Quote for the Day

"A dream doesn't become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work" -Colin Powell

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The First Official Day to Plant Flowers

It has been said that designating a single celebration day for Mother's, Father's, Grandparents or various others should be omitted from calendars. I know many who prefer not to celebrate for various reasons and those who yell from the rooftops loud and proud. I like to take the middle approach.

As a child I remember making cards in school for Mother's and Father's Day and giving to my parents. Grandparent's Day wasn't celebrated until 1978 according to my Google search.  1978 wasn't a very celebratory year in my family since that was the year my grandpa passed away. Actually, everyday for me growing up was grandparents day since they were such a large part of my life.

Fast forward to my first celebration of Mother's Day as a new Mom. I remember David got me flowers and a special card. I probably still have the card somewhere.  It was special celebrating a new holiday among the many our family had celebrated so far.

Several years later I remember sending a handwritten letter to my birth mom around the time of Mother's Day hoping to connect. It took a while but we were able to write each other but never got to celebrate Mother's Day or any holiday for that matter. Sad; yes but just a part of my interesting and eventful life.

This day for me is a day of reflection, relaxation and flower planting. Several years ago I started the do not plan flowers before Mother's Day rule and for the past several years it has worked rather well. Although this year it is seasonably warm for Mother's Day, I think my choices will progress nicely.

Happy Mother's Day to all.. Celebrate as you wish.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

When You are Doing More Reading than Writing

Even though I have complained about the winter cold; it really hasn't been that bad as in past winter's but the older I get the worse the cold is to me in my mind. When the flu season started I thought I should take as many precautions as I can without getting the flu shot. In the past I had the mindset to get the shot but for several years I have went the opposite and just haven't. Some may think its crazy to roll the dice I seem to dodge the bullet most years. This year all reports indicated that it might be a bad year for the flu.  Washing hands, carrying anti-bacterial products, other than wearing a protective bubble I managed to stay on the well side.

Our youngest grandson had what seemed to be an upper respiratory incident and sure enough he graciously shared the lovely sickness. For a full week plus I hacked and snorted and felt like I was eating Kleenex by the box. I finally survived the major part but as everyone who is older knows it takes sometimes twice and three times as long to recover and back to 100 percent.

I remembered when I was competing competitively forging on while not 100 percent was just part of skating. Several of the competitors during the last Olympics dealt with some injuries/sicknesses but put on their performance faces and moved on.

The one positive out of all of this was I had more than enough time to read a few books and relax and ponder life. I am not sure if it was the over the counter medicine or home remedies or just the right amount of time I had to clear my mind of daily tasks but it was a welcome diversion during an otherwise unproductive several days.
While reading some interesting books, (A full log of recent book is listed on the blog) I also thought once again about doing a better job about blogging and about my own ideas of writing stories. 

One of the author's I did pick up this time was Phaedra Patrick. She has written two charming books: "Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper" and "Rise and Shine Benedict Stone". Both stories take you to places that tell great stories of life, and scenarios that leave you thinking. She does have a website: www.phaedra-patrick.com that also has some interesting writing tips if like me your are interested in taking the leap. She is also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. She was gracious enough to respond to several of my comments so I hope we can start further dialog. She also has some upcoming books which I am sure will be just as wonderful.

Her Writing Tips from A to Z on her website I found to be really helpful and informative. I especially enjoyed :

F-Firsts. Make your first line, paragraph and chapter really count
J-Journey-Make the journey as interesting as possible
T-Time Find the time. Either between cleaning and your shopping.

It is truly funny how we don't always say no when we should. We make time for everything; just about, yet we think when we are sick we don't have time for it. I guess by being sick it made time to reflect on maybe some things I want to do than things I am expected to do.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Olympic Story 2018 - Is Figure Skating a Sport?

Two weeks, every four years. No need to wonder where I have been if I am not doing my routine tasks of my life. Yes, I complain that my bones are stiff because of the constant changes in weather created

more and more as I age, and I find myself counting the days until spring arrives but deep down my knees and other joints in my body are signaling my mind that the years of my youth and beyond the aches and pains are from one thing; figure skating.

Every four years Olympic figure skating shoots to the headlines to further bring non-skater's interest and opinions as well as others into a conversation that ultimately usually ends up in a heated debate. What would any Olympics be without debate!

The scoring changes a few years ago has left most skaters and non-skaters shaking heads anyway. The quad fest has put a whole different meaning to how many times can you spin and still land on one foot.

This year's figure skating team for me has been interesting to watch. Due to prior placements the pair's only had one team eligible and for me knowing ahead of time that they probably wouldn't place individually but glad that all America's figure skater's  were able to pull off a bronze medal this time was pretty impressive. I am still a little on the fence about this team competition category (just for me personally would rather see synchronized skating added, more on that later).

It has definitely been a skating marathon of highs and lows of epic proportions. Once a skater, always a skater. Growing up at ice dance sessions it was probably one of the most exciting events since Torvill and Dean. To actually see some trips and falls is really a rare sight but let me tell you not surprising.

If you have watched any coverage on the NBCSN channel each night hopefully you have been educated by Scott Hamilton, Tanith White and others.  They have provide a great insight to the actual world of all the discipline's that really have not been touched upon before. All skates and skaters are definitely not created equal.

Figure Skating Olympics 2018 was exciting it was also somewhat disappointing for me as well. Ice Dancing has definitely come leaps and jumps from what it was. I learned pattern dances like the Dutch Waltz, Fiesta Tango and 14 Step. The original dances have been transformed into a ballet of sorts but one thing that hasn't changed; is the blades. They still are much shorter than figure skate blades and one teenie tiny position change backward or forward can mean doom. Even the top contenders can have that oopsy moment and boy they did.

The "Shibsib" journey has been exciting but as some of my non-skating friends have also stated, "boy it must be creepy to dance with your sibling". That I never did but I will say most of the time personally when I did ice dance and went to dancing sessions I skated with much older men that frankly wasn't a picnic either. Guess that is why I kept to single skating much of my life.

I think every skaters' dreams of skating pairs, yes I did but one facet of skating I never attempted. The American team was a Romeo and Juliet story and although they did not reach the individual pair medal standings, the skating/personal story they presented was beautiful and inspiring.

All expectations were directed to the Men's Skate. With three men's hopefuls; Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou speculation was on how many quad's would be hit on all the programs. Actually, in the end it didn't impress me how many they did but whether or not the program's in the end were the full package.  Great debate among skater's and arm-chair skater's was abound. Stories of how the men keep their bodies just slender enough so that the 4 or more revolutions can be met is mind blowing. Debate on whether it is/isn't a sport was answered in one interview by Vincent Zhou. The articulate, young skater's response to one report was priceless. In the final outcome, the men placed in the top 10 which for skating; is a good thing for the future competition year.

The last figure skating event last night was yet again, completed jumps or pop-outs. And too many pop-outs made for a sad showing for the American women. Although the Russian's not surprising the little forces in the skating world didn't disappoint it was noted in commentary that none of the top Russian's from the previous Olympics are even skating today.  Win and run or be tossed aside for the next generation of power princesses? Yes, it is sad but true.

I hope if what they say around the water cooler is true that by 2022 Synchronized will be included in the figure skating events. I think a petition should be started for at least televising it on the regular sports channels or else I may have to fish out my old team tapes for any one's viewing pleasure.

Is figure skating a sport? My long answer is; Yes, skating is a sport. It is a lifestyle. It is a job. It is costly. It is beautiful. It has highs, lows and it can make a person or break a person. Weak ankles, mind, spirit and bodies can materialize at any given time. You skate through sickness, health, wardrobe malfunctions, you name it I have seen it happen on the ice. I never had the dream of going to the Olympics, but I had some pretty amazing experiences that only the sport of figure skating could bring.

Hopes that the U.S. will go back to basics and fuel the minds of skater's as well as the bodies. That would be the complete skating package for 2022 in Beijing.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Word of the Day--Not What I Expected

The first of the year had come and gone without a single story to post for 2018. Not that I haven't had many ideas and topics come to mind but at this point in life things just get in the way.  Until now. I have been on the fast track since the first day of 2018. Doing more than I sometimes can handle, and other times wondering why I put myself out in life the way I do.  I guess it is just in my nature, the way I was raised and probably at this point in my life it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Since I can remember I have never done anything really in my life half-assed to put it mildly.  I was that way with figure skating. It is a sport in which you have to work over and over and over again. You fall, you get back up and you do it again. Let's face it a sport not for the faint at heart. Just remember the Olympics are only a few short days away you will understand if you watch even one day of it.  I am sure the drama will unfold within the first day of events.  Even with all that it was my sanctuary even with all the drama

So with all the situations I have been thrown into whether by choice or by default it was a little bothersome when after a short conversation with someone today a word and her definition of it really resonated with me: moldable.
Again my first thought went to figure skating. I saw many individuals either younger, my age or older try to find some sort of success in the skating world. Many did and others sadly did not. Commitment is a big part of it along with of course the funds to do so. You really can't have one without the other. If you watched any of the recent figure skating Nationals, questions and no answers were being thrown left and right about the judging verses the moves completed. The final outcome had many scratching their heads for answers including some of the all time greats voicing their confusion of the sport and where it is today.

Sadly, the conversation we were speaking of was in the health care field.  When she said the word moldable, frankly it was the first time I had heard it used in this context.  When I questioned what she meant she said she was told that today employers are looking for young, moldable people who don't question anything, go with the flow.  Basically: Don't Rock the Boat. Really?  When I looked up the word, most of the definitions referred to plastic, clay, wax or inanimate objects.  Do these employers follow the news? Social Media? The World as a Whole?  What are we saying to society as a whole with this usage of the word. 

Today, even figure skaters work with a variety of different people usually young and old in hopes of making their skating experience the best that they can and learning different techniques and observing how history has helped evolve the sport today.  Not everyone can be an Olympian. It is a high expectation only few can really achieve.  Are we now at a point in society where working is only for the faint at heart as well?

I have a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that 2018 is going to bring many moments of looking up words that have different meanings. Just add this to my growing to do list that goes on and on and on. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017--The Year That Was or Wasn't

Well again. We are at the end of another year. Yes, I know some people don't even get a chance to say that. As I have watched several in memoriam segments on TV the last couple days I find a couple people that have passed on I wasn't aware they had. As you get older and cynicism sets in and you look back to see if you have accomplished all that you have wanted out of life no matter how long or short that life may be it is really only for your own benefit that we even probably put ourselves through these thoughts. Does anyone really care?

I heard somewhere recently that "blogging" is a thing of the past. Really the only people that do it is because maybe they can't say what they really want directly. For many years I have never had problems saying what I really feel either in front of or behind a blog posting. It may not always be appreciated,  my philosophy of "do you want me to lie or tell you the truth" has become a mantra year after year. Truth be told I haven't blogged as much this year as in years past. My reason at the moment...sometimes skating through life gets complicated and difficult when you do not wear the skates anymore. It isn't always about the shiny blades, white boots and costumes. It may be just about stepping on the slippery surface and hoping you can stay upright and the routine gets completed without an unexpected fall (which I did this week) and the appreciated applause at the end.

Having stated all this 2017 has been a year of embarrassment, empowerment, roadblocks, realizations, reality, sorrow, rebellion (no matter how young or old you can always be rebellious), frustrations, and several other things sprinkled in.

No one ever knows what the next year will bring. I hope to be as prepared as one can be to glide on the ice of life. To use an old skating mantra; if you feel yourself falling, relax and don't tense up. Your less liable to get hurt. Guess I better use that technique more in 2018. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Another year has almost ended and the Christmas holiday is upon us already. As always we got a  head start on decorating right after the Turkey Dinner.  The weather cooperated and most decorating is in place in and outside our house. The memories of growing up came to mind when as we unpacked our artificial tree for yet another year (year nine and still the lights worked). Artificial trees have evolved many times over. The tinsel tree of my youth to the mixed plastics of today makes for some interesting conversations on whether to go real or fake once again. 
Since the family also decorates my in-laws home now due to health reasons and age, it becomes an interesting and entertaining topic at their house as well.  Last year my mother-in-law swore she had more trees in the attic than we could find. In all fairness, much of the decorations were downsized just a bit, given or sold to make memories for someone else. She indicated next year she would like another tree. I hope the tall, skinny trees become a thing of the past because as I told her, "we may just need to take the old lights off and string new one's next year". My hubby won't be a happy camper if that is the alternative.

A client of ours went into the live tree farm business in the last year. Who knows we could both win in that situation. The smell of a live tree could be a reality next year. 

In another Oh Christmas Tree story our neighbor who has a tree we have watched grow taller and taller over the last 20 years once again decided to decorate for Christmas. When the tree was manageable to self-decorate he strung lights for several years. Then when it got so tall he couldn't or wouldn't step on a ladder he stopped decorating. This year access to a lighting service in our area seemed to take the fuss out of his and many others' outside home decorating issues. My elf enjoys decorating so until he decides otherwise, will continue the tradition at our house.

 Now if he would just instruct the mean elves in the attic to please leave the blow-up outside ornaments and lights alone we would have had a decorating experience without major flaws. Think we may try a new plan of action next year on that issue.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Where Should the Thanks Go?....

Well here we are another year has come and gone and many are baking and slaving away for that big dinner tomorrow. Back's are hurting, fingers are raw and dry from hand washing after hand washing.  Trying to at least make one special dish for everyone seated at the dinner table. Wait.....

Sounds like the start of a great traditional story, but this year it won't be for my family. This is the year of the revolution.  The year to break the tradition. I seem to have heard the last several days I am not the only one who decided that I would not be cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for 2017. 

With mouths agape and looks of disbelief on many I have talked with, I am that person this year.  Don't feel bad, don't be ashamed or appalled.  The year has been filled with so many things out of control that this was one area it felt timely and right to do.

I am going to bed a little earlier. Not getting up before the crack of dawn to start the oven for the bird.  Like one of the last scenes in the movie a Christmas Story, we will be going out for dinner. No not to a Chinese Restaurant but to a restaurant where all of the arrangements will be taken care of and not a dish will we have to wash. It is the first time but may not be the last time it happens, but we are thankful for the opportunity to break from cooking.

Hoping that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner. However, and wherever is your choice.