Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sometimes love is an act of courage.
~ Miss Marple

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.  
~Henry James

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
- Charles Swindoll

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." 

- Henry David Thoreau 

"Despair, or folly?   It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end  beyond all doubt.  We do not.  It is wisdom to recognise necessity, when  all other courses have been weighed."

- J.R.R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Update

I said I would check in with y'all to be accountable about my progress in my personal goals.  Well.  *sigh*  I was a very bad girl the past week.  For some reason, making the decision to go on a diet seems to switch on all my cravings.  We also had out-of-town guests this weekend, and took them to the beach and the boardwalk.  We had a great time, but we also had ice cream, funnel cakes, pizza, fries, cotton candy and saltwater taffy.  I didn't order all of those for myself, but of course I "helped" them eat it. Then we went out to lunch the next day and I just could not resist the buffalo chicken wrap from Pat's Pizza.  That is my absolutely favorite sandwich from Pat's.

It was also my son's birthday, so we had cake and ice cream, and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs on Friday.  Mom brought steaks which we grilled on Sunday.  Monday was the Cub Scout cookout to celebrate the end of the year, so that was our dinner.  Our guests left an almost whole bag of barbeque Lays potato chips.  A whole bag.  Just sitting there on the counter. I ate it.

Not all at once, mind you, but in spurts.  A few for breakfast, a few for lunch, some after work.  I've also been making a dent in the candy for the kids' party tomorrow, and the bag of Oreos I bought for my son's lunches.  I'm not a binge eater. I just nibble, nibble, nibble.  Like a fat, happy rabbit.

I gained a pound and a half.

I suppose it's a miracle that I ONLY gained a pound and a half.

I did exercise. I had two long sessions on the Nordic track, and I also had two exciting chases around the neighborhood looking for the beagle.  That counts, right?

"I promise I won't do it again, Mom.  Just let me out for 
one little minute, please???"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monster Lily

My stargazer lily bloomed today.  This monster flower is 8" across, and the stalk is 5 feet tall!  I have no idea how it got so big.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

As I Turn 40

This is a hard post for me to write.

I will be 40 in a few months.  It's hard to believe.  Here is a photo of me and my maternal grandmother, taken at Easter.  She will be 99 in July.  My dad is 83 and only just starting to slow down. So 40 isn't even halfway in my family.  I've got great genes.  I shouldn't be too concerned, right?

I attended a party on Memorial Day where all the other women were about my age, but shapely, tanned, well-dressed and well-manicured.  I felt like a white, sloppy lump of blubber.  Did I mention it was a boat outing and we were all in bathing suits???  I thought it was just going to be our friends and the kids, so I wore my usual garb: JCPenny brand swim suit, baggy shorts, faded K-Mart tank top and flip-flops the dog chewed at the edges.  I didn't do much with my hair, just pulled it back in a barette and hid it under a ball cap. I figured there was no point in fussing, because we'd be swimming anyway.  I didn't know that the host had also invited a bunch of lawyers from his office!  I was mortified.  But it really got me thinking about my physical shell.  The so-called house of my spirit.  It needs some maintenance.

Due to my sedentary lifestyle and love of food, I am slightly overweight, medically-speaking. In layman's terms - I look like a mommy.  I am always tired, my back and neck ache all the time, and my fingers don't grasp things the way they should due to excessive computer use.  So I constantly drop things - shampoo bottles, coffee cups, pens.  I guzzle coffee the way an SUV guzzles gas.

This must change.

I have to cut down on the caffeine as it puts me at risk for osteoporosis.  But in order to do that, I have to figure out how to wake up feeling refreshed instead of tired.  In order to sleep better, I need to exercise more. In order to exercise, I need to reorganize my time.  This means spending my summer planning for my classes in the fall, so that I'm not staying up late at night doing lessons when school starts.

I also need to finish that novel and get it out of my head and out of my life. Time to "Just Do It."  I need to get over my perfectionism and start producing results.

I've never been a disciplined person, but it's time to grow up and smell the coffee.

No, wait!  I mean, not smell the coffee. I mean, the herbal tea.  Yeah, that's it. (Right.)

I also want to start pampering myself a little more with things other than food.  Bubble bath.  I love bubble bath!  Especially that eucalyptus-mint stress relief scent from Bath and Body works. 

MySpace Comments

So, here are my goals:
  1. Better sleep
  2. More exercise
  3. Eat healthier
  4. Be better organized
  5. Pamper myself

I will post my progress every week or so, because I need to keep myself accountable. I know this may not be terribly interesting for you to read about, but I feel I need to do it.  So, thank you for listening and for your support.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tattered Wings

This is a repost from three years ago, but I just felt it was fitting this week.

A friend of mine is an avid photographer, and recently she has been emailing me stunning photographs of butterflies in her garden. I was ecstatic on a recent morning to see a tiger swallowtail land among my zinnias. I rushed inside for my digital camera and snapped a dozen or so pictures, hoping at least one of them would come out well enough to send to my friend.

It wasn’t until I downloaded the photos and began cropping them that I realized something. The beautiful butterfly that I was so eager to photograph had tattered wings. The larger top wings were intact, but part of the lower wings had been clipped off somehow.

Nevertheless, the butterfly had posed for me as elegantly as any of its kindred, completely unconcerned with its deformity. The way the tips of its antennae curled up while it was drinking reminded me of a Victorian lady crooking her little finger as she sipped her tea. And surely no lady was ever attired as stunningly as this little creature, with such bold and intricate patterns on its parchment-thin wings.

Staring at those photographs on my screen, I recalled all the times that an injury I suffered affected the way I carried myself. I thought about all the failures, real or perceived, that still haunt me in unexpected moments and cause me to doubt my worth. I wondered how many times I could have sailed through a difficult situation by simply carrying myself proudly, knowing that my righteousness is in Christ, not in Christine.

I have printed this photo out and pinned it up in my office. It is a reminder that one can still fly with tattered wings.

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:17

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Protecting Your Border

I know: Write first, blog later.  But I just had to put up a photo of my flower border.  It's not too big, but it has been a labor of love for the last six years or so.

Gardening is always challenging and changing, as plants grow bigger or die back and have to be pruned or replaced accordingly.  Not unlike stories.

Anyway, mine seems to be in the midst of getting eaten by I know not what.  All the plants close to the ground, especially the dahlia and the marigolds, have lacy holes in their leaves.  Pest control is not my forte.  I put things in the ground and water them, but am clueless about diseases and bugs.  Other than buying the cheapest toxic compound I can find at Home Depot and spraying my plants with it, do you guys have any suggestions?

I did try the "dish of beer on the ground" to kill slugs a few years back.  All that happened was that some flying insects died with a "buzz."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Write First, Blog Later

I can hardly believe my six-week "break" is half over, and I've done so little on my book. I've spent a lot of time thinking and revising and getting feedback, but my word count has hardly gone up at all.  However, I've passed the 50 follower mark at The Writer's Hole.  That is so exciting to me!  Part of it is certainly due to all the blogging - writing and commenting on my own posts as well as on others' - and due to the critiques I've been doing. I've probably spent as much reading other people's work as I have reading my own. This is an entirely new experience for me. I would not have had anything to say a couple of years ago. I've learned a lot, but I still have a long way to go.

I must admit, I'm not the best critique partner in the world. I tend to say what I think without stopping to ask myself if there's a softer way to phrase it until AFTER the critique has been sent.   I have always been that way - more of an idea person than a people person.  Let's debate ideas - don't take it personally.  But people always do, and I should know that creative ideas are the most personal kind of all.

I'm planning a 100 followers contest and a blogfest at TWH, but not until I've done some more on the book.  I was hoping to have it mostly finished by the end of June, but I doubt that will happen now.  I need to write first and blog later.  But man, there is just so much good stuff out there! Blog posts to comment on, stories to read, critiques to give.  It's like a whole culture of its own: the Wannabe Published.  But I never will be if I don't actually write.

My son is turning eight this weekend.  I can't believe how grown-up he's becoming.  Guess what we are doing to celebrate?  Attending a WWII re-enactment weekend.  (I'd rather stay home, but he wants me to come.)  He's also definitely turning into a writer. He will lay on his bed with a pencil and paper, composing stories for me to read.  He also has a diary that he keeps under his pillow. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. And don't forget to "Write First, Blog Later."