Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Out Like a Lamb

The last day of March was true to form - finally, finally, finally - an absolutely gorgeous spring day! Our crosstraining class headed outside for our workout after cycling today; it was great to be outside with the sun in my face and the breeze in my hair. The forecast here looks promising for the weekend as well, looks like just a small chance of rain on Saturday. Good weather here means that Dave will miss Easter festivities with my family, but with good reason.

His current position has him traveling M-Th while he gets his sales reps in the two offices in AR and OK up and going. He's enjoying the travel for the most part, but the big change is that he now has very limited time to tackle the outside chores and other projects around the house. He started stripping the fence several weeks ago, but rain has kept him from finishing it the last three weekends (ok, rain two weekends and Bristol one weekend, but who's counting!?) Now we're getting ready to have some professional landscaping done in our backyard starting next week, and we're down to the wire on finishing the fence and prepping the backyard. Soooo, guess who gets to have a weekend at home, which he's looking forward to, and I get to see my WHOLE family -- ALL the sibs, all the nephews and that one beautiful niece! And I'm definitely looking forward to that, it will be wonderful to have everyone together.

At work, we're finishing up renovations to our office; losing space to a physician practice is a bummer, but a necessary evil, as space is at a premium. The one thing that I really hate is we're losing our restroom in our office suite- I have been spoiled having it right there next to me for the last several years! I'm sure my bladder is going to pay the price of procrastinating on that walk all the way to our other office area across the hall in our building every time I need to go! Cry me a river, I know. If this is the biggest thing I need to worry about at work then things are pretty good, huh!? Just have to keep things in perspective!

Dave just called and told me that Paige is coming home this weekend, so while he is home getting some work done, he will also get to see her - a definite bonus for Easter weekend!

Back to the landscaping - will have to post some "before" pics on the yard very soon, before work starts. It is exciting to have some plans for the area AROUND the massive deck - one of my favorite things is that we will have some wisteria on our pergola that Dave built.

Ok, time to finish up some cleaning and start packing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As if I wasn't already feeling like I'm not doing enough...

Check out this article posted yesterday on MSNBC about the findings of a recent study. Apparently middle-aged and older women who are at a healthy weight- and want to maintain it without dieting- need to moderately exercise for an hour every day to stay at that weight. Every single day. Seven days. Every week.

Now I KNOW there are women out there that do that, and heck, I'm even friends with some of them (and you KNOW who you are)! But that's pretty daunting. I know, you same women will tell me that I just have to make time, and make it a priority, work up to the seven days a week. Or at least do five or six days, and take one off a week. And don't beat myself up when I fall off the wagon. Like this week - although I think an ear infection and strep throat is probably an acceptable reason to miss the cycling workouts this week.

Getting an hour of moderate exercise in every day is a great goal, and I'll work towards it. I've been cycling 2 days a week, and doing cardio and some strength another day a week, and even sometimes another one, for a total of four days. And I feel GREAT when I do get that much in. I've seen improvements in my cardio, and also in my muscle tone, even if I haven't seen much of a weight loss yet. But it is rather disconcerting to realize that I will need to continue increasing my exercise as I get older, to even get the same results as I am seeing right now! Damn metabolism!

I had to chuckle when I clicked on MSNBC tonight to find and link to this article, because today's page had a follow-up article titled "Hour of exercise? Yeah, right, many women say"... hear hear, sister!

Monday, March 22, 2010

John Mayer: 2010 Battle Studies Tour

Pretty awesome picture, isn't it? I got a couple of good shots like this one, and not sure quite what exactly I did on the camera to get them! And of course a bunch that weren't so good- too much light, too blurry, etc. I was very fascinated with the ongoing quality pics and videos taken by the guy right in front of us, using a simple point & shoot camera. I chatted with him at the break, and he was modest about his abilities but his friends bragged on his other "professional" camera, and the pictures he took at their daughter's birthday party... obviously he knows how to take photographs, no matter what kind of camera he's using. I was lucky to get my couple shots, but I'd love to learn how to adjust the exposure etcetera, to get even close to the kinds of photos he was getting with a basic camera.

Anyway.... John Mayer, Saturday night, Scottrade Center in St. Louis, with friend and fellow music enthusiast, Stephanie. Our seats were great, and the music was absolutely amazing. One of my very, very, VERY favorite things to do is to see a live concert; just the excitement, the booming thump of the music, the cheering of the crowd, the anticipation of what hits and deep cuts the artist will include in the concert set (we nailed the guess on what song Mayer would open with - "Heartbreak Warfare", excellent intro) and the feeling of being "right there" with the music and the musician.

Opening act Michael Franti with Spearhead

I have loved John Mayer's music for the past several years, and this concert certainly showcased his breadth as a musician; he's grown so much musically since I saw him in 2005 with my sis Annie. My favorite music of his is from 2008's Continuum album - my blog title is from that album. As a musician, he's phenomenal on the guitar - one of the best blues guitarists of our time, according to many of the guitar legends from the past 30 years.

But his songwriting is what speaks to so many of his fans - songs about growing up, about growing older, about love, anger, and angst. He played so many great songs Saturday night, but one of my favorites was "Wheel" - at the time I thought it was from Continuum, but it was actually from 2003's Heavier Things:

John Mayer - Wheel
Found at

As Stephanie and I walked back to the hotel after the concert, we talked about some of his comments while he was on stage, just discussing where his life is now and that hopefully he's learned from his mistakes, etc. Stephanie hit the nail on the head when she commented that John Mayer obviously is a spiritual person, and his emotions run deep, to be able to write like he does. But he is also so clearly searching, for something, and is really lost in his life, despite (or because of) the fame, money and success he's experienced.

Of course, isn't that how many songwriters are? It is the searching and the torment that enables them to write the songs that speak to so many people. So I guess it is a double-edged sword - if he finds happiness and completes his life, will his music then change for the worse? Let's hope not, that both can happen in conjunction - that he can be happy AND write great music.

It was a great trip, and nice to have six hours in the car to catch up with Stephanie - we're both so busy, there's never enough time to just talk. The only downside to the weekend was getting sick - started with a scratch and sore throat on Friday, wasn't feeling the greatest all of Saturday, and progressively worse by Sunday night. The diagnosis via urgent care visit today was probable strep throat and definite infection in both ears, but I'm already on pill two of my antibiotics, so sure to feel much better by tomorrow. Dave's home from his four day NASCAR trip to Bristol, but he's steering clear of me this evening, hoping to avoid the crud!

Jace is on break from school this week, so I'm looking forward to a day or two off work with him, later in the week. Off to bed now, to catch up on sleep and get back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Eyes Are Smiling...

Happy St. Patty's Day, and, more importantly, Happy 33rd Birthday, Annie! Yep, I'm putting it out here for everyone to see... you had me fooled a couple of years ago when you convinced me that it was only your 29th birthday, when it was really your 30th... but now that Tara has made "The List" with all of the family's birthdays and anniversaries, I'm wise to ya, sis!

I know Susan and Rob remember this too, the day your were born; Dad came home and announced your birth to us three older siblings, as we sat around Grandma G's table... a little girl, born on St. Patrick's Day, and the only one in the family with red hair!

Happy birthday, hope you're celebrating today with Matt, and we're looking forward to seeing both of you at Easter!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Lost Weekend

Daylight savings time, blechhhh. Actually, I love that we'll have more daylight later each evening as we ease into summer, but that initial adjustment to moving the clock one hour forward really stinks! Even though I didn't get to sleep in on Saturday or Sunday, we had a fairly non-productive, although thoroughly enjoyable, weekend. Considering the weather was cold (40s) and rainy, it was a great weekend to camp out in the living room and enjoy some family time.

Jace and I started our Saturday morning working a shift with our church at a local branch of the organization Kids Against Hunger. We worked in groups of four or five volunteers, scooping layers of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and protein powder into meal-sized bags that were then weighed and sealed. Over the two 2-hour shifts, the KAH coordinator said we would package about 30,000 meals, to be sent as relief to Haiti. There were lots of parents, grandparents, and kids there helping, and I liked that Jace and I could spend some time together giving to others, even with something as small and simple as working a couple of hours on a Saturday.

Jace liked reading about and looking at all of the pictures and facts about different countries in the KAH lobby. He wanted me to take his picture in front of the information about Mexico; he commented about the statistic (Oops, guess I cropped it out of this picture) that according to the World Food Bank, 53% of Mexico's population is living on less than $2.00 per day. Kinda brings it home, even for an 11-year-old; we are so lucky to live in the country that we do.

A big highlight of the weekend was spending time with Paige, who drove home Saturday from KC for a week of spring break. While we were waiting for her to get home Saturday afternoon, Dave and Neil headed to the movie store to see what they could find for that night (as a rule of thumb I'm not allowed to pick the family movies anymore, and for good reason; admittedly I almost always pick something totally lame). They came back with a couple of movies, AND Season 1 of NBC's series, "Lost".

I remember when it premiered, back in 2005. It was one of those shows that looked good, however as with any series, if you miss out on the first season then there's really no use trying to catch up and figure out what's going on. But ahhh, the wonders of modern technology! 20+ episodes of "Lost", commercial free and no waiting a week in between to see what happens... I do realize that we're about five seasons behind, but that just means we have several weekends worth of entertainment with the kids over the next several months!

Sunday after church Dave fixed a huge brunch, with omelets, hashbrowns, and biscuits, it was delicious.

Then we settled in for another afternoon of "Lost", and even after an afternoon of watching we STILL had three DVDs worth of episodes left at the end of the evening! Unfortunately, I belatedly realized on Sunday night that our "Lost" marathon had kept me from doing more than one load of load of laundry the entire weekend. So tonight I'm playing catch up -Dave's out of town, Jace is with his dad, and I'M getting a few things checked off the list here at home. I've done three loads of laundry, I just turned all the clocks forward (so I'm no longer mentally figuring the time every time I glance at one)... and yes, watching I'm another DVD of "Lost". Just talked to Dave a bit ago, and he found it online at Hulu, so he's doing the same! We're hooked!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hey, Soul Sister

(that's the title to the new Train song, and I'm loving it! It is one of those catchy songs that I'm sure people either love or hate. I love Train, saw them in concert back in 2001; their first top 40 hit, "Meet Virginia" is still one of my favorite tunes)

It's Monday and I'm tired. Saturday was our annual baby event at the hospital, and all went well. Not sure on the attendee count yet, but I'd guess it was just a little less than last year's 600 people; given that the weather was absolutely beautiful on Saturday, I'm glad we had as many as we did. We had about 50 vendors there, all local businesses specializing in things for expectant moms/parents. Here I am with one of our vendors:

Ok, it's me with my "sis-ter", Susan (family members, you will know to add the sing-songy tone to that, as Susan does!). She was looking great on Saturday, all put together as usual. When you're an extremely successful senior sales director for one of the nation's biggest skin care/cosmetic companies, you must look put together! And she does a fabulous job of it!

I, on the other hand, had the best of intentions on looking put together for Saturday's event, BUT I was exhausted Friday night, and overslept Saturday morning, so this is as good as it got. I hit "snooze" on my blackberry at 5AM, and then woke up with a start at 6:09 - had to be at work by 6:45, so went with the ponytail, minimal makeup (note the red face) but I was only 5 minutes late! Not too shabby for less than 30 minutes, AND that included a shower. I'm sure Susan wanted to get me in a chair and help me fix up a little, but she held back!

And while I'm on the subject of sisters, our sis Tara and hubby Luke just returned home after a 7-day cruise; their first time away from their little guy, Isaac. Check out their pics, here. I've never been on a cruise, so I'm looking forward to hearing about it when we're all together for Easter in a few weeks. (Dad and Mom watched Isaac at Tara & Luke's home for four days, so I'm SURE there are plenty of stories from that, as well!)

I'm getting back in shape for the warm weather, and really enjoying my cycling/cross training class, it was a great workout tonight. Unfortunately, there was some Nestle slice-and-bake cookie dough here at home that called my name after my healthy dinner, so I'm afraid that cancelled out some of my efforts at the gym. But I put the rest of the dough in the trash tonight, so TAKE THAT, temptation! Tomorrow's another day, and I'm ready for it!

We have an educational luncheon later this week, and another event next week, so work is pretty nuts right now, as it is every spring. But I just keep making my lists and checking things off, and knowing that it will calm down soon. Happy Monday!