Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Road Rage at its finest. . .

Time for a little levity here. . .

Actually this should be titled: Parking Lot Rage--because, well, it takes place in a parking lot.

If you liked the character 'Lois' from Malcolm In The Middle--you'll love her in this demonstration of how to get the best of a rude parking lot driver. . .

Now excuse me while I go get my car to do some shopping. . .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The passage we call death. . .

I apologize in advance if this post becomes too wordy--as I have a myriad of thoughts on this subject since I have been exposed to the event of death in a very real and personal way recently. . .

In my experiences upon this planet--the death of a loved one is one event or facet of life that can truly cause profound changes in a person. . . you know, where you have what might be referred to as an 'aha moment' and truly stop and think what life is all about. . .

Thankfully, I haven't had to experience many such deaths yet--but I have had a few of these passages I've gone through and I know my life has been profoundly altered by each one.

I remember well, 3 & 1/2 years ago when I lost a very good friend and my own dear mother in the very same week. My mother's death was not unexpected, she was well into her 80's and her health was failing, yet even so, when she passed away it was still so heartbreaking to have her gone. My friend's death was very unexpected--he was only 54 and died suddenly and I had a hard time trying to come to grips that he really was gone and I would never again get to hear his laughter and endure his teasing and joking and see his smiling face and slurp up all the compliments he so generously gave. . .

I still think of them often and remember their faces and voices and words of cheer and comfort and advice--and in the case of my mother, there are times when I feel very close to her and that she is somehow watching over me. . .

More recently, just before Thanksgiving, I lost a very sweet next-door neighbor. We have had this amazing retired couple that live right next door to us. And they were such a 'class act.' They have been very close to our family and put up with our crazy, sometimes rowdy and noisy brood ever since we moved next to them almost 15 years ago. They never seemed to mind the pranks my kids pulled or the loud noises and music that might come from our home any time of day or night.

When the wife started becoming ill, I watched this man tenderly care for her and take over many things to keep her home with him so she wouldn't have to go into assisted care. He did the care mostly himself--with hospice folks coming on a regular basis to check up and help out when needed.

She died of congestive heart failure--the very same thing my own mother died of--and when her moment of passage came and he came to tell me the news, it was such a bittersweet moment. Bitter--because she was gone, and she was such a great, happy, caring, intelligent and fun lady--and a class act right up to the end of her life. And sweet--because her husband had been with her every moment right up to the end and was with her when she made this passage into death--so she wasn't alone or afraid.

We shared some precious moments and stories--and now, my neighbor, as well as my father--must learn to go on with this life without their beloved companions--until they finally make their own passage and can be reunited again with their loved ones.

And finally--just a few short days ago, I experienced the passage of another great friend. Words cannot adequately express the love and admiration and appreciation that I have felt (and still feel) for this kind, loving, amazing man.

My heart is pained in a way I cannot even describe. It's like part of my heart and soul is missing along with this great man. His death was also unexpected--and I took some consolation in the fact that he went very peacefully, sitting in his chair, watching his favorite golf channel.

There may or may not come into your life folks that touch your very soul and that you connect with in a deep and profound way. Anne of Green Gables calls people like this 'bosom buddies'. . . right from the start he and his wife were exactly that! Bosom buddies--deep friends--and the love we felt for them not only extended to them--but to their family as well. This love was reciprocated a thousandfold. They genuinely loved our children and grandchildren and we became part of their family--and have remained so ever since.

I received so much advice and counsel and laughter and stories and cheer and comfort and empathy and unconditional love from this man. I've laughed with him, cried with him, prayed with him, counseled with him, talked with him, and learned so much about how to live a Christ-centered life from him. When I think of a spiritual man--I think of him, when I think of a loving husband, father, and grandfather--I think of him. When I think of a successful, ethical businessman--I think of him. When I think of a talented and smart hobbyist of many things (a Renaissance man)--I think of him.

And his wife is not one whit behind him in any of his attributes. She and he are great individuals--but together--WOW! They transcend into the amazing realm.

The thing is--he wasn't perfect, he had many bad as well as good things happen to him throughout his life. But what he taught me about was the nature of his character--about how to REACT to the bad things that happen--how to make mistakes and pick yourself up, learn from them, move on and be better. This was what endeared me to him the most--and made me feel that I could overcome anything too--and gave me the strength to try and be better. . .

I think really good friends inspire you to be the best you can be and accept and love you for who you are, warts and all. And that's how he was to me and my family.

And though I feel somewhat shortchanged (that he left much sooner than I would have liked) I feel very blessed and privileged to have known him and got to share in a bit of his life and that our paths crossed and we spent lots of time together--because I am a better person because of him.

I still have his wonderful wife in my life--and will try and be a comfort and help to her as she learns to cope with his absence until they can be reunited again. . . and I am grateful for her love and example too.

I just felt that I had to share some moments to mark the passages of some truly great people that I have had the good fortune to come into my life. I have truly learned to respect and love and give and do as much as I can WHILE I still can.

You truly never know when someone you know and love might just make that passage into death--it can come unexpectedly at any time. . . and whether as a release from a lingering illness, a tragic accident or violent means, an unexpected event, or even a peaceful passing into the life beyond--it is always a profound event and forever leaves its mark upon the survivors. . .

How I dearly miss those loved ones who have taken this passage. . . and I have great hope, when my own time comes that I will see and hear and embrace them again. What a joyous reunion that will be. . .

Until then, I want to live up to the legacy that I have learned from their passing. I hope I don't disappoint. . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Escaping to the coast. . .

We decided to escape the cold, winter weather and spend a weekend in Lincoln City at the Oregon coast with some friends and their families . . .

The weather was PERFECT! Sunny and clear and in the mid 50's. . . Perfect to go beach combing, hiking and exploring. . .

It was also the perfect place to strike poses with friends!

And of course, I had to get a pose in with dear hubby:

And speaking of dear hubby--HE had to get in some harmonica playing time:

As well as try to find the perfect hat when we went exploring Depot Bay:

On one of our early morning beach walks--we found a guy who barely made it on to the sand from his hotel room before 'staking his claim' and having his breakfast on the beach:

His 'spot' was marked by him taking off his jacket and placing it upon a tall stick which he stuck into the sand:

Since it was early in the morning, and there was hardly anyone even ON the beach--I couldn't figure out why he felt the need to do this. He never even got close to the water! Just ate his breakfast, put his jacket back on and walked the hundred steps or so back up the embankment and to his rental room. . .

Meanwhile, SOME people really knew how to have fun at the beach!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm trying the 'shut-your-pie-hole' diet for the new year!

Well. . . it's the start of a new year and of course, goals and resolutions must be determined so they can be broken in just a few short weeks. . .

So here's my BIG ONE for this next year.

I have decided to go on the ultimate weight loss diet. I call it the 'shut-your-pie-hole' diet.

Trust me, after being in the 'fitness industry' for nearly 25 years, I know what works and what doesn't. No weight loss plan, exercise gadgets, pills, diet drinks or diet foods work as effectively as this secret method I am about to share with you.

JUST SHUT YER STINKIN' PIE-HOLE and stop eating so much food! Seriously. That's it! Works like a charm. . . If you don't put very much down the ole' gullet--you won't have to worry about that much coming out in the end (if ya know what I mean) OR you won't have to worry about that much extra girth being added to your frame.

This plan is brilliant in it's simplicity--but sometimes rather tricky to actually execute--especially when around such mouth-watering temptations as these:

If you show the slightest weakness around these foods--stop going to places that serve them. . . don't hang around carnivals, movie-theater concession stands, friend's houses, restaurants, grocery stores and delis, and above all else--steer clear of ice-cream parlors, doughnut shops and bakeries!

And it goes without saying you must completely avoid your pantry and refrigerator. (and your nightstand drawer and top closet shelf where you hide the extra goodies)

Yes, you may tend to get a bit 'cranky'. . . possibly paranoid. . . slightly stressed and from time to time you might even find yourself in a FOUL MOOD from not eating as much as you want any time you want. . . But just remember that mantra that you must keep saying to yourself over and over and OVER again: 'Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels' (and whatever other nonsense you can come up with)

The 'SHUT-YOUR-PIE-HOLE' diet is quite effective on it's own--but when you combine it with the 'GET-OFF-YOUR-BUTT-AND-WORK-THAT-THING-OFF' exercise program, the results are nothing short of AMAZING!

This exercise program is also quite simple in structure (but the execution can be as complex as you want to make it)

Just make sure you move around a lot more than you sit or lie down. You don't need to belong to a fancy gym--you can do some really insane things right in your own domicile. For example:

  • If you have stairs in your house--run up and down them 10 or 20 times EXTRA for every time you have to make a trip.
  • When you want to use your phone, computer, TV, or CD-player--take a walk around the block first. (I suggest that when you have to use the bathroom, just go ahead and do it--and THEN take your walk around the block)
  • When folding and putting away clothes, put them in surprising places (kinda like an Easter Egg Hunt) Then go back and try and find them and put them away correctly. If you hide them outdoors, you may need to do your laundry again (which just increases the workout and the fun!)

You can also be creative in the workplace or any errands that you normally do. For example:

  • When you shop--don't just park your car in the farthest spot from the store--park it at a completely different lot and then walk/jog/hitchhike to the store. If you happen to have a TON of stuff to drag back to the car--don't use a shopping cart or bag--bring each thing one at a time. (Or buy each item separately and then go back in for each additional item)
  • If you work in a multi-level building--take the stairs to your office, instead of the elevator. And if you are only on the second or third floor--don't be a wimp. Go all the way to the top and then back down to your floor. For extra fun, you can always bring belay and rappel tools and scale the building from the outside to get to your office.
  • When typing on your keyboard--every time you hit the 'e' key--drop down on the floor and do 25 push ups. And if you take coffee or bathroom breaks--be sure to walk all the way around your building before sitting your fanny back down at your desk.

Yes, I am fairly certain that the SHUT-YOUR-PIE-HOLE and the GET-OFF-YOUR-BUTT-AND-WORK-THAT-THING-OFF will become the rage among fitness gurus in the near future. I can hear you speculate, 'But does it actually work?' Oh yes, Virgina, it REALLY DOES WORK. They key is to actually DO it!

I'm not sure they will keep the clever names though. Fitness experts may market it as something more politically correct, such as; 'Eat in moderation and get Regular Exercise' or some other mediocre title. But make no mistake about it--you heard it HERE first! And I'm going to try it and report back from time to time and tell you how it's going. . .

If any of you care to join me--that's GREAT! (misery loves company) And as TINY Tim would say: 'God reduce us, every one!'

Monday, January 5, 2009

Laughs for the new year. . .

I ran across this youtube video the other night--and both my husband and youngest son gave it a big 'thumbs up'. . . we were laughing all the way through it.

I think Jim Gaffigan is a very funny comedian--and his take on bottled water and Mexican food are quite similar to my own.

Dear hubby has been on a tirade about folks who PAY to drink bottled water. . . (although he has been known to have a few guilty plastic water bottles lying around himself)

And we had just returned from a a night of eating out at one of those 'cheap' Mexican Food places where EVERYTHING on the menu turned out to be basically the same thing.

So when we came home and I stumbled upon this Gaffigan video. . . it became an 'aha'--I TOLD YOU SO moment for our little family.

Therefore--as part of my new year's resolution to keep all my blogger fans informed of every latest development and nuance of my otherwise mundane and sordid life. . . I am giving you a respite from the tediousness of my life and sharing a funny comedy clip of Jim Gaffigan.

He rants about bottled water and Mexican food---and throws a few quips about Indiana and ugly vs. attractive people in for good measure.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. . . and I'm sure I'll be running into many of you with your bottles of water at a local Mexican Food restaurant. Save a taco for me!

Friday, January 2, 2009

You're kidding me, right?

I know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. . . but does Burger King actually think the way to a woman's heart is the scent of meat?

Very recently the BK execs decided it was time to try branching out from all those flame-broiling burgers and greasy fries and start dealing in 'manly fragrances'

So of course they came up with something they know best--a flame-broiled fragrance called:


The company's website describes the fragrance as 'a scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat.'

I know that the smell of whoppers gets my juices going--so they must be on to something!

And how about that Burger King Mascot pictured above? If you thought he was scary as all get-out before. . . just get a load of him now! I'm gonna have nightmares tonight. . .

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What did you do the first day of 2009?


This is actually what I should have done. . . but for some unknown reason I got a tear up my undies and went on a rampage to CLEAN my house! Don't ask me why--I have no idea.

Middle son got up when it was still dark and drove with a friend to a neighboring state to start college and enter the world of enlightenment and draining bank accounts.

Dear hubby got up in the wee hours too--to go off with some 'office pals' for a New Year's Day hike in the soggy, rainy, wet, cold, miserable woods out yonder.

Youngest son was comatose in bed and wouldn't be up until the crack of 1:00 p.m.

That left me with some time to myself and of course, I run around the house like the in-laws are coming for a surprise visit and start cleaning and straightening everything in sight!

(hopefully this is a just a 'once in a lifetime thing')

So there I am running up and down the stairs, putting clothes away, picking up stuff, cleaning clutter, doing dishes, vacuuming the house, straightening furniture, (OK--I think you get the point) Needless to say, I racked in over 1,000 steps on my pedometer within the first 37 minutes! (Dear daughter, you should be so proud--you got me the darn thing for Christmas)

One observation I made as I was going through this New Year's Day cleaning dervish was how dumb we can be about some stuff. Case in point: while vacuuming, if there was some piece of dirt, crumb, small object that wouldn't move while running the vacuum over it--I'd just pick it up and drop it back on the floor again. . . you know, to give my vacuum cleaner another fighting chance at it. (or to rub my cleaning-unit's nose in it. . . as if to say: 'Come on, big guy, you can do it--now suck that bad boy up!) I did this several times. Why I didn't just throw the bit/crumb/unmentionable away myself after picking it up? It didn't even cross my mind. That was the VACUUM CLEANER'S job--and doggone it--it was gonna do it--if I had to vacuum over the same piece of dirt a dozen times!

Hmmmm. . . . maybe THAT'S how I got all those extra steps in. . .