Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday List - December 2014

December 2014
1 - Eat a Red Apple Day
2 - National Mutt Day
3 - National Roof-Over-Your-Head Day
4 - Wear Brown Shoes Day
6 - Bartender Appreciation Day
7 - National Cotton Candy Day
9 - Weary Willie Day
10 - Dewey Decimal System Day
11 - International Mountain Day
12 - National 12-hour Fresh Breath Day
13 - National Cocoa Day
15 - Cat Herders Day
16 - National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
17 - Wright Brothers' Day
18 - National Re-Gifting Day
20 - Games Day
21 - Crossword Puzzle Day
22 - National Haiku Poetry Day
23 - Festivus
25 - Christmas
26 - National Whiner's Day
27 - Visit the Zoo Day
28 - Card Playing Day
29 - Tick Tock Day
30 - Baking Soda Day
31 - Make Up Your Mind Day

Aaaand, here is the disclaimer. As I've said before, I do not make up these holidays. These are all real holidays, celebrated somewhere in the world (mostly the US, and when at all possible, Texas - I like to keep it local). Some days have more than one holiday - I am aware of this, and I have chosen the one I like best. It was my idea to post the holidays for you, so I get to pick. Mainly though, because, which would you rather celebrate, World Choral Day or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (Dec 8)? Sure, about three of you said World Choral Day because you have really nice singing voices and like to sing in public (sorry). The rest of us will be acting like we just showed up from the future and are looking for a flux capacitor. What I mean to say is, if you don't like the holiday, just wait until the next day - I'm sure it will be better suited for you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014



Home sweet home.
No place like home.
Home is where the heart is.

Home is where Momma makes Thanksgiving dinner.  
She starts early, while the three of us watch the Macy's parade.  
She pulls me away from the TV from time to time to taste the dressing, to try the potato salad, to sample the gravy.  
As Snoopy floats down 34th Street, delicious aromas float through the house.  
Roast turkey, potatoes, green beans.  
Home sweet home.

Home is where friends are always welcome.  
There is always room at Momma's table for one more.  
Always enough food for everyone.  
The door is always open.  
To the soldier who won't see his family for Thanksgiving.  
To the couple whose children can't visit this year.  
To the young mother who struggles to make ends meet.  
As guests make their way into the house, dishes make their way out of the oven.  
Pecan pie, spice cake, those rolls that come in the little cardboard tray.  
Home away from home.

Home is a thousand miles away, where Momma creates culinary masterpieces.
In my kitchen, I hope the recipe turns out like hers.  
Her turkey roasts to a golden brown, while my green bean casserole bakes to warm and bubbly.  
Her kitchen is warm and inviting, while the smells in my kitchen make me think of her.  
I know she thinks of me, while I long to laugh with her, to cook with her, to taste the potato salad.  
As the aromas of Thanksgiving drift through the kitchen, my mind drifts down memory lane.  
Sweet potatoes, buttered corn, chocolate pie.  

Home is just down the street, in the house where my husband spent his childhood.  
I sneak glimpses of the parade while preparing the dishes to take to his Momma's for Thanksgiving lunch.  
They like my broccoli cheese casserole.  
Sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, kids, toddlers and babies all gather around the table.  
She says the blessing and reads a poem.  
We eat too much.  We laugh a lot.  We nap.  
As the Cowboys tackle the Eagles, we tackle the dinner one more time.  
Ham sandwiches, pasta salad, cranberry sauce.  
There's no place like home.

Home is where love is abundant.  
Where hugs are free.  
Where laughter is all around.
Where Momma taught me about family - about what it means to be home.  
As Thanksgiving Day draws to a close, I close the refrigerator one more time.  
Leftover turkey, a spoonful of hot hominy, a slice of banana bread.  
Home is where the heart is.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Holiday List - September 2014

September 2014

1 - Labor Day
2 - National Blueberry Popsicle Day
3 - Skyscraper Day
4 - Eat an Extra Dessert Day
5 - Be Late for Something Day
7 - Pet Rock Day
8 - International Literacy Day
9 - Wonderful Weirdoes Day
10 - TV Dinner Day
11 - Odd Day
12 - Video Games Day
13 - National Peanut Day
14 - National Hug Your Hound Day
15 - Make a Hat Day
16 - National Guacamole Day
17 - International Country Music Day
18 - National Cheeseburger Day
20 - Big Whopper Liar Day
21 - Worldwide Day of Play
22 - Dear Diary Day / Elephant Appreciation Day
23 - Checkers Day (or Dogs in Politics Day)
24 - National Punctuation Day
25 - National One-Hit Wonder Day
26 - Love Note Day
27 - International Rabbit Day
28 - National Drink Beer Day
29 - International Coffee Day
30 - Ask a Stupid Question Day

Aaaand, here is the disclaimer. As I've said before, I do not make up these holidays. These are all real holidays, celebrated somewhere in the world (mostly the US, and when at all possible, Texas - I like to keep it local). Some days have more than one holiday - I am aware of this, and I have chosen the one I like best. It was my idea to post the holidays for you, so I get to pick. Mainly though, because, which would you rather celebrate, World Choral Day or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (Dec 8)? Sure, about three of you said World Choral Day because you have really nice singing voices and like to sing in public (sorry). The rest of us will be acting like we just showed up from the future and are looking for a flux capacitor. What I mean to say is, if you don't like the holiday, just wait until the next day - I'm sure it will be better suited for you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Big Tex, Fried Foods and ME!

We interrupt your irregularly unscheduled programming of Fitness Friday to bring you this important announcement...I am running for public office. Wait, no I'm not. But I AM in the running to be a judge for the Big Tex Choice Awards at the Great State Fair of Texas.

As you know, we have The Sparks Agency Fair Day at work every year. We take the day off work and head to the State Fair. We start the day with a Fletcher's Corny Dog, eaten at the feet of Big Tex, of course. Then, we make our way around the fairgrounds, seeking out the current year's fried food finalists, and judging for ourselves whether we agree with the Best Tasting and Most Creative selections. 

For the past five or six years, I've been trying to figure out how to become a judge for the Big Tex Choice Awards. I've been told that 'they' select judges who are local celebrities. Previous judges have been Mike Hashimoto & Jacquielynn Floyd, from the Dallas Morning News, Corby Davidson & Donovan Lewis, from The Ticket, and Representative Eric Johnson and Andrea Rega (I don't even know who she is!). Those people are celebrities?...pshh. I'll have you know, I've been on Animal Planet (with Speed Bump), on Texas Country Reporter (I met Muffin from Peppermint Place once) and in a car dealership commercial (Randall Noe Ford/Dodge). I'm about 3 1/2 minutes into my 15 minutes of fame. I'm not sure why I'm not "celebrity" enough. 

Not to worry, though. All that makes no difference now. For the 10-year anniversary of the Big Tex Choice Awards, the State Fair is opening the judging table for a citizen, for a fan of the fried food, for a friend of the fair, for --- ME! Well, almost me, anyway.

I need your help. To enter the contest, I submitted a 60 second video explaining why I will be the best judge for the Big Tex Choice Awards. I've been selected as a finalist, and now State Fair Fans (YOU!) have an opportunity to cast your vote for your favorite video (MINE!) and decide who will be representing fairgoers (ME!) on the judging panel. Voting is open between 9:00am on August 15 and 5:00pm on August 18. As they say, vote early and vote often (or at least as often as they'll let you). 

Click here for a link to watch the video and vote now!

It's a short video - they only gave me 60 seconds. I'll tell ya, a minute is a LONG time to do jump squats, but not nearly enough time to list all the reasons why I should be a judge. Here are some that fell on the cutting room floor...

  • Not only am I a Native Texan, I grew up in Oak Cliff (where fried food was the only kind of food there was.)
  • When the fried choices dwindled on the menu, my parents wisely moved us to East Texas, where fried will never die. 
  • Prior knowledge of the layout of Fair Park leads to a near-perfect route, culminating in a ride back on the Texas SkyWay.
  • The Butter Sculpture has included Armadillos.
  • I cried (real tears, even) when Big Tex caught on fire.
  • I fully support Go Texan (and have t-shirts to prove it).
  • The Sparks Agency Fair Day includes an open invitation to all our friends to meet us at Big Tex to get the day started.
  • I am awestruck by the Texas Star.
  • I've made a pilgrimage to Kerens, Texas, the birthplace of Big Tex.
  • I've met Miss Fernie, the brilliant mind that brought the Funnel Cake to the Great State Fair of Texas.
  • Celebrities are not the only people who know good food when they taste it.
  • I know where to buy Shiner Bock for the fewest number of coupons.
  • I make sure to ride the Dentzel Carousel every year. 
  • I know where the Dodge Mechanical Bull is located. 
  • I once rode the DART rail to The Sparks Agency Fair Day.
  • I am a TEXpert.
If you haven't already watched the video, go now. Hurry! And vote. 

Why I Should Be a Judge at the Big Tex Choice Awards Video

MaryEllen Miller - MaryEllenMiller
Fork Guy on Left - Glenn Hillin
Fork Guy on Right - Sparky Sparks
Big Tex Awards Finalists Tasters - Swift Sparks III
                                                                      Melody Tarno
                                                                     Robin "Skinny" Reynolds
                                                                          Matt Loving
                                                                          Dave McConnell
                                                                                                              Sparky Sparks                                    
                                                                           Glenn Hillin
Lead Racing Armadillo - Speed Bump
Mascot Armadillo Racer - Raider Red

Director - Sparky Sparks
Writer(s) - Glenn Hillin, Sparky Sparks, MaryEllen Miller
Executive Producer - The Sparks Agency
Director of Photography- Glenn Hillin
Production Designer - Sparky Sparks
Costumes - Jan Sparks
Craft Services - Becka Brown

This video was made on location at The Sparks Agency, entirely during business hours. 
No armadillos were harmed during the filming of this video.
Characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are completely real, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any fictitious person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Thank you for your votes. 

With warm, deep fried regards, 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Holiday List - August 2014

August 2014
2 - National Mustard Day
3 - Watermelon Day
4 - National Psychic Day
5 - National Underwear Day
7 - Sea Serpent Day
8 - Kool-Aid Day
9 - National Garage Sale Day
11 - Play in the Sand Day
12 - Sewing Machine Day
13 - International Left-Handers Day
14 - National Creamsicle Day
15 - National Relaxation Day
17 - National Thrift Shop Day
18 - Bad Poetry Day
19 - Potato Day
20 - Lemonade Day
21 - Poet's Day
22 - Hug Your Boss Day
23 - Valentino Day
24 - Go Topless Day / National Waffle Day
25 - National Whiskey Sour Day / National Banana Split Day
26 - National Dog Day
27 - Tug-of-War Day
28 - Radio Commercials Day
29 - More Herbs, Less Salt Day
30 - Bacon Day
31 - Pony Express Day

Aaaand, here is the disclaimer. As I've said before, I do not make up these holidays. These are all real holidays, celebrated somewhere in the world (mostly the US, and when at all possible, Texas - I like to keep it local). Some days have more than one holiday - I am aware of this, and I have chosen the one I like best. It was my idea to post the holidays for you, so I get to pick. Mainly though, because, which would you rather celebrate, World Choral Day or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (Dec 8)? Sure, about three of you said World Choral Day because you have really nice singing voices and like to sing in public (sorry). The rest of us will be acting like we just showed up from the future and are looking for a flux capacitor. What I mean to say is, if you don't like the holiday, just wait until the next day - I'm sure it will be better suited for you.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fitness Friday - Dear Bathroom Scale...

Dear Bathroom Scale, 

I'm sorry, but it's just not working out between us. We've been together for years, I know. But, it's time for me to move on. I feel like there's this incredible weight between us. I think you feel it, too. It's not you. It's me. 

Ok...I'll be honest. It IS you. I always feel like our conversations are so heavy. Really, you should lighten up a little. You probably don't even realize you're doing it, but lately every time we are together, you make me feel bad about myself. Well, not really bad, but certainly not good. I just get so frustrated, because I'm trying and trying to better our relationship, but you just don't seem to want to change. I guess it wasn't always that way. I do remember better times. Years ago. But that was then. 

I guess I started noticing something was wrong in our relationship about a year and a half ago, after I started going to the gym. Since then, you just really have nothing encouraging to say to me. I mean, I do cardio. I do calisthenics. I lift weights. I run, for goodness sakes. And still, you can't be even a little supportive? I'm not asking for something spectacular all at once. I know you. But a little something nice every week or so would be great. 

This is how it has to be. I'm moving on. I'm setting goals that have nothing to do with you. For instance, I plan on running (not run/walking) three miles by the end of July. I'm going to do pull-ups. I currently cannot do one pull-up, but I'm working on that every day, so I'll be doing five in a row soon. Yesterday, I did a wall sit for two minutes. I'm going for three minutes by the end of next week. As I reach each of these goals, I'll set another one in its place. In doing so, I'll increase muscle mass, and I'll tighten and tone all the jiggly parts. And, I'll feel great - physically and emotionally. I'll be better for it, and I won't have to listen to your negative vibes. 

Do I want to keep running back to you week after week? Yes, of course I do. But I realize it's not healthy for me. So, you can stay right there in the bathroom where you've been. That's fine. Just don't expect me to associate with you while I'm in there. No. We can't just be friends. 


PS - stop harassing my friends, too! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Holiday List - July 2014

July 2014
1 - US Postage Stamp Day
2 - I Forgot Day / Made in the USA Day
3 - Compliment Your Mirror Day
5 - International Cherry Pit Spitting Day
6 - International Kissing Day
7 - Tell the Truth Day 
8 - Video Games Day
11 - Cheer Up the Lonely Day / Slurpee Day
12 - Paper Bag Day
13 - Gruntled Workers Day
14 - International Nude Day
15 - Cow Appreciation Day
16 - National Corn Fritters Day
18 - National Caviar Day
19 - Stick Out Your Tongue Day
21 - National Junk Food Day
22 - Casual Pi Day (22/7)
23 - Hot Enough For Ya Day / Gorgeous Grandma Day
24 - Tell an Old Joke Day / National Tequila Day
25 - National Talk in an Elevator Day
26 - National Day of the Cowboy
27 - Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day / Walk on Stilts Day
28 - National Milk Chocolate Day
29 - National Chicken Wing Day
31 - Uncommon Instruments Awareness Day

 Aaaand, here is the disclaimer. As I've said before, I do not make up these holidays. These are all real holidays, celebrated somewhere in the world (mostly the US, and when at all possible, Texas - I like to keep it local). Some days have more than one holiday - I am aware of this, and I have chosen the one I like best. It was my idea to post the holidays for you, so I get to pick. Mainly though, because, which would you rather celebrate, World Choral Day or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (Dec 8)? Sure, about three of you said World Choral Day because you have really nice singing voices and like to sing in public (sorry). The rest of us will be acting like we just showed up from the future and are looking for a flux capacitor. What I mean to say is, if you don't like the holiday, just wait until the next day - I'm sure it will be better suited for you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fitness Friday - Behind Door #3

I've mentioned before that the gym where Ryan and I work out, Anytime Fitness, is right next door to Chen's Buffet. Yep, right next door. To a Chinese buffet. Seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me. Well, it did, anyway, until I changed my way of thinking. 

You see, on the other side of Chen's is U.S. Renal Care, a dialysis clinic. Every time I go to the gym, I see the Chinese buffet and the dialysis clinic. Now, my workout happens before sun-up or it just might not happen, so I seldom see Chen's during their open hours. But that clinic is another story. It opens pretty early in the morning. 

I barely noticed U.S. Renal Care when I first started Boot Camp. Mainly because I'm barely awake when I get there. Over the past few months, however, I've noticed it more and more. There are people going into the dialysis clinic for treatments starting around 5:30am. Every day. To have their blood filtered by a machine, because their kidneys just won't do it anymore. Some have friends or relatives who drive them there. Others ride the Go Bus, a rural public transportation system. 

Now, I don't know the people I see going into there and I don't know their stories. But I know mine. And I know that I don't ever want any chapter or page or paragraph or sentence of my crazy life story to include "that time when I was hooked up to the kidney machine." From what I understand, that whole dialysis process is just no fun, and I'm just not down with that. 

There are many reasons why someone would have kidney failure. Just check Web MD - they have lists and lists of symptoms and causes. Some of those reasons are things that can't be prevented, simply because things just happen. Other reasons, heart problems, high blood pressure and obesity, among others, can be prevented just by paying attention to one's health. This is where my way of thinking has changed. I believe, with proper nutrition and adequate exercise, the kidney machine and I will not become acquaintances.  And I believe that I'm going to work really hard to stay out of that clinic. 

These days, I get plenty of exercise. I haven't smoked the cigarettes in eight years. I have reduced my Dr Pepper intake to about one per month. I drink beer, wine and spirits, but not too much. Although it is a constant battle, I'm trying improve my nutrition. I don't go to Chen's anymore. I keep my stress levels pretty low. These are lifestyle changes that I have decided to make to improve my quality of life for now and for my future. 

So, I'll keep what's behind Door Number Three. And I'll leave the buffet and the clinic for the next contestant. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fitness Friday - What I've learned about myself...

This week marks one year that I've been going to my Boot Camp class at the gym. My friend, Shelly, talked me into doing it. My friend, Tracy, teaches it. I'll be honest, I was reluctant to go to the class for a few reasons. 1. Because it starts at 5:30am. In the morning. Before sunrise. 2. Because I had no idea what to do at something called "Boot Camp." 3. I have no athletic ability whatsoever. But, I went, and I've been going to the gym an average of three days a week ever since. Yeah, so, there have been some weeks when I only went one day, but there have been plenty of weeks where I've been four or five. Anyway, here are some things I've learned about myself in the past year. Some of these things are very positive, some are not so much. I'm working on those. 

1. I CAN get out of bed in time to be at the gym at 5:30am.
2. It takes ten minutes to get from our house to the gym. 
3. I am fully aware of #2, so some days I can get completely dressed, brush my teeth, ponytail my hair and get some water in ten minutes. This gives me eighteen more minutes of sleep (nine minutes at a time, of course). 
4. When I started working out, I could do one plank-style push-up. I'm not kidding. I could do one. 
5. I can now do at least fifteen plank-style push-up in a row. If I drop to my knees, I can do a whole bunch more. 
6. I like working out with friends a LOT more than working out alone. 
7. I still haven't lost enough weight to even mention, but I look better in my clothes.
8. I can overhead press 15 pound dumbbells for ten reps, three times. (I started with 8 pound weights.)
9. I cannot lift a horse.
10. When I work out in the morning, I am less likely to eat unhealthy foods throughout the day. 
11. I am better at working out in the morning than after work.
12. I can run one mile without stopping.
13. I am very interested in eating less sugar and fewer processed foods.
14. But, I really love dipped ice cream cones from Dairy Queen.
15. I can hold a plank for 1 minute and 15 seconds.
16. I can make homemade ranch dressing that is unbelievably better than Hidden Valley.
17. I still get discouraged that I haven't lost weight.
18. Even so, I have a hard time staying motivated to eat fewer calories every day.
19. But, I keep trying.  
20. I love the blue of the sky when the sun is just rising.
21. I cannot be trusted with a restaurant menu. 
22. I am encouraged and inspired by the people in the photo on this page.
23. If I do not eat breakfast before I leave the house, I either skip breakfast altogether or eat something terribly unhealthy.
24. I can run and walk for 3.1 miles, but I really like to refer to it as 5 THOUSAND meters! 
25. I'm in better shape than I thought I was, because after three hours of horseback riding, I was not incredibly sore all over. 
26. Self-tanning lotion makes my feet darker way before it makes my legs darker.
27. I can do twenty situps in one minute. 
28. One year ago, I could not do one. 
29. I don't miss Dr Pepper as much as I thought I would. (I've only had ten in the past sixteen months.) 
30. I am really glad Shelly talked me into going to Boot Camp a year ago. 

Much love and many blessings to you!

What have you learned about yourself this year?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Holiday List - April 2014

April 2014

1 - National Fun at Work Day
2 - National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
3 - Don't Go to Work Unless it's Fun Day
4 - Vitamin C Day
5 - International Pillow Fight Day
6 - Hostess Twinkie Day
7 - International Beer Day
8 - National Empanada Day
9 - National Cherish an Antique Day
10 - National Sibling Day
11 - International "Louie Louie" Day
12 - Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
13 - Scrabble Day
14 - Dictionary Day
15 - That Sucks Day
16 - National Bookmobile Day
17 - Ford Mustang Day / High Five Day / National Haiku Poetry Day
18 - National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day
19 - National Hanging Out Day
20 - Easter
21 - National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day
22 - National Jelly Bean Day
23 - Movie Theater Day
24 - Pigs in a Blanket Day
25 - National Hairball Awareness Day
26 - Bob Wills Day / Hug a Friend Day
28 - National Blueberry Pie Day
29 - International Dance Day
30 - International Jazz Day

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We can be friends!

I need another friend like I need a... Whoa, whoa, hold on there. Don't nobody panic. Of course I need another friend! Sure, I already have a lot of friends. I have some very close friends whom I can count on in any situation. I have longtime friends that I've known since I was a child. I have cousins who are dear friends, and dear friends who are like sisters. I have 825 Facebook friends. In fact, if you're reading this, it is quite likely that you are my friend. But yes, I am certain that I need another friend. 

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks. I went to the Society of Talent and Entertainment Professionals Annual Conference & Showcase, and the very first speaker we had, Angela Belford, seemed like just my kind of gal. She was witty and funny. She was serious about her subject matter, but wasn't seriously stuffy about it all. She just seemed like a groovy person to hang out with. Well, y'all know how quiet and reserved I am, so when I got an opportunity to talk with her, boy did I. We hit it off big, too, and hung out together for the rest of the conference. Since then, we've corresponded quite a bit - and mutually helped each other from our respective occupations. It's been really fun getting to know her.

Eight or ten months ago, my friend, Shelly, invited me to join a Boot Camp class that she goes to. I did, and now I'm even better friends with Shelly. And then, we made friends with Alicia, and I got to know Kari again. Now, we're working out together every day, and Alicia and I are running together a couple of times a week. Boom! We're friends. 

About a year ago, when my super groovy sister, Gina (yep, my super grooviest friend, ever!), came to town, I reconnected with her friend/my friend, Carrie. She's kind and caring, and super funny. Sweet Hubby Ryan (husband/friend) and I hang out with the Cranfords as much as we can. Carrie is pretty groovy, and she has lots of friends.  She is slowly but surely introducing me to those friends, who are also pretty groovy. 

Yes, I keep making new friends, and I'm not getting rid of the previous ones. The untrained eye might think this whole "friend" thing is getting out of hand. It is not, I assure you. It is important for us, all of us, to have friends and to keep expanding our horizons with new ones. All the ladies I mentioned, Angela, Alicia, Shelly, Kari, Gina and Carrie, all have talents and points of view and experiences that are different than mine. I am learning something from each one of these beautiful and talented ladies. I can only hope that I have something to offer them that is given from me as freely and generously.

Aristotle said, "In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds." 

The Bible tells us, in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

William Shakespeare said, "A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow."

In her book, DARE, Becky Blalock says, "It is other people who give you the strength and support that help you grow as a professional. The more people you have relationships with, the more access you will have to knowledge and opportunities." 

Friends keep us young and healthy. Friends helps us grow and learn. Friends provide a safe haven in the storms of our lives. Friends encourage us and lift us up. Friends back us up when we are right, and let us know when we are wrong. Friends keep us warm and keep us cool. Friends help us succeed in business, and provide opportunities for us to help them succeed. Most importantly, friends make us laugh. Well, that's what is most important to me, anyway.

A study on the Importance of Friendship links the ills and social problems of the world on friendship, or the lack thereof. Having face-to-face friends, not just social media friends, is so vital. Of course bad things happen to people who have friends, but statistics show that suicides, divorce, homelessness and drug addiction rates are lower among people who have a few really good friends. It's that support system that keeps people going. 

So, yes, I need another friend. And so do you. Strike up a conversation with the new kid in your class. Invite someone from your church to lunch. Share your coffee break with someone from another department. You just don't know what kind of groovy person you might meet. 

Much love and many blessings, my friends!

Who is your newest friend?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Holiday List - March 2014

March 2014

1 - Sock Monkey Day
3 - Fun Facts About Names Day
4 - National Grammar Day
5 - Learn What Your Name Means Day
6 - Nametag Day
7 - Middle Name Pride Day
8 - International Fanny Pack Day
9 - Get Over it Day
10 - International Day of Awesomeness
11 - World Plumbing Day
12 - Girl Scouts Day
13 - Earmuffs Day
14 - Pi Day
15 - Corn Dog Day
17 - National Irish Coffee Day
18 - Awkward Moments Day
19 - Kick Butt Day
20 - World Storytelling Day
21 - National Common Courtesy Day
22 - International Goof-off Day
23 - OK Day
24 - National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
25 - Pecan Day
26 - Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
27 - Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day
28 - Barnum & Bailey Day
29 - Texas Loves the Children Day
30 - Pencil Day
31 - National "She's Funny That Way" Day

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Holiday List - February 2014

February 2014

2 - World Play Your Ukulele Day
4 - Liberace Day
5 - World Nutella Day
6 - Canadian Maple Syrup Day
7 - Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbors Day
8 - Laugh and Get Rich Day
9 - Read in the Bathtub Day
10 - Clean Out Your Computer Day
11 - Extraterrestrial Visitor Day
12 - Safety Pup Day
13 - Get a Different Name Day
14 - Ferris Wheel Day
15 - National Gumdrop Day
16 - National Almond Day
18 - Pluto Day
19 - Single Tasking Day
20 - Hoodie Hoo Day
21 - International Mother Language Day
22 - National Margarita Day
23 - Diesel Engine Day
24 - National Cupcake Day
25 - Quiet Day
26 - For Pete's Sake Day
27 - National Chili Day
28 - National Tooth Fairy Day

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fitness Friday - Back at It

Last Friday, I was all excited about what a big deal it is to go to the gym. Then, I didn't go back until yesterday. Yep, almost a week. And, you know what? That dadgum Lycra is STILL making my jeans too tight!

I really didn't go to the gym for a whole week, because some crazy kettle bell swings hurt my back. )Yes, I blame the kettle bell swings, and not my bad form. Don't you worry, I glare at those kettle bells every time I see them.) So, after I noticed back pain, I did not stay home and rest. I kept pushing until my back really hurt and I couldn't go to the gym. For three days, I iced it and took the ibuprofen, and now I'm better, and I'm back at the gym. Two days in a row even!

As I mentioned before, I've been going to the gym for a little more than a year now. I'm not one of those people who checks-in every time I show up in the parking lot (mainly because I'm afraid I'll click the wrong location and accidentally check-in at Chen's Chinese Buffet next door), but if that's what keeps you going, well hey, go for it. Ok, really, I didn't talk about the gym in the social media, or the literal media, or even in most conversations because I was afraid of it. I was afraid that I would say something about going to the gym, and someone would say, "Really? You go to the gym? Oh." Because, my progress is SO slow, I was a little embarrassed about it. Maybe a lot embarrassed about it.

I'm taking a new approach on this idea, though. I'm thinking if I talk about it a little (not too much, I don't want y'all to get all oh-my-goodness-not-another-post-about-how-much-she-hates-burpees tired of it), I will make better decisions about what I eat and how I work out, so that when I say I go to the gym, someone will say, "And you look great!" Now, I know it's not only about how I look, but nobody ever says, "You look like your heart is healthy!" or "I'll bet your cholesterol is super low."

So, Happy Fitness Friday!  If you're making changes about living a healthier life, share them in the comments below.

Much love and many blessings to you,

Oh yeah, if you see I've checked-in at Chen's, just assume I'm at the gym!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Welcome back, Collarbones!

I have a confession to make. I've been working out. At the gym. I know, I know...I haven't been checking in on Facebook every time I go, so you probably don't believe me. But seriously, I really have been going to the gym. I have witnesses. And work-out buddies. And collarbones! Yep, my clavicles have returned from the great white underworld.

You may be asking yourself right now, "Why in the world is she all excited about a clavicle? Because it's progress, people...progress! I haven't noticed those definite lines between my shoulders in so long I can't remember. You can see them in the picture. Barely, but you can. I saw my collarbones this morning, and boy was I excited. I was almost as happy to see them as I was when I noticed that my rear end is about two inches higher than it used to be. (Yeah, when I noticed my booty was looking better, that was a great day.)

You see, my plan for getting healthy and lean (read 'skinny') is going much slower than I anticipated. Sweet Hubby Ryan and I started going to the gym just over a year ago. He's lost a boatload of pounds and is down to sizes he hasn't worn in years. Oh, and he looks fantastic. No, really, he is hot! I, on the other hand, have only lost ten pounds and my jeans still fit the same. Some of my other clothes fit better, but those jeans are driving me crazy! It's that doggone Lycra. I put the jeans on, wear 'em all day and stretch 'em out. Then, they go back in the laundry and that stretchy crap shrinks up in the dryer, and they get a little smaller every time. So, I'm taking my victories where I can find them. Collarbones. Not-so-saggy buttocks. Arms that don't jiggle when I brush my teeth. It's the little things. (Or, the things that are becoming little, anyway.)

Which brings me to the real topic. In the Boot Camp class that I go to on Mondays and Wednesdays, there is a little lady in her seventies who joins us. She's in her seventies...that's a big deal.  She gets up early, gets ready and drives to the gym to be there at 5:30am and does almost all the exercises that we do for the day. They are hard, too. Trust me on this. Still, Ms. Sue is at the gym and taking good care of her body. And we all make a big deal out of it, because she's seventy something. And it is a big deal.

But you know what? It's a BIG DEAL that every other person is in that class with me.  Every single one of them, including our Boot Camp instructor, Tracy. Some of the ladies are about my age (you know, 25 or so). There are a few ladies who are younger and a few ladies who are older. There's even one guy!  The point is, each one of us gets up and gets ready and drives to the gym to be there at 5:30 IN THE MORNING to work out for an hour. Each one of us works hard. Each one of us sweats and struggles and (sometimes) swears our way through exercises that we never dreamed of doing. Sometimes we go slower than the next person, and sometimes we whine about it, but we do it. We are there. And it's a BIG DEAL.

If you are going to the gym today, tomorrow or this week, I salute you.  Whether you've struggled with a weight problem all your life and you've finally made the decision to take charge of your health, or you've been fit all your life and you work to stay that way, I'm proud of you. You are taking steps to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of cancer. Keep up the good work. It's a big deal to me.  If you are thinking about changing your eating and workout habits, do it.  If you are planning a new you, get on it.  It will be a big deal.

I know that sooner or later I will lose the pounds that I want to lose and those jeans with the stupid Lycra will eventually be too big. I'm going to keep working on it. Even into my seventies, when it will be a really big deal.

Much love and many blessings to you,

What are you doing to get/stay healthy?