Friday, January 29, 2010

Hope in the air?

1-29-10 hopeful brain
Wednesday I took off work early, jumped in the car and drove to KC. When I arrived late afternoon I found sunshine, a temperature of 40 degrees and ground with no snow cover. Greg and I even went for an half hour walk and I saw a Robin!

I’m not saying it’s spring like down here yet, but it sure beats the endless snow-white scenery of Iowa. … and I can now start to feel a little HOPE return to my mood.

Wednesday night I listened to the President give his address to the nation. Likewise I’m not saying all is rosy with our country, but the President acknowledged and shared our sense of frustration with the U.S. political climate. Obama came on strong, which helped me to feel a little more HOPE for the coming year.

Now, if these dang Congress people would start working for us, the American people, rather than the lobbyist and corporations, maybe things could start to improve.

First start bringing back some job for U.S. workers!
Second, stop blaming the deficit on Obama.... I know most of us want to forget 2000-2008... but we can't. We need to deal with it!

And we need to be thankful that we have a recession, not a depression, thanks to Bush starting the bank bail out & Obama holding the course on that. I know we all hated giving money to those misbehaving, but it had to be done. Now, we can't let ourselves be put in that position again. CHANGE needs to happen!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Poem for Haiti

1-28-10 sleepless brain
Here in the middle of America, my mind has been occupied by the weather, ice, snow, shoveling, staying warmth, surviving the winter blues.

Here in the middle of America, we also are all occupied by our thoughts of Haiti. In the middle of the night, these words were dancing around my sleepless brain.

Haiti, showing us who we are
Sometimes ugly
Sometimes good

Haiti, a lesson in miracles
Survival celebrated
Singing through the grief

Haiti, a lesson in possibilities
Reliant on God
Love bringing hope

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Landscape or Skyscape

1-27-10 creative brain
Art class: WEEK 1

Art class: WEEK 2
I started to develop the clouds last week... but not sure IF I'm totally happy with them. I might need to work them a bit more, since I think they look a little too much like popcorn. However, I am going for "happy" clouds and NOT rain clouds.

I'm starting to build a farm in the horizon, and now I see in this picture that I shouldn't have this exactly in the middle of the picture. There is some design "rule" about not putting the focus in the middle.... or something like that!

Art Class WEEK 3: Class was canceled due to more bad winter weather, yet another blizzard hit Iowa! WOW 2010 winter is one for the history books!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life in my home office

1-26-10 brain dead

Life in my home office is mostly sweet, since I can come and go as I please AND wear my PJ’s if I want to.

However, it’s not all rosy here. I have to be my own IT person. Monday I was having trouble, something was not working right with my home computer. This is what I faced…. Dust bunnies and mass of wires.

After an hour I was successful, and also put some order to the wires.

I did found something not connected and I don’t know what it goes to.

I have to admit when I was doing this, I was cussing at Greg. In my frustration I was feeling like he had moved out with a fresh start in a clean and organized house, and left me with all the mess here in Des Moines. But yes, I also have to admit that I cause a lot of the mess in my office…. But I had nothing to do with hooking up the electronics in this room over the years…. But I learned a lot about it yesterday.

Today, thanks to my computer issue yesterday, a quarter of the office is clean and organized…. The other three fourths will have to wait until I get inspired…. Which is hard to do with more winter blizzard weather and NO sunshine. My energy has all been used up by shoveling.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Now and then

1-25-10 reunion brain
Saturday night was a special dinner out, which had been planned for months, since it was a challenge getting five couples’ schedules to agree on one free evening.

Back in the mid 80’s, when I was single and living in Des Moines, I was fortunate to find a fun group of friends who had formed a co-ed softball team. Molly and I joined the team and I have stayed close friends with Kelley and Molly since then, the others I only see occasionally.... now and then.

So Saturday was kind of a small union and very special since Lori and Mark were there. I’m sure I haven’t seen them in 17 years. These four couples were all either dating at the time, or newly married…. I was single, along with a few other single people on the team. We’d have fun social times together outside of softball and our team stayed together for about 6 years, until slowly children were born, houses were bought and life got very busy.

It’s weird, but wonderful seeing old friends after a long gap. Nothing really seems to change, but yet there are years of history in their lives that I know nothing about….. yet visiting with them now seemed like time had stood still.

After dinner out at the Flying Mango, we all came over to our house and had dessert made by Kelley and Michele. Of course us women promised that we would organize this again, like maybe this summer… but life gets busy ….. family and work occupy our lives, and the months can so turn into years….. Yet making the effort to pause and reconnect with people from our past lives is very fun and gratifying.

I insisted on a picture to commemorate the occasion.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not out of the woods yet

Friday morning's light showed back tree gave out under the ice coating which continues. I believe no major damage here.... I'm praying the front tree stays strong! It's over the power line.

Friday afternoon, we did have some melting and some chunks of ice were falling from the trees.

Greg and I will be putting "tree trimming cost" in our 2010 budget. I had wanted to do this last year, but never got it scheduled. Now I see why this would be good money spent.... to prevent heartache down the road.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends!

1-22-10 depressed brain
It’s been 7 weeks of either snow, below zero temps, fog, or ice…. The ice is the worst! Yesterday I was starting to feel very trapped in the house. I heard that the main roads are OK, since they have been treated, but it’s the sidewalks, driveway and our neighborhood street which have a thick layer of ice AND have me home bound.

And so…..I’m starting to loose it….. My sanity!
This winter weather is finally starting to wear me down.

This week especially, I think I’m struggling with the lack of sunlight. I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun…. I almost rather have the below zero temperatures with a sunny day, than this overcast and fog.

Luckily last night, my neighborhood girlfriends came to my rescue. Sue drove me up to Ace Hardware and I brought some sand for the sidewalk and driveway, and I bought a pair of YaxTraxs which clip on my shoes to help with walking on ice. Then we joined Carolyn and Deb over at Chefs for dinner.

After that we went over to Deb’s to learn how to play on her Wii Dance. We had fun, got some exercise and laughed at our lack of coordination.

So Thanks gals, you helped cheer me up…. Which I needed, and may need this weekend if Greg can’t make to back to Des Moines. More bad weather is predicted for the weekend.

I try to keep focused on the positive… I still have power at this point, and many people don’t because of the ice on the tree limbs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My ICE coated world!

1-21-10 winterized brain
Yet another round of winter weather to deal with on Wednesday. Rain that changed to ice, coating everything! I'm estimating about a quarter of an inch. There are some power outages, due to tree limbs down. So far I've been OK here.

These are my fingers holding an ice layer from top of the snow on the ground.

Yes, I was crazy enough to walk outside. I had to check on the neighbors' cats while they are away in Florida. Aren't they lucky to be missing this! Happily, warmer weather is predicted by Friday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frosty art

1-20-10 amazed brain

Tuesday the foggy weather continued here in Iowa. I was amazed by the frost the fog seemed to deposit on the world! My pictures don't due this justice.... but maybe you get the idea.... it looks "prickly" !!

Now this morning, we are getting some freezing rain. Glad I have nowhere to go today, except here in my home office.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The "gift" of ART

1-19-10 creative brain
I don't know if or when I will ever "make a living" with my art, however I do get some commissions from time to time, but what I really enjoy is using my art to create special gifts and surprises for people.

My latest opportunity came last week. My bosses father had died and my coworkers decided to take up a donation for a tree memorial. I thought I would as least draw a tree and make into a special card that could be sent with the money.... but then I got inspired to do a small painting of a tree using my abstract acrylic technique.

My joy came when I heard from my boss that this money donation AND artwork was a great surprise for her.....She was touched deeply, and loved the painting.

I guess that is what art should be all about..... creating JOY!

(8x8 inch; "Family Tree" shown here on my fireplace mantle)

Monday, January 18, 2010

" I'm melting! "

1-18-10 holiday brain
Yesterday here in KC, the sun actually came out in the afternoon. What a treat, with temperatures hitting 45 degrees! Greg and I went for a nice walk around the neighborhood…. Then I couldn’t help myself- I had to roll out at least a small snowman while there was some snow left on the ground. The snow was melting fast...... maybe spring isn't so far off here in Kansas City!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The best laid plans... in search of spring

1-17-10 history brain

Greg and I both have a three day weekend due to MLK Holiday. . We had come up with the plan 10 days ago, when we were suffering from cabin fever and struggling to endure the below zero temperatures of this hard winter.

Our plan was to look at the weather map and go searching for spring….. We were willing to drive in the direction of the warmest weather, up to three hours from KC. We would make it a 24 hour trip, either to Branson, St Louis direction, or southwest to Wichita.

Mid week, it looked like Wichita held the promise of 50 degrees and sunny, so Greg made the hotel reservation in the “Old Town” historic area. We would seek out a park to walk in, find a nice restaurant for dinner Saturday, and relax in a hotel for one night as a mini get away from winter.

I made the trip from Des Moines to KC on Friday afternoon on schedule, however the weather was not to cooperate. Saturday morning the weather map showed there was dense fog in all directions from KC. On the radio we even heard that I-35 south of KC toward Wichita was closed due to a 30 car pile up. This information lead us to abort our plans. Driving in fog didn’t sound safe and the weather at our final destination didn’t look any better than what was here in KC.

Saturday afternoon instead, we decided to take our first visit to President Truman’s Library. A little history lesson is always a good distraction. Truman had some difficult decisions to make during the time he became President after FDR died in 1945. Truman’s decisions still affect us today: dropping the Atomic Bomb, recognizing the Jewish state of Israel in 1948, the Truman Doctrine which pointed the way towards the Cold War with Russia, and the Korean War…. Just to name a few.

Anyone who thinks the 50’s were the “good old days”….. needs to brush up on their history. I love how history teaches me…. “the more things change, the more they stay the same”….every generation has their struggles, and often the current struggles are rooted in the past.

It was interesting to learn that Truman did try to start the conversation about civil rights in the early 50's.... which makes me realize what MLK did during the 60's was really quite remarkable.

PS: The search for spring will continue.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wow technology

1-15-10 amazed brain

Last night Greg and I had our first Skyp video phone call.
I'd seen this used on Oprah, and our neighbors talk to their grandchildren on Skype, but this was a first for me, made possible thanks to my new netbook which has a camera.

I think the camera adds a few pounds! AND my audio wasn't that great.... but hey, this is pretty cool technology. Finally something from the Jetsons' TV show I can actually use!

Now how long do I still have to wait for the jet-pack which will allow me to fly?

This is Judy Jestons wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rising up to meet the challenge

1-14-10 achy muscle brain

I’ve been surprise at my attitude lately, especially this winter when weather challenges have confronted me. In the past, I would have been whining, PO’ed, feeling sorry for myself, depressed or complaining loudly.

Instead, I have been looking at life like a game and when a challenge comes up, I push ahead and try to rising up to meet the challenge, solve the problem or roll with the punches. I have been thinking of the challenges as a test and see them as a way to strength myself.

I bring this up because I was tested again yesterday. I got stuck in the drive-way as I was backing out to run an errand. I could have blamed the guy who I paid to plow my drive-way this year, but I couldn’t, it was all my fault…. I just can’t seem to back out in a straight path, and thus I got stuck in part of a snow drift.

I worked to dig around the tire for half hour, with several attempts to go forward and backward. Then I walked a few houses down to see if neighbor Steve was home. He was not, but neighbor Kathy was driving by and she stopped and tried to push me with no success.

In the middle of all this I had the thought that I should take a picture for my blog…. But quickly told myself …. “FOCUS!”…. “Don‘t give up!”….

I probably should have given up and called for help, but I stuck with it. Digging, and even putting the back door floor mat under tire for traction…. Still no good. Then I used my Master’s Degree smarts and got buckets of hot water and poured around the tires to help melt the ice. Luckily the temperature was in the mid 30’s today. Once I got things melted down I was able to put the floor mat under the tired and had success driving back.

This was about 80 minutes later, and I was sweating and worn out, so I just gave up on the errand and even left the car out in the drive-way for the night. I don’t want to go through that again over the next few days. I headed inside and soaked in a hot Epsom salt bath and could not move for the rest of the night.

I’m so glad I didn’t have a pity party over being stuck in the snow…. I would have had to slap myself… after seeing the struggles of the people in Haiti digging in the rubble for loved ones…….. digging a little in the snow was a picnic.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Large" toenail sketch

1-13-10 creative brain
After a year's absence, Monday night I returned to art class. In 2009, I was too wrapped up with possible move to KC, then buying our 2nd house, and I suppose blogging, and so I had decided to forgo formal classes last year.

It was good to take some time off, since I have been taking classes since 1998. With the year off, I was able to discover that I could motivate myself, and I could create art outside of class. Before, art class gave me structure and I had a set time every week to work on a project.

Returning to class Monday was nice and I enjoyed seeing old classmates and especially, seeing my teacher Mary, who I really missed.

I started this large landscape project in pastel. I'll show my progress after each class. Here, of course it doesn't look like much since I only got the first layer down. You maybe can make out the sky above and fields below.

Currently, I'm not feeling so excited about pastels like I use to. I'm still hooked on acrylic paints and I'm enjoying doing abstract crazy stuff like this. Since I had my eye surgery, about a year ago, I just love bold colors and watching the colors mix together fascinates me!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Time Flys

1-12-10 resolution brain
I knew the anniversary was coming up in January.... but there it was on Saturday... and it slipped by me. 1-9-10, Saturday was my one year anniversary of my blog “Split in Two”. I’ve posted 335 blog entries, not quite one every day, put close! Its been a fun, creative, and mostly a positive activity…. But time consuming, which has been the down side.

Since I feel the purpose of my blog has been met, I’ve DECIDED that my one year anniversary will be a good time to transition my blog into something a bit different for 2010. What my blog will become?…. I’m still not sure, but for starters I’m going to take the pressure off of myself and only blog when I feel inspired.

Some weeks who knows, this might be daily, other weeks I’ll at least shoot for once per week. The key here is for me not to look at my blog as one more thing that needs to be completed each day. My “to do list” is already filling up fast for the next few months.

I believe my blog will continue to record the activities of my life, but not every detail needs to be written down each day. I know I've intended to cut back before, but it never seemed to happen. Am I just dedicated or a bit addicted, or more likely- just really self absorbed! ?

But for 2010, I know my attention needs to focus on work, at least for the first three months as I prepare training materials for March.Thus I'm taking up the philosophy of fellow blogger Ruth over at Synch-ro-ni-zing.... and blogging "whenever".....

...... although I do find recently that I have a lot of say and write about. But if I miss a day, don't panic... I will return, and "blog without obligation"!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Molly's stamp of approval

1-11-10 acquisition brain
Saturday morning I escaped the snow-bound house and spent a few hours shopping with Molly. The sun came out and it was a bit warmer, perhaps 15 degrees.

Greg doesn't mind when I go shopping with Molly, although she can be a bad influence on my spending money, Greg knows that Molly is trustworthy at steering me in the right direction. Molly helps dress me well. Molly is a friend who will be honest and tell me what looks good and what is in style.

So Molly and I are out shopping and at our first stop, a cool art shop, I was surprised when she suggested “Judy, this hat looks like you!… I think you need to buy it.” Well, I tried it on, and I had mixed feelings. I felt it was kind of a cool-funky hat, but also a bit “Fargo-ish”. BUT Molly said “yes“ …. she would not be embarrassed to be seen with me wearing it“….. so I bought it and wore it out of the store.

Stop #2, bookstore, Molly went one way and I went the other way. After while she found me and approved of my music and book purchases. Stop #3, a new Chocolate Store…. I splurged and bought some hot chocolate on a spoon, which you then stir into a hot cup of milk..... we both approved of this, and decided this was a place we would have to visit again.

Stop #4, was Talbots, and by then I had decided that my new hat didn’t match my coat, and this was a good time to buy a new winter coat… good SALES! Molly went one way and I went the other way.

I did pick out the coat on my own, then Molly found me, and put her stamp of approval on my coat purchase and pointed me in the direction of another spring coat…. OK, I really liked that one too, so bought both… since I was in the mood to spend money…. Why stop? … Boy this is not like me…. But then again, I do tend to shop seriously only once or twice a year, I buy in spurts ….. “But I’m helping to stimulate the economy“ …. was my planned justification to Greg.

Somewhere between stop #3 and #4 I had a weird thought… was the real reason Molly had me buy this hat was so she could easily spot me in a crowded store when we got separated? I started to feel like I was sticking out like a sore thumb.

But my fears were put to rest, when Greg met us for lunch, he thanked Molly for helping me make some good purchases. Greg approved of the winter coat, and the hat too!

PS: Greg hasn't seen the spring coat yet.
PPS: Happy Birthday Teresa.
PPPS: Molly and I are already talking about the next girls weekend at the farm for summer 2010! Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

North on I-35..... yet again

1-10-10 motoring brain
I’m driving back to DM this afternoon. Greg and I have spent a long span of 20 days together, thanks to the holiday break. First he was in Iowa for 10 days, and I have now been down in KC for 10 days.

My one number marriage advice to anyone reading this blog….
Be sure to marry your BEST friend!
Otherwise what’s the point?

We’ve had a fun time together and I’m already looking forward to seeing him again next weekend.

However, I’m also looking forward to sleeping solo for several nights….. So there won’t be any snoring to interrupt my beauty sleep!

Thanks Greg, for a wonderful Christmas, New Years and start to 2010!
UR...a good rockin daddy

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter wonderland

1-9-10 frozen brain
I’ve been in the house now pretty much all week due to the snow and minus zero wind chill temperatures. Not sure how much longer I can entertain myself. Sure the gazing at the window art of ice is fascinating, and time snuggling on the couch with Greg is quite a treat….But I also had to resort to time on the Internet.

And maybe this all isn’t a bad way to spend time in the winter.
I have even learned some things….. Like it’s time that I need to get more serious about taking care of myself. I’ve given my sister a hard time lately and now I need to look in the mirror.

I’ve been exploring the Vibrant Nation web site (for vibrant women of the boomer generation)… and I was wondering if I really am all that vibrant?

I loved this video. I think this is useful information for many of us!

If the link doesn't work, try copy/past this:

Which had me wandering to YouTube for awhile to view more from Becky Williamson. I enjoyed some Michael Jackson video’s too while I was there. Next I was bouncing around some blogs and I ended up with a sore right thumb. Good Grief…. Is arthritis setting in from all the computer “clicking” with my thumb? Could be! Time to get out the external mouse.

Molly gave us this new mouse pad for Christmas…. All of a sudden it is very useful, more than just a decoration. And thanks Molly for a peek at some springtime. I’m also enjoying the bulbs you gave us.

PS: if I hear another word about the Christmas “underwear bomber” I think I’m going hurl… guess I’m also listening too much to news radio. …. My bad!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"There's no place like home"

1-8-10 "Oz" brain

Although I’m on one of my planned weekly visits to KC, some how with all this snow and cold blizzard conditions in KC today, I feel like I’m stranded here…… and I long for my home state of Iowa. This is strange, since I know the weather up north in Iowa has the same cabin fever inducing conditions.

I know there are many stereotypes about Iowa, especially for people who have never visited the state full of flowing corn fields and breath taking views of full-horizon sky. I love being able to turn 360 degrees, up on my mother’s northern Iowa farm homestead, and seeing for miles and miles in all directions. This represents openness and freedom for me, and I remind friends, from other more sophisticated states, that Iowa often is more progressive than one would think.

Iowa embraced Obama in our Presidential Caucus, giving him a boost over other candidates. Iowa also somehow has a legal system which now allows for same sex marriage…. And many of us think this is a fair, equal-rights issue and is no indication of the moral decline in society.

Sure there are vocal conservatives in my state of Iowa….. But nothing like I had seen in my south home in KC which straddles the two states of Missouri and Kansas. (OK, so now I'll admit that I AM the one doing the stereotyping!)

AND I’ll admit it, this is one of the reasons I am hesitant to permanently move south here where the politics appeared to be more “Bible thumping“….. But maybe I could have been wrong…..

Yesterday morning I was reading the KC Star newspaper editorials. I detected a shift from what I had been reading in this paper a few years ago….. Surprisingly, there were three letters to the editor telling Dick Cheney to “shut up” about his criticism of the Obama administration. Cleverly written too, I might add.

Then the icing on the cake, which nearly had me falling off of my chair, was an editorial cartoon which dealt with Rush Limbaugh’s “heart” problems….. Basically implying that Rush is “heartless” when it comes to no sympathy for minorities, women, gays, the poor, the sick and the immigrants.

Toto, I’ve the feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!”…. Perhaps something is in that cold wind that is blowing down from the north?…. Some progressive ideas perhaps are blowing in the wind, and this is reminding me of my home state.

In pictures below, note flag blowing in the wild KC wind. (Greg's Cleveland Brown's football flag)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Healthy Decision

1-7-10 resolution brain

I’m hoping my sister will decide to really make the effort to eat more healthy in 2010. So this blog is for her.

My sister is like me, she doesn’t enjoy time in the kitchen and wants eating to be convenient and fast. Unfortunately, fast usually means unhealthy, but it doesn't have to, if you make just a little effort.

It’s true- I’m not the greatest cook, and my cooking and eating is centered more around body fuel and not for eating pleasure, so here are a few tips for my sister.

Couscous: Easy to use as a base for a meal; and only takes boiling some water in the microwave, mix and allow to set 5 minutes.. and it's ready to eat! I make without oil or butter.

I make a whole bowl, then keep in refrigerator and use small amounts for each meal I create.

So in a small bowl, I start with a ½ cup of the couscous, I pick some protein to add such as either a boiled egg, black beans, or left over chicken or even deli turkey meat. I next pick some vegetables to add, such as steamed broccoli and carrots. A large amount of vegetables can be steamed and used for a few days. I’ve also developed a taste for artichokes, since are easy to add from the can.

Next you can add a few sunflower seeds, nuts, or cashews to give some nice crunch and for a source of good fats.

Then find yourself some healthy sauce which tastes good to you, and just use a small amount to mix in. I’ve found this “Iron Chef” Orange Sauce with Ginger recently in the health food section of the grocery store. I love it!

Then a healthy habit to start is eating a snack mid morning and mid afternoon….. Just grab a piece of fruit: apple, banana or orange.

Healthy eating is a decision that can be EASY!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Making Decisions

1-6-10 decisive brain

Life forces us to make decisions daily. What to wear, what to eat, what to spend our time on each day. Or BIG decisions like "what should I do with the rest of my life?"

The last few days I’ve been thinking about “decision making”, in some respects due to New Years, and because I've been thinking about my goals for 2010.

One technique I’ve learned to use to help with decision making is to visual the decision being made……

If it is a choice between doing A or B, I pretend that I pick A, and I then think about how that feels. Am I relieved? Am I happy?…. Or do I feel tense and still confused? Then I do the opposite and pretend that I made the choice of B…. and go through the same process of noticing how that feels to me.

Making a list of pros and cons can work also, but I really like pretending that I‘ve made a decision and see if I experience a sense of relief and a sense of peace about my choice.

For example, in November I decided to try to live without my 100 or so channels on cable TV. We don’t have cable at the KC house, so I figured I really didn’t need it in Des Moines either. Most of anything I might watch on TV, which isn’t much, I can see on network TV or the Internet.

I can report, that I haven’t missed cable TV at all….. AND I also love saving the $30 to $40 a month too.

More decision making tomorrow......

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Starting 2010

1-5-10 New Year brain

My New Year's Eve was spent in KC this year. Friends Ann and Roy from Des Moines came to spend two nights on the Plaza and so Greg and I had a wonderful early dinner at the Grand Street restaurant party room with them. The food was fabulous! All four of us left full with happy taste buds.

We then hung out some in Ann and Roy's room on the 7th floor of the Intercontinental Hotel.....wonderful view! We didn't quite make it to midnight, but came close. The next day the four of us went out to Molly and Jeff's for a football party, but for me it was all about the food. For those of you who know Molly, you know the food was out of this world as usual!

Regarding the Rose Bowl football game which we watched.... my sympathy to my Oregon cousins. The Big Ten was the victor this time around.

Here I was having all this fun on vacation and still had two more days to go. Saturday and Sunday became "movie" days, since what else can you do when the wind chill is below zero, even in KC?! Greg and I saw "Up in the Air" on Saturday and I am now a George Clooney fan. Not sure why I never drooled over George before like many of my other girlfriends, but in this movie he is very handsome for sure! I liked the movie a lot... I found it interesting and thought provoking for me.

Sunday, Molly and I went to a movie while Greg was watching his beloved Cleveland Browns. We saw "It's Complicated"..... We both really enjoyed this movie and laughed a lot. Who knew "old people" could be so silly and have so much fun... oh wait! I'm "old"......

It's true, Life can get more complicated, interesting and FUN the older you get... and I'm hoping for all of this for my life in 2010!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Report part III

I am back at work today, but will continue finishing up my Holiday Report this week.

Post Christmas vacation continued for a few days in Des Moines. My sister and niece joined us for 24 hours. The highlight was taking my sister to have a joint acupuncture treatment with me. I’m been trying to get her to start taking better care of herself. Don’t get me wrong, her good habits are: not drinking, not smoking and she does try to exercise…. But her eating and sleeping habits are poor and her stress/worry levels are high.

My sister was born the mothering type, and thus she is trying to take care and control everyone else BUT herself. (Don’t worry Ann, this is not new news for Jan, these are things I’ve said face to face to my sister more than once, hoping at some point it will sink in),…. Not that I’m Ms Perfect, but I hope the consultation with my acupuncturist gives Jan something to reflect on and work on this new year.

Once simple step Jan , and all of us can work on, is watching what we drink. My acupuncturist actually recommends the “zinger” type of teas which are available in grocery stores. Red Zinger by Celestial Seasonings is my favorite. These dissolve in a glass of water and you can drink cold or hot.

My acupuncturist told Jan that this is actually healthier than plain water since the added herbs keep you hydrated better. I must admit I usually drink my zinger teas in the summer and had not been drinking any lately. So I started again, and I actually think I see a difference in my face and skin. I have to remember that winter is a very dry time of year and my body needs the hydration as much as in the summer.

Of course the advice from my acupuncturist also includes the cutting back of pop/soda. The carbonation is not good for you, and the synthetic sweeteners.

Here’s to a healthy new year for my sister and all of us who want to feel and look our best!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Serendipity Sunday: chasing Amy

1-3-10 perplexed brain
I'm in Kansas City this week and unfortunately there is really not much difference between KC and Iowa at this moment in time. Both places have snow and cold temperatures.

Here is the deck in KC. Greg tells me the average high in KC this time of year should be mid 30's! I was looking forward to that.... looks like I will have to wait until my next trip here to see warmer temperatures.

Yesterday Greg and I bought ourselves a post Christmas gift. This Asus netbook.

An explanation for my Dad is that this is smaller than a regular laptop computer, put larger than an iphone or Blackberry. The basic use is for email when you travel. So this is my connection when I'm visiting KC and want to surf the Internet and not use my work laptop.

This netbook is named "Amy".... it came with that name, since it once briefly, it appears, to have belonged to someone named Amy, who by total freak of accident due to some strange technology I stumbled into her blog.... still can't figure that out....??

It was like moving into a new house and being haunted by the ghost of the previous owner.... leaving me wondering and thinking about who this Amy is. I want to meet her and talk to her. Amy's blog only lasted for about a month and her last post was Dec 21st.

Oh how I love a good mystery.... Sweet Serendipity!

I did leave a comment on Amy's blog and hope she will come visit me on my blog soon.

PS: To explain further, we bought this netbook "open box" at Best Buy... it had been returned, but the Geek Squad thoroughly examined it to be in perfect working condition, thus we got it "used" and even more on sale. It seems to be working perfectly fine for me... but wondering why Amy returned it..... perhaps she no longer needed it?

Saturday, January 2, 2010


1-2-10 determined brain

In 2010, I resolve to:

"Don't tell God how big the problem is,
....but tell the problem how BIG God is!"

I can't remember where or who I heard this from recently, but I liked it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A new decade

1-1-10 forward looking brain
Last week as I was winding down my work year before holiday break, I was listening to NPR radio and got interested in the discussion which was reviewing the events of this last decade. Wow, that is true, 10 years have passed in the new 21st century!

One panelist on the NPR show called 2000’s the “Flim-Flam decade”…..with many scandals, corruption and misrepresentations, which left many of us feeling swindled. Another panelist even called this the “decade from hell”. Maybe for us Baby Boomers who grew up in the post WWII "prosperous times", but I doubt this was “hell” for those who have lived through the 1930’s and 40’s.

Other discussion points revolved around:
* The loss of faith in institutions, banks, government.
* Technology has people taking control, grassroots movement on Internet and blogs.
* The facts and truth are blurred with opinions.
* End of the middle class.
* End of the American empire

This decade reminds me personally of the words to a song I like by Peter Himmelman called “Easy to be Broken” ….. some of the words are ......."The static get applauded and the truth gets hushed….. Everyone’s craving what nobody needs….the world is built on broken promises…… we’ve developed a heart of stone. …. It’s so easy to be broken"

I believe that most of these types of challenges we have faced for the last 10 years have happened since the beginning of time, just in a new form for us…. and maybe we all are just waking up to the truth of our fallen state we live in. Our human world has always been in a “broken” state.

But with these challenges comes opportunity…. And with brokenness comes the opportunity for healing.

At the start of this new year, I’ll try to remember the good things which happened in this last decade:
* Our 2000 to 2001 house addition.
* There was no end of the world on eve of Y2K
* Greg’s new job in 2000 in Des Moines and 2007 in Kansas City
* Opportunity to travel to Europe 2000 and 2005
* Fun train trips to Oregon and Arizona
* Grand Canyon trip
* New friends!
and all the small loving moments that touched my heart deeply.

Here's wishing more love, peace and healing in 2010!

(another new peace art work of mine)