Life... Health... Reviews...

Friday, April 10, 2009

My new friends

As many of you know, I'm a writer. What you may not know is - officially - I'm a journalist. I graduated with a BA degree in journalism from a college in Upstate New York.

Not too long ago, my former college advisor/professor contacted me to ascertain my interest in speaking to her Feature Writing class regarding my career and writing process as well as any advice I have for the students. I readily agreed to the conference call, which was today.

To say I was nervous is a major understatement. You would think that I had been called to speak on stage in front of hundreds of people when, in fact, it was a class of about 18.

The class was fun and interactive, and the students were genuinely interested in what I said. I'm not going to go into a long recap of the Q&A session, but I am going to tell you that it was probably the biggest highlight of my week. Not only do I feel like I helped a group of students, but they helped me too. They helped me to remember why I do what I do and to positively think about the writing road I've traveled. I hope that I helped and inspired them in the same way.

Writers and journalist are a special group of people (like I've found bloggers to be), but it's the support of each other that keeps this creative sub-world flourishing. And that's one of the things that continues to fuel my love of what I do.

Before we ended the call today one of the students said, 'I hope you blog about us.' I think the person was joking, but as any good blogger knows: You can't let an experience this great pass by without sharing it with someone. I, as a blogger, just had to share it with the few hundred or so people who will click by this week.

(K.L.: You may not know this, but I would probably do just about anything you asked of me because you are one of the greatest and kindest people I've ever met. You encouraged and helped me more than you'll ever know. I'll always remember and be thankful for that. Thank you for including me in your class today.)

Passing on the bling

It's been awhile since I've received an award and I am so proud to display these that Tina (Mummy Diaries) honored me with.

I must say that I am sitting a little taller since I have to keep my crown regally propped. I'm passing the Queen of the Blogs and Friendship awards to:

Lin from Duck and Wheel with String
Jo from Life's Perfect Pictures
Shaunalynn from The Art and Science of Parenting

Looking at the Sky on Friday


Every once in awhile I participate in this weekly meme. Looking at everyone's photos is so inspiring. I captured this one yesterday when the children were at the park during their Easter egg hunt. Beautiful, huh?

You can participate too. Check out Looking at the Sky on Fridays.

Time to come clean... again

My health and weight loss journal

I have good news! Remember when I told you about my addiction to bubble gum? Well, I am recovered. Seriously, I am.

Uh... however, over the past two weeks or so (read month), I've developed a new addiction. Remember that bag of peanuts you saw on my table recently? You can click the link if you don't remember. Well, I've kind of been eating them... non-stop... I ate half a bag in one day and finished the rest last night.

I'm sure you can imagine how many calories are in that 1/2 a bag, but they're so good. Absolutely delicious and I can't resist. Wait! Yes.I.can. I had decided not to buy anymore and to quit cold turkey, but my teenager went to the store and saw the bags on sale for $1 so she decided to treat me. Well, I couldn't be rude and not eat them, right?

Okay, that sounded like an addict.

Seriously, I can't promise this will be the last emotionally charged eating addiction, but I can promise to kick this one too. At least that was a somewhat healthy food albeit fatty. Hey, it was good fat, right?

That's neither here nor there. I'm kicking it. Today. By the way, if you stop by could you bring me some dark chocolate? I have a little craving. ;)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter egg hunt, park fun

Yesterday when my friend (and my children's wonderful daycare provider) found out I'd been moping around the house she invited - read ordered... LOL - me to the park with her and the children. Last night she called back to announce that we'd be having an Easter egg hunt.

I'm not going to spoil the fun by telling you how I grumbled and complained about going to the park and whatnot. Actually, the truth is, I really like hanging out with her and I knew it would be better than sitting here trying to force my brain to work.

Her teenagers went to the park ahead of time to hide the eggs, and the kids had a fabulous time. The two little ones - ages 1 and 2 - got a head start and loaded their canvas bag with the colorful eggs. Here's my little Anna asking me to help her get her egg into the bag.

A couple of the older children - ages 6, 5 and two 4 year olds - found eggs on the playground equipment. They were moving pretty quickly, but I caught Andre and Amareah at the top.

I have some very cute pictures of the other children, but since I don't have permission from their parents I thought I'd just tell you about them: Besides watching the activity of them finding the eggs; it was funny watching them discover the treats inside. There was chocolate candy, Starburst, Sweet Tarts, rubber insects and cute plastic rings.

They played, ran, ate lunch, slid, climbed and blew bubbles. They tried throwing the Frisbee, confiscated someone else's football, drew on the sidewalk with chalk and wrestled each other to the ground.

When it was all over I felt like we had been there all day, but it'd only been about two hours. (I think that's a sign of old age or something!) I enjoyed the time out of the house, chatting with my friend and taking in the fresh air and sun. I even had fun watching the children play... there's nothing like the joy on a child's face to make everything right with the world.

But boy am I tired!

Come back another day for more pictures of park fun.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chocolate treats

Most people know that if you want to butter me up and get on my good side then you will give me some dark chocolate especially when my sweet tooth hits. Although I am not that picky as far as the brand is concerned, Ghirardelli chocolates is on my list as one of my top two favorite choices.

When I found out that has Ghirardelli chocolates I was excited to have another resource to go to in order to get my fix of chocolate. And, of course, I had to spread the word to those who normally supply me with that fix.

If chocolate is not your thing then there are tons of other choices to indulge in. It is a one-stop shop for sweets and treats (including Bubblicious, Dubble Bubble and Jaw Breakers, which are all childhood favorites of mine). Sugar Stand is an online candy store that stocks more than 2,000 brands of candies including Adams & Brooks, American Licoric, Pez, Jelly Belly and Wonka. I don’t think I have ever seen so many choices at one online site, and with that many options you are bound to find something to cure your sweet tooth too.

Wordless Wednesday: Loneliness

5 Minutes for Mom has more Wordless Wednesday and so do I. :)

Look at my treats!

When I see the mailman stop at my mailbox I am like a little kid on Christmas day. So imagine my joy when I received two goodies in the mail on Saturday. I was expecting the packages, but receiving them is where the real elation comes in.

I won a Fiber One Spa basket from Toni at It Is Nap Time. The basket holds a terry covered bath pillow, chocolate scented soap and candle, bath salts, Chocolate Silk Hand & Body Lotion and a coupon for a free box of General Mills Fiber One Chewy Bars. I've already redeemed the coupon and got the oats and chocolate variety. And, I'm using having the bars as an excuse to brew another pop of coffee to celebrate the quiet afternoon (or few hours) that the teenager has given me by taking her two middle siblings to the park.

The other package contains goodies from Jo at Life's Perfect Pictures. There's a cute little gift bag with a black frame, ink pens, Calgon's Perfect Bliss body wash and some note papers. Jo blessed me with this because I was the third to respond to her Paying It Forward post and subsequently wrote my own post on how I would pay it forward.

What touched me the most was what she wrote in the card, "...The pens are for inspiration, the candles for when you take a Calgon moment in the tub and the frame is to display your favorite photo (that you have taken)!" Jo knows I've been trying to take better photographs (she's an excellent and gifted photographer)and she's been very supportive of that. Although I didn't do that great in taking these to share with you, I can't wait to display my photo in the frame. I'll be sure to share that with you too sometime in the future.

I hope you received some goodies too. If you did, tell me what it was. And if you didn't, comment anyway and share what you like receiving in the mail the most.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Okay, the truth is...

You may have seen me poking around the web today. Surfing to one blog or another, updating on Facebook or stalking on Twitter, but I haven't really written anything. Well, as you can see, this is my first post today and I have a couple of updates on Facebook.

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of what to post here, but the truth of the matter is I'm exhausted (mentally and physically) and in pain. The impromptu DIY project that my teenager and I enjoyed doing together wasn't exactly a bright idea for me.

It's one of the downfalls of fibromyalgia. If I'm going to maintain a consistent wellness then my days have to be... uh, well, consistent. Two days of painting, stretching, pulling, moving, carrying, etc., aren't a good idea, but as any person with chronic pain will tell you: "I just want to be normal."

I don't regret doing the project and I hope to post pictures soon (be patient Tammy! LOL), but it'll take me a couple of days to recover. I'll be more sore than I normally am, I'll be drowsy and I'll have reduced strength, but it's all par for the course.

Physically tomorrow should be much better than today and the next day even better than that. So, as I regain my "normal" footing, I still hope to see you around.

Do you suffer from chronic pain or know someone who does? Leave a comment and share.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday's Muse: Using stress as motivation

I am doing things a little differently today and having my BFF Frankie as a guest writer. I’ve been a little busy and when I instructed… uh, asked him if he would like to do it, he said yes. Enjoy.

Hello world! Petula has allowed me to write today’s Monday’s Muse. Where as I am a very amateur writer and a self-professed loser at miniature golf (I’m sure you remember her telling you about that day), I hope I don’t bring down the excellent writing of “It’s a woman’s world.”

Although I am not a woman, I know all about trying to find your muse. So today’s muse is stress! Yes, I said stress or, more importantly, overcoming stress.

Now this, my friends (can I call you all friends?), is not the type of muse we want to endure everyday and twice on Sunday. Stress is though a powerful force that at times unleashes the most wonderful of works. Like The Diary of Anne Frank, The Gettysburg Address and the total works of Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Even a book by your favorite author or celebrity often manifests after a great amount of stress producing something for fans to ingest.

Those things that pain us while we are in the midst of them, can fuel us once we steer clear. Also, that same stress molds our perception and separates us from the masses giving us the ability and even power to see the world just a little differently. And sometimes it gives us a story to tell.

Let me put this in terms of the chemical reaction: All reactions have a certain energy of activation (i.e., the energy it takes for that reaction to start). Kind of like a price to pay to get the reactants. If we think of our craft in the same way as the chemical reaction then stress is the price we pay to create or the energy of creation. You probably didn’t know I’m a chemist and I will talk science at a drop of the hat.

So, to be brief, I will say that we should embrace the hills we climb and try to harness the energies into something creative and useful. Or else what we go through will be only stress and would never lead to anything.

I hope these words give you some comfort as you deal with your valleys and inspire you to create in your times of calm. Peace and blessings, Frankie.

Win a 22” flat screen HDTV

Charter is doing things a little differently: They have given away laptops, Xbox 360 game systems and even a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. And there's still a chance to win. From now until the end of April, customers can enter to win a 22" flat screen HDTV.

Why the generosity? It's because Charter realizes that customers are frustrated with their cable companies so they are coming up with innovative and fun ways to interact with their customers and create better customer care around their products. If current or new customers order cable, high speed Internet or telephone services through throughout the month of April, they are automatically entered to win upon installation of the service/equipment.

It's easy to build services at where every customer is able to bundle the services according to what they need. Bundling services also saves money. And who doesn't want to do that?

And there's more: Charter is also offering an opportunity to win a grand prize package of a 52” LCD flat screen HDTV, a Home Theater System, and one year of free Charter Digital Cable® service with HD programming.



Spring cleaning meets home improvement

Very soon I'll have pictures of my bathroom for you to see how an impromptu home improvement/decorating project, which I'm doing with my teenager, turned out. Needless to say since it was a little last minute we didn't plan that great, but we're having fun and are pretty pleased with the results.

On the other side of it: I now know why individuals (mostly guys! LOL) start DIY projects and don't finish... because it doesn't go as planned. Something that I thought would just take a few hours - because the bathroom is so tiny - has taken almost two days. Hey, it's a learning process, I guess.

Although I don't think Amber and I will be tackling a project like this in the future, we do like painting a little. We plan on painting her room too, hopefully sometime this week, but we've already decided who we'll recruit to help us with the project.

Don't forget to stay tuned for the before and after pictures.

What did you do this weekend?
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