Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just a little longer.....

There's a certain pattern to this time of year. The festivities have ended along with the Christmas songs on the radio. Before long the lights that decorate my neighborhood will go away as well, The anticipation of the season has disappeared along with some of the joy. It's a time I typically dread, but know will come no matter what. Today would normally be the time for me to take down our tree and decorations; put away the cards, wrappings and stockings for another year. 

For some reason I couldn't bring myself to follow the pattern today. In light of all the national news lately, I wanted to avoid a return to reality as long as possible. I wanted to hang onto the spirit of Christmas a little bit longer. People are typically kinder to one another this time of year. They're quicker to smile, offer a greeting, and generally just be happy. Call me crazy for wanting to wrap that up somehow. 

So today, as the snow continued to fall outside the window..... instead of un - decorating, I put Christmas on Pandora and enjoyed the season a little bit longer...

   I want to laugh over my silly snowmen and have the only light in the house come from Christmas lights.

I want to enjoy my stack of Christmas cards from family and friends, near and far. 

 I want to delight in my Christmas stars for one day more.................

 and stay close to the ones I love. Here's hoping we all have more time.......

Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we........

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas....."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Emotional Decorating......

I'm an odd person when it comes to emotional things. I don't always get emotional over the things I should and other times the smallest things can set me off. This week it was Christmas ornaments. Am I the only person in the world who tears up over Christmas ornaments?

This is the first ornament that goes on my tree every year. My grandmother passed away from cancer the day before my 2nd birthday. She was so ill that that Christmas that she couldn't do any shopping, but had ornaments purchased for all of her grandchildren. This little reindeer was mine. I have no memories of her, but somehow this makes me feel a little closer to her. And that begins the emotions.

These two belonged to my husband as a child, also a gift from his grandmother. I love how delicate they are and that his initials and the year are engraved on them.

I got this ornament when my nephew (who is now a 7th grader!) was just a baby. Look at those cheeks! I love this picture of my mom holding him.

 This was a wedding gift, engraved with our name and the year. It was one of three that we received. I love the simplicity of it.


My husband received airplane themed ornaments growing up, and I've carried on the tradition each year. 

I love the details in all of these.......


And how adorable is this cat in an airplane??? I crack up every time I see it.

Speaking of two little buddies. Don't know what I would do without them.


 One of my new favorite ornaments - this was made by a very talented friend. I would never have the patience!

Last, but not least....another one that makes me tear up; mainly because I tear up at this show every year. Come on, tell me you don't? I teared up for another reason this year, as it seems to be broken. It should light up along with playing Linus explaining the real meaning of Christmas. Alas, not this year. But I still love it.... :)

So, are you emotionally attached to any of your ornaments?

~ Adrienne

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Am I the only one feeling this way???

I normally try to avoid anything controversial on here, so I'm truly going out on a limb with this one. Hopefully I won't be sorry that I did.....

There's a pervasive ugliness in the world right now, that seems to be getting worse by the day. The examples are numerous and widespread.The man who took it upon himself to advise the news anchor about how offensive her weight was to him and his hollow offer to help her "fix" herself. The kids who thought it would be funny to nominate an outcast girl to homecoming court just so they could make fun of her. The conversation I overheard in my grocery store last week where a teenage boy explained his extreme hate for a well known NFL quarterback. His exact words were "man I wish our team had a bounty system. I'd love to see ______ taken out of the game permanently." I'm not sure what concerned me more; the coldness of the boy's statement or the lack of concern from the person he said it to. 

Our culture seems to be on a downhill slide into a "can you top this?" of negativity. No where does this seem more prevalent than in the current race for president. 
(NOTE - This is not a post regarding the promotion of my beliefs, or my support for any particular candidate - simply my feelings regarding how we are treating one another.)  

The negativity I'm talking about isn't even really coming from the candidates themselves; more from the voters who are supporting them. This negativity was never more clear to me than in hearing that a certain popular political commentator used the word retard not once, but twice in twitter posts criticizing the president. That word makes me cringe. The post may not have been aimed at me, but to someone who has a sibling with Down's Syndrome, it was shockingly offensive. And that more than anything seems to be the goal of political discourse right now; to shock and offend anyone who doesn't agree with you.

The explosion of social media in the last four years has brought a whole new side to this that in a word is ugly. In the past few months the amount of political posts has increased from a slight hum to a deafening roar. Here's what I've noticed - everyone is passionate in their beliefs and EVERYONE is right. There are no shades of gray with anyone. It is all or nothing. You are wrong and I am right. If I yell louder than you, you'll change your way of thinking. Statuses are littered with quotes, captions, pictures, and cartoons, all
aimed at making a political statement. There seems to be a theme with many of them. Instead of say educating or informing someone - they mainly seem to be about offending the "other side." Let me make it clear that I see this coming from both sides. The number of days left until the election seems to be in direct correlation to how nasty the posts are becoming. Especially the ones that attack religious beliefs or that start with "Only an idiot would vote for _____." How in the world do you think you're going to influence another person's way of thinking by insulting their intelligence, gender, religion, mother...etc, etc, etc.....??

The sad thing in all of this is that I consider those I see doing this to be wonderful, amazing people. And some of the people who I see posting comments, (again from both sides), are people that I could see really liking each other if they ever met. But if your only basis for being friends with someone is shared political beliefs, then you're going to miss out on a lot. There are things that I like about both candidates and their platforms, and there are things I don't agree with on both of their platforms. I don't think it makes the candidates evil, stupid, or horrible people. Nor do I think that about anyone who chooses to support either of them. Everything is a matter of opinion and everyone interprets things differently. Freedom of beliefs and freedom of expression - they're part of our constitution, so why do we persecute each other for them when it comes to this? There are so many factors involved with someone becoming the president of the United States that it's unrealistic to think that someone could agree 100% with one candidate's beliefs. Most people will tell you that it's going to be based on what is most important in their life at that time. The person who lost their job and had their home foreclosed on will most likely be more worried about a candidate's economic policy than their environmental policy. Likewise, a person struggling with a serious health issue is probably going to focus more on a candidate's health care proposal than their foreign policy platform. The parent's who have a son serving in Afghanistan will likely be more interested in a candidate's foreign policy platform than in their economic platform....and so on and so on......The parent focusing on that child in the military isn't sexist, or stupid, because they aren't thinking about a woman's right to birth control being threatened. They are just dealing with the fact that their child is in danger and they can't think about anything else. Just like the woman going through a serious medical crisis isn't uncaring, or heartless for trying to figure out how to keep up with medical bills, but not being focused on trying to save rain forests from depletion. She's tired and again, just focused on what is most important to her at the time. There is no one candidate who is going to fit everyone of your beliefs. If you find that person, then I am amazingly impressed.

We pride ourselves on individuality, we tell children to be leaders and not followers. We reward thinking outside the box. So why, when it comes to choosing one person to be the leader of our amazing nation, do we ostracize, criticize and for lack of a better term, crucify anyone who doesn't follow our way of thinking? Why do we refuse to listen to each others concerns? Why are we more interested in snarky, condescending comebacks, than in engaging in a meaningful explanation of what's affecting us most at that time? I know many people who say, "I tried to have a conversation, but when they can't get their point across they revert to name calling." And again IT IS FROM BOTH SIDES. It amazes me the people who cut someone out of their life, or write off even getting to know them, solely based on another person's political beliefs. As I said before, I could almost guarantee that if you got some of these people together (minus all the political rhetoric) they'd find they actually (GASP) like each other and could find some amazing common ground. A perfect example would be the friendship that sprung up between Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. after they both left the political world. It saddens me to see how politics can turn human beings so against one another. 

I'm sure there will be people who feel my way of thinking is pretty naive. I'm not saying that there will never be disagreements when it comes to politics. What I am saying is can't we find a way to discuss our differences without reverting to 5 year old (or even worse) behavior?

Maybe in the weeks to come take a minute to think about this and try to consider the other side's way of thinking. Before you post/tweet that article, cartoon, slogan, etc., take a moment to think about what your point is. Before you make a snide comment in response to another person's post, take a moment. If your only goal is to (even inadvertently) hurt, offend, or anger someone else - someone who you may in fact care about an awful lot about - ask yourself this question. Is it worth it? Is there a better way to express myself and my opinion; a way that will educate, inform or enlighten? Is there a way to keep the humanity and discard the ugliness? 

That's all I'm saying  -  just take a moment......because when election day is over, no matter who has won, this country will still belong to all of us and we need to stand together as one nation.

~ Adrienne

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Best Laid Plans......

Lately I feel like someone is testing my how many issues (big and small) can we throw in your path to disrupt your ambition? Issues like my ongoing eye trouble.....which really I'm tired of talking about. All I will say is that one should not have their eye surgeon on speed dial and said surgeon should not be responding to my texts at 7am....'Nuff said......

So anyway.....last week was a vacation for hubby and I. 
So after a week filled with things like :

I should have been completely rested and ready to take on the world. In fact my plans this week were to do some of this........

                                            and some of this............
But, thanks to recycled airplane air.......instead my week entailed this:

so now I feel like this........

 But I am determined to do some kind of writing this weekend, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I just need to get back on track and back into the process......

I have to feel better - next week is our annual fall trek for pumpkins, wine tasting and doughnuts....... :)

See you all again very soon!!

~ Adrienne

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's All About The Balance.......

When it comes to balance (as in balancing all aspects of life)....I have two left feet.

A year ago I started working on the way I ate - eliminating as much extra sugar as possible, doubling up on veggies at each meal, cutting back on excess carbs, and making sure the ones I ate were only whole grain. It was a big change for me and it worked. I lost some weight, went down a couple of pants sizes, and generally felt better. What I didn't work on at the time was exercising. Oh, I did the treadmill or walks in the neighborhood, every couple of days like I'd always done, but nothing more. Actually in absolute disclosure....I slacked a lot in that area. I could only focus on getting the diet under control. It's all or nothing.This is how it goes with me....

Flash back to about 2 years ago, when I threw myself into the P90X program with full gusto.....okay so maybe not full gusto. For anyone not familiar with the plan, P90X is a program that you literally do every day for 90 days and after that you work to maintain what you achieved. Most of the workouts are at least an hour or more and some days there is an additional ab workout that's about another 1/2 hour. No offense Tony Horton, because honestly you do amaze me.....but unless you are Tony Horton you're going to have trouble sticking to the everyday for 90 days. I think I made it to about 50 and that was probably stretched out over...well more than 50 days. But I was doing it none the less. I know there are a lot of people who have completed success with the program (just watch the infomercial - it's so inspiring.), but I was not one of them. The program also comes with a food plan as well, but let me tell you - by the time I was done with all the working out, the last thing I wanted to do was follow recipe plans and try to remember how many servings of food groups I should have. I kind of felt that as long as I kept my eating fairly healthy, I should do ok. Well, I did tone up, I slept better, and my clothes did fit better, but overall I think I only lost about 2lbs. Then one day I injured my arm overdoing it (10 hours of yard work after a P90 workout is not smart.) Since a lot of the workouts include weights and push ups, I was out of commission for a time. It was coming up on summer at the time so I figured I would rather be outside anyway. I'd do P90 on the rainy days.....I'm sure you see where this is going. 

So, last summer when I wasn't happy with how I looked/felt, I switched things up. I decided to focus on the eating, get that under control and throw exercise back in after. And it worked because I did lose weight, felt better and I kept the weight loss off....for the most part. There's just this thing called life (maybe you've heard of it?), that sometimes gets in the way of things. I had also jumped back into writing this year, whether adding extra time on the weekends or one or two weeknights as well, which means more sitting and less moving. Then there were parties, ice cream stands, weddings, and unplanned surgeries. The first ones are inevitable and not really excuses. The last one was more believable as I ate horrible that week and didn't do much moving around. I did not (thankfully) gain all the weight back or even come close to it, but I can see that without getting things under control, one pound can turn into many. I can't rely completely on sticking 100% to my eating plan, because lets face it - I'm human and damn, the cupcakes at that wedding were amazing! I also can't depend solely on just exercising away anything that I eat. There has to be a balance between the this week I said no to one of the birthday cakes we had at work, and this morning I laced up my new sneakers (aren't they fun? Hoping they will motivate me).  

I went for a walk and even ran for about 2 blocks (I was caught in a torrential downpour, so had no choice....but the point is that I ran!) Then I came home and lifted some weights and did some other exercises. I'm hoping to fit in another walk this evening with hubby since the rain has cleared. You have to start somewhere right? I'm thinking in a few weeks I may work up the nerve to start seeing Tony Horton again. :)

But in the end it really is all about balance. Finding the time to plan healthy meals, fit in writing, friends and family, exercise and sleep. I know it's never going to be an even split between all of them, but there has to be a better balance than what I have now (picture a teeter totter with one end always on the ground.)

How do you find balance? How do you keep focused when making or breaking a habit? 
Share the motivation! 

~ Adrienne

Friday, August 31, 2012



People who live with debilitating pain are my new heroes. In a display of psychic prowess, I correctly predicted in my last blog post that I'd be making a trip to the eye doctor fairly soon. That was last Sunday afternoon. I'd woken up that morning with a dull ache behind my eye which had preceded each of my last visits to the eye doctor. Typically it would start with redness and lead into the ache/light sensitivity by the next day. But this time there was no redness, just the ache, so I resigned myself to some mild discomfort for the rest of the day, knowing I would just be calling the doctor's office in the morning (just how I wanted to spend a day off huh?) Oh if I had only known.....

By 9pm the dull ache had begun to intensify so I decided to just go to bed and try to sleep through it. About midnight I woke to find my eye was just about swollen shut and the dull pain had increased to an overwhelming throb. The pressure was unlike anything I had experienced before - like quite possibly my eye was going to explode. After about an hour of trying to breathe through it, I finally woke hubby up. I was getting scared of how intense the pressure was. That and the fact that the moonlight coming in the window was causing excruciating pain, (I also had my sunglasses on....I kid you not), was beginning to concern me. We decided to call the after hours emergency number for my eye doctor. The doctor on call was extremely kind and offered to meet me at the office to administer some kind of pain meds, but warned that he would need me to come back as soon as the office opened to see the surgeon as it was clear this was no longer routine complications from the surgery back in January. I decided that I could forgo the pain meds as long as he could assure me I was doing no physical harm in waiting it out (he assured me I was not.) He promised he would be in touch after reaching the surgeon and arranging for him to meet us first thing. (Thank you Dr. Hurley for calling not once, but four more times and once to check on me after everything was said and done.)

I can do this...I thought. Just a couple of more hours and I'll have relief. I'll just lay down and close my eyes and I'll be able to fall asleep.... I'm so tired. Let me tell you, pain in the light of day with activity, sounds and whatnot going on around you is so different from silent, dark, dead of the night pain. There was nothing to distract me from the pain, nothing to make me think it would be over soon. The hours of night drag on endlessly when you have pain. I love night time and a good night's sleep ranks high on my list of must haves. Yet, I could see how quickly night could become your enemy when you have chronic pain. Hubby lay with me, rubbing my back, trying to ease the pain. He didn't speak, clearly knowing there was nothing he could say to make it go away. I just had to (literally) grit my teeth and bear it.

When the phone call came at 6:30am telling me what office to meet the surgeon at, I had reached the breaking point. I was shaking, drifting between chills and sweating; literally wanting to jump out of my skin. I have no shame in admitting that I finally just broke down crying out of sheer frustration. To have no relief from the pain was too much to take and in reality it hadn't even been 24 hours.....some people experience this for days, months on end? As I new heroes.

The rest of that day is really a blur. We had to drive to their alternate office (I have no idea how we got there or what the office looked like on the outside.) A series of exams followed by a meeting with the surgeon, who very quickly advised that we reverse the surgery from last January. My body, for whatever reason, was rejecting the implants. Each of the previous issues had been small warning signs. Since we weren't listening, it was going to turn things up. A heavy dose of oral steroids, antibiotic and steroid eye drops, a Valium and about 12 hours later, the surgery was reversed and the pain was gone. Hopefully I am now on the road to recovery. A few more weeks of steroids will tell the tale......

Physical pain can be an annoyance - daily debilitating pain is something else all together. It's mentally, physically and emotionally draining. To deal with that and try to lead a daily life, takes a particular kind of strength - a strength I'm not honestly sure I'd be able to exhibit. If you have someone in your life who deals with daily pain, have patience when they are struggling, offer support where you can and say a prayer that it be taken from them. 

~ Adrienne

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where did summer go??

I'm not sure how this happened, but one day I wrote a blog post, went to bed, and woke up the next day to find that it was not in fact the next day. It was somehow 51 days later and there wasn't a blog post in sight. Speaking of sight, mine continues to be an issue (we are now on round 2 of 4 weeks of eye drops and something tells me that I will be making a trip to visit the eye doctor again.....very soon.) 

But for now, I am pretending that it feels fine and that it is not hindering my ability to sit at a computer for long periods of time.....

So here is a recap of what the last few weeks have entailed........

GARDENING - When last we spoke the pruning/planning/mulching had been completed. Despite the drought this summer brought, I've been able to keep our new plants alive. Not bad right?

 Hubby and I decided that we needed a mini getaway. Somewhere we could drive to (and by drive, not days), somewhere we had never been, and preferably that would involve seafood.

 Mystic, CT it was. 

Note - We did break up the trip by stopping the first night in Albany to visit my aunt and uncle, who surprised us with tickets to see Blue Man Group. Awesome musical talent and yes, as I pointed out to my aunt, we did just pay money to watch that man eat Captain Crunch on stage (hopefully someone has seen the show and will know what I am referring to.)

We arrived in Mystic the next day and spent a couple of days exploring a charming coastal town. Here's what we found:
  • Narrow roads with extremely friendly drivers
  • A draw bridge which is an event every 40 minutes
  • Great sunsets
  • A wonderful aquarium
  • Seafood Seafood Seafood (Angry that I forgot to take a picture of the lobster sandwich I had upon arrival....but I was mesmerized by the lobster....) 


 We returned to reality a few days later with some great memories and a new appreciation for the New England states.......

So, what else have we done you ask?

Friday night we took a trip back to our high school days. We took in the Def Leppard/Poison/Lita Ford show. Hubby's best friend and his fiance were with us as we took that trip down memory lane. Some observations from the night:
  • Why is it that I couldn't remember what I had for dinner the night before, but I could remember the words to a song that I hadn't heard in years?
  • Seeing Poison perform reminded me of their very first album - I remember hearing it when a friend brought it into our Catholic grade school class - so risque!
  • We did see a couple of people dressed in 80's rock and roll attire - leather pants, long hair, makeup (on the guys). I still haven't decided if they were just getting into the spirit of things for the night, or if they still reside in the 80's.
  • Brett Michael's mentioned Buffalo and Western NY so many times in their set that one could have made a drinking game out of it.
  • Lita Ford is 54 years old and has a new album out......go you.
  • Poison has been together 26 years.
  • Seeing hubby and his best friend playing air guitar like two teenagers was priceless.

So, what did your summer entail?

~ Adrienne

PS - Yes, I've continued working on my book - 14 chapters down......have no idea how many more to go. 

I've also added to the book collection through numerous rummage sales - just some light reading.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pruning - Part II


When last we met, I was rambling discussing my issues with giving up/making changes/cutting back on things that weren't working in my yard/life/etc..... When I finally agreed to one major change, I slowly started to see that change didn't always have to be a bad thing. Especially when change meant taking something like this:


and getting something like this:

As lovely as it was and as nice as it made things, I still fought against other changes. I wanted to continue to struggle with the overcrowding of flower beds and runaway ground cover. To add to the madness of thinking I could do it all, I was also still trying to plant new annuals every year, which added even more to the upkeep. So this spring, I finally said enough is enough. I couldn't do it all and I couldn't deal with the guilt of not being able to do it all. So in a couple of weekends with a very helpful hubby, we cleaned house yard. We kept some Hostas (which we transplanted) and the rose bushes as I believed they were the item that meant the most to the previous owner. We removed all traces of the Pachysandra, added Hibiscus, more Hostas and a couple of new rose bushes. We collected rocks from Lake Ontario to add some character to the gardens and mulched the heck out of them to fight back the determined weeds. I'm not a professional gardener (or photographer), but I'm learning........



(Please excuse the sad siding....that is a future project and as they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day..")


 (Again ignore the siding. Apparently the previous owners decided to begin siding the house and only did one half. I call it quirky chic.)





The lessons that I learned from all of these changes are something I need to apply to my everyday life. How often do we continue to do the same things over and over, afraid to make a change; whether it's as simple as changing your hair style, to something as big as ending a relationship that is no longer healthy for you? I think you need to let go of something wrong in your life in order to make room for something that is right. My favorite example of this was hubby taking a risk to flight instruct full time. He let go of the security of a full time job that prevented him from his real love of teaching others to fly. As soon as he made the decision to make that change he had new students coming from every direction. 

For me, I had to learn to give a higher priority to what is most important to me in my life, not what I think is most important to everyone else. As I have said before - to my friends who have children, I have no idea how you do it all. Some days work, cleaning the house and maintaining all the relationships in my life, are all I can handle. Add in my love/need to write, 2 pets, and an attempt to exercise, and.....well I don't think I need to tell anyone how there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. So I needed to figure out how to protect those things that are most important to me (family/friends/writing) and how to weed out (pun intended) the lesser having a perfectly clean house (no hubby I am not going to stop cleaning) or maintaining a full blown garden. My friend and I began scheduling a weekly night to get together and write. The funny thing is that once we did that, I realized how much I needed to write, which in turn made me say, "I need more time to write." An added bonus is that I get to also spend time with my friend and maintain a friendship that is so important to me. From all of this I'm more willing now to say I'm going to take a couple of hours on the weekend to work. I've made myself say no to a couple of things (nothing that was extreme and nothing that hurt anyone), but it was still hard for me nonetheless to not feel guilt over not doing it all. But I found the more that I ask for the time that I need, the easier it has become and the more readily it has been given. Change is hard; don't get me wrong. This isn't something that I came to overnight and it's not something that I won't struggle with, but my experience with pruning has shown me that sometimes you have to make changes to make something beautiful........

What changes are you contemplating?
Get out your pruning shears......

~ Adrienne