Monday, January 25, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I'll bet you're asking who these beautiful ladies are and what do they have to do with the blog title. Well, I'm going to tell you who they are. These are four of the many preschool teachers who have passed through the halls and classrooms of the St. Matthews United Methodist Church's preschool. The lovely lady to the left of the picture is a very good friend of mine, and is the former director of the school. The gorgeous woman to her left (the tall one) is another friend who I like to call "Misses Rogers."

This teacher is the female equivalent to Sesame Street's Mister Rogers (Remember the song; hence the title of this blog) because everything she did was done in calm and low key manner. She has since retired, but she was the first teacher that two of my children had for their initial preschool experience. She was perfect for any child's introduction to preschool. I haven't seen her for many years, but have kept in touch with Christmas cards and the Internet. I like to think that she still has the same demeanor. In fact, I am sure that she does, along with a very dedicated faith in God.

Above, is a picture of Misses Rogers with my son, Rock. This is how the day would start. Misses Rogers would be sitting at a table, ready to begin a project. As she welcomed the children, they would choose an activity somewhere in the room. Slowly, she would call over a few at a time to see if they would be interested in what she was doing. There were several parents who volunteered to help out with all of the activities.

There were many special days at school. One of these days was "Pajama Day." All the kids would wear their pjs, and so would all the teachers (and the director... as long as she wasn't meeting with any new parents that day). The classes would all make breakfast. The children would mix ingredients and Misses Rogers would assist them in cooking.

For the last few years, Misses Rogers has been fighting cancer. She has undergone chemo and surgery. Throughout this hellish journey, her spirits have been incredibly high. After appointments and/or treatments, she would email us with an update of what happened, what would happen next, and how she was feeling. The mailing list of emails has grown steadily. We have prayed for Misses Rogers and her family. As do many who make the journey through cancer treatment, she has taken two steps forward and one step back, all the time praising God and praying for his will.

This past week, she received news from her doctors that there is nothing more that can be done. She has come to the end of her life's journey and has accepted the fact that she will soon join friends and family who have gone before her. We pray for her comfort, and for her family, we pray for understanding and healing.

Misses Rogers has touched the lives of hundreds of children and their parents. I can only imagine the size of the group who will attend services for her. Rock, Ed and I will be there in spirit.

Misses Rogers will be fondly remembered for her amazing ability to communicate with every child, her tender and loving care shown to every child, and her adventurous spirit which she shared with all of her children.

God Bless you, Misses Rogers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sundays in My Old Home State

Unknown Mami

Have you heard of Unknown Mami? She has a delightful blog where she shares photos of her city on Sundays. She invites the rest of us to link up with her and share some of our own city's photos. Click on the logo to visit Mami's Sundays in My City!

I live in St. Louis, Missouri, but today I welcome you to my old home state of California!

We have had somewhat crappy weather in St. Louis for the past weeks. If it's not rain, it is snow; if it's not snow, it's sunny but in the single digits. However depressing the weather has been here, it is nowhere near what my old stomping grounds have recently endured.

All of the pictures in this post were sent to me by my sister-in-law who lives in Southern California. I have been to most of the cities that are represented here. I have stood on the beach piers basking in the warm sunshine, smelling the salty air and feeling the gentle ocean breezes. I worked in one of the buildings depicted in the Downtown LA skyline.

Southern California is not commonplace for flooding, tornados and strong winds. It is a place were there are mudslides after heavy rains, due to the loss of vegetation from the seasonal wildfires of the previous fall. It also is a place where multiple award shows are held on consecutive weekends, regardless of the weather.

The Californians will rebuild, most likely in the exact same places where buildings were damaged or destroyed. The water will evaporate and the electric company will repair their fallen lines. Although there is unbelievable damage to structures, and property, not many lives were lost here.

The pictures are of nature having a temper tantrum. As bad as things look, it is nowhere near the devastation resulting from the earthquake and multiple after-shocks in Haiti. I'm sure you've seen pictures of those events, and how people from all over the world are opening their hearts and checkbooks to help the country heal. Please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.

I feel blessed to be where I am, in body and in spirit.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week Two - Status Quo

Week two did not show a loss, but there was no gain either! Woohoo!! I am allowed to take one day off a week. I stayed off the sugar, but over the three-day weekend, my cardio suffered a little. Boohoo, poor little cardio!!!! I have certainly made up for that these last three days. Also, Tootsie knows I'm supposed to be walking more, so she spazzes out on me about 10 minutes after I get home from work! (I just know that she is the spirit of one of my deceased family members... probably my mom... who are making it their heavenly goal to keep me on my toes!)

There are only two or three of us "Big and Beautiful" ladies competing in this health/weightloss/get fit as a fiddle chain gang. Just about everyone else is within 20 pounds of a healthy weight; they already have a structured exercise regimen; and they are at least 10-15 years younger than me! They should all reach their goal by June. The rest of us flubber butts have agreed to cheer each other on and keep tabs on one another. If we Thunder Thighs can lose about 40-50 pounds by June, I, personally, will be so ecstatic I just might have to shout it from the top of the St. Louis Arch!

I want to thank those of you who have left such supportive comments for me. I think of you all when someone passes me crunching on one of those Sam's giant cookies (250 calories) or slurping a Starbuck's Mocha. I tell myself, "they love me, they really love me. I can't let them down!" Your kind words have meant so much to me - Thanks!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week One and I'm Still Alive!

So, I was having coffee with Jillian Michaels the other day, and she told me she would kick my butt if I messed up on this new Health Program I started last week. Well, that was just the scary kind of talk that I needed.

I'd like to thank my blogging supporters for your kind words last week. When I started watching my food (not eating refined sugar, white flower, high fatty foods, and increased water, fruits & veggies) I was not sure how the week would play out. So many times I have sabotaged a healthy food plan once I've told someone that I'm making a change. Your thoughts and prayers were heard. I made it through the week, and I only binged three times a day instead of seven. I managed to shed 10 pounds. The water helped, except I couldn't stray too far from a loo!

Being back at work, where I do a healthy amount of walking (as I deliver Johnnie's homework, Susie's retainers and Jeffery's PE clothes) I found my mood rise a little. I'm trying to get out with the dog, but she wants to attack everything with four or more legs! Once we get out of our deep freeze (I'm talking about a So Cal girl trying to survive a 40 degree plus temp) I hope to lengthen the dog walks.

Week Two will bring an increase in conditioning, using soup cans as weights. I have some large rubber bands that I hook together like a chain. When I'm done using them as resistance, I throw them over my backside and try to whip my butt into shape!

As I was saying, Jillian scared the crud out of me, so I will behave myself and report back to you later this week. So far, the Health Gestapo is on my side! And, the dog is very happy to get outside again!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Gestapo is Back

It's that time a year again...when we are bombarded with commercials about reducing weight, gimmicks and health club specials. Bah Humbug! Oh, wait, that was last month! I'm not one for New Years Resolutions other than to be the best that I can be... at any given time.

One year ago, I wrote about the Health Winter Challenge in which several members of the staff were participating. I joined in and did my best, but it was a slow go for me. The facilitator (or Health Gestapo) spent much time researching and putting together nutrition and conditioning/aerobic plans. Bob is not really a Gestapo, but quite the opposite. He is a really nice guy full of encouragement and understanding. I just call him the "G" because I think his rules are very strict. Those who followed his plans lost anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds in a five month period. I lost two pounds. Like I said, I had a bit of a struggle. I bombed the program!

Well, the 2010 Winter Health Challenge started today! I'm pumped... and I'm starving! I have had five 8oz glasses of water, so all is not lost. We have several new exercises which are geared to the "more mature" adult (like me) even though I have no idea when I'm going to have time to work out. It is 16 degrees outside right now. The most aerobic activity I get is walking the dog to the parking strip to go pee. I do, however, walk close to a mile a day delivering messages for kids who forgot stuff that a parent brought up to the school. Lifting the laundry basket is my bicep/tricep conditioning. Being able to get out of a chair without first dropping to the floor can, I believe, suffice for ab work. Hauling the laundry basket up and down the stairs works my glutes (sp?)(lol)!

Now that we have all that covered... I won't go into the nutrition requirements because I'm still steaming mad that I can't have all the sugar and fat that I have been consuming for the last two weeks! This sucks!

Oh well, One Day at a Time!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Writer's Workshop - The Tootsienator!

Writer's Workshop by Mama's Losin It, recently challenged writers (old and new) to pick a prompt and write about it. The challenge was made on 12/30/09. I figure I'm only 48 hours late!!! I chose the prompt that my pet wanted to guest post on my blog. I interviewed Tootsie, and this is how it went!

I’d like to introduce you to my guest blogger, Tootsie! She actually does not have a blog of her own. She has been an excellent assistant editor to me as I travel along my blogging journey. Tootsie is five years old (35 in dog years) and has a silky black coat with grey highlights. Her heritage is Highland Scottie and Basset Hound. I’m honored to have her as a guest on this blog.

Well, Tootsie, what’s it like working with noexcuses?

Every day is a little slice of heaven! I enjoy watching her bizarre behavior when she gets writers block. She gets so frustrated with herself that she starts to clean the house! When she is really stumped, she chases me around the house with the vacuum. I hate it when you do that!

Ahem…sorry! Where did you get your literary experience?

I mostly developed my talents by “getting to know” others in my league. You know, sniffing butts and such. It’s amazing how well you can become acquainted with someone by their ambiance. For instance, a “working girl” will not only have her own special scent, but the multiple scents left by all of her customers. The guys can tell right away if they have a chance with her when they learn how many of their buddies have dated her.

I actually meant “literary, as in writing,” not “literal, as in on the job experience.” That’s okay, though, your diversion was quite informative. Do you have a favorite genre?

WHAT kind of QUESTION is that? WHAT does that have to do with anything ANYWAY? I love my body, and everything that is a part of it! SHEESH!!

Oh dear. I do apologize. I meant what kinds of stories do you like to write…fiction, non-fiction, action, comedy, chick stuff?

I love action stories…you know…chasing squirrels and chipmunks, checking out new lawns on which to leave my card. Romance stories are always fun. Guy meets girl, girl gets guy, and girl takes guy to the cleaners. I also like thrillers! In one story, I’m holding down noexcuses with my incisors around her throat. I wait until her face starts turning blue and her eyes look like they are going to pop out! Then I run as fast as I can, screaming and barking with my tail going a mile a minute!

You are one sick puppy, aren’t you?

I like to think so. All my friends call me sick!

Well, Tootsie, it’s been a pleasure having you as my guest. Please let us know if you ever get your own blog going. I’m sure it will be absolutely ruffabulous!

Happy New Year everyone!