Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals

2010 Goals

To thrive, I need to feel fit. I need to feel connected to kindred spirits. I need to be close to my family. I need to enjoy my marriage. I need to create. And, most of all, I need to be close to my Creator.

This year, I want to move to the next level in all of those areas. For many of my needs, there is no objective measure . They are subjective... subject to my interpretation.

I have the freedom to choose. I am going to start simple. I hope to dig deeper and work harder as we go along... but, for now... for today... this is it.

For the month of January 2010 I commit to:

MOVE five days a week.

Sit with God five days a week.

Pay attention to five things a day that make me smile... that I am grateful for... write 'em down... SEEK those things, if necessary!

Read the rest of How We Choose to be Happy

Keep this Mission: THRIVE working for one more month

Keep my intention focused on thriving

Seems simple enough. I'll be reporting back on how this goes.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


This photo is from April 2005. Mingled in this little crowd are people I've shared a lot with over many, many miles. Running 26.2 miles with someone gets you down to the real deal. I miss that... the running and the real deal. Most social interactions are somewhat behind masks of one version or another... Most activities don't test your mettle quite that much... Why today? I ran 1/2 mile at the end of my usual walking route... The stiffness I get now is different than the soreness I used to experience on occasion... Life changes... maybe there are things you just can't go back to...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No golf today...

My friend, Milha, took this photo a couple of weeks ago. Today, I am missing my chance for golf in exchange for waiting on the heating and air conditioning unit to replaced at our house. Not nearly as much fun...

We had a great weekend filled with friends. Friday Barbara and Tony came to stay for a day. We sat on the porch and talked away the afternoon. Milha and Johnny came for dinner... we enjoyed good company, smoked chicken, roasted asparagus, new potato salad, corn casserole, Sister Shupert's rolls and blueberry-lemon cake. I had laughed and smiled until my face hurt!

Saturday, Barbara and Tony were here until early afternoon. We hated to see them go... But, we moved on to a wonderful retirement party for Johnny. Forty-three years. Impressive. It was a perfect evening... with a cool breeze, fun music, children dancing the night away, Country Tavern ribs and a warm good-bye...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Master Status... Over Our Own Attitudes

I haven't posted here in awhile. Mostly, when I have had time, I have posted to my other blog, The Brick Street Bungalow. Spring is such a beautiful time in East Texas. Just incredible. With a hectic scurrying to finish preparations for the Historic Tyler on Tour (April 3-5 for any of you interested), I've been on a mission to mission mode. Not much time to consider things... but, definitely soaking up the beauty... Living The Good Life.

It is all about attitude. Half-full/Half-empty. Knowing this. Having it reconfirmed at every turn. Why do, on occasion, I let outside sources determine whether or not I am happy??? You would think at 52 I might be mastering that a bit more... And, I can tell you I have "come a long way, baby"... still, I would like to move to master status over my own attitude. I am at a masters age group in every other activity! I always rebound to half-full... but, I can fall off in a funk and take awhile getting back! What gives us solid focus on our own attitude? How do we not become distracted by outside sources?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beginning Yoga 101 at the Windhorse Yoga Studio

Along the lines of trying new things, I signed up for Beginning Yoga 101 at the Windhorse Yoga Studio. It is crystal clear to me that I could use some flexibility (physical and mental). Even more so now that I have attended three classes. I STILL think my ankles are going to explode in the hero pose (just sitting back with your legs folded under you, beside your bottom).

I love the yoga studio. The owners aced tranquil and attractive. Our instructor is passionate about yoga. I appreciate all who have passion. So, maybe with love of my surroundings and appreciation of my instructor, I will be able to withstand the restrictions of my body long enough to develop some flexibility! =)

She says it is like water dripping on a rock... Think I will live long enough to sit without pain?


And light... Have to love that! Katie is a newby to yoga, too. We are having fun.

See what I mean?

Gleaming... clean... simple... serene... with a hint of the exotic...


yeah, yeah... that's just how I do it... =)

Graceful... THAT'S what I want to be... =)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bumper Sticker of the Day

May I just say that I get it!! I can remember as a child that it took FOREVER to get to Christmas. Now, years fly past and days are just a blur. Surely, there should be a speed limit! ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Golf With New Friends

The weather was just perfect for the first day of the LGA season! Played with two new friends: Stacy on the left, myself and Tonya. I do so love to be outside chasing a golf ball! I give thanks for such a beautiful day and good company. And, thank you, ladies!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The End of THE Cake Story

This is my brother, Jeff. As you may recall, I USED my brother's birthday as a rationalization to indulge in another piece of THE cake last Friday. Little did I know, at the time I was savoring chocolate in "celebration" of his birthday, he was indeed only twenty miles away! He had come in to fish in a tournament with his son, Nathan!

We were excited to get to meet him at The Purple Pig for a sandwich and a visit!! If you are ever near Bullard, you should give it a try. YUM.

AND, I could give him a slice of birthday cake... see, it WAS for him. LOL. Thank you, Jeff! It was great to see you!! Thank goodness the temptation is finally GONE!

Monday, March 2, 2009

28 degrees and still seeing signs of spring...

It was 28 degrees yesterday and 29 degrees today as I went for my morning walk... Still, I see spring... Bluebonnets, the Texas State Flower...

Bradford Pear Trees...

Carolina Jasmine...

Not sure, but I love the bicycle... =)


And, of course, tulips... Doesn't look that cold, does it?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Favorite Poem...

"I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear

Of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

To allow my living to open me,

To make me less afraid,

More accessible,

To loosen my heart

Until it becomes a wing,

A torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance,

To live so that which came to me as seed

Goes to the next as blossom,

And that which came to me as blossom,

Goes on as fruit."

By Dawna Markova

On my 50th birthday, my beloved and my daughter surprised me with a fabulous party surrounded by my family and my dearest friends. I received the most wonderful gift... a collection of very personal blessings gathered by my daughter from my loved ones and assembled into an album. When I need a lift, I get it out and flip through, opening each individual envelope to read each individual treasure... Priceless, as the saying goes...

This poem was at each person's place setting that evening... I have it posted just to the right of my desk to see it daily... As I am waiting for my first grandchild, it is even more significant to me now... Thank you, Amanda...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Caved-In at 2:36 PM CMT

Okay, so I caved. I grabbed the keys, ran down the stairs (knife in hand), strode to my beloved's office out back, unlocked the door, briskly approached the refrigerator, pulled open the door... and, ahhhh... there it was!! THE Cake!

Oh, I was so going to not have any today. Weigh in tomorrow at 7 AM. Not good. I was doing kind of okay distracting myself... then, I got a text from my friend, Milha. She was licking the cake batter off her flip flops (No lie... that was the text. I hope she was just kidding... sort of... Man, THE cake is THAT good). She is making THE Cake today for her son's birthday. Since that text, we have talked/gushed over the wonders of the batter; just wait, I tell her, the sum is greater than the parts!

Looking back, this is about the time I started to cave... Well, today is my brother, Jeff's birthday, too! So, I had to have a piece to celebrate for him, didn't I? He is almost 400 miles away and chocolate is his favorite... someone had to do it! =) I love how, if we try hard enough, we can justify anything... Not sure how that will work for me on the scales in the morning... but, ahhhh... I am satisfied now... =)

THE Ultimate Chocolate Cake - a Robert St. John recipe

This is an amazing cake: a genuine eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head, excuse-me-I-need-some-alone-time AMAZING cake! It lives up to its name of The Ultimate Chocolate Cake... from a cookbook by Robert St. John, I give you the cake... See The Celebrity Chef event on my other blog.

1 3/4 c. cake flour
3/4 c. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. melted butter
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 2 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and flour the pans, shaking out the excess.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Reserve.

Using a mixer with a whip attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon colored. Beat in the melted butter. Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the coffee and vanilla to form a think batter. Divide batter between prepared cake pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks, peel off paper and cool completely.

When cool, split each cake in half with a serrated knife to form four think layers. Freeze 1 hour before assembling the finished cake.

Make the fillings and icing and assemble.


1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate pieces

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4 c. powdered sugar

Place chocolate in a double boiler and heat until completely melted. While chocolate melts, use an electric mixer with whip attachment to beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Allow the melted chocolate to cool slightly, then drizzle it into the cream cheese mixture and continue beating until the filling is cool. This spreads best if used immediately.


6 oz. unsweet chocolate

1/2 c. unsalted butter

4 c. powdered sugar

1 c. sour cream

1 Tbs. vanilla

Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Use and electric mixer with a whip attachment to cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the melted chocolate, sour cream, and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. As with the filling, this spreads best if used immediately.

Can you say YUMMY?? Cake GOOOOD. Okay, so I don't get points for the best assembled and iced cake, but the taste... bring it on! =) This definitely falls under the category of Living the Good Life!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Busted Bust...

I love this bust... sadly for her, the weedeater did a disservice to her nose. I am posting it for Carmi's Thematic Photographic 37

Monday, February 23, 2009

Living the Good Life

For my little group of family and friends, you will notice that the title of this blog has changed AGAIN. It has morphed from, "Menopausal Madness" to "Menopausal Metamorphosis" to "The Change: Women of a Certain Age." Now I am to "living the good life"... I guess I have moved a good way through the metamorphosis that accompanies this passage. I am definitely a survivor. I can get down and get 'er done when the going gets tough; but, even more than that, I am a thriver. I believe in adapting: accepting what you have to, changing what you can and learning to love wherever you are in life. We moved a lot throughout my childhood. Maybe that's where I learned to be such a good little adapter... or maybe it is just inherent in my nature. Whatever the reason, I am going to thrive as a crone. =)

I will be calmer.
I will be more tolerant.
I will be wise.
I will grow and learn.
I will laugh... a lot!
I will love... even more.
I will TRUST God.
I will let go.
I will be free.

I am calmer.
I am more tolerant.
I am wise.
I grow and learn.
I laugh... a lot!
I love... even more.
I let go.
I am free.

I am living the good life...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Just a little humor for our days:

Baby Boomers

Click on the link above for a guaranteed chuckle! Have a fabulous day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back on the clean slate thing...

Back on the Clean Slate thing again… Well, yes, my slate is clean… but, what was on it “before?” Obviously, some of the things will have to stay on the slate… being a mother and inhabiting my own skin are not going away. Being wife to my husband, living in our home, and enjoying my friends are things I want to stay on the slate. I would argue that, even though these things seem the same, they have or are changing, too.

On being a mother, I am now about to be a grandmother. My role is officially being bumped up a grade. Yes, I know, my children have been grown for a good while… but, this makes it hard for me to deny. =) I like thinking of my children as my babies. Though I believe either of them would attest that I have always strongly encouraged them to stand on their own. The greatest gift and the biggest job we have as parents is teaching our children self-competence. I say competence, not confidence, because I believe passionately that confidence comes from competence. Competence comes from doing: trying, failing, succeeding. (That belief will still be on the slate.) You can’t do it for them.

My own skin… hmmmm… that sagging, wrinkling, age-spotting thing that covers my body. I don’t even recognize myself sometimes! LOL. The Clean Slate will obviously not have wrinkle-free body-covering! You know you are there when people begin to tell you, “You look good for your age.” On to another aspect of the body, I have always been very active. One of the biggest things I had to let go of was being a person who could and would run 20 miles at four in the morning to have time to walk and carry my bag for 36 holes of golf. Not on the Slate.

One thing for certain, I need a vision of life on this Clean Slate. Without a vision and direction, we drift aimlessly. That’s okay for awhile. But, I’m not down with that indefinitely. Self-fulfilling prophecy is a powerful influence on our lives. One day I will post about turning forty and how strongly I experienced that effect. For today, I am going to begin to visualize The Woman of a Certain Age I desire to become.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Grandbaby Bump

I stole this photo from my daughter's blog, Jerry and Amanda; it is of my grandbaby bump!! And, of course, my own precious child... one of them. =) About two years ago I was at an estate sale and came across a collection of beautiful hand-sewn baby dresses. They were wrought of fine batiste with delicate embroidery. I experienced a rush of emotion. I bought three. Brought them home. Called my daughter's cell phone and left a message that I had bought baby dresses and by doing so had started my "Hope Chest." Now, I did not hear back from her for almost forty-eight hours. By then, I was starting to worry that I had overstepped my bounds only to find out that she was traveling, had left her phone charger in Houston, and had been unable to check her messages. Thank Goodness! She was only mildly amused. I hinted pretty strongly over the next year until she took me aside and let me know I was becoming a nag. Hating that, I stopped mentioning a grandbaby at every opportunity. Now, another year down the road, we have a new member of the family on the way. Needless to say, I am MOST excited about this baby. He is due to arrive in July!

The first baby gifts: a.k.a. The Hope Chest

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pistol Packin' Nanas

Yes... we are pistol-packin' Nanas. My friend, Milha, and I went to the range today. I still hate the noise, even with ear plugs and headphones! It would help if my dear friend didn't feel the need to blast away with a .357 magnum! LOL My little M&P 9mm is much quieter. Yes, I am going to be a grandmother this year! I am so excited. My daughter has been after me to decide what I want to be called (as if that will matter... whatever that precious child calls me will be wonderful!). Milha, who is Nana, suggested Granna, a play on Tanna. Amanda has suggested Lolly, since Evan is already a Pop-Pop. I don't know... Taking suggestions... =)


Okay, I have to admit that the more I read blogs, the more intimidated I get about making posts. Now the reality is that very few people will even see my blog, so I just need to get over it! LOL. There are some really talented people out there in blogville. It is amazing how far you can wander by just following links from one to the next.

The cold has settled in here again. Really, it is both frustrating and amusing how we, in the South, react to just the threat of a winter storm. Now mind you, it was 75 degrees last weekend. The news stations issued a winter storm warning last night for today. And, indeed, it was 27 degrees when I went for my walk, but clear. I rushed back to make my Cocoon-like Aquatics class at 8 AM. Reached the front door of the YMCA only to be greeted by a sign stating, "Pool closed until 9 as a precaution to the weather." People, the ground is so warm there could be no freezing unless on a bridge or overpass (most always an alternate route available in Tyler). No Aquatics for me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

I just got back from a visit with RenĂ© McCarty, PA-C. This is my second month on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I am a believer. Nineteen months ago, the hot flashes started. No problem. I figured I would take the hot flashes in stride and make this passage as I have the others in my life: just forging ahead, not letting “mother nature” keep me from enjoying and living as I chose. Let me just say that I did not appreciate how very much I valued a good night’s sleep. Cranky and cross, I decided to try over-the-counter products to deter the hot flashes. No luck.

After a few months, I saw my family practitioner. I asked about bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. His opinion is that, if you are going to take HRT, it should be one of the traditional pharmaceuticals, but he suggested and prescribed Effexor. By that time, I was feeling depressed and so, thought, “why not?” I will give him this: my hot flashes stopped and I slept again, but, I was in a fog. I would be in situations where I knew that typically I would laugh and be enjoying myself, but I had to force myself to have the response I would have naturally had before. I felt disconnected. I took myself off the Effexor. The hot flashes returned.

Within a month, I had a follow-up visit scheduled with my doctor and saw his nurse practitioner. I told her that I had taken myself off the Effexor and why. She prescribed birth control pills. That helped with the hot flashes, regulated my erratic cycles, and got me a night’s sleep. What it did not get me was feeling better. I grew apathetic. My waist thickened. I sprouted back fat! I stopped working out (btw, I know that contributes to the problem… I just didn’t care). When I looked in the mirror, it seemed I had aged ten years in less than one. I knew I was in trouble when I saw my daughter’s name on my caller ID and just didn’t have it in me to answer the phone. I had to try again to get past this!

I tried being vegetarian, giving up artificial sweeteners, going organic, psychotherapy, chiropractics and massage therapy. I resolved to not start a big project (I save historic multi-family properties). I had my lead levels checked (lots of sanding and scraping old paint). I started back running. I took myself off the birth control pills (the hot flashes had returned).

At this point, my joints ached. My tendons and muscles were foreign to me; I just had no reference for feeling so badly. It was not like anything I had ever experienced. I am not a stranger to muscle aches and pains. I have run four marathons, all in my forties, among other things. But, this was different; I felt like a crone. Not in a wise way.

In a last ditch effort, I started myself on a slew of OTC supplements from the health food store, Sam-E, True Calm, Multi-Vitamin with minerals, Calcium with D, Vitamin C, HTP-5, Osteochondrotin and made myself an appointment to see a Physician’s Assistant who my husband, my counselor and my massage therapist all recommended. I took the saliva test to determine my hormone levels. She prescribed a bio-identical hormone replacement topical cream based on my lab results. This concoction was compounded in the pharmacy next door. I was cynical by now and referred to it as my Snake Oil.

It has been almost two months since I have been using the bio-identical hormone prescription and I feel entirely different. I am still having hot flashes and she increased the level of estrogen in this prescription. But, I cannot begin to tell you how much better I feel physically. I can cope with the hot flashes now that I am not decrepit! But, she tells me we can tweak the levels until the hot flashes are under control and I will be grateful for that also. But, most of all, I am happy to be feeling better generally!

One disclaimer: I do believe there are other factors in my improved well-being that include acceptance of this place in my life and others that I will discuss at another time. But, I do believe this is a primary factor.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Clean Slate

Now that I have determined that I am working with a clean slate, what, I ask myself, am I going to put on the slate? The pre-change me had a set of behaviors, activities, ideas, roles, and conditions that defined my life as I knew it: a self concept. Is there anything left of that? Yes, I still enjoy:

Being wife to my husband (actually, that may fall under the new. =) ).
Spending time with my children.
Laughing (or crying) with my friends.
Drinking a cold beer.
Sitting on my porch.
Playing golf.
Being outdoors.
Seeing new places.
Anything inspiring!
Good food.
The smell of a cigar, morning air, nightfall, steak on the grill, fall, scented geraniums…
A sense of adventure.
People who overcome, who succeed, who push themselves to new heights, who thrive!
Old homes, brick street neighborhoods, beautiful yards.
Feeling fit (I miss this and I want it back).

New things to try:

Digital Camera Class
Walking (maybe back to running one day).
Obviously, this is the list I am going to have to work on! =)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Season of Joy and Acceptance...

There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and time for peace.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8, The Bible NIV

I’m fifty-two. Letting go of my youth has been hard. I have come to realize that I have been in a grieving process… I think I am finally to acceptance. Throughout our lives, we define and validate ourselves by our families, our jobs, our appearance, our roles, our natures, our innate gifts, our strengths and our weaknesses. I took most all of that for granted. Now, it has all fallen away or changed. Some of the falling away or change I welcomed. Some of it I resisted with all my might. In the end, all of it changed… and, I have finally let go.

The slate is clean.

I am free to be.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Making the turn

I have made the turn. On to the back nine. I am taking off on a new adventure with blogging... this is my second to start in the past week. I started one called The Brick Street Bungalow because I love my old home and the wonderful neighborhood that I live in. In posting to that blog, something just didn't feel quite right... I needed a place that was a personal journal and a place that I can share my passion for old homes... So, now I have both! Life is full of options. =)