Saturday, February 28, 2009

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice...

Michelle L., from Segullah, has written one of the most thought-provoking posts I've ever had the pleasure of reading over there; and I've had the pleasure of reading quite a few! 

She begins by alluding to President Hinckley's conference talk following 9/11, wherein he referenced Pharaoh's dream from Genesis rather specifically. He didn't hit us over the head with the dream or its interpretation, he merely said, "I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets which we have had constantly before us. I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh's dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn."

Michelle's article then refreshes our memories about the seven years of feast and seven years of famine forecasted by that Old Testament dream, calling to our attention the interesting fact that our economy experienced what could reasonably be called "seven years of feast" after President Hinckley gave this talk in October of 2001 and that the stock market crashed in October of 2008, exactly seven years later, beginning what could easily become "seven years of famine." Without insisting that a direct parallel exists, she does make this highly intriguing query:

"I wonder, as I reflect on President Hinckley’s words, if I take prophetic counsel a bit too casually. Unlike the bellowing doomsayers of the past, our prophets are gentle, kind, even avuncular in their manner. Perhaps I’ve regarded their words as friendly advice rather than divine instruction?"

She then refers us to President Monson's most recent conference talk, with the inference that we might have a lot to gain from considering whether the message given there is worth another look to ensure that we are affording it as much gravitas as it deserves.

Michelle's words spoke straight to my heart, and they hit my brain pretty hard as well. Too often, I am guilty of regarding a prophet's words more "casually" than spiritual wisdom would suggest. Don't get me wrong here...I certainly listen...I even choose to believe...but what I don't always do is use my spiritual ears to hear exactly what the Lord is telling me...or my spiritual eyes to see what he would have me do. As a result, I don't always act...or change...or benefit as fully as I could.

Sometimes I just plain miss the boat. And I intend to do something about that.

Thanks, Michelle.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Birthday Blessings...and Boastings

Today is my daughter's birthday. It's hard to believe that she is 31 years old, but then it's hard to believe that I'm 56, too. (Some days I feel younger...other days, considerably older!) 

Interesting. My mother and I are separated in age by 25 years just like Karin and I are. So Mom bore me at the same age I bore Karin. (I always laugh at the verb "bore" used in the past tense with regard to childbirth, which is definitely anything but a boring process. However, it is one that, while it must be borne, can be hard to bear...even though it bears great fruit!)

But, be that as it may (cough, cough), back to Karin. My daughter. The one who greeted the world 31 years ago today. She was a bit tricky right at first in that she cried six to eight hours (non-stop) every night for about four months. After that colicky start, however, she became a wonderfully happy but feisty baby. And daring, incredibly daring, bordering on foolhardy. (Okay, it WAS foolhardy, but this is her birthday, right? I'll stick with "daring.") In fact, she scared me to death! Being her mom was nothing short of a gut check, and I'll give you some examples why. 

At the age of eight months, she perfected the art of flipping herself out of her crib. That's right, "flipping." She didn't climb out; she would just throw herself out, landing limbs akimbo on the floor. Needless to say, this made me sleep a little less well. In fact, until my mom figured out the perfect solution (thanks, Mom!), I slept on the ground next to Karin's crib for a few nights. 

When she was barely ten months old, I found her one day standing on top of my refrigerator. I still have no idea whatsoever how she got up there, but I remember advancing upon her ever-so-slowly, speaking in dulcet, calming tones so as not to startle her until I could get close enough to whisk her away which time my tone of voice changed considerably while I "explained" to her that being on top of the refrigerator was something she should avoid in the future.

She ate and drank anything she could get her hands on, and I'm not talking about food here. She ate soap and toothpaste, drank perfume and shampoo...Let's just say that the Poison Control Center recognized my voice! Seriously, I had to watch her every second. She would run like a lunatic straight into the ocean with a crazed gleam in her eye...RUN, mind you, at top far in as she could get...even though she couldn't swim a lick.

I'm. Not. Kidding. when I say that she was lucky she had me for her mother back in the days when I had nerves of steel. (They're sort of like tarnished copper now.) I've always said that most women would have lost it completely and beaten her into submission. I, however, merely wrote poems about her as a means of venting my fears and of which I will post at the end of this little tribute. (Yes, it IS a tribute. Honest, I'm getting to that. But part of the tribute is knowing where she's coming from...)

Here's the thing. Karin is and was delightful. By age four or so, she had even stopped being frightful. (In the sense of having to work so hard to keep her alive, that is...) Her personality was always as sunny and pleasant as can be. She charmed your socks off the whole time she was trying to do herself in. But she did not succeed in this effort (the doing herself in, I mean)...thanks, in large part, to ME. That's right, MOI! Dear old Mom. And she owes me...BIG-time.

The good news is that, over the years, she has more than paid me off. I can think of no daughter who is more patient with and loving toward her mother. While my other friends were in dismay throughout most of the teen years, disrespected and talked back to by snippy, snotty teens who thought they were the lamest moms on earth, my own daughter openly admired and respected me. That's right, while other adolescent girls were systematically tearing down their mothers' individual and collective self esteem, Karin was actually building mine. Oh sure, she rolled her eyes at me here and there, but she always listened...and some of the time she even acted on what I said. (Some of the time.) But the good news is that ALL of the time, even though she didn't necessarily take my advice, she absolutely respected my right to give it. And we got along great. Still do, in fact!

Here are the qualities I love about my Karin:  her kindness, her enthusiasm for life, her love for children and family, her willingness to help others, her pluckiness, her strength, her increasing wisdom, her goodness, her smarts, her humor, her heart. She is also beautiful, as you can see in the above picture, but her inner beauty far exceeds anything you can see on the surface (although it DOES sort of radiate from her). She works with the Young Women organization in my church, and I think they are lucky to have her. As am I. And one day...soon, hopefully!...her very own children will be lucky to have her, too.

I am always so, so proud to be her mother.

Happy birthday, Karin. I love you! Have a fun day at Disneyland with your sweet hubby.

Mom  =)

©1981 by Susan Noyes Anderson

She’s one of a kind.
She’s sheer delight
wrapped up in pure
an open invitation
to go wacky
or be happy
confusion, chaos and intrusion
into your life’s order.

If organization is your thing,
I wouldn’t advise a heavy dose.
But if the predictable
brings you down,
may I recommend
my own personal clown?
True, she may drive you
crazy (or worse)
but there is one reward.
Though she’ll make you
or break you,
you’ll never,
be bored.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today is one of those gorgeous days in Northern California, and I've postponed my previously planned post so I can share. (I'm sorry the pics don't quite do the greens and blue justice, but at least you can get the feel.)

As far as I'm concerned, there is no better weather than a crisp, blustery morning with bright blue sky and a sun that keeps peeking in and out of (shape-shifting) white and gray clouds. I find it completely exhilarating.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that my house is clean and my afternoon is free.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Politics Can Be Funny...AND Scary

My son sent this to me yesterday...pretty amusing, I thought. And on a deeper level, more than a little bit troubling. 

It seems the best humor is always based on our deepest feelings. (My deepest feeling about this subject matter? FEAR!)

All kidding (and politics) aside, I do sincerely worry about the direction our nation is taking; and I hope, in all of this trying to save ourselves as a nation, that we don't lose the very things that make us a nation worth saving.

In fact, I am praying for that.

Funny? Yep. Scary? Yep.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keeping Vigil: One Mother's Day at the Hospital

Today I am at the hospital, waiting for my second oldest son (pictured above) to get out of surgery. They just took him away, and it doesn't feel all that different than the time they took him from my arms when he was eight months old to perform a considerably more complicated surgery than this one. Some things never change I guess, and being a mom who worries is probably one of them.

Having said that, I am grateful for the comfort a priesthood blessing can give. When my son called upon a family friend to come over last night and assist my husband in administering that blessing, I was glad that both of these men are worthy and willing to serve my son in that way. It is a wonderful thing, my husband and I both realize, to have long-standing friends who care almost as much about your family members as you do.

The surgeon, who is performing a fairly extensive reconstruction of my son's basketball-injury-plagued ankle at this very moment, introduced himself to me earlier today. I was impressed by his obvious intelligence and capable demeanor. The same holds true for the highly personable anesthesiologist, who assured me that she would "take care of my son." (Is it wrong that I was glad in that moment that she is a woman and knows exactly what that promise means to a mother?) I'm sure it is an irrational feeling, but I freely own having had it.

At any rate, here I sit in the waiting room, a MacBook and this self-serving post my only distractions from the anxiety I can't help but feel. Does this anxiety signify a failure of faith on my part? I don't think so, for I'm confident my son will be both protected and healed. I mean, this isn't brain surgery, right?

That less-than-brilliant observation notwithstanding, and since I'm fresh out of more desirable options for passing time than self-analysis, I hypothesize that my stress level is a mother's natural, physiological response to what might be perceived as a threat (of any magnitude) to her child. In other words, I don't like anybody cuttin' on him. And I don't like him being put to sleep, either!

And that kinda sez it all.


PS. This post was actually written yesterday. This morning my son is recovering nicely. Consequently, so his mother!  =)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Night: Jackman, Delightful...Penn, Frightful

Every time I start to feel better about Sean Penn in response to his acting chops, he chops my opinion of him in half by making some half-baked comment that I find offensive.

Last night, I was enjoying one of the best Oscar nights in recent years (Hugh Jackman was divine!) and was even moderately happy for Penn that he had won the best actor award over my own favorite. Then he stood up and started to speak. For the first part of his diatribe, I was hanging in, reminding myself that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion...But when he felt the need to "explain" to gays everywhere that "no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you" [arrogantly inferring that supporting Prop 8 = believing God does not love His gay children], when he moved beyond expressing his own convictions and started sermonizing about how the grandchildren of those [evil-doers] who voted their conscience for Prop 8 would in future years be looking at their [heartless, right-obfuscating] grandparents with shame in their eyes, he lost me. And not just me, but my respect. Again.

Why is it hard for me to maintain a reasonable level of respect for Mr. Penn? Because he has no respect whatsoever for me, or for others like me. Surely we are entitled to our views and beliefs as well, whether he happens to agree with them or not. And his heavy-handed assignment of "shame" to those who differ with him reminds me all too clearly of the extremist right-wing religious zealots who seem to be the bane of Penn's existence (and are not exactly my favorites, either). Rather a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I should think.

The point is, zealotry is unattractive coming from either side, Mr. Penn. And your remarks last night were more rash than reasoned, more poisonous than persuasive. 

In America, all kinds of diversity of belief are respected. Not just your kind.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grandma's Secrets: Was She Witch or Wonder?

Grandma's Secrets - A Memory Sketch
by Susan Noyes Anderson

My grandmother lived on the top floor of a red brick house. It looked pretty ordinary from the maple-lined street, but walking through her door meant leaving the familiar behind. Every cushioned step up her gold-carpeted stairway was a step away from everyday life, for my grandma lived in a curious world of her own making.

The smell of herbs commanded the air. Other smells tried to take over sometimes, a lentil and vegetable soup, for example; but it was those herbs that held sway over all the rest. Grandma was big on herbs, and she dried her own. Black cohosh root, comfrey, motherwort, and goldenseal were just a few of the plants that hung, upside-down, in the kitchen or bedroom, suspended from sap-stained strings that stirred gently as we passed through the rooms. Each rustling leaf made its pungent contribution to the botanical odor that was Grandma’s.

My sisters and I thought she was a witch when we were little, not the hex-setting variety, but the kind who had healing powers and talked to animals. The kitchen cupboards held, not food, but small brown bags, square cardboard containers, tiny envelopes and the like, filled with such treasures as twisted roots, tree bark, and odd-smelling powders. A lidless cookie jar, painted with apples and branches, stood alone on the counter, brimming with stale gingersnaps. My siblings and I didn’t eat them, though we did experiment with the contents of her cupboards. In time, it became clear to us that whatever Grandma was, “witch” was probably too easy a name for it, though we couldn’t deny she had more than a nodding acquaintance with the chirping robins that nested in her kitchen window every spring.

At the top of the stairs was the living room. A yellow slant board made its home right in the middle, where Grandma often lay, upside-down, and became a sort of human centerpiece, performing voice exercises whose syllables were so sharp they seemed, almost, to leave nicks as they bounced from wall to wall. “Eh-er-a-eh-ay-i-ee. Eh-er-a-eh-ay-i-ee.” Afterward, throat open and larynx engaged, Grandma would repair the damage with rich, deep tones from her favorite poem, beginning with the words “Oh, wild west wind,” and continuing until the walls resumed their former appearance, filigreed paper and all. Meanwhile, the blood rushing to her head (“good for the circulation”) lent a dash of vivid color to the otherwise muted room, turning her face red as the beets (“good for the bloodstream”) boiling on her stove. It was a marvelous spectacle, much better watched than duplicated.

Probably because of its color, the faded yellow slant board didn’t even look particularly out of place, though much of the decor was quite formal. Everything in that front room had a golden glow to it, intensified by sunlight streaming through the windows, yet still evident when evening closed the drapes. What was the secret of that luminescence? It didn’t come from the old black box that was Grandma’s television, because she never turned it on.

Maybe it was a mysterious combination of simple things: the flaxen threads running through the fabric of her french slipcovers, or the gilded figures of a shepherd and shepherdess that served as lamps. Perhaps the ochre window coverings held the secret, or the goldenrod spilling over the chipped rim of a bisque vase. Were the peaceful nature scenes of her oriental wall hangings responsible for the glow? Was it a reflection of Grandma herself? A personal aura? Whatever the source, the effect was one of warmth, wonder, and not a little magic; and being there, you became part of it.


Black cohosh - for rheumatism
Butcher’s broom - for circulation
Cayenne - for colds and earache
Chamomile - for nervousness and to aid digestion
Comfrey - for skin wounds and irritations
Dandelion - to rid body of excess water
Feverfew - for headache
Ginger - for upset stomach
Ginseng - for vitality
Goldenseal - for inflammation
Motherwort - for female problems
Nicotinic Acid - for dizziness
Peppermint - for stomach cramps
Skullcap - for insomnia
White willow bark - in place of aspirin

There's a little bit of poetic license here, but my Grandma Noyes was a real character, a rare eccentric who was known for performing dramatic readings, doctoring herself and others with herbs and natural concoctions, and dressing with uncommon elegance. She was a rare woman, and I hope this piece does her justice. (Below is a picture of her as a young woman. Her father was George Edward Anderson, a well-known early photographer in LDS church history.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

A View of My NEW(ly restored) Used Brick Fireplace



That sucker was just about as white as it gets...a veritable SEA of bright white, no matter how much multi-colored mishmash I tried to clutter it up with...

(But now, with my new, reconstituted by the best faux painter ever bricks, I can be more selective...maybe even tasteful!)

So whaddya think? Have I scored a victory for used brick lovers everywhere? (I really would like to  hear your comments on this one!)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours. (Blessings, not Morton's)

Tell me the truth, now. Have you ever seen a cuter grandpa than this one? (Or cuter grandkids, for that matter??)

I'm happy to say that they belong to me...the whole lot of 'em! 

Making me a very LUCKY woman (albeit one who, in true blogger style, now uses the occasional fragment sentence for emphasis). Ah, well.


PS. Question: "Does blogger=bragger?"
Answer: "For me, you betcha."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My World in Word Pictures

I am ashamed to say that I took nary a picture of my grandchildren while they were visiting over Valentine's Day weekend. (I'd steal some from their mom, as usual, but I don't think she took too many either.)

In fact, the entire weekend flew by in a blur of activity that went largely undocumented, but I find that the memories are just as sweet without a photo to back them up. Maybe I can create a few word pictures for posterity:

15-month-old Bryce strutting down the long hallway to the kitchen; head, neck, and vision almost completely obscured by his latest choice of hat from Grandpa's wooden rack. He beams out from under his chapeau, simultaneously tapping his head (ASL sign for "hat") and voicing the word he hasn't quite mastered, " 'at, " 'at."

Not to forget the intense look of concentration and fierce determination on his face as he skateboards (yes, skateboards!) down our driveway...

4-year-old Carli wearing a mysterious, "Secret Garden" smile as she studiously transforms a motley collection of small knickknacks borrowed from various areas of the house into a parade of treasures nestled along a bright white window sill in the living room.

Later, her eyes flash with mischief as she tries to convince me that yes, nibbling the frosting from two chocolate doughnuts and inhaling the whipped cream from a cup of cocoa really does a good breakfast make.

7-year-old Jeremiah patiently prompting, "No, Bryce; be gentle," as our favorite toddler digs sharp-edged fingernails into the sensitive skin of his face, then smiling with pure delight as Bryce changes tactics and smacks him on the cheek with a spontaneous kiss of affection.  

Not long after, this benevolent big brother becomes a raving rock star in the back seat of our Pilot, shouting out the first line to "I Believe I Can Fly" before free-styling his own home-grown lyrics, laced with that special brand of slightly off-color humor second-grade boys like best. 

Now imagine all three of them charging out the front door each day in varying states of dress...letting neither rain, nor sleet, [nor mud], nor dark of early morning stop them from their appointed round of visits to the magic tree, returning with three sets of wide blue eyes filled with wonder, innocence, and a smidgen of good, old-fashioned greed. (By the way, have you heard that the door to the magic tree now has two smallish, rough-hewn chairs placed beside it...separated by one even-tinier pine one?) Curious and curiouser.

I may not be able to post these and other pictures, but don't worry. They've been carefully sorted and stored in the safe, dark memory box of a doting grandma's mind. 

(Safe as long as doting doesn't devolve into doddering, that is!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

On Mother Love and Such

Saturday my adult son and I were seated at the kitchen table, hovering over our lap tops. I was blog-hopping and he was fantasy basketballing when I came across the lovely poem I now share with you. I read it aloud to him but had to stop three lines from the end because I got too choked up to go on. It happens, right? No big deal. I was just going to swallow and collect myself and finish it off, but it didn't turn out that way. In fact, it took me embarrassingly long to reach the point where I could even get the words out. Of course, he started making fun of me, which means he thought it was "cute." 

I am fortunate. My children are pretty tolerant of my "mom-ness."

Anyway, here's the poem:

Patricia Fargnoli

The children walk off
into crowds of strangers
their laces tied
their backs straight.
They wave to you
from platforms you cannot reach.
You want to hang on.
Running after them,
you thrust out small packages:
vitamins, a new blouse, guilt.
But they keep discarding
Your dreams for their own.
They carry admonitions
in their pockets
and their children will sing
your lullabies,
so that, finally, knowing this,
you let go.
They blur, fade.
You settle back.
The years pass, silent as clouds.
Sundays they come for dinner,
serve up slices of their lives,
but it’s not the same.
Sometimes, in a crowd,
you will catch a glimpse
of long braids,
a ribbon streaming,
and you will remember—-
a head beneath your hand,
a quilt tucked in,
small things snapping on a line.

Thanks, Patricia Fargnoli. You nailed it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day. Yea or Nay?

I was reading a blog on Segullah today about liking or not liking Valentine's day. I personally come down on the “liking” side. 

But then I’m sitting here wearing a ridiculous chunky bracelet that I normally wouldn’t be caught dead in. (Please know that it's about ten times sillier than the one posted above.) This amazing new bauble came from my husband (a man with excellent taste, normally) who told me he bought it because it was so big and clunky that he knew it would make me think about him every time I wore it.

He’s right. And tonight I have to report that I am feeling every inch somebody's valentine.


STUCK TO YOU...A Clever V-Day Offering from Josh Ritter

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a little something for your V-day enjoyment. You can pick the first or the second version. Same song, but one has a very...shall we say...unique video attached to it. 

Don't forget to scroll down and turn off my playlist before you listen. Enjoy! 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

From Used Brick to White (ick!) and Back Again

It's home-improvement project time again at my house, and I am beyond excited! This little job (with a BIG pay-off) is something I've wanted to do for ages; and to tell the truth, I had begun to think it wasn't even possible. Thanks to my daughter-in-law (or maybe I should say my dil's friend), I now realize that the seemingly impossible can actually be accomplished!

What is it in my home that I intend to improve? Well, first let me show you the daughter-in-law's newly faux-painted fireplace:

Sadly, her previous homeowner had made the lamentable decision to paint what was originally a used-brick fireplace white...nothing short of blasphemy, in my book. The good news is that her talented (and very generous!) friend has wielded some considerable artistic skills to return the fireplace to it's former glory. Pretty nice job, eh?

Imagine my delight when I blog-hopped upon this bricky marvel! It was exactly the solution I'd spent 20 years (give or take) seeking. You see, my former homeowners apparently suffered from the same decorating deficit as my dil's. Yep. They painted my used-brick fireplace white. (It pains me to even say it.) Over the years, I considered every kind of remedy, from sandblasting the thing to tearing it out entirely, and then one day I clicked on my daughter-in-law's blog and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a very realistic-looking (as you can see) replica of everything her very real but sadly disfigured brick fireplace once was and now richly deserves to be again. I just know that fireplace is happy. We all love a makeover that takes us back to our glory days, right?

I think you can see where I'm headed with this. I, too, am going to restore my fireplace to its original state of grace ...or rather, the faux-painter I hunted for with an intensity that would probably be more appropriate if I needed a brain surgeon is going to restore it...And she promises me that I will not be able to tell the difference between my faux-painted hearth and the unpainted used brick hearth of yesteryear. Be still my heart! Hearth? Whatev. The point is...relief is on the way, big-time!

Okay, the cost is going to be a little on the big-time side of things, too, but it's not too far above what I had in mind, and it sure beats tearing out the fireplace entirely (or tearing out my hair trying to figure out some other option). Note: I don't need to tear out my hair; it's doing a great job of removing itself from my head all by itself, more's the pity. But I digress...

The salient point of all this rambling: I am having the work done next week, and it will be completed by Thursday night. I will then take a photo and post it here for all to see. Let's hope it's as good a result as I'm anticipating! I feel pretty confident about this artist, but if any of you want to cross your fingers AND your eyes in my (and my fireplace's) behalf, go for it.  Please.


PS. Here, for your viewing pleasure (?) are the proverbial "before" pictures:


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dancing (and Romancing!) with the Stars

Okay, I begin by freely admitting my lameness. Due in large part to the romantic status of certain members of the cast, I am completely looking forward to Dancing with the Stars this season. (Disclaimer: So You Think You Can Dance still reigns supreme as the premiere dance show of the air waves.)

That said, here's the first and best attraction of DWTS: Julianne Hough (my favorite) has decided to come back again, and she will be paired with her country music-singing boyfriend, Chuck Wicks. That will be interesting to see.

Almost as good is the fact that Jewel will be participating as well, going head-to-head with her rodeo cowboy husband, Ty Murray. How fun is that?

The rest of the cast, listed in descending order of my desire to see them, are: Shawn Johnson (Olympic gymnast), Nancy O'Dell (Access Hollywood), Steve-O (Jackass) (the show, I mean...though he does seem to qualify), Steve Wozniak (Apple exec), Lawrence Taylor (football dude), Belinda Carlisle (Go Go's singer), David Alan Grier (actor/comedian), Gilles Marini (Sex and the City), Lil' Kim (rapper who brings immodesty to a whole new level), and Denise Richards (icky, husband-stealing friend of Heather Locklear/model). Lil' Kim and Denise Richards are actually tied for the contestant I'd least like to meet and/or watch on TV. I may even dial some digits this time, just to be part of voting them off.

Anyway, the show promises to be entertaining as all get-out and begins on March 9th!


PS. SYTYCD still blows DWTS out of the water, contestant love interests notwithstanding.

Monday, February 9, 2009

10 Easy Steps from Deadly Dull to Flat-Out Fascinating

Do you ever feel like you just need a kick in the pants? Like you're sort of going through the motions but nothing really important is happening in your life?? Like (even though other people don't seem to have picked up on it yet), you are boring yourself silly, and it's only a matter of time until you become the motivating agent for one long, community-wide yawn???

If so, you have an over-inflated sense of your own impact on the world at large. In other words, you're like me.

Not good, because I'm stuck in a rut just now. Up a creek without a paddle. Fresh out of anything that could possibly be considered fresh at all. In fact, I feel dull as dishwater lately, and the time has come (and passed, and come, and passed, and come again) to break out! What's more, I have a plan!! And it probably won't surprise you that I intend to share...

1. Add to my fun and funky red neck scarf a loverly purple one.

2. Keep listening to this song as I watch this video of Jason Mraz strolling through the streets of Paris.

3. Eat more fish=brain food and less crap=brain down the drain food.

4. Wear more earrings that delight the eye, dazzle the mind, and dangle two inches.

5. Get back in touch with my roots.

6. And my passion.

7. And even my muse.

8. Make time for this kind of fun with this kind of fun-maker.

9. Use this a little more.

10. And this a little less.

Care to join me? I'm willing to let you personalize #5, #6, and #7 to suit yourself, but the rest are completely non-negotiable...set in stone, as it were.

(Okay, okay...In the spirit of compromise, fellow participants may change the color on #1, if they must.)

There. Aren't I a delight to work with?


*footnote re. #8: You'll have to supply your own fun-maker. Some things I don't share.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Over the Freeway and Through the Pass to Grandmother's House We Go!




Guess who's coming to Grandma's House?



PS. Grandma is excited.

PPS. Grandpa feels pretty perky about it, too.

***Actually, they'll be here in two days...which is definitely in the uppermost realm of supercalifragilisticexpialidociousness.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dancing with the Stars: SNL Style

Prepare to be amused. JUST GO TO THIS LINK:

(Seems like every version of this video that I can find has been taken off the internet except this one, so hurry!)  

I had never realized the broad range of Timberlake's talents...

(I's a bit vulgar. I think having three sons has ruined my sensibilities.)


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

To Statin or Not to Statin: That Is the Question.

With some trepidation, I have stopped taking Lipitor. I didn't experience muscle weakness taking it, like my husband did (see earlier post), but I do think it was causing hair loss and some mild memory issues. More importantly, though, I felt that it might do me as much damage as good...and that, right now, the trade-off just wasn't quite worth it to me. (I am open to reassessing my decision if my cholesterol situation or other cardiovascular health factors worsen.)

I'm fully aware that statins decrease the chances of stroke and heart attack. I believe that. I'm also convinced that the decrease may have as much to do with statins reducing inflammation as with statins reducing cholesterol. The relatively new inflammation/c-reactive protein theory, suggesting that coronary events are connected to inflammation at least as much as to cholesterol, is now being advanced by a number of scientists and appears to be supported by the fact that while the drugs I spoke of in last week's post about my husband (non-statins) do lower cholesterol, they do not have the same track record in preventing heart attack and stroke as statins do. This begs the question of whether the preventative success of statins has a lot more to do with their ability to reduce inflammation than with their ability to reduce cholesterol counts.

To some degree this may be a moot point, as the drug of choice for inflammation leading to heart attack/stroke would still be Lipitor or a similar statin. But would drug researchers look for other ways to address inflammation (and cholesterol, for that matter) if anecdotal stories about cholesterol-lowering drugs and their negative side effects were taken at face value and scientifically investigated? Might a less risky alternative be developed if complaints from the pill-taking population were not dismissed out of hand? 

For the time being, this is my quandary: Lipitor does have an anti-inflammatory effect, and I would love to take it for that reason but am afraid of it for other reasons. Therefore, I have gone on an anti-inflammatory diet as an alternative to Lipitor, and I take natural supplements that reduce inflammation/cholesterol.

Again, I don't argue the point that statins save lives; the statistics prove it. I also think they may change the quality of some lives for the worse by impacting other systems in the body besides the cardiovascular one. I am not advocating against the use of statins. This has to be a personal choice. I just want people to have all the information available, so they can make an informed decision. I also want science to take a real good look at the reports of so many people who have serious side effects from them. Let's try to find out what's going on here, researchers! (And by the way, doctors...Quit throwing statins at anyone and everyone. My daughter's doctor tried to prescribe Lipitor for her, and her cholesterol is not even at a level my doc considers problematic!)

As for me, I'm not entirely sure what I'll do in the long run about my statin concerns, but I'll figure it out based on my own health status and the trade-off factor. My main reason for posting this is just to say, once more: Patient beware...and be aware

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Bigger and Better Idiot Box

Well, we finally did it!

Out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. 

Good-bye to old-fashioned console TV........ 

(yes, one or two of those dinosaurs still exist!) 

and a boisterous

HELLO to flat screen HD-TV.

Don't tell, but I was against it. 

Our two fondly familiar fossils were functioning fine 

(**note to self: kill the alliteration), 

and I thought we should wait to replace them 

until they died a natural death. 

I really thought that. 

Honest, I did. 

And I continued to think it, too...

right up to the time when those sleek babies 

were ensconced in my living and family rooms 

and hooked up to their cable boxes!

In other words, I'm likin' the new televisions.

Yep, HD is definitely my cup of T.....(V).


PS. Does this mean I'm superficial?

PPS. So far I have not admitted to my husband that he was right.