Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gretchen's new book, on habits, is available for preorder

The names of the book is Better than Before.

It is available for preorder which really helps Gretchen.

I have been reading about Gretchen's thoughts on habits, for months, as she has been writing. Very good.

You know how I feel about habits - forming good ones to support our lives, nipping self destructive ones in the bud, setting up proactive ones for our families.

She is not a weightloss person, but all she writes is applicable to getting one's life together, and in my opinion, good health/weight/food conditions are part of a life well lived.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

it ended up okay, but a bit of freak out until I knew

A little over two weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon of course, I got out of the shower, looked in the mirror and realized a "mole" on the right side of my right breast was two colors.

We looked at pre and post surgery (naked) pictures but they were all taken straight on and the side was not shown.

I called my nurse practicer/dermatologist, she was out of the office by then, they told me to come in first thing Monday.

When I called, that Friday, I had no memory of having a mole check, this year, after my surgery last December (2013). When I arrived Monday morning they told me I had a mole check last spring (2014). She had made note of the size and shape of the mole in question but had not noted it was two toned. So she agreed with me that it had changed. And she told me to call the plastic surgeon and have it removed.

I drove across the street (rather my husband did) to the plastic surgeon to schedule. The receptionist said they were scheduling for November. I said I was not waiting that long, I did not need the pre appointment, I just needed scheduled for procedure. She went and got someone else, who agreed with me, and I was scheduled for the following Tuesday (8 days) which was last week.

He removed the spot on schedule. He told me he cored it (my word, took it all as if it was bad), but if it did come back cancerous, he was going back and doing it again.

I asked if the tissue under the skin/spot was the same tissue that had always been there, or if it was different tissue/relocated by surgery tissue. He said it was the same tissue. Ponder the scariness of the fact that the tissue that had been under that mole could have now been somewhere else . . .

We agreed if it had been two toned, he would have removed it at the time of my surgery. He removed all kinds of other ones, some because they were attached to the skin that was removed, some because he didn't like the mole and he was there.

I had my stitches removed yesterday. Lab pathology was fine, normal, non cancerous.

I had never gone in for my last post surgery appointment. They kept calling me to schedule right when I was in the midst of middle being so sick late, last spring. And we finally left it that I would call them, and I never did.

So, at mole removal recheck, we did post surgery check too.

So, like having the furnace cleaned and checked, this was an avoidance item FINALLY done. I had not been ruminating over it. I had simply just never taken care of it.

I have healed super well. My suture lines are very faded already. We used two scar fade products faithfully (first liquid and then adhesive) but I honestly don't know if they did anything or if I faded what is natural for me. I am very fair skinned, so it is a surprise.

I am super pleased with my breasts and back. My sidewalls are not as slim as I wish they were. He left the amount of skin he needed to leave for me to have full range of motion (like lifting arms over head). What is there is fat. He said we were giving it more time and then if I still was not happy, we would consider lippo which he would do in the office. The area is very concentrated, so it would be simple.

I have no opinion on this topic at this point in time.

Those sidewalks are not making me nearly as unhappy as they were, because my breasts are great. I had the surgery because of the sidewalls. The breasts were a second thought to keep everything in line/balanced. I didn't think I cared about my breasts. I thought as long as I was in a good bra, it was okay. Post surgery breasts are really wonderful. I have bra straps slipping off my shoulders on occasion instead of digging into them. My breasts stay in place on my chest.

It might be that another style bra would help the sidewalls. Everything is now "higher", so while my breasts are the same size, their shape and placement are very different. The surgeon told me we would not know my final surgery results until I reach at least my 1 year mark (December or later). And my weight is still up a bit. I am not buying new bras or even looking at new bras until I am well past that surgery time frame AND I slide back to my normal.

I had gained a bit over the summer, then before it was all off, I had bits of stress eating the last few weeks over this mole/spot. (It was really upsetting. Same breast as my lump was located last year. Spot was within just a few inches of lump).  I tend to do super well over winter/holidays. Everything is back to pretty okay. I am taking care of avoidance things. Moving forward.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I added a lot of pictures/ideas on the quiet church bag topic (I got to use mine with a 6 year old this weekend) and a few notes on what I have observed about having a child around the house

Our little six year old (families are very close) came for the weekend.

So, my new church bag made its debut at the 11am Mass Sunday morning. (and I have to tell you, loved having a whole pew full of "us").

I took my big bag. It had the Noah's Ark magnet set, the lacing cards, several board books.

She did very well, and it was Misionaries Sunday, so it was a long Mass. Our visiting Missionary was a Sister from the Amazon. Interesting but probably too long.

Things we learned (about the bag) -

Put a small pack of Kleenex in the bag.

Read the board books, at home, a lot, so the child knows them by heart and can "read" them at church as they flip the pages.

So, I think having books that are prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, like we discussed) is actually the best plan. I have those two, will be looking for more. ADDED LATER - I found some possibilities, pictures below. Please let me know if you find any others.

I think an I Spy church book would be really great. ADDED LATER - I think I actually found some, they are not board books, but they look like an educational version of I Spy for the bible. Pictures below.

The extra pages/scenes in the magnetic set are paper, and are meant to be placed against the inside of the tin to have things stick. (Not a fan of that concept) So, I am taking the pages to the hardware store to see if there is something (not sharp) metal that I can glue on the back. There are a lot of great animals in the set, four places to stick would be better.  ADDED LATER - nothing that would work at hardware store (and it is a huge one) so trying teacher supply store.

Lacing cards were big hit. Middle had to tie knots on one end of each string so they did not pull through the starting hole.

I also think the bags should not come out until a set time at Mass. Maybe it is after the Entrance/Greeting. It might be fun to have the kids watch for the priest and recognize them by name, and then get to open their bag. Maybe it is much later. But I think a delay and tying it into Mass would be smart.

I discovered, on Cafe Press, can search by the emblem/image/artwork and find all the products using it. So, I was able to find all three, on the style lunch box I loved.


I found some additional books for consideration.

NOT board books, and I have not seen them, but looks like the I Spy concept I was pondering.

Our little six year old loves staying with us.

Middle and her boy took her to a major Halloween event which she loved. (A post about my Halloween costumes coming later this week)

She played with many of middle's kindergarten supplies. There was a "fort" set up in her room (she has her own room and bed at our house, the other half of middle's with a wall between them) and a tent in the hallway.

Even without middle's teacher supplies, there is a lot of stuff at our house. She plays with many different things. I still have many more things she has never seen or are not yet age appropriate.

I am mindful to leave things as she has them. Because she remembers . I still had the kids' bath toys, the bin now lives beside the tub so it stays ready for her. There is a doll bed in my room where she tucks her favorite stuffed animals and I leave them there, behind a chair where just she can squeeze in to get them.

Middle's boy now knows where the various bins and boxes are so he can get her what she wants. This 6 year old has been very good for him. He is the youngest and was not used to kids/babies. He comes from all boys (including all the older cousins) so a little girl was a (totally) new thing to him. Honestly, he was a little scared, but now he is really comfortable. Middle also has a 15 month old little friend they see sometimes, and he has gotten very comfortable with him too (the freshman year bonus baby).

And I am a mix between a "mom" and friend to this six year old. She has extended family, but is very close to us. I get after her if she needs it. I am the one who does bath time, brushing, meds, books, water, and bed (so there is no messing around). She is closest to middle and her boy. But if she needs a "mom" thing, she comes to find me. She kids a lot with my husband. She is a good chance to keep in touch with the younger kid things and also to realize how I would like to do things with grandkids and married children. Because, I will do a very good job with all that. I have learned how important it is.
Things do not change; we change.
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kindergarten Room Visit

Middle and her boy are home for the weekend.

As you might remember, I have been collecting classroom stuff for her, like crazy.

I contacted my favorite Sister from the grade school our kids attended, who put me in touch with one of the kindergarten teachers.

When middle and her boy rolled into town this afternoon, the three of us went to visit this teacher.

She very kindly opened every bin, cupboard, drawer, closet to show us her supplies.

I took notes on several things - holiday/seasonal books, specific board type games, bulliten board topics (like money which she said the kids have a real interest), an electric type writer (she gives the kids sentences for them to type and they LOVE IT).

Middle took pictures of things like that teacher's rack for keeping track of hot and cold lunch, etc.

I have been standing at garage sales explaining to my husband why I am buying games, puzzles, huge buckets of blocks, etc for $1 each, on more than one occasion. Sometimes I re-explain, sometimes I say I am going to smack him. Yesterday I said - I have a wish list of games and if I find more than one at $1-$2, I am buying them all so she has replacement parts and multiple sets. She has lots of math ideas for dominoes, I am buying any that I see. (So, get with it and help me look, we hunted at four Goodwills).

I wanted middle's boy to SEE (the classroom) and HEAR all the teacher had to say, so he has a clear idea of what she needs and how much time and effort it takes to set up a first room from scratch. He helped me pack stuff last weekend so he has an idea of what she has and where it is.

(Guys have to be taught to be supportive, in my opinion, but they learn very quickly and can GET IT. Middle's boy and our oldest soak this stuff up BIG TIME, because they want to know, they want to be successful in their relationships. I have a post coming on oldest's friend who is getting engaged.)

Plus, middle's boy got to meet Sister. I think it is very helpful to teach how to talk to priests and sisters and be very comfortable.

Middle had a friend who graduated last May. Got married in June. And then walked into an empty classroom one month before school started and had almost nothing. At that point, you cannot bargain hunt. And at that point, you are going to cry, a lot.

I am not having ANY kid have that kind of stress.

Nor are we stocking a room with new stuff. Middle has said it will be far less stressful to have used stuff so she will not be upset when things get broken, lost, damaged.

Yes, she will have things she will still need and can put on a classroom wish list.

The teacher said she always asks for gift certificates to the local teacher supply store instead of holiday gifts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kids Quiet Bag for Church turned into my GO TO gift for Baptisms

I must like having "go to gifts" for set occasions. Actually I guess it is more accurate to say - I love having a great idea for a gift and then being able to fine tune it and give a variation of this gift each time this occasion arises.

I have mentioned my current favorite for weddings is a pitcher. They are very rarely given/thought of any more and I think much appreciated.

My "go to" for baby shower/new baby is swaddling blankets which I make out of flannel. Again, not likely to get duplicates and much needed for a baby.

Our favorite for confirmations is a (15") beaded cross. We love these. We do not make, we buy.

Our standard for high school graduation recently has been letters hand painted by middle. We have given lots of these. (If we are invited to baby shower, we give the blanket. If we are sending new baby gift to the same family, we do letters.)

I still do not have a set gift idea for First Communion. So if you have ideas, I would welcome them.

I now have a set gift for Baptisms - Church Quiet Bag. And I love it. Very original and not likely to be duplicates. I put a note (below) with it explaining to save for preschool years. Sometimes there are grandma/first grandchild baby showers and one of these bags would be a really, good idea.

I mentioned this quiet bag for church way back here, asking for ideas. I got great ones.  Thank you. Which lead me to do a little web searching.

Remember, my goal was to only include church related things. And I tried for Catholic too.

Since I have been garage sale-ing, this has been especially fun.

This bag had a bit of an evolution, here is my thought process -

This (below) ended up being my inspiration piece. I did not buy it. Although one could, use it as it is, or add to it. It is a very reasonable price.  The bag I bought is the next picture. My bag is bigger. And my bag being bigger lead to different bags.

Love the illustration on this bag (below). Can't beat the price. I kept this one for myself. Very roomy. Too roomy in fact. Which lead to me buying the next bag(s) as my gift(s). In fact, I ordered three.

These are lunch bags. I thought I was going to like the brown handled ones best. But these were made to roll the top edge over a couple times to secure the Velcro. This is just awkward. I ended up taking them apart, attaching the velcro at the bag's top edge, and moving the handle higher. Yes, a lot of messing around. I did it for the two brown handled bags I had already ordered, below. Not ordering any more of this style. It is the third picture (below) that I love.

I had also ordered this third bag, because I loved the picture. I did not think I would like the style of the bag, but I really  did. Very good handle for little hands. There is velcro at the top to hold everything in the bag. The bag is actually very roomy.  I ended up using this bag as my Baptism gift  this past weekend. My RCIA sponsor's daughter had a baby over the summer. We (husband, middle, middle's boy, and I) went to the Baptism and then back to their house for an Open House. 

This is the first thing I put in my gift bag this weekend -

 I do not think any of my kids had these type of magnet sets, so it was a totally new to me idea from the comments on my original post. The tin box is 6" x 8 1/2" x 1" so it is a very nice size for a church bag.

I also put this lacing set in my gift bag this weekend -

Ordered these lacing shapes (Noah's Ark theme, so still church related). This was in comments too, I think. And also in my inspiration bag. I think I was picturing heavy felt, for some reason, looking at the Amazon listing. It is very nice, durable, strong, firm plastic. Very easy to hold and lace. The aglets (or eiglets) are nice and long, for easy stringing. Really nice set.

 I also put this little set of books in my gift.

Other books sets I have ordered and now have on hand for Baptism Church Quiet Bags -

These (below) are all board books. I found them at used book stores and garage sales. These are in my bag (that I am keeping, now you know why I kept the big bag).

These first two are most definitely Catholic. 

Second set of two clearly Catholic also.

Patricia Pingry has some really excellent board books. These are not Catholic books (per se) but I really like what she does.

 These two are also not Catholic. Youngest went through them at the bookstore and said that there was nothing in them that was confusing, and we loved some of the pictures. So we were very pleased to add them to our little collection.

These are just sort of universal themes. And they 'go' with my Noah's Ark magnet set.  

I can see having several sets of themed stuff which is switched out regularly to keep the bag fresh and interesting. I would not load my bag with all of these things at the same time, but mix them regularly.

I have my eye on these last three magnet sets (below). I think they would be great additions. I am making note of them here. BUT I think they are too big to fit in the lunch size bags. They would have to go in the big bag. -

To give you an idea of the (larger) proportion of the bag I kept for myself -

These are the items I included in the Baptism gift this weekend, I just put them in the smaller lunch bag with the exact same picture. And there was plenty of room in that bag for a lot more things.

And two more items (below) I noticed. Not for my Church Bags, but as good gift ideas for small children for religious events.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

When you feel like giving up,
remember why you held on
for so long in the first place.
Author Unknown

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What I did this week - this is the one with the furnace filter

I really use these posts, later, to keep track of what happened, and when.

Middle and her boy were home last weekend. She had two major projects she worked most of Saturday. He helped me pack and store all of the teacher stuff I have gotten at garage sales for her future classroom. I had left it all out so she could see every single thing. Our kitchen looked like a major tag sale. He did a very good job putting things away and now he knows what is where too.

We all (youngest, middle, middle's boy, husband, I) went to see two plays over the weekend too. One Friday night, one Saturday night. Very good.

Middle, her boy, husband and I went to a Baptism and then open house on Sunday. It was very nice. I now have a very good, standard gift I give for Baptisms. I like having a GO TO gift for set occasions. This is a good one. I will write about it, with lots of pictures, later in the week.

Everytime the plumber or electrician was here, the last several years, I would tell them I really needed to get the furnace cleaned/checked/serviced and to let the office know. Why I didn't tell the office myself, we don't know. And the years just rolled on. No furnace cleaned/checked/serviced.

I got a letter from the office with a service contract this fall.

Not sure if they mailed them to everyone or if my message finally was delivered.

I called the week before last to schedule, slightly embarrassed that I had never done so since we lived in this house.

I can't explain why somethings I am ALL OVER, immediately, and somethings I am a terrible procrastinator.

Furnace guy came last week.

My husband was home for the appointment.

It turns out that our expensive, electronic filter (I have always thought of it as the bug zapper of dust) does not work. We don't have any way of knowing how long it has not worked. Maybe it never worked. Maybe it stopped two months ago. No way to know.

We now are back to conventional filters.

We are a house of allergies and asthma.

So not having a furnace filter is pretty major.

Knowing it needed done, and not having called, is pretty major too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The "yes" quotes collected by Janice Taylor

The great teachers tell us that you cannot start seeing or understanding anything when you start with “no.” Here, 10 quotes to an inspire a wholehearted yes to the present moment, yes to life, yes to love!

“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

“I imagine that yes is the only living thing.” ~ E.E. Cummings

“There are an infinite number of reasons to say no. Instead try to focus on one good reason to say yes.” ~ Jarod Kintz

“In the space between yes and no, there is a lifetime. It’s the difference between the path you walk and one you leave behind; it’s the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; it’s the legroom for the lies you will tell yourself in the future.” ~ Jodi Picoult

“Shrug off the no’s – they are temporary. This is your world. In your world there is only yes.” ~ Jolene Stockman

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” ~ Richard Branson

“When spring knocks at your door, regardless of the time of year or season of our lives, run, do not walk to that door, throw it open with wild abandon, and say, “Yes! Yes, come in! Do me, and do me big.” ~ Jeffrey R. Anderson

“Yes is like credit, No is like cash.” ~ C.J. Langenhoven

“Yes, the mind likes to think, but until it learns to listen to others, to the body, the heart and all the sense, it also uses itself to block everything it does not like to do or to acknowledge.” ~ Richard Rohr

“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’ “~ Dalai Lama

Friday, October 10, 2014


I have not, never, ruminated on this. But sometimes when the kids are laughing and laughing, I remember it.

It came back to me a while ago when reading another bloggers post about her own kids laughing.

I remember mentioning it to oldest and he was a little shocked.

When I was either in my senior year of college, or had just graduated, my husband (then boy friend) and I were visiting my mother and I laughed over something he said, and my mother looked at me and said she did not think she had ever heard me laugh before that day.

Now if she had not commented, I never would have noticed.

Is it possible I had never laughed at home?

Probably not. Surely I laughed sometime.

But, I was ALWAYS on guard.

Physically, mentally, emotionally on guard.

So, I probably did not laugh often.

We (my husband, kids, self) are a clever family. We laugh a lot. The kids friends laugh a lot. We are
not laughing at anyone's expense (usually). I take that back, we do tend to laugh at my husband a bit.

I have never counted how many times a day my kids laugh, but it is a lot.

History does not have to repeat itself if one is aware.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I am tentatively yoga studio shopping

I have done a whole lot of nothing, as I have mentioned a couple times.

I ran into a former yoga instructor of mine at the grocery store on Tuesday. She asked if I had gotten back to classes after my surgery.

I said I had not.

When I stepped away from my studio, while I loved the instructor, I realized the studio is a hassle.

Hot yoga classes very early in the morning sometimes left the room extremely hot by my 9am class. And sometimes incense/sage were burned which really aggravated my respitory system. I never knew when/if these two things would happen. I would be fine for several weeks and then hit a day, out of the blue, when I had problems. And the instructor, mentioned privately, that she was not sure how much longer she would continue with the class. It will be just my luck that I resign with the studio and then she leaves and they either cancel the class or restructure it.

At the grocery, other former instructor told me two new studios have opened in our area. She suggested I might want to see of those were a better fit.

I sent an email to another former instructor asking if she had suggestions. She recommended one of the new studios highly. She suggested most studios have some type of trial special offer packages available to entice new members.

So, I am considering studio shopping and going back to yoga classes.

It is extremely hard to find the right kind of free weights/circuit classes for me.

That is the class I found, with the right instructor, but at a studio I hate, which is also far from my house. I just have no desire to go back to the uncertainty of being able to breathe in class and whether the class will continue.

I have not been in regular moving yoga classes for a couple years now. I do love yoga. At the time I stopped going to moving yoga classes it was because of priorities. I decided to do back to back free weights and pilates classes which was effective use of my time. That was four classes a week. I picked up a relaxation yoga class once a week too. So I made the long trip to that studio three days a week, not every day. And I had other socialization things I did on the other days - debate group, book groups, speaker group, etc.

The studio I am considering has morning classes each weekday. Each day has a different instructor, which I see as a positive. If one is not my favorite, it is only one day a week. If several are beloved, I will not have that lost feeling as they come and go. Because that is what tends to happen with instructors - they come and go.

I am very aware that it is often much easier to do something every day, rather than a couple days a week. So, it might work well for me now, to get up, wash my face, brush my teeth, pull on my yoga clothes, and go to class first thing, Monday - Friday.

It also sounds like the kindest way to get my body moving again.

If I sign up for their new member intro program, I should have worked the kinks back out of my body by the time the program ends. Then I can decide if I want to continue with just morning yoga for the winter, or maybe I will want to go back to my previous free weights/pilates classes, or maybe something different will appear.

To be honest, I also (briefly) considered going back to Curves for a month, just to work the kinks out and get going again. But I think I am better off with yoga, much better for my lower back and lifting my body weight will be better for me.

I am not doing this again, but wanted to add - can't remember when or why - but at some point after a surgery or something, I attended a geriatric free weights class for a month or two. Was actually a great way to gently get going again. Getting going again is sometimes more mental than physical.

Yes, I did get going again early last winter, after my surgery. Did extremely well with free weights on my own at home. I was just getting ready to go back to classes when instructor was gone for a couple weeks (I avoid her subs) then middle got so sick. Then summer hit and while I did ride my bike, I stopped doing free weights and never did go back to class.

I can tell I need to do something in my lower back mobility, my tight hamstrings, my posture, my abs.

I also never went back to any of my groups. Book groups, luncheon group, etc. Those stopped at the time of my surgery. (My RCIA group was the only thing that continued after surgery, but that ended late last spring.) I just have no interest to restart any of those previous groups. So, my socialization is down to about 0, except for family things, but somehow it does not seem to bother me. I am perfectly content just to be home. But, it is not a phobia. If an fun group or something turned up that interested me, I would do it, as long as there was no stress/hassle.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Netflix has really changed how we watch things, even on regular TV

Oldest and I were talking yesterday (phone, he is in grad school on east coast).

Several years ago the girls and I started watching Fringe. Cannot remember if it was DVD's through Netflix or the library or if it was on demand or what. I think it was a very long time ago.

And we loved it. We only got a season or two into the series when oldest said the series went downhill for the rest of the seasons. So we stopped watching.

Yesterday oldest said he had downtime over the weekend and was watching Fringe. I think he said he started back at the beginning. And he said he stood corrected. He said watching it all together, it was most excellent and the plot line was creative, tight, sophisticated. He said little things were all woven together, all the way through the seasons, which he missed the first time watching one episode a week, and only watching part way through the series.

He said it ranked between Stargate and Star Trek, both beloved at our house.

In having this discussion we talked about how we really cannot stand to watch a series, one episode a week, any more. We like to emerse ourselves in a series and watch only that series, from start to finish.

For things like American Idol, America's Got Talent, The Voice - I let them pile on the DVR and we watch Netflix style.

So we might watch all of the chair turn auditions, back to back over several days, during The Voice season. And then let the face to face part of the competition accumulate and watch all of it, consecutively.

Sing-off which is a very short accapella competition, the girls and I recorded all of it and watched Netflix style when we all had free time.

I blink (special button on remote that skips a set amount, I keep it set at 1 minute) through the commercials for all recorded shows. So I NEVER see any commercials.

I increased our Netflix subscription from 2 to 4. So four TV's, anywhere in country, can be on our subscription at the same time.

Neither oldest nor middle has cable TV, they only watch Netfix or on line.

And we only have ONE TV hooked up to cable at home these days.

Youngest has Netflix running on her laptop as background while she does certain kinds of homework.

All three of those kids have a tough academic year. I want them to be able to get on, when they need to get on.

Plus, middle and her boy watch a lot (Dexter and Twighlight Zone series currently, I am going to tell them to try Fringe next) as date night when they are together. They live in same college town, but do not have much free time because of full class loads. When they have time to watch, together, I want them to be able to get on easily.

Husband watches on Eliptical daily.

And I watch in streaks - when I am in my little room under the stairs sewing, which is kind of like a background/company thing, or when I REALLY can't sleep, I watch on my iPad in bed. Normally I only watch TV, with my husband, in the evenings. Those other two are exceptions.

TV is a release, relaxation thing for all of us. And as long as everyone is getting what they are supposed to be doing, done, I have no issues with it, personally.

Monday, October 06, 2014

"I knew she would be there"

Oldest flew in and out of town twice over the summer.

The second time, his flight was a half an hour early. I was picking him up and was the only one who knew he was coming.

He did not call me, to tell me he was early, because he was on the plane and could not make calls, but also because he knew I would not be late, and would most probably be early.

Sure enough, when he landed, I was already there, sitting in my usual spot, waiting.

This is something I really had to instill in my husband - you do not cause any stress in kids by being late. Especially not chronically late. If someone is sitting, waiting, it is you, not the kid. Even if the kid is now 24, 20 or 16.

It is well known at my house that about once a year, I blow it. I am not where I am supposed to be, when I am suppose to be. And whichever person, at our house, is the recipient of my once a year mess-up, just takes it in stride, and can laugh, because it is once a year, it is not chronic.

I grew up in a house where everyone was late, unprepared, doing it the wrong way.

It is extremely stressful.

It is stressful to the point of causing fear which is the basis for anxiety.

My husband is someone whose natural tendency is to be a day late and a dollar short, as the expression goes. Not literally, but edging toward that tendency.  This is something he has had to totally change, because I will not have it for myself or the kids.

This is what I have always said - you might wait for 20 minutes outside a door for one of the girls, but that girl better not wait one minute for you.

With the addition of his iPhone, several years ago, he is really on top of things, because he sets alarms all throughout the day.

I am a big alarm setting habit person too. My phone goes off at 2:30pm each day to remind me of high school carpool pickup. Sometimes I am then resetting for an hour later because of meetings/clubs/rehearsal, but that first alarm goes off to orient me. I have always used the stove timer a lot. It helps to remind me of things on the stove, when the washer or dishwasher might be done, appointments, etc. My day tends to be more focused that way.

I am not saying moms should not work. But I do think they have to plan very carefully.

This is a very interesting example -
I ran into a woman (getting my hair cut). I did not know her. She had just had a caboose baby with health problems. She had to quit her more structured job. And when she quit that job, her oldest child's migraines stopped 100%. She said of herself that she was not organized with her structured job. Life was very stressful. She made choices that made everyone's life stressful. When she re prioritized, even with a new baby with health problems in the house, everyone's stress level came way down immediately. And the oldest daughter stopped having migraines.

Great story.

What worries you masters you.
Maddon W. Robinson

If OUR worry, fret, fear (and therefore anxiety) could be channeled into useable energy, it could run whole cities. Facing it, dealing with it, taking action, one baby step at a time is a big part of the process of each of US.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

What I did this week (40) This is the one with the set of 20 tiny Noah's Ark Board Books

Very quiet week around here.

I had my therapy appt. Talked mostly about kid decisions/guidance.

Garage Saled again Thursday and Friday. Finding all kinds of things for middle's future classroom at ridiculously low prices. This has generated a list of things for future looking days - more complex puzzles, more Mr Potato Head pieces, more games, small/sturdy cars, Little Tikes pieces, etc.

Garage Saling, I found a set of books for myself (for the quiet bag for church I am filling) -

This is what I have -
Yes, missing two books. The lady took my name and number and said it was possible they might yet turn up in her house. She will call if they do. 

This is what they look like from the front. 

Just to give you can idea of the scale -

There is no identification on any of the books. No author, no illustrator, no publisher, nada.

I typed in various combinations of Noah's Ark, Board Books, ABC, 20 books on both eBay and Amazon. No matches.

Looking on line, I think this might be the set (packaged).

I am not sure exactly what Listia is. However, reading further down the page, it appears this set is gone/claimed.

The only (identifying) information with this picture says -
Noah's Ark
20 fun A to Z board books of Noah and his animals.
Books are housed in an ark shaped box.
Contains 20 Little Board Books.
This delightful Noah's Ark opens to reveal 20 little picture books that introduce young children to the Bible story of Noah, as well as learning about all sorts of creatures.
When the books are arranged in numerical order, their spines form a fun picture of the creatures aboard the Ark.

If you have another source to check for these books, I would appreciate any leads. I am okay with new in the box. I am okay with the books and no ark box. I am okay with used.

They were on Amazon, they just were not coming up with search engine. Two were listed, I bought both of them. Used, boxes damaged, books good. But if you ever see them again, please let me know.

The books are really delightful and it would be a great addition to Quiet Church Bags. I am now making more than one. Post coming soon.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Our Lady - spark the imagination quotes

13 Quotes to Spark the Imagination and then “fill in the blank.”

Our imagination flies—we are its shadow on the earth. ~ Vladimir Nabokov

Imagination governs the world. ~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Reality can be beaten with enough imagination. ~ Mark Twain

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning. ~ Gloria Steinem

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. ~ Oscar Wilde

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Everything you can imagine is real. ~ Pablo Picasso

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. ~ Albert Einstein

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. ~ Albert Einstein

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination. ~ John Keats

Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection. ~ Victor Hugo

Fill in the blank: “I am feeling great, because I _____________.”

Friday, October 03, 2014

Big difference in how it was said

I like Project Runway.

I have seen (I think) every season.

Within the last couple weeks there was a challenge that caught my eye and stayed with me.

The contestants were taken to a park to look for people off the street willing to participate in a make-over.

Some contestants talked about the "make-over" aspect when trying to entice someone to work with them. Some of these conversations were just a bit awkward.

The very smart contestants did not say anything about the people needing made-over. They simply asked if people wanted a (free) new outfit and hairstyle/makeup. They might have even talked about the fun of being a runway model.

Really noticed the difference.

Middle and I were talking about another version of this earlier in the week.

Our discussion involved toddlers/preschoolers and the word "no".

Picture a toddler saying no-no-no-no.

Those no-no toddlers are around adults who over use the word no (in my experience).

A very strong "no" should be saved for when there is biting, fire, a car, or something like a bear.

A strong "no" should stand out hugely, and not be something that happens 20 times a day.

And, in my opinion, a "no" should be used just rarely enough so that when it is used, it has meaning.

A child should not wheedle, beg, whine after a "no".

In my opinion they should be in just a little bit of fear that if they wheedle, beg, whine, whatever they want might not happen again in their lifetime.

I have said many times everyone should understand the house routine/rules. Kids should start to know, pretty early, what is okay in the family and what is not. Kids should not be asking for "no" things. 

The rest of the time it is so much more effective to tell them what to do (rather than what not to do).

"No, do not stand on the chair" is better as "please sit on the chair".

Yes, this is also true for husbands and dogs.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

"He believes people are generally better off choosing to be part of a lesser known organization where they have a greater chance of standing out."

My brother is listening or reading David and Goliath right now.

I got a text from him yesterday saying the book talks about what I have always said about not letting a kid go to a college where they just barely get in and are at the bottom of the class.

I found this in my email inbox this morning. (I put the text from the link in comments, in case the link disappears over time).

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

My card box

I looked back a couple years and did not see a picture of my card box posted. I can't remember what year I did this, so it might be a repeat.

We keep empty bins in the attic. I am talking about plastic storage bins with lids. Our life with bins changes. Sometimes bins are still good, but are no longer needed or have been replaced. I KEEP those outdated bins, because they almost always come in handy again.

My cards were stored in a bin, in no particular order up until a few years ago. Just piled in a bin. If you needed a card, you had to dig. Envelopes had gotten separated from their matching card. A mess.

One day I decided the "no order" part was really bugging me, probably after I bought a card only to discover later that I had one for the same occasion.

I would not say I use cards a lot. But I do use them on occasion.

I might have bought a storage bin to reorganize the cards, but I think I actually found the perfect one in the attic.

I also already had the hanging file folders.

I remember sitting upstairs, watching TV one night, sorting cards, finding matching envelopes, and making my box.

You can tell we are Catholic from this box. Of the seven sacraments, I have file folders for four.

Seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.

Interesting fact - Last Rites has been replaced as Anointing of the Sick. I do have sympathy cards, but I didn't count that as part of my four.

Every card in the box is with its matching envelope. The envelope file has extra envelopes.

Everyone in my house now uses this file box. It lives in the cupboards in our computer room. Extremely handy.

If I buy a cards, in advance, for a specific person/event, I use a bulldog clip to attach it to the right page on my big calendar that hangs on the refrigerator. Right now there are two birthday cards there, for upcoming months.

I also bulldog clip tickets to calendar pages. We go to a lot of events. A lot of tickets come through this house. If anyone needs them, that is where they always are.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Very few habits in place, not really a helpful routine (I will add pictures later to explain what the rack is and show my card box)

I had a go with the flow summer.

Our own kids, extra people in and out of here like a revolving door.

As kids departed for school, and then were still back and forth, the spirit of summer continued through August and September.

As I sit here looking at October, I am doing fine, but not really getting much done. And at some point that is going to bother me.

On Sunday night, going to bed, I made myself a tiny list. The top things bothering me, or bothering my husband:

Note and check to Cousin*
Wash my bed sheets
Check Vacuum belt
Bonus added later - put away shoes, compiled list of middle's board books

*cousin is the one whose husband died a few weeks ago. I do not have a lot of experience writing condolence notes. This one was especially hard. My husband was reminding me daily. I put a note in comments, attached to that post, with what I said. I sent that same note to my kids, so they would know what I said too. Luckily I have a supply of cards. So when I got up yesterday, I was able to just do it. Card was written, check written, envelop addressed/stamped sealed , I mailed it when I went to get carpool.

My bed sheets were really bothering me. That was a job well done. It is just as much the smoothing and the firmly re tucking as it is the clean.

Arms and vacuum belt got moved to today/Tuesday.

I did the dishwasher and my husband stopped for a few things at the store, so all set for a little bit of stock cooking today.

I don't have that many shoes, but somehow they were tucked here and there in our bedroom and bugging me. At bedtime, when it was too late to do either arms or vacuum belt, I decided to do shoes instead.

Big job to make a list of the board books I have found (garage saling) for middle. I did that while I watched TV last night. I might have mentioned she decided to only collect board books, not conventional paper pages, as she will always have young kids and special needs kids. I put the "one only" type of books in order by title. I put the ones where there will be more (Eric Carle, Dr Seuss, Sesame Street, etc) in groupings under author. The battery on my iPad died when I was on the last title, and for a moment I thought I might have lost it all (I was sending it to myself as an email) but when it recharged a little, it was there.

Leftovers - Arms, Check Vacuum belt
Tie middle's rack
stock cooking 
(bake chicken, roast carrots, red potatoes, onions, tomatoes)
Mail package to middle*
Take youngest to replace ring**

*husband found an iPad case cleaning his office yesterday, today she realized she needs one, pure coincidence

**youngest got hand smashed between two boards at high school stage crew last week. Her ring probably saved a finger from an even worse smash. Sports medic had a heck of a time getting ring off of her. Ring did not survive.


One has to have very good eyes to see what I mean by "tying middle's rack". If you look at the center back, you will see two of the sets have been tied to the support piece. Tying in the back was enough to hold everything in place with normal jostling. If all the cross pieces need tied to the supports, it is very easy to do. Husband and I found this storage piece for either $5 or $10 at a garage sale. We had to vacuum the canvas bags fiercely. But now it looks like new.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Every day holds the possibility of a miracle.
Elizabeth David

College/trade school boy ideas

If you remember, I sent my nephew card games

I had a very hard time coming up with that idea, but was very pleased when I finally did.

He is starting a trade school.

Just (last week) moved into an apartment with three boys he has never met.

My brother sent his address to me.

I happened to get it the same day I was meeting middle and her boy for dinner.

I mentioned I wanted to send something to my nephew, I always have (sent things) to his sister in college, but said I was having a very hard time thinking of non-food things for him.

I can fill a box to a girl in about five minutes in Target.

Boys are a bit trickier.

Middle's boy had very good suggestions. These will last me a while. And I will ask for more, he is a good source.

The first one is a good quality over the back of the door basketball hoop.

I ordered this one (below) from Amazon. The second picture shows an extra (soft) ball I sent too. I read a lot of reviews before settling on those two items. Hopefully they are good.

Another idea middle's boy had (will send later) is a velcro type dart board. (Suggestions of brands or types welcome in comments please, I am sure they are not all created equal.)

Then he (middle's boy) also suggested posters. I will ask my brother for very specific ideas. That is another good idea. Bare walls are not very homey.

I have had a couple texts from nephew, he is adjusting well. Likes the other guys. They have been gaming and cooking, waiting for classes to start.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What I did this week

College visit with youngest and one of her friends occupied all of Monday. Teachers' meetings so they did not miss school.

Wednesday was a psychiatrist med check for me. Doing very well, no changes. He commented - "content and resilient with no rumination". Short, sweet, accurate.

Wednesday was also orthodontia appt for middle. She and her boy drove into town just for the appointment, ate, headed back to college. Wearing her retainer full time (unless she is eating or brushing teeth) for two more weeks. Then wearing it as much as possible after that. Her little two year olds are fascinated by it. So I think she might just be wearing it from now on.

Wednesday night middle also got a volleyball spiked straight down on her, under the net, by a guy. Knocked her flat, but not out. Yes, she plays with guys. They picked her up off floor and she kept playing.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday I garage sale-d big time looking for things for middle.

Saturday afternoon husband and I went to a festival. Fourth weekend in a row. Was looking for Christmas presents. Did not find a thing.

Oldest called and we talked for 3 hours and 47 minutes. He had lots to tell. Lots of grad school stuff +  Close friend of his is getting ready to get engaged. And one of my husband's tennis partners just had daughter's boy friend catch him totally off guard asking to marry the daughter. So topic at our house for the rest of the night was
1. whether the guy should just ask the dad or if he should ask the mom and dad. I texted a friend to see what her son in law had done. That very wise boy called the mom and let her know he would be talking to the dad. My husband's standard line about most anything is - you better check with your mom. I asked if that is what he would say. He said no, he would say - just a minute, let me go get her, and you repeat everything you just said, word for word.
2. Whether the guy should tell the girl he is asking the parents. We say, the couple should have already talked about their future, but he should not say when he is going to talk to parents. So when he proposes it has more of an element of surprise.
We all said the couple should have already discussed the big life issues.
And no guy should ever try to ring shop by himself.

And you might remember I got a surprise for middle's boy for his birthday. I got two lawn tickets to Dierks Bentley tour at Klipsch in Noblesville, IN. They went yesterday/Saturday.  I assume they had a great time, but have not yet heard.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our Lady - Move Into the Unknown quotes

10 Quotes to move fearlessly into the unknown

Faith and doubt both are needed—not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve. ~ Lillian Smith

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Grief is perhaps an unknown territory for you. You might feel both helpless and hopeless without a sense of a ‘map’ for the journey. Confusion is the hallmark of a transition. To rebuild both your inner and outer world is a major project. ~ Anne Grant

Every man needs his Siren
To check his courage and strength
When he hears her song
In his travels through the unknown. ~ Dejan Stojanovic

There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors of perception. ~ Aldous Huxley

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly. ~ Patrick Overton

One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end. ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

The longer one lives, the more mysterious life seems. ~ Francis Brett Young

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate. ~ O. Henry

I believe in a long, prolonged, derangement of the senses in order to obtain the unknown. ~ Jim Morrison