Friday, November 23, 2012

Back in Black

Today I decided to start a new tradition. Instead of celebrating "Black Friday" with an insane shopping frenzy, I celebrated "Give Back Friday" with an insane giving frenzy. Instead of attacking my fellow shoppers, I attacked my closets, bookshelves, and that pesky under the bed storage container. Instead sitting amongst a pile of bags of new purchases, I am now sitting amongst a pile of bags ready to be taken to the Goodwill.


I'm inviting anyone and everyone to join me in this new tradition. (Since it's the inaugural year, we can do "Give Back Saturday" and try Friday next year!")

It's always seemed to me a silly thing to rush around trying to get as many material things as possible at the cheapest price just one day after sitting down with family and friends to celebrate being grateful. Is that all gratitude gets? One day? Immediately followed by activities specifically designed for us to focus on what we DON'T have? Not for me.

So I've taken the day back to focus on everything I already have. And what I have in such abundance that I can share with others. It makes for a much more satisfying Friday!

TODAY'S THANKS:
Gorgeous sunny weather!!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two Things

While at work today, one of my co-workers commented: "I think everybody should have two things-- a label maker and a copy of Emily Post's Etiquette book."

Funny. I think everybody should have two things as well. But I think those two things are a good pair of fitness shoes and an upcoming adventure.

I'm planning a good one for 2013!

TODAY'S THANKS:
having plans and goals to work towards.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Weekend

This weekend was a fantastic weekend for playing with pumpkins!

On Saturday, I did this:




Yes, I went to a pumpkin drop. No better way to spend a sunny fall afternoon than watching pumpkins dropping from 140 feet up in the air. SPLAT!

What would possibly possess anybody to go to a pumpkin drop, you ask? The very best reason of all: charity.

Four years ago, my friend's mother grew a giant pumpkin from seeds she had received as a gift. It made a spectacular Halloween decoration, but then they had the dilemma of what to do with the 100 pound pumpkin before it rotted in the front yard.



"Hey, we should drop it off the roof" turned out to be the very best suggestion.

Fast forward 4 years and it has morphed into a very big event in a parking lot with a crane and a bulldozer to scoop up all the pumpkin pieces and a number of trucks to bring donated food to a local food bank.





In the end, over 200 pumpkins were smashed!


As well as one unfortunate bunny



SPLAT!!



And then on Sunday, I drank this:


Love me a pumpkin smoothie on a Sunday morning!



Yes, it was a fantastic weekend for playing with pumpkins!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Niece and Nephew Wisdom

It's been a while since I imparted the infinite wisdom of my nieces and nephews. But this is just too brilliant:

On Monday, there was a mock election at the elementary school where my niece and nephew go. When they got home, my brother and sister in law asked them who they voted for.

5 year old boy: "I voted for Obama"
7 year old girl: "Well, I voted for Mitt Romney"

Their parents said "Oh, no. We need a tie breaker here" So they called in the two year old and asked him who he wanted to be president. He thought for a moment:
"Superman!"

I think he may be on to something.

TODAY'S THANKS:
Reading under the covers all snuggly and warm.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

TODAY'S THANKS:
I am thankful that I don't work outside today! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Great American Ass

Tonight after work, I went to a party. We've been looking forward to this night since last summer when we were lucky enough to be party of a television show that was filming on Cape Cod.

Cape Able Adventures, the adaptive sports program that I have been volunteering with for the past three years was chosen to be featured on the show Great American Heroes with Trace Adkins on GAC. I was very impressed with the job they did representing the program and the variety of people who participate in the activities. Plus, Trace Adkins is just an all around nice guy.

As usual, any time I'm involved in something like this, it's always my ASS that gets camera time, never my face.

Tune in and look for my ass as well as a great program and two amazing guys (Trace and Cape Able Adventures founder, Craig Bautz). It'll be showing for the next 4 days on GAC.





TODAY'S THANKS:
I'm thankful for no more political ads and lots more uplifting TV.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I broke down and turned on my heat today. It's time.

TODAY'S THANKS:
I'm thankful that I have heat and that I am able to pay my heating bill, even though my electric heat necessitates being thrifty in other areas. I know I'm lucky for these things.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cold day

Today the temperature dropped. Suddenly, I was shivering as I walked out to my car, I was impatiently waiting for the engine to warm up so I could blast the hear, suddenly I was thinking I need to wear a warm jacket. I may have to turn on the heat!

I have electric heat so I try to hold out for as long as I can before opening that wallet suck.

I'm thinking of frigid turkey trots, frosty hikes in the woods, and walking along the frozen sand watching the waves crash.

And though I wasn't thinking of it, suddenly, the first few flakes of snow came fluttering down.

TODAY'S THANKS:
reading under the covers surrounded by pillows

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ice cream and duct tape on a fall day

Today was a perfect fall day. I picked up my niece after her soccer game and brought her and her friend out for ice cream and gave her a birthday present. (she just turned 11. and she's taller than me, which she berates me about as only an 11 year old can)

Many years ago, I was spending Christmas with some friends of mine, and one of them got every one of their male friends duct tape for a present. I berated him as only a drunk friend from the same hometown can that he pulled a great cop out. "Duct tape is the dumbest present I've ever heard of!"

Fast forward to November 2012: I gave my niece a bag full of duct tape for her 11th birthday. She's one of those kids who makes things out of duct tape. She makes flowers and wallets and cell phone cases and ipod covers and bags and clothes for her Monster High dolls. "Their outfits are inappropriate," she says. "I don't want them to get sent home from school because their skirts are too short." Then she makes them leopard print duct tape leggings. Now she has enough material to outfit the entire Monster High student body.

This afternoon, we all sat at a picnic table in the sun eating ice cream. At the next table was a girl, around 12 or 13, having an ice cream with her dad. She was wearing a medal around her neck from synchronized skating. I felt so happy just then, remembering the times when my dad would take me out for ice cream after I did well in gymnastics or scored a goal in soccer.

Every time, he would encourage me to get something I had never had before. Sometimes it would be fantastic. Sometimes, not so much. But always, it was a new experience. Something as simple as going out for an ice cream turned into a lesson in expanding my horizons and a little puzzle piece that would form a picture of the person I was to become. I hoped the girl a the next table  had a dad as great as mine.

My dad is out on storm duty right now, trying to get the power back up and running for people in Pennsylvania. He's still teaching me things.

My niece said she's going to make him something out of the duct tape.

TODAY'S THANKS
My Dad (of course)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Horror Movies

One of my favorite things in October is watching scary movies. When it gets close to Halloween, you can find me scouting the TV, looking for good scary movies. I always have to watch alot of bad ones before I actually find a good one.

I think the horror movie is a pretty hard endeavor. It's not like a romantic comedy, where even a really bad one is still going to be a crowd pleaser. Just plug in the formula, throw in a few laughs, end on a happy note and BOOM! Done. It's kind of like pizza. Even bad pizza is still pretty good. And everyone will still eat it.

Horror movies are more like souffl├ęs. Difficult to make, and even if it comes out perfectly, only a select few will like it. Me? I can be found smacking my chops and wiping whipped potato from the corners of my mouth! I love a good suspenseful thriller filled with unexpected twists. I love an old fashioned horror flick that'll make me jump out of my seat. I like a cleverly made monster movie that'll stay with me for days. I even like the anxious, jittery, wired feeling I sometimes get that leaves me unable to sleep.

Moster movies seem to have made a pretty big comeback in the past few years. The reigning king of the monsters, of course, is the vampire. Though zombies aren't far behind. Vampires always seem to be the slick, cool, sexy, mesmerizing ones. While zombies are, well, zombies.

Zombies come in two varieties: the slow moving, moaning, brain-eating type a la Night of the Living Dead and the jittery, fast moving, shrieking variety like in 28 Days Later.  (Both good movies, by the way) I like a good Zombie flick.

You don't see a lot of interest in mummies. Or swamp creatures. Frankenstein is middle of the pack, at best. I'd really like to see some adventurous director take these neglected creatures and do something new with them. Are you listening, John Carpenter,  Wes Craven, Clive Barker, JJ Abrams or M. Night Sham-a-lam-a-ding-dong? October comes every year!

Demons get alot of press, too, but I fail to see why. For a creature that's supposed to be so powerful, they don't seem to be able to do a whole lot. They always move into a house and skulk around the attic for a while, bewildering the mice or making a creepy clown doll stand up. Then, maybe, they'll venture downstairs and rattle a vase or make a shade fly up or maybe even - gasp - open a door! So what? I can open a door. I can open AND close a door while carrying my work bag, my gym bag, my lunch bag, my purse, a stack of letters to be mailed, my travel mug of tea and a green smoothie. I do it every morning. (okay, sometimes it takes me two trips) But still! Why would I possibly be afraid of something that can only open a door one, maybe two inches, WITHOUT carrying all that other shit?

Therein, I think, lies the reason behind the demon's ultimate goal of possession. Only when occupying the body of a human can it multi-task! And everybody knows that NOTHING gets done these days without a little multi-tasking going on.

If you ask me, if they really wanted to make an impact, demons would just scrap this whole possession business and concentrate on their one true strength: foreign languages. Ever notice that in possession movies, the hapless victim suddenly is fluent in German and Russian and Aramaic? That's what demons should be touting! They'd be bigger than Berlitz. Yet somehow, they fail capitalize on their strengths or learn from the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Quite disappointing coming from the monster equivalent of "president of the Latin club."

Which leads me to the mack daddy of all the horror movie creatures, Satan himself. He makes alot of appearances under many stage names: Damien, Lucifer, Beelebub, Dick Cheney. he's supposed to be the most evil entity in all the universe, but notice how he often just seems like an egomaniac? Hey, Devil, stop acting like a spoiled toddler who needs a nap! Why do you think its always about you, you, you? What he really deserves is a good time out. Maybe a nurturing mom-type to read the Little Golden Book series to him and give him some hot chocolate.

He does know where to find the good music, though. And he can throw one heck of a party! So, sure, int this case, I'll throw the conceited bastard a bone. Halloween can be all about him.

And candy.

And scary movies.

TODAY'S THANKS:
Being in good enough shape to do crazy obstacle course races :)


Friday, November 2, 2012

Goals

Oh, I'm so happy right now. Happy because I feel like the entire month is spread out before me with so many days in which to make green smoothies and use my juicer, to work out both inside and out, to walk on the beach in a warm hoodie, to hang with the family, drink tea and hot chocolate, to make list and check em off, to move forward, forward, forward.

I'm happy because I have electricity and hot water and a roof over my head. I have a good family with very little drama. I'm happy and I seem to have jumped into the thankful mindset with both feet.

I'm happy because it's goal time!

November:

I spent October weighing some options with an Oct 31st deadline to make a pretty big decision. I made it. So starting here and now, I have a bit of tidying up and foundation building to do.

1) Get all online financial accounts set into one spot.

2) Have Xmas shopping 3/4 done at end of month

3) 7 or more servings of veggies a day

4) Begin training program for next big adventure

5) Pare down 4 more books

6) Plan craft activity for kids on Thanksgiving

7) Clean out storage area over Mom & Dad's garage 

8) Girl's nite out with J and Shell

9) 1 new recipe a week

10) Get car winterized before the snow starts to fall

TODAY'S THANKS:
My co-workers. Sometimes work isn't great, but the people I work with always are.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy November

What a wild, weird, and wonderful month October was! It came in with just perfect fall weather and left with Frankenstorm! We were quite lucky here in Mass....most of the really bad weather stayed to the south and pushed the warmer air up this way. So I was able to keep my "I'm not turning on the heat until November" rule. It's Nov 1st and still warm. I may make it until November 7th or so.

Plus, all of my friends and loved ones in New York and New Jersey are safe and sound, with nothing more to contend with than a few days of darkness. So overall, its good.

November is also the month for a nice little bloggie game called "Today's reason I'm Thankful" or Today's Thanks for short. You know, like Thanksgiving every single day in November.

But first:

October Goals:

1) High Intensity Training 31 Days: half credit, I guess. I did work out every day, but expecting to work out high intensity for 31 days in a row is not realistic. Not for my body, anyway. So it was a nice little experiment in listening to my body and planning workouts with a purpose.

2) Learn How to Use the New Computer: Again half credit. I'm still getting used to the new format. I finally crossed over to the other side and got an apple. I like it a lot, but there's definitely a learning curve when transitioning from a PC.

3)  Keep Up with the Mediating and Journaling: Success on this one. Journaling in the am, meditation in the pm. Nothing clears the head more. Except maybe running.

4) Plan a Kick Ass Halloween Costume: I was cat woman. Totally cool and totally comfortable. It rocked!

5) Do the Summer to Fall Clothing Exchange: Done. (sniffle sniffle)

6) Take a Big Load to the Thrift Store: Done. ANd I'm putting together another load for November.

7) Try Out Two New Recipes per Week: Half credit. I tried out about one per week. Most of em, I admit, are pretty straightforward and simple. Mostly veggie. And all pretty tasty.

8) Martha's Vineyard Century Ride: Fail. Boo! I ended up skipping this because we did not have enough participants to warrant the number of volunteers. Plus, I had to put the top on my jeep.

9) Go Hiking: twice. Love it.

10) Stop Neglecting the blog: not as regular as I would have wished, but getting there.

And now onto November

In addition to being the month of thanks, November also is the abound with pumpkins, squash, and apples. So many more new recipes are waiting to be made!

Let's bring it on!

TODAY'S THANKS:
Lovely sunny temperate day that makes fall seem (almost) as good as summer!