Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Take A Letter...

In the olden days, you know, back in the 20th century, December 10th was the day I mailed hand signed & addressed Christmas cards.  When we moved out of state, and our kids were still little, I did the ol' holiday letter with photos thing.  Well, today is the 10th and no cards... I haven't even bought any, plus I only have about 5 postage stamps.  These days we're within a few miles from both sides of our family, so a letter seems a bit much.  Anyway, what do you write that hasn't been communicated via text or Facebook on a near daily basis.  Hmmm, what to do for 2014.

Okay, here's a quick set-up:

  1. Begin with gorgeous/elegant/whimsical/comical/sparkly seasonal stationary w/ matching envelopes.  And, don't forget special holiday themed postage stamps.
  2. Next decide on a font.  Comic Sans where have you been all my life! Oh, wait... there's a curly-cuey elf style font?  Let me at it!
  3. Greeting:  [Greeting? Greeting?  How do I open this thing?  Must be catchy.  Must say, "Read ME!"]  "Hey," sounds about right, yes?
  4. Body:  [Flashy update of 2014 goings on at The Place... dogs included.  Maybe include story about neighbor/raccoon absurdity. Keep it clean & funny.]
  5. Closing: [Jolly... SOMETHING JOLLY, FOR GOD'S SAKE!]

Here we go!  Oh, pretend it's on snazzy stationary and in clever font style.


ICYMI... 2014 a la Carilo!

The Hubs? He's juuust greaat. No really. Consumed by handcrafted holiday ornament making for several weeks now, so try not to bother him.

The Typist, aka Driver? She finds herself way behind on her dvr watching. Commercials on some programming still have Halloween theme! Near tears on weeknights trying to come to terms with Colbert Report ending and Craig Ferguson leaving The Late Late Show.

Bookstore Boy? Twenty-two years later, still hasn't lost the ability to talk and talk and talk and talk his mom's ears off! Also, right there with mom, behind on favorite t.v. shows.

College Girl? It snowed today!! Lucky.

Miss Creativity? [Please, no questions.]

And so it goes. This letter would arrive at your mailbox in a festive greeting card - see above. Of course, I could e-mail it, but sorry, not much time for that as I am busy watching last night's @CraigyFerg. So, here it is in the old blog. Ho, Ho, Ho!

Have a Happy New Year!

The Carilos... but mostly Lil

PS Shadow and Sombra say, "WOOF!"

I took this photo.  It's from where we lived before
moving to southern California desert;
it makes me homesick.

PPS Decided not to "go there" about the neighbors, 'tis not the season for such unpleasantries.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tick Tock

Well, it is no surprise that I am running behind on everything... again.  December 2nd and my personal challenge of trying to get to bed by midnight is not happening.  Turning in after 2 am this morning was especially bad when persistent cough that's lingered from last month kept me up past 4 am.  I had to be up to make sandwiches at 6:30!  I was, however, surprised that I was not at all drowsy while doing morning family taxiing to jobs and school; even more surprising was that I didn't snuggle right back into bed immediately following feeding the dogs after arriving back at The Place.  I did eventually crash, but made sure to set phone alarm to go off a couple hours before I had to head out for school and job pick ups.  I somehow managed to be a few minutes late picking everyone up, but everyone else was running a bit behind too, so that was all good.

We were greeted this morning with gray, rain filled clouds... my favorite.  The cooler temps were quite refreshing and a welcome change.  There wasn't much rainfall, at least while I was out driving.  Rain or not, I did enjoy being out and had fun browsing holiday goods at Cost Plus World Market.  I'm hoping I'll have the chance to do a bit more shopping there for holiday treats.  Although, it is not my kitchen, I would love to buy some holiday tea towels; the ones I saw at the store where very nice.  I still get a little bummed that all my kitchen stuff is still in storage in Colorado.  I'll probably be back to the store tomorrow.  I'm grateful for this second straight Christmas season of steady income and we are hopeful that budget will allow for nice little gifts for everyone.  We'll just have to see.  I am happy that we are able to send College Girl a "finals survival goody package," and will also be sending a bunch of small gifts for her close friends and suite-mates.  It will be very nice having her visit for winter break from school.

There's a lot to look forward to; this week's focus is Sketch Girl's 18th birthday - she made three huge batches of homemade cookies to take to school and share with friends.  She's done this often over the years.  It's her special way of observing her special day,  I'm relived that we've had another year of being able to give the kids more than a few movie size boxes of candy, a couple of $10.00 gift cards and a small Carvel ice cream cake (a family tradition) for birthdays.  It's a nice change after going so long without.  I still have to recognize the fact that this is our "new normal" and have to keep reminding myself that less-is-more can be a good thing.

See, there is so much to look forward to and I'm so excited about the season.  Christmas music has been playing in our vehicle for three weeks now.  What are you excited about this season or closing out 2014?

Monday, December 1, 2014

I'm Gonna Wash Last Month Right Outta My Hair

First things first:  Embrace a fresh start.

NaBloPoMo December 2014

Welcome, December!

Wait... before heading into this favorite time of the year for many, I must look back, acknowledge, and give thanks that November 2014 ended on an up note and I've arrived safe, sound and eager to make the best of the last month of 2014.

November 2014 according to my Twitter feed:

November In A Nutshell Saga: Nov 1, another student tuition loan payment due.
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 1 - Engine & stablitrak dashboard lights on. Also, breaks. Master cylinder repairs $$$; other stuff on hold

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 2 - 20 y/o crap refrigerator at The Place dies; wait for homeowner's ok to replace. Borrowed $ @Frigidaire

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 3 -"Kindly" neighbor stops by, introduces self then informs, raccoon "living" in "our" yard killed their koi

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 3 pt 2 - "Kindly" neighbor to me: Get a hold of homeowner; let her know about raccoon & animal svc issue

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 3 pt 3 to 6 - 7! parties involved in raccoon debacle; me, the moron, was just the messenger. *sigh*

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 3 pt 7 -There was ZERO evidence of any raccoon.I'm not f*cking Dr. Doolittle, nor did I lure wild creature

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 3 pt 8 - Severe week-long head&chest cold.Thank you @Kleenex, baby Vicks VapoRub, @AdvilRelief & @DietCoke

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga: Week 4 - THANKSGIVING WEEK!! Smooth sailing; fave market list of the year, family, food, & more food.#GoodTimes

 Lillian Carilo @lcarilo · Nov 28
November In A Nutshell Saga:This month's world & national events have not gone unnoticed;of course, I have my opinions, concerns; compassion

As I bid adieu to November 2014, my persistent hopes are for strength,
understanding, empathy, but mostly, PEACE.


This month A HOW-TO GUIDE will have surpassed 14,900 visits.  Grateful for readers from every corner of the world who have stopped by for a spell; thankful for return visitors and for those who have taken the time to leave comments.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting My Funny On... And Off

Not a lot of people know this, but I once toyed with the idea of trying stand-up.  Yeah, I learned that they had newbie night at a nearby comedy club just a few miles up the road from where we lived in Colorado, and my brain goes, "What if..?"  My thinking was, "I could be funny."  So, I sat down to write some jokey stuff.  It was at a time that I was bored, therefore delusional... am I right?!?  I am SO not funny.

Sure, I was a bored housewife with a husband working out of the country and children well into their teen years who could pretty much manage on their own.  Of course I was bored!  So, at my usual crack-of-early-morning writing hour, I sat up in bed (dibs on the hubs pillows since he was thousands of miles away), grabbed my writing pad and pen, and jotted down a few lines, completely forgetting that I'd probably die of stage fright before even getting in my car to drive to newbie night.  But, I did have a pretty good plan, in case I actually stood before a mic.  I'd open "my set,"  (Aha hahahaha... I crack myself up.) and if I got even one laugh from the audience first minute in, I'd immediately say, "Goodnight"  and exit, stage right.  Is that how it works?  I don't think so.  Thanks for nothing, Snagglepuss.

If management permitted, I'd return to newbie night with the hopes of getting a precious second laugh two minutes in... and so on, and so forth. You know how long a watched minute takes.  Imagine two, three, four, in front of people expecting you to make them laugh? Torture, right?  It was so long ago - that I lost my mind thinking I could do stand-up comedy - that I don't even remember "my material."  (Aha hahahaha... there I go, cracking myself up again.)  I do recall my opening line though; I still think it's brilliant, a "show of hands," bit, as it were.

Something funny.  Before I knew what tonight's prompt was, just a few days back, I was racking my brain trying to remember that brilliant "bit." (Ha... )  Tonight, it came back to me just like the original stroke of brilliance did lo so many, many nights before.  I still think it's pretty good too.  It just may not be regionally accepted.  So there it is, comedy career over.

Guess what.  I eventually did make it to the comedy club - as an audience member. My son and I were treated to tickets to see the tiny wonder that is Wendy Liebman, we were her guests.  I love her for that, and for all the times she's made me laugh via Twitter, and I'll always forgiver her the times when Diet Coke is sprayed all over the computer screen.  I love that that night is one of those  mother and son "best time ever" memories. I love that whenever I have kooky ideas of doing comedy, my wild delusions... I mean, imagination, immediately goes, "Man, it would be so great to work in a sitcom writer's room with Wendy"  Then I imagine, "Good times, good times."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sick Day

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sick day number one too many

Note to self:  When all better, and computer light no longer causing terrific eye discomfort, go back to today's BlogHer prompt. I like the story I have to share about the kindness of strangers.  Here's a hint:

I'm out.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rock The Boat... Who, Me?

Why would I rock the boat?  I'll happily row a boat, but never will I intentionally rock the boat.  I'm not a fan of controversy, however that doesn't mean that I won't voice my opinion, or steer clear from an argument.  I just have to know whom I'm dealing with.   That being said, my online audience is very small and very kind.  I guess one could say this blog is a lesson in neutrality, which is a cop out in my opinion.  But here it is.

Now, I wish I were rowing a boat on a still lake in a piney forest, munching on crackers, cheese & fruit as I relish the sound of birds chirping, a ring of a tiny bell on a trailing fishing line hook bobbing along as fish nibble at a slimy worm.  Aw man, that sounds so good to me right now.  Maybe someday.

Tonight, I'm just gonna nurse this head and chest cold.  Good night.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Calling In Sick

Hey, me. No blogging.  Go to bed, you're sick.  And, yeah, you should have known yesterday, when it took you five hours off and on to do a couple of sinks full of dishes, and would break into a feverish sweat just standing up.  It was also dumb of you to go out shopping at, not one... not two... but, THREE different stores today.  I guess you didn't get the memo.

  Date:  Today
  To:  Me
  From:  Everybody
  Re:  Holiday Shopping Season
  ~ It's going on now.  This is a resort/second home/snowbird destination.  There are crowds everywhere. Old. Young.  Rich.  Richer. Old, rich & cranky.  Young, entitled & self-absorbed. *Damn, those late model, Maserati, Bentley, & Jaguars are NICE! And don't forget, it's Sunday, so many may be "brunch drunk,"  those 18 holes don't play themselves.  Clubhouse yum-yums, am I right? If they weren't buzzy from brunch, they were probably tipsy from cocktails.  You should have stayed away from the supermarket.  *Damn, everybody in the grocery checkout line had booze except you!*  Also, you should know by now that any direction you head in there will be mall/El Paseo traffic.  Deal with it. Or stay home.  Feel better soon. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Nap Time!

Nap times are sooo good most days; today, not so much.  Most days have me going on a joy ride as people get dropped off for work and school before I take the wheel to return home to feed the dogs.  Everyday, I plan to get back into bed as soon as possible.  Why?  Because I don't fall asleep until well after 2:00 am.  I know.

Since returning to southern California, in summer, my reasoning is always, conserve energy while trying to stay as comfortable as possible (while also eating as little as possible) because we are still living paycheck-to-paycheck.  If I'm asleep, t.v. and computer are off.  The a/c still kicks on automatically to cool The Place down to 74 degrees, but if I nap before having to go taxiing around town picking people up from jobs and school, it's like I've not even been home.  My body doesn't respond to excessive heat and bright sunlight very well - not at all, actually - so I sort of have to recover from high desert temps; solution... have restorative nap.  I guess you can say this is my "how-to" manage summers with fibromyalgia.

October began with me prematurely - excitedly - welcoming in yoga pants season.  I was SO off target.  Here we are mid-November and the air-conditioner still kicks on around 3:00 pm.  It's nearly 11:00 pm now and still going on and off.  It just kicked on as I typed, "on and off!" Whoa!  Ahhh, feels sooo good.  Anyway, here we are inching our way closer and closer to Thanksgiving and I just started wearing the ol' yoga pants this week; mornings have been so cool that I've even worn socks & sneakers... brrrr.  Problem.  Remember the fibromyalgia I mentioned above?  Well, did you know that a good indicator that you are in the midst of a flare-up is when you walk out into the the lovely cool night air and that delightfully cool night air sometimes causes a burning sensation... all over exposed body parts?  That's right, air and light make my skin hurt. Oh, and I must not forget, wind.  Sigh.

So, back to naps.  Man, I love naps.  I remember when the kids were little and I'd pop in a Disney vhs after lunch playtime; we'd lay out our favorite squishy, quilted comforter on the living room carpet, grab some pillows, blankies and buddies to snuggle with while we watched the movie.  Movie?  What movie.  We'd all be asleep ten minutes into whatever movie was playing.  My mom was usually around to help with the babies, so she made sure to keep ears and eyes open if little ones needed anything while mommy was sleeping.  Oh naps, good times.  Thank goodness for babies... and naps.

Naps are like medicine.  I have to take my meds every single day to be able to function; same with naps.  Sometimes things don't jive and naps can seem like a nightmare.  That happened today.  I'm pretty sure I forgot to take my meds last night... very bad. We had evening company that distracted me from nightly routine and I didn't fall asleep until 4:00 am.  I awoke with pain from bad tooth that's been giving me trouble for a while.  So today was a "Four Advil every six hours for pain" day.  By the time I felt some relief from horrible toothache, it was late morning.  I crashed.  I slept hard - no dreaming, no tossing, no turning, no finding that perfect comfy spot, no blanket snuggles, no puppy snuggles, just sleep.  I felt like crap when I woke up.  Sometimes naps aren't as magical as I like them to be.  This bad nap threw my day off just a bit, but not so much that I forgot to take my meds again.

I'm fifty, and I often call myself "old."  Truth is, I've felt old half my life - no thanks to fibromyalgia and other stuff.  So, I'm getting older, but not complaining.  I love the gray streaks in my bangs.  I love the possibility of grandchildren in the not-too-distant future.  I love that I don't have to pretend to be anything I am not.  I love that I'm eligible for AARP discounts.  I even love when my kids are amused by my crankiness.  But mostly, I love the naps.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank You, Bloggers

It's been several years since first discovering the blogging world; or more like, discovering how varied and vast the blogging universe actually had become.  I'm sure I was reading plenty of blog posts under the assumption that they were journalistic accounts written by someone earning a regular paycheck from a newspaper or magazine publishing house.  At that point, the internet was providing as much of the news as I was getting from television, and I had pretty much abandoned print magazines, for snazzy, ever-changing, mobile online content.

Years before, I arrived early to the world wide web party. I bought my first computer with the intention of self publishing children's storybooks. (I have a very interesting story about that for another post.)  That time coincided with my being determined disabled.  (That story is a huge blur peppered with memories of unbearable pain and sorrow... an unimaginable reality.)  Anyway, my only real comfort was my little family.  I had decided - since it was becoming more and more evident that I was in no condition to keep a job - something that I could do was teach my little ones at home.  So, with my husband's encouragement and my mom's support, I got on my new computer and researched "homeschooling."  Most night's would just pass right into early morning while I explored the wealth of information (and rubbish) at my fingertips.  Now that I think about it, I'm certain that there were countless times that I was visiting blogs specific to early education.

The other thing that was keeping me "logged on" was shopping.  Catalogs which were filling up baskets around the house were now filling up the internet.  How convenient, my condition was worsening and my symptoms unstable, yet there it was... online shopping.  During times when I had little to no energy, or was barely able to move, much less trek out to a mall with three small children, I now had the internet for shoe & clothes shopping for them.  Good thing most days my fingers could handle typing away for long stretches of time.  I was getting pretty good with this computer business;  I had a printer, a scanner... a whole slew of hardware extras and software.  Remember floppy disks?  No...  oh never mind.

So I was learning, teaching, shopping, and biggest surprise of all... I was creating!  And loving it!  There were lesson handouts, newsletters, greeting cards, calendars, brochures, my little book.  Clip Art; Photoshop, I believe the software was called.  The name Broderbund also comes to mind.  It was so much fun.  I though, how great it would be to have a job doing all that stuff and be paid to do it.  I had no idea there was such a thing as a graphic artist.  Back then, if someone said, "You should try blogging."  I'd probably give them a blank stare.

Well, I know what blogging is now... I think.  It's like a book, or magazine, or newspaper, but without paper.  Today, if someone asked which blog I last visited, I would not be able to say.  But back during a very lonely and difficult period, when the only thing I had to help me cope was my sense of humor, a sudden burst of relief came in the form of blogs.  They made me "feel" again.  Happy, sad, mad; soothed, awakened, spirited - I felt it all.  This was good.  It was very good.

In no particular order, these are the authors, bloggers and posts that have provided inspiration and introspection, and invoked most heartfelt emotions. And thank goodness, LAUGHTER. I am grateful for them all, and yes, these are the ones which come to mind at the moment.  (Click highlighted, bold items below to link to corresponding blogs.)

The Bloggess

People I Want To Punch In The Throat



An Inch of Gray

Knuckle Salad

Robin O'Bryant

Mark Joyella

Hello Giggles (One of my posts was even featured during this blogs first weeks!)

Thoughts From Paris

Wendi Aarons


Liz Henry

Jasmine Banks


Wendy Liebman

Heather Christena Schmidt

Good Men Project

RSA News

Dean Obeidallah

So many more blogs have joined this list since things took a turn for the better.  I've even become a huge fan of a crazy mix of YouTube creators.  Time doesn't allow for regular reading or viewing, but I'm still enjoying blogs, vlogs, and late-night talk shows as much as ever.  If I could possess even a tiny sliver of what the creators listed here have, that would be conviction.  They have a story, a story worth telling, if for only that one person who is going to laugh, cry, guffaw, or re-examine and re-evaluate their beliefs.  And, sometimes, call bullsh*t.  Thanks for that too bloggers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Writer's Block... Writer's Block... Writer's Block...

That's what I imagine muttering all day if I were a writer with, well... writer's block.  Good news, then.  I am not a writer.  I'm a... hmmm.  I don't know what I am, but I do know who I am.  I am someone's wife, mother, daughter, sister, auntie, friend.  Jeepers, that does sound very much like what you'd find on a gravestone, doesn't it?  *shudder*  Actually, I'm not even sure if that friend one applies.  I see no friends.

Let's see... I guess I could say I'm a car singer, a food eater, a movie watcher, a typist, an imagineer - no, I think that's a Disney thing.  So, let's say, imaginer,  goer-of-when-things-get-tough, a sayer (Is that even a word?) of, "What you think about, you bring about." A maker-up of words.  Oh yeah, I've always thought myself an "idea person."  Problem.  All these great ideas come to me when I'm either driving, in the shower, or doing something which does not allow me to take the time to make notes, draw sketches, or do research.  For instance, I have an idea for a design to assist individuals who use walkers.  I have some ideas for jewelry design.  Oh, something else I've always wanted to do is create a suitable-for-everyone program about.... hmmm.  Sorry, my secret.

There are things I'd like to learn, like, play guitar, piano, drums!  I wish I were a good singer.  I'd love to be in a play - my "acting career" ended in the sixth grade.  I had so much fun doing school plays.  I loved to dance, and wish I had done ballet.

See, now I've gotten all wishy.  I'm a dreamer; a feeler.

I want to be a writer, but the only way I could see that happening is doing it as part of a team.  So, I don't much get writer's block, it's more like writer's lonelies.  Is that a word?

Monday, November 10, 2014

A How-To Video From This Is Fifty With Lil

Honestly, I have nothing original to post as a how-to lesson, however, I have had the good fortune of being surrounded by women who provided priceless advice when it comes to conquering cooking dilemmas.  One of my favorites came from my now long departed cousin, Sylvia.  Syl was five years older than me, and one of my favorite people on the planet.  I'd like the idea that she was one of the first people to ever hold me as a baby.  We were very close.  Anyway, when we were grown, I still looked to her for guidance in all aspects of life.

What I loved about Syl was that spending time in her company meant a lot of laughter.  It also included sitting down to sample whatever it was she had prepared for her family's dinner - Syl was always hungry, yet remained thin most of her short life.  I was a short version of my cousin and had an appetite to match, with the same ability to not gain weight.  One memorable day in her kitchen our shared meal included rice and beans that she already had on the stove.  I always wanted to learn how to make a home style pot of pinto beans like the kind all the women in our family cooked on a regular basis.  So I asked my cousin what her recipe was for the delicious homemade pot of beans that we were enjoying with our meal that day.  She generously shared these how-to instructions:

They are so easy to make, she began.  Between chuckles she offered the following gem.  First get in your car and drive to Stater Brothers and make sure you have a couple of dollars to buy three cans of Sun Vista pinto beans. After you've made the purchase, get in your car and drive home.  Once home find a good size pot, then bring out a can opener.  Open all the Sun Vista pinto beans cans and pour all the beans from each can into the pot.  Put pot on the stove, read the instructions on the can wrapper; follow the directions,  Finally, serve with whatever you plan to have with them; enjoy.  Oh, Sylvia, how I miss you and your kooky ways.

Another time, in Texas (this was years ago), I was chatting with a neighbor's mom when the subject of cooking came up.  I mentioned that I had recently experienced a major fail baking my husband a German chocolate cake for his birthday.  I also admitted that the last time that I tried to make my favorite recipe for cheesecake ended up a baking nightmare.  The subject came up because a neighborhood block party was planned and I had signed to bring something.  All the mom's would be bringing homemade treats. So, I felt obligated to do the same but feared failure. My neighbor Catherine's mom was a godsend when she shared this tried and tested helpful hint for the perfect cheesecake:

She said, "Lily, this is what I've done more than once, and no one was the wiser." Her instructions for me were that I go to the supermarket and buy a frozen plain cheesecake.  While still frozen, carefully remove from tin and place on serving plate.  Cut parchment paper the length of the pie circumference and just a bit past the depth.  Wrap the strip around the cheesecake,  Finally, make a quick easy mixture of sour cream, a few drops of vanilla and a smidgen of sugar to spread on top of the pie.  Put in refrigerator to set.  When it's time for the party, take a couple of large mint leaves, a few raspberries and blueberries to place at center of sour cream topped cheesecake.  "Let me know how that goes."  She put my worries at ease, and by the time the party was in swing, I really didn't care if anyone knew my secret.  It was a great party, and I'll never forget Catherine's mom saving me from disaster.  She was a talented artist, and I was lucky enough to receive one of her oil paintings as a birthday gift.  I have very special memories of Texas and our wonderful neighbors.


In past blog posts I think I've mentioned, or at least tried to convey, the fact that I am an expert at nothing, and any kind of profession is non-existent.  Plain and simple, I am a wife and mother who possesses additional skills in typing and driving... not at the same time, of course.

With regard to this blog title, my decision to produce A How-To Guide was based on the idea of advising what not to do.  That said, my personal goal to write about life-as-I-knew-it was to put emphasis on how to survive the hell that was the result of long-term unemployment that my family was going through in 2011 and 2012.  I'm still posting here, regardless of the fact that there is little to no how-to do anything. I'm hopeful a few helpful how-to posts find their way onto this blog.  My sincerest apologies for coming up short so far.


I have a vlog called This Is Fifty With Lil.  TIFWL features In The Kitchen With Lil On Wednesdays.  Only one has been uploaded, but I do plan to post the few more very soon.  I'll update this post for your viewing and constructive criticism.  This is all I have for today.  It was created specifically with my husband and kids in mind.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

O. No.

I have  confession... are you ready for this?  I'm not a fan of Oprah.  I. Know.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy Travels

Aloha.  As with many individuals there is a bucket list in my head of places I would love to visit.  The U.S. east coast - the original colonies to be exact, or anywhere Benjamin Franklin and John Adams were present.  High on my list is Scotland, Ireland, pretty much anywhere off the beaten path in the U.K, Italy (to trace family roots), wonders of the world (or even better, remote archaeological sites).  However, many of the places that I wish I could visit would only be accessible through time travel; regardless, they remain on my list.  Some, like New York City, I'd only wish to travel back maybe ten years, London, England, only 4 or 5 years back. And, definitely present day Canada - suggestions?

Some dream destinations would find me decades back in time, and here's why.  Some of my favorite writers have written memoirs that made me long to be their companions after reading about their adventures and life experiences.  If wishes were granted, I'd wish to accompany Russell Baker through his life's journey... even during the rough times right through to the time that he found himself along the procession path after leaving his apartment on his way to cover Queen Elizabeth II's coronation at Westminster Abbey.  Same wish with Roald Dahl, especially during the time he tells about his journeys in Going Solo, living in an African jungle, flying fighter jets for British Royal Air Force, but then Going Together would be a stupid title.

I'd love to visit locations where Jane Austen's novels are set... a huge jump back in time.  The most far fetched places I'd love to travel would be J.K. Rowling's, Hogwarts; the entire world of Harry Potter, actually.  That would be pretty great... scary as all get out, but pretty damn great.  But of course this is nothing more than mere fantasy.  After discovering Marjorie Holmes's christian novels, Two From Galilee, Three From Galilee, and The Messiah, I wanted to be part of Mary or Joseph's family.  Of course, not only time travel would be necessary in this case, because I'd have to let my imagination open up to certain possibilities.  These individuals actually existed, they lived their lives like everyone else did in that land, during those times, but passed down stories give other accounts, which I would only consider if I was actually there... maybe.  Strong maybe.

In reality, I've lived places I never imagined living.  Some places I've loved and would move back to in a heartbeat.  Does anyone ever really want to visit just north of Houston, Texas, specifically?  Before moving there I had never stepped foot in Texas.  I loved it.  Denver, Colorado is a nice place to visit, and at one point in my 20's I mulled over in my head the thought of living there.  Did I think it would actually happen?  Not in a million years.  When would I most love to be there again, if not forever?  From Halloween through my birthday in late January... of a very snowy winter.  Specifically, just south of Denver.

Now here's the kicker.  Most people I've met, whom upon learning that I lived on a Hawaiian island, ask how great that must have been; how much they've always wanted to travel there, or how much they love vacationing there.  All I can say to that is, it's a nice place to visit, but...  It was an experience, and for me it was more about the people who made it tolerable, and the few who made my family and me feel accepted.  We weren't guest to the island which charts only one town on a map, we arrived to take something that was rightfully theirs. It was a tiny island, and when mainlanders moved there, it meant there would be a job taken from a population of 2,500 people.  The irony about my husband and I actually living there is that early in our dating period, I had asked if  Hawaii was on his list of potential honeymoon destinations if he were ever to get married.  His answer, a flat out, "No, not a chance."  That put him in my "he's a keeper" file.  Well then, there you go.  Funny how life works out sometimes.  A home building industry position finally opened up when there weren't many to be had, and my husband had already been out of work for several months as a result of housing market collapse.  That's how we found ourselves on a Hawaiian island.

I have different feelings about Hawaii today.  At one time it was on my, "No thanks.  I'll pass." list.  But today, if we could afford it, I'd be there in a heartbeat.  Even better, if I'd won an all expense paid, month-long family trip to the island of Lanai, Hawaii; specifically at the Lodge at Koele (exquisitely lush surroundings, beautiful suites, and the finest dining)  - with ferry, hotel, vehicle and dining accommodations in Lahaina, Maui included (occasional excursions to Maui were a godsend), come summer, I'd be there in, well, a heartbeat.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Drawing A Blank

Thinking, thinking.  Yes, I'm pretty sure how I became familiar with the term, blogging, was while reading Julie Powell's memoir, Julie & Julia. I loved that book.  But, I never put into context the idea that anybody could write a blog about anything they desired.  I didn't get the gist of that whole concept until I saw the movie.  I loved the movie too... come on, Nora Ephron, people!  (I adore Nora Ephron.  God, I miss her.)  I viewed blogging, from Julie's example, as sort of a journal-keeping type of exercise... with food.  I found it similar to a book that I've kept at hand since receiving it as a gift from a friend back in the late 90s.  That book is, Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I love this book too.  I loved Sarah's daily words of encouragement. The book is within reach as I type this post.  See...

So with these two examples to draw from, coupled with my fondness of writing, I thought, "Hmm, maybe I should start a blog."  So I did.  I started several blogs.  Turns out they're all the same,.. but with different titles.  Anyway, sometime during those early blogstorming days, I discovered humor bloggers.  Oh, and that caught my attention.  I went on a binge... that lasted, well, what time is it?  I wanted to try my hand at that.  After all, I had read Phil Rosenthal's, You're Lucky You're Funny memoir and my thinking became, "Working in a writer's room sounds like the best job ever. I'd love to do comedy.  I had even been toying with idea of trying stand-up.  There was a comedy club not far from our home that had "newbie nights" a couple of times a month.  I wanted to do that, but never found the courage. So, then I started thinking, "Maybe I can be a humor writer," I like funny.  Problem:  I am not funny.  You know what's funny?  I LOVE comedy.  I live for "the funny."  If you asked me what I'm expert at, I'd say, laughing; my profession?  I'm a lover of laughter. I'm just not funny.  So, I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to get my funny fix from other writers; I'm so glad there are so many of them.

Today, it is no surprise how difficult it's been to even come up with a title for this post. For starters, I realize most visitors to A How-To Guide show up to read my posts only to be disappointed.  They arrive to discover that there is nothing here to learn.  Ah, but maybe there is.  I like to imagine my blog posts are serving a purpose.  What purpose is that?  Well, I'm convinced it is held up as an example of how not to blog.  This amuses me to no end for some weird reason.  Hear me out.  Class begins.  Handouts lined with samples of my blog.   Students - I'm thinking third graders -  instructed to make corrections. Yeah, a bunch of grammar school kids are editing my stuff.  Ha!

Another scenario that I imagine when analytics reveal readers from other parts of the world have checked out my blog is that it's contents have been used to teach English. An instructor might say, "Please, translate."  If that's the case I'd like all English learners and grade school children to read my blog, make corrections, and suggest how I could improve my writing.  I guess I should ask them to provide ideas about what to write too.  Hmmm... wait, it's my blog.  Right?

So then, why do I write?  Why this blog?  Why this title?

I started my first blog in 2009.  It was just going to be in newsletter form; something to keep family and friends up to date on my family's goings on since we lived so far away from them.  It was where I'd post my kids school progress and accomplishments to share with their grandparents.  Problem was that nobody had a clue what a blog was, and no one was willing to even click on links that I'd post to Facebook.  Their reason for not opening my posts, "I don't want to risk my computer getting a virus."  "You never know what is in these links."  But here's the thing,.. they were sharing tons of personal stuff screwing around on Facebook!  They didn't get it.  So I stopped posting my stuff to Facebook.  I did keep at blogging though.  I started this blog in the midst of life altering events.  I thought I'd share glimpses - very personal insights - of my family's plight.  I had a tiny audience... for a tiny period of time.  I needed my blog.  I needed an outlet; A How-To Guide provided that.

Secret: I've always wanted to be a writer.  I wanted to be a teacher.  Problem.  Unlike most writers, I never seriously studies language arts.  I barely made it through high school.  Long story short, I had to make up 3 semesters during senior year.  Independent study program got me thisclose to fulfilling graduation requirements.  I went to community college here and there after graduating.  Long story II; short, stuff happened.  So I have no degrees, no certificates of completion, no anything.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, since turning 50, I'm looking to reimagine my life. Anybody want to help me out with this?  Anybody?

What was this post supposed to be about?


Taking a break from Ain't No Turkey Challenge today.  It's been a doozy of a week.  I did find time to take a picture this morning.  See...

Image by L. Carilo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Voice

Seventeen hours ago I tweeted the following:

#Palanca... check. #NaBloPoMo... check. AM #Nap... Man, I did a lot of writing last night; so sleepy. A How-To Guide

Now, about my voice.

My voice is annoying... according to me.

And that's all I have to say about that for now.

Let's see. It's been a long day, and I've said, "It could be worse." way too many times today.  It's been that kind of week actually.  If yelling at each other - the husband and I - on Sunday evening carried over right through to today I'd have no voice at all.  That would probably be best.  Then, I would have just put everything that's transpired over the course of the week, so far, into memo format.

I can't seem to say anything, right... according to my husband and son.

And that's all I have to say about that for now.  Oh, memo format!  Right!

On the subject of refrigeration.

To:  Interested parties (family)
From:  Bearer of bad news (me)
Subject:  Fridge at The Place
Date:  Nov. 5, 2014, morning
I think the fridge stopped working.  Water & sodas aren't cold.  Settings are both at 6.

* I'd expect to hear crickets at this point.  Better than being yelled at for no reason, right? *

To:  Interested parties (family)
From:  Bearer of bad news (me)
Subject:  Water bottle in freezer test
Date:  Nov. 5, 2014, late morning
Hey, I put a water bottle in the freezer for a couple of hours; didn't seem much cooler than ones in the non-freezer section.

* Still crickets at this point; no need for alarm.  After all, we are still basking in the afterglow of having the car repaired asap, even though it cut into three weeks food budget.  Goodbye Thanksgiving dinner.  Hello, ramen soup and bean burritos.*

Memo:  Concerned
To:  Interested parties (family)
From:  Bearer of bad news (me)
Subject:  Water bottle freezer test update
Date:  Nov. 5, 2014, pre-school pick up departure.
Four hours; water bottle same temp as before.  Packs of frozen peas and bananas smooshy.  Water frozen in bottle prior to malfunction discovery now beginning to thaw.

* Who am I kidding? No memos have actually gone out, but shit, what am I going to do now with no refrigerator?  I'm already days behind on my cooking-all-November-apalooza. The car just had to give out on me on Sunday.  How are we supposed to afford repair/replacement of a major appliance.  We just made the November tuition loan installment!!  All in the first week of the month! This is TOO MUCH. *

Memo:  Urgent
To:  Interested parties (family)
From:  Bearer of bad news (me)
Subject:  No more memos, you are sitting right next to me in the passenger seat!
Date:  Nov. 5, 2014, late afternoon

Screw it, here's the actual account:

*text*  Hey, I'm running about 10 minutes late.

*ring*  Mom's driving, what do you want?  She texted you she'd be late.  There was a lot of traffic leaving the school.  We are on our way.

*ring*  We are at the college, give us 5 more minutes. Oh, can you get mom a green tea, please?  No, nothing.

[enters vehicle]  Me: Hello.  How was your day?  Here's your coupon.
Son:  What took so long?
Me:  We ran out of printer ink so I had to ask Dad if he could print the form you wanted at work; we picked it up before coming to pick you up from work.  Did you need me to drop you off at the store that issued digital purchase points & savings coupon?\
Son:  Uhhh...
Me:  I'm dropping your sister off at the house.
Son:  Did you run errands.
Me:  No. (because reasons)
Son:  Hmmm...
New plan:

Me: I wasn't prepared this morning to run the errands that I hoped to because we were running late, and I was not properly dressed to run around town to buy grandma's groceries, or ours.  Call dad and ask if he could work a bit later since he missed work on Monday for the car stuff.  We can do groceries if he still needs to catch up on things.
Son:  [bug-eyed disbelief; exhausted from day at work]  Ugh. No, you were supposed to do that stuff while we were at work and school.
Me:  Well, I didn't. I figured, since you were out earlier than normal, that we could tackle all that stuff before picking up dad.
Son:  No.
Me:  I can drop you off that the store you have the coupon for; see what you can buy for yourself.  I'll head to Target for paper goods and a few of the things on grandma's list, okay. I can then pick you up, and I can stop to get the unseasoned rotisserie chicken for mom and the regular one for dinner for us. Then you can run into Vons for a must-haves power run.  Then, off to pick up dad at 5.  Sounds good?
Son:  Sure.

* Check.  Check, check. Check, check. Power check. Checkity, check. *

Husband pick up.

Me: Hey.
Husband: Hey.
Me: [treading lightly] The fridge is a bit wonky.  Nothings staying cold, and stuff is defrosting in the freezer.
Husband: [grunt/sigh] I'll check it when we get home.
Me:  Can we stop at gram's to drop off her chicken?
Husband: Yeah, no problem.

* Man, I'm glad I popped in The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack to listen to on the car stereo.  You know, soothe the savage beast. *

Home.  Mad rush to store groceries.  Still no change with refrigeration.  Husband tries to troubleshoot; locate homeowner's notes about warranties on ancient, crap appliances that appear to have been found on the side of a road which she decided to put in the house after terrible "enhancements" made on The Place by sketchy contractors.

Me:  So, game plan.  We don't have that much food in there; I could go to Target to buy a large ice chest and loads of ice,  If we need to, grandma's close enough and her fridge isn't fully stocked because I couldn't do her shopping earlier this week.  She said she could buy us the coolers.  Is that going to be okay? I can do that after dinner.
Husband:  Yeah, we'll see. [still troubleshooting situation]
Me:  Let me know what you decide.  Also, nag, nag, nag, nag, nag... and so on, and so forth.
Husband and I:  [Unpleasant dialogue; tensions high.]
Son:  I'm gonna apply for a loan from Best Buy for appliances, that old washer was leaking on Sunday, and the dryer is wasting energy.
Husband:  Hold off.  Go buy the cooler and ice.
Me:  How 'bout we buy one of those dorm refrigerators like College Girl had in her dorm last year.
Husband:  No, those don't get very cold. (Hotel stays have proven that fact.)
Me:  Okay son, let's go get the stuff.  I can go alone if you are too tired.
Son: I'm going.  You shouldn't be going out after dark in this town.

On tomorrow's Must Do task list:

  1. Take Bookstore Boy to Best Buy to see if he can qualify for a loan to purchase refrigerator.
  2. Replenish ice.
  3. Spend even more money eating fast food.
  4. Cross fingers all goes smoothly and in our favor.
It could be worse.  It could be worse.  It could be much, much worse.*

*November 2012, Husband, Bookstore Boy, our high schooler and two dogs were settling into relatives home. I, no longer able to stay at mom's apartment, stayed at a Hilton Express - having a full-on emotional breakdown.  With $.00 to our name; a newly acquired SNAP card, and much needed health insurance provided by County Public Social Services we were prepared to take action. November 5, 2012, husband was into his first job in two years, Kid in trauma from last few months preparing for eventual move, and I was beginning an unplanned two week long psychiatric hospital stay; finally after two years off my meds for bipolar disorder, restored course of treatment would finally bring with it relief... finger's crossed.

This link will direct you to a post from October 2012:  A very, very bad time.

Gotta admit, if you've stayed through the end of this post, I am impressed. Thank you for your time.

If I could effectively use my voice, whether in writing or otherwise, it would be in the area of teaching; specifically Montessori principles.  My wildest dreams would be to work in a Writer's Room, or try my hand at screenwriting - comedy writing. It's what I've relied on to feel a sense of normalcy my entire life. If I had any kind of education or degree in this area, I'd certainly pursue these endeavors... you never know, right.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

FOUND: Glimmers Of Happiness

Sometimes happy memories are hard to find.  And it's not because I'm aging, nor is it due to genetics approaching to rob my mind.  Distractions abundant and demands overwhelming; I'm tired and just need to sit and clear my head of all the things that consumed the day.  And as usual, it is now past 11:00 PM and I am just now starting to write my daily post for NaBloPoMo.  So here goes.

I couldn't find my memories... "favorite holiday memories."  I couldn't recall any particular one that stood out.  What was found in tiny glimmers were moments.  Moments of wonderment, joy, and awe.  I don't recall anyone snapping photographs of these moments; if there were any, I have no clue where to even begin to look.

A very large window; a small Christmas tree.  A bright orange bulb on a string; many more colors, blue, yellow, red, white and green.  Candles and tinsel sparkled and shined.  Mom, Grandma, Uncles, Cousins, and Aunts; we have all gathered together one winter night. ~ Age 3

The warmth of our breath appeared in the air.  In darkness a taxi arrived; "Mom, who is in there?"  Two Christmastime visitors with suitcases and hugs for us all.  Grandma and Pearl from San Francisco; now everyone else, came in from the cold, into our small cozy house. ~ Age 5

We were tucked in to sleep, and wait for St. Nick.  Then jingle bells sound and we rushed out of bed.  The air felt so cold, but we just had to run, to see what was outside... this was so much fun.  We knew we saw something; something high in the sky.  But we were quickly distracted by presents we spied. ~ Age 8

Quiet and simple, just five of us there. A Christmas tree and family recipes of sweet treats and spicy hot drinks. Mom, sister, her babies, and I, what more did we need. Peace on earth and goodness for all. ~  Age 21

A Christmas tree, charming and dear.  A railroad track and electric engine, from 'round did appear. A gift in a boxcar... a ring! He kneeled; spoke softly, and I answered, "Yes." ~ Age 26

No Christmas tree that year, but we had each other.  Just three short years ago; frightened and worried.  Three children grown, patient and kind.  A gift from a grandma, generous and kind.  "What would you like to do with this gift?" we questioned all three.  "Let's share a nice meal, that's all that we want."   This made our hearts ache; we praised them for caring.  It was a beautiful night filled with laughter and love... a most tender memory. ~ 2011


Below is my tiny effort to reverse effect stemming from my contribution made into the disappearance of all the mixed candy bags that I brought home leading up to Halloween.  None of which lasted anywhere near October 31st.

This Is Fifty With Lil Fitness Challenge
Ain't No Turkey Progress:  
Day   8:  11:56 30 sec wall sits; 30 sec plank
Day   9:  11:57 45 sec wall sits: 30 sec plank
Day 10:  
Day  11:  
Day  12:  
Day  13:  
Day  14:

Click here to view enlarged chart.

One of my favorite online catalogs is Title Nine, and I found out on Twitter that Ain’t No Turkey 30 Day Strength Challenge is underway, and I'm doing it... in the beginner category, of course.  Here's a little more information from Time Out With Title Nine blog:
  • For a PDF of the above chart, please click here.
  • Hashtag your progress using #AintNoTurkey, and share your story and photos on their blog.
Fun, right?  Let's do this.  Two minutes... here I go!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Let The Challenge Begin!

Wait.  I don't think I up for it. Sure, I've been blogging since 2009 - that first blog since deleted - and it's been a satisfying diversion.  But one thing I do not think I can genuinely claim is to say that I am a writer.  That string of words right there should be sufficient proof.  Mostly, I classify my posts as nothing more than typing practice; it's the one thing I've the most experience doing, and a skill that someone has actually paid me to do.  I like typing and I used to be consistently accurate and fast, so keeping this blog brings a sense of satisfaction in that it has allowed the opportunity to do something I've been relatively good at for a very long time.

Now, "the challenge."  Which challenge?  BlogHer's NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month - writing challenge where bloggers (no matter the level of experience) commit to post every single day.  I've participated in the few daily posting challenges in months leading up to November, but have been looking forward to taking part in this one because it's a bit more structured and it will test whether or not I have it in me to take things to the next level and be able to produce audience building content.

But in all honesty, I'm stumped.  Today's prompt is proving to be, well... a challenge.

Monday, November 3
Write about an amazing imaginary brand or organization you'd love to work with. What would their pitch to you look like? What would your post say?
There are a number of causes and organizations that inspire me to want to help bring a change for the better in whatever they endeavor, and I recognize the tremendous responsibility and teamwork that goes into running a successful brand.  I love the thought that someday one of my ideas may actually be shared and developed beyond being simply "the thing" in my heart and head.  I'd love to know that I have somehow had a positive effect on others - people I'll never meet.  But again, I don't know if I'll actually ever be up for it.  I can only hope there will be somewhere out there for me to give of my time, something purposeful and fulfilling; something worked towards for the good of all.  Time will tell.

The focus of my blog this month will be on aging, change, reflection, restoration, and moving forward.  So, if these topics peak your interest, please, check in every now and then.  And if it is not to much to ask, let me know how I'm doing here.  Submit questions and comments below.

Let's do this!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below is my tiny effort to reverse effect stemming from my contribution made into the disappearance of all the mixed candy bags that I brought home leading up to Halloween.  None of which lasted anywhere near October 31st.

This Is Fifty With Lil Fitness Challenge
Ain't No Turkey Progress:  
Day   8:  11:56 30 sec wall sits; 30 sec plank
Day   9:  
Day 10:  
Day  11:  
Day  12:  
Day  13:  
Day  14:

Click here to view enlarged chart.

One of my favorite online catalogs is Title Nine, and I found out on Twitter that Ain’t No Turkey 30 Day Strength Challenge is underway, and I'm doing it... in the beginner category, of course.  Here's a little more information from Time Out With Title Nine blog:
  • For a PDF of the above chart, please click here.
  • Hashtag your progress using #AintNoTurkey, and share your story and photos on their blog.
Fun, right?  Let's do this.  Two minutes... here I go!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Summing Things Up ~ November 1 - 2, 2014 *

You know, that day that starts off bad then ends up even worse?  That's been my day.  So, yeah.


Seems today was a bust, but yesterday was pretty nice.  Last week I enjoyed thoroughly.  It was good to be free of terrible dental pain that walloped me the week before; it is still a bit tender at the site, but much, much better.  Another mood booster was stepping on the scale and seeing a few pounds lost.  This is good... very good.

Winning tickets to a red carpet event was exciting, and I'm really glad I was able to spend Thursday afternoon with my sister anticipating the excitement of seeing favorite celebrities like Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Emma Watson, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Judi Dench, and director Mike Leigh.  All of whom were being honored for achievements in the entertainment arts and outstanding do-goodery.  I love British film and television, so it truly was something special for me to have a tiny glimpse into that world.  This made for a very nice week, indeed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below is my tiny effort to reverse effect stemming from my contribution made into the disappearance of all the mixed candy bags that I brought home leading up to Halloween.  None of which lasted anywhere near October 31st.

This Is Fifty With Lil Fitness Challenge

Ain't No Turkey Progress:  
Day  1:  11:58 pm; 30 second wall sits!  Whoa.
Day  2:  10:30 pm; 30 second wall sits.  Ouch.
Day  3:  11:53 pm; 46 seconds - wall sits.  Whew.
Day  4:  5 hours standing at Britannias red carpet event.
Day  5:  11:15 pm; 30 second wall sits. Wow!
Day  6:  11:57 pm; 30 second wall sits... long day.
Day  7:  11:59 pm; 31 second wall sits.  Knee pain.

Click here to view enlarged chart.

One of my favorite online catalogs is Title Nine, and I found out on Twitter that Ain’t No Turkey 30 Day Strength Challenge is underway, and I'm doing it... in the beginner category, of course.  Here's a little more information from Time Out With Title Nine blog:
  • For a PDF of the above chart, please click here.
  • Hashtag your progress using #AintNoTurkey, and share your story and photos on their blog.
Fun, right?  Let's do this.  Two minutes... here I go!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Life Reimagined progress has stalled a bit going on three weeks now. Health issues, automobile trouble, mom-care problems, the list goes on. Regardless, here's me keeping it real, a photo from 10:58 PM tonight.

Very, very real.
I still haven't given up hope though, and I refuse to abandon the notion of a truly carefree, purposeful, fulfilling life beginning at 50. I just have to convince myself that I deserve it.  I don't think I was ready for age 50, nor am I sure if I'm even doing it "right."  What I am willing to do is, explore the possibility of reinventing myself.  And what do you know, AARP has this really nifty website, Life Reimagined, designed to assist and guide you through obstacles that might be keeping you from confidently approaching what should be a purposeful, fulfilling chapter in your life at age 50 and beyond.  And that is exactly what you'll find me doing and sharing on my blog each Sunday.   So, come back. comment, visit my YouTube channel THIS IS FIFTY WITH LIL.  Let's talk and compare notes.

Please click here for more information.
I signed up for Life Reimagined beginning of October and find it is already helping me imagine the possibilities that lay ahead.  This makes me happy.  If you know of anyone in the AARP stage of life who is feeling a bit stuck, please consider sharing this website with them.*

*This is not a paid endorsement.

For more information go to:


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello November!

What a beautiful day it was in the Coachella Valley today! Crisp air, breathtaking blue skies, stunning white clouds that were gradually pushed along by dark, rain soaked grey ones.  The perfect day would have brought with it steady showers; perhaps tomorrow.

This month goals and challenges will test my resolve.  October 29, 2012 was the beginning of our family's period of restoration, where we still find ourselves today.  It's a process, and time will tell when this reality gives way to healing, then peace.  Everyday for the past two years  acceptance has been my focus; perseverance my intent, with gratitude guiding me along.  It's a challenge, one that I gladly accept.

Meeting goals that I've set for myself has not been an easy task, but I do make an effort, especially if these goals bring much needed diversion and contentment.  Reinventing my life will take some courage, and I'll have to dig deep to recover my sense of adventure that saw me through my younger years.  This I also gladly welcome.

Establishing some semblance of normalcy again will be tricky as children each decide when the perfect right time to venture out on their own comes.  One daughter has already mentioned her intent to remain in area of the country where she is currently enrolled in college.  Hopeful this will not be too arduous when our eldest and youngest prepare to break away, and that my husband and I can gracefully accept that this is simply a part of life

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

November Program:
  • Participate in NaBloPoMo by committing to write a daily blog post.
  • Make concerted effort to sort out The Place in preparation for holidays.
  • Commit to keep up with daily fitness plan.
  • Enjoy this season of gratitude and togetherness, and make best effort to spend more time with loved ones.
That's November 2014 in a nutshell.  Hope you will check in often.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below is my tiny effort to reverse effect stemming from my contribution made into the disappearance of all the mixed candy bags that I brought home leading up to Halloween.  None of which lasted anywhere near October 31st.

This Is Fifty With Lil Fitness Challenge
Ain't No Turkey Progress:  
Day  1:  11:58 pm; 30 second wall sits!  Whoa.
Day  2:  10:30 pm; 30 second wall sits.  Ouch.
Day  3:  11:53 pm; 46 seconds - wall sits.  Whew.
Day  4:  5 hours standing at Britannias red carpet event.
Day  5:  11:15 pm; 30 second wall sits. Wow!
Day  6:  11:57 pm; 30 second wall sits... long day.
Day  7:

Click here to view enlarged chart.

One of my favorite online catalogs is Title Nine, and I found out on Twitter that Ain’t No Turkey 30 Day Strength Challenge is underway, and I'm doing it... in the beginner category, of course.  Here's a little more information from Time Out With Title Nine blog:
  • For a PDF of the above chart, please click here.
  • Hashtag your progress using #AintNoTurkey, and share your story and photos on their blog.
Fun, right?  Let's do this.  Two minutes... here I go!


Thursday, October 30, 2014


OoooOOOO... OoooOooOooo... 

How's that for scaaaarrrry?

Another Halloween has come, and with it, another opportunity for me to skip dressing up.  I've only dressed up once as an adult.  In order to encourage my youngest child to join in on family candy-collecting fun, my seven year-old son was zombie patient, and I was creepy Nurse Helga to my daughter's Dr. Fun Stuff.  To break-up what we feared might be our five year-old's scheme of dressing up as a ballerina - forever - we somehow managed to convince her to let us smudge some "creepy" make-up on her face... you know, to keep with the theme.  It was work, but she did it.  Ugh, five year-old prima donnas!?

Here's a photo from that year after wet wipes were brought out to tackle make-up removal from little faces. I am conveniently cropped out of it.  CANDY TIME!

NaBloPoMo prompt for October 30, asks, "If you had unlimited resources and artistic skills, what would you want to be for Halloween?"  I'd just want to skip it all and get right to the candy-eating part.  *sigh*


Below is my tiny effort to reverse effect stemming from my contribution made into the disappearance of all the mixed candy bags that I brought home leading up to Halloween.  None of which lasted anywhere near October 31st.


My Progress:  
Day  1:  11:58 pm; 30 second wall sits!  Whoa.
Day  2:  10:30 pm; 30 second wall sits.  Ouch.
Day  3:  11:53 pm; 46 seconds - wall sits.  Whew.
Day  4:  5 hours standing at Britannias red carpet event.
Day  5:  
Day  6:
Day  7:

Click here to view enlarged chart.

One of my favorite online catalogs is Title Nine, and I found out on Twitter that Ain’t No Turkey 30 Day Strength Challenge is underway, and I'm doing it... in the beginner category, of course.  Here's a little more information from Time Out With Title Nine blog:
  • For a PDF of the above chart, please click here.
  • Hashtag your progress using #AintNoTurkey, and share your story and photos on their blog.
Fun, right?  Let's do this.  Two minutes... here I go!