Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Great day today! Chris woke up early as usual and let me linger in bed for a little while. He spent most of the day @ the lax store getting everything ready for the upcoming holiday season and I spent the day @ home w/ the girls. I took down all the Thanksgiving decorations yesterday and spent today wrapping them properly in tissue paper/bubble wrap and packing them away in the attic. T & I took almost everything out of the attic, went thru some boxes, consolidated some stuff and actually threw away 2 empty boxes. She is such a huge help to me. 99.9% of the time she does what she's told/asked and rarely complains. She is a joy to be with and is truly growing up to be a wonderful young lady. She went shopping this morning around 4 AM w/ friends and come home and snored on the couch for a little bit. It was pretty funny. She was out like a light.

I started to decorate for Christmas today and have decided I decorate waaaaayyyyy to much (not just for Christmas! I decorate for just about every holiday except St. Patrick's Day; we're not Irish). This year I will not be decorating as much as I have in the past. I usually empty my china cabinet and put out all my Christmas china. I have a complete service for 12 (and every serving dish you could possibly imagine!) and set the dining room table with 6 place settings, linens, glassware, silver and accessories. I don't think I'll be doing that this year. My Christmas china is very, very special to me. My mom, grandmother and aunt started this pattern for me years ago (I believe I was still in high school). It means so much to me and I'd love to pass it on to one of my girls (that and my wedding china!).

I have a wonderful collection of Santas (wooden, ceramic, metal, etc.) and I think I'll concentrate my Santa's in the foyer and my Snowmen stuff in the kitchen. I also always do two Christmas trees -- the big one in the family room and the "travel" tree in the foyer (filled w/ ornaments from our various travels/family vacations). I like to make the kitchen look like a candy shop at the holidays and decorate w/ a lot of candy canes, gum drops, etc.

In case you've been living under a rock the last couple of months or don't live in the state of Alabama, today was the Iron Bowl (annual Alabama vs. Auburn game) and it was a very exciting, nail-biter! In other football related news, the Hoover Bucs beat Gadsden City tonight and are headed to the 6A State championship game next weekend.

Tonight we fondue'd for dinner and relaxed w/ a nice bottle of wine. Chris fell asleep on the couch and T went to the movies w/ friends. It has gotten really, really cold tonight (seriously! like 38!). I have the heating pad on my feet to keep me toasty.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Had a wonderful, relaxing, delicious Thanksgiving today. We've been married 17 years and I think I started cooking Thanksgiving dinner our first year in Cincinnati. Thanksgiving's tough for us as far as travel....too short of a trip for us to get all the way back "home." This year was particularly nice because both girls helped with the preparation. T made an awesome "no-bake Oreo cheesecake" yesterday and today KJ helped w/ the mashed potatoes. T also helped with the crescent rolls (it's not Thanksgiving w/out crescent rolls!) and she peeled all the potatoes. After dinner both girls went for a bike ride in the neighborhood and we played a played a couple of games of "Apples to Apples" (great game!). Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete w/ out watching the Macy's Day Parade. As I cleaned the table, I started to pack up all my Thanksgiving decorations/table linens / dishes, etc. and have to start thinking about how I'm going to decorate for Christmas. We've been in the house 10 years already and I try to change things up each year so I don't get bored.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Loving this gorgeous fall weather!

After Ida's rains earlier in the week, we've had some very wonderful weather. Lots of beautiful sunshine, clear blue skies, zero humidity.

Today Chris had a new player clinic at the high school and we couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day. I didn't get an exact count but a decent about of kids showed up and. more importantly, several high school girls. We graduated a lot of girls last year so we're in desperate need of some new players. In any event, it was a nice family day.

Thursday night KJ participated in a dance team fund raiser. The high school dance teams sponsors a clinic, give the girls dinner and a t-shirt and teach them a half-time dance which them peform at the basketball game. It was really cute this year. They danced to Hannah Montanna's "Party in the USA."

Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of Chris's dad's passing. Honestly, it feels like yesterday. I can't believe it's been 11 years already. I know Chris misses his dad every day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

2010 Horoscopes

Your Astrology Guide 2010: Rick and Jeff’s Tips for the Yearby Rick Levine & Jeff Jawer, Authors of Your Astrology Guide 2010
March 21-April 19
Conscious Self-Restraint
It’s imperative that you cut back your activities, for effective pruning allows new growth to flourish. But you may bump into deeply rooted resistances as you attempt to play a larger role on the stage of life. The contradiction now is that you are at your most brilliant and nothing can hold you back, yet paradoxically the walls of reality continue to close in. You cannot get away with shooting from the hip, even if you’re confident of your aim. The full enterprising power of Aries is yours when you accept the limits of society that require more precision this year. Whether you like it or not, you must slow down to get what you want.

April 20-May 20
Look Outside the Box
Your potential to transform your life is incredible this year — but your resistance to change is equally great. You don’t have to tear apart what’s working well or take crazy risks that are likely to fail. All you need to do is stretch your boundaries and allow alternative perspectives to hang around for a while to see if one might eventually fit. It’s as if a strange visitor has arrived at your door — so strange you’d prefer him to leave as soon as he arrives. But thanks to your kind heart, you let him stay the night . . . and end up discovering a close friend. Similarly, you will find happiness this year as long as you remain open to surprises.

May 21-June 20
Fear Not the Darkness
You can no longer be the champion of avoidance, Gemini, and that means you’re playing in a whole new ball game. If others accuse you of being shallow, it’s just because they don’t understand how fast your mind works and how it jumps from one thought to the next. Now, However, something has changed, and it may at first seem scary. Instead of planning your escape routes, you are content, even eager, to search for hidden metaphysical wealth that was previously obscured from the light of consciousness. Overcoming your own resistance to fully feeling your emotions enables you to uncover buried treasure that can enrich your life for many years to come.

June 21-July 22
Aim for the Top
It’s better to be ambitious this year and struggle in the pursuit of your goals than to passively respond to whatever life brings you. Even if you run into obstacles, meet them on a course of your own choosing. Taking charge and pushing forward — sometimes awkwardly and sometimes with grace and confidence — are the next steps to assuming a leadership role. Your power and passion grow when you have strong allies and adversaries. Seek out those with talents you admire so that you can learn from the best. Step outside your comfort zone; you’ll discover that it’s not foolish to take risks. There are enormous rewards when you invest in your own excellence.

July 23-August 22
Ask for Help
You expect great things from yourself, Leo, and you can work quite hard once you make a sincere commitment. This is why you must now think carefully about any promises you make — to yourself or anyone else. There are powerful forces at play that can lure you into believing that anything is possible. It’s true that this year brings great potential, but exhausting yourself trying to achieve the impossible dream is not a sensible strategy. Heed the counsel of wise friends and seasoned professionals before making any life-changing decisions.

August 23-September 22
Fearless Warrior
Challenges to the core truths you cling to can be a source of irritation and a cause of physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. The battles you face, though, are not with outside forces but within yourself. It’s time to reexamine the ideas that have kept your life in order for years, but may be holding you back. What worked in the past won’t necessarily be effective now. The desire to return to familiar places in your mind is understandable, but it’s not likely to be productive. Certainly, you need times to retreat and take refuge in comfortable concepts. Catch your breath when you can, yet remember: You’ll grow much stronger by moving ahead than by turning back.

September 23-October 22
Rise to the Challenge
Although relationships can offer you a newfound sense of freedom this year, they can also distract you from the discipline you need to organize your life. The decisions you must make this year are not easy ones. You may have to be ruthless when evaluating what and who should be cut out of your life, but pruning is absolutely required to ensure maximum growth. Your overall success during the coming years will be based on your ability to pay careful attention to your long-term goals rather than short-term successes.

October 23-November 21
Innocent Expression
Looking foolish is not your idea of a good time, but giving yourself permission to express yourself freely can be extremely rewarding now. Surrendering some self-control to reveal your emotion can feel risky, of course, but it’s a great way to open your heart and enhance your creativity. Making mistakes is not the road to failure but the laboratory of invention. You can surprise yourself by discovering new talents when you put away the heavy hammer of self-criticism. Being honest while also being kind is a gift to yourself and those around you. If your explorations veer off course and threaten your stability, seek wise counsel. There are angels around you who look like ordinary people, yet will gently guide you back on track.

November 22-December 21
Be Here Now
There is so much work ahead as you strive to make the most of your future. Running out on previous commitments won’t bring you happiness; delivering on your promises will. Try not to seek adventure in the same old dreams of world travel. This year, you can take an incredible journey of the mind without leaving home. Open yourself to new philosophies, learn about new technologies, and re-create your future by being more conscious in the present moment.

December 22-January 19
Field of Dreams
Your journey this year could be one of extremes as the most visionary planets — Jupiter and Uranus — light up your life with exciting new perceptions while the most conservative ones — Saturn and Pluto — keep stepping in to turn down the volume of your enthusiasm. You can avoid bouncing from high hopes to deep disappointment by giving yourself time to assimilate and consider your dreams. Slowly roll them over in your mind, do some research, and talk to those you trust to help you find ways to shape them into reality. Then commit to work with patience and persistence. Remember, conceiving a brilliant idea happens in an instant, but giving birth to success takes a lot longer.

January 20-February 18
The Joy of Sharing
The emotional heights will be higher this year and the descents lower, yet you must fully experience these peaks and valleys if you hope to find a middle ground between the opposing forces pushing and pulling on you. Although you cannot avoid the changes that continue to unfold, you’re also blessed with an open mind that eagerly looks beyond the current difficulties. Don’t waste too much energy resisting the inevitable. Instead, focus on the exhilaration you’ll feel once you’ve overcome the obstacles and your life is heading in a new direction.

February 19-March 20
Go the Distance
The highs and lows you experience this year accentuate the contrast between your greatest hopes and darkest fears. Expansive Jupiter in your sign makes your life seem so big that even the smallest act can appear to take on enormous importance. You may be exhilarated by this wild ride at times, but in the end it can be exhausting and confusing to rise so quickly and fall so fast only to rise again. Moderating your reactions with a bit of philosophical detachment reminds you that the current drama is just one moment in a life rich with experiences that you’ve encountered before and will likely meet again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No Matter Your Location and Circumstances, Get Rid of Negative Thoughts

I know everyone usually associates "renewal" with Spring, but I like to do a lot of my "deep" thinking in the fall. Autumn, particularly Thanksgiving, makes me re-evaluate my life, set goals and make plans for the future. Autumn makes me take stock of what/who is important to me.

To follow is an article from Erica Johansson of Travel Blissful that helps set the mood for my Autumnal soul-cleansing:

Of late, my usual positive, optimistic self gave into a number of negative thoughts and feelings. To pass through this state of limiting beliefs and put myself back on the right track, I read a couple of self-development books.
Earlier today I finished reading Notes from a Friend by Anthony Robbins, leader in the science of peak performance. In the last lesson of his book, he presents the Ten-Day Mental Challenge (which enabled him to control his mind by not allowing himself to hold any negative thought consistently). Since I aim for a more blissful life, one of my main intentions is to eliminate all negative thoughts from my mind, irrespective of my current location and circumstances. As a first step towards this goal, I have decided to take Anthony’s challenge, starting tomorrow. I encourage you to do the same.
The rules of the game:
1. During the next ten days, refuse to hang onto any crummy thoughts, feelings, questions, words, or metaphors.
2. When you catch yourself focusing on the negative — and you will — immediately ask yourself questions to get you to a better place. Start with the Problem-Solving questions.
3. When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself the Morning Power questions. Just before you fall asleep at night, ask yourself the Evening Power questions. This will do wonders to keep you feeling good.
4. For the next ten consecutive days, focus completely on solutions and not on problems.
5. If you have a lousy thought, question, or feeling, don’t beat yourself up. Just change it immediately. If you dwell on any of these for more than five minutes, however, you must wait until the following morning and start the ten days over.
The goal here is ten consecutive days without dwelling on a negative thought. Anytime you dwell too long on the negative, you must start over, no matter how many days in a row you’ve already met the challenge.
According to Anthony Robbins, the power of this challenge is amazing. And, if you stick with it, you will gain a heap of benefits:
1. It will make you see all the mental habits that hold you back.
2. It will make your brain search for powerful, helpful alternatives.
3. It will give you a tremendous jolt of confidence as you can see you can turn your life around.
4. It will create new habits, new standards, and new expectations that will help you grow and enjoy life more and more, every day!
For your reference, the questions Anthony Robbins refers to in the challenge:
The Problem-Solving questions
1. What is great about this problem?
2. What is not perfect yet?
3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
4. What am I willing to no longer do in order to make it the way I want it?
5. How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want i?
The Morning Power questions
1. What am I happy about in my life right now? What about that makes me happy? How does that make me feel?
2. What am I excited about in my life right now? What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?
3. What am I proud of in my life right now? What about that makes me proud? How does that make me feel?
4. What am I grateful for in my life right now? What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?
5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now? What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?
6. What am I committed to in my life right now? What about that makes me committed? How does that make me feel?
7. Who do I love? Who loves me? What about that makes me loving? How does that make me feel?
The Evening Power Questions
1. What have I given today? In what ways have I been a giver today?
2. What did I learn today?
3. How has today added to the quality of my life? How can I use today as an investment in my future?
Rather than doom and gloom, the world needs more blissfulness and loving, positive thoughts. Taking the Ten-Day Mental Challenge is one way to support that belief. When you’ve pulled off ten consecutive days without holding onto any negative thoughts, I’m sure you’ll see and feel the difference.
The challenge and the questions will make even more sense if you’ve read the book though. If you live in Europe, you can get your free copy of Notes from a Friend at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Homecoming 2009

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Some of My Favorite Quotes

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -- Dr. Seuss

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful." -- Sophia Loren

"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." -- Sylvia Plath

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” – Oscar Wilde

If people are truly, madly, deeply in love with each other, they will find a way.~Gilda Radner

“Never judge a day by its weather. Sunshine is uplifting; rain, nourishing; wind, exhilarating; snow, cleansing; hail, stimulating. Any weather is better than none.” -- Author Unknown

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." -- Sophia Loren

"I know I'm vulgar, but would you have me any other way?" -- Elizabeth Taylor

"After thirty, a body has a mind of its own." -- Bette Midler

"Cherish forever what makes you unique, 'cuz you're really a yawn if it goes." -- Bette Midler

“I know I can be diva-ish sometimes, but I have to be in control. The nature of my life, the nature of what I do, is divadom, it really is." -- Mariah Carey

"I want minimum information given with maximum politeness." -- Jackie Kennedy Onassis

"I've been called a diva, queen diva, diva supreme, and I love it. However, that's really for others to decide, not me." -- Aretha Franklin

"No one loves a party more than I. I am a people person." -- Aretha Franklin

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all." -- Jackie Kennedy Onassis
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