12 December 2010

The value of stuff


I was only a block away when I noticed it. My hand was bare. I frantically searched all of my pockets. Then I turned around and retraced my path. My ring was gone and I had only lost it sometime between the dentist chair and a block away.

The ring did not have any precious stones, nor was it gold. It only held sentimental value for me. This ring was the only thing that I wore all the time, even when bathing, even when swimming, even when sleeping. It was a gift from my mother.

I am actually surprised that I had not lost it earlier. Having lost over 40 pounds in the last few years, the ring was loose on my hand.

Back at the dentist’s office, the staff was so kind to let me interrupt the new occupant in the chair and even helped me look for the ring. But I never found it.

I was a bit melancholic the day I lost my ring. Afterwards, I started thinking about the value of stuff. I valued this little ring highly and am now sad that it is gone. And I have stuff in boxes and on shelves that I know I would not miss were I to lose them.

I still subconsciously check that the ring is still there on my hand, when it no longer is. Now I am more determined now to free myself of stuff I don’t value anymore.

08 December 2010

Do or do not. There is no try.


Sunday night, my family and I went to the Zilker Tree Lighting Celebration here in Austin. It was also a chance to chat with Randy, from Yearlyglot, who happened to be visiting the capitol city this weekend. As we chatted, he asked me, so you’re learning Spanish? I answered, Yes, I’m trying to learn Spanish. He quickly pointed out that I shouldn’t say “try”. And I agree.

This is something that I have been trying to get out of my everyday vocabulary, here in my writing, as well as my everyday speech. I made the conscience decision to do this a few months ago. I find it creeps in to my speech in other ways. “I’d like to do that.” “We plan to do that.” etc.

Thanks Randy for pointing out one of my own pet peeves about myself. I am not just trying to get it out of my lexicon, I am doing it right now!

03 December 2010

Why do kids learn language so easily?

I’ve been observing the growing language skills of my 2-going-on-3 year old. I’ve been taking notice of how he has moved from one and two word sentences to expressing more complex ideas like supposed events that will take place in the future.

Watching him acquire the English language has made me reflect on my own second language acquisition of Spanish. Not only is he quite talkative around people he knows well, he also experiments with sounds and sentence structure. He freely talks to me. When he makes a grammatical or pronunciation error, I correct him, and he enthusiastically will repeat the correction.

What my son has is a lack of fear in learning English. He knows that I will not ridicule him for saying something incorrectly. He has confidence in his current abilities, too. This is the key, so I will repeat: he is confident and lacks fear about learning English. We should all be this way when we learn a second language.

It’s interesting to note that my son is resistant to me speaking to him in Spanish. He’ll say, "Oh, mama, don’t say that." or "I don’t like that." He has a basic need to learn English because of his environment. He doesn’t need to know Spanish, and is not really motivated to learn. I can get him to watch Plaza S├ęsamo with me. But, I think, for my son, that is really the motivation of seeing Elmo, not learning Spanish.

I personally don’t buy into the common notion that as we age, our ability to learn a second language decreases. I have read recommendations on parenting websites that you should start exposing your child to foreign language learning and experiences before age 2 or else the brain will not be capable of acquiring a second language as easily.

One person who has learned multiple languages as an adult, and debunks this theory, is Benny Lewis. He has a wonderful website, Fluent in Three Months, where he tracks his 3 month language missions and travels around the world. If you are interested in learning a second language, or need a confidence boost, Benny is the man to read. I have just downloaded his Language Hacking Guide, and I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend.

With inspirations like Benny, I know it is possible for me to become fluent in Spanish. And I will continue to watch and admire my son as his English proficiency grows, and will model his enthusiasm and confidence as I work towards my own fluency in Spanish..

30 November 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

Yes, I know the saying is the other way, but my way is much more optimistic. Often when we have setbacks, we feel that we have slipped immensely and have failed. But we should realize that a setback is only a setback. We can continue on past a temporary failure or glitch and still enjoy the road, and realize our end goal.

Given that I’ve been ill for the last few weeks, I will be restarting my pushup challenge from the beginning again. Hopefully my energy levels will be up enough to start again this next Monday. I don’t feel like this is a major setback in any way. The pushups will still be waiting for me when I feel better.

The time away from the gym has given me opportunity to formulate other goals. One thing that I have started working on is brushing up on my Spanish.

About 6 years ago, I took 3 out of the 4 Spanish classes offered at my local community college. My abilities have been languishing since my son was born, and I wanted to refresh what I knew and improve beyond that. I hired a tutor to help me review and I quickly went through all 18 chapters of my Spanish textbook. I signed up to take the B1 level exam in Los Angeles last week.

In hindsight (because that is always 20/20), I think that my review was a little rushed. I had about 6 weeks to prepare. When I got to the exam, I was fatigued from illness, and lacked the conversational confidence I had even a week prior. So, I’m not really sure how I did on this exam. I hope I passed, but if I didn’t, it will give me a diagnostic on my abilities.

Now I’m trying to formulate my Spanish related goal for next year. Even if I didn’t pass the B1 exam, I may try a higher level exam next year, like the C1. Or I may set other goals, like being able to hold a conversation for X number of minutes, or being able to watch a movie with captions turned off, etc. My ultimate goal is fluency, but how I will measure this is still to be determined.

So, proposing un brindis, here's to temporary road blocks and set backs, and the journey ahead.

18 November 2010

Look for an opportunity to be remarkable

Inspired by Srini Rao’s talk, Don’t Look for a Job: Look for An Opportunity to Be Remarkable, I reflected on the many opportunities to be remarkable. If you haven’t seen this video, I recommend you take a listen to what Srini says. His remarks are valid for both college students as well as seasoned professionals.

I’ve thought about ways I’ve tried to be remarkable in my own life, and what might apply for other situations as well.

Work life:
  • Look for ways to stream line processes. Oftentimes, a certain process exists in a company, because “that’s the way we have always done this.” Be an innovator and a problem solver and look for ways to automate tasks, or cut out the fluff. I’m a software tester by profession, and I really try to automate 80% of my tasks. This lets me focus on the remaining 20%, which is usually the really hard stuff.
  • Question whether you really need to be at that meeting. Unfortunately, some companies have many meetings, and there exists the culture of having pre-meeting meetings. If you don’t really think you need to be there, say so. Ask if you can just get the summary of decisions made. This way, you will have more time to...
  • Focus on your most important project. If you don’t know what this is, ask your manager or boss. Find out what the most important thing is that you need to be working on today, and work on fulfilling that. When I arrive at work each morning, I ask myself this question. I periodically will discuss this with my manager to make sure that our goals are synchronized.
Now I realize that these tips are probably not what Srini had in mind. I assume that you already have a job, and are looking for ways to be remarkable there. I also believe that there are ways to be remarkable beyond the 9 to 5.


Life in general:
  • Give your stuff away. This last weekend, I was gathering up our old baby gear, and was planning on taking it to a local resale shop to see if they needed any of it. Some things, like portacribs, are not accepted at Goodwill, so, I might as well try to make a buck if I can. I have also asked other expectant parents if they needed any of this, but hadn’t found a good home for everything. But, then my partner, D, asked an expectant co-worker if they needed anything. She said yes, and was so grateful for the offer. Her husband has been out of work, and they only had bought a crib. I feel so helpful that I can give them our old car seat/stroller combo, as you need a car seat to leave the hospital with your newborn.
  • Invite people over. Whether for a meal, or to stay the night, people thrive on human interaction. Make memories for your family, and have a great time.
  • Learn a foreign language. You will not only gain the ability to speak to more people on planet Earth, you will also expose yourself to new cultures and new ideas. And this makes it more fun to...
  • Travel. Everyone loves to travel, right? The best way to do it, though, is to avoid packaged tours and cruises, and get into the daily lifestyle of your destination. This, again, expands your mind as you learn how other people live and think. You will find that this exposure will change you on the inside. After living in Germany for three months, I again yearn for another opportunity to submerse myself in another culture.
I’m sure there are lots of other ways to be remarkable in your life. I’ve only scratched the surface.

15 November 2010

Training while sick?

Now that cold and flu season is upon us, many of us that are active in sports and fitness will face a time where we need to decide: when am I too sick to train/exercise/play?

My general rule is this: if the symptoms are above the neck, then I’ll work out. If the symptoms are the neck or below, it’s time for me to rest and recover.

For example, if I have only nasal or eye allergies, I’ll usually do an indoor activity, so I’m not exposing myself to outdoor pollens. I’ll swim or lift weights or hit the treadmill. I find that usually after about 20 or 30 minutes, my symptoms actually improve. The natural dilation of the airways from exercise are quite beneficial to nasal congestion.

However, if I’ve got a sore throat or cough, I will stay home. I usually will feel a bit fatigued as well. This is my body telling me it is time to rest and recuperate from a bug.

You may ask: but what about that race I’m training for? Or that 100 pushup challenge? Or what about the gains I’ve made, won’t they be lost? Relax. If your race is still a ways out in the future, you will have plenty of time to regain your momentum. If it’s the day of the race, well, it is really up to you and your previous experience as to whether or not you can truly perform.

I personally have had to drop out of a 10K race that I was training for because of a knee injury. I gave the t-shirt away, too, because I couldn’t see myself wearing it. But I consoled myself that it was just one race, and others will come. I’m not an elite athlete by any stretch. I know that when I’m ready, I’ll participate in another race.

So, this week, I will be following my own advice. I have a cold now, and I will not be doing any pushups, or swimming any laps, but only resting, until I am feeling better. I figure it is better to rest now rather than make myself worse and prolong the illness. Hopefully by resting earlier, the body will recover sooner, than later.

12 November 2010

Pushup challenge week 2

This week went better for me. I still have the same neck stiffness and knot in my shoulder muscle from last week, and will probably need to see a masseuse, but the pain was much better thanks to the jacuzzi, Salon Pas, and my partner’s elbow massaging that knot.

Anyways, I completed week 1 of the pushup challenge. The last set of 13 was difficult, and I struggled with the very last pushup, but I’m glad I persevered. For today’s workout, I tried something new: I did 5 minutes of cardio to warm up and get the blood flowing. I’ve also tried to mentally pump myself up the last few days, and the mental attitude is also a great contributing factor to my success this week. I visualized myself doing pushups with great ease, and repeated the following mantra to myself: You are strong.

Next week I’ll move on to week 2 of pushups, week 2 of situps and week 3 of squats. This weekend I’ll do the week 2 challenge for squats to determine if I’m really ready for week 3.

How did you do? Please comment here or on my facebook.

09 November 2010

The Responsibility of Stuff

I have been inspired lately by several blogs dedicated to simplicity and minimalism. A few blogs that are my favorites are Zen Habits, Becoming Minimalist, and Minimalist Moms. Of course, there are many other blogs in similar vein, but these stand out to me as the most meaningful for my personal situation, probably because each author strives for minimalism, while finding balance in their family life.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been wanting to clean out some clutter in my closet. Finally this week, I filled a few shopping bags of clothing that no longer fits. Minimalism is about finding purpose in the things you have, and getting rid of unnecessary things. I have a long way to go on this, but my wardrobe is a good place to start, because the closet is a small space. It’s amazing what you can find, though, stashed in cramped areas. I found some old maternity clothes in the back of the closet. Into the charity pile. I also found shirts with company emblems from up to four jobs ago. Into the charity pile. And as for the jeans that I had been saving for when I finally lost weight, they do fit me now, but I don’t really like them anymore, as, alas, styles change. Into the charity pile.

My 2 year old son actually helped me in this project. He cheered me on while I tried on some old clothes, and then put the ill-fitting clothes in the bags for me. I included him in this because I want him to start getting a sense of the responsibility that stuff requires, and that sometimes, other people may get better use out of something that I’m not using. And, after all, I can’t justify a toy purge until he sees me purging some of my own stuff.

I took my son with me to Goodwill to drop off the old clothing and shoes. On the way there and back, I reminded him that other people might want my old clothing more than I do. When we got home, on his own, he started to put a few toys in a box, for our next Goodwill drop off.

Lessons learned:

  1. Start with a small space, like a closet, or even a drawer. This makes the task doable and less overwhelming.
  2. If you have gained weight, don’t hang on to those clothes you might fit into one day. Even if you do lose the weight, fashions change and so may your mind.
  3. If you have kids, get them involved as much as possible and remind them why you are doing this.

05 November 2010

Week 1 of 100 Pushup Challenge

This first week of the 100 pushup challenge was definitely as challenging for me as I originally suspected. I started on week 3 with pushups and situps and on week 1 with squats.

On Wednesday, my day two, I had to go back to week 1 for both pushups and situps for a couple of reasons. First, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) had set in by Tuesday evening. My triceps and pecs were sore. Second, I woke up Wednesday morning with a bad catch in my neck and shoulders, and I really didn’t think I could continue with the same level of pushups and situps without causing more strain on my neck.

I don’t think the pushups caused the neck strain, because I’ve had this problem before, and I know it is due to working in front of a computer all day, and then not being relaxed enough when I sleep.

By Friday, my day three, I was still struggling with the pushups, and was one pushup short from the recommended number for the third set. I am undecided if I will be redoing week 1 again next week.

All in all, though, I think it was a great success for me. Even though I may repeat week 1, I don’t count that as a failure at all. I definitely feel stronger today than I did on Monday. I already can tell a great difference.

And if you were struggling like me, I think you should commend yourself for giving this a shot, and making it through the first week. Next week we will be that much stronger.

For those who are doing pushups with me, how did you do? Let me know here in the comments or on my Facebook page.

04 November 2010

My son likes pink

The blog post, My son is gay, by Cop's Wife at Nerdy Apple Bottom, is about a boy who wanted to dress like Daphne from Scooby Doo, and how his mother stood up to other disapproving mothers at his Christian school. I liked it for several reasons. First, kudos to the son who knew exactly what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween. This holiday is exactly about dressing up as whoever you want to be. And, second, kudos to the mother for telling others that just because he dressed up as Daphne doesn’t mean he is gay. But if he were gay, it wouldn’t matter anyways.

As parents, we have not taught our son very much about girl things versus boy things. He is very interested in cars and trucks and trains, which are typically boyish interests. However, he has a stuffed pink poodle as part of his stuffed animal menagerie. And he still enjoys grooming with the pink Barbie comb and mirror that he got with a McDonalds Happy Meal when they were out of boy toys. His favorite drinking cup at home is the pink cup from a multi-color set we have.

In fact, my son really likes pink, and we have told him, it's okay to like pink. It's a nice, happy color!

The only time I’ve ever discouraged him from something gender specific was when we were shopping for a new swim suit this last summer. We were at Costco, probably buying diapers in bulk, when we passed a table with swim suits for young children. There were two choices:

  1. Pink and yellow girls’ swimsuit with big fish on the top, smaller fish design on the bottom.
  2. Blue and green boys’ swimsuit with big surfboards on the shirt and smaller surfboard design on the trunks.
Which one do you think my son preferred? It was the girls’ swimsuit. He was drawn to it because of the fish motif. He enjoys looking at pictures of fish, and singing the Slippery Fish song. He’s never even seen a surfboard before, so why would he want that?

I talked him out of the girls swimsuit by telling him it was, in fact, a girls’ swimsuit, and it might not fit him right. He went with the boys' swimsuit without much fuss.

Did I feel guilty about it? Just a little. I wasn’t sure if the girls’ swimsuit would fit him, but I also had the fear of what other people, particularly parents, would say. Yes, I felt guilty about the fear I had.

This Halloween, I marveled at the girls dressed up as Woody and Buzz Lightyear. But I didn’t see any boys dressed up in girl costumes. I aspire to be fearless like Cop’s Wife and let my son be a kid and have fun no matter how he is dressed, or what color he prefers.

02 November 2010

The trick is to keep breathing

I don’t meditate regularly, although it is something that I’d like to do eventually. I don’t have much practice at meditation, and have only read a little about it. The times I have meditated, I found it to be quite relaxing and energizing at the same time, and a good way to clear my head of the constant chatter.

One thing that I do regularly, however, is exercise. I do strengthening exercise, I walk, I run, and I swim. When I walk, run, and swim, I find I can get into the same mental state as a good meditative session. I think cardio exercise really lends itself to this. When I run or walk, especially outdoors, I find myself at first looking at my surroundings. This might be houses, cars, cats in driveways, etc. Then I start to think about my pace and my distance. Eventually, I find myself focusing on my breath.

The same thing happens when I swim. When I start out, my mind is usually skipping from one thought to the next, but quickly, I start to focus on my pace. I count laps, strokes per lap, and sets of laps. And, eventually, I find myself focusing on my breath, much more than in running. In running, you can breathe however and whenever you want. With swimming, you need to breathe much more regularly, synchronized to your strokes.

All of this mental focus on breath brings to me a relaxed, attentive state of mind. It could also be the endorphins created and the cortisol burned. But I believe that my mind and body are connected in more ways than chemical and hormonal reactions. And breath benefits both my mind and body in astounding ways.

29 October 2010

100 push up challenge... who's with me?

Next week, I will start the 100 push up challenge. This is a six week training program to train you to do, well, 100 push ups. I've also decided to do the 200 sit up challenge and 200 squat challenge, so I can balance out the training. I have already done the initial tests for these to see how many I could currently do. Here are my results.

Push ups: 22

Sit ups: 50

Squats: 110

I feel pretty good about the number of squats I can do, and the number of crunches I did is not bad. I did the push ups and sit ups after some pizza and beer, so, not sure if that was good for me or not. But I do know that, for me, the challenge will really be in the push ups.

I start working on this next Monday. I will do the suggested Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule as is suggested, since Tuesdays and Thursdays are my usual swim days.

Why am I doing this? Increasing my upper body strength is the primary reason. But I also want to encourage as many other people as I can to do the same, or at least set some kind of fitness goal.

So, who's joining me in this challenge?

100 push up challenge

Elmo!



Today is my son's Halloween party at school. He is quite excited to be Elmo.

25 October 2010

Spending time wisely

A few days ago, my partner and I were talking with a neighbor whose son is 18 months older than ours, and he revealed that his son is now enrolled in karate and soccer which takes up two evenings and Saturday morning each week. I came to the realization that this too could be happening for us very soon.

I’m not ready for my son’s activities to ramp up just yet. I love our evenings after work and school where we play together. Oftentimes, I am the one that cooks for my family. I really enjoy it when my son slides the step stool over to the kitchen counter and brings a couple of his cars to play with as I cook. I occasionally scold him for touching the food when I know he hasn’t yet washed his hands. I let him smell the spices I use. I ask him to help me count the number of cups or teaspoons of whatever it is I am measuring. These are all moments that I treasure.

I know that this age of 2-going-on-3 years old will not last forever. He will eventually not care to count teaspoons with me. He will gain other interests such as karate or soccer or quite possibly something else that might require a uniform, fees, and weekends free. I will not discourage such interests. But I hope that I can teach him to value his free time as well, and that sometimes too many activities can clutter your schedule as well as drain the wallet and leave you frazzled.

Before you conclude that I am against organized activities for my son or for kids in general, I will say that I was involved with the Girl Scouts as a young girl, and absolutely loved it. And when I was in junior high, I started playing in the band and absolutely loved that, too. I made the decision, however, to quit the Girl Scouts so that band was my only extra-curricular activity. I worry about kids these days that have so much to do that they don’t have time to do homework or to simply be kids with unstructured play time.

At this point in my life, I am saying ‘no’ to certain requests of my time because I think it is important to focus on the things you absolutely love and not spend time on the things that you might like just a little bit, or, even worse, things that you don’t like at all. Saying ‘no’ is hard, but it is getting easier for me. All I need to do is remember the things that I value the most and moments like sharing the smells of spices with a two year old.

19 October 2010

Kids get it: “Where’s your other mommy?”

As recent as 5 years ago, a study revealed that Generation Y (people in their 20s typically) is rather tolerant and open-minded about gay people. But as the current media obsession with gay and bullied youth committing suicide shows, we still need to make progress in acceptance of LGBT people. In the last several days, I’ve read about blatant hatred at sporting events that involved younger people. Both of these stories amazed me and disgusted me.

After days and days of reading depressing anti-gay news, I find myself still hopeful. I read about organizations like the Trevor Project, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and the NOH8 Campaign, to name just a few, and I feel much more hopeful about the future ahead for my son and his generation. Other organizations that I have just learned about in the last week, the Make It Better Project and GroundSpark, are finding ways for young people to work together to fight hatred and homophobia.

And I’m still even more hopeful for kids that are my son’s age. Just yesterday, I was sick and asked D to take our little man to school (I’m usually the one who does drop offs). D told me that one of our son’s classmates came up to him with a concerned look and asked, “Where’s your other mommy?” In his two and three year old group, they understand that families come in all different shades, and varieties, and are not bothered in the least that our son has two mommies. I am hopeful that this attitude will continue to grow and become the norm for his generation.

Tomorrow, October 20, 2010, is Spirit Day, and all are encouraged to wear purple to remember those lives lost and to show support for LGBT and straight youth. I will be wearing purple tomorrow. Will you?

02 October 2010

Train ride




The little man is enjoying his first train ride at Shady Springs, Austin, TX. This was taken a few days ago.

Today we went to his favorite Saturday lunch place, Wendy's, where he likes to get the chicken nuggets. As we were leaving, he said my favorite words: I love you, mommies.

18 September 2010

Stylin'



We played with hair gel this morning. Then he wanted to take the gel out. And then he wanted a hair cut. Guess I'll be doing that this weekend.

26 May 2010

Yum!

Cheeseburger and fried zucchini at Athenian Burger.

13 May 2010

Living truthfully

This past week, the online world was abuzz with the coming out of a country star. At first, I thought, who is Chely Wright? After visiting her MySpace page, I then realized that I had actually heard of a couple of her songs, but didn't really know who she was. She is not as big a name as Shania Twain or Dixie Chicks, and I only listen to country casually while scanning through stations on the radio, but she is an artist who has seen a few of her songs on the charts, and is well known by country music fans. And it has been interesting reading the reactions online. I think about 98% of Chely's Twitter and Facebook responses are positive. And the 2% that complained were questioned by the other fans, why are you following Chely on Twitter or Facebook? But there are also bloggers and commenters that speculate that this is all a publicity stunt. After all, it isn't coincidence that she has a CD and book coinciding with her coming out, right? Well, if you are a country music star, I don't think declaring to the whole world that you are gay is what most people would do to sell records.

But beyond the initial reports of her coming out, which mostly seemed like regurgitation of the same news printed on the People magazine website, I did read a handful of her interviews, and I was extremely touched by her story. I cried as I read them because I felt her pain. This is someone who lived so far in the closet, she was in the sheetrock, as she describes it, and was driven to such despair that she almost killed herself. She is someone who tried, like so many others, to pray away the gay. And this touched me.

I knew at a very young age that I was different, but I couldn't put a word to it. As I was going through puberty, I came to the realization that I liked girls. But being inexperienced at life and love as a teenager, I just assumed that I was bisexual. And I knew hiding this would be for my own benefit and survival. I didn't choose this. I didn't really want to be gay, and for a while, I did pray every day for God to take this away from me. I finally realized that God was okay with me as I was. And then I became comfortable with who I am, and being gay. I decided that I would try to be straight and fit in the straight world the best I could. I pretended to have crushes on guys in junior high, and dated a few guys in high school and college. I made the decision that I was bisexual, and I tried to fall in love with a man. But it never worked out, and I never found Mr. Right. It was in college that I started dating women as well, and eventually discovered that I was really, really gay.

I fully came out of the closet as a lesbian at age 37, when I was expecting our son. I've been out to family and close friends for a long time, but I have lived most of my professional life in the closet. Once I got pregnant, my partner and I knew that there was no turning back, that we would be forthcoming to everyone. It was not an easy thing to do, as it was not a political statement for me. There were personal reasons over a whole lifetime, from religion to survival, as to why I stayed in the closet for so long. I think this is something that is easily forgotten by most people. When you actually come out, it is a process that you go through, learning to be honest with yourself, and then you have to have the courage to be honest with everyone else.

Thousands of times over my life, I have come out as a lesbian. I will probably continually need to do this. Unless you are someone really famous like Ricky Martin, you have to come out over and over. Many people assume I am straight, in the same way I assume they are. I don't advertise that I'm gay by wearing pink triangles or waving a rainbow flag, and it is not a main topic of conversation for me. Nowadays, I usually come out during conversations about kids, when people ask me about my husband, or if I'm married. And then I reassure them they shouldn't feel awkward or embarrassed about making assumptions that I'm married to a man. As a mother, I have to fill out forms and cross out "Father" and put "Other mother". Anyone who cares for my son at his daycare knows he has two mommies.

Now that I am out 100%, living truthfully, I do feel much better about myself. It is mentally exhausting to have to lie and hide all of the time. Without that constant mental and emotional drain, I am a much happier person. I hope Chely Wright, and others who have come out, experience this same sense of relief. I watched some of her video blogs on YouTube, and could detect a certain sadness in a few of the older posts. She is so down-to-earth, you just want to give her a hug and tell her it will be alright. Her latest post-coming-out video blog revealed a happier person. Hopefully she also knows that she has a whole new audience and new fans who respect and admire what she has done. I know I am a new fan, eagerly awaiting her new CD and book to arrive in my mailbox.

09 March 2010

360 bridge

We took our son to the 360 bridge this last weekend. His words: "Wow! Big!" He was so excited to be there, and he didn't want to leave.

13 February 2010

The perfect gift for Valentines

Get that classic Chicken Soup for the Soul Divorce edition just in time for Valentines at CVS. It's on sale now!

17 January 2010

Banana bread recipe

I'd like to share a recipe that I've made so many times, that I don't look at my notes anymore. Banana bread is something I make almost every week. It is my son's favorite breakfast and he asks for it regularly. I made a couple of loaves earlier today to donate to a bake sale to raise money for aid to Haiti. I thought I had explained it this to my son, and he accompanied us to deliver the bread, but tonight at the dinner table he kept asking for it. Sometimes it's hard to know what he understands. Anyways, I'll probably be making it again later this week, but this weekend it was for a good cause. I like this recipe because it is so simple to make and it is so delicious. I hope you like it.

Banana bread

3 medium or large bananas or 4 small bananas
1.5 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar (I use turbinado)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c melted butter
dash of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mash up the bananas with a potato masher or a spoon.
  3. Add liquid ingredients (egg, butter, vanilla)
  4. Add dry ingredients, adding the flour last.
  5. In a buttered loaf pan, bake for 1 hour.