Thursday, July 31, 2008

Survey says: Dry up!

Science comes through again! The majority of people wash their hands-whew! I have read research, however that indicates if you are in a public restroom alone, there is a 30% chance you will skip on out without washing your hands! But, if other people are in the restroom at the same time, the number of handwashers to non-washers rises to over 80%!
When it comes to drying: Not a good, green choice, but paper towels win the prize! 72% prefer wasting trees.

The hot air blowers don't seem to be well received, in spite of the fact they are more energy efficient and more sanitary. This option rated only an 18% approval rating.

Then, there's always that one person-perhaps truthful, perhaps just messing with us-who says they don't bother to do any of it. Thus, the development of hand-shake avoidance. You just never know...there's approximately 7% who enjoy being bioterrorists!
Stay tuned for your next opportunity to be a player in the scientific research community! New survey starts now!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goodnight, Lucy, dear

Click here to view the poem, Rainbow Bridge:

March, 1992-July 2008
Around 2:30 Wednesday morning, Tyler knocked at my bedroom door and explained that he had been downstairs playing video games when Lucy came over to him, dragging her back legs. It appeared that she had had a stroke. So I made her as comfortable as I could until the vet's office opened. Dr. Wilson compassionately advised us that Lucy did not have any hope of recovery. We decided that she was too wonderful a cat to let suffer.That was a horrible decision to be forced to make but we let her go in peace and dignity, surrounded by loving arms.
For 16 years Lucy gave our family unconditional love and companionship.She saw us through many family transitions and many high and low places in our lives. We will always honor what she contributed to us. Until we meet again precious friend, on the Rainbow Bridge.Thank-you, Lucy, for all you gave us!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A few of my NOT favorite things...

 I find myself in the need of a little ventage today. Feeling a bit crabby, a little cranky, a tad irritated, a smidge ticked. Interesting that when you're feeling like this, more examples of all things bothersome just seem to pop up! Annoying crap has reached dangerously high levels! And you thought global warming was a problem-heh!

This is not an exhaustive list of everything that gripes my is, however, a start!
  1. Line cutters/jumpers. These people completely disrespect the karmic order of the universe!
  2. Parking space snatchers-thieves of the worst ilk! Doesn't that just blow? Then they hop out of the car looking all innocent like nothing just happened!
  3. Interrupters. Kathie Lee, wait your turn! Let Hoeda get a word in once in awhile, would you?  The View is the absolute worst example of this. Better now that Rosie's gone. Still annoying.
  4. People who throw their trash on the floor at the movie theater. Bet they don't do that at home! Or maybe they do...
  5. Instruction booklets of any kind. Evil sadists write these things...
  6. People who talk on their cell phones through any and everything, even when they are having a conversation with someone else or waiting in line somewhere. Oh, yeah, then we all get in on their senseless blathering.
  7. People who don't say thank-you when you hold the door for them. Rude.
  8. People who don't acknowledge you with a wave or nod when you let them have the right of way at a 4-way stop or when they need to get into your lane and you let them. Not nice!
  9. People who don't use their turn signals. Beg to be hated!
  10. People who have terrible phone manners: just start talking without identifying themselves, don't bother to ask you if it's a good time to talk, keep you on the phone for great lengths of time without getting to the point or allowing you to say your piece.( Make faces at them on your end-it helps!)
  11. Making a business call and having to repeat your issues to 10 different people before you finally get to speak to the right one! Or...worse yet, getting stuck in the doo-loop of an automated system ad nauseum without ever actually speaking to a REAL person!
  12. Chaffing, prickly heat, heat rash. Hate that!
  13. Mosquito bites.
  14. Vending machines that eat your money and don't give you your "stuff"!
  15. When the toilet paper has run out and you don't realize it before you sit down...
  16. People who work in service jobs-grocery checkers, fast food workers, retail clerks- who have absolutely zilch in the personality department. Blank. Bland. What ever happened to customer service and exchanging pleasantries with the customers? How about a smile now and then? Maybe the Invasion of the Body Snatchers really happened?
  17. People who don't cover their mouths when they cough.
  18. People who talk with their mouths full.
  19. People who won't give up their seat on a bus, train , or while waiting for a table in a restaurant for an elderly person, injured or disabled person, or a pregnant lady.
  20. When a machine that you are counting on screws up-computer, car, ATM, whatev...especially for us non-mechanical sorts. OY!
Ok, I feel much better now. I bet there are things I have forgotten...I bet there are things you could add...How about it? What chaps your buns? Go ahead, commiserate!

Monday, July 28, 2008


It's finally less than two weeks until I leave for Oregon to see my family! This summer has been maybe the best one ever-I've been out with great people and my kids/grandson, doing fun stuff, trying new things, riding my bike- but I still feel the need to get away, to get out of the routine, a change of scenery...This week Wednesday is my last class-then three weeks off before I start my second year of my masters program-YES!! I am so burnt-out from school at this point that it's a good thing we have a break or I don't think I could do anymore! Ever been there? To someone who works two jobs and goes to school full time, vacation is the most prized of days. Boy, do they ever fly by! I swear they go twice as fast as normal work/school days! I was reading in the paper yesterday that Americans are actually the worst vacation takers in the world. By worst, I mean that they take the least vacation time of any industrialized nation in the world. In fact, the article went on to say that the average American fails to take 3 days of vacation per year that they are entitiled through their employers and that's DOWN from last year when the estimate was 4! The math works out to be 438 million days just thrown away! We do this why?? Some of the experts say that it's a throwback from the Puritanical work ethic, others speculate that it's because people are afraid of losing their jobs in this frightening economy and so are paying more attention than they should to their jobs and neglecting personal life, and still others think that people save those vacation days for when emergencies arise such as sick kids or having to wait for a service or delivery person at their home. In many other parts of the world, the government has a minimum mandated number of days you MUST take per year. The European Union says 20 days off a year minimum! France requires 30 days plus a paid holiday. The Austrians and the Potugese have us all beat: 22 vacation days plus 13 holidays are required!I wonder what impact taking more vacation would have on this country. I imagine less uptight, strung out people walking around. Maybe more families that are bonded on a deeper level. Marriages that are in less chaos. Really, I think it's about achieving balance in our lives. That's so hard to do! We all recognize that we need balance. Just about everyone I know, including myself, is so overscheduled, harrassed, and frazzled that half the time we don't know if we're on foot or horseback! Guess it's time us Americans get our slack on! I'm prepared to do my part to right this wrong! Lana is ready to slack away! Oregon, here I come...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just when I think I've seen it all...

This is an amazing presentation done at a church by a group of people wearing white gloves against a black-light background. Amazing what people think of. So creative!This really blessed me the day I received it in an email from a friend. I hope it blesses you today, too! Enjoy...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quiet day, simple pleasures

The many moods of Jayden...

There are so many nice parks in Holland.I think we've hit just about all of them this summer!Jayden loves to be outside. We started out at Huizenga park in the morning with our usual playdoh, bubbles, feeding the ducks and geese, and crawling all over Timber Town. Lunch at Donalds-nuggets, fries, and apple juice. Tyler and Jayden took a nap. Granny had to work for awhile. Then off to Hog Wild BBQ for supper and Centennial Park, located in downtown Holland. There are two ponds featuring Koi. In one of the fountains there are many varieties of ferns, moss, and flowers planted directly on the rocks. There is also a large gazebo at Centennial Park and a very large bronze statue of Rev. Van Raalte-founding father of the original Dutch Reformed settlement here. That's where we snapped these few pictures today.

Here, Jayden talks things over with Benny Franklin. A rather serious conversation from the looks of things. Jayden is fascinated with all the bronze figures scattered throughout town.

Jayden plays sparklers with his "bald" Unka Trevor (sporting his new Navy haircut)
Life is grand as long as you've got sparklers and Pop-its!
We ended our day with the first fresh ears of corn from our neighbor's field-summer is so great!

The look of a satisfied customer!

What I Learned from Randy Pausch

A client who knows me well, recently recommended that I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I am fascinated with human beings being human-the subject of human potential in particular. In fact, I'm fairly certain that this will be the central focus of my future work in Counseling since I am honestly obsessed with it! I am passionate! I am consumed! How to get all the juice out of life- YES-that is the issue!

Randy Pausch, age 47, husband to Jai, father to Dylan, Logan, and Chloe, and brilliant beloved professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA,  authored an exceptional book about living life full out...while facing his own death from pancreatic cancer. In September 2007, with less than one year left to live, Randy Pausch gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University entitled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams".  The "last lecture" premise is a format commonly used at colleges everywhere to allow professors to share their most sacred personal truths. Randy did this with an unforgettable style. Excerpts from that lecture are available at Youtube and are among the most viewed clips. Their popularity has been enormous! You can also find out more about the book at:

Googling his name and/or the name of the book will also bring up a wealth of resources.

Here are a few of the many things I learned from reading this book:
  1. Time is of the essence. It's all you really have. Don't waste it. Don't take it for granted. It could turn out that you have less of it than you think. Make the most of it. Prioritize and spend you time on what and who matters most to you.
  2. Prepare yourself. Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Develop your skill sets. Get really good at the things you love, the things that you are acutely interested in so that when an opportunity comes, you'll be ready!
  3. Have big dreams. Thinking small will not serve you.
  4. Be sincere! Cool is not nearly as important!
  5. Don't be a whiner. If something isn't going your way-work harder!
  6. Get away from caring so much what others think of you. Give yourself reason to be validated from within.
  7. Focus on the good in people-look for the best.
  8. Follow the behavior trail. Put more stock in what people do vs what they say. Talk is cheap. Many people give lipservice but do not follow through with their actions.
  9. Be a person of loyalty.
  10. Have gratitude. Express gratitude. Handwritten thank-you notes are a sure winner!
  11. Tell the truth-all the time.
  12. Never give up!
  13. Ask-you have not because you ask not!
  14. Do the humble jobs with enthusiasm-nothing is beneath you.
  15. Value the input of others. Be generous with your help as well. Be an enabler of the dreams of others to the extent that you can. We are all profoundly related in this human community.
There were many other things contained within the pages of the book. Far too many to name here. I encourage all of you who like to read, get this book-especially if you need a lift and a boot in the butt towards becoming your best self( and who doesn't?). I would say that Randy Pausch was successful in conveying his most prized life lessons and in leaving a legacy for us to treasure.

As I finished the final chapters of the book, I learned that Randy Pausch passed away from complications of pancreatic cancer earlyJuly 25th, 2008. Deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family, friends, colleagues, students, and all who were touched by his life. His powerful presence will be missed but his impact will linger.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Marcee!

Click to play Happy Birthday, Marcee!
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Thanks for all the many kindnesses you have blessed my life with down through the years! Thanks for all the ways you have been there for me and helped me through many of life's obstacles! You have been a very significant person in my life and I love you! Have a wonderful day, sweetie! Enjoy #60!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blog Hero: The story of Olive Riley

I ran across an extraordinary find while blog hopping a couple days ago. A lady named Olive Riley had a blog called The Life of Riley. Had, because, sadly, she passed away this month. Extraordinary because Olive was 109 years old-the oldest known blogger! Still full of life and enchanted by the wonder of life at 109 years of age. I am in awe.

It has taken me all of 49 years to get comfortable in my own skin to the point that I no longer wish to look different, be different, compare myself to others, need everyone's approval, or have to depend on someone else to be happy. I am happy with my life and myself AS IS! Does this mean I'm complacent? Of course not! I want to grab life and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. Each day is a gift and I want to treat it as such. I never want to take my life for granted. I want to continue to find ways to contribute, bless others, and spend my time in a worthwhile fashion. I hope that I will never get to a point where I no longer wish to learn anything new or stop pursuing new life experiences.

I said all of that to say this...that is the legacy Olive has left behind! She is one of those points of light that we encounter on our journey. She has set an example and held up the mirror so we can see more clearly our own potential. If you read her blog posts you will find a humble person who didn't think of herself as anyone out of the ordinary. You can sense her spirit of gratitude for all that she was allowed to experience during her long span of years. Her posts take you back in time for a real-life history lesson. Think of all the changes she saw during her time here on this planet. It's mind boggling. But even so, she still felt stimulated to take up blogging and interface with current technology and not just give up but instead reach out! She did not do the actual typing on the computer-she had a friend assist her as she dictated her stories. In the stories her fiesty zest for life shines through. Read as many as you have time for. They're fascinating and are a great history lesson, to be sure, and a birdseye view of life from an Aussie's perspective.

It is my hope and prayer that I can learn the important life-lesson that Olive offers us all by virtue of her example-to keep living big, rich, full and unselfishly right up to the end.
Thank-you, Olive for inspiring so many of us!

You can check Olive's stories out by going to:
or you can google Olive Riley and pull up all sorts of things including all her videos on Youtube and all of the stories and posts about this remarkable woman.

If you have the time, follow the advice on the blog and start reading at her first post and follow it through. Her recounting of life's adventures is worth the time and effort spent.Very fun reading! You'll come away with an appreciation for the adaptability of this dear little lady!

Reel Fun-The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight cleared over 155 million it's opening weekend! The largest boxoffice take of any movie in history to date.Everyone in our group gave the new batman flick two thumbs up! Christian Bale may be my favorite caped crusader yet! The action and the special effects in these movies just keeps getting better as do the high-tech crime fighting gear and gadgets. The other big name, Heath Ledger, did a brilliant job as The Joker. He was truly scary, deranged, and extremely sinister. Heath was perfect for this part-sadly, his last. I would not be surprised if he won an academy award posthumously. As always, you just have to love Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman his usual superb job as the gadget guru. Maggie Gyllenhall was, of course, adorable as ever! The movie is long, two and a half hours, so hit the head first cuz you aren't going to want to miss a minute of this one! Unfortunately, Christian Bale did run into a legal snafu today involving a domestic assault with his mother and sister which he claims to be innocent of. It remains to be seen if this will affect public opinion or the continued patronage of the film. The movie though is awesome! A great fantasy escape for a couple hours. I was nervous the entire time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cleanliness next to Godliness?

According to our latest scientific survey, the majority of people bathe or shower in the morning-more that 4X the number that do their daily cleansing ritual at night. And then there was one stinkbomb who voted for zero hygiene. Wonder who that was...shouldn't be hard to tell!
Our next survey turns to a more serious subject. Be sure to cast your vote in the name of science!

Tattoos I Met At Work

Here's another idea that just popped into my brain~I Decided to do a pictorial collage of all the body art worn by the legendary Body Perfections Girls...For your viewing pleasure, may I present...

Rae has three tats.
All on her feet and ankle. The three uncolored stars are for her brother, her sister, and herself. The colored stars are her mom and dad. The asian writing is the word faith. It's on her heel because she walks by faith. The R stands for Rae's family name.

Lana has one tat that she got on her 40th birthday. It's the symbol from the massage school she graduated from.

Sam has a colorful tat of a sun and moon.
Brooke and Brit both have dragonflies:

Brookie's dragonfly is nibbling on her ankle.
Brittney's dragonfly is resting on her shoulder.

Lucy chose a butterfly for her body art!

Heather has two tattoos:
butterfly and flower

Julie also has two tattoos: Jesus fish and a teeny, tiny butterfly.

 Stephanie, the artist that created most of our artwork in the shop including the beautiful mural, has this interesting symbol which she designed herself. Pretty crafty, Steph!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mental Gymnastics

Just recently, in my Psych Testing class, I was exposed to a variety of intelligence, aptitude, motivational and personality tests. This makes you aware of the fact that there's a lot of stuff you don't know! I'm not going to say that these tests made me feel stupid...but I got to thinking about whether or not there are any benefits to trying to build up your mental ability. One thought led to another...I started thinking about the ramifications of aging, Alzheimer's and Dementia-which my children claim I'm already showing signs of but I have noticed that they actually forget more at ages 20 & 23 than I do at 49-go figure!
I've been reading a lot of articles online about this subject and, while research is still ongoing and some of the results are not completely conclusive, there is some evidence to support the notion that regular, consistent mental exercise is good for your brain and may actually slow the onset of both Alzheimer's and Dementia. While these two conditions are far too complicated to rely solely on one factor, I'm of the opinion that whatever can be done on the preventative side is worth the time and effort. According to statistics we are all living longer and therefore have a greater likelihood of encountering some of these brain dysfunctions as we age. There's a normal amount of memory loss that does seem inherent with the aging process. But what if that could be minimized? What if that could occur for us 10, 15, or 20 years later? What an improvement of quality of life that could create! Worth looking into anyway I would say!
What sorts of things constitute mental gymnastics? From my research I have compiled this list, which is not exhaustive by any means, but would give you a good start:
Reading, board games, crossword puzzles, sudoku, learn a language, play an instrument, dance, have a mentally stimulating job, listen to the radio, watch learning programs, visit museums, play computer games, engage in sports and physical exercise, have hobbies, be involved in groups and/or cultural activities, be engaged in social interaction as much as possible-especially stimulating conversations.
Here are a few books on the subject that got good reviews:
The Memory Bible: the 10 commandments for keeping your brain young, by Gary Small
The Memory Book: Everyday habits for a healthy memory, by Judith Wiles
Keep Your Brain Young, by Guy McKhann & Marilyn Albert
Here are some websites on the subject:
Keep your brain sharp:
Alzheimers Association:
Mind Fitness Games:
Brain health appears to follow the use it or lose it principal. Like any other data processing mechanism, GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Hopefully, information like this will help us hang onto what we've got a little longer!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Earth to Mothership

Wheat's up?
Here's the status of our neighboring wheat fields.

It's corny...
Yup, rain took it's toll this summer but it looks like we'll be  having some corn sometime fairly soon!

Bean there...
Soy beans that is. Plenty of those around here, too!
Hope that gave you all a nice agricultural fix!
So much for the Beaverdam version of eye candy...we're easily entertained in this neck of the woods!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

EPD-Do you have the symptoms?

This is Lana Mae Baker, first confirmed case of EPD:

There's ADD/ADHD, PTSD, STD,OCD, ED, and now there's EPD. Tyler has recently coined this new diagnosis for a disorder he claims I have-Excessive Pothole Disorder.

According to Tyler, whenever there's a pothole in the road, I go out of my way to hit it! He says that when it looks like I might possibly miss a pothole that I subconsciously make a course correction so that I do, in fact, hit it. From my perspective, I do exactly the opposite. I do everything within my power to avoid potholes. Why would I intentionally hit one? It's not good for your alignment. It's not good for the tires. It makes my boobs jiggle and sag more. I could possibly spill my latte!  Why, oh why, would I do such a thing? Tyler says I'm in denial. He says I have some sort of subconscious need for the drama of it all. Drama because he always yells when I hit one. And then he mocks me and my driving skills. And threatens to make me go on some kind of pills. Yeah, like that's enjoyable!He says it's like some sort of magnetic force, like a tractor beam or something, that pulls me irresistibly towards the pothole. Maybe even some sort of mystical spiritual thing: be one with the pothole! No pothole left behind! Celebrate the pothole! OK-enough.

My theory is that possibly I have some sort of visual spacial impairment. It always looks to me like I'm going to miss it, I'm intentionally trying to miss it, it feels like I'm missing it...and then whomp! So maybe it's a form of dyslexia. Only with potholes. There's another valid point I would like to make regarding this alleged condition that I supposedly have.

Have any of you out there seen the roads in Michigan?

My point exactly! I rest my case...

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