Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere

Rule # 637...Okay - not really.  I just wanted to see if you were really paying attention.  Actually I've decided to discontinue my numbering since the numbers were a lot like the points on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and I couldn't always remember myself (which is not saying much since I'd only gotten to #2).

Today's lesson:

Water.  It Does A Body Good.
- or -
Drink...a lot...and often!
[Travis Lynch, son-in-law]

Now I didn't really learn this lesson from Travis since it's been one of my mantra for years and years, but Travis really has taken up this mantra with gusto.  If you complain of most anything, he'll ask if you've had water.  He believes it to be the first line of first aid:  Got a headache?  Drink water.  Got muscle cramps?  Drink water?  Trying to deliver a baby?  Drink water.  (Okay, that last one he said to my daughter, Jenny, during delivery of an 8+ lb. baby and I'm not sure that either she or her doctor agreed at the time that drinking water was the best approach at the time, but you get the point.)

Doctors recommended 8-10 glasses a day (until recently - "they" are now scaling back on that but I'm not yet convinced).  But Travis is right - water is good for everything from headaches, to muscle aches, for weight loss and concentration.    It's amazing how fast acting it can be!  If you're dieting, try having a full glass BEFORE sitting down for dinner.

Upside of drinking water:  it's FREE (or it can be - do you really need that bottled water all the time?), it's easy, it works!

Downside of consuming 8-10/day:  initially you'll have additional "reading" time (aka the bathroom library) but soon your body will adjust to the extra intake and will adjust as necessary.  Other than that no other detriment has been determined.

So next time you're reaching for that aspirin, try just the water first (you were going to drink it with the pills anyway) and wait a few minutes.

So go get a glass of water!


~later, tw

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


[Photos still not ready - you get just me again.]

Sleep.  Not as easy a commodity to come by as one might think (since it doesn't cost anything to acquire).  According to every researcher, five out of five doctors, and every mother on this planet no one - not a single person - gets enough sleep (including the doctors which is kind of scary when you think about it, especially if they are surgeons).  Sleep deprivation is #2 on my list of causation for all evils, sandwiched between #1 (Dehydration) and #3 Ted Turner (but those will subjects for posts at another time).

Frankly I don't know how my daughters do it - both young mothers with two very active boys each.  Sleep doesn't come nearly often enough for either of them and yet they are the most wonderful of mothers, wives and daughters.

This leads me to my next rule:

Rule #2:  Every hour of sleep you get before midnight counts for two.
(Mr. Donovan, 6th grade math teacher, Meadow Hill School)

Mr. Donovan was a large man, rather intimidating (I don't think that was unintentional on his part).  These were still the days of corporal punishment and every kid in that class believed he was definitely capable of inflicting some serious pain if he chose that (perfectly acceptable at the time) course of action.  The thing is, I don't ever remember him doing so - not even with the worst screw ups in the class.  That which kept us in check was our belief that he could/would resort to that option...just the belief.  And that realization meant that we also believed pretty much anything else he told us.

I offer absolutely no empirical data to support this rule (nor did Mr. Donovan - see previous paragraph), however, as a kid, I did always tried to be in bed and asleep - by 10 pm, 10:30 at the very latest - each night.  My grades in school were right at or near the top of the class in each subject and I do give at least some credit to this "sleep philosophy" and I remain as faithful to, or at the very least, aware of it, still today.

My day does start early - 4:45 am (on the weekends I'm a slacker and usually sleep in until 5:30 or so - *gasp*).  I suppose it wouldn't have to - I mean, I don't usually have anything that absolutely has to get done that early in the day.  But I like starting my morning with breakfast with Gerry, over the newspaper with a pot of tea, followed by some computer time and then formulation of at least a plan for dinner (if not that actual prep for it).  It's a perfect start to the day and then I'm ready to go tackle a project, an appointment, some sewing.  And in my world, if it's going to get done, it's probably going to happen before 1 pm.  After that, it's just putting the finishing details on things, puttings things away and then the day picks up speed rolling on into dinner time, evening time (usually spent, I'll admit, watching far too much television) but not on anything substantial as my brain power is too drained to work on anything requiring thought or concentration (learned the hard way of course - never cut out fabric at night!)  Bedtime is often ~9:30 pm (which allows for some reading before sleep - otherwise, it's straight to sleep for me).  Using Rule #2's formula, that means 2 hours before midnight = 4 hours plus almost five hours after midnight or nearly NINE HOURS of sleep!

I wish I could "bank" some of that to give to my girls!

Now go take a nap!!!

~later, tw

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Still Missing You...

Today marks the one year anniversary of the passing of my great friend, Sandie Amos.  I seriously don't think a single day has gone by that I haven't thought of her, reached for the phone to tell her something, just plain missed her.  The year has gone so quickly - and I still have difficulty believing the reality of it.

While Sandie most definitely loved her boys (and mine as well), she certainly thought of my daughters as hers and, by extension, our grandsons became hers too.

Sandie had an uncanny ability to sense (and avoid) the camera lens.  In order to get her in a photo one had to do so stealthily.  My favorite photo of her, and I believe the last one taken of her, happened at one of our typical large group BBQs and she's holding "our grandson" Magnus. 

I miss you girlfriend!

~later, tw

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rule #1

[Waiting for photos of recent group adventures to Alaska...]

Hearing Gen. Powell last week was truly inspirational.  I think everyone has such a "list" - a set of rules that has gotten them where they are today.  Some of us clearly have a more thoughtful, consistent approach to formulating these rules, but nonetheless, I took a moment to consider my list.  I was going to just read off a few from under the glass on my desk (okay - those of you who know me know that there is a lot of...basically crap...on my desk and no glass and no list but a girl can dream, can't she?).

So what if I don't have a wonderfully neat and organized desk from which to draw these pearls of wisdom?  I got me a BLOG!!!!

So here goes!  And since I haven't an original thought of my own, I will try to give credit where credit is due (if I can remember that far back)!  Please keep in mind that like me, these are random thoughts and in no particular order of importance.
Terri's Rule #1: Breakfast really IS the most important meal of the day!
[learned from your mother]

Well it had to be YOUR mother...it wouldn't have been MY mother.  Eleanor was not especially knowledgeable about nutrition.  That I imagine comes from having six brothers who, along with their father and even the girls, worked a produce farm in eastern Montana.  My grandfather was from the old country (Ireland) and from all accounts the clear head of the McDonagh tribe raising ten kids in post-Depression fashion.  Meals, though simple, were noisy, necessary events where there would be some kind of meat (often game and always over-cooked), vegetables (those came directly from the farm) and bread - white bread, homemade (until the store could do it cheaper).

Meals growing up in my mom's house were similarly constructed, though no particular emphasis was given to breakfast (unless it was Sunday - that always involved breakfast out, usually at a buffet).  During the week, we (my younger sister and I) were on our own.

Once I married, breakfast with the hubby just became how we started our day.  Initially, in the honeymoon phase, it usually quite the fare.  Kids come, kids now gone, and Gerry and I still start our day each morning with breakfast together.  Most days it's just a bowl of oatmeal (Gerry has his with cranberry sauce...yeah, the stuff you have at Thanksgiving...while I like mine with a bit of brown sugar and golden raisins, thank you very much!)  In the summer, oatmeal will give way to a bowl of Cheerios with some granola (I do make a mean granola!) and on weekends, we work together in the kitchen to whip up something a bit more special like eggs or scones.  It's how we start each day and surprisingly, or maybe not so much, just that simple meal, grounds me.  It gets my day off to it's orderly start and quite literally fuels me for whatever the day is going to throw at me.

My other sister (Dona - I hate calling her my older sister because as the years pass we seem to be getting closer in age.  I don't know if that's good for her....or bad for me?), is a librarian at an elementary school.  Her husband (Roger) was also an educator.  Even I did a brief stint at an elementary school (I highly recommend it!).  Without much trouble, you'd be able to identify those kids who came to school without breakfast.  Surprisingly (to me anyway) these kids are not always the "free & reduced lunch" kids - the ones who qualify for assistance but most schools only have lunch programs available.  In our area, our school was filled with kids from the "MOR" (Middle-of-the-Road income-wise) families - often with mom at home.  And still they come to school, not having a thing since last night's dinner.

Ah, Terri, (I hear you say)...no time.  Really? Have you tried making oatmeal (even the instant kind - though it's not really as good for you as you might think and regular old fashioned oatmeal takes only 5 minutes and is incredibly cheap!)  Or even just cereal (though your kids' teachers would probably prefer them to be sluggish from no breakfast as opposed to bouncing off the walls from chocolatey-sugary-pop cereal)?

But Terri, I try (you say) and they won't eat.  I bet they would if you sit down for 5 minutes with them (funny how kids say they don't want to be like their parents and yet they will definitely "do as you do").

Stop making excuses!  Give it a try - for a month.

And that's Terri's Rule #1 - simple and yet so effective.  Now go make some oatmeal!

~later, tw

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Generally Speaking

Last week I was privileged to attend an incredible event - an hour with General Colin Powell.

Ostensibly, he was there to promote his new book "It Worked For Me - In Life and Leadership" but of course it was so much more than that.  HE is so much more than that.  And as soon as he speaks I couldn't help but think THIS is a man I would have liked to have a conversation with, someone I would have enjoyed working with or for, a leader who would have, could have had any job he desired - including President of the United States.

He is a very rare combination of a quiet, thoughtful, charming man with a true passion to do what he feels best-suited to do - lead others and give them the necessary tools to be successful at their jobs.  He is at once confident in his abilities and calm in his actions while exhibiting just the right touch of self-deprecation (so as not to appear falsely modest or insincere).  He listens - really listens - when someone speaks to or with him.  He is dismissive of the notion of surrounding himself with pychophants who would merely reflect what they thought he wanted to hear and instead tries to engage with everyone: a private in the army, the lowest paid employee working the parking garage of the State Department, the President of the United States.

His philosophy is simple and this new book is not one of military strategy but rather a rather rambling list of those simple rules he has followed through the years, ones that he feels have contributed to his success.  If you are familiar with his "13 Rules" from a Parade piece over 20 years ago, this is really a "fleshing out" and explanation of those rules.  It is a quick read and I can't encourage you enough to get this one for your Kindle, your Nook, your iPad, check it out from the library or find a bookstore (do they still have such things?) and buy a *gasp* hardback honest-to-goodness version immediately!

Lucky me!  I'm chatting with General Powell while he autographs my book.

Much too quickly, the hour he was allotted to spend with us was over and we were left to queue up for autographs of his book.  An amazing hour - an amazing man!!!

~later, tw

Friday, June 8, 2012

C'mon - Get Happy!

[live from my perch upon my soapbox today...]

You might not have noticed (particularly if you're just getting your info from my blog!) that the news of the world today is frankly...not good.  I scan the front section of my newspaper (Seattle Times) daily as I head to the comics and puzzle section.  But even just scanning I can't help but notice that even my local community is not immune from horrible, senseless violence and the number of shooting fatalities to date already surpasses those of the entire last year!

So when something good, actually great happens, you'd think that we'd be allowed some happiness.  My motto is there's always something to celebrate and we should do so with gusto!

Apparently not everyone shares my sense of joy and the debate rages on the appropriate way to demonstrate that elation.

Case in point - Anthony Cornist, a recent graduate of Mt. Healthy High School, was denied his diploma following commencement ceremonies and instead given a letter from the principal informing him that it was being withheld due to "excessive cheering" by his guests.  (High school senior denied diploma because family cheered too loudly at graduation)  The school included language on the graduation ticket order form that parents (or whoever actually ordered the free tickets) would agree to this type of action for any "disruptive behavior" on their part.  I'm not a lawyer - haven't even played one on tv - but it seems that this type of instruction would be rather difficult to assess.  I mean seriously, did the school have monitors in the audience with those gadgets they use at games to judge crowd noise as they try to whip the spectators into a frenzy during a close game?  How do I get that job?  Or better yet, how does my unemployed 27-year-old son get that job????  PS - Anthony will get his diploma ONCE he completes 20 hours of community service.

I suppose Anthony's mom should be just grateful that the school didn't take more drastic action as they did for 18-year-old Iesha Cooper's mom. (Mom locked up for cheering too loudly at her daughter's graduation)  Iesha, a graduate of South Florence High School, had the privilege of watching her mom (BTW NOT the only one cheering that evening) escorted BY POLICE in HANDCUFFS across the floor in front of the entire graduation audience and graduates and placed UNDER ARREST and charged with Disorderly Conduct.  (Police said it was announced that anyone who cheered or screamed would treated this way.  Again, how are the monitoring this?)  PS - Iesha's party was postponed until mom made bail, but Iesha's memory of her graduation day - what should have been the happiest day of her life so far - is that her mama went to jail that day.

Really?  Really people?  There are so many, MANY heartbreaking stories of kids - those kids who are just plain unlucky and find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time; those kids who make really bad choices with the worst results by getting into drugs, alcohol, and gangs; and then are those who either through circumstance or by conscious choice just insist on taking the most stupid, heinous actions resulting often in not only their own death but also pure agony for so many other families. But by all account, Anthony and Iesha weren't those kids.  These are good kids who did, possibly despite the odds, exactly what we want our kids to do: they completed high school with positive goals for their future - quite an accomplishment in this day!  We should ALL be cheering and screaming for these two and all the others like them!  Kids should know that we are proud of them - sometimes embarrassingly proud of them! - but if ever there was a time to stand up and be heard cheering for our kids certainly this is it!

Way to go Anthony! 
Congratulations Iesha!

(I hope you can you hear me cheering!  Best wishes for your amazing futures!)
~later, tw

Monday, June 4, 2012

Farmer Jax

Our daughter (Jenny) is always looking for ways to engage her two-year-old (Jax) "in the process" and so while teaching him where food comes from, they visited with a Master Gardener at their local store.  He explained the best way to "container garden" (since they have absolutely no yard and were going to be using their deck for this project) and the best crops for a 2-year-old (ones that sprout quickly and could be harvested soonest).

She didn't hold out any unrealistic expectations - as good a little guy as he is, it was difficult to explain "little bit of water" and that maybe "the field" didn't need to be raked every day.

But it appears that the efforts have been "fruitful" (so far) as Jax harvested (and ate!) his first radishes recently (they're a bit "spicy" when eaten alone, he reports, but good when sliced up in a salad) and yesterday he even had a salad of his own lettuce and radishes!

From the photo, you can see he's doing quite a good job with his "apartment garden"! 

~later, tw