Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday- a brighter day!

4-30-12 may day brain

I am looking forward to May, since April has been a rather hectic month for me and I was feeling a bit down in the dumps.... either physically worn down from my schedule and travel.... and/or mentally unstable.

 I was talking to a neighbor friend today while out walking and we agreed there was so much "craziness" going on, which has been a struggle to rise above. There has been teenage suicide locally, friend with health issues, friends leaving church due to divide over leadership conflicts in the choir....just to name a few.

Another friend reminded me to NOT focus on the negative, but stay in gratitude and prayer.... and yes that has helped lift my spirits. Also having a fun weekend with Greg in KC has helped.

We were out both Friday and Saturday nights having fun. Friday we went to hear two bands and Greg had me out until 2 AM.

Saturday, our Mini Cooper friends in KC; Johnna and John- threw their own party for Johnna's birthday.
This couple is all about FUN, since they make a living creating balloon sculptures. I must say this party was unlike any I have been to- EVER!

Fun deck and nice lights when the sun when down.

Me and the B-day girl

The theme was a Circus, and we were request to wear black and white.... so the pictures can show some of the fun..... human statue, a fire-eater, guy who walked on broken glass, a fortune teller (I stayed away from her).... a clown performance, a who-la-hop dancing girl (very inspiring for possible exercise class).... and the night ended up with party gift of Potato Guns for everyone. I didn't know there was such a thing, but I can recommend this is safe for kids. The evening ended up with a potato show-down.... kind of like a food fight I guess.

Speaking of food, Johnna is a "foodie" person and thus the food and beverages where wonderful.... Gluten free of course!

These mice where my favorite! I think I might be able to make these using a "Kiss" and a cherry with sliced almond ears.

Johnna and John are also very creative and "funky" with their home decor. Here is an example- picture of their living-room.

ALSO Johnna and John own NINE of my Peace Art CD's and have them hung in a grouping on their bed-room wall, framed in this whimsical manner..... totally their own idea, I just supplied the painted CD's. I love this idea so much!

so..... I just couldn't stay in a bad mood during this party, being surrounded by so much fun and creativity... and I am happy to report that my good mood has carried on into Monday.

Friday, April 27, 2012


4-27-12 looking for fun brain

I'm in an 80's mood!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hovering in-between

4-26-12 nowhere brain

Ever had one of those days?….. of sure you have-
We all get off balance from time to time….. and lately that has been my life…. As depicted here- by clothes I put on my body yesterday morning.  Is it summer? Is it spring…. yet my feet are cold! This weather/temperatures are crazy and bouncing all over.... just like ME!

Lately, for some reason, I no longer feel like I am living “split-in-two” between Des Moines and Kansas City….. but rather I am hovering somewhere in between…. And I’ve lost my feeling of being grounded. I’m sure this is because I’ve also had to spend time traveling for work, and also spending time up in my hometown- all in April.

My health and energy has been low this month and I think it is time to re-evaluate.
This might be as simple as a slight correction in my schedule, or it might be time to talk about BIG change.

I think just a small step might help me out…. AND I need to trust my feelings, instincts, inter-voice….. and ask for what I need.  Greg- we need to talk!

ART News for May:
I hope to volunteer one morning next week with an Art Project at my two acupuncturist-friends’ school of their son’s 1st grade class.

Also, I have been contacted by local TV 8 news gal (Mollie Cooney) who wants me to be a part of her series “Artists Studio”….. She’ll come talk to me about my Peace Art and watch me work in my “studio”…… it only runs about 5 minutes, so I think I can handle that. More on that in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

4-25-12 good to be back home brain
Ann and I are both back in Des Moines this week..... she ready to blog again.... me not caught up with my life yet ~ Judy

Love Love my Pen Pal
Where has April gone? I believe we are all busy busy beavers. Yep, I went on a relaxing vacation which I will write about later. Let me just say “Rich, Elegant, Over the Top” best describes my time away from Iowa.

Back to writing, the art of writing a letter or a card is fading with presto, email, skype, facebook, blogging and chit chatting on the phone. Even with bills, the stamp is also a dying breed. Only a few years ago, I shelled out 15 stamps per month. Today, I barely get 1 out per month. Then there’s the greeting card. I must admit, back in the day I sent out a lot of Hallmark cards. Today, I barely send out a few. I just don’t understand why a card has to cost $3-5 dollars. However, I do love a music greeting card, it makes me chuckle.

So does anyone have a Pen Pal? Happy to report that I have one, Marine Dude John, aka Judy’s Dad John. Amazing that he loves to make cards with his “stampers” and adds a special note. He’s his own “Hallmark” greeting card company, up there in Charles City. I do love his cards, and somewhere in one of my writing drawers, I have a bunch of John’s cards. Here’s a pic of a few. Dude … you are talented.

To give my appreciation to John, I traveled up North to wish him well for his 87th Birthday late March. I was first to get up there, chatted a bit before Judy, Greg and Jan showed up. We had a lunch made by Jean and then went out to dinner at the famous “Bowling Alley”.  A nice treat by John and Jean.

Oh yeah, knowing how much John loved the blue hair, I took it along. Smile and say “cheese”.

Gotta run, Chat Later
That Girl, Ann Marie 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pondering issues

4-17-12 pondering brain

Below.... I saw this article on NPR and of course “What would Jesus do” always catches the eye of THIS Christian… since often I don’t always agree what some Christians are proclaiming, especially when it sounds pretty hypocritical a lot of the time.

But this got me thinking.  Maybe the Government shouldn’t be in the business of helping the poor….. maybe this does belong in the hands of the Churches and non-profits.

Yet, a lot of Christian churches are suffering with budget shortfalls as the economy was troubled in the last few years. BUT if the Government got out of the charity business, maybe we would have more people participating with faith-based group giving???

But “where the money goes”…… corruptions seems to follow.  Remember Jim Baker? For a man of God, he was living a very rich life-style.  Who will keep the faith-based groups honest?

Christians Debate: Was Jesus For Small Government?
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
- April 16, 2012
What would Jesus do with the U.S. economy?
That's a matter of fierce debate among Christians — with conservatives promoting a small-government Jesus and liberals seeing Jesus as an advocate for the poor.

After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus' command to care for the poor.

Not so, says Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee. He told Christian Broadcasting Network last week that it was his Catholic faith that helped shape the budget plan. In his view, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity suggests the government should have little role in helping the poor.

"Through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities — through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community — that's how we advance the common good," Ryan said.
The best thing that government can do, he said, is get out of the way.

But Stephen Schneck, a political scientist at Catholic University, says he thinks Ryan is "completely missing the boat and not understanding the real heart, the real core, of Catholic social teaching."

Schneck says Catholicism sees everyone as part of a mystical body that serves one another. True, the New Testament does not specifically speak to the government's role. "But charities and individuals and churches can't do it all," Schneck says. "When charities are already stretched to their limit, Catholic social teaching expects the state to step up and to fill that gap."..........................

PS: Ann and I are both traveling this week, so this may be the last post for the week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Catching up with me

4-16-12 catching up brain

I guess I need to start blogging again, at least a few times per week. While on blogging sabbatical, I’ve rediscovered the benefits to blogging for me: Although blogging takes time out of the day, Blogging is a reflective activity for my brain which helps put space between days- a marker, as a period at the end of a sentence.

Without blogging, my days have run into weeks and life seems to be a blur.
I have several things I want to “document” and so this post will be some catching up.

March 2012: the wonderful early spring! Much sun and record breaking warm temperatures to enjoy!

Friday night dinner in Ames with my old friend Teresa and her family. They were visiting ISU as possible college for daughter Sarah.

Teresa has hardly changed in 25 years!

Celebrated my Dad's 87th Birthday and my sister visited Iowa for the week.

Sadly celebrated my boss's retirement at our Staff Meeting in Iowa City.

New kitten is making herself right at home inside my heart!

Friday 4-13-12: was my Mini car's 10th Anniversary and Greg insisted we go back to the dealer to get our picture take. No one can believe my car is 10 years old, since Greg takes such good care of it. Greg really knows how to clear and wax a car.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

4-11-12 vacant brain
I'm continuing my absence from blogging, but working my way back soon.... I'm starting to feel the need again to express myself. For now- here is Ann. ~Judy

Tribute to Dad
What to do, how will I feel and will I make it through the dreaded day of  April 6, 2012? So happy to report that all went well and I’m able to move on with great memories of Dad.
Before I share my day, my brother sent us an article “
Ways to Pay Tribute to My Deceased Dad” by Mara Tyler (9-1-11). Here’s some of the article:
Mourning and moving on with daily life is an intimately personal process that may vary from one person to the next.  Some people may feel that paying tribute to a deceased father is a one-time event, while others might want to honor a dad's memory in an ongoing or annual way.
Create a ritual or tradition that feels right for you.
Monument or Sacred Place, after the death of a parent, it can be helpful to have a monument or a sacred place to visit where you honor your father's memory. While a grave site can be a special place to reconnect with his memory, consider planting a tree in your backyard or purchasing a bench or statue that can be placed in his favorite park or somewhere he loved spending his time. A permanent, tangible monument ensures his memory will be honored forever and that he will still be a part of the living world and in your life.
Tradition, creating traditions is another way to pay tribute to your deceased father. Think of something you can do every year on the anniversary of his death, his birthday or during holidays that makes you feel closer to him. Traditions help give you the time and space to honor your dad's memory with people who knew and loved him.
Fulfilling Dreams,   another way to honor your father's memory is to fulfill one of the dreams he had while he was alive. For example, if he always wanted to attend a World Series baseball game, get tickets for one and attend it with your loved ones. If your father wanted to build a deck in the backyard, hire someone to complete the project in a way you think he would have liked. Finishing things he started or fulfilling one of his dreams will help you honor his memory and give him something he always wanted while he was alive.
Wow, happy to report that two of the three have been accomplished. The “Bench” at the State Fair is truly a place where is memory will be honored forever, not to mention the flower garden out back. I bought a new monument for the garden last month.

Then the tradition, walking the “Way of the Cross” will be my way to pay tribute to Dad. It will not always fall on April 6th, but Good Friday will always be the day to pay tribute to Dad. Here’s a great picture of the Walk this year (oh yeah, I made the Des Moines Register).

Now fulfilling dreams- that’s on my bucket list. Dad talked about going to China over the years and if his health was better, I think we would have gone there. So to fulfill his dream, and mine, I will take Dad to China and going to the Great Wall will be the highlight of the trip and what a great way to Pay Tribute To Dad!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update to cleaning project

4-6-12 happy brain

My sister arrived in DM earlier than expected, so after we got back from dinner out,,,,  we decided to tackle the spare bathroom project.... we started at 7:00pm. It really only took 1.5 hours or so. We bagged and labeled everything and took down to the kitchen.

We even then had enough energy to load the car up.... it is stuffed full! Tomorrow a trip to Goodwill will be our priority before we spend some time in the basement sorting stuff down there.

The lighting is not good in the spare bathroom in the evening, but you can see it's all cleaned out! (Well, except for the closet.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


4-5-12 cleansing brain

Spare room, Spare change, Spare tire, Spare stuff...... Spare = EXTRA.... not currently in use, but I keep- just in case I need it.  Spare TIME would be nice!

Well Friday I am taking off as vacation day…. To spend time with my sister who is visiting Iowa….. and she agreed to help me finally get some spare“stuff” out of the house, and into these 14 bags..... and off to Good Will.

Over the last several years, as my cleaning-out projects seems to be ongoing…. The extra stuff to give away landed in the spare bathroom…. Here is has been piling up…. I need some extra (spare)  motivation and help getting it bagged and carried from the house.

Thanks Jan!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

4-4-12 dreaming brain
I'm enjoying listening to Ann do her Dreaming here..... me- I'm not sure what I'm dreaming about these days.... maybe that's my funk lately~ Judy

Just Dreamin’
A girl can dream, right? Today is April 4th and a year ago, was the last day Dad talked to me.
On April 3, 2011, he was intubated to let his lungs rest, from there he had several strokes on April 4th and passed away on April 6th.  Here is a pic of the USA Sports page from April 6th. Dad loved to read the USA paper.  

Before he passed, we agreed that he would move in with us and we were both looking forward to it. He would help me around the house and he knew there would be a “few rules” like cooking curry. I’m not sure how us rooming together would of worked, but I’m dreamin’ that I would come home to clean house, dinner ready and us watching DWTS, American Idol and America’s Got Talent….. just dreamin’.

What if I had a another child? I would of loved Robert to have a brother or sister, really hoping for a sister that I could mold in my image … haha. She could be my running buddy. If only … and just dreamin’.
Robert is 26 and one of my dreams may come true, he’s looking to move back to Ankeny … soon …really soon.

 I hear the mega million lottery is up to 500,000,000. Wow, what I could do with that money. I remember Dad being asked what he would do if he won the lottery, buy a car? Back in the day he said “he would get a nice fridge with ice and water on the door”. He was so piratical. Me, I would pay off my house, get a good lawyer to manage my finances, take my entire family on a big trip to Europe, and take my Dad back to Trinidad. Work, yep I probably would work for a few more days. Oh my, I will by a few tickets today …. Just dreamin’.

I want a scooter, period! My work-mate got this sweet ride last week and I’ve been seeing a few here and there. I want a scooter …. Somebody …. Gift me a scooter so I won’t have to say … just dreamin’.

On this Good Friday, April 6, 2012, I will do a little more than “just dreamin” to remember Dad. I will walk the cross at noon, go to mass, light his memory candle, gift his suits to a local charity, drive the Jeep and most of all, do a lot of crying. Then I can check off his 1 month, 6 month, his birthday and his 12 month passing. Going forward I only have to remember his birthday and April 6th
Now I can go back to … dreamin’ ……………. Just dreamin.
 Chat Later
That Girl, Ann Marie