Archive | May, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: umbrellas

26 May

Friday fill-ins

21 May

And…here we go!

1. My son playing in his bedroom never fails to make me smile.  He battles bad guys, sings to his animals and takes a nightly inventory of his toys.

2. I’m looking forward to our annual family and friends picnic and croquet match in a few weeks in Toledo.

3. OutKast on pandora.com is what I’m listening to right now.

4. Potato salad must have something rotting in it! Ick.  I hate potato salad. Smells and tastes nasty.

5. Crackers was the best thing I ate today.  Actually, it’s the only thing I’ve eaten so far.  Hey — it’s gotta get better from here!

6. You know, though today was the worst day of my life, I learned many things. First, the world looks a lot different when you’re six inches tall and covered with feathers. Second, two heads are definitely not better than one. And finally, you can lay eggs and still feel like a man. — The Tick
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to taking my daughter to granny’s tonight for her sleep-over weekend, tomorrow my plans include photographing a wedding and Sunday, I want to see lots of cool buses at the Michigan VW fest in Ypsi!

Wordless Wednesday: Grilling time!

19 May

Samson’s power

17 May
My husband is an avid American Idol fan. Which makes me an Idol fan by proxy.  We have watched every season since the beginning.  If you were watching this past week, you saw Casey James, the beautiful guitar rocker make it into the top three, along with two other Idol hopefuls (who are much more likely to win it all).  We also saw “Big Mike” Lynche voted off, who — by most reviews — has more talent than our adorable goldie locked singer.  However, Casey has a power stronger than his voice — he has Samson’s power: his hair. 
And, those Idol stylists and lighting professionals did their best to make him look… angelic? Messianic?  Oh… just damn good.
And he’s not the first Idol man to gain votes because of his power of the quaff.  There is quite a history of Samson’s power.
Who can forget Constantine? His singing was … hmmm… Ok.  But that hair was yummy.
And the freaking adorable doe-eyed Jason Castro?  I never thought dreads could look adorable.
But there you go!
Of course, Bo Bice.  Now, he actually had LOTS of vocal talent, but the hair helped. Add a little bit of bad boy attitude, and this one is a keeper, too.
Sanjaya.  No matter what you think of him, he had the most Samson power of them all.  The least vocal talent, and yet he still has a career.  That hair has to be worth its weight in gold.
Sorry, feeling a little silly today.  You can blame:

Smells like teen spirit

14 May
So, my memory for events in my own life is well… spotty at best.  My brain has prioritized “knowledge” over personal experiences. Therefore I can better explain how neurons work (nerd) or how data packets are transmitted over the Internet (geek) than what I did in high school. Or even last week.  My best friend, who seems to have a strong propensity for remembering events and people in our lives, teases me that she’s going to re-invent our high school years — and I’ll never know.

However, there is a neurological ability (see — BIG nerd) that most if not all people possess (sometimes called the “nostalgic nose“) that provides us with a window to our past.  Apparently, our senses of smell and taste — especially our first experiences with a particular smell or taste — are strongly associated with our memories.  I’m sure you’ve taken a whiff of something and said “oh… that reminds me of ”  In fact, these memories are often emotional in nature rather than just experiential (oh, such a nerd).   So, you can even relive those feelings just by finding that smell again.  Pretty cool, huh?

I recently had a very pleasant experience with this.  We ate breakfast restaurant where they boasted made-from-scratch jams.  My husband raved how good his raspberry jam was.  I had to give it a try. Mmmm — this jam smells and tastes just like my moms!  Now, I haven’t had my mother’s homemade jam in over 20 years, but the whiff and taste of this jam brought me back to our kitchen growing up, my mom cooking jam, the canning jars, storing the jam in the freezer, making peanut butter and jam sandwiches and picking berries with my family.  All from a whiff and a taste. 

I have another scent nostalgia that I still get to relive on special occasions.  About 1 year BK (before kids), hubby and I decided to take “that big trip to Europe.”  While in Paris, it seemed like the touristy thing to buy some perfume.  I wore this perfume for the rest of the vacation.  Now, if I ever want to “go to back to Europe,” I just have to put on my perfume.  Suddenly, I’m in Paris.  Or Venice.  Or Athens. 

Do you have a scent that “takes you back”?

Friday fill-ins

14 May

Here we go!

1. I just had my back adjusted by my chiropractor.  Oh, that feels so good.

2. Pooh just is.

3. The third sentence on the 7th page of the book I’m reading: His fundamental message of hope seemed to strike a chord in people, resonating deep in the hearts of individuals not only in America but throughout the world — people from diverse backgrounds, perhaps, but who all shared the fundamental human aspiration of happiness, a yearning for something better in life.” — The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Dr. Culter

4. Toys from thinkgeek.com tickle my fancy.  My desk has plush microbes, and my husband got a Tauntaun sleeping bag for Christmas.  

5. I was walking my kids to the park the other day, and I passed a child soldier on the way. Fatigues, helmet, seemingly heavily armed. Should I be worried?

6. Conan O’Brien makes me laugh!  I’m a huge Coco fan, and I’ll be so excited when he comes back to TV in the fall. I would have seen him live, but he didn’t come to Detroit.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to Date Night with hubby (it’s our turn, right???), tomorrow my plans include absolutely nothing, but I have a to do list a mile long and Sunday, I want to take the kids to visit Real Life Farm — their summer day camp!

Book review: The Art of Happiness

12 May

I have just finished The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Culter.  This book is really a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Dr. Culter, an American psychiatrist. Dr. Culter asks the Dalai Lama many questions about the Buddhist perspective, and the Dalai Lama’s personal perspective on how people can seek happiness in life — whether or not they are Buddhist.  Also, the Dalai Lama’s good nature and humanity came across strongly in the text. Reading along, I felt as if I was having a conversation with a wise and endearing old friend.

Let me iterate that this is not a religious book, but it does contain spiritual topics. Someone from any religious (or non-religious) background can read this book and gain something.  The author (Dr. Culter) specifically gears the writing at a non-Buddhist, Western audience.  He compares and contrasts the teachings and thoughts of the Dalai Lama with research and teachings in Western science. 

It is an understatement to say that this book moved me.  This book has changed my perspective on how I should lead my life and interact with people around me.  While there are so many lessons to take from this book, the key mantras that I took were:

  1. Happiness is not something that “happens” to you.  It is a skill that you can hone.  It is something that you must work towards — everyday. 
  2. Compassion is the key to happiness.  The most famous quote from the book is “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
  3. Suffering is a gift.  I know — this one is a tough one to swallow.  But, the Dalai Lama actually has a real and useful answer for “Why is there suffering in the world?”  I’m not going to be able to give his explanation justice here, so you’ll just have to read the book yourself.
Tempted to pick this one up yet?  I know — non-fiction by a world leader and a social scientist.  Blah blah.  But, if you want an opportunity to open your mind, and really think about what is in your control, how you interact with others, and what makes you happy — this is your book.  You will not regret the read.

Also — the next time you see the Dalai Lama in the news — notice how happy he is.  Smiling.  Laughing.  Genuinely enjoying the company of both world leaders and laypeople. This is a man who lost his home, lost his country, and has lost most of his family, and yet this man is happy most of the time. 

Genuinely, honestly, and throughout his spirit — happy.  He does that through compassion for others, appreciation of suffering, and training of his mind. 

Photo courtesy of dalailama.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Rebel without a Cause

12 May

Hello world!

11 May

I’m still working on getting my blog on wordpress set up.  In the meantime, please read my current blog over on blogger.

Tuesday Tip Jar: Appendicitis symptoms for dummies

11 May

Ok. This is a bit of a strange “tip,” but it could save your life. Really. It might have saved me a couple of weeks in the hospital and a couple of months of antibiotics.

Standard disclaimer: I’m not a doctor!!!

Here are the basic appendicitis symptoms. If you have these — do NOT pass go. Do NOT collect $200. Go DIRECTLY to the emergency room.

1. Extreme pain in your lower right side — in your tummy right above your hip.
2. Rebound tenderness: If you push on that painful spot on your tummy, then let go, the pain gets *much* worse upon release.
3. Nausea, vomiting, stomachache and fever. You may also feel like you have to use the bathroom (defecate) but you can’t.

For real.  Go to the ER.  If they say you have the flu and send you home?  GREAT!  If not, you’ll be happy that you caught the appendicitis before it was much, much worse. 

Note to women:  if you go to the ER, they will spend a lot of time figuring out if you are pregnant.  Ectopic pregnancies have some of the same symptoms as appendicitis.  It’s quite annoying if you are pretty sure of your “status,” but give the doctors a break — they are trying to help.

Here’s more info from the experts at the Mayo Clinic.

Thanks to Making the Moments Count for her blog post on her appendectomy when she was 6 months pregnant. Wow. This reminded me of my bout with appendicitis 15 years ago. Had I realized what was going on at the time (I had symptoms for several days before ending up in the ER), my appendix may not have burst.  Let me tell you — that is NO picnic.  This meant the average 3-day hospital stay turned into a 2-week stay with massive amounts of nasty antibiotics. This was followed by a PICC line (a “permanent IV”) for long term (2-month) outpatient IV antibiotics.  Not much fun for a college student!