A friend of mine on Facebook bemoaned his fate during the recent blizzard. He, a veteran of many long, snowy winters had been confident that he was prepped and ready to go before the recent Jonas super storm, even mocking others who were less experienced with snow than he. Then, he discovered on the first day of the deep snow that he had very little coffee in the house.
This would not happen to me. I always have a spare package. Often one open package, one spare of beans and a second back up package. Of course some I have decaf to brew which offers taste if not substance. Finally, if some horrible thing happened and I was trapped in my house for days, I have a big jar of instant in the back of the pantry, and maybe a jar of instant espresso that I have on hand for some recipe or another. I also have a jar of instant decaf that I use for late night cups mixed with cocoa (I have become wimpy about drinking regular coffee late at night). Oh, and those little individual packets of Via or Taster’s Choice that I take with me when I’m traveling– those are around here too.
It would have to be a heck of a blizzard to leave me without coffee!
We had our annual brunch on January 1. The day was bright and sunny, and we had a good turnout– about 45 people, open house style, so they could come and go. This year, they seemed to come early and stay a while which I love, because it makes for a high energy group– lots of mingling, talking and eating.
I generally gave people who are new the quick rundown of what is in which crock pot, where to find the coffee or the decaf or the iced tea, which pitcher has OJ and which has Mimosas, and, nearly every time as an after thought I heard myself saying “Oh, and the Waffle Bar is on the buffet.”
The menu was carb heavy, and other than the waffles, we lean toward savory as opposed to sweet. We did offer ham and shrimp and deviled eggs, and even a fruit tray and a veggie tray. I have eaten more from the left over veggie tray in the last two days than 45 people ate the day of the party. Philip laughs when I get the veggie trays, because he knows people don’t eat veggies at our brunch. Even so, I always have a veggie tray.
A lot of people say “Oh, I never eat waffles except at this party!” as they are adding the whipped cream. But that makes it a treat, and makes one more reason to have one last day of the holiday season where we eat our waffles instead of our vegetables.
Last year started with the best of intentions, but soon, I got distracted. I got a diagnosis in March that led to surgery and 6 weeks of recovery, and while they were confident they “got everything” and even though the lymph nodes were clear, they still recommended just a touch of chemo and radiation—I finished in September. While I was at it I had all the other tests too—mammography, colonoscopy, that weird mole looked at—you know the drill– and all of those tests came back fine. Truth is, I have a lot to be thankful for from 2015.
Once I went back to work after surgery, even though I didn’t miss more work unless I was having a procedure, I didn’t always have the energy to do things I normally would. I didn’t travel for work very much. I didn’t go out as often. I suddenly was watching a lot more tv than I ever had before. I was low energy.
But I’m feeling much better now!
I’m looking forward to 2016. While I have quarterly physical exams for the foreseeable future, the doctors tell me the stats are that I have a 5-10 percent chance of a recurrence, which sounds pretty low to me. I’m getting my energy back, and ready to start 2016, which looks to be a good year for Philip and me. I have a lot of things that I want to get done this year, so I’m brushing off some of my organization skills and planning how to make up for lost time. I’m really excited to be getting stronger, getting my hair back and getting on with things.
I am hoping that I can build up some momentum this year. The business is poised to grow, I’m in the mood to do more “things” and frankly, I’m feeling optimistic and healthier than I have for a long time. So—here I go. Pulling on my boots and getting ready to wade into life again. Should be fun!
This year, there is a farmer’s market on our drive to work that opens early each Wednesday morning. This makes stopping in to pick up a bit of fresh produce very easy. It is not a very large market, but then, do I need 8 choices of home grown tomato, or will one or two do? We picked up tomatoes, cantaloupe, green pepper and fresh garlic on our first stop, and all of it was great.
Depending on if I can schedule a day or so and get the produce, I hope to make some special pickles this summer. I am out of lime pickles and want to make Christmas cinnamon rings and maybe (for the first time ever) watermelon rind pickles. But, it depends on my schedule and the price of the produce. I have not had a big garden since I moved into this house over 10 years ago, and I don’t really feel bad about it. With our travel schedule we are not assured of being home to care for or harvest a garden, so putting in a garden seems like a fool’s errand.
So, until our schedule changes or we find some magical no care garden method, we rely on the supermarket and the farmer’s market to get our fresh produce, along with the occasional care basket from my parents or my baby sister, who have farms and gardens.
So, do you garden? Do you preserve your harvest? Is there a family favorite item you can or pickle?
I have been in charge of planning an Annual Summit for leaders of an organization for the last couple of years. For the one in April 2015, I’d spent over 6 months working with committees, coordinating with the venue, planning the meals, entertainment, awards presentations, sending invitations and working on the agenda of what was going to be a great 4 day meeting.
And then I didn’t get to go.
Turns out, I needed some surgery. My husband thought maybe I should try to talk them into scheduling it after the conference, but I figured that if we are taught not to fight with our hairdressers since they will be cutting our hair, the same rule should go double with our surgeons.
I sent carefully labeled packages, detailed check lists and had a few phone conversations coordinating as much as possible, and the conference went off very well. I haven’t decided if that is a good thing (Yay, it went well) or a bad thing (Boo, I am expendable). I’m taking it as a good thing.
I’m three almost weeks post surgery. Though I’m recovering well, i would not have had much luck with work, so I am glad I have a few more weeks off.
I used to have one rule that I’ve shared from time to time. That is, no one should spend more than 5 minutes a day looking into a magnifying mirror. Five minutes a day is enough time to put on your make-up, keep the brows plucked, for a man to shave, whatever. Longer than that and you end up spending your time finding flaws. No one needs to spend too much time looking for tiny flaws using a 10X magnifier. No matter your age, you don’t need to dwell on blemishes or wrinkles for too long. We all have enough reason to be self-conscious without finding things too small to see with the naked eye.
This week, I have another life rule.
No one over 50 should ever look at a life expectancy chart.
I looked at one the other day, originally just to research something– then I checked out my age and how many years the chart said people my age have left, on average.
Not as many as I’d expected or hoped!
I would have been happier not knowing! But, after my initial horror, I got to thinking. First off, I should get my checkups, as that will help prevent my time left from dwindling too fast. Secondly, I need to get on with the things I want to do but have put off. Thirdly, I need to ignore this and assume that since many of my relatives had very long lives, that I will too—so maybe I’ll go longer than “average.”
But, I will stand by my new addition to things never to do.
Don’t spend too much time looking in magnifying mirrors at any age and don’t look at life expectancy charts after 50.
Some things can’t be unseen!
This morning, after being away from the office since December 23, I planned to hit the ground running as I started my work year. I got up this morning at 3:30 AM, to make an airport run with Philip, then go in early to work. We were out of the house by 4:15, so we beat rush hour and were happy that the roads were dry and clear. It was very cold–about 4 degrees F, but the heater kept us toasty, we had coffee in our go cups and we felt like we were starting the new year in a great way.
I dropped Philip off and headed back toward the office. Still, not a lot of traffic, I am within sight of my office by 6 AM, and Philip calls to let me know he has boarded and his flight should be leaving on time, when i realize I left my laptop at home.
I had put it next to the door to the garage, but knew last night even as I was putting it there I should have put it in the vehicle. It was just so cold in the garage I didn’t know if it would hurt the computer.
This is what comes of taking so much time off! My habits are off and I’m out of practice at getting out of the house with everything I need.
It isn’t a tragedy–it isn’t as if I was the person boarding the jet–and I was only a little aggravated as I drove home then back to the office. I arrived about a quarter til 7–after 2.5 hours ion the road. Somehow, it felt like I should have made it further than 15 miles from home after that much driving.
I still got in early enough to get several tasks marked off my list before people started arriving, so I did get my head start on the new year, just not as much as I’d hoped.
And I have to remind myself — there is a lot more year to come.
I’m on the road again.
We’re drivng this time— 3 states, 5 cities, 2 weeks and countless public restrooms.
I have long joked that apparently my purpose in life is to visit every airport restroom in the USA—which has had its share of yucky moments, but that pales in comparison to the sense of adventure one feels when opening the door of a public restroom in an fast food restaurant, a gas station or rural convenience store.
It is like the final bit from the old game show—What lies behind the door—relief or angst?
I’ve had pleasant surprises—clean as a clean can be restrooms in run down convenience stores in the middle of nowhere or my favorite, sparkling public restrooms that smell of bleach. I’ve had some horror stories, such as one in Mississippi a few years ago that didn’t have a door between the restroom itself and the rest of the store, though most of the stalls had doors.
But I digress. While the cleaning habits of the store or restaurant management plays a large role in how good or horrific a public restroom experience may be it is the people who used the facilities before you who make the biggest difference. To this group of strangers I have a question.
Were You Born In a Barn?
Seriously! On what planet is the way you leave a restroom acceptable?
And if you are not one of these people, you know who you are, and you may join me in my irritation.
I have a short list of rules that I think we should put into place. We could even vote on them, if needed. The problem is, when people fail to follow these rules, it is the next person in line who pays the price.
Rule Number 1–Stop peeing on the seat.
I stopped at a a chain restaurant yesterday and made my “I’ve been in the car drinking coffee for 4 hours” run into the restroom— and it was wonderfully clean when I walked in and it was clean and dry when I left.
An hour later, I made my “better go before I get then car for another 4 hours” stop and went to the same stall. This time it had pee all over the seat. Seriously ladies, unless you can levitate and hit the mark, please stop this squat, aim and miss practice. This was a sparkling clean restroom, it had seat liners in each stall which are useless because someone PEED ON THE SEAT.
If you make a mess of the seat—and by mess I mean any bodily emission of any kind—clean it up before you leave. There is toilet paper right there, wipe up after yourself. Or be defined as nasty.
Rule Number 2— Flush the damn toilet.
Flush toilets are one of the best inventions in the history of the world, so use them. I don’t care if you “let the yellow mellow” at home all that does in public restrooms is mess with the plumbing by ending up with too much toilet paper to flush and eventual clogs. And make sure the toilet flushes before you leave the stall, Self-flushing toilets don’t always self-flush, but there is always a button to do it yourself. If one flush doesn’t do it, do a second, but make sure whatever you left in the toilet is gone before you leave the cubicle. View it as you would camping in a pristine wilderness… leave no evidence of your visit.
If everyone did just these two things, public restrooms would immediately improve on so many levels.
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes while traveling we run into people who are just clueless about how to act in public. I was riding on a hotel shuttle bus that was dropping four sets of two people at various restaurants at various points in Market Square and along the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Philip, me, a couple of women, and two sets of guys, all either tourists or in town on business. Not a lot of cross talk, mostly, we were all waiting for our stops. I was sitting with a couple of guys heading out for steaks. Philip was sitting in front of me with two women going out for Mexican food. It was a random grouping of strangers who happened to be in the same hotel on the same night, and I’d not recognize any of them if I saw them today.
Out of nowhere, one of the guys sitting by me began going on about politics. Specifically, he began to discuss, loudly, his hatred of politicians. And his possibly made-up-as-he-went-along belief that something should be done–like blowing up buildings.
Although it was clear he was a blowhard, who might or might not have been spending some dedicated time at a happy hour before heading out for the evening, everyone’s private conversations stopped and it seemed like we all perked up our ears.
“Keep talking, I’m recording you,” said the man’s buddy.
And the man did keep talking—which clearly was not what his buddy hoped.
“We hear you, too” said a woman in the seat in front of me.
And the man started again.
Then I quoted Arlo Guthrie and said, “And they all moved away from him on the Group W Bench.”
My comment flustered him to the point he paused. And his friend took the opportunity to jump in, “I haven’t thought of that song in years.” The friend began singing lines of “Alice’s Restaurant” until the shuttle got to the steakhouse and he and Mr. Blowhard left the shuttle.
Do I believe this man would ever really blow up a building? No. But none of us wanted to hear him blather on about it, just as no one wants to hear people joking about blowing up a plane while they are waiting in line at the airport. It was an uncomfortable moment that can happen when strangers are thrown together even for a short shuttle ride. But I can say I usually have more comfortable moments with the people I run across in the course of my travels.
I’m on the road again and apparently felt I not only needed to take everything I own with me, but that it should all go in my purse. Sounds good, but unless I buy a little red wagon to drag the purse along in, I’m going to have to lighten the load. Not only am I carrying pounds and pounds of stuff in my shoulder bag, I’m lugging it though airports…. 3 different ones today. So, when I need something out of it, I have to dig, because inevitably the thing I want has filtered down to the bottom of the main area of the purse. I have/had a system, but right before this trip, I changed phones, added a small tablet, and my carefully planned purse system is now just a little off. Here is a list of what I currently have in my purse.
First external zipper pocket:
- Two lipsticks (which I usually forget to apply)
- Lip balm
- Small mirror, (in case I ever apply the lipstick
- Flying earplugs in a case—since my ears have been bothering me
- Black earbuds for listening to music
- Two packets of wrapped mints from restaurant last night.
Second external zippered pocket:
- Phone –not too much else can fit, this phone is larger than my last one
Larger external zippered pocket
- Driving glasses in hard case (So I can see to drive)
- Sunglasses in hard case (So I can see in the sun)
- Reading glasses in soft case—these are hardly ever used, but they there if I need them
- Paper napkin—from fast food place at an airport
- Packet of lemon juice from fast food restaurant at airport
- Two tea bags
Small internal Pocket:
- Business cards–mine and other people’s
- Electronic key card
- 2 packets of Equal
Second small internal pocket
- Half roll of Tums (For my tummy)
- Package of dental floss
- Larger internal pocket
- Two pens
- Small fold over note pad
- Two receipts
- Conference badge on a retractable cord.
Main Purse area
- 7 Inch tablet in case (This is new, and I love it for reading my Kindle books—much better than my old phone that I used to use for reading books!)
- Oversized Billfold. (Love it, but it is too big and too heavy )
- Sheet of paper with list on it. (Could likely toss this, since I usually use Evernote)
- Small hairbrush
- White earbuds
- Blue scrunchy
- Car charger and wall charger and two cords in a case that is too small for all that stuff
- Checkbook (I write almost no checks, but I seem to always have it with me)
- Wendy’s coupons
- Two emery boards in a plastic cover
- Empty Ziploc bag
- Quart Ziploc bag filled with:
- Five bottles nail polishes (Glass bottles are heavy—this should be in the suitcase, really)
- Allergy meds
- Four- 5 Hour Energy drinks (this is 20 full hours of energy, folks)
- Hand sanitizer
- Package of Southwest peanuts
- Package of Southwest pretzels
- Package of Wheat Thins, also from Southwest
- Three magazines
- Rolling Stone (left for me by seat mate—saved for article on musicians favorite songs)
- Psychology Today (bought at airport newsstand for the article on Reinventing Yourself)
- Spirit magazine (Southwest free magazine kept for Sudoku puzzles)
So, yes, some of this is clearly temporary and travel related, but—I am going to find a tote or specific travel purse to deal with this, because a lot of this is now standard for any future trips.
And I’m not even going to discuss what is in my briefcase— but it at least has wheels!