Monday, May 31, 2010

Rest and Relaxation

I had to put this picture at the beginning of the post, just to set the mood - don't we look relaxed and happy? It was a wonderful weekend, I enjoyed every minute of it ... just enough relaxation to feel ready for the rest of the work week, while still having accomplished a few things. Ok, well, probably more relaxation than accomplishments, but it was sure nice!

Jace and I had a little mom/son time Friday night, and watched "New Moon", the second movie of the "Twilight" series. Then he headed to his dad's on Saturday morning for the weekend, and called me tonight to tell me about the fish he caught; he was so excited, said it was "at least a foot or foot and a half long!". What is it about guys and fish? He's starting this whole exaggeration thing pretty early - pretty soon the fish will be 3 feet long, etc! He's excited about fishing in Florida, getting a head start in the pond behind his dad's house. Tomorrow is Field Day at his school, so I'm taking off work in the morning and helping with the events. And Wednesday is the last school day of the year, and time for summer vacation.

Dave and I headed to the lake Saturday about 10AM, to hang out with Chris and Jana on their boat. I made to the gym for an 8AM cycling class, to at least get a little exercise in to counteract my plans for indulgence over the holiday weekend - hamburgers, chips, dessert and more... yum!

We headed out to a cove on Tablerock, dropped our anchor and tied up the boat with Jeff, Michelle and Sydney, some new friends of Chris and Jana's, from their dock. That's Jeff on top of his boat, hanging out the front window of the sedan bridge, while Michelle is driving.

When you're anchored out on the lake, the humans can use the bathroom on the boat, but the doggies have to get to shore to do their duty at some point. So, Chris swam over and back with them - he makes a pretty good water taxi, doesn't he?

We grilled out while we were in the cove, and then cruised around a bit at sunset, enjoying the view and getting a few pics before heading back to the dock for the evening.

We headed home mid-morning on Sunday to get ready to have Neil and some friends over for a barbecue later that evening. Dave made ribs and beercan chicken on his Big Green Egg, and we had Napa salad, strawberries, corn on the cob, and dessert - all low fat and Weight Watcher approved - ha! In keeping with our spring weather the past couple of months, the rain did make a brief appearance just as Dan and Gail were getting ready to come over. Thankfully the grill wasn't affected by the showers, although I did have to cover all the seats with some fashionable trash bags so that we could sit outside for dinner.

And, to wrap up the evening, we celebrated Paige's 19th birthday, thinking of her while she is in Japan:

Check her blog out, she had plans for her birthday, and has been very busy over the past several days. We miss you, Paige - happy birthday!

Today was quiet; did make it to the gym this morning, Gail and I walked/ran the track and then cycled for 20 minutes. Other than that, just took it easy, getting laundry caught up, reading, and watching a movie with Dave tonight. Sometimes it is really nice to have a weekend like this, and it felt okay to do so, especially since we did get so much done last weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Patience, please!

What is that old adage about a watched pot never boiling? Well, I'm guilty. I've found myself neurotically checking my flower beds at least once, and sometimes twice a day, to see if my irises and poppies are peeking up yet..... and, no, not yet. We bought bareroots, not bulbs, through Michigan Bulb, and I guess I figured that they would just start growing within a few days of planting, since they weren't bulbs. But it has been four weeks, and still no poppies or irises. The bareroot hostas are already up and growing quickly, so I'm not sure why the others aren't.

The potted plants and flowers we planted in the back yard are looking great, and growing quite nicely, with the exception of the bamboo plants. We bought a couple of them, and the nursery owner said that this type was the hardiest and best growing of the clumping bamboo (which means that they won't spread all over, they stay in one spot) but it is still about the same size it was when we planted it a month ago. Jace is so excited about the bamboo; our neighbors have a fully grown bamboo plant in their yard, and they cut it back and put the stalks (which are those hard, wood bamboo sticks) out in the wooded area behind our homes. When Jace discovered them, he dragged them back to our garage and has made all kinds of swords and shields, etc with them. A roll of duct tape, bamboo sticks and his imagination have kept him busy for hours at a time!

It is budget time again at work, and I am so ready for the holiday weekend. Weekends will be a little closer to home this year, with our boat in dry storage. We made the hard decision to put it in storage last fall, in keeping with our Dave Ramsey plan. Selling it was out of the question; with the economy, we would have never recouped what we owe. So, keeping it in storage saves on the slip rental, and the expense of being down at the lake with food, drinks etc. every weekend. It is another lesson in patience, and forgoing the fun for awhile so that we can be in a better place financially.

It was amazing to look back at what we spent on weekends down at the lake over the past couple of years, and now all of that is going towards paying off debt. Hopefully in a couple of years we'll be at a point where we can pull it out of storage and enjoy it, but this was the best decision for now. And we do still have lots of friends with boats, so there's still some lake time for us this summer. We're actually heading there tomorrow, to enjoy the day with friends Chris and Jana. Looking forward to a beautiful day, and no rain in the forecast. Yay!

Now I've got to get back to work and finish up my budget draft, before I can start enjoying the weekend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Journey to Japan

My main reason for writing today is to share Paige's blog site. It has been a week today since she left for Japan, and I'm so glad she'll be blogging and sharing her experience. She's having an amazing time, and her first few days have been very busy. Her blog is very entertaining, and I've loved reading her thoughts and insights about the experience, and the interesting customs and culture in Japan. She is a very articulate writer, and you can check her blog out here, Journey to Japan. She just posted some beautiful pictures from a tour she took Saturday, some temples and historic areas in Japan.

Here in the midwest, we had a gorgeous weekend of sunshine and clear blue skies- a welcome change from the last several weeks. We took advantage of the weather and spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons outside, finishing the painting of the pergola and added some screening/reinforcement to the top, to give a little shade. Will post some pics soon - next project is to paint the entire deck surface again, next weekend, replace a few boards, and fill the planters with some bright annuals.

My plan for the gym this week is cycling tonight and Wednesday, yoga Tuesday and Saturday. Thursday's my day off, and looking forward to some social plans that night. I'll probably do something on Friday, but it may just be an elliptical day - not hitting that 6AM class again, whew.

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My leg goes where!?

I tried another class last night, trying to expand my repertoire. One of the gals in my cycling class has great arms, and I asked her last week if she lifted weights or what she did to get such toned arms. She said that she does Power Yoga on Tu/Th evenings, and that it is a hard class, but worth it. She's seen a big change in her arms, and also in her torso area, a lot more fat burning and definition (that's all she had to say. I'm trying it!)

And she was right, the class was a challenge - I have done yoga before, briefly, at a studio here in town. But it has been awhile, and this class was a different pace and level. Some great stretching, a lot of core exercises and sit-ups, and lots of planks, push-ups and more to work the arms. And lots of balancing. Not my strong spot, at all. Of course there are all different levels of people in the class, and there were some experts and some beginners. The instructor led us in a series of poses like this:

And this (great for abs, I can feel 'em today!)

and even this (mine did not look much like this):

And finally, this:

"Some people find it easier to grasp their big toe and then pull back into the pose, but I usually grab the inside arch of my foot and use that to pull back and balance" she said. Uh, not so much.
I'm going to keep going to the class, I just am aware of my limitations. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't work at it, and succeed on some level. After all, I wouldn't have thought a few months ago that I would be able to keep the pace in my cycling class, and I have to remind myself of that as I try something new!

Ready for the weekend, and NO RAIN, finally. Outside chores are waiting! Happy Friday to all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just in case you thought I wasn't blogging anymore...

Nope, I'm still here. Just not as often. "Oh, I'll have to blog about that" has been a passing thought several times over the last couple of weeks, but I haven't made it any further than that! Nothing too crazy here, but more of my weekday evenings have been busy with the gym, which has been a good thing. Hitting the road to Florida with Dave and the kids in less than a month, and although I've been lax the past couple summers about working out (even with us having a boat the last two summers. You'd think that would be a motivator to look GOOD, but it didn't seem to happen - well, the workout didn't happen, and the excessive wine did happen, and neither were good for the waistline), I really want to get out of that rut. I have lost 2% body fat since my last visit with my wellness coach at work back in Feb, so it definitely is progress. I've decided that my goal from the last two years of wellness visits, which has been to lose 10 pounds, is not what I need to focus on - it is the body fat. That's more the key, and I think I'm doing it... we'll see, I'm going to stop in and check my numbers again in a couple of weeks.

I'm not doing anything crazy, because I want it to continue to be attainable for me, and not just a mad dash to fitness and then slacking back off. I'm loving my cycling/cross training class on M-W evenings, have been doing that for about 12 weeks now. The instructor is one of Paige's high school teachers and she is awesome. She makes the 45 minute class very enjoyable, even though it is a hard workout. There is a class that it titled the same thing on Friday mornings and 6AM, and I tried that last week since I knew we were eating a big dinner Friday night. It was a far cry from the M-W class; everyone in there had cycling shoes on, and the teacher was a harda**; it was 1.5 hours long, 45 minutes of intense cycling (C'mon, Friday morning people, you can do it - go go go go GO! She bellowed like that for the entire 45 minutes!) and then we headed over to one of the open floor areas for the cross training. I have to say, I only lasted 10 minutes on the cross training and then I was out of there. To be fair, she did tell me that I could just go at my own pace, but all of these people were hard core, and it was just not comfortable for me.

My friend Gail is doing a "Couch to 5K" training over the next several weeks, so she has talked me into meeting her during her daughter's class on Tuesday nights and running. Tonight was "walk 3 minutes/run 3 minutes" five times. She is supposed to do it 3-4 times a week, which she has been doing. I'm only doing it the one time with her, the rest of my nights are cycling and other stuff. Sooo, I think as she gets further into it (next week is "walk 2.5 min/run 5 min") I won't be able to keep up as well. We'll see.

Hmmm, let's see - other news. Neil turned 16 Sunday and got his license Monday, and Paige came home from William Jewell on Thursday night and then left for Okazaki, Japan on Monday for five weeks. Her minor is Japanese, and she applied for and received a full grant to stay with a host family and study Japanese at a university there. We had birthday dinners for them Friday night, it was so good to see them both, especially since we haven't seen Paige as much now that she's 3+ hours away. Here's a couple pics:

Dave and kids

(I made Neil smile; he should more often, don't you agree!?)

Paige and Kathleen

Landscaping/flower garden update: Our back yard is looking great, AND I've been able to skip the chore of watering nightly or even every other night, with all the rain lately! I planted a bunch of bulbs in our front flower beds this time last week; but with all this rain, I just hope they're not rotting under there. I did see four of the hostas peeking out today, but we'll see about the irises and poppies. I still need to finish painting the pergola on the back deck, because our wisteria is already up the posts and heading for the top, so I want to get it painted before the vines reach the top. Hopefully this weekend's weather will be SUNNY, we've had rain for almost two weeks straight.

That's all for now, time to finish up a bit of work and head to bed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Job Description

POSITION: Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communicationand organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs something. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of ahalf million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

None.Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

Get this --- YOU pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 becauseof the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, this job does supply limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

Happy Mother's Day!