Friday, January 31, 2014

Hungry Thursday


Friday Morning Update:  I have seriously got to stop hitting publish and then heading off to bed.  Or invest in a better Internet connection.  Or something.  Because getting up to find an error on the screen rather than a published page is annoying.  On the other hand, today’s the day I get to eat, so nothing’s going to bother me too much!

Yeah, I know most people talk about thirsty Thursday, but I’m not a drinker, so bar specials aren’t particularly important to me.  However, I am an eater, so food is important to me.  And, if you’ve been following my Weight Loss Wednesday posts for the past couple of weeks, you know I’ve started a new food plan.  It’s an eleven days on, three days off type of deal, and my basic belief is that a person can put up with anything for eleven days—especially knowing there’s a free-for-all waiting as a reward at the end.  But, I have to admit, day eleven (and, heck, most of ten) has been filled with thoughts of food.  I’m sure it’s not a good sign that I’m already planning every tasty morsel I want to shove into my face this weekend.  In fact, I have quite a few things I need to do—homework, my Saturday class starts this week, I should clean out my car—but I’m planning my weekend around the restaurants I want to visit.  Yeah, that’s gotta be a bad sign. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday, January 29


Well, I haven’t been active at all this week, but I have managed to stick to my food plan.  Mostly.  I’ll admit I’ve had some breading on some of the chicken I’ve eaten, and used whole milk on my oatmeal instead of low fat.  Still, down another 2.5 pounds.  That’s a total of just over six pounds since starting back on the calorie shifting diet, but I won’t pretend that I’m not already planning what I want to eat this weekend on my “cheat” days.  My experience from the last time I used this food plan was that I could drop 5-10 pounds in the eleven “on” days, but then gain 1-2 back on the “off” days.  But even at the low end of the loss and the high end of the gain, it would average to net 1.5 pounds lost per week.  I could live with that, and it’s usually much better.  So, I think this will work for a while until I can kind of get my head straight again. But I do miss my bread. 

















He Shall From Time to Time


As the State of the Union address was getting set to start this evening, Brian made the comment you can’t help but think in today’s world:  “If some bad guy wanted to make a real headline, all he’d have to do is take out that building; everything would be shut down.”

Yeah, it’s a pretty terrifying option, but I told him all about the designated survivor, the Cabinet member who gets chosen to sit out attendance at the big event so that there can be a continuing government in case the unthinkable should happen.  Brian’s standard question whenever I tell him some random bit of information is, “How do you know that?”, like I’m supposed to be able to remember where I learned every single thing I know.  In this case, though, I was able to tell him precisely where I picked up that particular tidbit; I learned it on The West Wing.

As you might imagine, Brian didn’t think too much of my reference, so I assured him that, even though I think television is a perfectly valid educational tool, I had actually verified the info rather than accepted it blindly.  And, just to further assure him, I quickly looked up this year’s lucky winner—Energy Secretary Eric Moniz.

But, the conversation—and the entire SoTU—really reminded me how much I miss West Wing.  It was truly spectacular television, and I think it depicted how a lot of people wish the White House could be. Not necessarily the actual policies, of course, just the passion and commitment of it all.  (Incidentally, my longing for a return of WW is not intended as any sort of affront to the actual POTUS; I actually thought the SoTU was as decent as such things can be—not particularly contentious, even optimistic—though I am always annoyed by the pomposity of it all.)

At any rate, if you never had an opportunity to enjoy The West Wing back in the day, I encourage you  to check it out now; it’s available on Netflix.  In fact, I think I might have to revisit it myself.  In the meantime, in honor of tonight’s topic, here’s a look at President Bartlett having a chat with his own designated survivor.  Like so many moments from the show, it’s a gem.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saving by the Numbers


By now you must surely know that I’m entranced with the Internet and the myriad of fun and interesting (not to mention thoroughly disgusting) things that can be found there.  Some people might be inclined to think it has something to do with my age—that I’m just astounded by the technology of it all, but that’s not it.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am astounded by the technology of the world wide web, but that’s not what keeps me perusing for the next thing to spark my interest.  No, that’s just because I’m something of a nerd.  (Or a geek, or maybe even a dork.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got some characteristics of all three.)  Anyway, before there was an Internet, I could be found randomly reading encyclopedias or getting lost in card catalogue research.  But I’ll admit that I’d never want to go back.  Google really is spectacular.

Anyway, that’s really not the point; what I want to do is chat for a minute about something that sparked my interest last year—saving money.  Now, if you want to know the truth, I’ve never been much of a saver.  As I inch closer and closer to what should be my retirement age, I have to say that hasn’t served me well (though it’s been fun!), and it’s hard to change a lifetime of habits.  So, last year on the web I ran across a 52 week saving plan designed to let you save about $1300 over the course of a year.  Granted, that’s not a lot of money, but if you’re not saving much of anything, it’s an okay place to start.

The only thing that struck me as a little weird about the plan was that it was set up to increase the saving amount by a dollar each week.  So, the first week of January, you only had to set aside a spare buck, but by the final week in December, you had to come up with an extra $52.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I have an extra couple hundred dollars in December, it’s probably because I haven’t shopped for everybody’s present yet, or the holiday meal fixings are still sitting in a grocery somewhere.  So, I rummaged around the wonderful web a little bit more, and I found someone who had rearranged the plan so that it wasn’t quite so heavily weighted toward December.  I figured I could make that work, and each quarter I would set up my automatic weekly payments from my checking account over into my savings account.  And, I’m glad to say, it worked; it got me to saving.  Well, most of my extra money goes toward additional principle payments on the house, but I still managed to set aside that thirteen hundred bucks.

So, I figured I could do it again this year, but I decided to tweak the saving amounts just a little bit more.  It’s still a little heavy at the end of the year, so maybe I’ll tweak it even more next year, but this should work for now.  I’ve seen some folks this year who have reversed it, starting with a $52 savings on week one and decreasing by one dollar each week, meaning you only have to come up with a spare ten bucks in December (certainly much more manageable), but I opted not to do that, either.  Mostly, I just scattered the amounts around a bit so that most months end up requiring just a bit over $100 savings.  We’ll see how it feels with this plan. 

The only other thing I’m changing this year is shuffling my cash into a different savings account, so that it’s even further out of sight.  I’d hate to undo all my hard work just by being tempted by seeing my extra cash just sitting around every time I log into my regular account.

Anyway, if you’d like to give it a try, this is the plan I’m following this year.  Use this layout, or tweak it around to meet your own personal circumstances, whatever works for you.  Even if your long-term savings goals are already well-funded, this could just be set aside for your holiday savings account.  Because, really, who couldn’t use an extra thirteen hundred bucks?

52 Week Saving Plan

Snapshot Sunday, January 26


So, I don’t think that I’ve taken a single photograph since we returned from vacation, though I have seen a couple of beautiful sunsets and one morning the lake looked very picturesque with a sheen of ice covering it.

But, as I always do, I have seen many wonderful photographs.  (StumbleUpon, anyone?)  Really, I should share more of the pictures I come across here and there, not only because so many of them are simply stunning works of art, but because if you’re anything like me, they could take you so many places.

The one that really moved me this week came from this Stumble, which was actually full of really spectacular pictures.  But this one in particular spoke to me, inviting me to a world of endless possibilities. 

It’s called the tunnel of love, and it’s in Ukraine.  But what lies at the end of that train track?  A medieval castle?  An ice cold lake surrounded by an enchanted forest?  Another world?


In truth, the tracks run to some sort of wood factory, but that’s not nearly as romantic as the other ideas, right?  I can’t say that I’ve ever had reason to want to travel to Ukraine (and certainly not lately), but this one place could make me change my mind.  I’d love to stand in this magnificent tunnel, even if only for a moment.  I’m quite certain the moment would be magic.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Six Word Nap-Fest


Did absolutely nothing all day long. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Facebook Friday, January 24


Just a couple of images from Facebook this week that struck a chord . . .

Given yesterday’s topic, this really cracked me up.   It’s probably a little mean, so I suppose I shouldn’t laugh, but I couldn’t help it.















And, on a more serious note . . .

I’ve said many, many times that the world might be better off without organized religion and we all just tried to treat each other better.  The idea seems a pipe dream, but I am encouraged when some of the most “religious” among us seem to agree.  There is always hope.










That’s it for today; hope you all have a good weekend!

The Times, Are They a Changin’?


I oscillate back and forth when trying to decide if I actually grew up in a more innocent time, or if the world now is just so much better connected and reported—I’m pretty sure there are no true secrets these days—that everything seems more tainted than it really is.

And why do I wonder this today?  Because Justin Bieber has been arrested for drunk driving.  And Miley Cyrus is . . . well, honestly, I don’t know what she is.  The word lost comes to mind.  And they’re far from the only teen idols making headlines for things having nothing to do with their particular talents.

Of course, these idols aren’t exactly teens anymore (well, technically Bieber is, but not for much longer), but they are the people our teens look up to, and I have to wonder sometimes if this is really the best we can do these days.  But that’s when I start wondering about earlier days.

I grew up with Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, and Michael Jackson, among others.  While I can’t really recall any scandal surrounding Osmond (though that doesn’t mean there wasn’t), Cassidy certainly dealt with his own demons, and we all know what happened to MJ.  And I’m sure there were others of the day who had their own issues, too. 

But back in my day, if you wanted to read about these heartthrobs, you had to shell out for a copy of Tiger Beat, or something.  You couldn’t just turn on the TV and let the 24 hour news channel fill you in on their troubles, and there was no internet to both glorify and vilify the behavior.  So the problems still seemed to be there, but without so much of a spotlight.

Which, of course, makes me wonder about other aspects of life.  I never heard of a school shooting in my youth, but there were groups of people openly called “hoods”, and, in retrospect, I guess I’d be surprised if at least one or two of those hoods wasn’t armed with something more than a bad attitude and a sneer. 

As for drugs and/or alcohol, I’ve always been with the goody two-shoes crowd, but even I knew which kids I could reach out to if I wanted to partake.  The substances that are readily available might have changed some, but my guess is they’re not any easier to come by than they’ve always been.

And, in terms of bullying, we didn’t talk about it so much back when I was a kid, but it certainly still existed.  In a way, it may have even been more common, since there was a definite attitude of “kids will be kids”, rather than understanding the harm that was being done.

So, was the world a kinder, gentler place in generations past?  I’m still not sure.  Maybe.  Or maybe it was just a little more relaxed, things happening in just a little bit of slow motion compared to today.  Or maybe it’s just a nostalgic haze that makes the old days seem different even when they were exactly the same.  Either way, I’m pretty sure that every generation of fifty year olds have looked at the antics of the current crop of teen idols and wondered exactly when the world became such a crazy place, so in that regard, I guess things really do remain the same.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday, January 22


Short, sweet, and to the point tonight since I’m pretty darn tired and need to hit the sack.

Back to pre-vacation weight!  Now just to keep it moving in the right direction. 

This week I also started back on a calorie shifting meal plan.  Basically the idea is to have calorie amounts sort of rotate throughout the week—big day, small day, big day—to sort of keep your metabolism jumping, or something along those lines.  I like this particular plan because all I have to do is check off some foods from a list of choices and then it generates an eleven day menu plan for me, easy-peasy.  Oh, and I like this plan because you don’t have to count calories at all, you just let the food choices do the work for you.  You can eat as much of the food as you want until you’re full (not stuffed) and it’s fine.  And, lastly, I like the plan because it’s eleven days on, three days off.  After you complete your eleven days of your menu, you can eat whatever you want—and still however much you want—for three days, and then start another eleven day menu.

I did this particular diet the last time I lost weight successfully; it’s one of the few that I can stick with—no weird foods and no hoops to jump through, just the way I like it.  Plus, you get that spectacular “cheat” window every other weekend, so it makes the eleven stricter days much easier to get through.  So, since I know it works, I might as well jump on the wagon again.

So, that’s where I stand; hoping to continue the success of the first few days, and have more loss to report next Wednesday.





45 mins treadmill, 3.22 miles; 1 mile walk w/Leslie Sansone









3 mile walk w/Leslie Sansone





Super Ads


We’re less than two weeks away from the Super Bowl, can you believe that?  I have to admit that I’m really not that big a fan of the game itself—I mean, I’ve got nothing against football exactly, but mostly I watch because it’s on. 

And for the commercials, of course.  They’re the most fun, year after year.  And, guess what is supposedly coming this year? Commercials from the casts of Full House and Seinfeld!  Honestly, I’m not sure why this seems so exciting to me, but I can’t deny that it does.  Of course I watched both those shows when they were airing, but it’s not like I was a huge fan.  And I certainly don’t find myself wistfully remembering the days when they were broadcast.  But all that being said, I find myself looking forward to some ridiculous catch phrases or maybe funny faces or something. 

Oh, yeah, and maybe there’ll be some football, too.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Back to the Grind

Tomorrow marks my first return to work since last year.  And I have to say, even with a rained out vacation and the stress of exam-taking, I’ve quite enjoyed the past three weeks.  I used to think that I would never be happy if I wasn’t working, but the older I get, the more I think I was probably wrong about that.  Even now that I’ve found a career that will likely interest me for a really long time, I think I could walk away pretty darn easily.  If only the bills could be dealt with as easily.

Snapshot Sunday, January 19


They say pictures tell a story, but today, let me tell you a story about some pictures.

First, a little background.  For our vacation, I rented a Hero GoPro.  I’ve always thought they were pretty cool cameras, but I couldn’t really justify spending a few hundred dollars on yet another piece of photography equipment.  But they’re small, and come in a waterproof case, so having one on a vacation where we might be on beaches and in water seemed like a neat idea.  As it turned out, one of the main activities where I had hoped to put it to use got cancelled because of weather, but it could still come in handy at other times. 

One of those times was a tour while in Belize, when we drove out to visit a site of Mayan ruins at Altun Ha.  Like every other day of our vacation, it was raining during our visit to the site, so we took a few pics with our regular cameras, but eventually pulled out the GoPro to snap a few others once the rain really started coming down.  One of the downsides of the small camera, though, is that it has no view finder, so there’s no way to really frame your photos—you just sort of aim and hope.  And, of course, they’re really created for extreme sport type usages, so for the most part, they’re attached somewhere to sort of capture whatever the user is seeing from a unique POV; just holding them and kind of looking around isn’t really the best use of the technology.  Here’s an idea of what I mean:


There’s nothing particularly wrong with this photo, but it might have looked a little different had I been able to see what I was actually shooting.  But, this picture does give us a starting point for the actual story . . . See that temple in the background, the taller structure?  It’s just over fifty feet high, which doesn’t really look all that high from the ground, especially since they’ve put a hand rail along the steps, so it seemed like it would be pretty simple to get to the top.  I thought that even though I’m pretty much a baby when it comes to heights; I really thought it would be okay.

However, the steps themselves were pretty deep, making for a more difficult climb than I had anticipated, giving me crucial additional seconds to think about how much higher up we were getting with every passing step.  So, when we got to a landing not too far from the top, I thought that might be a fine stopping point for me, and I’d leave Brian to go on up to the top and take a look around.  So, I waited in an out of the way tiny corner and sent Brian up top with the GoPro to snap a few photos so I could at least see the view after the fact.

But, a lot of plans didn’t work out on this trip, and this was one of them.  A tour guide came by while I was waiting and asked if I needed help with the camera backpack I was holding (no need for Brian to lug it to the top when he was only going to be using the tiny waterproof camera).  When I explained I was just waiting, he explained that the stair traffic was one-way, and I was going to have to go to the top in order to get to the downward steps on the other side.  Well, hell.

So, long story short, I trudged up the last few stairs, stood very briefly in the very center of the temple and looked around (can’t get too close to the edge, you know), then proceeded to have a small panic attack before I could bring myself to step off to the first stair and then climb down.  For the record, sometimes living with a phobia really sucks.

I can’t say that stands as one of the high points of the vacation, but it does have a rather amusing ending.  Later, when I pulled the memory card out of the GoPro to see what the terrifying vista looked like when not in a state of panic, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  Remember, I’d sent Brian on the photo assignment with a rented camera with no viewfinder, so I guess I can’t entirely blame him for what happened, but when I opened the files, this is a sampling of what I saw:

Ruins from the Top

I can’t deny I was initially disappointed with these results. And, besides being just a little bit angry with him—who can’t recognize the lens of a camera, even when it’s brand new and encased in a plastic box?—I was also annoyed with myself.  After all, if I hadn’t had a melt down, I would’ve been in charge of the pictures myself, so there’s really no one else to blame.  But, I saved all the pictures because I knew someday they would make me laugh.  And I was right.  They may not be the scenery I had hoped to capture from that afternoon, but I’m pretty sure a quick Google search can show me the view.  (Sure enough, though I’m more intrigued with how someone managed to capture a photo with no people in it!):

Photos of Altun Ha Ruins, Belize District

                                                                    This photo of Altun Ha Ruins is courtesy of TripAdvisor

But, Brian’s pictures are more than scenery, they’re a memory, which is the whole point of taking pictures in the first place, right?  And, of course, they’re a story.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Six Word Conclusion


Last weekend before school begins again.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Feel Good Friday, January 17


The first feel-good moment today (sort of) was completing my paralegal certification tests.  I have to wait until March for results, and I’m fairly certain I will have to retake at least one section of the exam, but it’s a huge relief to have it over with even if it’s only for the moment.

But, other than that, the story to share with you today might seem a strange candidate for Feel Good Friday, because it begins with an attempted suicide, but it was an aborted attempt, and it seems to be a story worth sharing.

It seems that six years ago, a despondent, ill young man was standing on the wrong side of a bridge railing, and just about ready to take a plunge when a total stranger can by and talked him back to safety.  Now that young man has not only gotten help, but has gone on to give help to others, and he’d like to find the stranger who saved him and made it all possible.

Jonny Benjamin was the young man, though he’s not certain about the stranger’s name.  maybe it’s Mike, but Jonny understandably had a lot on his mind in their moment of contact, and he may not be remembering it correctly.  Not only does it seem like it would be a really cool thing to put the man together with his savior, but I love the fact that there was a stranger willing to notice someone in need and actually do something about it.  We all like to think that we’d do the right thing in such pivotal life moments, but I can admit that I’m not confident I wouldn’t be too wrapped up in my own self to even recognize that a pivotal moment was at hand. 

So, congratulations to the stranger who made such a difference six years ago, and good luck to Jonny Benjamin in his search.  Maybe if enough of us tell the story, the two will be reunited.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

One More Day


So, the week of exams is almost over, and while I intentionally saved what I believed would be the hardest sections for the last day, I’m really stressing now.  Thinking maybe I should have spread out the level of difficulty a little bit, or something.  And, based on the practice questions I’ve been working on today, apparently when answering a True/False question, I should simply make my decision and then mark the opposite.

Thank goodness the tests are offered again in May.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday, January 15


Well, it wasn’t a very active week.  I packed my workout clothes with the best intentions of making it to the gym at least every other day while we were away; I made it once, while we were still at the hotel before embarking on the cruise.  Best laid plans, and all that.  Of course, it was a really bad time to turn into a complete slug, what with taking in about ten times more calories than a reasonable person should consume, but sometimes that’s the way vacations go. 

Sadly, the convergence of sitting on my butt while shoveling in treats from the all-you-can-eat buffet led to a gain of about 4.5 pounds over the course of ten days, but I’m hopeful that it won’t take long to get rid of it again, now that I won’t be eating three huge meals a day (plus snacks!).  I’ve dropped one already, which means it’s coming off more slowly than it went on, but that’s certainly not a surprise.  All that’s left to do is move on.

















Making Another Run


My husband and I spent last week on a Caribbean cruise in celebration of my recent paralegal degree completion.  It was nice to get away, and spend some uninterrupted time together, though everything didn’t really go as planned, primarily because it rained just about every single day.  Still, I’m well aware that a complaint regarding the weather on a cruise vacation falls squarely into the domain of First World Problems, and it’s not really what I want to chat about today, anyway. 

But, because of the uncooperative weather, we spent more time than anticipated sitting in our stateroom staring at a television screen.  You’d think this might not be much of a problem for such a self-professed TV junkie as myself, but even I have my limits.  And, besides, as you can imagine, live television broadcasts are a pretty rare commodity in the middle of the ocean, or even the gulf.  But you know what could be found on television every single day?  The Love Boat


Of course, we were sailing Princess Cruises, so The Love Boat is really just a glorified commercial, but I have to admit there was something a little surreal watching the old episodes while gazing out the balcony door to the rolling waves. 

And, as I was watching, I was thinking about a couple of things.  First, of course, was that I always liked the show.  Sure, it was cheesy and trite, but I’m pretty sure that was it’s primary charm.  There might be shows like that today, but any that exist are firmly locked into the half-hour sitcom format; nowadays you don’t find networks devoting an hour of airtime to cheesy, feel good programming.  No, hour long programming blocks are reserved for drama, and the grittier, the better.  That’s not exactly a complaint.  I’ve said many times that I’d take an average drama over a good comedy just about any day of the week, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that our television seems to have lost some of its innocence, and its fun.

I was also thinking about how they say The Love Boat sort of launched the cruising industry into the success that it is today, and I was wondering if that’s really true.  I mean, it’s certainly what made me first think that I’d like to take a cruise someday, but I was a young teenager at the time; what did I know about world travel?  And many years went by in my adult life before I took my first cruise, but I don’t remember spending those years thinking, “I’d sure like to sail on a ship like the Pacific Princess.”  On the other hand, back in those days, I didn’t know anyone who’d taken a cruise; now I know lots of people who have.  There’s no doubt that cruising is a much larger industry than it was back in the days of Captain Stubing and the crew, but who knows if the show really played a part in its growth?

But, they say countless people have been found to pursue careers in various sciences because of Star Trek, forensics because of CSI.  If people can build their entire life around something on a television program, it doesn’t seem all that farfetched that some would plan a vacation because of it.  In fact, I’m pretty sure the Travel Channel counts on it.

But, whether The Love Boat actually launched a thousand ships (or even a hundred), it was still a fun and relaxing way to spend an hour, with people who laughed a lot, and always had things worked out by the end of the voyage; that’s definitely a voyage worth remembering.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sometimes, People Need Help


Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.  We’ve all heard it a thousand times.  And to a certain extent, I might even agree.  But that agreement stops long before a guy is shot dead in a theater for texting.  I mean, yeah, I get it; when the whole story comes out, we’ll probably learn that the shooter has some sort of mental or emotional issue that caused him to become so enraged over something so trivial.  I think we’d all agree that no one deserves to die for using his phone, so the killing itself seems to imply that the killer was not rational.  But that’s the actual problem.

Because, you see, even if it really is people who kill people, those people shouldn’t have such ready access to guns to make the killing so easy.  But as long as the gun lobby continues to succeed in whipping America into a 2nd Amendment frenzy, we will never be able to reduce the number of weapons readily available to a whole host of unsuitable gun owners.  Far too many people die as a result of gun violence, and we must find a way to not only keep that number from increasing, but reduce it until no one again buries a loved one just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  We have to find a way to protect ourselves from ourselves.

Does that put us on a path to a nanny state, as so many complain?  I don’t know; maybe.  But laws exist to make us insure our automobiles, wear seatbelts, get blood tests before we marry, file flight plans if we pilot an aircraft, etc.  There are already all sorts of things we are instructed to do simply because they help protect us—all of us, society as a whole—from the dangers that might be inflicted as a result of less than rational people; they protect us from ourselves.  Limiting the number of guns available to any Tom, Dick, or Harry, as well as restricting the Toms, Dicks, and Harrys who might be able to purchase them, is just another step that we must take to ensure a safer society. 

Because, yeah, maybe people kill people, but sometimes they have help to make it happen.  And sometimes they need help to stop it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Snapshot Sunday, January 12


There should be photos today from vacation, since we just returned yesterday.  And there probably will be at some point.  But right now, most of them are still on a memory card, in the camera.  This is probably the surest sign that things did not go according to plan on our trip, since returning home with thousands of photos already transferred to the computer and ready to go is the norm for us.  I am sad to report that in addition to an unreliable (read: often non-existent) internet connection, our travels also offered unreliable sunshine and warm temperatures.  Consequently, the opportunities for photo taking that we’d hoped to encounter did not really materialize. 

However, vacations are always fun, and I’ll gladly take any opportunity to travel, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.  And, besides, we could’ve been someplace that looked like this:

Image credit: AP Photo/The Niagara Gazette, James Neiss

This is beautiful and all, and an image that should be seen and admired, but not where I would’ve wanted to spend my vacation.  It’s the kind of thing that puts our constant rainy days in perspective!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Six Word Return

Vacation over, back to real world.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nagging Fear


So, apparently my current streak lasted all of one day.  The perils of being dependent upon someone else’s technology, I suppose, include inconsistent web access.  Dang it.

I’ve got a not-so-secret secret.  Just about everyone who knows me knows it.  Heck, I may have even confessed it here on these pages sometime in the past.  The secret?  I’m a ‘fraidy-cat.  No, seriously, Things scare me. Lots of things.  Flying.  High places in general (if you can see out; being inside tall buildings isn’t too much of an issue as long as I stay away from windows).  Driving over bridges.  I don’t know, now that I think about it, maybe it’s just heights, but it feels like more than that.  Really, I think it’s the unknown, and a lack of control.  And, of course, heights.

I’ve lived with being a ‘fraidy-cat all my life, and I mostly manage just fine, though I do think sometimes it prevents me from doing things I might actually enjoy.  A couple of years ago, when we took a tour in a seaplane up in Vancouver, I was terrified.  Literally, white-knuckled terrified the entire time.  But I can’t deny it was beautiful, and I’m glad I fought my fear and did it.  I’m not sure I’d do it again, but I’m still glad I did it once.

As I read through my study guide preparing for the Certified Paralegal exam that I’ve got coming up next week, I feel that fear of the unknown again.  And another fear that I haven’t mentioned yet but that many people are more familiar with: the fear of failure.  That’s a big one, and sometimes it can be paralyzing.  I was scared when I started back to school last year, but I not only survived, but even thrived.  And I was scared when I returned to the work into a brand new field force this past summer, but that has worked out okay, too.  So I’m truly glad I worked through my fear and made myself take those steps.  In those cases, I might even do them again. 

But this exam . . . it’s weird the way everything I’ve been studying for the past fifteen months or so seems to have flown right out of my head.  But the one fact I can’t seem to shake is the ugly statistic that less than 40% of applicants pass the CP the first time around.  Forty percent.  That’s crazy.  And, if you ask me, something to be scared about.  But still, I sit here and I study, reading, highlighting, taking notes, trying to commit it all to memory.   Because I know that I will overcome my fear of this exam and make myself take it.  But, like so many things, I’m not sure I could make myself do it a second time, so I really need to make the first time count. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snapshot Sunday, January 5


First, I have to say that I’m disappointed that a lack of Internet connection prevented me from posting yesterday.  My daily posting streak wasn’t really all that long, but I was hoping to keep it going a while longer.  Fingers crossed the one I begin today will continue uninterrupted until I’m ready to give it a break.

Second, today’s photos come to you from a nice little stop in a place called Webster, TX, the Armand Bayou Nature Center.  Neither photo is spectacular, but I like the first one, because the seeing the deer in the picture is sort of like a game of Where’s Waldo?, and the second one because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pelican in the wild before.    I like to see creatures in the wild; it’s one of the best parts of being outside.  And, one of the best reasons to take pictures.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Facebook Friday, January 3


Honestly, I would rather be having a Feel Good Friday post today.  After all, I’ve been having a pretty good week, including a relaxing day spent with Brian today, so it’s definitely a FGF here. 

But, while there have been a few things I’ve stumbled across lately that I might like to share, the thing that’s really on my mind today is a story that’s been making the rounds the last couple of days.  It is the story of Chris Kluwe, a former NFL punter who believes he was fired for speaking out in support of same-sex marriage. 

Now, let me say that I don’t follow the NFL games, much less the personal lives of the players.  So, how outspoken has he been?  I don’t know?  How was his kicking in the final season of his career?  I don’t know that either.  And I certainly don’t know if Kluwe is the kind of person who would make up such allegations, or even exaggerate them for some sort of personal gain.  I will say that I would hope no one is that kind of person, but there’s just really not much telling these days.

But, what seems undisputed is that Kluwe really has become a proponent for same-sex marriage.  And I think that’s a good thing, as well as a sometimes difficult thing.  It’s hard sometimes even for the “average” folks among us to speak up and say something that we know will not be universally well received, but certainly it must be more difficult for the celebrity types.  And maybe, though I certainly don’t know for sure, but just maybe this particular topic is even more difficult for the pro sports types, who are expected to be all he-man and macho, which seems contrary to the idea of believing in marriage equality. 

So, while I hope Mr. Kluwe’s stand on equality and social justice did not cost him his job, I commend him for his willingness to perhaps put that job in jeopardy in an effort to speak up for what he believes.

For the Love of the Game.

In my lifetime, I've done some sort of crazy things for fun, but even at this late stage, I can still add to the list. Driving 12 hours round trip for a football game definitely fits the bill. But, hey, at least the right team won. That makes the return trip much more bearable!

Boomer sooner!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday, January 1


I’m sitting her now looking at my exercise clothes.  They’re sitting just next to me on the bed, because I was intending to spend a bit of time at the gym.  Instead, I’ve been hit pretty hard by tonight’s dinner, and I’m not feeling real comfortable with the idea of being too far away from necessary facilities.  So now, my clothes just mock me.

Still, though it’s been a fairly inactive week, I still managed to lose about 1.5 pounds, so I’ll take that any day of the week. 

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the significance of today, and the resolution I have made to myself.  Not surprisingly, it’s the same one I’ve made countless times before (and only managed to actually stick to once), but I’m trying it again.  Anyway, for 2014, I am resolving to be more healthy.  Naturally, for me, that will take the shape of losing some weight, but even beyond that, I just want to make sure that I’m more physically active than I’ve been lately, and that I eat sleep better than I’ve been doing.  By being consistent with those things, I will, of course, lose weight, but it’s really all about being healthier and just feeling better. 

So I’m not declaring a weight loss goal for the year (though I do have one overall: I’d like to lose approximately 70 pounds), I’m just declaring that I will make myself feel better this year.  The weight I lose in the process is going to be the icing on the cake.  Or the crouton on the salad.  You get the point.

What about you—any resolutions you’re pursing this year?







35 mins treadmill; 2.52 miles





51 mins treadmill; 3.75 miles



30 mins treadmill; 1.6 miles