Sunday, June 27, 2010


Well, we have been driving for two days and have made it to Sooth Carolina.  I must say that, as a result of being stuck in a van with four sons and a husband for hours at a time, there have been multiple moments when I have have closed my eyes and envisioned taking a vacation all by myself next year.  There has been arguing, yelling, hitting, annoying, tattling, whining, throwing, crying, complaining and threatening.  We even managed to lose Elijah's shoe somewhere in Tennessee (which means a trip to K-Mart in the morning).

Even worse than the car ride, though, is the arrival at the hotel.  No matter how many times we tell them that people may be sleeping in their rooms, my boys run, screaming down the hallways.  In spite of our insistence that the hotel room is a designated calm area, they jump from bed to bed, throw pillows at each other, wrestle, yell, hide in the closet, bang on the walls and slam the door.  Within ten minutes of entering a hotel, my stress level is at an all time high.

However, both the towns of Lexington Kentucky and Asheville North Carolina have offered free, fun, awesome  places where my kids could burn off their energy, and where I could re-connect with those loving feelings that made me want kids in the first place.  What both towns have had are public fountains that people can play in.

Yesterday Lexington was HOT!!!!  When we rode into town it was a sultry 93, and at 8:00 PM it had gotten down to a stifling 89.  We bought ice cream and found a park where the kids could run around - but after a short time we were all feeling just plain hot, sticky and dirty.  We decided to drive out to see some of the famous Kentucky Horse Stables - but we never got that far, because, as we were driving through town, we saw IT.  The first thing to draw our attention were some absolutely beautiful horse sculptures:

But, it was what we saw behind the sculptures that was really exciting.  There was a huge fountain, and the fountain was full of people!  We immediately pulled over, and jumped right in.  It was so cool and refreshing, and the sweltering Kentucky day was transformed into a beautiful, sultry Kentucky evening.

We played in the fountain until after dark, happy and laughing, then returned to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

Today we found a similar joy in Asheville.  We went out for ice cream, and the shop owner said that there was a fountain downtown where kids could play.  Since my husband and I were at the ends of our ropes, we hightailed it to the downtown area.  And there, in a village green surrounded by mountains, were streams of water shooting out of the ground.  The children rushed over and played, again, for hours.  

So, not every moment of traveling with family has been beautiful and wonderful, but the joyful moments have made up for the miserable ones - tenfold.  Tomorrow, its more driving (uuurg).  But then we will reach our final destination - The Ocean.  I expect that will make up for everything.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Packing - Gotta Love It

All of my boys and I will soon be embarking on a two week camping/ road trip.  It is going to be wonderful!  We will travel between 4 and 6 hours a day over a three day period, finally arriving at Hunting Island South Carolina - where we will tent camp on the oceanfront for ten days.  During our return trip, we plan to visit an old friend (which will take care of letter V on my things to do list), and then we will stop to see Mammoth Cave National Park.

It sounds so absolutely perfect, and I can't wait to get going - but it also requires quite a bit of preparation and packing, which I definitely despise.  I have been working for days on making sure we have enough stuff to make our trip comfortable and enjoyable - but not so much that we will be surrounded by unnecessary clutter.  I have been trying to remember every single necessary item so that we will not have to buy things during the trip, but keep the amount of luggage small so it can easily fit into our van.  I have worked and worked on packing in a way that is complete without being overwhelming.

So I made, remade and revised my list of absolute necessities - then crossed off items that were not essential (such as Marko's Barrel Full Of Monkeys).  This list making is what started my negative packing mood. Thinking about the potential need for each item on my list, and then prioritizing each object based on the possible number of times it would be used was making my brain hurt.
Packing list for trip
 I then pulled out all of our camping gear so that I could inventory what we had, what still worked, and what needed to be replaced.  Upon opening a bin that holds camping gear from past excursions, I quickly realized that things had been put away while still damp last year.  The musty smell gave me a headache, and the extra work involved definitely increased my bad temper.

I then decided that I would need to fit everything into a certain number of bags and bins to make this whole loading the car thing go smoothly.  This ended up causing additional problems because the final 'absolutely necessary' items on my list did not fit into my self imposed number of vessels - and it was back to the drawing board.
In retrospect, I admit that this next part may have been partially my fault.  I was sick of packing and sick of thinking about packing.  I was experiencing a general state of ill humor.  I was replaying in my mind an 'anti-preparing for this trip' sentiment.  My brain was pushing against my skull, my eyelids and forehead were sore from the furrowed, squinting expression on my face - my composure and patience were gone. Then, unfortunately for him, in walked my husband.

I came at him with both barrels loaded.  I began listing all of the things I had packed - and he, sensing the danger of the situation, quietly nodded as I spoke.  I, however, was already too far gone.  I was looking for a fight - any fight - and that husband of mine is always the perfect target.  Had he made a suggestion about some important item I was overlooking, I would have gone crazy on him - I would have accused him of being insensitive to all of the hard work I had done, and I would have told him that maybe next time he should do it all himself.  But, he didn't make any suggestions - he kept his lips tightly sealed.  Because of that, I went crazy on him.  I said that I was simply trying to get some input about what important items I may have overlooked, and accused him of being insensitive to the fact that I was looking for some small bit of assistance.  I told him that I had hoped for just an inkling of insight into his vast camping experience.  I shook my head while complaining under my breath (but loud enough to be heard) that I would be better off taking this trip on my own.

Then something important happened.  It was like an out of body experience - I saw myself yapping away,  finding anything to whine about so that I could unload all of my packing related anger and frustration.  I saw my husband standing there taking whatever I was dishing out because he has been through this before, and knows from experience that there is nothing to do but ride out the storm.

At that point I made a conscious decision to stop being a  packing hater, and that decision changed everything.  I halted my attacking and complaining, took a deep breath, and adjusted my view.  Instead of seeing this trip preparation as annoying, pesky, bothersome, hateful work, I resolved to view it as an exciting challenge - as a gift to myself and my family while looking forward to a wonderful time together.  I modified my attitude, smiled, and tossed Marko's Barrel Full Of Monkeys into the camping bin.

My husband was still looking worried and skittish for a while, waiting for me to blow my top again, but after some time of working side by side, he began to appear comfortable with the validity of my new attitude - and before I knew it we were smiling, laughing, packing, anticipating and planning together.  Now, with the happy preparations coming to a close, I am feeling a close partnership and a familial joy at the beginning of this journey.

I'm not making any promises, but when I start feeling overcome by annoyance - I am going to try to remember to focus on working towards a wished-for goal, and approaching that work as a positive, desirable, enjoyable means for achieving my objective.  I will also work on setting targets that will bring heightened happiness and peace into my life.  It's all about attitude.
Our BIG happy family

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Now that it is summer, I have figured out that somewhere in between sitting and reading, writing, going to the pool and the beach, walking my dog, working on my garden and watching "So You Think You Can Dance," I can devote about 30 minutes a day to housework.  I can hear your shock from here.  You are amazed, wondering what my secret is, how I manage to keep my house clean and organized in only 30 minutes a day.  Well, the secret is, I don't.  My house is a mess.

In addition to that, there is quite a bit of work to be done on my bathroom.  The eight people in my house share one bathroom - and there are two soft spots on the bathroom floor where the subfloor needs to be replaced.  also, it is a very small bathroom, and the door swings in towards the toilet, making it seem even smaller.  My idea was to turn the door around so that swings out of the bathroom, opening up the space, and to then patch and re-tile the floor.

about six weeks ago, with the best of intentions, my annoying and not-so-handy husband surprised me by beginning the work on out bathroom.  He did two things - he removed the bathroom door and he put a piece of wood on top of the soft spots so that nobody would fall through and break their ankle.  I was shocked and pleased by his effort, and excited to see the next step.  Well, I am still excited to see the next step because we still have a piece of wood on the floor and we still have no door on our bathroom (which, at least, has made us a much closer family).

But this story gets better.  My husband, who has a knack for overlooking messes and repair projects, invited actual people over to our house.  I'm not talking about little boys who run around and tear things up anyway, and therefore appreciate the fact that they can't make the mess much worse than it already is - but actual adult people.  I am also not talking about inviting them to come to the front door to pick up an envelope - I'm talking about actual adult people who would come into our house and socialize - and who might, at some point in the visit - need to use the bathroom.  And my husband, bless his heart, doesn't see what the issue is.

O.K., so this fatal visit is scheduled to occur TODAY, and, surprise surprise, there is still no door on my bathroom, and my house, while progressing towards less than messy than usual, isn't there yet.  Plus, my plan to entertain in the yard with iced tea, cookies and light jokes about the lack of repair skills on the part of my husband looks doubtful due to the torrential rainstorm occuring outside my window as I write.  Oh well, the good news is, days like this always provide for good stories.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Better tag

Horray for summer!  Hooray for long days, glorious weather, and HAVING to be no place at no particular time.

When I was a kid, summers were spent swimming and playing at The Park Forest Aqua Center - and my children are following in that tradition.  We lay around the house, lazy as can be, until noon - and then we head for the pool.  It's great because my boys can just live in their swimming suits.  They put them on for the first time a few weeks ago, and never took them off. Now they wear them to bed, in the shower, out to restaurants, everywhere - then they get up in the morning all ready for the pool.  No more putting laundry away for me!!!!

Here's a treat for you.  It's like a mini "How I Spent My Summer" slide show kind of thing:

Life just doesn't get much better than that!  Plus, in my two first days of summer break, I have already managed to have some new ideas, new insights and accomplishments.

First of all - I accomplished something off of my ABC Things To Do Around Here This Summer list.  S is for Sit in a Pool - and I did that!!!!  I still need to get my photo proof - you see, my annoying, and electronically stunted husband, can't manage to point the camera in the direction of his subject and then push the button - so, I'll have to get someone else to take the picture for me.  However, I don't need proof, I know in my heart that letter S is complete.

Now for the new idea.  I have a new summer exercise - and it's awesome.  POOL TAG!  To all you boring, non-tag playing adults out there - you suck!  Playing tag with kids is so much more fun and so much more satisfying - and playing it in a pool adds complexity and dimension to the game (plus, my extra weight and weak knees don't hold me back).  I can out swim all those little kids!!!  I am the tag queen!!!  And what a workout!

Finally, the new insight.  I have come up with a solution for a problem I know many of us face.  With age comes the need to take vitamins on a daily basis, right?  Well, with vitamins comes yellow urine, right?  OK, so, nobody wants to get out of the pool in the middle of a hot game of tag - but there is the issue of the obvious yellow cloud in the water.  Well - I have the answer.  When you gotta go, grab some young child - any little kid will do. Hold them in front of you and act like you're playing with them.  This way - when you pee, people will assume it's the kid  - and nobody blames a little kid for peeing in the pool.  GENIUS!!!!!

Well, guess I had better start another summer day.  I'm considering a shower - I don't know, though.  We'll see what the day brings.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Break!!!!

Oh Yeah!  It's officially summer break!

So, the absolute best thing about being a teacher is summer break! (That is, other that the kids......That's for all the parents who might be offended that the best thing about being a teacher is summer break.)   At exactly 3:07 this afternoon, my final day of professional development week ended, and my Summer break officially started.  This was after I was honored as one of the four All Star Teacher's of this year, and forced to watch a training video in which I was featured, and in which I looked like a complete idiot!  (I think I had better keep writing, because I clearly don't have a future in film).

Anyway - 3:07 rolled around, and I was outta there - I ran from the building, jumped into the air while clicking my heels together, and sat in traffic for two hours!  But I am home now, and ready for 9 weeks of relaxation.

Last year I made a long summer to do list.  Unfortunately, over the 9 week period, I only accomplished two things on my list:  sleeping and reading.  So, this year, it's a little bit different.

If you recall, I learned all about writing ABC books this week.  Well, I have another one to share with you.  My fellow teachers and I (Rosemary, Leslie, Monique, Brooke and Fat Lazy) completed an ABC list of things to do this summer in the Chicago area.  We are all going to complete as many of these items as we can, take pictures as proof, and then share our results when the new school year begins.  I can feel your anticipation - so I wont make you wait any longer.  Here it is:

ABC New and Exciting Things We Can Do Around Here

Adventure to the female strip club
Beach bumming
Chicago tour bus
Date night downtown
Explore Chinatown
Fantasy night
Go to a museum
Have a romantic picnic
Invest in a ticket to the Willis Tower and stand on the edge
Jump into Lake Michigan
Kill time by taking a drive to St Louis
Lick Ice Cream
Make time for yourself
Never complain or be negative
Open minded
Plan a mini vacation
Quickly do something spontaneous
Really enjoy yourself
Sit in a pool
Take a nap
Understand your goals next year
Visit friends
Watch a concert
Xplore at the taste
Yell at someone who makes you mad
Zoo visit

That's it - my to do list for this summer.  It's a hell of a lot better than cleaning out closets and organizing kitchen drawers!!!!  I think it's going to be a good summer!!!!  

What are you going to do?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not Taking The Blame

Today I got blamed for something I did not do.  It was quite shocking, because, not only did I not do the thing I was being blamed for (or, to be more exact, I got blamed for not doing something as completely as it could have been done, and for purposely missing a particular detail), on the contrary, I worked hard on trying to do something right and  to do it well.  This was a thing I was not paid to for or a thing that I was in any way required to do - it was something extra I was doing to help out a friend.  Alas, instead of thanks, I was blamed for purposely messing things up and undermining the very task that I sacrificed my time to help out with.

In the past, I would have been so very upset by this, and I would have tried to prove that I had intended malice by offering additional help and additional time.  Today, though, I decided to let it go (I guess I'm not letting it go very well, since I'm still going on and on about it - but I just have to vent a little bit here).

Honestly, though, I realized that nothing I could say or do would change this person's view - so in the end, I just said 'O.K.'  I guess that, sometimes, 'O.K.' is all a person can say - and then just move forward.

So, now I am home.  I am going to concentrate on myself and on my family (as soon as I finish writing this), and be comfortable with the knowledge that I did what I could for a person that I care about.  Unfortunately, that person does not see it that way - but that's just going to have to be their problem.  Nothing more I can say or do.

Hope this all made a little bit of sense today.  I'm trying to protect the innocent (and not so innocent) by not disclosing too many details - but I think the idea of caring for self and family in the face of adversity is somewhat universal - and can be applied to many situations and scenarios.

I hate having somebody think these negative thoughts about me.  I hate that this person now has a poor opinion of me.  But, hey, I guess there's nothing I can do about that.  Oh well.

On a more positive note - I tried tag again.  I was at a training with all certified teachers, and tag actually worked (until somebody tagged the waitress - and that was the end of it).  So, I have two theories:

  1. There is a direct correlation between a person's educational achievement and their ability to be childlike and play games.
  2. Only people crazy enough to choose to be Preschool Teachers are crazy enough to play tag in public.
It's got to be one or the other.

Have a great night, and hopefully I'll have a more fun topic and make more sense tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Abc for Adults

So, today, (and all this week, in fact), my fellow teachers and I attended professional development training. Well, it started out OK. The subject of the training was alphabet books, and an author who has written something like 55 alphabet books was the speaker. So, in the beginning, at 8:30 this morning, it was extremely interesting, and looked promising. But, by 2:00, and when the author had finished reading us his 45th alphabet books, my eyes were crossing, my head was drooping and my stomach was growling.
Luckily, my fellow teacher, Rosemary, and I found a way to pass the time. We took turns and came up with our own alphabet books. We wrote ABC Chicago, ABC Lunch, ABC Weird Things People Do, ABC Positions (but Rosemary crumbled that one up and threw it away for some reason.  I meant, like, baseball and soccer positions.  What a DIRTY MIND!), and ABC Cocktails. However, by far, our best ABC book was ABC Things We'd Rather Be Doing Right Now. Here's what we came up with:

ABC Things We'd Rather Be Doing Right Now

Artfully Drinking
Cooking dinner
Eating TCBY
Farting by myself
Giving Corey a BJ (whatever that's supposed to mean)
Hanging around Ginger
Ignoring my husband
Jumping Jacks (and I hate Jumping Jacks)
Killing innocent kittens
Lying on the beach
Moving furniture
Nudging angry Polar Bears
Opening mail
Painting your toes
Running from a mugger
Teaching Corey to floss
Using my Target gift card
Visiting prisons
Watching "Say Yes To The dress"
X-Raying fruit flies
Yelling at my imaginary friend

Well, what do you think?  Pretty great, huh? All we need now is an illustrator.  We will be published in no time - then next year, we can speak at the training!!!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Teenage drama

It is amazing how fast a person can go from a healthy eating, active lifestyle to laying around eating anything and everything that is no longer breathing.  Take me, for instance, one bit of stressful news and I find myself eating from one end of the kitchen to the other - stuffing anything I can find into my mouth - including the kitchen sink.

For those of you who have raised children, my reason for going from conscientious, thoughtful, healthy, inspiring  blogger on a path of enlightenment and growth to a hunched,mindless, drooling, ogreish eating machine, can be explained in one simple word: TEENAGER

Drooling Ogre

Ah, the drama of the teenager - drama that has caused many a parent to turn to food, alcohol or prescription medication.

rebellious teenager cartoons, rebellious teenager cartoon, rebellious teenager picture, rebellious teenager pictures, rebellious teenager image, rebellious teenager images, rebellious teenager illustration, rebellious teenager illustrations

Anyway - I have decided to come up for a breather from the kiddie tub filled with jello.  I have decided to pull my fists out of the bags of BBQ potato chips.  I have decided to remove my Drink Beer Hat from my head.   It is time to examine what has happened, regroup, and restart.  

First of all, while most people will agree that a teenager can push any parent over the edge - it is probably not really a good enough reason to give up on all of the progress I have made over the past few months. In retrospect, I don't think my eating was so much a way to numb my feelings as a sudden lack of caring about myself.  As soon as some outside factor took my focus away from me, none of my healthy changes mattered anymore.  I guess I haven't arrived yet - I still need to find a balance.

I need to let go a little bit, and work on myself in spite of the thoughts and actions of my loved ones (no matter how insane or inane those thoughts and actions might be).  I need to find a way to love and care without letting those feelings steal all of my focus and concentration. My son has chosen a path, and even if I don't agree with that path, it is his decision to make.  His decision, however, cannot become my excuse for altering my own chosen path.  I need to renew my dedication to myself and work at letting nothing - not even teenage drama -  get in the way. 

So, I am starting over.  Beginning now.

Mango cream

The other eveining I was sitting at home with my kids, and I had a taste for a cone cottage frozen yogurt/ berry italian ice.  I wanted it really bad, but I didn't get it for three reasons:

  1. I didn't really ahve any money
  2. I didn't really feel like getting all my kids ready to go and like taking them to the icecream shop
  3. My husban was at work, and so I couldn't send him to Cone Cottage for me.
Still, even though I knew I wasn't going out for my delicious, cool and refreshing treat, I still wanted it.  I then went through my refrigerator and cabinets, and found the ingredients fo Mango Creme.  It had been a while, but, let me tell you, it is soooo simple, and just as tasty as frozen yogurt/ berry italian ice. 

Here's the recipe:

1 can Mango Pulp (from an Indian or ethnic grocery store)
1 large container fat free cool whip
1 large container fat free vanilla yogurt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a blender, or using a hand blender and put in freezer. 

Eat when partially frozen.

I highly recomment this Mango Creme - it is super super delicious, kinda nutritious, and it easily replaces other frozen treats.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10 Things A Day

So - I am learning that just as people can hide behind fat, they can hide behind stuff, clutter, and mess.  I think I might be in danger of being one of those people.  I have a very small house with very little storage, and there is definitely more stuff than places to put stuff - therefore, it tends to be quite messy and cluttered (understatement). 

I have decided it is time to dig (literally) my way out from underneath all this stuff so that it wont keep bogging me down.  I am beginning to believe that by lightening up, (in more ways than one) I will feel liberated, airy and luminescent. How awesome is that?

I have chosen two techniques that promise to help ease the transition from burried in clutter to lightened up and free.  These are two techniques that, I think, will help to make the process less overwhelming and traumatic than trying to tackle the whole thing at one time.

Ten Things a Day

The first technique I made up all by myself (impressive, huh?)  I like to call it Ten Things a Day.  It is really quite simple.  Each day I get rid of ten things.  It can be junk mail, spoiled food, FAT CLOTHES, toys nobody cares about, anything belonging to my husband etc.  I can throw it away, give it away, or toss it over the fence into my neighbor's yard.  It doesn't matter, as long as I am minus 10 items by the end of the day.  When I came up with the idea, my thought process was that I would continue with the ten things a day until I ran out of things to toss. 

Pretty great plan, right?  There is only one hitch.  I have been doing this for about eight months now, and I still have no problem coming up with ten things a day - so I'm not sure exactly how long this process will take.  The other issue is that while I keep getting rid of stuff, more stuff keeps coming in.  Between my four kids and myself I think we probably bring in about fourteen things a day - which seems to somehow defeat the purpose.  (I should mention here that my husbad does not bring in or hold onto anything.  He could easily live out of the trunk of his car and have all of his stuff with him.)

There are certain things that I have not been able to bring myself to get rid of yet:

  1. Shoes (while my husband and sons have two pairs each, one for warm weather and one for cold, I have, maybe 50 or so.  Even though I only wear certain pairs all the time, I haven't been able to make myself get rid of the rest - they're just soooo cute!)
  2. Pets (We probably definitely have too many - 1 dog, 4 cats, 5 frogs, 1 lizard and 1 hermit crab.  But, what's a person to do?)
  3. Dresses (I have a large selection of mxi dresses, and I don't want to part with any of them)
  4. Skinny clothes (Somehow these keep my hope alive)
  5. Anything in our nasty closet (talk about overwhelming)
  6. Craft supplies (again, soooooo cute, and sure to have some purpose in the future.)
  7. Tupperware (you can never have too much tupperware, right?)
  8. Baby blankets (No babies left, but how could I get rid of their blankets?)
  9. Magnets (I simply have a thing for magnets)
So, maybe I still have a long way to go - but imagine what it would be like if I didn't get rid of ten things a day.

The One Minute Rule

I didn't come up with this one, but it does seem like a pretty good idea to me.  This rule is that, if there is any household job to do that takes one minute or less, just do it.  No procrastinating.  It will all be over in a minute.

This rule reminded me of when I was a kid.  It was my job to empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away.  I HATED it.  I whined and complained for hours before I finally had to give in and do it (or suffer no dessert after dinner!) 

One day, however, I paid attention to the clock, and I had those dishes put away in 45 seconds flat.  I realized then that I was better off just getting it over with.

It's amazing how, with a little imagination, we can take a small task and turn it into a monsterous job.  Here are a few jobs that I have found take less than one minute:

  1. Putting underware in the underware drawer
  2. Wiping sinks and counter tops
  3. Closing cabinets and drawers
  4. Feeding pets
  5. Dusting TV and Computer
  6. Wiping up spills
  7. Clearing dishes from the table
  8. Wiping a shelf in the refrigerator
  9. Throwing toys into the toybox
  10. Throwing dirty clothes into the hamper
I can do all of the above in less than 10 minutes, and it actually makes an impact on the appearance of my house.  Oh, and I forgot one - it takes less than a minute to get rid of ten things a day.

I believe that if I resolve to employ the above two techniques, my house will be improved by the end of summer.

Tag Update

Finally, what you've all been waiting for - the tag update!!!!

I did it - I tagged several people at work, and while I had visions of an ongoing, school-wide tag game, it didn't actually happen that way.  A few people went on to tag someone else - but most people were just confused - even after I told them we were playing tag.  They looked at me like I was weird, and returned to whatever it was they had been doing - like they didn't mind being 'it' forever.  So, it is not so easy to start an adult tag game after all.  but, I wont let this stop me!!!!  I will continue on my mission to begin a world-wide tag game!!!!  I will persist!!!!

Keep coming back for more adult tag news.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

As If

Another idea born from the work of Geneen Roth:

Think about the person you really want to be.  In those moments when you think that you are somehow lacking, what is it, what traits or talents do you imagine would make you whole?

Is it a better body, a prettier face, more energy, less stress, a job you love, a better relationship or a talent?

Well - when you have a good solid idea of the person you want to be, start living "as if" you were that person.  Tell yourself that you are capable of being the person you picture when you imagine the BEST you, and then start to think and act "as if" you were that person.  Fake it until you make it, as they say.  Whenever those thoughts come - telling you that you should be more, better, different - remind yourself that you already are all of those things, and live "as if" you believe it.  If you do this long enough, you really will start to believe it - and you wont need "as if" anymore.  When you reach that point, the "as if" will be replaced by "I am"

So - here is my "as if" list:

  • I will live "as if" I were a bungee cord jumper, spelunker, mountain climber and motorcycle rider.
  • I will live "as if" I were fearless.
  • I will live "as if" I were confident.
  • I will live "as if" I were able to find joy in all aspects of my life
  • I will live "as if" I were organized and "as if" my house were neat and clean (that one is a long shot).
  • I will live "as if" my fat jeans were my skinny jeans.
  • I will live "as if" I were a farmer (and not just on farmville).
  • I will live "as if" I were outgoing.
  • I will live "as if" I laughed a lot.
  • I will live "as if" I were creative, and able to make beautiful things.
  • I will live "as if" I never let the opinions or attitudes of others bother me.
  • I will live "as if" I loved healthy food.
  • I will live "as if" I enjoyed exercise and being in shape.
  • I will live "as if" I loved my body.
  • I will live "as if" I had boundless energy.
  • I will live "as if" I were not embarrassed about my appearance or myself.
  • I will live "as if" I were passionate.
  • I will live "as if" I looked GOOD in my bathing suit.
  • I will live "as if" I looked GOOD in anything.
  • I will live "as if" I were handy at home repairs (somebody needs to be, right?)
  • I will live "as if" I loved my annoying husband with all of my heart.
  • I will live "as if" I found my annoying husband's annoying traits endearing.
  • I will live "as if" I were financially stable.
  • I will live "as if" I enjoyed parties.
  • I will live "as if" I loved to dance.
  • I will live "as if" I didn't make stupid faces whenever having my picture taken.
  • I will live "as if" I were able to accomplish what ever I set out to do.
  • And naturally, I will live "as if" I were tall, thin and gorgeous.
Well, that's a start.  Make your own "as if" list, and start treating yourself "as if" you are the person you sometimes wish you could be.  I would love it if you would share your list with me.

Monday, June 7, 2010


"Just go up to somebody on the street and say "you're it" and just run away". Ellen Degeneres

Have you ever watched groups of kids playing at a park?  Or, do you remember being a kid playing at a park?  Well, it's really a pretty amazing thing.  Kids love to play.  It doesn't matter who is around or who might be looking or what other people might think - they just play for the love of playing.

Besides this, they will play with anyone.  They are not concerned with appearance, race, socioeconomic status, political views, language, culture, sex, age, clothing or weight.  There can be a group of kids who have never met each other before, and all it takes is for one to say "One Two Three - Not It!" and the game is on.  They will run, tag, make and alter rules, and play happily together for hours.  They will play until dark, until they are called home by their parents.  They may or may not ask for each other's names - but they consider each other friends - and are outwardly happy to see one another at the park time and time again.  Tag is like an unofficial language of childhood - it is played and understood by children all over the world.

This phenomenon makes me wonder why we willingly change.  Why does such easy playful joy disappear from so many people as they grow older?  Why do we stop playing a game that gives us a joyful connection to others?  At what point does a person change from living with such boundless, uninhibited, uncomplicated happiness.  Happiness simply to be alive and to be able to run and move and play - enjoying the company of  other people without restraint - without feeling self-conscious, judgmental, or troubled?  Why do so many humans seem to lose their ability to befriend other humans without reservation - without over-analyzing?  And, when do people develop a sense of jealousy and of desperation?  I have seen kids play for hours - not knowing or being particularly concerned with whether or not they will ever see each other again.  Children live in the joy of the moment, unconcerned with how their playmates will treat them tomorrow - untroubled by thoughts of whether or not the other players will call them on the phone, or whether or not the other person has real feelings for them.

I imagine the shift takes place somewhere around puberty - a time when children experience changes that can be, at the same time, both exciting and embarrassing.  I remember puberty as being a time of wanting and enjoying friends, but also as a time of new self-awareness and uncertainty - a new concern with the judgement and comments of others.  I think puberty might be a time when many children actually lose the best part of childhood - because it is the time when they become concerned about the sentiments of others, a time of  over-concern over looking immature or uncool.

But now, with puberty being about five (or so) years behind me - I am beginning to recognize the wisdom of children.  I am beginning to realize that happiness comes from living life without concern for the opinions of others.  I am beginning to understand that by doing what brings joy in any given moment, ones spirit lightens and begins to soar.  If I could have one wish for my children, it would be that they could hold on to the joy of childish play without worrying about the views of others.

So, what would happen if I went up to a stranger, or a co-worker, or a friend or family member and simply did as children do - I tagged them, announcing "You're It!"  Would  I be met with resistance, would I be considered certifiable, would people turn away from me, or would a wonderful game begin?  Well, I, for one, am interested in finding out.  I plan on testing it out tomorrow at work. I am going to start a few games of tag just to see how people react.  I will let you know what kinds of responses I get - and if you decide to shed some of those layers of boring grown-upedness, and try it out, too, please let me know what happens for you.  Imagine a world-wide, no-boundaries game of tag - that could solve all sorts of problems.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
My mother says to pick the very best one,
And YOU are IT! CAN'T CATCH ME!!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy to Lose?

I was doing a little reading today, and I came across this very strange, extremely foreign idea.  I don't know if this one really sits well with me, but you can judge for yourself.  Here's the idea - people should be happy about failure.  People should appreciate losing.  The reason for this, as the idea goes, is that through failure and loss, we actually improve our ability to do the things at which we failed.  The idea is that we learn through attempting and failing but still persisting.

I guess the idea is good, but here's the thing.  I actually really really like to win, and I really rally really hate hate hate to lose.  In fact, friends have told me that I can be a little embarrassing during games because I get kind of worked up and overly competitive. I am a sore loser, and no one has ever complimented my sportsmanship.

To give you an idea of my competitive side, I'll tell you a little story.  Last summer I started swimming laps at the pool.  I swam competitively throughout my childhood and teenage years, so swimming laps still came pretty easily.  Anyway, I was swimming and feeling good because I was passing up everyone else in the pool. Then I started bragging about how I, even though I was fat and out of shape, was still the fastest swimmer at the Aqua Center. I was all worked up and loudly boasting until it was pointed out that no other person in the pool was under the age of 75. So, I shot my signature "you are such an idiot" look at moron who had uttered that statement, and explained that age doesn't mean anything - competitive swimming is all about skill, and it is timeless.  But then, secretly, I looked back at the lap pool, and noticed tat is was, in fact, full of little old ladies  slowly making their way across the pool while holding on to those floatie pool noodle things.  (But I still kicked all their butts with my freestyle).

Another example is a family night I recently attended with my teenage son.  The activity of the evening was a parents versus kids jeopardy game.  Apparently, most of the adults running this program, as well as the other parents, were kind of rooting for letting the kids win - thus improving their self esteem.  I didn't get that right away, though - and I was getting more and more agitated by the other parents and by the facilitators of the game - because I wanted to win.  I was becoming loud and confrontational because I felt the game was rigged, and that unfairness was keeping my team from ultimate victory.  Finally, my mother, who was also attending family night, politely told me to shut up.  I then sat and pouted until, inevitably, the kids team won.  Even though I now understand that the kids winning was the original plan, I still don't think it was fair, and I still think that I, in a fair game, definitely would have won.  Maybe I should demand a rematch.

Losing just doesn't sit well with me - the desire to win kind of takes over my sense of composure and lowers my inhibitions.  On the same note, I do not like doing things that I am not good at.  I like the feeling of being competent and knowledgeable (and I secretly enjoy being better at things than those around me).

But - when I think about it, this competitiveness and desire to feel highly skilled - has in some ways held me back.  For instance, I never learned to play chess because my brother and father were very good at it, and I didn't like losing all the time - so I simply refused to play.  I don't like to do any exercise that I'm not good at because I don't like doing things I'm not good at, so I avoid most forms of exercise.  I hate to admit that I don't know about a particular subject - so I would rather act disinterested than act ignorant.  Most of all, I hate to be wrong - especially when it comes to my annoying husband - and have been known to insist I am right even when all evidence indicates the opposite to be true. (Like the time I had argued that the weather was just fine for the zoo - and even as we drove through a torrential storm with high speed winds and hail the size of golf balls, I still demanded we keep going.  Then, when everyone was all wet and cold and miserable, walking along with their heads hanging down, and water sloshing out of their shoes, I kept saying how much fun it was to be there, together, as a family, on this freezing, stormy, gloomy day).

So, maybe there is something to this whole being happy with failure thing.  I suppose, if I really think about it honestly, the only way to get good at something is to keep doing it even when you're not good at it.  Like, when my first son was born, I was not good at changing diapers.  In the beginning I managed to get poop everywhere, including the baby's feet - and I was peed on more times than you could imagine - needless to say, there was a lot of laundry to be done.  But, I kept changing diapers, and, eventually, I got very good at it. By son number four I was a pro - I bet I could win any diaper changing contest for sure!!! (I'll have to find out if there are diaper changing contests and borrow somebodies baby - THE GLORY WILL BE MINE!!!)

I guess I could test this idea out and see if it improves my outlook and my life.  I'll just decide on one activity that I know nothing about, but would like very much to be good at.  I will do this thing, and even when it is difficult, and even when I fail, I will persist - we'll see if I can improve over time, and find out how it feels to fail, but to learn in the failing.  I should probably start with something small, though, to avoid too much frustration in the beginning.

There is one thing I have always wanted, but have always been to embarrassed to admit to my interest: Fire Eating - that shouldn't be too hard for my initial experiment.  Now, where did I put those matches?

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's Really Important

I was thinking it over, and I realized that most of the time I just keep going on about me me me me me and me.  Then I was  thinking that maybe I should talk about something else.  So - I thought and thought some more - and just couldn't come up with a more interesting or exciting subject.  So - more about me - YEAH!!!!

I am a preschool teacher - it is not a job that I planned on doing - it is not something I aspired to - it is simply the place where the various paths of my life have led me.  To be honest, I was never the kind of kid who loved babies, or the kind of teenager who liked kids.  Still, I ended up working with young children, and have, for reasons that are sometimes unclear (like when a four year old boy punched me in the nose so hard that I was seeing stars), continued working with young children for almost 18 years now.

Maybe because teaching preschool was not what I dreamed of growing up - maybe because society doesn't place much value on preschool teachers - I, while enjoying what I do, have never viewed it as something of great value or consequence - like a doctor who is saving starving African orphans, or a marine biologist who is cleaning the spilled oil off of endangered sea lions.

Still, my recent work on improved self confidence and improved self image has made me consider my work in a different light.

There wouldn't be such a huge market for self help books, clocks that emit tranquil sounds of nature, medications for emotional disorders, or shoes that simulate barefootedness if there weren't so many people who feel like they need those things to fix their shattered selves.  And from where do all of these messed up people's problems stem?  You know the answer - from their messed up childhood!.  From those incidents that left them feeling stupid, ugly and worthless.  Those feelings begin in childhood, and then it takes 30 years for people to realize that maybe, just maybe, they were actually OK from the very beginning.

I have believed for a long time that the most important indicator of success in a child is confidence and they're belief in their own ability to learn and accomplish.  Over the past few years, as the push to make the preschool years more academic (now with report cards and letter grades A through F if you can believe it - I mean, how are you going to give a three year old an F in reading?), my basic belief has been shaken a bit.  With the push to have children reach higher academic standards at a younger and younger age - the focus becomes more about having young children memorize what they are expected to know and less about bolstering self esteem and valuing creativity and thinking skills.

But just imagine a generation of children who believe in themselves, love themselves, and who have the thinking skills necessary to solve world problems and create innovative ways of accomplishing needed goals.  Imagine children who, instead of feeling frustrated or stupid when they cannot memorize things quickly, are made to feel that they are capable, intelligent and worthy no matter what skill level, they have achieved.  Children who are allowed to feel they each and every one of them, can learn and will understand in their own time.  Children whose accomplishments in all areas are celebrated on their individual time schedules.

I am now beginning to think that I have a very important and worthwhile job.  I have the opportunity to help make sure that the young children in my care are happy, confident, self assured, positive people who enjoy their life and who feel good about their abilities.  That's the way it should be, you know?

If every adult took on the mission of ensuring the happiness and feelings of worthiness of every child, the self-help gurus would probably go out of business, but imagine what a wonderful place our future world would be.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When I'm Thin

As EVERYONE knows, I am attempting to lose a little weight (or a lot of weight - kind of depends on your perspective). Anyway - when setting any type of goal, it is important to have a clear vision of how achieving said goal will improve your overall situation.  In that way, it is easier to stay motivated - even in the face of obstacles and difficulties.  Whether the goal is to get a better job, own a villa in France, learn how to swallow fire, or have your disgustingly unsightly varicose veins removed - having a well-defined mental depiction of the changes this goal will bring to your life is an imperative ingredient for success.

With all of that in mind - I have decided to list all of the things I will do differently in my life once I achieve thinness.

1.  I will wear some of those tight flare jeans with the holes in them and the low slung waist that sits just above the butt crack (or, sometimes, just below) - You know the ones you see all the skanky high school girls wearing.  I mean, who cares if I'm middle aged - when you're hot you've got to flaunt it!!!

2.  I will buy a dress that does not flow all the way down to my ankles.  Currently, I dress like a woman out of   the 1800's - as if showing any minor amount of skin were obscene and indecent.  But, when I am thin - it will be all about skin!

3.  I will take up wall climbing.  I tried this not too long ago, but trying to heft all of the extra weight up onto those little sticky-outie thingies is definitely not easy to do.  When I am lighter, however, I will fly up that wall.

4.  I will ride "Batman" at Great America.  You see, before you get on Batman, you have to sit in one of the roller coaster seats to make sure you fit.  If you don't fit - you don't ride.  This time, though, I wont even have to check - I'll just get right in line.

5.  I will ask the super hot UPS man out on a date.  I probably wont actually go - it might upset my family if I do.  But still, when I'm thin I will get up the nerve to ask.  I don't think I'll break his heart too too bad because he looks like he gets plenty of dates (but I'll always be the one he lost - poor guy).

6.  I will wear my swimming suit - without a dress to my ankles - in front of people I know and like.  I do wear it openly now - as long as we go to some obscure beach two states over - but never, ever, in front of people whose opinion of me matters.

7.  I will take up running.  Right now, if I run, I lose the ability to use my knees for several days.  I'm thinking this might be weight related - so when I'm thin - it should be no problem.

8.  I will wear shorts that do not follow the "must be past your fingertips" rule.  You know - the warm weather dress code from Jr. High?  Well - when I am thin - I'm planning to show the world ALL 33 inches of these limbs.

9.  I'm going to sleep 100% nekkid.  There are two reasons I wear pajamas.  The first is that I can't stand the way it feels when my thighs rub together.  The other is that I don't want all the males in my house to see me in my birthday suit. When I achieve thinness - all that stuff that rubs between my thighs will be gone - so it wont bother me anymore.  As far as all of the males in my house - here's how I see it:  having them see a fat naked mommy is pretty gross, and possibly traumatic - but once I am thin, it will be like exposing them to a great work of art.  That's called being cultured.

10.  I am going to post an un-photoshopped picture of myself, scantily dressed, wet from swimming in the ocean, with sand sticking to my tanned smooth skin, right here on this blog!!!   Aren't you excited?  Now you have something to look forward to!!!!

Well, Geneen Roth says that all those things you are planning to do once you lose weight - you should go ahead and do right now.  She says that you should love yourself just the way you are, and should never feel that weight is a valid reason to avoid being who you want to be and doing what you want to do.  If you can't love yourself and feel confident  fat - you wont love yourself and feel confident thin either.

So - here's the healthy change of the week.  Whenever the thought enters my head that I am not going to do something because of my weight - I am going to cancel that thought right out.  I am strong and beautiful at any size - and NOTHING can hold me back from living the life I deserve to live!!!!

So - where to start?  Should I order a package and wait for the UPS guy?   Should I go to the pool cover-up free?  Should I jog around the track?  Should I slip between the sheets in my birthday suit?

No - none of those.  I think, instead, to reward you, my loyal readers, for sticking by me - I will go right now and start searching for a photographer who specializes in "tastefully sexy" photos.  Keep watching out for it - It's going to be awesome!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Open Heart

Well - it is extremely early in the morning - but, I am not, I repeat, not just waking up - I have actually been awake ALL STINKING NIGHT.  Once again, the person to blame for this is author Geneen Roth.  You will be happy to know, however, that I am not still reading Women Food and God.  It was yet another Geneen Roth book, Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, that kept me from my precious sleep.  I also went through an entire package of highlighters (you thought I was going to say cookies, didn't you?).  Honestly, though, there were only two words in the book that I didn't highlight - and and theand I only skipped those because I was beginning to think it was a little weird to highlight an entire book.  so, my question to Geneen is - exactly how long have you had hidden cameras in my home and refrigerator - and who do you have to know to get your hands on that technology that can read my mind and my feelings?  You know Geneen, I know that a person of my stature can seem imposing, but I really would have been happy to give an interview - it would have been much simpler.

All kidding aside, the ideas, stories and guidance of this book have opened up a part of me that has been so deeply buried - so completely latent - for so many years  - that I thought it didn't exist anymore.  But, during my all night reading session (which is, incidentally, something else I thought I was no longer capable of), I realized that that part of me not only exists - but it is longing to be unearthed so that it can sing out with joy.

I, like most people, have experienced emotional pain in my life.  And I, like many people, have become self protective as a result of past hurts.  While reading Breaking Free from Emotional Eating last night I remembered a younger time when I gave love joyfully, fully and freely.  Unfortunately, in opening up my heart so fully, having it broken was a devastation that caused me to, mostly, close it off.  Even more unfortunately, when I shut away my willingness to love completely and unabashedly - I  also shut away my exuberance, my joy and my zest.

But thank you, once again, to Geneen Roth.  I now believe that all hope is not lost.  I had a couple of other realizations during the wee hours of the morning - and, yes, lucky readers, I am going to share them with you.

The first one is this:  You know my tremendously annoying husband?  I guess he's not actually all that bad.  One big reason is this - he has known me at every weight possible for my body - and not only has he never complained - he never appeared to notice.  Seriously, whether I am at my thinnest or at my mu-mu wearing fattest, he has looked at me with that same sappy, goofy puppy dog eyes - which are brimming with love.  Additionally - I absolutely know for certain that that man - even though he will  irritate me every day for the rest of my life - will never break my heart.  Therefore, I really have no reason  to protect it anymore.

So, while lying awake in bed all night, reading Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, I actually felt the physical sensation of my chest opening up - freeing my long dormant ability to love fully, freely and unconditionally.  I felt more and more like a young girl with her first love - only this time the risk of rejection is non-existent.  As the sun rose, I was ready to love my husband and my children with an open, confident, and complete heart.

On top of it all, reading this book helped me to see how my fat laziness is connected to past hurts and longing for self protection.  Geneen Roth - you are something else.  I think I still have a ways to go - but thank  you for the beacon to help me on my way.  I will probably be exhausted at work today - but it was well worth it.

.File:Flower heart.jpg

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blogger's Block


Yep - it's true.  I have bloggers block.  I've had it all day long.  You see, this morning I made a to-do list of all the things I wanted to accomplish before bed.  'Blog' is one of the items on that there list.  Throughout the day, I have returned to the list, chosen my next task, and consistently passed up 'Blog.'  I simply haven't had any brilliant sparks to ignite my next blog.

 But now, the day is coming to a close, and the list is coming to an end.  It has come down to two items.  I was about to skip over 'Blog' once again - but then I considered my other option........... The ugly, horrifying, monsterous, humongous pile of clean laundry just waiting to be sorted and put away.  So - here I am - blogging without a plan - without an inspiration - without a concrete idea.

I did have a few beginnings  - but none of them seemed to be going anywhere.  However, since I have nothing else to say - and for the purpose of filling up space - I will now share some of today's rejected blog brainchildren with you (aren't you the lucky one).


1.  I have four children, and, therefore do not often have the opportunity to spend time alone with the youngest.  Today I had the chance to do just that - and it turns out he's actually pretty nice.  Who knew?

2.  The craziest thing happened today - it was completely warm and sunny - then, suddenly, out of the blue sky (literally), it started POURING and HAILING - you know, like chunks of ice from the sky! Just as suddenly, the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful clear blue.  FREAKY!!!!

3.  I read this article about how, when people at work treat you like garbage and make you feel like krap, you should reach out to them in friendship and mentally send them love and peace.  Why?  Because they are probably dealing with problems in their life that have nothing to do with you, and that you cannot begin to imagine. Well, I don't know about all that.  I have worked way too long on perfecting my eye-roll, my 'talk to the hand' posture, my 'who do you think you are?' head tilt, and my overall 'you are such an idiot' expression to give it up just like that.

4.  You are about to feel sorry for me when you read this!  You know my annoying husband?  Listen to what he does.  Every single day he takes the dirty clothes out of all of the hampers, and off of the floor, the chair, the couch, and the refrigerator.  He then washes them, dries them, and folds them.  Sounds nice, huh?  Well, here's the kicker.  He takes all of those clean folded clothes and puts them on top of the dresser.  He doesn't sort.  He doesn't deliver to the proper bedroom.  He doesn't put away.  All of that is, apparently, supposed to be my job.  So here I sit, forced to stare at this ever-growing pile of clean clothes.  On top of that, in the morning when one of these kids has no pants, it's me that has to dig through the ridiculously large pile so they don't have to go to school in their underwear (that is, if they had any underwear in their dresser).   It's inhumane, that's what it is.

I don't know.  I tried, I really did - but none of those topics were going anywhere.  I just wasn't feeling it today.  I even went so far as to type 'Blog Topics' into my search engine.  There are a few people who have actually created and shared lists of blog topics for people to use - but they must have kept all of the good ideas for themselves because I didn't see one thing that got me going.  Here are some examples of what I found:


1.  What challenges are my potential customers facing. Do I have any advice for them?

Well - I don't know that I actually have any potential customers.  The only people who might qualify are three years old and they can't read - so they don't tend to follow my blog.  Anyway, my advice to them is to put their toys away at clean up time and keep their hands to themselves so they can avoid having a time-out.

2. What bugs me? Can I write about another way to approach it?

There are so many things that bug me that listing them would simply take up way too much time and space.  The best approach would be for people to stop being so dimwitted and annoying all the time.

3.  How do I _________________?  

What?  How do I,  what? What does that even mean?  I can't imagine I'd be able to put together two sentences about how I _______________.  I don't think I ever have ________________ed.  Whatever.

4.  Will American Idol be the same without Simon?

Ummmmm, no.......  Blog Over.


All right, well, hopefully I will be back to my normal, brilliant, amazing, divine, awe-inspiring self tomorrow. Just in case, though, if you have any thoughts rolling around in your head that you always wished somebody  would blog about - send them my way.  I will try to do them justice.  And here's the good news , we are communicating through computer, right?  So, when I read your ideas, you wont even see my 'you are such an idiot' expression!  Brilliant, right?

Oh well..... I have one last decision to make for today.  Will it be Bed or will it be Humongous pile of clean clothes?  Hmmm..............I think - Bed.  Good night.

My Secret Garden

After a good deal of work (and some help from a friend), I finally cleared a path through my weeds leading to a small area of my yard surrounded on one side by the back of my shed and on two sides by the ten foot wooden fence we put up several years ago when we weren't getting along with our neighbor (God rest her soul).  Now, you can walk through the tall weeds into this hidden, sunny, spot, which, today, I transformed into my secret vegetable garden.

vegetable garden

I know what you are probably thinking right now.  "Did she say secret vegetable garden?  Secret gardens are supposed to have beautiful, fragrant flowers, a calming fountain, a sculpture create from balanced stones, a large quartz crystal and a meditation corner.  What kind of nut would put all that work into creating a secret garden, and then fill it with vegetable plants?"  Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I am that nut.

I do love fragrant flowers, and I find them peaceful and relaxing - but I have a bit of a passion for growing vegetables, herbs and fruits.  There are a few reasons for this.

The first reason is that I find a great deal of pleasure in the act of going out into my garden and picking the vegetables and herbs that I will use in creating a meal.  It gives me a feeling of connectedness to the food, and of pride in knowing that these items that I planted, cared for and grew are now providing a delicious sustaining nutritious meal for myself, my family and my friends.  Also, produce that has been picked moments before serving is so much more delicious than produce purchased at a store.

Secondly, I find these food plants to be quite amazing.  Even though I am getting older now, these life giving plants still astonish me.  Think about it - lets say you go to the store and buy one green bell pepper.  If you keep all of the seeds from that pepper, you will be able to start fifty to one hundred new pepper plants.  If each of those plants only produces five peppers - you still will have so many peppers that you will not be able to find enough people to feed.  Or think of an apple - one apple can give you eight apple trees - which will then feed you apples for the rest of your life.  I find it quite astonishing to consider how perfectly this system works - and I wonder why it is there are people in the world, still, who do not have enough to eat.

Finally, watching my vegetable plants grow from one day to the next excites me.  It is with wonder that I watch these plants, who start out so tiny and fragile, so in need of protection and care, grow in size and in strength into life giving sources.  These plants return to me everything that i put into them, plus more.  I know it may sound a little weird, but I care deeply for my little plants, they are close to my heart, and spending time with them and caring for them brings me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of delight, a sense of satisfaction, and a sense of peace.


I imagine that when any person finds something they really enjoy doing - something viewed as pleasurable rather than as duty or work (even though hard work might be involved) - something that they do simply because it feels good to do it - they feel much the same way I feel in my secret vegetable garden.  

So, as much as one person might feel contented and harmonious in their hidden flower garden - so do I feel hidden away with my eggplants, my tomatoes and my seven varieties of pepper.  I am absolutely thrilled to have completed the project of preparing my secret vegetable garden, and I am so looking forward to sharing my bounty with all of my friends.