Monday, April 30, 2012

Veggie Juicing

Saturday afternoon, I received a text asking me what kind of juicer I have . . . and I thought that juicing would be a good blog topic.  Thanks, Stephanie!  :)

I first learned of juicing back in the mid/late 80s.  I was instantly enamored!  I would like to say that I have been a faithful drinker of veggie juice since I bought my first juicer . . . but that would be a lie.

At the moment, however, I am definitely "in" with making sure I get my daily quotient of fresh, raw veggie juice . . . along with also drinking copious amounts of water (which is pretty-much a constant with me - I love water, and it's actually my preferred choice of beverage).

I don't remember "how" I discovered juicing.  I do know it was during my very initial weight-loss and the beginning of my food and health research.  By the way, I am currently 80 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight and between 6-8 sizes small than my largest size.  The fluctuation is due to the fact that even at my largest clothing size, the pants were so tight that I really should have been wearing a size or two larger.

I don't remember which actually happened - my discovering juicing and then Dr. Walker's book, or my discovering juicing because of his book.  No matter; both of them happened around the same time period; and for roughly the past quarter of a century, I have pretty-much always had a copy of Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices / What's Missing in Your Body?

In the beginning, I would give away my copy to someone, anyone, who expressed an interest in juicing, and then I would buy another copy for myself.  A few years ago, I decided it would be easier to just buy a few copies of the book to have on hand and to keep one copy for myself.

I consider this book to be my juicing "bible" and I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about juicing.  It's a small book, 118 pages . . . but it is packed with a lot of information.  The author of the book, Dr. Norman Walker, is considered to be the "father" of juicing.  In fact, he originally wrote the  book in 1936 and the original title was, "Raw Vegetable Juices".  I think it was around 1970 when he renamed the book.

Regarding the machines used to juice the veggies and fruits, over the years, I have had several different brands of juicers; all of them have been the centrifugal type.  My current juicer a Juiceman, and is about 2 years old.  One of the things that I really like about it is the chute that the raw veggies are placed into to be juiced is bigger, circumferential.  This is a very good thing, as it minimizes the amount required of chopping veggies in two (i.e., beets, apples, etc.) and it also allows me to juice more carrots, celery, cucumbers and other vertical foods at one time.   All this translates into less prep time and less time  stuffing / plunging the various foods through the juicer - a huge bonus.

Over the years, I've developed a pretty good system that is fairly streamlined.  From grabbing the veggies from the fridge, to cleaning the last part of the juicer after the juice has been made, making veggie juice takes me about 20 minutes.  I've noticed that, for me, it's best if I do it first thing in the morning.  That way, it's done, and I'm not going to get sidetracked throughout the day with this project or that project and then realize at bedtime that I did not juice that day.

I clean the veggies, juice the veggies, pour the juice in a glass and pop it in the freezer.  Then, I disassemble my juicer, get rid of the pulp and then clean the various juicer parts.  Finally, I take my chilled juice out of the freezer and drink.  20 minutes, from start to finish.  Easy-peasy.

By the way, fresh, raw juices need to be consumed immediately after making the juice.  "Immediately" as within 15-20 minutes.  Please do not make "batches" of juices; i.e., for a few days or a week.  You will only waste your time, money and food . . . and probably get really frustrated with yourself.  The juice will decay and not be drinkable.  But.  If you do go ahead, anyway, and "batch-juice" a bunch of beautiful veggies, remember, I tried to tell you differently.

I've never used a hydraulic press juicer; mainly because of the price tag associated with it (theres a comma in the price amount).

I have heard very good things about them.  If you ever have a couple / few grand lying around that you don't know what to do with it, let me know and I'll give you my mailing address where you can have a hydraulic press juicer shipped to me.

Conversely, centrifugal-type juicers run a couple / few hundred dollars.  The absence of a comma in the price makes me smile.

By the way . . . no, I do not use the pulp in recipes.  That's never made sense to me.  There is no nutritive value in juiced pulp - all of the nutrients are in the juice, itself.  Regarding fiber . . . it is an incorrect assertion that there is no fiber in the juice (which is usually why people who use the pulp do so; in an attempt to incorporate fiber into their diet).  There is plenty of fiber in juiced veggies; regardless as to whether or not, it can be seen.

Don't believe me?  Juice a raw beet, and then report back to me the, uhm, general outcome of such task.  But.  Do be warned.  Raw beets are extremely cleansing.  In fact, in his book, Dr. Walker recommends that people start out with small amount of beet in their juice, and then gradual build up as their bodies begin to cleanse and detoxify.  He also recommends no more than a wineglass of beat juice at a time.  When I juice beets, I use a  medium or large beet at one time; and do that probably about 4-5 times a week; depending whether or not the store has beets when I need them.

Getting back to fiber in juice . . . yes, there is definitely fiber in fresh, raw veggie juice.  Most fiber, in and of itself, is microscopic.

While I don't currently have any extra copies of the book, I really do recommend that you pick up a copy for yourself.  I believe the current price is around $10.

The title, again, is Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices / What's Missing in Your Body?, and is written by N.W. Walker D. Sc.  The ISBN is 0-89019-06704, and is published by Norwalk Press.

When I lived in Jackson, I would periodically pop into Valley Bookstore and place an order for a copy or two.  After about a week, I'd be able to go get my book.  Of course, you can also order the book online . . . but I'm a Mom-and-Pop kinda gal and prefer to support small business whenever possible.

Funny . . . I just looked up Valley Bookstore on the web of world-wideness to give y'all the link (just in case you live in Jackson - or even want to support a Jackson business) . . . and on their intro page, they describe themselves as a "classic mom-and-pop independent bookstore".  Great minds think alike, doncha know.
So, anyway, here's their link:  Valley Bookstore; Jackson, WY

By the way - a special note to my friend, Amy L:  Don't go out and buy this book; I am remembering my promise to get a copy for you; and I'll make sure I do that this week.

Happy juicing y'all!
Here's to y'all's good health.

Be blessed,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Seizures. Boo. Hiss. BUT! Life goes on!

Last Thursday, I told y'all about my triking to the pool and back.  And, then, as a bonus, I also created my first PEA blog (Public Education Announcement).

Oh, and speaking of which . . . let's sneak in another tip regarding how to treat cyclists, shall we?
Yes, let's.  An excellent idea, indeed.

We'll call it PEA #2:
It's probably not the coolest thing in the world to pass a cyclist, to their left; and especially while they are in the process of making a left-hand turn.  Nope; not cool at all.  Can y'all visualize it?

Let's all say it together.


Doodle Head.

This very scenario happened to me this morning.   My guess is that it was a parent running late in getting their child to school on time.  I was turning left - in the middle of a neighborhood, mind you.  I had actually started making the turn, when I heard a car come roaring up behind me, tap its horn and then proceed to pass me to the left (and at a rather speedy rate, I might add) . . . all so he / she could make the same left-hand turn I was making and do it before I did.  This almost caused a wreck with that car, another car and me.  The other car had arrived at the stop sign and was turning right, onto the road from which the demon doodle-head car and I were both turning left.

At least Speedy Gonzalez lightly tapped their horn, versus blaring it.  I guess that should count for something, right?  I'm going to run over you; but I don't want to scare you while I'm doing it, so I'm not going to lay on my horn.

But.  Alas.  I digress.
But, please do file this PEA away . . . and share it with your friends, family, co-workers and everyone you see today.

Back to the topic of this particular post.  Last Thursday, about an hour after I told y'all about my adventures in triking, I had a stupid grand mal seizure.  For those of y'all who don't know me, the first seizure I had was back in 1987.  It's been a long, weird journey; one of which I won't go into right now.

I will mention two very important things about this seizure history:
(1) They're not "my" seizures.  They're "the" seizures.  I never invited them into my life, and I have no intention of their staying around.  They're not welcomed, and I do not claim them; not even on an infinitesimal level.

When speaking to me about seizures that I have had, please do not refer to them as "your seizures."  They're not mine.  You may refer to them as "the seizures".  Thank you ever so much.  Truly.  (And, there's not many things that I'm adamant about; but this is one of them.  Please be prepared to be gently corrected if you ever forget and use the phrase, "your seizures").

(2) I'm also just as adamant regarding anti-seizure meds.  I am, in fact, anti anti-seizure pharms.  I simply won't take them.  I won't even consider it.  Over the years, I have tried 12 different prescriptions in relation to seizures.  None of the meds controlled the seizures, and all of them had very serious side effects that I was and am not willing to experience.  The final straw was a near fatal side effect.  Nope.  Not going to take any anti-seizure pills or other pharmaceutical concoctions.  (So please do not ask me to try, suggest I do so or tell me about the newest anti-seizure pharm on the market).

I do, however do my own research and I also avoid various seizure triggers (including certain foods and also non-edible things; i.e., fluorescent lighting being one of the non-edibles).

As much as it hurts my pride to contemplate that this most recent seizure was probably self-induced, I really think it was.  I believe that given the timing of the seizure in regards to my triking expedition the day before - and given that it had been a while since I had been so, uhm, energetic - and given the lack of sleep from the night before due to my muscles spazzing all night - I probably am responsible for last week's seizures.  Lack of sleep, btw, is, in and of itself, a seizure trigger.


It took me a couple of days to recover; but then it usually does.  The day after a seizure is usually the hardest.  My muscles are so sore that I do not move very well at all.  That, plus I'm pretty exhausted from the seizing.  Tex put the kibosh on our walking the puppy girls last Friday . . . probably because I had morphed into Neanderthal Woman and was not walking upright.

And truthfully, I was bummed about that because it broke my activity streak.  On April 2nd, I had started a streak that involved doing at least 20 minutes of physical activity daily.  Up till last Wednesday, I was averaging 35.12 minutes each day, for 17 consecutive days.  While I did factor in walking the puppy girls from last Wednesday, I intentionally didn't factor in the 2.98 hours of triking and swimming from last Wednesday, given that it was the first time doing that in a while (triking to the pool), it would have skewed the average.

And we can't have skewy averages, now, can we?

So, now, my current fitness streak is at 7 consecutive days (with an average of 60.71 minutes per day; still not factoring in last Wednesday's trike & pool session).

Tex says that I should include the other 17 days in my count because the seizure (and its after-effects) was out-of-my control.  He's a gracious man who finds myriad ways to support and encourage me!

I guess in the end, his logic is correct.
But, it is a bit of a bummer that seizures control so many aspects of my life.

This too shall pass, though!

There are so many awesome blessings that Our Lord has given to me.  I choose to focus on what I do have and am able to do, versus what I don't have and am unable to do.

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds!  I will rejoice in You and be in high spirits; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High!
(Psalm 9:1-2; Amplified version)

Remember to look for the good in your life!

Thanks for reading; y'all be blessed,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And now, PEA #1

PEA = Public Education Announcement


Rules and ordinances vary, of course, from town-to-town . . . but, interstates withstanding, it is generally legal for cyclists to travel along the same roads and highways as that of our motorized vehicular friends.

Please allow me, a triker, to pass on a few pointers on what not to do when encountering a cyclist.

Sure, our mode of transportation is significantly smaller than even the small roller skate cars that are zooming around everywhere now . . . but that doesn't mean that we should be treated as if we're not occupying space.  Please don't try to push us out of a lane by driving in our lane while passing us and please do not pass us and quickly pull over into our lane until you have actually driven far enough ahead to where you're not going to make us slam on our brakes.

If you get "caught" behind a cyclist, that is not our fault.  If traffic is heavy, then it is heavy; that's just the way it goes.  If traffic is not heavy, then if you're on a multi-lane road, common sense dictates that you choose another lane if you do not want to be behind a cyclist. 

And please, please, please - do not ever . . . never, never, never . . . slam on your horn while behind a cyclist.  If you feel you absolutely must use your horn, please lightly tap it.  Blaring your horn while driving right behind a cyclist could actually cause a wreck.  Maybe even a heart attack.  It sure scares the bejeebees out me.  Additionally, if a cyclist is observing all of the rules of the road, there really is no need to use your horn in the first place.  If you think you are going to hit a cyclist and you are in their lane, then perhaps you might want to consider improving your own driving skills.  If you are impatient because you are behind a cyclist, that is really no one's fault but your own.  Take a deep breath, calm down and relax.  It will do wonders for your blood pressure; not to mention the health and sanity of those around you - including the cyclists.

If a cyclist arrives at a 4-way stop before you, they have the right-of-way; just like with anyone else.  Please do not try to beat them through the intersection; especially if they are already in the intersection, itself.

If you are in a "left (or right) turn only" lane, then please do not continue to drive straight ahead.  Doing so can cause a wreck with the person in the lane that does have the right to go straight ahead.  You might not care so much; but cyclists do not have the comfort of being inside a car during a fender-bender.  They also have no fenders; if something is going to get bent, it is probably going to be the cyclist.

And lastly, please do not be a heckler.  Really, what's the purpose of that?
Yesterday, as an example, there was a particular hill that was just entirely too steep for me to trike up.  Perhaps had I not already triked to the pool, did a energetic water workout and had triked halfway home, I would have had the energy and wherewithal to actually climb every mountain and ford every stream.  As it was, however, after a couple of minutes trying to crest this particular hill, I chose to enter a parking lot and walk my trike up the hill.  As I was nearing the top of the hill, a man pulled up behind me (in the parking lot) and told me that I would get a lot more exercise if I were to actually get on "that thing" and ride it.

Doodle head.

Yep.  I just wrote "doodle head".  There ya go.

By the way, "you" and all of it's derivatives (above) are meant in the generic "you".  I'm not specifically talking to you . . . unless of course, you can see yourself in some of the examples I've given above . . . and if that's the case, you and I should get together for a cup of coffee so we can discuss traffic rules and etiquette.  Don't worry, it will be a blast; I'll even bring the horn.

Y'all be blessed . . . and remember, now . . . be safe out there - for yourself AND for others, as well.

The Wheels Go Round and Round

I first discovered aqua classes when I lived in beautiful Jackson, under the shadows of those magnificent Grand Tetons.  As you can tell, I have very fond memories of that area.

The local rec center had aqua classes several times during the week (they probably still do), and I went as often as I could.

Being a pedestrian, I walked to and from the classes.  But then, being a pedestrian, I walked just about everywhere I went; and where I didn't walk, I took the bus.  Which, btw, was free (and probably still is).  Man, I loved that place!

But I digress (and pretty early in this particular blog, I might add).

When I moved out of Wyoming and into suburbia, there were several learning curves that I needed to conquer.  Some of them have taken longer than others to tame; transportation being one such creature.

The very vast majority of the populace where I live not only drives, but has their own car at their constant disposal.  Being a pedestrian in such a suburban area carries a very unique challenge.    . . . which, oddly enough to me, is not always apparent to others.

People who don't drive do not have the ease of immediate transportation that those who do drive can enjoy.  Couple that with a lack of public transportation, and the challenge grows bigger.  BUT!  As an aside, last month, the town started a commuter shuttle service to the metro's rail and bus service, so there's a huge praise there.  It's also kinda funny . . . it's a 30-minute trike ride to the shuttle stop  - but hey!  It's much more than what there was before, and having access to the metro's transports is definitely going to help expand my world.

Tex, as y'all know, is amazing.  One of the hats that he wears is "Sharmie's Chauffeur".  And, he's so awesome about this; taking me where I need to go and always making sure that I know that he doesn't mind.  Tex, however, also has his own life; and part of his own life includes work, school, softball and a few other things along the way.   If one of those, especially his work or his school, is requiring his presence at any given time, he's not able to be my chauffeur at that particular moment.  That's just how it is, and that's also how it should be.

This past August, I discovered "my new pool".  Man, I was in heaven!  The glory of being able to use a pool again.  AND, to my delight, they, too, offer aqua classes several times throughout the week.  Granted, they're not Aqualogix classes (as the ones in Jackson are), but still, they're pretty decent classes, and I enjoy the workouts I get.

Between you and me, though, I am eventually going to buy my own Aqualogix equipment and use them during the aqua classes.

So.  Tex has been chauffeuring his bride (that would be me) to/from the pool these past 8 months.  Let's all truly give a hearty cheer for him because he really is absolutely wonderful and he spoils me rotten.  Rotten, being the operative word.  Y'all heard it here first, folks.

But.  As great as it is to be able to go to the pool, doing so under Tex's chauffeuring does make for a rather "crowded" evening.  If it's a pool night, Tex comes home from work, crams in as much schoolwork that he can before it's time to take me to the pool.  After he drops me off from the pool, he zips back home again and crams in even more school work before it's time to come pick me up from the pool.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  Plus, just between you and me, I'm not really a evening / night person.  I want to get up in the mornings and get all the things I need to do done, during the day; including my trips to the pool.

A few months ago, I told Tex that I wanted to start triking to the pool.  At first, he looked at me like I had grown an extra nose somewhere; one with a big wart on it.  For you see, going to the pool via a vehicle is a 20-minute one-way drive; we had no idea how long it would take me via trike.  But.  He went ahead and helped me map out a safe route (that didn't involve the interstate that he normally takes to get me to my pool).

The route took approximately one hour for me to trike  . . . one way (and, then, of course, one hour for me to trike back home).

Yep.  Two hours of triking to swim or do aqua classes for one hour.  Hey!  It's a great way to sneak in more exercise, right?!  :)

Only . . . because of poorly patched and slanted segments of road along the route (not noticeable by drivers, but definitely by trikers) and because of an extremely near-miss where the driver of a car veered into my lane while in a curve and came perilously closed to hitting me with her vehicular weapon, I kinda lost the wind in my sails about triking to/from the pool.

Yet, I continued to want my evenings to be less rushed.  So!  Tex, God Bless that man, modified the route along the poorly-patched, slanted, curvy area.  The new route adds about 10 extra minutes; but it's a much safer route, and for that, I'm thrilled!  I also changed the time I leave the house to bypass all of the school and work traffic.

Yesterday was my first day back triking to the pool.

Can I tell ya? . . . Yesterday kicked my, uhm, rear-end!  Because of events of the last couple of months, I had not been able to get up to the pool as regularly as I had previously been going, so I don't think I was as prepared for 3-hour exercise session (as I was when I started triking to the pool the first time.  Once I got back home from the pool yesterday (and those last 15 minutes or so of triking home seemed like an eternity to me), I was pretty-much toast the rest of the day .  BUT!  I did it!  I started triking to the pool again.

I have taken away all of my excuses (poor road conditions, unsafe drivers, commuter traffic).  And, eventually, I'll be able to come home from a triking / swimming session and not have to spend the next 42.8 hours recovering.

My goal is to trike to the pool at least twice each week, preferably thrice . . . inclement weather being one of the acceptable exclusions.  Tex has told me that he will continue to be on chauffeur standby mode for days that are triking-prohibitive.

Speaking of weather, the gentle breezes I felt yesterday during my to/from triking were blissfully wonderful.  The raging wind, however, was not at all kind to me, and Bob Seger's voice kept swirling around in my head . . . Against the wind; I was triking against the wind.  I'm older now and still triking, against this blasted wind.  That is how the original words go, isn't it?

Trike on, y'all!

Thanks for reading!
Y'all be blessed,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Swirling with Swirlings

Hey y'all!

(1) This is a shameless request for y'all to help me get the word out about "Swirlings".  Please feel free to share links to this blog with your friends, families, online groups, co-workers and even cohorts.  Merci becoup!

(2) Also, there are several ways that you can automatically stay updated with what's swirling around in my grey matter.  You can subscribe to this blog via email, you can subscribe via reader and/or you can become a follower.

All of the above options are located on the right-hand side of the blog.  Just scroll down till you find the one(s) you want.

. . . And just between you and me, I'm trying to come up with another name for "followers".  That makes it seem like I'm heading up a cult or something.  Kool-aid, anyone?


If you have a suggestion for how to re-label the followers, please let me know.

In the meantime, please keep coming back and please let others know about my little blogging corner in the web of world-wideness.

Y'all be blessed,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saturday Morning Antics (with photos)

Saturday mornings have been pretty hectic lately with Tex and me.  It's that beautiful, wonderful, mysterious thing called life.

This past Saturday morning found us without any house guests and no scheduled nor necessary away-from-the-house activities.  Tex was going to work on one of his school assignments (he's pursuing his Master's Degree in Science and Civil Engineering (with an environmental focus; specifically, water).  I was going to get caught up with a few projects from earlier in the week, and then spend the rest of the day getting ready for two of our nieces, a nephew-in-law and one of our great nephews to come for dinner later that evening.

By the way, dinner was chili and chicken-n-dumplings.  Served in separate bowls, of course.  Well, except for when one of our nieces decided that she wanted her 2nd helping to be a combo of the two dishes.  I think we've created a new and oddly interesting dish - chumplings.  Let me know if you want the recipe.  :)

Why such two very different dishes served in one meal?  Consider it a mini buffet.  We had been promising one of our nieces some chili, and had been promising her sister some chicken-n-dumplings.  There ya go; a two-for-one deal.  A good time had by all . . . at least I hope so.  Tex and I certainly enjoyed the evening.

But I digress.  Back to the following a.m.

It was a lazy Saturday morning for Tex and me.  We even woke up later than we thought we would . . . and the sleep was absolutely blissful.

We then went out into the garage to sit, chat and watch the traffic go by in the alley next to our house; call it a slow waking-up, if you will.

I even convinced Tex to let the puppy girls come out into the garage to keep us company.  The big deal in that is that they were unleashed.  They can run around all they want in our back yard - our privacy fence contains them quite nicely (although, not their periodic exuberant barking).  However, rarely do we let them come hang out with us when we're in the garage with the garage open (and rarely are we in the garage when such door isn't open).  To their credits, our canine creatures truly are learning to just chill and relax with us out in the garage; but every now and then, they still like to test the waters to see how far out of the garage they can get before we reign them back in.

Suburban life with pets, doncha know.

Lizzee, our 5-year old Golden Retriever / Chow loves, absolutely loves, her freedom; and if she's unleashed, she can take off running down the street before we even know what has happened.  She thinks it's a grand game . . . and it's a game we try not to play . . . she runs really fast!

Echo, our 15-year old Beagle / Border Collie often tries to convince us that she's an old woman (usually when she wants to just lay around and sleep and not be bothered); but she still has enough spunk in her to also periodically push her own freedom limits.

But.  Still.  They are realizing that it's much more fun to hang out with us while we're in the garage rather than only wish they could while they're either inside the house or in the backyard where they will periodically stick their noses through a very small peep hole at the bottom of the fence trying to get glimpses of us.

The girls love to go for their daily walks; especially Lizzee.  She grins about it for hours afterwards.  Really, she does.

By the way, there is, of course, gmail; of which I'm sure y'all are all aware, if even on the smallest level.

But!  Have y'all ever heard of pmail?  Lizzee certainly has.  In fact, she checks her pmail frequently during her daily walk; and every now and then she even leaves a pee-mail or two of her own.

Just thought y'all would like to know.

It's a Tex-and-Sharmie-ism that we made up several months ago.  Yeah, it's not just him and it's not just me . . . we're both pretty goofy; it's one of the reasons we make such a great couple; yep, yep.

Many of y'all know that I have a tri-wheeler (an adult tricycle).  This is my second one, actually.  The first one was one of the original Schwinn tri-wheelers from the '70s.  It was faded canary yellow.  I loved that trike; I had it from 2002-2009.  And I very much missed triking when I no longer had such wonderful contraption.  My current trike is a couple of years old and is bright dark royal blue.  The brand is Torker, for those of y'all so interested.

Regardless of the brand, I heartily recommend tri-wheelers.  Try one for yourself!

By the way, the basket in the back of my trike can hold a considerable amount of groceries.  It might take me a few minutes to get them all packed just so; but they will fit - and will do so in a manner so that nothing gets squished, broken or otherwise damaged.  Of course, it does make the commute back home from the grocery store a bit more, uhm, weighty than the "to" trip . . . but that's ok.   Consider it a unique kind of exercise weight.

Back to the puppy girls; specifically Lizzee.

Sometimes, during her walks, Lizzee gets the idea that we're not going fast enough to suit her.  So, she puts her head down in focused effort, strengthens her resolve and tries to literally plow ahead, pulling me as hard as she can.  It makes me laugh to see her grit and determination.

So!  Tex and I were talking about that, this past Saturday morning, as we often have . . . how she would make a good snow dog (if we lived where it snowed).  We could just hook her up to a sleigh and off we'd go!

But.  Since we don't live where it snows (fiddle, faddle), a sleigh probably wouldn't work too well.  Good thing, too . . . we haven't a sleigh to our name.

But.  We do have . . .  drum roll, please . . . a trike!

The more we talked about it, the harder we laughed.  Ya gotta admit, the imagery is something else.  A dog pulling a trike??!!!  Surely we jest.

Surely not.

It finally became too much for us to just imagine.  We had to actually try it.  Yes, we absolutely had to.

Tex usually doesn't ride my trike, but we both decided that he should be the pilot for this particular adventure / experiment.

I got 2 leashes off the rack, gave one to Tex and put one on Echo.  He then put his leash on Lizzee and slipped the looped end over the handle bars of the trike.

And off we went.  The four of us.  I, walking Echo, and Tex perched on the seat of my trike with Lizzee leashed to the trike.

While we were still giggling and laughing about everything, we saw our across-the-street neighbor looking at us in what can only be described as bemused puzzlement.  Of course I'm sure that our explanation didn't help his opinion of our sanity or lack thereof  - "We wanted to see if Lizzee would pull the trike!"  He just politely grinned and stood their staring at us; at that point, completely speechless.

At first, Lizzee was content to just happily trot alongside the trike, thinking it was all great fun.  Then, Tex started pedaling slower and slower, so Golden Girl decided to take matters into her own paws and, yes, actually starting pulling the trike . . . with Tex on it!

Echo thought we were both nuts and refused to try to keep up.  I considered that a good thing, seeing as how I was the one connected to her leash and I did not want to try to keep up with a rolling trike.  Hey!  I've ridden that thing.  I've also been clocked at going 14MPH.  Zoom, zoom!  I'm quite sure, however, that Lizzee was not going that fast.  No matter.  A seat connected to 3 rolling wheels can go faster than I personally would like to match with my own two feet.  I'm a triker.  I'm a swimmer.  I'm an aqua-classer.  I am not, however, a runner; not even a jogger.  Now you know.

After a few minutes, Tex decided to see how fast Lizzee was willing to go.  He slowly started pedaling faster.  Our sweet Chow girl was in her glory and she was going at a pretty good clip.  Me?  Well, I've never learned how to walk gracefully and laugh uproariously at the same time, so Echo and I were pretty-much standing still while watching the show.

And, yes, Tex did eventually slow down to a more manageable pace.

All-in-all, such adventure lasted about 10 minutes . . . from the time we left the garage, till the time we touched home base again.

After that, Lizzee came in the house and laid on the cool tile floor.  All.  Day.  Long.

We must not have scared her off from her daily walks, though.  The next day when we took the girls for their "real" walk (sans any wheeled machinery), she was enthusiastically raring to go.

Just between you and me, though, I do think she was secretly glad that Tex was going to be transporting himself via his own feet and not while perched on top of a tri-wheeler.

And just to let y'all know . . . both Echo and Lizzee are doing fine - AND they both got treats afterwards for being such good sports . . . the photo below is a couple years old, but it still comes very close to how they looked after their adventure this past Saturday morning.

Y'all be blessed!
Look for the fun in life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Photo Introduction of Our Grandkidlettes

I hope everyone had a great and blessed Easter!

Tex and I celebrated our Easter by spending Saturday & Sunday with our daughters, sons-in-law . . . and of course, our 3 awesome grandbabies.

Only, our oldest grandson, Mr. Handsome (who is going to soon be 9), takes exasperated umbridge with me whenever I refer to him as one of my grandbabies.  He emphatically tells me that he's *not* a baby.  Then, I have to grab him and tickle his sides and kiss his neck until he breaks out in giggles.

So, in deference to him, here in Swirlings, I'll *try* to remember to call them our grandkidlettes (well, at least him).  But, I've already decided that none of them are allowed to get any older.  Period.  They're my grandbabies, they always will be my grandbabies and that's simply how it's going to be.  Ooops.  I meant grandkidlettes.

Y'all be blessed!

Little Miss starting her egg hunt - love her bare feet!
My little Bruiser Boy - Mr. Charmer
Mr. Handsome, riding his bike - right towards me!

Here are a few more; the ones of Bruiser Boy & Little Miss were taken about a month ago, when they were visiting Tex and me.

(Now, all I have to do is to learn how to manipulate the placement of the photos exactly where I want them in this blog . . .)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Single-Tasking Through Life in a Bubble

"I do one thing at a time.  I do it very well, and then I move on."
(Major Charles Emerson Winchester, III / M*A*S*H).

I could have said that quote.  In fact, I have.  On several occasions.  It's simply me.
There ya go.

As some of y'all may know, I'm a bit of a minimalist.  Not just with material possessions, neither.  I'm also a minimalist regarding  "doing".  I'm not opposed to doing things; not at all.  In fact, I encourage "doing".  But!  I do one thing at a time.  I do it very well and then I move on.

Yes, part of this lifestyle stems from my philosophy that a person really can be too busy.  When someone is too busy, they most likely are not being as productive as they could be or want to be be; they have morphed from "busy" to "busyness" - being busy for the sake of being busy.

Where's the joy in that?  What's the purpose in it?  What good can truly come of it?

Sometimes, life does, indeed, comes along and gives us an extra helping or two of things that absolutely have to be done.  And during those times, we do what we need to do; that's just the way it is.  Those moments are seasonal, though, and are not meant to become life-long habits.

Yes, I'm definitely a "do" minimalist.  I like to go dancing through the daisy fields, and I love to stop and smell the roses.  And the lilacs.  And celery.  Oh man!  I absolutely love the way celery smells.  Tex just looks and me and shakes his head whenever we're at the grocery store and I lovingly pick up a bunch of celery, gently bring it close to my face and then, with joyful anticipation that's most likely written all over my face, inhale deeply.  When my eyes gleefully roll around in my head, I'm sure he wonders just what kind of an alien he married.

But I digress.

It was much easier to be a single-tasker when I was single (no pun intended) and had only myself to look after.  A few years ago, when I was single and living in a one-room studio, life was so much simpler . . . and being a pedestrian in a pedestrian-friendly town with a free bus service helped in keeping it simple.  I'd wake up in the mornings, attend to client projects, walk around town, chat with whomever I'd run into (I wonder . . . how hard can you run into someone when you're actually walking?), do errands, go home, leave again when I wanted or needed to, meet with clients, attend my aqua classes, meet someone for bagels and/or coffee, lunch or dine with friends, maybe share a glass of wine or champagne on the deck of a restaurant while watching the sunset, go home, catch a ride to homechurch on Sundays, rinse, lather repeat.

I was also the queen of organization.  In fact, that's one of the services I provided to my clients:  I organized them, their businesses and sometimes, even their homes.  My filing system was impeccable and always up-to-date.  Truly, it was.

Catching up to current time, I now have the complete pleasure of being a wife, a mom and a grandma.    I also now live in a house and I rely on Tex to chauffeur me to at least 99% of wherever I need to go.  I do have my tri-wheeler (an adult trike), but, other than the grocery store, there's really not anywhere around where I can trike to safely or quickly (it takes one hour for me to trike, one way, to my pool; and I'm perfectly willing to expend the time and energy in triking to / from the pool . . . I just need to find a route that won't bring harm to me or my trike).  And, a filing system?  What's that?  I now have a filing plan - which might come to fruition one day.

But I digress.

Our daughters live 2 hours away from us.  I've had the extreme pleasure of visiting them several times since they sweetly welcomed me into the family.  If they need me (or even if I think they need me), Tex and I are packing up the truck so he can drive me to where they live.  I then impose myself upon them for a few days and play Grandma, Mom-Friend and even Goofy-Mother-In-Law.  It's my complete joy to do this.

Then there's friends.  Tex and I both have hearts for hospitality.  There's definitely a learning curve involved and we certainly have lots of room for improvement . . . but, truth-be-told, we're really nuts about house guests!  We absolutely LOVE to have people come stay with us; whether for dinner, for the night or even for a few days.  We've been so blessed to be able to provide clean sheets and a hot dinner to a few people who needed a place to stay for a night or two while they were in town for whatever conference or other event they were attending.  We've been delighted to also be able to do this for our daughters and their families a few times, and we have had a great deal of fun in having people over for dinner or even a party.  Tex has even surprised me on two separate occasions (so far) by bringing cherished friends in from out-of-state to stay with us for a few days.  How cool is that?! . . . On both my husby and my friends' part.  (I can't help but wonder who will be next.  heehee).

So.  What in the world does all of this have to do with single-tasking and living life in a bubble?

Excellent question; I'm so glad you asked!

Life wasn't meant to be lived within a bubble.  Bubbles burst . . . and then usually make messes that need to be cleaned up.

There's got to be some balance . . . between extreme single-tasking and extreme multi-tasking.

I'm trying to find that balance right now; specifically in regard to . . . da dum . . . learning to simultaneously take life as it comes, smell the flowers (and the celery) along the way and be productive in the process.

For instance:  I have been trying to get my website (and business) going since October.  My word; October was over 5 months ago!  Recently, after a couple of setbacks, I began questioning myself as to whether or not I was truly supposed to be doing what I was pursuing.  Had I grabbed so tightly of my Free Will that I was doing what I wanted to do regardless as to whether or not it was part of God's plan for my life?

Tex convinced me to not make a decision either way for a while and to give the matter more thought.
Man, I love that man!

What you are currently reading is the result of my giving more contemplation to things.  Self-analysis is not always fun, but I do believe we should all be willing to look within ourselves to get to the truth of what's going on.  And, when we do this, we need to do it prayerfully.

Simply put, I find that I need to release the choke-hold I have on single-tasking.  I still do not believe that overt busyness is good, valuable, worthwhile or healthy . . . but neither is trying to live within a idyllic bubble.  There ya go.

I'm not willing to give up being a wife, a mom, a grandma and a friend.  My husband, my daughters & sons-in-law, my grandkidlettes, my family and my friends are my priority.  That's just how it is and how it is going to stay.  I don't want to change that; nor do I believe I should.  But.  I can and will learn how to balance people with other things . . . say, getting a business going and creating the inventory necessary to fuel such purpose.

Imagine the possibilities!

In your life, are there any extremes to which you are trying to find the balance?  

Are you currently experiencing some type of "life learning curve"?

Tell me about your progress.

Y'all be blessed,

Tuesday's Tornadoes

As many of y'all probably know, Dallas was hit with a fierce tornado storm system a couple of days ago.

Click HERE to view a video showing some of the force and resulting damage of just one of the tornadoes (link will open in a new window).  There's also 11 more videos (via the same link) showing various footage of the storms throughout the Dallas area this past Tuesday afternoon.

For those of y'all who have sent an email asking if Tex and I are ok . . . we most definitely are!

Tex, our puppy girls, our daughters' families, the rest of our family, and even our friends - we're all doing very well.  Praises to Jesus!

And Thanks so much for y'all checking on us!

If you have sent an email, do know that I'll be replying to them today (and possibly, tomorrow).

Not everyone fared as well as we did, though; many homes and businesses were destroyed.  Please keep these people in your prayers as they begin to rebuild and go on with their lives.

Also, if you don't have a medical condition preventing you from doing so, please consider donating blood and/or plasma to your local blood bank to help replenish their supplies that may have been sent to the Dallas / Ft. Worth area earlier this week.  For that matter, it's always a good time to donate blood and/or plasma (well, unless you've just recently donated within the past few days).

My thanks to my New York friend, Belle, who reminded me of the importance of blood donations.

Y'all be blessed,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Beginnings

The other day I was marveling at the beauty that lies within fresh starts.  The new excitement over glorious possibilities, the gift of proper perspective regarding where to place the past and even the anticipation that accompanies second chances.  All these things hint at promises of new opportunities just waiting to be explored.

And before I knew it, I was writing a great blog post on new beginnings.  Man, it was fantastic!  Too bad the "writing" took place while standing at my sink, washing dishes instead of sitting in front of my laptop, typing.

Tonight, as I try to recreate such the illustrious blog to share my thoughts with y'all, I find myself staring at a blank screen for an inordinate amount of time.  In fact, I think my husband is more than a bit hungry at the moment.   Good thing the lasagna's already cooked.

New beginnings are, indeed, exciting!

Sometimes new beginnings are also intimidating.  For me, anyway.

This blog is a new beginning of sorts.  Within the web of world-wideness, I've created a blog or two or even three over the past dozen or so years; each blog with its own personality and purpose.  For the past few years and most specifically during the past two years, I've been in a bit of a writing hiatus.  I've also been in a bit of a hiatus regarding various other forms of creativity; my calligraphy, for example.

Now it's time to start again.  Start writing again.  Start calligraphing again.  Start creating, in general, again.  Now is the time.  The time to start.  Again.  Now.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me.  Not only do I need to build an inventory of my creative wares, but I also need to build a website so that I can then market such delightful goodies.  And it occurred to me . . . the other day while I was standing in front of the sink, sudsing up the dinner dishes and mind-blogging . . . there are things about websites of which I really do not have an adequate base of knowledge  In some instances, that base is completely absent and quite non-existent.  Put more succinctly - sometimes I'm simply clueless.

And while such matters revolving around website building may not have meant that much to me previously, they now carry great importance for me and I very much desire to properly learn the various ins and outs of creating an absolutely fantastic web abode.  Put more succinctly - I want to get a clue.

So!  My first endeavor will be to learn about websites before I actually create one.  Wow.  What a great concept!  By the way, yes, technically, this blog is a website.  But, in actuality, it's not.  Not really.  This blog is, well, a blog.  By "website", I am specifically referring to an online store.  There ya go.

Onward and upward, doncha know.

I'm pretty excited.  So many possibilities!

AND!  In the meantime, while I'm learning all I can about awesome website building, I can still write . . . which is, after all, what Swirlings is all about.

Thanks for reading; y'all be most abundantly blessed!

See you next time,