Sunday, February 22, 2009

Odds and Ends

Tagged x1

Liz tagged me for a picture post. You go to the folder where you keep pictures, go to the sixth folder, the sixth picture, post it and explain what it is. I have a strange, bifurcated pc: it's a MAC but also has my old PC operating system and all its files embedded in it. So where I keep pictures is somewhat of a mess. So I went into the PC side of things and into the pictures area. I had to bend the rules slightly because the sixth folder was of Bubba, our old truck and the pictures of it when we were working to sell it. Way boring. So I went to the seventh folder (forgive me Liz), pictures of our trip to Cancun in 2005. Much more fun.

The six
th picture in that folder was this one:

Johnnie and I had gone to
Xcaret, an eco park showcasing Mayan culture, ecology and Mexican wildlife. We had floated down a mile-long river wearing life jackets and later drank Margaritas from glasses as large as our heads. Delicious.

Johnnie took this picture of me as we waited for a boat that was going to take us snuba diving. Snuba is a cross between scuba diving (you wear a weight belt and a mouthpiece but the air source is on the boat, not on your back) and snorkeling. The idea is to get far below the surface, as much as 50 feet, so you can see the fish and marine life up close without t
aking scuba instructions. Johnnie is a great swimmer but I'm barely adequate. I can swim but I've never lost a fear of the water and I'm generally uncomfortable in deep water. I've snorkeled before and that has been wonderful. That's why I thought I would try snuba. I must have been having a ballsy day.

At Xcaret, the waves in the bay that day were fairly choppy. I went into the water all set to snuba and had a panic attack when the first wave bounced me away from the boat. I had to be pulled into the boat by the staff and just sat there waiting for Johnnie and the other two couples to come back. Eventually Johnnie ended up with a severe ear infection from his experience snubaing and had to see a doctor for medication to get home.

Tagged x2

OK, so I just read Courtney's post and realized that I was tagged for this same picture post. Gotta dig deeper this time. The folder after the Cancun pictures is filled with pictures of our niece's daughter Elizabeth. Again, not inspiring. So I went to folder #8. Emily's baby stuff. This is the sixth picture in that folder:

We (actually Johnnie) bought a fetal monitor when Erin was pregnant with Emily and Johnnie was listening hard to hear the baby's heartbeat. It wasn't a great monitor and Erin wasn't very far along in her pregnancy so he wasn't successful in hearing the heartbeat as I remember. (Johnnie hasn't had any children of his own so the whole birth thing was very new to him when Erin was pregnant.)

I don't know enough blogging people who haven't already been tagged for this so I will regretfully not tag anyone else. But if you want to do this, please feel free and send me a link so I can include it here.

In praise of ...

SuperGlue. Seriously. It is the very best stuff in the universe for more purposes than are ever listed on the tubes. I've been using it for a couple years when I cut myself cooking or when the birds (now on to other homes) would bite me. Nice and tidy. Johnnie's hands are dry and crack open in the winter months (which go on FOREVER here). He usually lathers them up with lotion while we're watching TV in the evening and then relathers at bedtime and wears gloves to keep the lotion where it belongs overnight.

He has resisted trying SuperGlue for years. Finally, a few months ago, I asked him to just humor me once and give SuperGlue a try on his cracked fingers. It worked. It didn't heal the cracks but it sealed them up so that they could heal and he doesn't have painful open cracks that seem to attract jalapeno juice, beard hairs, vinegar, lemon juice and everything else that stings. So he has been converted. We find that the gel SuperGlue works better than the liquid because it stays in place better but it takes longer to dry. But it works. That makes me happy.

Conversation with Emily

Emily (3 1/2 years old), pointing to the blunt end of an unsharpened pencil: "Can you put a needle on this pencil?"
Me: "A needle?"
Emily: "Yes, a needle."
Me: "I think you mean a point. You want me to put a point on the pencil."
Emily: "Well, you can call it a point, I call it a needle."


I have also joined the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred program, following Courtney's example. I don't care if it takes me 60 days but I wanna feel better and drop some of this weight. Liz (from above) talked about screaming "F@#$%#!" I haven't done that (yet) but it is a tough but quick workout. You can handle most anything for 20 minutes. Regardless of how many 400 pound people that Jillian has doing jumping jacks, my knees and ankle aren't having it. So I tend to do more punching or just do the upperbody part of the jumping jacks. Tough noogies, Jillian!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

100 Things About Johnnie

I read a meme last week about 100 things that the blogger loved about her husband. I like the idea and have been mulling over things to write ever since.

So this is my list of 100 things that I heart about Johnnie in time for Valentine's Day. These are not listed in any kind of order, just how they came to me.
  1. You have beautiful soulful brown eyes
  2. You are kindness to a fault
  3. You are a wonderful husband, grandpa and dad
  4. You fight for what you believe in
  5. You take wonderful care of me
  6. You are so incredibly easy going most of the time
  7. You wake up cheerful
  8. I know your swearing is getting serious when you say "Jeepers"
  9. You don't get angry when you're working on projects
  10. If you do get frustrated with something, you don't take it out on me
  11. Your patience is amazing to me
  12. You know so much about so many things - construction, plumbing, computers, electronics and cars to name just a few
  13. You are (mostly) willing to join in on any crazy thing I volunteer for - even Vagina Monologues
  14. We had a great midlife crisis together!
  15. I love how you tease me even when I don't
  16. You love playing with words as much (probably more) than I do
  17. You are self effacing to a fault
  18. You are loyal
  19. You never say anything mean or unloving about me to anyone else
  20. You listen
  21. You have an infectious laugh
  22. You are up for mostly anything I want to do
  23. You're a good sport
  24. You love me all the time, even when I'm not at all lovable
  25. You are the best snuggler ever
  26. I can always depend on you
  27. You rarely forget things that are important to me
  28. You are neat in both the tidy and the cool sense
  29. You played the accordion briefly as a child and tolerate our frequent ribbing about it
  30. You are open minded
  31. You say your prayers every day
  32. You make life interesting and fun
  33. You are fun to tease
  34. You can laugh about your lack of hair
  35. You still open the car door for me
  36. I feel cherished by you
  37. You are comfortable with yourself
  38. You wear your wedding ring all the time
  39. You love our kids and grandkids totally
  40. You are sensitive to others feelings
  41. You cry at movies sometimes more easily than I do
  42. Sometimes you wear your feelings on your sleeve and that's OK
  43. You clean up the kitchen when I cook
  44. You hold me in your heart but you don't try to control me
  45. You are flexible in figuring out our plans and OOB (order of business)
  46. You provided 10,000% moral and household support when I was in school
  47. You love to hold hands
  48. We can talk about anything together
  49. You stand up for our rights and pursue getting what is rightfully ours
  50. You are conscious of being on time
  51. You indulge my silliness and habits with good humor
  52. You trust me implicitly
  53. You like to be with me all the time
  54. We never (almost never) seem to get tired of each other
  55. You love to read
  56. We manage to have fun even in un-fun situations
  57. You have my back
  58. We have an uncanny habit of saying the same things at the same time
  59. You are my very best friend
  60. You're a technogeek and I admire that even though it sometimes drives me crazy
  61. You believe in diversity and equality with your whole being
  62. You have sterling ethics and integrity
  63. You go out of your way to help strangers
  64. You are honest even when it might be detrimental to you or to us
  65. You are religious, faith full and spiritual
  66. You speak your mind
  67. I have never heard you say the f word, except maybe in a joke
  68. You faithfully back up what you say with action
  69. You are conservative and deliberate with money
  70. You spell things correctly
  71. You love good surprises as much as I do
  72. You don't get upset when accidents (like spilling red wine) happen
  73. You don't play the blame game
  74. You believe in supporting the causes we believe in
  75. You have a healthy respect for authority but not to obsequiousness
  76. You have never snuck in anywhere (John hates the word snuck)
  77. I love your intelligence and curiosity
  78. You are an early adopter and keep us on the leading edge of technology
  79. I love it when you read to me while I'm driving
  80. You are unselfish
  81. You have the best tool museum in the entire state
  82. You hate guns
  83. I'm guaranteed to get virtually anything with a motor, engine or batteries if I ask for it
  84. You're a kid at heart
  85. You look wonderful in black
  86. You look great to me in ... nothing
  87. Your personal modesty sometimes makes me giggle
  88. You enjoy scatological humor
  89. You will wear Christmas sox, funny hats or your Johnahontas wig
  90. You are generous with your time, your skills and your kindness
  91. You are friendly and can talk with virtually anyone
  92. You know when to use who and whom appropriately in a sentence
  93. You like to take naps and sleep in late when we can
  94. I like how you smell fresh out of the shower
  95. You take constructive suggestions and criticism without getting defensive
  96. You love your brothers
  97. You respected your mother
  98. You know your limits even though we may exceed them
  99. You don't speed and you follow all traffic rules much better than I do
  100. I could continue well beyond 100
I am grateful for your love every day and return it tenfold every day. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Some Days Raymond Burr, Others Ruth Buzzy

I looked in the mirror this morning as I brushed my teeth and my mom and sister (both deceased) were looking back at me. Argh. I knew this moment was coming but I wasn't ready for it this morning. Or really any morning for that matter. When I'm all made up and hair in place, I have some resemblance to these family members but not as blatant as when I've just rolled out of bed. And I work hard to keep the resemblance down to some, trust me.

John tells me all the time that I'm beautiful (including when I just roll out of bed) but I figure it's because it's Johnnie and that's just what he does. I believe him as far as I can and I know that I don't scare little children or anything with my appearance but beautiful is a big big stretch. As a rule, I don't take good pictures. Some people can just be and they look great ~ relaxed, unposed, natural. My brother-in-law has the most amazing perma-grin. All someone has to do is say "Ferd, look at me." and he immediately pastes on this great smile that extends from his lips all the way into his eyes. And looks natural. It's a family trait that Johnnie and his brother Whiz also have. Aggravating to those of us who can't look natural without a great deal of work.

Me? Not so much. I somehow stiffen up, look completely wooden and very uncomfortable. I've learned in the past few years how to pull myself together and quell the inner marionette but the vast percentage of pictures I'm in are fairly horrible. This isn't just me saying it, it's the truth. When I began MBA school in 1997, they warned us that one day we were going to have our pictures taken for the class photos. I deliberately picked out nicer-than-normal clothes that made me look executive-ish and spent more time on my makeup than usual before heading off for school. I thought I looked pretty decent. In the resulting picture, I strongly resemble Raymond Burr*. Seriously. In fact, that's what I exclaimed when I first saw it and my husband and daughter, while trying weakly to disagree with me, actually giggled. (Actually, Johnnie just helped me scan the RB lookalike picture and cracked up laughing when he saw what I was scanning. Nice.)

For your reference, I'm the one on the left. Deer in headlights look? Check. Helmet hair? Check. Square jaw? Yup. Stuffy looking suit? Uh huh. I'm just missing the spotlight over my head.

I started thinking about this the other day because I had taken some pains to look nice in the morning, then went back to the veterinary clinic to watch a young Shitzhu lose his manhood (about the size of cocktail onions for the record). I wore scrubs, an elastic banded cap and a surgical mask. When I got home and looked in the mirror, there was Ruth Buzzi* as sure as the day is long. Where did she come from? My hair was a frazzled mess. For the record, surgical caps are not all that helpful for attractive hair. Lucky for anyone reading this that I didn't take a picture of myself that morning.

*Raymond Burr picture taken from Ruth Buzzi image from

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life experiences and tired

I found this while reading Rachel's Scientific Nature of the Whammy blog. Looked like fun so I thought I would take my mind off my grumbles with this. Give it a try yourself and send me a link so I can see too.

RULES: There are 100 statements and you bold the ones you have done. Grab it and play for yourself!!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain.9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Wow - 57 out of 100. Guess getting older helps accumulate those life experiences! Do yours and let me know what you find!

Originally, today's was going to be about tired.

I'm tired of winter.
Tired of tripping over shoes and boots in the back hallway.
I'm tired of lugging bags and other crap to the car every time I go anywhere
Tired of adolescent puppies who eat twigs and unidentifiable stuff outside then barf at 3am.
Tired of adolescent puppies who lick everything. in. sight. ARGHHHH!!!!
Tired of schlepping around and feeling non-productive.
Tired of waking up tired.
Tired of wishing for springtime and some energy to reappear.
Tired of feeling like a barge.

Yeah, it wasn't inspiring for me either and didn't make me feel any better. I like focusing on the life experiences better.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I ain't no leader!

I've been a representative from our church to a non-profit for the past several years. Apparently, the only criteria for representative-ness is a pulse and a couple brain cells that still function. I figure if I'm going to participate/attend/join something, I might as well be involved well over my head. I've been told that my hand automatically goes up whenever a volunteer is requested. So I was secretary for a couple years. Then the designated arm twister somehow got me to sign up to be vice president. That lasted for two years and led to me becoming president. My first meeting as president was this past Monday.

I love the tactical side of bustling around behind the scenes and making stuff work. I'm a good team member. I do more than is expected (and usually rope John into helping too). Rummage sales, concerts, trade shows, ministry fairs, races ~ you name it and I'll be there. Just don't make me lead anything, PULEEEEEEEEEZE! (picture me on my knees here with hands clasped fervently in front and crying real tears)

To make matters worse, the woman who was president before me is a lifetime volunteer and thrives as a leader and a change agent. She's been on the school board and bunches of other charities where she was in charge and did a great job. So now you have a non-leader taking over who has to fill really big shoes. She's still part of the organization but I am the new leader. Ugh.

The organization is comprised of about a dozen churches, each of which has one member on the board. We are responsible (in an oversight way, not day-to-day) for a comfort-care (aka hospice) and five other community-oriented ministries. Very ecumenical, very progressive really in its own way. It's a staid low key kind of board mostly filled with people in their 50s to 80s. Not all that interactive and for a long time the board was comprised of elderly people who felt it was an honorarium and just a feather in their caps. They didn't necessarily have to do much but attend a meeting every quarter.

Now we're attempting to meet more frequently and set up some structure, get the board to participate more visibly with the ministries and within the communities so they'll give us money to keep all these charitable ministries alive.

I ain't no leader. I don't want to lead. I'm not good at it, honest. No, no, never, never, unh, unh, unh~

I know my strengths and this isn't one of them. I want to bustle around in the background exerting influence gently and helping make things happen. I am not a strategic planner. I can take a plan someone else has made and figure out all the steps and processes that need to be put in place to make it happen. Then modestly accept kudos when it works or at least bask in the reflected limelight when the strategy person gets patted on the back. That's enough for me.

I took an interesting strengths assessment online that our church sponsored. It says that I'm a* (in order of strongest to lesser strengths):
  • relator - I tend to gravitate to people I already know but once I know new people, I'm all about knowing everything about them. Yup - that's me.
  • restorative - I love to solve problems and enjoy the challenges of complex and unfamiliar tasks that culminate in making something happen. Totally me.
  • adaptability - I live in the moment and craft the future as it comes. I respond to the demands of the moment even if I'm then pulled away from my plans (oh look, something shiny...). Uh, probably.
  • arranger - I'm a conductor and enjoy managing many variables, juggling lots of projects that may change dynamically and figuring out ways to make everything work together. Absolutely - doesn't everyone?
  • Individualization - I'm intrigued by the unique qualities of every person and hate generalizations or types because I want to dig in and find out what's fun about everyone individually. Yup, I dig it.
Nowhere in this list does it say LEADER. Notice that? At the meeting on Monday night, I kept trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, looking at our former president for a head nod, an encouraging smile, anything to let me know what was next. Pathetic. (My husband will read this and say "you were not!" but I was.) Even I knew I was projecting a weak image. I must have said "sorry" about two hundred times. And I hate that because women are so habituated to saying "sorry" even when it's totally not their fault.

I have to be the leader now for the next two years. The best news from the Monday night meeting was that we are probably going to change the meeting calendar in 2010 so that I will get a break and can stop being the president by July 2010 rather than November. Yeay! That cheered me up immensely. In the meantime, I have to pull up my big girl pants and buck up and deal with the situation. Regardless of my leaderless tendencies.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions for how to do this without feeling like a monumental failure for the next 18 months!

*the writer in me wants these to be parallel in structure (all verbs, all nouns and so on) but they are not. Apparently the assessment writers don't care about parallel structure as I do.