Saturday, October 31, 2009


I never did drugs. It's a good thing too because I have enough flashbacks without having taken drugs in my youth.

Some of the flashbacks are whimsical (that was sooo much fun, let's do it again!), some are maudlin (gosh, i hate this feeling, why do i have to relive it?), some are downright scary (did I really do that?), some are tender (aw shucks!), some flashbacks leave a sting of bad memories (can I just crawl back into bed now, please?) and some serve as reminders of things that you never want to forget (oh yeah, that's why I/he/she did that).

I don't avoid flashbacks when they suddenly occur, I usually savor every second of their existence in my mind. They serve as stern warnings, gentle reminders, whispers of hope, a chance to relive something you wish hadn't ended and also as reality checks.

I have been sorting through pictures recently and all sorts of flashbacks have been flying through my mind. They come and go one right after the other, just like the real life events did. My kids grew up so fast.

But today I tasted a recent memory and it's sticking with me. It made me smile and I will savor it for a long while. And ponder it's meaning.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Around and Around We Go

The world isn't the only thing spinning.

Yesterday, I called Karynn and her phone had that special ring/beep that showed she was on the line, but she picked up saying she had been on the line with Kalen but had hung up as both said "That's Mom" (I had called before), about this time my boss called, but before I could catch his call Kelly called me, so I ended my call with Karynn and answered Kelly's call, but she said Karynn was calling her right then so we hung up and I called Kalen whose phone went right to voice mail so I left a message and Kelly called me saying her conversation with Karynn had ended quickly because Kalen was calling Karynn. Talk about playing telephone tag!
We laughed and laughed and I am still laughing...and maybe even a bit dizzy. I don't know what to say, except "You're it!"

Tommy Roe "Dizzy"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Freedom is Our Destiny

I am a Mom.  I am fighting for freedom. Who would have ever thought it would be necessary?

Not that fighting to protect our freedoms hasn't always been necessary, but we haven't typically needed to protect our freedoms from our President.

You have to wonder why we are sending young men overseas in an effort to protect freedom, but watching it disintegrate at home. Does he think we won't notice? Does he not notice the young men who are returning in coffins?

It's a new world, and I am a Mom, and a Grandma, and I am linking arms and fighting for freedom. Wake up, America and join the fight. (I blogged) (I replied) (I blogged) (I replied) (I replied)

Grab a computer and join in...

Or grab a table, link arms and climb time for dancing, but loons are welcome!

Freedom - it's our destiny. And it's our children and grandchildren's destiny too.

Robert Miles "Freedom"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Character - An Endangered Commodity

When young, being looked at by adults who were saying "She's a character!" never really phased me. Later in life I realized that being a character and having character are two very different things.

I am still a character, no doubt about it. And I am constantly working on my character, which is developed from the time you are old enough to know right from wrong and choose correctly - or not.

Being a person of character can have many interpretations, but to me it means being a person who is honest and forthright and courageous, someone who owns up to their mistakes and takes responsibility for their choices. A person of character is someone I respect.

Character takes a lifetime to build, but can be destroyed in a nanosecond. A man's character can be determined by the choices he makes when he believes no one else will know.

Living life honorably, with character, takes courage.

Courage seems to be a dwindling commodity these days, more and more youth choose to hide behind alcohol and drugs, in the shadows of their parents, behind their peers, in a cloak of mystery or a hood of denial.

Courage is a national treasure that is truly at risk.

Persons of character are quickly becoming an endangered species.

Character itself is an endangered commodity.

I know that my reaction to someone who acts with courage and honesty is much more positive than it would be to someone who behaves in a cowardly  and cavalier way. Especially in the face of life changing events.

People without character are selfish and self-centered.

I am grateful to know so many kind, generous, honest folks. Six of them are my children. They help me to strengthen my character every day.

Again, something I am very grateful for.

Build character. Tell the truth. Care about others. Choose wisely. Take responsibility.

And don't hide under a hood, or in a dark room, or behind a locked gate. It isn't funny. It isn't brave. It isn't kind.

If your character is lacking, fix it. Start making the right choices. If you don't respect yourself, how in the world can we?

Respect and character aren't free, they take work. You have to develop and earn both. And life will sort those with and those without in the blink of an eye.

We all love a character, but more importantly, we respect a person of character.

Find yours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Little Things

This morning I woke from a restful night's sleep (still wrapped in the warmth of my favorite quilt) to the gentle drumming of rain. Rain! I love the weather in New Mexico, but rain is not something we see a lot of, so this morning's rain was a welcome sound...and smell... and sight.

After making my bed, I shuffled my way across the room to dig through my closet for my favorite fuzzy slippers - the first time I have needed them since early 2009 - then tugged my favorite sweatshirt over my pj's and continued with a now-quicker shuffle over shiny hardwood floors and through my morning routine and into my cozy little kitchen.

A quick turn of the knob and a gas-induced flame danced from the burner of my not-so-new stove. I slid the bright red teapot over the flame and bustled around like a 1950's housewife.

After carefully slicing a bagel, I popped it into the toaster and took three steps to the left to open the refrigerator and grab two fresh eggs.

As I grabbed the nonstick frying pan, the teapot began its morning whistle and I poured steaming hot water over a ginger lemon tea bag in my Las Vegas Starbucks mug (a gift from my friend, Dee). Only a few minutes later the toasted raisin bagels popped up and I spread a thin layer of cream cheese across both while watching the hot frying pan.

Perfect eggs (fried in a dab of butter with a sprinkle of fresh garlic and green onions), a cream cheese raisin bagel, hot ginger tea, warm slippers, a comfy sweatshirt and the patter of rain.

Life doesn't get much simpler, or much better than that.

I guess maybe I would have loved being a 1950's housewife, but at least I am finally getting to do some of the little things I have never had a chance to just do and enjoy for their simplicity - the simple, little things that make me happy. The only thing that would make it better is someone to share it with. Family - a not-so-little thing.

In the end, that is what  matters - the natural things, the god-given things, the simple things. We spend so much of our lives working for things that really don't matter - fame, riches, excitement. Wouldn't it be something if the human race figured out that all those things can and should be found in the warmth of your own home, with your loved ones? It could be so simple, but we make it so hard.

Today I am especially thankful for the little things, and the not so little things. (the highlighted words are all of the simple things I enjoyed this morning, I plan to look for more simple joys all day today - maybe we all should!)

Good morning, world!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Warmth of the Sun

I am happy today.

I began my day in the peaceful warmth following study and meditation.

I walked in the warmth of the sun this morning.

I read the paper with the warmth of a mug cupped in my hands.

I worked in the warmth of my home all day.

I am looking forward to the warmth of my family this coming weekend.

I look to the future with a warm glow of hope for even better days.

I will end my day wrapped in the warmth of my favorite down quilt.

I will have the warmth of the sun within me tonight.

I am happy and warm today. I hope you are too.

Beach Boys "Warmth of the Sun"

Monday, October 19, 2009

FEAR (of the White House)

You know, I sleep with a gun near my bed because I sometimes get afraid at night (yes, I know how to use it). But today I had shivers of fear different than anything I can remember.

Our President, the man we  you elected to the highest office in the land of the brave and home of the free, the man you we should all be able to trust as the greatest protector of freedoms in the world, the leader supposed-leader of the free world, is launching an attack on FOX News.

I am not a regular viewer of FOX News, I prefer local news folks. But as of today, FOX News has a brand new fan - me. I will tune in constantly because I have the right to do so.

Shame on the President. Doesn't he have better things to do? The infomercials were bad enough, but this is beyond anything I could have expected - and recently I have been expecting the worst from this guy.

He is single-handedly trying to withhold the  basic freedoms we hold near and dear, beginning with Freedom of Speech. Who is this guy?  Does he even remember that he represents America, the people, us?

If the American people don't want to listen to FOX News, they won't watch it.

I didn't.

But now I do, because now I am really afraid, and not just at night.

America Is Me


Sublimation is the transformation of unwanted impulses into something less harmful.

The urge for chocolate transformed to a feast of mini-carrots.

The longing for a Coke becoming a tall glass of ice water.

The need for a nap turn ing into an energetic walk around the block.

The choice to be in dark places morphing into an enlightened desire to live brighter days.

The ache to play hooky downplayed to an extra long break that includes a treat.

The longing to take a day trip abbreviated into a walk to Starbucks.

The temptation to max out your credit card on an expensive item you don't really need translated into lunch at your favorite restaurant with your BFF's.

Poor choices eased into wisdom.

Unhealthy habits reshaped into wellness.

I am tempted to simplify the definition of sublimation to: When you can't have what you REALLY want, find something to get your mind off of the craving/loss/loneliness; substitute, sublimate and settle for second best. But that would be a bit cynical, wouldn't it?

Sublimation is the transformation of unwanted impulses into something less harmful.

It's always about  a choice, because that is what life is - one choice after another. The choice you are making today is often because of a choice you made yesterday.

Take note. You might want to make better choices today to make tomorrow a whole lot easier. Just think what today might have been if your choices yesterday had been different.

For now, I am hanging on to my choices and heading to Starbucks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

NSF: Insufficient Faith

It's been an ongoing battle in my life. Yes, I have had way too many NSF (insufficient funds) charges in my banking career, but I am talking about the OTHER NSF - insufficient faith.

Like many believers, I have had moments of true inspiration, even moments of revelation. And like a lot of people, I have had periods of insufficient faith as well. But just like in a bank account, new infusions of account-building or faith-building experiences can take care of the insufficient status and make us whole again. Sometimes we simply need to pay more attention, go through the checks and balances, and replenish.

I remember being about 7 months pregnant with my second child, healthy, happy, mucho preggo and taking a much-needed warm bath at the end of an exhausting day with a 16 month-old. It is a memory that is seared in my soul -one of the clearest thoughts of my life. It shot through my mind and body like a lightning bolt; the words couldn't have been clearer if someone had been looking me in the eye and speaking audibly: "You will survive if your baby dies."


The thought lasted about as long as it just took me to type it, but it's effect was more lasting than paragraphs telling me the same thing might have been. It was so quick that it shook me to the core and made its undeniable mark, yet left me without any lingering fear or concern. A fleeting, yet undeniable flash of truth, a spark of eternity that didn't register at the conscious level, but touched my spirit indelibly.

Six weeks later, after three normal doctor visits with my favorite (and only) OB-GYN - Dr. C. A. Anderson - I went in for what was expected to be my last office visit before delivering my baby in early August. Dr. Anderson probed and prodded, his nurses had weighed me and taken my temperature; this was routine to me by now. I was ready to head off shopping as soon as the wonderful doc squeezed my shoulder and winked, saying, "See you in the hospital in a few days."

But shopping didn't happen that day, or for weeks to come. The doctor, about the time he should have been squeezing my shoulder, was calling for his nurse. He had spent a lot of time on my very large stomach with his stethoscope and now was asking her to schedule an amniocentesis and ultrasound. STAT.

I looked at him, knowing immediately what was going on. He had asked me how long it had been since I had felt the baby move. It had been about 24 hours - which in the last weeks of pregnancy is not normal. I had already had some concerns over the past day, concerns that I buried deep down inside of me along with the flash of truth and spark of eternity.

There was no heartbeat. He confirmed it when I asked. He was sending me to the hospital where I was supposed to deliver a healthy baby in less than two weeks, but I was not going there that day to deliver a baby. He was sending me for testing to see if the baby was alive, if possibly he had missed the heartbeat. Unfortunately, as I had been prepared for six weeks earlier, his diagnosis was correct. There was no heartbeat. The cloudy amniotic fluid  which I saw in the long needle as it was withdrawn from my huge stomach proved it. No one needed to tell me a thing that day, I had been told six weeks earlier.

Two weeks later I delivered Katrina Leanne Avarell, a perfectly formed baby girl who never took a breath. Two weeks of waiting, daily blood tests to make certain the toxicity building inside of me was not to levels that would threaten my life, hourly prayers that labor would start on its own...and finally, on the day Dr. A. had determined he would induce me, my body let go.

As difficult as it was for me to carry my baby for two weeks, knowing there was no life inside of me, I believe it was more difficult for my family and friends. They didn't know what to say. They didn't know how to react. I still looked healthy and very pregnant.

People would say things to me if I went out in public, which wasn't something I wanted to do but I did have to visit the doctor every day: "When are you due? You look like you are ready to pop! Is this your first?" etc. How could I answer them? Often I didn't, but more often rather than make them uncomfortable, I gave a quick response as if all was well and moved on quickly. Needless to say, those two weeks were mostly spent out of the public eye, in fact, I was at my parent's home in Fontana - off the mountain - to protect my privacy and also to keep me within a reasonable distance of my doctor who was in Redlands, CA.

My Dad was my strength during this time. He took me to every doctor's appointment. He was the most tender I can ever remember him being. He was a big part of why I survived. He had been wallpapering the nursery when I was at the hospital for testing. He was wallpapering when I called with the news. My Mom was there too, babysitting Karynn who was 16 months old at the time. They didn't know what to say, what to do. My Dad finished the wallpaper. My Mom cuddled Karynn. And then they drove down the mountain with Karynn to meet me at their house, where I spent the next two weeks.

You might think that this would bring a couple closer together, and there is no doubt that my children's father was as sad as I was, but I have no memory of a shared grief, no lingering emotion of two people brought closer together through a shared tragedy. As I have come to recognize more and more about most things in my past life, this was a burden that wasn't shared. But I was able to do it because of my faith in God, in myself, and in the goodness of people who genuinely cared about me and my family. I wasn't ever really alone.

My faith was stronger during that devastating time than almost any other time in my life.

Disappointment, betrayal, dishonesty, deception, and cowardly behavior, by others and by me, have been the causes for moments of insufficient faith at other times in my life, but on August 2, 1978 faith prevailed. And I survived the loss of a daughter before she was even born, just as I was told I could six weeks earlier while soaking in a bathtub and enjoying the miracle of carrying one of God's children.

I delivered Katrina while wide awake. I experienced the full spectrum of labor, but at the end there was no baby to hold. I don't know what she looked like. I was told she was dark-haired, petite and perfect. I have no doubt.

A blood clot had formed in the umbilical cord sometime in the 24 hours prior to my last doctor's appointment two weeks earlier. No reason for the blood clot was ever determined. No reason needed to be.

Dr. Anderson walked into my room on the GYN floor of the hospital a few hours after he delivered Katrina (they had been sensitive enough to not keep me on the maternity floor). I will never forget the look in his eyes. He didn't say even one word, he just squeezed my shoulder and with tears in his eyes leaned down and kissed my forehead. Then he left. But as he left I heard him say in a gruff voice to the nursing staff outside my room, "Take damn good care of my OB patient."

I shared 5 more pregnancies and delivered 4 more healthy babies with Dr. Anderson. He had also delivered Karynn in 1977. Kalen, my last, decided in her now-well-known stubborn-style to do things her way and to come early and by emergency C-section, so unfortunately Dr. A. did not deliver her. But we had many laughs together after Katrina's heart wrenching delivery as Kurt, Kollin, Kyle, Kelly and Kalen grew inside of me and then entered the world.

Katrina is buried in Redlands, CA. Her Dad dedicated the marked grave. The LDS Church is not definitive on whether Katrina's spirit ever entered her body, but any birth mother will tell you that those tiny spirits are kicking ribs long before birth. Katrina's name is in our family Bible, as we were told it should be. She is part of an eternal unit. She is one of us. She is my daughter.

Insufficient faith may have threatened my foundation at many levels through the years, but it has never touched my belief in the absolute goodness, patient tolerance and unconditional love of a heavenly Father for all of his children.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Familes can be Together Forever - Piano

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Last Piece

I am almost there. My sense of humor has returned. My confidence has returned. My ability to see the world as it is - instead of through a fog of depression - has returned.

I laugh more. I smile more. I have the desired angle of wrinkles on my face - they go up, not down.

My emotions are finally surfacing, after being buried for most of the past 20 years. I care about things again. I care about people again.

I wonder what folks must have thought of me. It probably appeared as if I didn't care, or that I thought I was better than them. I am so sorry for that perception of me. I have no one to blame for that but myself.

My spirituality was in the dumps, my beliefs were on hold or disguised in another life, but now they are back in place again.

My mind is sharp again. It had been dulled by everything. I am making better decisions with less emotion and fewer knee-jerk reactions; life is beginning to make sense again.

The hurt was buried just deep enough to be hidden from view, but not deep enough to not be felt by me. Now it has surfaced and exploded and finally subsided. The damage was done, but no one died from it. We survived.

Money has always been a challenge, there has never been enough of it - and when there was a little extra I spent it on family trips or soccer clothes or guitar lessons or shoes. I am by no means rollin' in the dough now and I never will be, but I am OK and it will just get better every year.

Depression really does make you an island and it does it at exactly the time you should be surrounded with love. I withdrew by location, I withdrew by focusing elsewhere, I withdrew by talking to people on the internet who could not see or know the real me. I could pretend to be happy there. But I am here now. And I no longer have to pretend. The fog is lifting, for real. I have always somehow managed to be positive and upbeat, but in bed, alone at night, or in the middle of the day when I am overwhelmed, it hasn't always been easy.

I lost so much during those times when I lacked focus - not just minutes or days, but years - a decade and more. Time I cannot recapture. Time with my children when they were young. Time with my children as they grew up. Time that can never be repeated. This is the greatest loss of my life. And definitely a loss I never wanted.

But now I want to lose something; my weight, the final piece. Adios Cherry Garcia.

It's been a long ride with small incremental triumphs along the way. The sunglasses came off a decade ago and my eyes sparkled again. The laugh returned about 5 years ago and my countenance changed physically as a result. The deepseated spirituality of my youth has returned and my life is brighter. Now the body needs to remember how it feels to be healthy.

It's finally my turn. It's time to finish the puzzle of Jeannie.

This won't be easy either, but it will be worth it.

The last piece...for my lasting peace.

I can hardly wait.

Cat Stevens "Peace Train"

Darwin Schmarwin - Survival isn't All it's Cracked up to Be

"Survival of the fittest" - a phrase most often attributed to Charles Darwin, but not really his own, seems to declare a victory of sorts. According to Darwin's theory, those who are most suited to their environment are the most fit to survive.

The ability to survive in the worst circumstances has been emotionally depicted in the true personal diary of Anne Frank, a journal of survival that was written while she and her family were in hiding from the Nazi's during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. It is an amazing story of courage.

In today's world, survivor has become anonymous with ribbons - pink ribbons for breast cancer, yellow ribbons for prisoners of war, red for HIV, and over the rainbow we go.

I have been called a survivor on many occasions. Not from a life-threatening disease, but from "the vicissitudes of life" to use the words in my patriarchal blessing when it references the challenges of life that I will face.

But I don't feel courageous; I would never compare myself to Anne Frank. And I am not adorned with ribbons, although if I had to choose a color it would be green - for new life, new hope, new beginnings.

So that leaves the option intended by Darwin of being 'most suited to my environment' and I beg to differ. I was not suited to be a single divorced unemployed mother.

I didn't plan to be a single mother. I never planned to be divorced. I would never have dreamed that I would have to live mouth-to-mouth while raising six kids. And more importantly, I wasn't prepared, or trained, or ready to do any of that, but it happened and I survived, and it does not mean that I was suited to that environment.

I survived because I had to, there wasn't another option. I am still on that same course.

Yes, I raised six kids - but while raising them, I was raising myself - even though I was an adult. I had never had to take care of myself. I had never had to earn a living. I had no education, no formal training, not enough financial support to even mention with 6 kids to raise, an understandably withdrawn pre-divorce in-law family, a not-sure-what-to-do immediate family, a few friends who called to ask how things were and help when they could, and a lot of friends who had their own lives to deal with and never bothered.

And because I was ill-suited for my environment, I made a lot of mistakes. Poor judgments about money, partners, even my kids. I suffered from depression through it all too, something I have just recently figured out. I never had time to stop and think about it until now. Idle time produces a lot of thinking, at least for me, and all kinds of revelations have been coming forth in the past year that I have been an "empty nester". It's a bit scary but very exciting too. Things that never made sense, suddenly do. Behaviors I could never understand are suddenly transparent. The me I used to be is finally returning. I should celebrate; someone's been found who has been missing for nearly 20 years. Me!

So the reality is that I was definitely not suited for my environment, so much so that I had to bury the real me to survive. Oh sure, I have always been here, and the person who made it through the past 20 years is part of who I am, but me - Jeannie Baugh - the happy, confident, bright-eyed redhead who loved and laughed and lived life with her family in tow - she was lost for a long time.

I may have adapted to my environment, but I was never suited for it and I wasn't fit for it either. I was a fish out of water, and not much has changed today, although I am slowly becoming exactly who I thought I was and who I want to be. And the best part? I like me!

'Survival of the fittest' has some merit, but it makes a very large assumption about reality.

My reality is simple. I raised 6 kids on a dime, or maybe a few dimes. Mostly my dimes and sadly, some of the kids dimes too. And finally, after all these years, I can see that.

I became a chameleon to fit into whatever environment I had to in order to survive. I only gave up my deep-seated principles in acts of depressed desperation a few times as my marriage was falling apart and as I was trying to grasp the reality of being a single Mom with six kids. Those few times were a cry for help or a plea for attention that went unnoticed, and those few times have been regretted and repented many times over. No one can beat us up more than our own consciences. I hope to rid myself of those old memories soon; they are fading more every day. But the reality of the fallout from our ill-suited situation never will.

But I survived, and lived a life of quick smiles and shallow laughter - EXCEPT when it came to my kids. They were always why I did anything, although sometimes I am certain that was not easy to always see. I laughed and smiled and enjoyed them more than anything else in life, I still do. They are my reason for still being here. They are the reason I chose to survive.

But choosing to survive and making good choices aren't necessarily synonymous. I was running around before and after the divorce trying to balance family with work with church while their Dad worked and played hard, often absentee when I was around, but almost always there when I wasn't. What I didn't realize - to my detriment - is that my kids were dealing with everything that I was - all those things that were making me feel as if life was slipping away from me - plus one added challenge, they were also dealing with an absentee Mom.

I was too short-sighted and too self-absorbed to realize that my 'fueled-by-depression avoidance behaviors' were simply adding one more thing to the pile of issues that were being dumped on six innocent kids. And they didn't know what to do about any of it. They just jumped in together and swam frantically upstream. And thankfully, with only a few mishaps, they survived.

It isn't me that was hurt the most by all of this, it was them. They were short-changed even more than I was. Our lives were stolen from us and we never got them back. Ever.

Suited to their environment? Suited to my environment? I don't think so.

Surviving isn't the way to live life; after all, surviving is exactly that - surviving. It isn't living.

Thankfully my kids have one-by-one found life after their broken childhoods. When I look back and think of all the things I didn't do that could have helped to lessen their load, I always cry. A lifetime of sorrow can't fix it, but that green ribbon mentality has given them new lives with amazing spouses and darling children. They are my heroes in life.

So now, for me, it's time to finally close the door to the past and start living again. It's a process, the door isn't slamming shut, it's creaking closed slowly, but I really hope I am up to the task; a lot of life has been lost - my life, their lives - do to betrayal, depression, and being ill-suited for the environment and I don't want to lose another minute.  I hope to have many years ahead of me and I have not only kids, but grandkids (and me!) to live life with and for. It's way past time to do that.

So, we are all survivors, me and my kids. After all (and no thanks to Darwin), whether we were suited to the environment or not - what choice did we have?

I would never choose to be well-suited for an environment of betrayal, heartbreak, confusion, hurt, pain, depression, abandonment and divorce. I wouldn't choose that for anybody. And none of us chose it.

We chose to move on and move forward. We survived and will continue to survive. And thank God for that.

I am done with the past.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Prayer Works

Life just improved dramatically.

I am mouse free. Not a single dropping or sighting  in over a week.

How did this miracle happen? After a MONTH of sleepless nights, near-laryngitis from Native American chanting, tearful prayer and lots of aerobic activity in the kitchen -  we plugged the holes in the laundry room!

Yes, you read that correctly. We plugged the holes in the laundry room! The SAME holes, I must state, that I pointed out the very first time the bug/mouse guy came to the house. The very SAME holes that he said were not mouse holes.

ALWAYS get a second opinion!

Suddenly I can sleep. I can cook again. I can WALK into my kitchen...silently.

No more clogging. No more chanting. No more Native American prancing.

No more mice! For now they are only a memory - I hope they stay there.

Prayer works! And the poison bait and toxic putty foam didn't hurt either.

CATS - the musical "Memory"

Elaine Paige - Memory

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

15 Minutes to Eternity

Most cravings last no longer than 10 - 12 minutes, or so says Dr. Oz. Explain that to those folks with the 24/7 cravings - you know chocoholics, alcoholics, drug addicts, sexoholics, etc.

That aside, this Dr. Oz revelation means that in order to eat healthy, remain sober, be chaste or live honorably, we need to master ourselves for 15 minutes (max) at a time, with 3 minutes leeway at least. Really?

Wow, this is doable!!!

I am not saying that it's fool proof and I am not minimizing the real challenge of severe addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, and other behaviors, but I am saying that this knowledge can be huge if we use it! It's one step in the right direction.

Often we try to take on everything at once, we want to swallow the whole thing, not take manageable bites, we want to run the entire race flat out, not pace ourselves or even take baby steps.

Would we try to run a 5K after not running for months or even years? Well, if we did we might collapse of cardiac arrest, but it's just as likely that we would give up. We would simply step out of the race, catch our breath and go out for a burger.

Cravings need to be approached like a 5K race. We need to work up to them slowly, methodically and with a plan for a long term goal that consists of smaller daily (or hourly or 15 minute long) attainable goals.

We may have a seemingly unmanageable craving for something on a regular basis, but instead of thinking - I cannot EVER have that again, we need to adjust our thinking to the next 15 minutes, for example, I can live without chocolate for 15 minutes.

Funny thing, once the 15 minutes are over, your craving should have long since disappeared. And while you are getting through those 15 minutes, do something positive - walk, get some fresh air, drink a glass of water, call a friends, send a long overdue email or letter.

The good news is that within 15 minutes after a craving has hit, it's long gone without being satisfied. The bad news is that 15 minute cravings can hit several times in a day, so be prepared.

The application of this simple process to more serious decisions than whether or not to have a Hershey bar is just as important, if not more. Temptations in life extend beyond food, which  affects your physical, emotional, and psychological health, but carnal temptations affect your eternal well-being.

15 minutes can make or break a diet, but they can also determine your eternity.

15 minutes to say no.

15 minutes to say yes.

15 minutes to do something else.

15 minutes to admit a mistake.

15 minutes to say you're sorry.

15 minutes to pray.

15 minutes - they can seem like an eternity. Maybe they are.

Make them count for good.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cloggers Ain't Got Nothin' On Me

I am certain my children have memories of me dancing and singing around the house, it's something I have always done - in spite of the very evident fact that I am not talented in either singing OR dancing.

However, I highly doubt that even my children who have seen me prancing around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music would believe what I am doing these days. Every day, several times a day.

Since we are still dealing with the mouse issue, I have put out poisoned bait for the little critters in several places (well, the exterminator guy has - I am too paranoid to even think about touching anything related to a mouse). One place he put the bait is on the floor beneath some pantry shelving. This shelving is open to the kitchen and not hidden behind some lovely slatted pantry door, but I call it pantry shelving anyway. It makes me feel more high class.

Last week,  when I wandered innocently into my high class kitchen, I disturbed a little feast that was going on (exactly what we want, but exactly what I don't want to be part of). My sudden appearance, brazenly walking right into my kitchen without warning, disturbed the two mice who were gnawing on the cube of poisoned grain and off they ran - in two directions - sending me into a piercing scream as I retreated as if the place was on fire, arms waving, heart thumping, nearly tripping over my own feet. It should be funny, but it wasn't.

So now, to avoid any surprises I start stomping my feet and yelling (think: Indian Rain Dance Chanting) before I even set one foot in the kitchen. Honestly, I start stomping about 4 feet down the hall, just to give them a warning so they can scamper away without me seeing them. And I no longer look down. Mice are quiet, so if you don't see them, you rarely know they are there. (I know they are there, but I am sooo trying to be in denial so that I can sleep at night, etc.)

Anyway, back to my version of the Indian Rain Dance. It's a vision, I know. Moi - stomping, ranting, flailing and looking to the heavens every time I walk into my kitchen. It's a reality and a memory no one should have to deal with. Kind of like some people feel about clogging...

Anyway, needless to say, I am eating out a lot. The kitchen has become exhausting and scary.

But I must add that we (the exterminator - Gary - and I) are getting them; I no longer find droppings in other rooms of the house. I think we are down to these last two and if I keep dancing and screaming and stomping I have no doubt that they will skittle out of the kitchen for good....kind of like my kids did so very long ago.

The exterminator comes tomorrow. But I am gonna keep dancing anyway.

I am looking to the heavens even now in gratitude...hiyaheyalaleyheyayahayahihayaya. Stomp.


American Indian Chant

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Yep, I am gonna talk about me.

I am now 55, but I really haven't changed much since I was 5.

I am still a redhead - although I need a little help on that.

I still have blue eyes - and am still told they are my best asset. My Dad called me Twinkle because of my eyes even when I was young.

I still sleep on my side - and wiggle my foot to go to sleep.

I still think of myself as the little girl would climb into her bed on Home Street in Rialto and tuck way under the covers...I still do that.

I still think of myself as the preteen young lady who would try on at least four outfits EVERY morning before settling on something I liked and then walking to Frisbie Junior High School...I still try on (or at least consider - age makes you less anxious to fully try things on) at least four outfits every morning before starting my day.

I still think of myself as the promising teenager and young adult who could have done anything she wanted with her life...I am still that person, I still believe that I can and will do anything I want to. I've just had a few stumbling blocks along the way and my timing is beginning to look a bit iffy. What I want to do is what has shifted a bit, not my belief that I can do it.

I still think of myself as the young married mother with children on her lap, hanging onto her legs and cradled in her arms...I am still that person; it's just that the children grew up. Now I savor the moments when I have grandchildren at every appendage.

I still imagine myself as thin and fit - well, I can't say that I am either thin or fit, but I do have that image in my mind so it's only a matter of time. I am still that person, only hidden beneath some unwanted layers of self-loathing.

I still love life.

I still love to laugh.

I still love to be outside.

I still have to be careful in the sun.

I still enjoy a Coke every now and again.

I still have a curiosity for anything new.

I still love to write.

I still love family.

I still love to decorate my home.

I still love the jewel tones.

I am still me, all the things below are things that haven't changed about me over the years:

I love my friends.

I love to keep busy.

I love naps.

I love denim.

I love casual.

I love to take walks or go on a hike.

I love the mountains.

I love the beach.

I love Indian Summer.

I love a slight breeze.

I love to entertain.

I love to cook for a crowd.

I wish I could sing, or play the piano, or paint.

I wish I had a horse.

I am a cowgirl at heart.

I love cowboy boots and hats.

I love live music.

I love outdoor concerts.

I love to read.

I love good restaurants.

The flag passing by still makes me cry.

I can't watch a parade without tearing up.

I can't watch children excelling or being recognized without balling like a baby.

I can't watch anyone or anything that is truly amazing without wiping my eyes.

I am still a hopeless romantic.

I still believe the glass is half full.

I still believe people are inherently good, not the other way around.

I am still gullible and trust blindly when I should know better.

I still forgive instantly.

I still have trouble forgetting past pain, but I act as if it isn't there.

I still spend every extra dime on my kids - only now it's to travel to see them.

I still live on a shoestring budget.

I still wonder at the generosity of some and the stinginess or thoughtlessness of others.

I am still happy, with only brief moments of sadness or loneliness or despair or even fear.

I still fight hereditary depression every day of my life.

I still wake up excited about a new day.

I am still happy. Period.

I am still me.

Fifty years hasn't changed me a whole lot. I have more Wrinkles, the slow creeping Weakness that comes with age, and I am Wornout at times, but along with all of that comes an earned Wisdom - the four W's of age.

But the bottom line is that I am still me. Jeannie with wwww. Just older.

I often think about the older folks who are in homes - they are still the little girl or boy that used to climb trees and race down the street and play kick the can - just weak, wornout and wrinkled.. And all too often, we don't look beyond the physical attributes to find the wisdom or to see the twinkle that may still be in their eyes.

Why is that? I wonder if it's because it scares us, somewhere in our subconscious we know that we are moving toward a similar state of wrinkles and weakness and being worn out.

Sometimes I think about how my kids must think of me - some of them don't even remember me as thin and fit, or even sane and wise, and yet that is the only way I can see myself - unless of course I am forced to look in a mirror or examine some of my past choices.

I want them to know the real me, so I guess I better show them the real me.

I can't do much about the wrinkles, but just a few changes in my life will help the  weight and weakness and being worn out. Although mentally and emotionally there are some things in my past that  I will never have the energy to revisit again, and I think that's a good thing. Opening old wounds is painful and sucks the energy right out of us.

As for the wisdom, it's a slow process for me. I seem to have mastered the art of learning through failure. So many choices I have made were not necessarily wise, according to conventional wisdom, but they were necessary due to circumstances no one but me will ever know or understand. This is a tough one. It's so easy to look at another person who has affected your life sometimes in a negative or damaging way and be critical and judgmental. I know I have done that. As for how my children look at me, I guess I will just hope that after I am gone they will see some exercised wisdom in my life.

It's the best I can do. And it was the best I could do at those times, in those circumstances, with the often-drained emotional, physical and financial resources I had at the time.

And that is yet another thing that hasn't changed. I do my best, and if I fall short in someone's eyes, the fall out is something I can't worry about. I simply don't have the energy. I never have. I own my mistakes, but I also own that I am human and imperfect. And I prefer to look forward, not back and to focus on positive, not negative. Sometimes life drags me kicking and screaming down memory lane, but I avoid those trips at all cost. That's not who I am, or even who I was. It's someone else's life that affected mine.

I can only be me. And thankfully, just like when I was five, fifty years later at fifty-five I don't want to be anyone else.

After all, Grandmother's are Just Antique Little Girls.

And I still have a twinkle in my eye.

Toby Keith "I Wanna Talk About Me"

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It's a serious equation and one that I plan to solve: 55 at 55 in 30.

55 pounds. 55 years old. 30 weeks.

That's the plan. Follow my progress at or better yet, join me!

First meeting tomorrow, followed by the gym - wish me luck!

Adios mi amor.

Good-bye my BFF.

Hasta la vista Cherry Garcia! And adios!

Miley Cyrus "Goodbye"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lists of Lists

It all started with a list.

I began my day with a Weight Watcher approved breakfast. I followed my nourishment with a 20 minute walk. Two check marks.

I made my bed. One check mark.

I fed Doodle. One check mark.

I showered and dressed for the day. Two check marks.

I have emailed and called and followed up and confirmed and reaffirmed and organized a small event that our company is hosting tomorrow night. Six check marks times 30.

I have mailed boxes of stuff to hither and yon. Two check marks.

I washed, dried, folded and put away sheets and towels and other laundry. Three check marks. At least.

I worked on a grant proposal. One HUGE check mark.

I returned some items that were purchased over the weekend. One check mark.

I rebalanced my budget based on recent changes in expenses and income. One check mark.

I picked up the company mail. One check mark.

I made dinner (and ate it) per Weight Watchers guidelines. One check mark.

I did the dishes. One check mark.

I fed Doodle. One check mark.

I walked Doodle. One HUGE check mark.

I am headed to an early bed...I checked my list - twice or more - and I am done.  One check mark.

Well, I am almost's time to make my list for tomorrow. Checking the check marks.

Going through past days lists to make certain I didn't miss anything. One check mark.

Birthdays? Anniversarys? Phone Calls? Bank Deposits? Lunch Appointments? Check, check, check, check, check...

Meds? Exercise? Check, check...

Making a list of lists. CHECK!

I have lists of lists.

I think it all will end with a list. Or, will it ever end?

Not sure, let me check my list....