Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Poor Presentation


Sorry for the blurry photo

 I didn't make Chicken Piccata tonight. With Peter's first tennis match scheduled for 4:00 p.m., I wouldn't have time to fuss with a new recipe. Plan B was to grill chicken. Unfortunately, it started snowing at 2:30, the tennis match was cancelled, and by 5:00, my grill was buried under 2 inches of snow. I am a flexible person, so I moved on to Plan C, which was baked chicken.

Chicken is not very colorful, so I usually try to serve it with something green or red. All I had to work with tonight was corn from a can.  I also had some Parker House rolls in the freezer, so I popped those in the oven. Don grabbed the applesauce, and our plates were nothing short of monotonous.
 
Leave it to Peter to save the day. His bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce brightened up what would have been a very dull meal.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood

Carolyn told me about this cookbook by country music artist Trisha Yearwood. I ordered it at my library and picked it up over the weekend. The recipes do have a "home cooking" feel to them.

Two that I tried tonight were Cordelia's Roast Beef and Easiest Muffins. Both recipes were simple and tasty. I was disappointed that the muffins tasted more like biscuits, but if you like biscuits (like the ones you get at Bob Evans) you will like these. The roast beef was very tender.


Cordelia's Roast Beef
2 T. salt
1  3-lb. eye of round beef roast
1/2 c. flour
3 T. vegetable oil
2  10-ounce cans French onion soup
1  10-ounce can golden mushroom soup

Rub the salt into the meat. Coat the meat with flour. In a large cast-iron dutch oven, heat the oil. Sear the roast on all sides. Transfer seared roast to a platter and scrape pan to loosen the drippings. Add the soups and 3 soup cans of water to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Return roast to pan, cover and cook for 3 hours. Slice and serve with pan gravy.

Tip: make sure you don't turn the heat up too high when searing the beef. I made that mistake and almost had a grease fire when I poured the onion soup in the pot!

Easiest Muffins
2 sticks margarine, softened
1 c. sour cream
2 c. self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a mixer, cream margarine and sour cream. Add the flour and mix well. Drop large spoonfuls of dough into a muffin pan sprayed with PAM or lined with muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes, or until tops of the muffins are golden brown.

Tip: make sure the margarine is really soft. Mine wasn't, and the mixture was pretty lumpy when I added the sour cream.

Tomorrow, I will try the Chicken Piccata and Strawberry Cake. Both sound delicious.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prickly Pear

The prickly pear made it into my grocery cart this week. The only thing I knew about the prickly pear before today, I learned from the song "Bear Necessities" from the Disney movie Jungle Book.

"Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue?"

Fortunately, the prickly pears in the grocery store had their pricklies removed. This fruit grows on a cactus plant in warm climates. Not only can you eat the fruit from the plant, but some people also eat the pads from the cactus (they supposedly taste like green beans).

When I cut into the prickly pear, I was surprised to find out that the inside of the fruit is the color of beets. I don't like beets, so I was afraid to try it at first. In order to finish my blog post, I had to try it. The fruit was very juicy and mild, almost like watermelon. But it had small hard seeds (lots of them) which were difficult to eat around. I had to be careful not to break my teeth. I sorted through them with my tongue, then swallowed the seeds whole. The prickly pear is a good tasting fruit. I'd recommend you try it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weather Phenomenon

We had just pulled out of our driveway this morning and were heading down the road to church when Peter gasped from the back seat. He told us to look at the lake, which is across from our house. Several trees were completely white and iced over, but no other trees around the lake or on the street were affected.

Dick Goddard or someone like him would have to tell us for sure how this happened, but our theory is that steam rose from the lake last night for a long time, and wind blew the steam right in the direction of these trees. The air temperature was in the low 20's or high teens, so it resulted in what looked like an ice storm in a very localized spot.

We walked over there after church, and Peter took some pictures. The pictures can't really give you the full effect. Peter said he felt like he was walking into Narnia. You just had to be there!

NEWSFLASH!!!!
Later in the day (after I had emailed Dick Goddard asking for an explanation) Peter and I saw the man who lives in the house with the frosty trees. We were marveling about what happened and asked him what he thought. He said, "Oh, the fire department was here last night spraying water out of the hydrant, and it hit these trees." Boy do I feel stupid. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. I hope my email to Dick Goddard gets lost .

NEWSFLASH UPDATE
At 2:21 pm, I received a response to my Dick Goddard email. It was from Angelica Campos, a Fox 8 meteorologist. She said it was most likely caused by frost and she wanted me to send her pictures to put on the evening newscast! I was so disappointed that I had to email her back and tell the truth about the fire department. I sent her the pictures anyway because they are so pretty. Maybe she will tell the story tonight on the news. That would be funny.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Organizing Junkie

Organizing JunkieI'm not sure how I came across this website: Organizing Junkie, but since I spent way too much time checking it out, I thought it was worth sharing. It has a wealth of information about keeping your life and home organized.


My favorite find was the 52 Projects idea. This is probably a task that should have been planned out in January, but it can be started any time of the year. She gives you ideas for each week, but you can come up with your own. This is a great way to break down all those things you need to get done around the house, taking them one week at a time.

I'll be filling our my form this weekend and getting started on Monday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tax Time

It's that time of year again. April 15 is approaching, so Don is gathering the tax forms, receipts and paraphernalia. My job is to hand over the donation receipts I have collected during the year, get out of the way, and make him a nice dinner.

I don't do the taxes. That's Don's job. He passed the CPA exam on the first try. It took me three tries, and I barely squeaked by with that. He's better at handling the finances, and I am more than happy to let him do it.

The only thing that keeps Don in a decent mood while hovering over all those papers is his ABBA music playing in the background. He's bouncing to Mama Mia as I write.

Next year, the tax situation shouldn't be half as difficult. All of these years, Don has had to deal with about 20 W-2 forms (one for each state he happened to work in during the year). Fortunately, someone else does the final calculating. It's very complicated.

It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for.

-- Will Rogers

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chosen by a Dog

This is what happens to you when you are minding your own business, not bothering anyone: a neighbor shows up at your door with a puppy. The neighbor found the puppy in the road. The neighbor already has two dogs and can't keep another one. The neighbor has very sad eyes. The puppy has sadder eyes. What would you do?

Carolyn said she would take the puppy in until they found his owner. She promptly typed up a notice and put copies in all her neighbor's mailboxes. In the back of her mind, she is thinking someone probably left the dog by the side of the road. Meanwhile, her five children named the dog Watson.


I had planned to visit Carolyn today, so I got to see Watson for myself. We decided to take him to the vet to get him checked out. Everyone in the waiting room oohed and aahed over Watson. The Vet checked Watson from head to toe. It was determine that Watson was about 6 weeks old, was a Dachshund/ Beagle mix and weighed 4.7 pounds. And by the way, Watson (whom we previously thought was a boy) was a girl. Don't ask me how this got by us. It was very embarrassing.

I think the Husk family has a new member, even though Carolyn insists she is just a foster mom. Unless someone claims this cute puppy soon, he's there to stay.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mad Hungry

Anyone who has raised a teenage boy knows what it's like when he is hungry and there isn't anything in the house to eat. Someone gets mad and grumpy.

I'm not saying I have to deal with that around here. My boys are the civil, gentlemanly type. They get that from their father. But having a teenage boy living in your house does keep you on your grocery toes.

I get a call from Peter every day after school when he's ready to leave for home. The first thing he says to me isn't, "Hi mom, how was your day." No, he asks, "What's for dinner?" He expects an answer....a good answer. Saying, "I haven't thought about dinner yet" isn't a good answer.

I was delighted to find this cookbook by Lucinda Scala Quinn called Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys. It is full of great recipes for hungry teenagers. Here are a few recipes I might want to try: Luscious Oven-Braised Short Ribs, Italian Pressed Sandwiches, Vinegar Glossed Chicken, Fat Girl Red Rice, Rice and Noodle Pilaf, and Crisp Toffee Chocolate Bars. I think hungry girls will like these too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

March Madness


Sometimes I end up in the most unlikely places. Last night I found myself at a March Madness game. I had no intention of attending the Ohio State basketball game. The only reason I was there was because somebody changed the time of the game (for TV purposes, I'm sure).

Don bought four tickets (one for him, Peter, Anna and Daniel). Daniel was home for the weekend, so when the game was scheduled for noon on Sunday, he said he would be able to go, then leave for school right afterward. When the game was changed to 5:00 p.m., he couldn't make it.

Don looked at me, and Peter looked at me, with the look that said, "there is an extra ticket". Of course, we didn't want to waste the ticket, so I went. Someone else would have killed for that ticket, but time was of the essence.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The book I tucked into my purse didn't even need to be pulled out. Ohio State was down by 9 points in the first few minutes of the game, so that was exciting. But they quickly came back and blew George Mason out of the water, which made the rest of the game a little boring. The final score was 98 to 66.

I can take these things or leave them. I know that doesn't make some people around here very happy. Unless one of my own offspring is out on the playing field, or it is a national championship, I usually can't get into the game. Sorry!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Champagne Mango


While walking through the produce section of the grocery store yesterday, it occurred to me that I always buy the same fruits and vegetables (apples, bananas, blueberries, carrots, celery, broccoli...) The more unusual items fade into the background, unnoticed.

So, I decided I would try something new once a week. This week's selection is the Champagne Mango. Heinen's was having a special on them. I have never purchased a mango. I'm sure I've tasted one in a salad at a restaurant along the way, but I've never intentionally eaten one.

Since I was unfamiliar with this fruit, I did a little research. Here is what I found. The real name for this variety of mango is "Ataulfo", and it is grown in Mexico. It has a large pit in the center, so you have to cut the cheeks off, then slice, removing the skin.

This mango has a very powerful taste. I would say it is a combination of spicy, tart and sweet. Fifteen minutes after munching on it, my tongue is still tingling. I wasn't able to each much of a serving. I think it would be best in small doses in a salad or as a garnish. Some people use them to make jam and chutney. Mangoes are a good source of vitamins A, B and C as well as dietary fiber. They ripen quickly and shouldn't be refrigerated.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Culinary Delight

I'm stuffed! Pam, Carol and I attended a luncheon put on by the International Culinary Arts & Sciences Institute, founded by Loretta Paganini in 2002. Students in the ICASI Student Cafe course put together the luncheon menu and recipes. There are five courses served: Appetizer, Soup, Salad, Entree and Dessert. Two options are offered for each course. It was a lot of food, so we had to pace ourselves.Here is what I selected: Shrimp Ceviche, Roasted Corn and Chicken Soup, Spinach and Beet Salad, Potato-Wrapped Salmon and Australian Pavlova.


Our desserts

When we arrived, a waiter took our entire order and gave us an evaluation booklet. As each course was served, we were to evaluate the chef on Concept (were the food combinations interesting?), Presentation (did the food look nice on the plate?), and Taste (how did you like it?) All comments were welcome. I felt like I was an Iron Chef judge.

We were there for over two hours, so we had a lot of time for conversation. I would recommend it for a fun afternoon. They do this once a year in February and March. Each Saturday, there are two seatings. Contact the school to get on the mailing list: ICASI

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mother of the Bride

Wedding Planning has officially begun. We are ahead of the game (wedding is in 16 months), but with Katherine living in Chicago now and who knows where next year, we have to work on the checklist whenever she is home.

This week (her spring break), we looked at three churches and four reception venues. I won't go into all the details, but I have to share that one of the churches we looked at was Fairmount Presbyterian Church, the church Don and I got married in 25 years ago. It was so much fun to go back and see it. I've now been in that church three times: wedding rehearsal, wedding day, and visiting with Katherine.

I thought I would be flooded with memories of my big day when I stepped inside the church. I was disappointed to find out no memories came back to me except the receiving line held in the outside courtyard. I remembered that there was a huge pipe organ in the back of the church. Don remembered the groom's dressing room. But I could not picture in my mind the actual ceremony. Good thing we have pictures.

The church is amazingly beautiful. The current pipe organ was built by the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio and installed in the church in 1996. It consists of 100 ranks of pipes (6,000 in all) distributed between the gallery and the chancel. We had a special treat because the organist happened to be practicing while we were there.

If Katherine and Josh don't end up getting married there, it was worth visiting to take a stroll down memory (or loss of memory) lane.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kiss Me, I'm Irish


I don't know if kids do it much these days, but when I was growing up, it seemed like everyone asked what nationality you were. I guess we were a little closer to mass immigration back then. I would always tell friends and aquaintances that I was half Irish and half Lebanese, because it was true.

Both my grandparents on my dad's side were Irish and both my grandparents on my mom's side were Lebanese (straight from Lebanon).

But, of course, on St. Patrick's day, all that mattered was that I had some Irish in me. It was enough to celebrate the holiday with fervor (wearing green clothes and decorated with a shamrock pin). It didn't matter that I didn't look one inch Irish. My last name was Dunphy, so that proved I was telling the truth. After doing a little research on the Dunphy name, I found out that Dunphy was originally O'Donoghue. It was translated into English as Dunphy. If my name had been O'Donoghue, no one would have disputed my background.

I also found out that the Dunphy family motto is "generous valor fears nothing". I don't know what that means, but it sounds brave.

"There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be." - Irish saying

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thrown Together


Move In Day 2009 : Daniel, James, Chris, Juan, Mike

We were all concerned when Daniel found out he would have multiple roommates his freshman year of college. For someone like Daniel who likes to study in a quiet space and likes to keep things neat, the idea of this arrangement was inconceivable. His immediate reaction was to try to get a new room with one roommate. Since all rooms were booked, this was out of the question. After a few days, he relaxed about it and decided it might not be too bad.


Move Out Day 2010: Mike, Brock, Daniel, Chris, Juan
When he figured out the square feet each of them would have in the large room, it was more than two boys would have in a regular sized dorm room. Daniel and his roommates had a very large space that was an old study room in the basement of the dorm. They fondly christened their space "The Cellar".

They were the only students on that floor, were right next to the laundry room and kitchen, had a large bathroom all to themselves, and access to the recreation room just down the hall. It was a pretty nice arrangement after all. 
 It's amazing to me how these guys got along. By the end of the year, they were pretty good friends.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten Healthy Snacks

Some people can get through the day without eating a snack between meals, but I'm not one of them. I need my fuel. The trouble is, if I don't eat the right kinds of snacks, I consume too many calories in the day. In order to combat this problem, I have compiled a list of ten healthy snacks. What constitutes a healthy snack? It should be under 200 calories and consist of a little protein and a little healthy carb.

Ten Healthy Snacks

Cheese Stick + half and apple

1/4 c. trail mix consisting of nuts, dried fruit and chopped dark chocolate

Greek yogurt + 1/4 c. blueberries

10 baby carrots + 3 T. hummus

1 slice whole grain bread + 1 T. peanut butter

1 c. bran flakes + 1/2 c. milk

Hard boiled egg + 6 oz. V8 juice

1/2 c. cottage cheese + 1/2 c. berries

1 medium banana + 1 T. peanut butter

Deli turkey wrapped in a lettuce leaf

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fine Umbrellas

It rained a lot last week, and on Thursday, I needed an umbrella. My little pop-up, fold-up umbrella had seen better days, so I had to locate another umbrella pronto. Then I remembered the two umbrellas that reside in my foyer umbrella stand. They are mainly for decoration. I never think to actually use them.

The two umbrellas were gifts to me and Don. I can remember exactly when we received them. It was on a trip to London in 1993. We were there for a partner meeting. It was customary for the partners and their spouses to receive a gift in the hotel room that would commemorate the trip.

Sitting on our hotel beds on the day of our arrival were these two umbrellas. They were not just any umbrellas. We found out later that they were made by the company that was "by appointment from Her Majesty the Queen". These umbrellas were made by the top umbrella maker in the UK, and possibly the world: Swaine Adeney Brigg. "No self respecting gentleman would carry anything else."

So, I went out in the rain that day to meet Pam for lunch. I toted Don's black umbrella instead of my green plaid umbrella. I guess I was in more of gloomy mood (rain does that to you). I felt very sophisticated and had more coverage than I ever did with my little pop up. I'll be taking the Swaine out more often since we are heading into the rainy season.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I loved this book. At first it reminded me of one of my favorite books: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Both of the books use letter writing to tell the story, and both of the books involve World War II.

In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, London author Juliet Ashton begins corresponding with residents on Guernsey Island about 8 months after the war. Guernsey is part of the Channel Islands that were occupied by Germans.

Through these letters, Juliet finds out that while the island wasn't bombed by the Nazi's, the people who lived there were cut off from basic food and supplies as well as held captive by the Germans. Their stories are sometimes sad an painful.

The book isn't all gloom and doom. It has many happy and funny parts.The more Juliet finds out, the more interested she becomes in the Guernsey people. She eventually moves to the island to get to know them better. The move ends up changing her life. I know it was just a work of fiction, but I really want to visit Guernsey and see it for myself.

Mary Ann Shaffer wrote the book, but shortly after it was accepted for publication, she became ill and was not able to complete it. Mary Ann's niece, Annie Barrows, also a writer, was able to put the finishing touches on the book.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Here We Go Again

Pam sent me an email this morning saying, "Make it stop!" She was referring to the snow which has been terrorizing us for months. I haven't seen the snowfall record, but we have to have broken it this year.

Problems associated with too much snow:

1. Winter blahs.
2. Cabin fever.
3. Riley boredom.
4. Living like a hermit.
5. Reduced vitamin D absorption.
6. Stress from worrying about your children driving in it.
7. Bad backs from shoveling.

I am sure there are more. Here is a picture of our deck. It looks suspiciously similar to the picture taken on December 8. Except for a few days of rain relief, the deck scenery has not changed in over three months. Now I know why I have been dreaming of living in the Carolinas. I think I'll go outside and ice skate on the pool.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This morning I made one of Peter's favorite cookies: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunks. He's always liked the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I'm right there with him on that. When you make these, be sure to use chocolate chunks, not chocolate chips. The chunks are more manly.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ c. light brown sugar, packed
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. smooth peanut butter
2 ½ c. flour
1 t baking powder
1 t. salt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and peanut butter. Mix.
Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to batter, mixing only until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use 2" ice cream scoop to drop dough on cookie sheets. Press top of cookies in both directions with a damp fork. Bake 12 minutes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nicholas

Nicholas and Alex were our first two dogs. We got them at the same time...two weeks after we were married. Nicholas was the runt of the litter. Don liked him. He had two beautiful blue eyes. We found out quickly that even though Nicholas was small, he was not shy. He bossed his much larger half brother around, and he tried to boss us around too.

Nicholas was one of those dogs who just kept on going. He lived to be 17, which is a very long time for a Siberian Husky. The last year of his life, he couldn't hear, see or walk a straight line. But he would get up to eat and go outside to use the restroom every day, so we figured he was still good to go.

Then one day, Nicholas wandered off when I wasn't paying attention. He was lost for six hours. I couldn't imagine where he could have gone in his condition. I called my friend, Celeste, crying that I lost him. She dropped everything and drove over to help me. So did my father-in-law, Dave. Celeste finally found him stuck in a prickly bush in a small ravine between our house and the next. He looked like death, and we had to carry him home. He slept all the next day, which was his last one with us.














Here is a poem I wrote in honor of Nicholas while he was still living:

DOG-GONE OLD

If there was a doggy nursing home,
I’m sure that’s where he’d be.

Old Boy is near a hundred twenty
in doggy years, you see.

Can’t hear, can’t see, can barely chew;
sleeps most the time away.

Still rolls to get a belly rub
and licks a kiss each day.

He’s just a waif the wind could blow
without ‘much as a puff.

On wintry days he bundles warm
in sweater, cap and muff.

A faithful, true best friend he’s been
a guard, a gentle pup.

A stalwart general, a captain brave --
Old Boy just won’t give up.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ruth

One of the most difficult things I had to do early in my marriage was put a For Sale sign in the yard of our first house. It wasn't that I hated to leave the house. I hated to leave my neighbor. The woman who lived next door was a dear friend of mine.

Ruth was 75 years old, and I loved her. I was her neighbor for six years. During that time, my mom died and I gave birth to two children. Ruth was there for me through it all. I was also there for her. Our neighborhood's houses formed a large loop, and we walked around the circle almost every day. We talked and laughed. We were good for each other.

We took trips to Middlefield, drove to the mall and went out to lunch. Her husband, Ray, was always on hand to rescue me when Don was out of town and something went wrong at the house. He fixed the sump pump and killed hornets that invaded the basement. They loved the food I delivered to their door: muffins, lasagna, cookies.

I still saw Ruth after we moved. I was only 30 minutes away. I helped her through her third hip replacement, Ray's failing health and her move to an assisted living facility. She always lit up when I would visit. Not long after her move to assisted living, Ruth began to forget things. Then one time when I came to visit her, she forgot who I was. She thought I was one of the workers at the facility. No matter what I said, I couldn't get her to remember.

When I left that day, I sat in my car and sobbed for a long time. I knew I would never have her back. In Hebrew, the name Ruth means "Friend". That's what Ruth was to me. And I still miss her.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

TOMS vs. BOBS


TOMS Shoes

Daniel is Financial Manger of the TOMS club on the Miami Campus. He and a friend started the club after hearing the company's founder, Blake Mycoskie, speak his freshman year.

Here is how TOMS began: "In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers."

We have purchased a number of TOMS shoes for our family to support the cause. Daniel continues to promote TOMS shoes to students on campus.

BOBS Shoes



This weekend, I received a brochure from Famous Footwear advertising some of their new spring shoes. I was startled to see a pictures of a Sketchers line called BOBS shoes. The shoes look identical to TOMS shoes! Not only that, but Sketchers says in the ad that they will donate not one, but two pairs of BOBS shoes to children in need for every pair of BOBS shoes purchased.

Is it legal to copy the name (TOMS/BOBS), design (they look virtually identical) and mission of a shoe line? It must be. It is a free market. But Sketchers could have at least been more original with their idea. I'm boycotting.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Guitar

I really don't have much to say today except that I love this picture of Peter. It captures his pensive personality.

He picked up Katherine's guitar a few months ago and taught himself to play. He's really pretty good. Sometimes he plays Beatles ballads, sometimes he plays worship music, the other day I heard him playing Stairway to Heaven.

It's nice to hear the strumming of the guitar strings. It is soothing and relaxing. I have to keep myself from wanting to curl up on the couch and fall asleep.

"Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.”
-Fredric Chopin

Friday, March 4, 2011

Couch to 5K

Every once in awhile, I get this urge to get up from the couch and run. I have no idea where this urge comes from. I am not a runner...never was. I have never run more than three consecutive miles. The last time I did that, I was 23.

But this feeling like I have to run will not go away. I've been sensing it for over a year. Katherine told me about a free podcast called "Couch to 5K", so I downloaded it to my iPod. The program gets you running 3 miles in just 2 months. Week one goes like this: 5 minute warm up of walking,8 intervals of 60 minutes jogging/90 minutes walking, 5 minute cool down of walking. Each week gradually adds minutes to the jogging time while subtracing them from the walking time. You never go more than 30 minutes.The podcast keeps you walking/running to the right beat and it tells you when to switch from walking to jogging. 

Could this old body really run a 5K? I don't know, but there is only one way to find out. As soon as the weather breaks, I'm going to try it for three weeks. If my knees hold up, I'll continue. It will feel sooo good to run!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do Not Worry

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

When my children were small, I didn't worry so much that they would die, but I worried more that I would die. Who would take care of them if I were not here? Don might forget to give them a bath, or he might put their clothes on backwards. These were silly things to worry about, but that's what I did.

As they got older, I worried more that they would die before I did. How could I possibly handle that? I wanted to protect them. Whenever they wanted to undertake anything the least bit dangerous: bungee jumping, motocycle riding, jet skiing, sky diving, crossing the street, driving a car...I tried to talk them out of it.

There's nothing wrong with trying to protect your children, but worrying about what will happen to them is pointless. Before they were even born, God numbered their days. All the worrying I do will not change that. They need to live their lives to the fullest. They need to be who they were meant to be.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Knew He'd Be in Pictures

Daniel will be starring in the new George Clooney film, The Ides of March. Maybe "starring" isn't the right word. He'll be one of 708 "extras" -- all students from Miami University. They will be shooting this Thursday at the Farmer School of Business on campus. The Ides of March is scheduled to open in theatres December 2011. It also stars Ryan Gosling and Marisa Tomei.


Daniel - 6 1/2  yrs. old
From the time Daniel was a wee lad, I knew he'd be in pictures. One of his favorite things to do was dress up in costumes and pretend he was someone else. As he got older, he wrote and directed several movies starring his siblings and cousins. His most famous screenplay was, Don't Eat Yellow Snow.

I have many, many dress-up pictures I've been saving for blackmail purposes. The trouble is, I haven't come up with a reason to blackmail Daniel. Now, I at least have a reason to feature one of his dress up pictures in honor of his film debut. You need to look closely at the photo. It really is him. I think George might pick him up as a supporting actor for his next movie.

Someone's going to kill me. I'm running for cover!