Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today was a beautiful, fall day. Sunny, semi-warm, and not too windy. Carol Sue had asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride today and I responded with "YES!". We met at noon and rode up to and just into the Highlands, then back to check out the new portions of the bike path running from 32nd and Lorraine, east and south back down to 30th, and west and north to the north end of at-that-point a non-existent Severance. It's pretty short, but the asphalt is nice. It seems about as wide as the bike path from Rice Park to Carey Park. At this point, it doesn't really go anywhere, but still a nice little ride that gets you off the street and out of traffic.
Great weather, great ride, great company!! I mentioned at the end of an earlier she was leaving (she came by to say "hi" to Schiz - she and her husband have babysat some for me in the past) she tossed a line back over her shoulder that I should still be keeping an eye out for a motorcycle. I TOLD YA!!!!! My friends are just the best...absolutely the BEST!!!

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving! Hope yours is healthy, happy and filling...and fulfilling. Count your blessings!

What More Can I Say?

An Excerpt from a Chicago Tribune Article entitled: Advice, Like Youth, Probably Wasted on the Young. Author Mary Schmich
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.
You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Just came in to check that my blog had survived overnight (Hey, I'm new at this...ya never know!)...and realized I have two "Carol" stories. Two different gals!! Believe me, neither one would have the time to do BOTH activities !!!! Just thought I'd clarify that. Later...

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Biking Friend Carol Sue

They say there's a fine line between hobby and mental illness. Might be true. Some of you know I'm a bicycle rider. Love it! Have ridden seriously for a lot of years...Note: I didn't say fast, I said seriously. Meaning I like riding probably more miles than the average about-town bicycle rider. The people I ride with usually joke that it isn't worth going if you can't get at least 20 miles. I am not a racer...nor do I strive to be one. Just doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. I kind of figure that at my age (64 - I don't hide it; I'm proud of it!), just going out and riding is exercise enough. And honestly, I like looking at the little blue flowers on the side of the road, or the goats grazing, or whatever. And the gals I ride with enjoy conversation. Yes, occasionally we'll have a little sprint just for fun...but it isn't really a competitive thing for us.

But I have this friend Carol Sue that I've known since probably the early '80's. In the summer of 1988 she rode from Hutchinson, KS, to Yorktown, VA. The summer of 1994 she rode from Hutchinson to Missoula, MT. During the summer of 1996 she completed her cross country odyssey by biking from Twin Bridges, MT. to Astoria, OR. When she finally retired from the working world, she signed up to do the entire trip with Adventure Cycling along with 12 other riders. They biked completely self contained beginning May 3, 1999, in Yorktown, VA, and ending August 3, 1999, in Astoria, OR.

So I guess I wasn't too surprised when she answered another Adventure Cycling ad for a companion to ride the Northern Tier and help raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. Last May, Carol Sue and two female companions left Anacortes, Washington on their bikes, completely self contained and with no sag vehicles. I followed their blog every day. They rode to Bar Harbor, Maine and returned home in August.

This doesn't tell you enough about their trip...but that would be Carol Sue's blog (see link above), not mine. But what it should tell you is how dedicated she can be. Carol Sue isn't interested in racing either...but she can just sit there and crank and crank and crank. I remember a few years ago running into her one day about 6 miles north of town...only a week or so after she'd had some very major surgery. There she was, cranking away!!

It had been a couple of weeks since I'd last talked to Carol Sue, so today I called her. As we chatted she said, "Well, I was just going to come over and show you and surprise you...but I'll tell you. I have a motorcycle license now!" My response was, "So do I...but I haven't ridden a motorcycle in years!" (Motorcycles used to be our "bread and butter".) Well, it seems she took a safety course at the college and passed for her license and got a Honda 750 Shadow...and she's riding it. Our conversation went on and as we began to end it, she said something about I should get back into riding motorcycles too...and yadda, yadda, yadda....and I responded with, "Well, I'd even go cross country with you if I had a motorcycle!" All of a sudden, her tone changed, and she said, very seriously, "OH REALLY???" All I could think of to say was "Did I say that out loud?" We had a good chuckle and said goodbye. But I know Carol Sue: I planted that seed!!!

I have wonderful friends. Each one with different qualities, each one with something individual about them that I really enjoy. I tend to voice my enjoyment of my friends. Whenever one of my biking friends feels that goofy appreciation building up in them, they'll announce "I'm having one of Barbara's warm fuzzy moments!!!" I guess that's what I'm doing here this evening: just showing my appreciation of one of my strong, dedicated friends. I admire independent, self-confident women that aren't afraid to get out there and live life

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Carol's Christmas Village

Last night Mary Lou, Patsy, and I went over to see Carol's Christmas Village. Carol has set up this incredible holiday village for several years. It encases the equivalent of a four-car garage. Now, I was there in November '04 for a wedding reception that was, in itself, large. Lots of people, lots of moving about...but still room for this incredible display. For even more pictures, check out Patsy's blog I don't think I'd be exaggerating to say both Patsy and Mary Lou were impressed...or maybe shocked. Patsy had never met Carol before, but within just a few minutes of our arrival, she turned to Carol and gave her a big hug, saying "I'm so glad to meet someone as nutty as I am!" The village area is huge...but that's only part of the story. Carol's entire house - including the kitchen curtains - are all Christmas themed.
The village is difficult to photograph because of it's sheer volume. Some of the more impressive things for me are the carousel, the ice-skating rink, water tower, a blinking rotating light (so low flying planes won't hit the mountains, I guess), and one of my very favorites: snow skiers slowly going up and entering a chalet-type structure and then skiing back down the other side. You should be able to see some of that in the photos.
But everywhere there's Christmas...tons, literally thousands of Santas. Big, little, old, new, made of every conceivable material. See the crocheted Santa...he's wonderful! Curtains at windows, rugs on the floors, mantle coverlets, bedspreads, wall hangings, and on and on.
Another of my favorites was the figure of Santa and one of the reindeer (in fishnet stockings, no less) dancing. Check out that photo too.
All in all, a wonderful, inspiring display. I don't consider myself a Christmas "nut" at all...but one can surely get enthused by displays like this one. And, perhaps, as Carol said...when you go home to set up your own Christmas decorations, you'll realize how really easy it is!!!
Happy Holidays Everyone.... and beware... I may have to decorate a little more this year!!
Check out these fishnet stockings on the reindeer!

The crocheted Santa Claus was one of my very favorites. If I knew how to crochet (well, anything other than a straight row), I'd make one of these...and if I had a pattern...and if I had the talent...and willpower to stick to it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Schizo - World's Most Spoiled Rotten Dog

Pictured above is what makes me smile...usually. This week's been a little rough for her. Had a bad experience with fleas from the X-groomer's... among other grooming "errors"... but usually she's what makes me smile. She's a clown...and is aware and proud of it! In 4 1/2 years we've never had a flea, but this week she had a total of 6, and they chewed her to pieces!!! Partially my fault: I've always let the Frontline go 6 weeks in between applications (as she's groomed every 6 weeks)...and this time it didn't work. The other grooming errors were that her ears weren't plucked and even had wax in them, and just all in all a really crummy grooming job. Pads of feet weren't cleaned, tummy and rear end wasn't shaved, toenails were left too goes on!!! The ears and the toenails were items I mentioned before that had been overlooked. Well....last time.... I've changed groomers!!!! Tuesday of last week: $27 to the x-groomer, $36 for 3 months Frontline, $32 for 20 lbs. Science Diet. Friday of last week: $61 to my vet for medication for the flea bites. Tuesday of this week: $20 to my new (really re-newed) groomer. She's calm, clean, and much happier now. And so am I.
We take a little walk nearly every evening. This evening it was blowing like crazy and getting pretty cool....but she wanted to walk. Cracks me up: We go three or four blocks and she's just trottin' along and happy with the world. Then we turn the corner onto "the home stretch" and she realizes where we're at and starts dragging her feet. I have to coax her the rest of the way...usually offer chicken or treats of some sort. She's little...but she'd walk a lot further if she had her way!
Anyway...she's what makes me smile. The "Donald Trump" look is one of my favorite shots of her.
Just a thought for any of my local friends:'s windy...very windy...but it could be blowing snow sideways too. Count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is nothing...but just in case you think I don't know: I know the words to "the" song are "will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64....." but I've always thought it just needed more "romance".... :)
Just thought I'd show you some of what I've been doing to the house. I've removed LOTS of old, dated wallpaper, painted and then glazed the walls. Kind of looks like old broken concrete, but I really like it. Super easy to do (once you find out the "secret" to use satin paint and not flat!!)

The Re-Do