Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thrift Store Treasures

When we visit my sister, a trip to her local Goodwill store is always on the list of activities. This store is amazing! We went on Memorial Day and so had bonus discounts on some of the prices. 
Here are the treasures I found.

The next three books in the Kinsey Milhone mystery series by Sue Grafton. Score! I also found one that's a few letters ahead, but I have the others at home. I started F is for Fugitive on the treadmill yesterday. (What? Of course I'm still logging miles!)

Every time I shop this thrift store, I find knitting needles! I don't know what kind these are, do you? They are metal and in-the-round. They're awesome! And cost less than $1. Even more awesome!

Everyone agreed that this coat was the best find of the day. The coat is like new, probably never worn. I found it and it's a size medium, not my size. BUT, it cost 99cents! The inside is faux fur and omg, so luxurious and cozy! I am planning to knit a very wide and thick scarf to wear down the front since I doubt I will ever be able to zip it. I couldn't resist! 

Remember my purple jeans? Well, I now have an electric blue pair to match! These are ankle-biters and so cute. I saw a similar pair in my new InStyle for a much higher price than the $2 I paid. Score!

This Goodwill store never disappoints!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Road Trip Highlights

We have spent a few glorious days here at my sister's house on vacation, and have decided to extend our stay for another week. Yay! This is mostly due to a rescheduling of events regarding Professor X's football requirements, but nonetheless we are here for seven more days. DH is flying home to work the week and then will rejoin us for the drive home. But, we won't talk about that right now. 

Here are some pics from day 2 of our drive in which we passed through the Shasta Mountains (beautiful and harrowing!), zoomed through Oregon to Portland, and met up with my sister at our gracious cousin's house for a mini family reunion. The drive seemed so long that day! I know it was because we were so close and every 20 minutes everyone wanted to know where we were. At long last, we arrived at my sister's house, 9pm when it was unbelievably still light outside, and settled in for our stay. 

I saw this goblet for sale at a gas station in Oregon. A gas station! A unicorn goblet! Jigga what? This was one of several like items on a bookcase just inside the sliding doors, right next to the incredibly expensive diapers and wipes. Oookaaay. I don't know who would walk in to a gas station and decide to purchase a unicorn goblet, but, hey, that's me.

Cutest trailer ever! A trio of owls on a branch, come on! So stinkin' cute! And DH passed way too fast for me to get a good shot of the rest, but trust me, it was just as cute, lots of flowers and leaves and smaller birds. Loved it!

Driving over the bridge in WA. Beautiful.

This is the side door to my cousin's house. Notice all the signs of a gardener are present: split barrel planter, milk carton planter, lots of pots of healthy plants. A charming snapshot of her passion.


I would know this view from any direction: from my sister's backyard. Her house sits on the edge of an inlet and it is gorgeous. It is peaceful. It is gray but so colorful. It of my favorite places in the whole world, especially with a mug of hot coffee in my hand and my sister by my side. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Road Trip - Day 1 Highlights

On the road by 4:30am
Saw the sun rise
Fun in the car with the kids
PB sleeping on my lap
Pit stop, everyone out
Hotel halfway
Hit the fitness room to rock 3 miles
Soaking my feet in the pool
Two cuties by my side
Back to the room for movies
Time for some zzz's

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Boob Job, That's What He Said

My youngest son, Mr. M, has been playing Little League. I took a more backseat role, letting my DH be the contact for our family and the team. As a result, I didn't get to know the other parents as well. Honestly, I had no idea which kids belonged to which family, and that was okay with me. (I think there may have been some raised eyebrows when I knitted or read magazines during the games, but whatever.)

There was an occasion for pizza to be provided for the team, so all the parents had to chip in and cover the cost. DH was working late and I was taking Mr. M to practice, so DH said I needed to give the pizza money to Mikey's mom. (not the real kid's name) Hmm. I had no idea who that was. Here is the conversation from that point.

Me: I don't know who Mikey's mom is.
DH: Oh, babe, it's easy. She's the one who has had the boob job.
ME: (mentally, jigga what?!) (eyebrows raised) Oh, really? Well, I still don't know who that is. I guess I'm not as familiar with the breast sizes of these women as you seem to be. (I was totally smiling, not mad, just amused)
DH: (getting flustered) Oh, babe, come on. She's the one who's really small, but totally top heavy. It looks fake. You know she got a boob job.
ME: (Thinking, wow, he's put some thought into this) Mmhhmm. Nope. I guess I can try to figure it out when I see them.
DH: (looks embarrassed) Oh, babe, seriously, it's so obvious.
ME:(really?) Well, maybe to you it is, but I'm not a man. I can't tell.
DH: Okay. Whatever.

Wow. I ended up not even giving her the money. DH made a big show at the next game of giving it to her so I knew who she was. Honestly, I don't think she has. She looks normal to me. Whatever. I'm not a man. I look at make-up and waist size. I don't notice boobs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 3

It seems like just yesterday I started this Be Sore, Not Sorry campaign for myself, and here it is at three days left. This time flew by!

I logged all my mileage on Daily Mile, which is a fabulous support system for anyone who moves. I made new friends who gave me support and encouragement every day. Today I looked at my training report for May and thought there had to be a mistake. Did I really walk 68 miles in May? No way! But, there were all my miles, day after day, adding up to 68. Daaaaaang! That's awesome! Since Sunday, I have been adding extra miles to my 3 miles a day to get a boost since I won't be able to walk for two days this weekend. That will get me up to 78.

You know me, I love meeting a goal. I wondered, I pondered, I entertained the notion of 100 miles. Could I do it this month? Would it be possible to hit 100 miles in one month? Now, realistically I cannot do it in May. There isn't enough time and I certainly don't want to make myself, and my family, miserable trying to squeeze it in on vacation. So, I let it go for this month. But next month...I believe I have my new walking goal: 100 miles in June. Join me!

Walking is getting boring. I've lost some inches and even some pounds. Yes, I weighed myself and felt successful for once. The numbers have moved a smidge lower. Now as much as I expected, but I can honestly say I gave it my all. I digress. Walking is getting boring. I'm looking for a more intense workout, something to tone the rest of me. I am choosing between the Insanity Workout or P90x, both incredibly intense workouts. The workouts are about 40 minutes a day, not an unreasonable commitment. I am really excited for this!

The final help in this quest to be healthy is an app called Lose It! that was suggested by someone on DM. I set my weight loss goal and date I want to achieve it by, and the app set a daily calorie budget. Then, I enter all the food I eat throughout the day, selecting from the vast database of food choices in the app or creating my own. I also enter my exercise and get credit for calories burned. I highly recommend this app! It has made a huge difference in my eating habits already.

I feel good. I am moving every day and eating a healthy diet. Fresh air, sunshine, and sweat, my perfect combination for happiness!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 6

Three miles, check. This week’s total so far is 15 miles. Whew! I have a few pounds I want to drop before we leave. Can I do it? I have 6 days. I’m going to try.

I started using this great app called Lose it to keep track of my calorie intake. This app is really cool. You enter your current weight and also your weight loss goal. You choose a timeframe. The app then calculates what your daily caloric intake should be, a daily budget of calories. So for each meal, you enter what you ate and the app subtracts the calories from your daily budget. There is a preprogrammed list of foods, and also the option to create your own food. It’s been eye-opening and mouth-closing.

I am amazed at how many calories are in foods I think are healthy! Yesterday I totally blew it at lunch, eating mostly veggies, which I thought were okay. Apparently you are not supposed to eat the WHOLE avocado. Who knew? So I went over my daily budget yesterday. Today I resolved to check the calories BEFORE I ate and I think that works better.

For instance, I plan on getting a boba drink tonight so I entered it this morning. I’m not losing out on that treat! For lunch I decided to just drink a weight loss shake (I buy the Target brand, cheap but good) and save the majority of my calories for dinner. Since I do the cooking, you know these dinners are going to be GOOD! I am not going to eat minimally all day and then have to eat something mediocre. No way! Tonight we had pork roast with white potatoes and carrots. Delicious!

DH downloaded the app, too, which greatly pleased me since he has a weight loss goal, too. I like being able to compare and encourage each other like this! He drops weight so fast if he controls his portion size and food type. It makes me sick! He says the app is holding him accountable for what he’s eating. It’s true. My phone is helping me stick to my new healthy lifestyle. (notice I didn’t say diet)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 8

I am up early, ready to kick some as-phalt! I am in high gear now, less than 10 days remain before our road trip. I have not weighed myself again, nor will I until the day before we leave. I'm scared. I keep waiting for that wonderful day of realizing hey, all my clothes fit better, my face looks thinner. Not yet.
How can this be? All the effort, sweat, denying myself extra calories, it has got to pay off eventually. Right? I mean, I know it won't happen overnight, but after this series of daily activity, I expect to see a significant change. Sigh. What is it about hitting 30 and then 35+ that makes weight loss such a battle?

** After writing this, I decided to measure myself, not weight but inches. I love the pedometer app I have on my phone. It required me to enter my dimensions when I started to use it for my walking. Get this. I have lost 2 inches off my waist and 3.5 inches off my hips! Boo-yah! I am so happy! Yes! All this is totally worth it. My sweat and self-discipline is paying off. **

So, here I go again. Walking three miles in the morning air. I get to watch the neighborhood waking up. I see snail trails and streams of ants busy about the day. I hear birds chattering, see squirrels scampering. People are cooking and watering lawns and warming up cars, entering the day in their own way. And so I walk and walk and walk past. Three miles between me and my first cup of coffee.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Agricultural Fair - Success!

Today was the opening day of the Agricultural Fair. We worked on several projects over the past few months for entry. All the hard work paid off! Here the kids are in front of the booth our overseer organized by hatching chicks in an incubator. We did a lot of work for this one, A LOT of driving, too! The booth won first place! Yay! The kids were so excited to see the first place ribbon. The prize is $250 which will be split among all the students who worked on it, about 13.

Mr. M's birdhouse made from recycled materials won first place in his grade division.
He is so proud!

This was really cool. Professor X won 2nd place for a truck model made of Legos. The truck was set up inside a model train exhibit, which looked like a rural landscape. He was so surprised! We really had to look for all their entries and finding his truck on display was definitely memorable.

Princess O put together a wonderful diorama of farm life and won 3rd place! She used real cotton plants and painted a windmill, great details. She designed everything herself and made all the props, just the plastic farm people were bought.

Professor X also made a diorama, but he chose to represent Native American life. He placed 3rd in the division. I loved making dioramas in school and I'm so happy they enjoyed making these projects. The dioramas were completely put together by the kids themselves.

Finally, here is Princess O with her birdhouse made from recycled materials which received Honorable Mention. She was pleased even though there is no cash reward.

All in all, we had a great time walking around the fair looking at all the projects. We noticed that a few categories were swamped with entries, such as seed art and drawing. The winners of these categories varied and it was hard to see what the judging criteria had been. I don't think we will enter these divisions next year. On the other hand, we observed a few categories that had fewer entries, such as sawhorse animals and beneficial insects. I think we may do a silkworm project next year. They looked really fun!

So, the kids won some money. Yes, the prizes at this fair are cash, which is why our overseer encourages us to enter every year. My kids are already adding up their winnings and making lists. I'm pretty sure it will be much easier next year to get them motivated to work on some entries for the Ag Fair.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Night Survey

Here is a short post, a fun survey. Try it!

A to Z of Me Survey – the word was given as part of the survey and my answers follow.

Available – I don’t know what this means. Available for what? Free coffee? Yes! Free chocolate? Yes! Free love? No!

Best Friend – DH and my sister, but I have a #3 space that changes

Crush – Captain. America. (I know, I know, a white guy!)

Dad’s Name – Joe, and he works in a button factory

Easiest Person to Talk To – Me! I’m a great listener and dang it, it’s so hard to find someone to listen to me for a change!

Favorite Band – Right now, it’s The Fray (I love their new album) I don’t really have an all-time favorite band, more like a favorite genre, which is 90’s  alternative music…I have an extensive Unfavorite Band List that is more specific.

Gummy Bears or Worms – Bears! My favorite candy, next to chocolate.

Hometown – Anytown, USA…I was an Air Force brat and we moved about every two years, seriously. I went to seven different elementary schools.

Instrument – Piano, flute, occasionally the tambourine

Job – At this time I am a mom-of-all-trades, master of some.

Kids – three beauties that keep my heart going

Longest Car Ride – with some friends who wanted to listen to the Best of Rick James, dreadful music.

Milk Flavor – coffee! I only drink milk in my coffee, and yes I know I need to drink more. Oh, wait, I also drink it from the bowl when my cereal is gone.

Number of Siblings – four, all female, one half, one step, two raised with me. We are an American family.

One Wish – For my life to be amazing

Phobias – Spiders! Bears! Alligators! Flying in airplanes! Heights!

Quote – She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. (from a Louisa May Alcott book)

Reason to Smile – See K (also making people laugh. I love that, too.)

Song You Last Heard – Closing Time, Semisonic

Time I Woke Up – 8:12, one hour later than I wanted, but I still walked three miles. Boo-yah!

Unknown Fact About Me – It’s very hard for me to watch TV without doing something else, like knitting or messing around on the computer (also, I love playing Castleville)

Vegetable – grape tomato (is that really a fruit?)

Worst Habits – ha ha, no way! I’m not answering this one! Okay, maybe a harmless one. Hmm. I ask questions during movies, like what’s going to happen, is that person going to die, stuff like that. Also, I make comments during movies, which I think are hilarious, but tend to annoy others.

X-rays – Boring. Lots! I’ve even had an MRI.

Your Favorite Food – Sushi!

Zodiac sign – I put no stock in this at all, but I’m a Pisces.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I am spending the day with my feet up, surrounded by knitting and chocolate, watching movies with my family. This is a perfect Mother's Day for me!

And, yes, I will be logging my three miles this evening on a walking date I made with my DH.

I hope this day was all that you wanted it to be!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Camping With the Brownies #4

In this, my final installment of the Camping With the Brownies series, you will see the humiliations I suffered and also how I exacted the perfect revenge.

Okay, well, humiliations might be a strong word. The women leading the troop were control freaks. (Is there a nice way to say that?) On top of that, I didn’t know any of them very well and they felt comfortable being very patronizing to me. For example, one of them felt the need to show me the “best way” to wipe the table. Wow. I’m thirty-awesome years old, lady. I think I know how to wipe a freakin’ table! Countless times I was shown how to do something I was already doing the “right way.” Or they would tell me to have the troop do something and as I’m explaining to the girls what to do, the leaders would swarm me and change it all. Oh, my. Really? Is there more than one way to line up and throw away trash? Apparently so.

I handled all that graciously. I don’t know these ladies and they don’t know me. But there was one point I couldn’t let go. These ladies were super, ultra organized. Like, they knew whose spatula was whose, who owned the silver tongs, which skillet belonged in which tub. Those white paper towels? Yeah, those are mine. Those other white paper towels? Yeah, those are hers. What about this pot holder? Oh, yeah, that goes in my tub, but wait a sec. There should be two. Where’s the other potholder? WHERE’S THE OTHER POTHOLDER? Where’stheotherfreakingpotholder? (picture a woman frantically searching a picnic shelter frantically and anxiously while repeating this louder and louder) (picture me, holding one potholder, desperately wanting to laugh, then realizing this woman is seriously freaking out and then I got a little scared as I wondered what might happen if she DIDN’T FIND IT?!)

One of the girls in the troop lost her little beads off a craft we made. She told the troop leader…what? Oh, you want to know if we found the other potholder? Yes. I found it. At the bottom of her camping stuff tub. Because I never took it out when I took the other one out. Because apparently I don’t know that you ALWAYS take them BOTH out together. (deep breath, deep breath) Anyway, this poor girl told the leader that her plastic beads, five Pony beads to be exact, had dropped off her ribbon somewhere on the ground during the course of the day. And guess what? The leader made the girl and the other four girls in her patrol stop what they were doing and search for those beads. Every single bead had to be accounted for!

I understand about littering, I do. But come on, this is really going too far! How could these girls be expected to find these beads?! Argh! I was frustrated. I wanted to tell this leader that she was losing quality time, focusing too much on the letter of the law, not spending enough time looking at the faces of these girls. Oh, the lessons that will be learned with regret!

There were multiple lost items that weekend. Bandanas that HAD TO BE FOUND! More lost beads…what? You want to know if the girls found the beads? Yes, they did. It took 30 minutes and they found all but one. Then I joined the search and found the last one! Seriously, my Finder gift was in full power. I found lost car keys, beads, bandanas, water bottles. But, these ladies were very hard to watch, hard to listen to, hard to believe how uptight they were!

When we got home after this long weekend, I was so exhausted. I was so happy to be queen of my own castle. I was so amazed…to find a purple Sharpie marker in my backpack. How did that get there? Hmm. I know who it probably belongs to. That one lady who passed them out for the girls to use and then she collected and counted them, by quantity and color, twisting the caps tight. Sigh. Well, it’s mine now! Nope, I’m not giving it back. I just wish I could see these women looking for it because you KNOW they will!

They will tear apart their tubs of stuff and every backpack and pocket that went camping. Where is that marker? WHERE IS THAT MARKER? Whereisthatfreakinmarker?!

Oh, it’s just too good! The perfect revenge. Muahahahahaha!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 12

Well, I've logged 15 miles of walking this week. I did a few things to change up the routine when I got bored or started dreading going out. First, I set my iPod to shuffle. There is something invigorating about hearing songs I haven't heard in a while, even if it's Baby I'm A Want You by Bread. I felt a connection to my iPod, willing it to play good music to keep me going. Great idea to break the routine.

Another change was recruiting or allowing company on my walk. My littlest son wanted to go with me one day, so I let him and we both enjoyed the time we had together. He had a lot of interesting observations about the activities of our neighborhood as it woke. We walked early in the morning, like 7am. Then, I asked my DH to join me and he did so quite willingly. We walked in a great big loop through the neighborhood and I got to show him things I'm always noticing when I walk along. Loved that!

Today, my oldest son had to walk with me as part of his punishment for lying. He is very honest about the experience, though, and tells me he likes going so it's not really punishment. (What he doesn't know is, I treasure this time with him, too, and it's not so much punishment as mom wanting quality time.) My daughter joined us for the walk as we headed up the hill to Mr. M's baseball game. We had a great workout! I dropped them at the field with DH and huffed and puffed through another 1.5 mile. I made it back just in time to see Mr. M hit a single! I gave everyone a sweaty smile and thankfully rested my feet and my fat behind on the stands.

One last change I made this week was visually mapping out the route the night before and going a different way each time. Walking can be so dang boring! I can't keep squeezing three miles out of these same streets every day and not start to hate it. I've widened my radius and now I think I can make it to the boba drink place and back in three miles. For a boba, I might even go a little further!

In two weeks, we will make our way north. I will happily be a few pounds lighter, I hope. I haven't gone near the scale again and I don't plan to until day 1, the last day of the Be Sore, Not Sorry countdown. I have 12 days to push myself and hopefully log another 36 miles. I think I can! I think I can! And you can, too! Be Sore, Not Sorry!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Conversation with Tyra Banks (sort of)

If you happen to notice my Twitter feed to the right of the blog, you will see that I don't tweet consistently most of the time. I go through phases of constant tweets and intermittent tweets. Twitter is one of my favorite things, but the people around me can get a bit irritated if I tweet a play by play of what we're doing instead of staying in reality with them. Can't say I blame them. Right?

Last week while making dinner, I  had the urge to tweet. I happened to be cooking and watching reruns of America's Next Top Model, created, produced, and hosted by Tyra Banks. Do you know this show? It's so much fun to watch! There is a perfect mix of competition and drama. The personalities of the models (I use the term loosely since most of them aren't models, yet) range from naive to street smart to cutthroat. Great show, one of my favorites. However, I rarely get to watch it since some of the clothing (or lack thereof) is disturbing to my husband, also some of the content is not age-appropriate for my kids. On this particular afternoon, though, I was alone in the kitchen making dinner and there was a marathon of reruns going, all from the same cycle, which made it even better. (also, this was the cycle of the girl wearing the silver bathing suit to judging, major fashion crime!)

I didn't add those words, just thought it was funny!

I grabbed my phone while browning some beef and tweeted something like "I love watching reruns of #ANTM while I'm cooking. Maybe I should invite @TyraBanks over to help me!" something like that. A little while later, I got a reply! Can you believe that? Tyra Banks actually acknowledged my tweet by sending me a reply that went something like, "Turn that cooking time into #randomactsofmodeling time!" Whoa! I was so excited, like really more excited than was probably called for, but seriously, how crazy is that? Tyra Banks replying to my tweet made my day, my week!

For this 30-awesome, SAHM, who was looking less than fierce that day, just those few little words, that surreal nod to my existence, from a lady I admire, who is extremely successful in the style world, pumped me up. I immediately put on a fresh shirt and more mascara. For the next few hours, I drove my husband crazy by saying, "Oh, Tyra this" and "Tyra that". I was floating! (And I do realize it was probably her assistant or some other person in charge of her tweets that answered me, I do, but I'm choosing to ignore that)

A little while later, I got a tweet from @100celeb who recognizes tweeters with less than 20k followers who get a celebrity tweeter to respond to them. I earned the Tyra Banks badge. So stinkin' cool!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 19

I am on the right. (not really, but you know what I mean.)

Friends, I just blew my own mind when I realized that after walking my three miles today, I have walked a total of 18 miles this week! I can't believe it! This has definitely fueled my fire. I'm so glad that Daily Mile starts the week on Monday. This way I can kick off the week inspired to do even better!

So in 19 days we will be on the road to visit my sister and her family in Washington state. My hope is to help her get in the habit of walking, too. She lives in a beautiful neighborhood and I know the walking will be bliss for me, sister chatting! I think I would enjoy my walking so much more with a partner. I love when my husband joins me, but that's not every day.

I have weighed myself, yes. The numbers have finally moved a little, teeny bit, in the right direction. Yay me! This is where I can make it or break it. I have got to stick with the plan, three miles a day, and this weight will slowly drop off all over the neighborhood.

Join me! Start small with a daily goal of minutes or miles. If I can do it, anyone can!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Camping With the Brownies #3

One essential part of camping is the campfire and we had one both nights we camped. Since we were so many troops, the campfire brought us all together at the end of the day to sing fun songs, roast marshmallows, and even retire an American flag. We had a troop do the ceremony as part of earning a badge the last night we were there.

The Girl Scouts' ceremony for retiring a flag involves cutting each stripe, announcing the name of the state is represents, and tossing it into the fire. For each stripe, there was a Girl Scout calling out a state and then gently throwing the stripe into the flames of our campfire.

Except, none of these girls knew how to throw a lightweight material and the stripes of this flag we were honoring ended up draped and tangled just outside the fire. There was nothing to be about it done during the ceremony, though. We all just watched as stripe after stripe, Rhode Island! Delaware! Connecticut!, would barely miss the flames and then lay blowing and burning a little, but slowly. We all kept rooting for the stripe to make it to the flames, then there was an almost imperceptible groan as another stripe ended up outside the fire. Thirteen times. It was hard to watch!

On the one hand, I wanted to be quiet and respectful as this troop had requested. On the other hand, doesn't it seem to fall short a bit, literally, of the intended feeling when most of the stripes are laying amongst soot and ashes and trash from previous fires? The troop performing the ceremony was feeling frustrated, too. My daughter heard one girl mutter, "Dang it!" when the stripe she tossed didn't make it to the flames. It was a long, sad process. Eventually, the stripes were at least in the campfire ring, and the troop announced we would further honor the flag by singing God Bless America. I was excited! I am a patriotic person. Singing patriotic songs enhances my experience at baseball games, a sport I consider All-American (go Dodgers!). Perhaps that's why I did what I did.

God Bless America is one of those songs that everyone thinks they know, but when it comes down to it, they don't know all the words. At the baseball games, the words are put on the big screen so we can all sing along and that's how I learned God Bless America by heart. Go ahead and sing it now, in your head if you want. Can you do it? Good for you if you can! If your troop is retiring a flag and needs to sing a song, shouldn't you make sure they learn the words? Or maybe pass out the lyrics for everyone to use? Right? Ahem.

There is a tricky part to God Bless America, the part that speaks of the "oceans, white with foam". When we, all five troops of us, got to this section, the voices faltered. All the voices, even the leading troop! Now, I'm not the best singer, but I felt this flag deserved a better retirement than it was getting, add to that I knew almost none of the people around me and would probably never see them again, so I really belted it out. I mean, I let myself go and just enjoyed singing the song and leading the way for this flag to burn to eternity with some dignity.

As I sang, other voices would swell in the more familiar parts of the song, but again drop out where the words get muddled. I sang it with gusto! I even did the end properly, going up high on the next to last "home sweet home" and then repeating with low notes. Remember, it's pitch dark. No one really knew who was singing except the people close around me.  My daughter didn't even know it was me singing until I told her the next day at home. (She wasn't embarrassed, by the way) I don't know what made me do it, the anonymity or the desire to make a memory, maybe both. I definitely will never forget it. Neither will the lady who was standing next me either, judging by the look she gave me when it was over. 

Once the song ended, there was a smattering of applause, not for me, but that the ceremony was finally over. Then the troop leaders promptly announced it was time to roast marshmallows and came around and used a broomstick to stuff the last of the fluttering stripes into the fire. Ah, well.

I then wondered if burning polyester results in any kind of toxic smoke, since the girls were all roasting their marshmallows right over bits of flag. I kept waiting for someone to complain that it smelled weird or the marshmallows tasted funny. Something like, "My marshmallow tastes like plastic!" or "Mine tastes like Connecticut!"

Here is a video of Ronan Tynan, an Irishman, singing a beautiful rendition at Yankee Stadium. Enjoy!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 21

This is a rest day! I decided not to walk since I am so exhausted today. I may do some abs and arms work, but that's about it. I'm looking forward to my morning walk tomorrow and I think that's good. Finally I'm not dreading getting out there!

Our day was fun, still taking a bit of a break from homeschool. We had tickets for a Schoolhouse Rock musical this morning and the kids loved it. The cast was full of children, ages K through high school so mine were inspired. I have received constant reminders from my kids to check the theater's website for opportunities for them to join the fun. Sigh. I know I should be happy that they are interested, but my brain just freezes on one thought: another commitment, somewhere else to go, somewhere else to be other than home. I will be glad for this summer break like no other year before!

I finally updated my knitting projects page. Check it out. I haven't listed anything else on Etsy, yet, due to lack of time and the desire for better photos. This is another project on my agenda for summer.

I also updated my Reading List page, slow going so far. I am hopeful I can make it to 100! This will be the summer of Me! I joined a Read to 100 challenge on GoodReads (come find  me!) and it said I was 33 books behind. That's about double what I've read so far, not too bad considering I like reading mysteries and shorter books. I do have some chunky ones on my shelf, like The Pillars of the Earth, but I supplement those with Hillerman and Grafton mysteries. Join me in reading to 100!

So I'm going to put my feet up now and just relax into this Friday night. I hope you have a good one!

Camping With the Brownies - #2

This is the campground we shared with five other troops. I was surprised at how small it was, but the grounds were nicely shaded.

This is one of the girls in my patrol doing dishes. Yes, dishes, which many of these girls had never done in their lives, which took away a lot of the quality time of the trip. Twenty people make a lot of dishes!

My tent is the yellow one, the small one, the smallEST one. I had to put this up by myself using a diagram, an impossible task for me. My brain does not work like that! This was a 6 man tent, but one adult and 5 girls could not be comfortable in it! My patrol was complaining and moaning about how small it was, so someone brought a bigger tent, and it was still too small. I slept with the side of the tent just centimeters from my face.

And here she is, Princess O, my happy little camper and the reason I would do it all over again.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 22

Definitely not my most fierce walking day. I threw on my old sweats and just got it done. Usually I feel kind of cute walking through the neighborhood in my black, tight running pants with nylon shorts. I was not in the mood when I woke up today. I pretty much crawled out of bed and out the door.

Three miles in 45 minutes, my time is getting faster. I was reading some music suggestions, songs that have a great beat to walk to, and I decided to listen to the Reality Bites soundtrack on my iPod. It worked! I haven't listened to that music for a long time and I was pumped. On the track list for tomorrow is some newer Cyndi Lauper dance music. Oh, yeah! 

Camping With the Brownies - Post #1

Oh Em Gee, this camping experience was really something. Here's a quick list as a teaser for posts to come. I have plenty of writing material from this weekend!

Good Things
  • The troop leaders are professional campers and extremely organized.
  • The troop leaders know how to get things done.
  • I got to spend time with Princess O and get to know some of the other girls.
  • I learned a lot of tips and tricks for camping with my own family.
  • I learned how to bake cookies using a foil-lined cardboard box.

Bad Things
  • The troop leaders are anal about their camping stuff.
  • The troop leaders are control freaks.
  • I realized that I don't like many children, other than my own. 
  • Sleeping six people in a six-person tent is not possible.
  • Wearing a bra for three days straight is not good.

Gross Things
  • I saw one girl stick her hand down her pants and scratch her butt, then wipe her hand on her pants.
  • I saw one girl (not the same one) scratch her tooth then help mix the GORP with the same finger that had just been in her mouth.
  • The art of table manners has been lost.
  • No soap in the bathroom, at all, at any time, and no one asking for antibacterial hand wash.
  • A lot of the leaders of other troops had front butts and short shirts.

I was exhausted and probably would not do it again unless I had friends going, too. I was so happy to get home!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Be Sore, Not Sorry - Day 23

We've changed the dates of our vacation. We are leaving one week sooner than planned. That really messed with my Be Sore, Not Sorry Countdown! I lost a week, so today is now Day 23. I have 22 days left to get in shape, drop some weight, before we go. I think I can, I think I can!

This week I have walked 9 miles! I changed my daily goal from 2 miles to 3 miles and added an abs/arms workout, too. I am staying away from the scale, far away! Every time I get on that thing, I am disappointed. I can tell I'm losing a little weight because my face and arms definitely look less puffy. I feel better! Counting calories is not too bad. I'm back on dinner duty so that's been healthier, too. Or at least, if I  know dinner is going to be a calorie fest, I eat light during the day. Not too bad.

The hardest part is just getting out there and kicking some asphalt. Yep, still a struggle. If I had a walking buddy, it would be easier, but the only walking group in this area is listed under the Senior section of the Parks and Rec catalog. I thought about meeting up with them for a minute, but DH has forbidden me from joining. (I said, Hey, I'll be the young hottie in the group! He just rolled his eyes.) Most days I like to get my miles in early in the day, which means rolling out of bed and out the door. I have discovered the key to this is laying out my clothes the night before. What a mental charge that is in the morning!

I am stumbling blearily to the bathroom, telling myself I'll walk later, I need a shower, I need my coffee. I'll walk later, later, later. (That's an echo if you can't tell.) But you know what happens? I don't. Or I feel it hanging over me all day so I do it, but I'm bitter and angry, which is not a great way to walk. However, if I see those clothes there, smiling at me, wanting to hug my body and keep me warm in the cool morning air, I tell myself, You need to EARN that shower, girl! And I do.

I try to remember to get those clothes out every night! I at least stuff my socks into my shoes. Sometimes that's all it takes.