take a glance at my slept on face
in the bathroom mirror
"today is going to be a good day" i say
kicking the winter doldrums
out of my way along with
the cat that trips me down the stairs
towards the coffee pot - my life line to this day
a dollop of drippy agave syrup
a splash of cream (the real stuff)
the scent of cinnamon rising from toasted raisin bread
its aroma reminds me...
it's going to be a good day
a good turn at the gym
a hearty egg white omelet breakfast
the day's nourishment tucked into my lunchbox
and i'm out of the door and heading straight into
my day, a good day, or did i already say that?
traveling snowy roads, a flock of birds
just ahead, right above me
swirling left, then right,
tightly woven in a pattern of flight
my workday commences in a school auditorium
where the talent of a chicago shakespeare ensemble
(whose visit i've coordinated)
falls on the deaf ears and dulls minds of, oh...
i'd say about 400 or so teenagers
but hey, this is a good day. so what?
it was a treat for me, this marvelous performance.
tell me, who begins their work day
entertained by a meeting of the minds of
william shakespeare and george bernard shaw
as they come crashing together on the topics of love and politics?
back to the (teenager-free) safety of my klimt decorated cube
my afternoon spent reading books about books about books.
shubert, mozart, beethoven keeping my mind sharp
classical notes mixing with the amicable chatter of my co-workers.
another program tonight - money talk for the money challenged
help for those in need. another reminder...
(besides the fact that my needs these days are so blessfully few)
it's a good day in knowing that my life work is this.
touching base with my cousin
a promise kept to stay in touch following our gram's funeral.
he wrote first which made my heart sing.
going home to a snow cleared driveway,
a path cleared courtesy of a daughter's call to a giving neighbor
(huz has a sorely pulled muscle - not in "shovel shape")
home once more.
hello cats, tosca, figaro. did you miss me?
(we missed your hands, your thumbs, can you feed us please?)
into the arms of my husband, safe and sound.
home safe.

a good day? indeed.
tuesday, and once more...so grateful.
for my simple BIG life.