"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Saturday, January 31, 2009


With all due apologies to Bill Shakespeare, of course...

Yes, I know, it's "winter of our discontent" (I actually was paying attention in Candy Finger's English/Lit class back in the day (and yes, her name was really Candy Finger).

It's just that as my current old-age malady -- ringing in the left ear -- continues to worsen (think Bells of St. Mary) I can't hear worth crap.

If you are not standing right in front of me while you  speak so that I can read your lips, "discontent" truly sounds like "discotheque".

If I sleep on my side with my good ear to the pillow (bad ear up), I can't hear my alarm clock go off on the bedside table right next to me. However, if I sleep on my side with my bad ear to the pillow, good ear up, Holy Cow (think  1812 Overture)!

At work, with my headset adorning  my ever-graying head, I have to sometimes close my eyes and push the earpiece tight to my ear so that I can concentrate on what the person on the other line is saying.

Suddenly, my life is like one long round of  Mad Gab -- you know, that game where one person reads a group of simple words like, "Yore Luke Ink Hood" and then tries to quick-like-a-bunny figure out what they're really saying..."You're Looking Good".

And in this economy, who can afford an ear horn?

So I bought a bottle of Ring Out Drops or Ring Ease or some such concoction at Walgreens last night. It's supposed to help reduce ringing in one's ear...

That was all part of our exciting evening out on the town -- our first Friday night out in many a moon...first a trip to Walgreens to buy ear ringing medicine, then to the theater to see that sure-to-be-an-Oscar-winner movie "Mall Cop" (it was the perfect mindless pastime for two old farts), and then on to Wally World where we tiredly trudged about the aisles, picking  up sinus douche (that's what I call it) for John, and under-eye circle concealer for me.

It don't get any better than that.


Here's to old age. Tinnitus kinda special.


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Old reporters never die.

They just submit articles for company newsletters.

And, if they are lucky -- like I was last Friday -- they get a plaque recognizing their "journalistic" contributions via the monthly newsletter submissions.

Yes (hold your applause), I received the 2008 Newsletter Reporter award at work Friday...and I truly was touched...

I haven't won any type of writing award since, oh, 2001 -- or was it 2002 -- when I took third place in the Iowa Newspaper Association annual news writing contest.  That award, as I recall, was for exposing the growing meth problem in rural Iowa. Long story short -- a guy who lived just down the block from me (of course, everything is "just down the block in Menlo, IA) was busted for making meth in his garage.

Anyway...I was truly taken aback by the award on Friday...maybe I still got it -- at least a little bit of it -- whatever "it" is -- after all! 

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I can't stop the goosebumps!

I sit here in sheer amazement...

"Congratulations Mr. President!"

And yes, I cried. Happy tears, happy tears.

Hope IS alive!  You can't help but see it on the faces of the two million folks who made it to Washington, D.C. for "The Moment".

And to think President Obama's victory got its kick-start right here in ol' Ioway but a year ago this month...my first caucus...my first stint as a county convention delegate...hoofing it door to door to "GOTV (get out the vote) the weekend before the election...

I can't stop smiling as I watch the parade...

Black and white. Young and old. Joyful tears. Hugs. Cheers. A spirit of hope for the future...

The second best thing about today -- watching George Bush fly off into the sunset in a helicopter. But I digress.

Anyway...amid all the the terror and tragedy that befalls our modern world, a peaceful heart I have tonight.

O Ba ma!

Saints be praised!

Saturday, January 17, 2009



So I doubt very much that Jennifer Aniston EVER eats A heaping helping of homemade mashed potatoes let alone TWO...

But the other night, after almost two seemingly long weeks of dieting -- not to mention the fact that it was -40 degrees (with wind chill factor) -- I just couldn't pass up John's oh-so-yummy spuds. With gravy. 

Did I mention the three pieces of melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted roast beef that just happened to go along with said spuds?

Heavy sigh.

Then, last night, after a seemingly long week at work, I spied a bag of Bugles on our dining room table. It was beckoning me, I tell you. Beckoning me. And I couldn't resist. Oh, the stress-relieving crunching!

And then there was the slice of breakfast pizza this morning at work (mandatory overtime)...

Furthermore -- as long as I am 'fessin' up about what I've been eating -- I must also admit that I haven't exercised all week. There's just something -- what's the word -- IMPOSSIBLE -- about forcing one's old, aching body out from under a comfy heated throw at 4  a.m. on a freaking cold Iowa morning to don exercise clothes and work out.

I even tried sleeping IN my exercise clothes, my theory being that I would  stay relatively warm if I didn't have to slip out of my pjs first and THEN into my exercise garb. I also told myself that I would be more likely to exercise if I slept in my exercise clothes on the couch (in front of the TV) because I would merely have to roll my old, aching body off the couch, grab the exercise DVD, push it into the DVD player and voila!  With very little effort I would be up and at 'em...and warm!

Another theory down the drain.

As it turned out, I fell asleep in my bed under that damn heated throw...and that was all she wrote. Never made it to the couch. That heated throw is just the best thing since sliced bread, I'm tellin' ya.

Hmmm...sliced bread... with creamy Jif Peanut Butter...

Is it June yet?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


At least that's what "Walk Away The Pounds" guru Leslie Sansone, bless her heart, has been telling me all week -- and in the wee hours of the morning, no less.

Yes, I have actually made good on my goal to exercise before work each morning so that my metabolism gets a good rev before I then plunk my ever-expanding arse in a chair for 10 hours at the office.

At first gasp for breath,  it seemed a bit of an exercise in futility. However, I do believe I have been more alert and have not tired quite as quickly since I began walking three miles an a.m. in my living room. Walking three miles an a.m. with an injured baby toe, I might add.

I've traded diet pop, breakfast pizza and peanut butter M&Ms -- all the things that make life worth getting up for -- for bottled water, Special K With Red Berries, and green grapes. And, I am happy to report, I've lost a whopping 3-4 pounds. So I suppose my early rising,  stuffing myself into my spandex exercise duds, and sweating profusely for 45 minutes has had its rewards.

It's certainly a start.

I must admit I am greatly inspired by the fact that two friends I saw at a 50th birthday party at the local bowling alley last night have dropped 30-40 pound since just this fall...they look FANTASTIC! Heather, Lori, kudos to you guys! 

That did not stop me, however, from enjoying my fave bowling alley fare -- a veggie cheese burger thru the garden (no onions) with a  dab of mayo on the side, no fries. Oh, and I had a piece of birthday cake. And a couple of Malibu Barbies (Malibu rum and Diet Pepsi).

(My friend, Rhonda, says Malibu Barbies taste like suntan lotion smells --  they are a bit coconutty) -- but I digress.)

Anyway, I foresee a long and happy exercise relationship with Ms. Sansone and her "Exercise Express" pals -- at least from now until the winter breaks and I can safely  hoof it three miles a day in the Great Iowa outdoors.

The perky (and borderline annoyingly so) Ms. Sansone is right, you know -- I hate to admit it, but it does feel good to sweat, to get that oxygen moving to the brain, to stretch what's left of my atrophying muscles...

And four, and three, and two, and one, and walk walk,walk, walk...

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Our special friend, John F., died earlier this week. He was 67.

John lived at the local nursing home for the past 15 years, so that means he was roughly my age -- a mere 52 -- when he went to the nursing home to live.

And to the extent someone can "live" at a nursing home, John certainly made the most of it. He had, you might say, the gift for gab. He was a member of our local United Methodist church, the United Methodist Men, and enjoyed attending adult Sunday School. He was the first "Resident of the Month" at the nursing home. John loved birds, braunschweiger (which was not on his restricted diet, but we helped him sneak it in on occasion), peanut butter, and ketchup. 

How fitting, then, that he was buried with a bottle of ketchup at his left hand, a jar of peanut butter nestled against his right arm. Anyone who knew John had to smile knowingly -- perhaps even chuckle -  when they paid their final respects. Oh, and John -- a fanatic about time -- was, appropriately, still wearing his watch...the timepiece still tick,tick, ticking away ...such a stark, bittersweet contrast with the once talkative and gregarious John now so still and silent.

The whole scenario was certainly a stinging reminder that time stops for no one, so better make the most of the life you have, of the time you have left,  whatever hand life has dealt you. 

And I pondered awhile after the visitation just what symbolic treasures my husband and son  might think to bury along with me when I go. My bottle of Prozac? My bulging makeup bag?(I'm a Walgreens health-and-beauty aids addict.) My refrigerator magnets that proclaim "The Queen Doesn't Cook",  "Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here",  and  "I'm Out Of Estrogen  And I Have A Gun"? A copy of "Dieting For Dummies"?

I'd like to think my  lifelong friends who have known me since back in the day might try to sneak an old high school yearbook,  a bottle of  pre-mixed Margaritas or a Love Shack CD under my pillow. 

I don't expect anyone, however, to slide a Bible, a cookbook or knitting needles into the coffin before they slam 'er shut. Well, maybe my "Bad Girls Of The Bible" study guide and a tube of Liquid Cement (which is what I used to hem my skirts in high school)...

Of course, if I end up choosing cremation (certainly the more economical route) PLEASE, SOMEBODY gather up all my old diaries and journals and toss them atop the funeral pyre 'cuz, Lord knows I ought to be takin' most of the stuff stashed in those books to the grave.

But I digress.

Anyway, just some food for thought this Saturday a.m.  Life is just so short...we must make the most of it while we are here...

Hence, having said that...Must run. Day 2 of my "Look Like Jen By June" wedding makeover.

The light soy milk, she's a callin'...

Stay tuned, and hey....

I hope you dance...

Thursday, January 01, 2009


After a rousing New Year's Eve spent sleeping, I have greeted 2009 with my usual list of self-improvement goals.

In fact,  I just returned from Wal-Mart where I stocked up on yogurt, Weight Watchers frozen entrees, bottled water, Special K, light soy milk...yes, my "look like Jennifer Aniston by June" wedding diet has officially begun. ( I used to want to return to looking like Meg Ryan, but since she had her facelift/botox injections, or whatever weird things she had done to her face, I'm steering clear of her.)

Also, to ring in the new year, I toyed with the idea of buying one of those dry erase calendars for the kitchen in a resolute attempt to organize the fam... and then thought better of it. Why start now? Bought a journal instead...a food journal it will be...

I also bought one of those expandable files to organize bills and other important papers.

A new year, a clean slate. Another chance to better myself.

This is the year I take control of my life.

Hey, don't snicker.  I know I've vowed to do that for the past, oh, gazillion years. But this time I mean it, damn it!  

And I need to give up swearing...again.

I gave up soap operas for Lent when Daniel was just a pup, and I gave up swearing soon after. But then I wound up back in the newspaper biz several years back and voila!  Swearing reared its ugly head once more. I actually got reprimanded at work last year for swearing, using the "s" word...that was a humbling experience...

Now I mutter "Shittake mushrooms" when I am stressed at work -- but I'm not fooling anybody...

Anyway...I exercised this morning with Leslie Sansone...swollen bruised  toe and all.  It about killed me. But I kept on.

And I just enjoyed a cup of light soy milk...

Shittake mushrooms, I've got my work cut out for me....

But Michael, Linda, if you are reading this...please know that my earlier blog decrying my figure and my lack of enthusiasm for getting in shape yet again was in no way a suggestion that I would even remotely entertain the idea of not showing up for the wedding if I don't look like Jen by the time I hop on that plane.

I'll be there! With bells on! Unless you prefer I leave my bells at home...ba-da-bump.

Just be sure to have plenty of Special K protein water and carrot chips on hand...or a pitcher of Cosmopolitans -- whichever comes first. Just think...had I been drinking water at YOUR wedding instead of 7/7s, my darlings, I never would have ended up being hosed down at the car wash...

Smooches and hugs! And Happy New Year!