It’s Thoughtful Thursday! What I learned from Betty’s weekly hair appointment!

One of my earliest memories is my Dad making dinner for us on Friday nights.  He only cooked on Fridays because that was when Mom was at the hairdresser for her weekly appointment.  I probably remember those dinners so well because Dad only cooked two things:

Scrambled eggs or Tuna glop.

I believe the ” Tuna Glop” consisted of a can of tuna mixed with cream of celery soup served over cornbread.  It’s about as appealing as it sounds.

Some Fridays we made out if Mom cooked ahead of time and had it ready so the only thing Dad had to do was serve it.  Back then I really didn’t get why Mom had to have this weekly outing.  Now many years later I understand it was probably her only time away from us kids and the house.  It was her girlfriend time.  I’m sure there was a 1960’s Steel Magnolias thing going on at the shop and not only did the new “do” make her feel better but I’m sure the time away with other women did as well.

I remember going with her on a couple of occasions when her appointment was not on a Friday evening and I always thought it was strange to see the women in their curlers under those big bulbous hairdryers sleeping.  My 6 or 7 year old self couldn’t understand why anyone would want to nap under a hairdryer.  Why would anyone voluntarily take a nap?  Of course I get it now and it seems like the perfect plan and the roots of multi-tasking: new hair do, girlfriend time and a little nap..the perfect trifecta..add in some wine and it would be amazing.

So fast forward a couple of decades and a change of location. My siblings and I are  grown but the one thing we know for sure is that you don’t mess with Betty’s hair appointment.  A tornado, hurricane or the apocalypse would be coming and you could be sure Betty would some how, some way make it to her hair appointment.

I still didn’t get this ( much like I didn’t get the napping earlier).  I mean what happens if a hair appointment got skipped?   I knew what would happen!  Mom would be unhappy and  my family knows “If Betty ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”

A couple of years ago my Dad started chauffeuring  Mom to her hair appointments.  He would regale the hairdressers with his latest jokes or stories, ask about their families, settle himself in with his newspaper and visit with those who were waiting their turns. My father was the original social butterfly..he truly loved to chat and have good conversations.  The shop in turn loved my Dad.

I started to “get” why this shop was so special when the week of his 90th birthday they honored Dad with a surprise cake, candles, cards and treated him to a  shampoo and blow dry with what little hair he had left.  He was thrilled and touched.  I heard all about it from Mom. She went on and on about how Bonnie and Joy and everyone else there had fun celebrating Dad.

When Dad unexpectedly passed away in March I took Mom for her hair appointment.  Now I really got it.  For one the shop is as nice as it could be. Not large but just so warm and lovely.  Bonnie and Joy talked with me, told me how they loved my Dad, how they made sure he had his favorite cookies, his favorite red cup and how he was intrigued by the Keurig coffee maker and loved the hazelnut coffee which they, of course, made sure was there for him.

Their concern for my Mom as nothing short of amazing.  As we left they handed us an abundance of food, their phone numbers, email addresses ..just about everything except one of their sinks.

And now some 4 months later I don’t like to miss the appointment with my Mom.  It is a community of love and support.  They even washed and blew dry my hair as a treat for being there for my Mom.  It IS Steel Magnolias.   I so get it!!  Its not just the hair do..it’s an infusion of joy and love and I am ever so grateful to them.  Here’s to the crew at Side Street Salon in Springfield, VA….Joy, Bonnie, Rosario, Sara and Natalie and everyone else who brightens Thursdays for us. Yes her appointment is always on a Thursday..so perfect!  A living Thoughtful Thursday if I ever saw one.

Now go out and make it a Thoughtful one for you and someone else!

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Our family secret should probably be kept secret..uh oh!

I need some humor today and maybe you do as well so thought I would share a little family secret I discovered while cleaning out the garage last summer.

Every summer we clean out the garage at least once or twice.  And EVERY time we find time to do it is on the hottest day of year.  Oh and we also buy into the myth that it won’t take that long.  Riggghhhtttt.

So one steamy day last summer  I agreed to help my husband get a few things out of the garage so he could move the  cars around.

Nine..yes count them NINE hours later we had one clean garage, two trips to the dump and two to the thrift store.

If anyone needs to confirm that I am a few tacos short of a combination plate this feat alone should seal the deal.

We found quite a few interesting things:

  • a dead lizard ( I smelled it before I saw it)
  • several squished frogs ( or were they toads???)
  • lots of things we had been looking and still have no idea how they ended up in the garage ( trying to escape?)
  • AND the kitchen sink

No seriously…we did find a sink:

 

And then I found multiples of one thing  that says more about our family than anything.  When I discovered them I just stared in amazement.  I could understand one or two maybe but FIVE??? Were we secret hoarders?  Were we planning on outfitting a frat house (guys needs these way more often than women), was clogzilla going to pay us a visit? Did we have a secret fear about this??

What did I find???  Drum roll:

Five  toilet plungers!!  If the poopalypse ever happens we are prepared.  ( This does not count the two or three we have in the house)

I didn’t come across them one at a time, that would make too much sense.  I found them mingling together  in a big  bucket along with a missing kitty litter scoop ( evidently the cat is in on it as well).

So a couple of thoughts crossed my mind.  Who put them in the bucket?  Wouldn’t someone comment ( that would be you Paul) or make it known ” Hey Jennifer, we are all set on plungers! Let’s invite everyone over for five alarm chili. No worries we can take care of both ends!!”

Here is the other mystery.  When we built this house  we got to choose the plumbing and we chose TOTO toilets capable of flushing 100 golf balls all day every day with no clogging. So no plungers needed.  Well almost.  I have to admit that 3 weeks after we moved in someone who shall remain nameless called and asked where we kept the plunger.  1 time in 10 years isn’t so bad.

So I must concede that we must be super poopers.  Well at least some of us are.  Okay that might be TMI but it is the only conclusion I can come to after this mysterious find.

Our family secret is out…oh the puns I could make with that one line!

We have yet to clean the garage out this summer but I know it’s coming.  I am afraid, very afraid!!

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Update on My Year of Wonder!!

Wow this year is flying by!!  On January 4th of this year I wrote a post about My Year of Wonder Project.  You can read the original post here !

Here it is March 14th and I seriously can’t believe everything I have learned from this simple project.  For the last 69 days I have taken and posted a photo to my Instagram account  representing My Year of Wonder.  I have to admit I missed a few days while on vacation and I am busy catching up but not beating myself up over it because that sort of thing happens.  This was never meant to stress me out or be a chore.  It was and is intended to keep my word of the year “Wonder” in front of me and help me stop, pause, and appreciate all the beauty and wonder around me.

Some days I really wondered ( no pun intended) if something, anything would show up for me.  Max ( the famous goofy golden) and I would walk pretty much the same walk every day and most days something would just pop out at me.  Other days nothing would pop but I remained patient and sure enough something would appear that was just right for my Instagram post.

Yesterday’s post came to me in the kitchen and is one of my favorites because there is something so soothing about snapping green beans.

Other favorites include a rainy day that I dreaded going out in and it ended up being delightful!

 

And a snapshot of a letter my parents found that my husband had written to them while on a Navy Deployment and our second baby was due to arrive hopefully after he returned ( she waited for him to come home thankfully!)

And another of cloud lines that were just begging to be written on!

I could go on and on and nobody is more surprised than I am about how delightful this so called “exercise” has become and how much I enjoy it.

Feel free to start you own “Year of Wonder” project.  Or just enjoy mine on Instagram!

Keep wondering and keep triing!

 

 

 

 

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Living Single While Very Married… The Mystery of the Burnt Out Bulb..

Any of you fans of Nancy Drew when you were growing up?  I was and at least one of those books kept me up one night scared to death.  I read “The Ghost of Blackwood Hall” one warm summer night in the back bedroom of my grandparents farmhouse.  All the adults were downstairs and I could hear their voices drift up the back staircase and yet when I finished the book and turned out the lights every single noise scared me.  From the big clock ticking in the hallway to the old  furniture creaking as it adjusted to the heat. Yes old furniture contracts and expands as the weather changes and voices its  opinion of the warm non air-conditioned  house by making very scary noises.  Well at 10 years old they scared me.

I survived the night but never read another mystery late at night and all these years later I still remember that book vividly.img_1204

Fast forward to the present day and I discovered I had my own mysteries to solve right here at my house.  Not as scary as the ghost in the old mansion but almost as perplexing.

With Paul busy learning the ropes of his new job many miles away I had lots of projects to get done as well as keep up with house.  Strange things started to happen.  The lighting just wasn’t the same, my car started looking like a Christmas tree with all the lights that blinked on the dashboard, laundry took forever, cabinet doors were open and I kept cracking my head on them and the yard was out of control.

To be honest the funniest one was the light bulbs…I saw many had burnt out and I meant to change them, really I did but for some reason I didn’t.  It took me awhile to figure out why I was waiting and this time it just wasn’t the procrastination gene I inherited.

The mystery was easy to solve.  All of these antiviral things and many more were all things that Paul took care of and either I never noticed or it just wasn’t on my radar to do.  The light bulbs go out all the time but he is so quick to change them that I never bothered.

The car maintenance was also his deal and we both dropped the ball on getting it inspected ( a nice military officer informed me it was 4 months overdue and no I couldn’t get on base with an expired inspection sticker..yikes)! How I escaped getting a ticket is yet another mystery.

The cabinet doors..well I have a really bad habit of not closing them and Paul always closed them if I forgot.

The laundry..well he always helped, especially with the folding.  I sure wish someone would invent a folding and put away machine.  As for the yard..no matter how hard I tried it just didn’t look as good as when he did it..I managed and it was a good work out but not my forte.

Changing the light bulbs just reminded me that he would not be home to do it for a long time.  The other stuff gave me new appreciation for all he does around here that I did not notice.

Many people thought and still think we were crazy to do this living single while very married thing.  Maybe we are but so many good things have happened.   It has given us new appreciation for the little things we do each day to help each other out.  It gave us a taste for life without each other ( no thanks!)  and our love and commitment to each other has grown.

I can’t say I can recommend doing this to strengthen your relationship but I can tell you that noticing the little things he or she does for you, the family and the house will make you smile and love your special guy or gal even more!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Are you really being grateful?

I love November.  I love Thanksgiving!  I also love that people focus on gratitude intensely this month.

The “attitude of gratitude” is rampant and that’s a problem.  It sounds nice, it has good intentions but often that is where it stops.  I never even thought about it until I heard author and social worker Brene Brown speak about yoga.

She said she loves everything about yoga:

  • the mindfulness
  • the peace it brings people
  • the comfy clothes
  • the music

She loves it and thinks it is awesome and has tons of yoga clothes that she loves but then she said …..

She has never done yoga.

Not even once.  Never on the mat.  No downward dog.

She had an “attitude of yoga” but not a “practice of yoga”.

Makes sense, right?  We can have all the “tudes” we want but until we get out there and actually do it, it remains an attitude with no action.

Every time I post about Thougthful Thursday I always end it with “Now go out and make it a Thoughtful One”!

And today I will challenge you to take your “attitude of gratitude” and make it a “practice of gratitude”

What does that look like?  It will probably be different for everyone but it can be as simple as saying “thank-you” for something somebody does for you everyday but never gets noticed … as in thanking your spouse for remembering to put the garbage out or always changing light bulbs.

It wasn’t until I was almost in the dark after Paul had been gone for awhile that I realized he ALWAYS replaced the burnt out light bulbs.  I thank him when he is home for doing the “Bub” patrol as we call it!!

A speaker that I know, Connie Podesta, put this saying on her facebook page and I stole it ( the saying not the photo) and I also adopted it into my daily gratitude practice.  It doesn’t get any simpler than this:Image-1

So today and for the rest of the month ( and hopefully forever) have a “practice” of gratitude.  It will do your heart good.

Now go out and make it a “Thoughtful One” !  I KNOW you will!

 

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! It’s okay to just be and not fix anything

I spent time with my parents this past week. I went out of fear, out of necessity but mostly out of love.  My parents are 88 yrs young.  My Dad will be 89 this month.

By all accounts they are doing amazing.

Amazing as in I just taught my Dad how to download, open and print an attachment.  He was amazed at how easy it was.  He and two of his friends ( 85 +) were going to try and figure it out together. I can only imagine and chuckle a little at how that scene would have unfolded.

So yes they are doing amazing….. except when they are not.

Two calls to 911 for my Mom in less than a week gave us a bit of a start.  She collapsed twice. Once for outrageously high blood pressure. Once while sitting on the couch just talking to my Dad ..scary I know.

So I went to be with them, bring food (I am not the best cook but I have a few dishes I have perfected) and a few gifts I knew my Mom would appreciate.

Mostly I went to be..just be with them. Not to clean (their house is cleaner than mine) not to clean out the frig (my Mom’s version of Tetris) not to tell Mom to throw out magazines (maybe next visit).

No this visit was just to wiggle myself in, love and just alcoholism be.

Mom and I watched a movie ( While You Were Sleeping), I updated her digital frame and put the same photos in a photo album. We chatted, watched the deer in the woods behind their house, and laughed at the jokes that Dad told. We have all heard them numerous times but he gets such a kick out of telling them again we can’t help but laugh.

It used to be when I went home I fell into the role of daughter which looked a lot like this:Mom and meJPGStill their little girl, or as my Dad likes to refer to me..his fat baby.  It’s a term of endearment referring to my baby days when I was indistinguishable from a rather quishy basketball 🙂

These days our visits look more like this:

IMG_1279

Just so you know, Thoughtful Thursdays came from my Mom. I remember always seeing her sitting in the kitchen writing letters, or notes. And she still does. Never misses sending a birthday card or just a note.

So this visit was not to “fix” anything but just to be with my parents.

We need to do more of that.

Just be, just love and cherish our time together.

It is what Thoughtful Thursday is all about. It’s the connection.

My hope for you is that you get to love and be loved today. There is nothing better!

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!

 

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Forgetting to be grateful for….

Happy Thoughtful Thursday!  Feel honored as I am postponing cleaning my frig to write this post.  You see cleaning my refrigetrator is one of my all time favorite things to do!

NOT!

There is a lesson for me in gratitude in that statement.  As many of you know I sprained my wrist this week when I “gracefully” fell off my bike.  I stopped to get a drink of water, was lost in my thoughts and didn’t clip out of my pedals fast enough and over I went.

IMG0072

Since then I have found myself becoming aware of all the little things I take for granted.  So in addition to Thoughtful Thursday it is also Thankful Thursday!

Here is a short list:

  • padded bike pants ( saved my behind)
  • bike gloves
  • my friend who was home and came and got me
  • its a sprain and not broken ( phew)
  • motrin 🙂
  • healing quickly
  • my son being home to do things like cut up that yummy watermelon and basically do the things I can’t
  • the ability ( when this heals) to ( without pain) open toothpaste tubes, turn doorknobs, tramadol carry stuff, turn the ignition on my car, write…..

I could make a list a mile long with that last one.  Holy Cow!  Oh and it is my right wrist..and, of course, I am right handed.

So as I headed upstairs to my office to write this and avoid cleaning the frig I wondered “have I ever been grateful that I have a refrigerator to clean AND the ability to put food in it week after week?”

Of course not..I just looked at it as one those “necessary” pain in the butt things I have to do.

So today and hopefully everyday ( no promises from this very human person) I will be grateful for all those things, people and abilities that I have that I often just assume will always be there for me.

It is humbling to see how very rich I am in those people and abilities.

So go out and make it a Two for One Thoughtful AND Thankful Thursday!

I’m off to clean my frig with a smile on my face for a change!!

Cheers!

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Run for the dream..just don’t run out of gas!

This past Sunday I completed my third half marathon and the only one I have attempted in warm weather.  The weather and Vitamin P ( procrastination) are the two biggest obstacles to my running.

I always come away  from these races with some good insights, a few chuckles and some new ( although often temporary) friends.

Here is what I learned from the Run for the Dream Half Marathon:

  • Don’t run out of gas.  I mean this in the truest sense.  Nothing like rolling into the parking lot on fumes!
  • Just glance at the weather predictions and I mean just look at whatever lame drawing they have..you know the ones with the clouds, sun, rain drops etc.  DO NOT READ the prediction of 81% humidity ( aka sauna)  Not the kind of adenaline rush I wanted the night before especially since I think it should be 65, sunny and with a light breeze for EVERY race.  ( a girl can wish can’t she?)
  • Remember not to break my rule of NOT looking at the race course and description before the race  Yup I looked and then remembered my mantra “Ignorance about hills  IS bliss!”

Okay..enough of the don’ts ..here are some aha’s.  Some are new and some are just things that have come to past over time.

  • No matter how good I feel or how strong I finish I always look like hell at the finish line..and that is okay.  I will never figure out how some women finish the race and still look fresh. And yes I am jealous!!
  • I like smaller races.  This one had between 2500-3000 runners.  Sounds like alot but not really. I’ve done a 10k with 40,000 of my closest friends and decided that 3,000 sweaty people is enough for me.
  • Go for the water even if its to pour it down my back or front.  The back is for the cooling effect..the front..well it gives a more dramatic display that I am actually working and sweating more intensely than I really am !
  • Don’t forget to have fun..here I am at mile 8.5 having some fun with the local parrotheads..I think if it had been a real bar half the runners would have quit right there…:)IMG_0071
  • Have a plan if  I end up being the very last person in..it hasn’t happened so far but the plan is in place.

Ready for this?

If I am going to have a police car following me becasue I am bringing up the rear then its time to do the ole princess wave, keep smiling and be grateful that I am at least running a tad faster than the police car or that some people may , possibly,  think I am famous.

Yeah right…

Seriously..I would work that bit so hard people would be cheering..or maybe the volunteers would be cheering that they can finally go home!

I  loved this race for the name alone. Who wouldn’t like to “Run for the Dream”?  Maybe I will just pick my races for the name from now on..hey works for me.

I do like to set an intention for each race long before the race day.  This time it was for a young adult named Jeremy and his family.  Jeremy had a pool accident last August that left him paralyzed from the chest down.  He is working hard to regain the use of his arms and legs.  His whole family runs for the dream EVERY day.  They could map out a course but hills and mountains and obstacles that they must tackle pop up when they least expect it.

Thinking of them and how they face their “run” everyday with faith, grace and smiles motivated me to get my rear end out the door and on the run.  I thought about them, prayed for them and thanked them for  letting me be a witness to their strength.

So Jeremy..I almost ran out of gas before the race even started..but I got there, I started, I finished and I thought of you.  May you continue on your race for YOUR dream and may all your future hills level out as you run your own race to recovery.

Oh and guess what..it turned out Sunday was Jeremy’s birthday ( I had no idea)…Happy Happy Birthday Jeremy..May all YOUR dreams come true!

Blessings,

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Asking for a do over as I begin again on my virtual triathlon

Well I had good intentions of starting my virtual triathlon from Virginia to Florida  on Jan 14th.  Well as they say:

Sh*&t Stuff happens, like life.

Also had good intentions of posting my progress on a weekly basis.  (see above)

Wish I could get a do over but lately I have been like a dog in a room full of squirrel, totally distracted and unproductive and  frustrated.

So  I never made it into the water, or on the road or on my bike the week of Jan 14th.

The good news is  I am now on a  roll and I am a movin and a groovin.   So without telling anyone I  humbly asked for a restart.

The new official start date was January 21st!  And as you can tell from today’s date ( Feb 11th) I am running behind in the updates.

My biggest hang-ups getting started ( aside from my chronic procrastination) were:

  • Getting the bike set up.
  • Getting over my love of being outdoors ( I really do grieve that)
  • My  hatred of treadmills.
  • Getting my butt to the pool.

Out of all of those the biggest frustration was the bike.  So it went something like this.

1. Clear a spot in our disaster of a basement for my bike.

2. Get bike trainer set up.  Watch video of how to do it ( I’ve done it once before but “poof” I forgot how)

3. Get ready to call Kinetic to tell them their video sucks because the set-up instructions are buried in one of the segments.

Phew!!  Ended up being easier than I thought.

4.  Realize this part of the basement is extremely warm. The rest of my house is chilly..what gives?

5.  Get on my bike and uh oh no way to track mileage.

6.  Get on google, get on Amazon..get what I need ordered, pay for 1 day  shipping.

7. Clean up basement =move all of the stuff from one room to another, move couches and desks by myself.  Call it a day.

8.  Watch it rain for the 6th day straight and wonder if I should be boating down to Florida.

9. Get cadence /mileage sensor.  Instructions suck.  Google comes in to rescue me.  Still can’t  figure it out.

10.  Clean  more  of   basement and decide SOMEONE in this family is a hoarder.

11.   Throw in the towel on the start of my virtual tri..

I FINALLY got the sensor installed on my bike.  The reviewers on Amazon were wrong or we have different ideas of what an easy set up  means.  I did learn what a crank shaft is and and a chain stay (not as exciting as it sounds!)

Here’s a photo of a bike on a trainer ( and yes I wear my clip in shoes)..tried one of me but the lighting in the old basement pretty much stinks!

bike trainer

So the good news is I DID get started.  The even better news is I LOVE being on my bike inside !  Who knew?  I have made it out to run but have yet to get to the pool although that is coming.

Ugh..the thought of putting on a swimsuit in February and not being in the tropics is not that appealing but it must be done.

So here is my total mileage as of Feb 11th.  I have traveled about 41 miles.  Which puts me somewhere on Ruffin Rd and of course still in Virginia.

I have about 50 more miles before I cross into North Carolina.  mmmm guess I had better get busy biking, running and swimming!

Keep Triing!

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Communication at it’s worse..my life as a sitcom, baby boomer edition.

I have never actually read the book ” Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” but after the following conversation with my husband I believe he may be from Jupiter.

Turns out I don’t need to talk to my parents to get funny posts, I can get them right in the car having a conversation with my husband.

So here is how the conversation in the car went:

Me: Hey do you want to go see the “Body Worlds and the Brain”  exhibition at the Richmond Science museum?  It is a display of actual human bodies and you can see their organs and all kinds of interesting stuff.   Wasn’t sure if you would think it was fascinating or gross.  I could check it out online and send you the info.

Side note: I am a nurse so this stuff would definitely not intimidate me and I am still hearing about a movie I suggested we see when we were dating called “Coma” and how it was really too gruesome for him.  This coming from someone who loves action movies and weird science fiction.

Paul: Really?? Actual bodies.  I wonder gastrointestinal where they get them.

Me: Probably from people who donate their bodies to science.  You know Rosemary and Tony are planning on donating their bodies to science.

Paul: Are you kidding me?  Tony and Rosemary are going to come to Richmond and are not going to stop and see us?

Side note: Took me a few seconds to comprehend what he just said.

Me: Well Paul if they are in the display of ” Body Worlds and the Brain ” because they donated their bodies to science, um NO they are not stopping by because, well they wouldn’t be alive!!

Evidently Paul thinks death is not a good reason to not come visit us when you are nearby.

I must have been speaking like  Charlie Brown’s teacher and this is what Paul chose to hear:

Wha, wha wha, Tony, Rosemary, wha wha in Richmond.

Charlie Browns teacher

So much for communication.    I’m really thinking those script writers need to call me for material.

And to our good friends Tony and Rosemary, please come visit anytime.  Paul thinks you would  be good company no matter what!  I do too but I prefer you be breathing.

Keep laughing!

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