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A few weeks ago I attended a concert of an artist I have tortured my mom with on a 5 1/2 hour car ride to Pittsburgh. I played ONE song over, and over, and over, and over. Occasionally I’d flip to the B side of the tape and play the first song on that side. Basically she tolerated her 8 year old’s obsession with a song she was pretty darn sick of. This repeated song made me sick of the album about 2 years later and I put the tape away. Refused to play it. Then, when I was about 16 I took it out of retirement and realized I still knew every darn word. . . of MOST of the album.

Cue to about 10 years ago when I introduced my husband (then boyfriend) to this album and he was pretty taken with how unique it was.

Cue to a few weeks ago, and I was done with the back and forth of, “should I, well, maybe not, but I could, but really??? well… okay… yes… no.. wait… REALLY!??!”  It was a moment of me saying, “You know what, screw it. People hate this artist and thing the songs are annoying, but I love them. I am going to burst into tears during my favorite song which HAD BETTER BE PERFORMED. . . *ahem*

Lo and behold, I went to the show, by myself, and sat in the back row on the arena floor. I made friends with the couple in the same row (there were 4 seats, and the one next to me was empty). They had been fans for over 20 years. I told them my story and they thought it was WONDERFUL I had decided to attend the show. I had paper towels from the ladies room, because I was going to cry. No doubt about it.

The announcer came on and said that there would be a solo artist this evening. No opener, no extra people, just… the ONE person, and the band. My husband was jealous because a favorite guitar player was in the band that night. I told him there was an empty seat next to me, he could come on down. . . but no.

So the lights went down, the music started, the backup singers did their thing, and then the door opened at the back of the stage and out came… Neil Diamond. It was possibly the best show I’ve seen in a VERY long time. His pants had sequins on the sides, like the band stripe for kids in band, only these were sequins and sparkled with every step and sway. He opened the show with Cherry, Cherry. The crowd went nuts. He did a few ballads, I lost it during He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Sorry people, it’s a powerful song and whatever vocal training and warm ups Neil had done, they worked. He sang it beautifully. I learned that Red, Red, Wine is a Neil Diamond song. He sang I’m A Believer, like The Monkees’ version (if you hear his original version it’s more with steel drums and sounds a bit strange to the Monkees-trained ear).

So, this song that I played over, and over and over again — Cracklin Rosie. It’s the first song on Taproot Manuscript. I had never listened to another album, even though my parents have two others. I only knew every single song on Taproot Manuscript. During the show, he did a few others from that album (He Ain’t Heavy is one). Cracklin’ Rosie was during the encore, AFTER the 12 minute version of Sweet Caroline. It felt like it went on forever, and it probably did. . . but I was anxious to hope that he’d actually perform the song I spent many of my childhood years (which culminated in that 5 1/2 hour Cracklin’ Rosie marathon) listening to and not totally getting what most of the lyrics meant. He did it. I burst out sobbing. I was so happy. He bloody did it and I finally heard a song I’ve loved since I was, as my dad would put it, a tiny tiddle-toddle.

Thank you Neil Diamond for making insanely catchy tunes.


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To Kill A Mockingbird moment

This reminds me of a lot of mindsets I’ve heard recently. . . in the past year.  To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and takes place in a small town in Alabama.  Now, let me know if any of this sounds like something you might have heard in the past few months.  Also, apologies if any of the language offends, it is a direct quote from the book.

“Well how to you know we ain’t Negroes?”

“Uncle Jack Finch says we really don’t know. He says as far as he can trace back the FInches we ain’t, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin’ the Old Testament”

“Well if we came out durin’ the Old Testament it’s too long ago to matter.”

“That’s what I thought,” said Jem, “but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black. . .  .”

I urge everyone and anyone to pick up that book and read it. It gives you such a view into a past that many of us never knew or experienced and for those that did, perhaps the book triggers some memories both pleasant and unpleasant.  I do not think you need to be on one side of the fence or the other to feel the emotions and stories being told in this book, although reactions will differ across the board.

I remember my mom suggesting I read this book when I was a lot younger. I didn’t pick it up until some point in high school and was blown away with the messages and images it conveyed. We watched the movie in one of my classes and I got a very different vibe than the one from the book. Race, religion and social etiquette play such HUGE rolls in this book, but also growing up and learning how to see the world around you rather than just the next game or glass of lemonade.

Education without realizing what a gift you’ve been given is the strongest message I see throughout the book.

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There is an ADORABLE pup at our dog park. He is a pit bull/bull mastiff mix and I swear his head is just his jaws with little ears on top. He’s Pac-Man with fur and a body. And what a total sweetie of loose skin and drool!!!

Anyways today there was a little boy running around the park. . . which of course Little Dude went BONKERS for. He wants to jump on anyone running and this tends to mean a lot of kids get knocked down. Now, this kid was smart enough to have learned that if a dog comes leaping and woofing at you, you need to stop running and acknowledge the dog. Little Dude literally LEAPT past the kid in a, “Oh I was doing this anyways” kind of way and then went on to sniff other things. I thanked the kid and he said, “It’s not a problem.”  Like, this was the easiest thing in the world for him.  He was a great kid.

So back to Pac-Man Pup — this little guy came galumphing over towards me and the little boy as he was greeting EVERYONE if they called his name.  So I told the kid that, ‘Hey, he might get to be as tall as your shoulders one day.’ The little boy’s jaw dropped and his eyes got really big and he looked up at me saying, in total disbelief, “He isn’t… old?!?!”  “Nope, he’s about 6 months old.”  “I thought…. I thought.. he had to … he can’t get any bigger!!!!”  Hahaha, sorry kid, that’s a 60+ lb puppy and he’s only going to get beefier.

Boggling the minds of kids. I do so enjoy it.

In other happy news, Little Dude left the kid alone after chasing him a few times and actually avoided him once he realized he couldn’t scare him with the woofing and leaping. We need more kids like that so I can de-sensitize this pup to children. Strollers and scooters and other wheel-based-travel still freaks him out, but baby steps. . .

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New Training Plan

I am starting a new workout regime courtesy of my Nike+ App.  Sometimes those free apps really do something nice. Apparently my friends here can’t get me out running on a regular basis even with promises of “Oh yes I’ll join you for X Race coming up in Y Time.”  I fail.  Sorry friends, but yay for you keeping up your fitness!!!

So this new training routine is training for a 10K. The first week of training is:

Mon – Run 1 mi

Tues – Run 3 mi

Wed – Cross Train

** I swapped T and W because there was no way I felt up to running on T

Thurs – Rest Day

Fri – Run 1 mi

Sat – Run 4 mi

Sun – Run 1 mi

I’m not sure what Week 2 will be like but I think something around Week 3 or 4 is the “Run 9 miles.”  Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.  If I can keep this up I should start feeling a helluva lot better about my body image.  You can’t be fit and lazy, and I’ve spent too much time on the lazy train. I’m still doing things, like violin lessons and playing with the puppy, but I’m not keeping myself healthy and well exercised.  

In all honesty I’ve let previous injuries keep me from going strong — patellar tendinitis, a broken foot in high school that led to severe ankle pain for a few years (I limped if I walked faster that a snail’s pace and couldn’t run more than a block for over a year).  Let’s just say I’ve had to build up the belief that I CAN, WILL and MUST get out there to do something regarding fitness.  Brain Games are a very real thing.

My running trick, because it’s the right season — I pretend I’m being chased by a cloud of really slow mosquitoes and the thought of that much itching keeps me going.  If I let them get me I’d better be bed ridden, because otherwise I can totally leave them in the dust for some other lazy sod.  I have a crazy intense allergic reaction to mosquito bites — huge red welt that hurts more than it itches.  More than 4 or 5 bites and I feel mildly ill.  I hate ’em.  Therefore, my own worst enemy is my inspiration. 


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Dinner Success

Tonight I made a dinner I never thought would be quite the success it was.  Then again, cooking anything vegetarian for a meat-hungry hubby can be a gamble.  This one actually paid off and it had *gasp*  SALAD in it.   Okay, he’s not that bad about eating leafy greens now, but when we first met it was the last thing on his list besides the dreaded orange vegetables.  

I researched a bunch of Quinoa Salads today and settled on these two:





Gluten Free Goddess won out with her chickpeas and maple vinaigrette.

I used canned chickpeas and toasted the almonds in the microwave with olive oil rather than butter (we’re all out of Greasy Goodness In A Stick).  I also have a mild food intolerance for spinach so I got a salad mix that also had arugala, red cabbage and other greens as well as some baby spinach.  We’ll see if I need to take any antacid pills tonight or not. Things can get funky. Just sayin’

As I live in a small town of “We have a lot of grocery stores but WTF is Golden Balsamic Vinegar” I used regular Balsamic Vinegar. Salt helps a lot and if I hadn’t mushed my quinoa (a bit too much water, and it refused to cook down that last bit) it would have been mindblowingly good.  

I have some pear left over (I bought two because who doesn’t like pears?!) as I actually used a pear and a half rather than just 1. I also ODed on the parsley a bit, but you can’t tell with all the salad.  Yes, I used two HEAPING handfuls as 1 cup of quinoa is A LOT of quinoa.

So thank you Gluten Free Goddess for sharing your lovely recipes so I could make a successful dinner in a very short amount of time.


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Getting In Gear

Today I did a 15 minute work out that kicked my butt.  FIFTEEN MINUTES. I felt dead and exhilarated all at the same time.  Now, why can’t I do a workout like this every day rather than festering in my own “I don’t feel fit” funk?  The answer is, I have to pull myself out of the funk because it’s like super mucky boot-sucking mud.  I’m trying to not fall face first into the mucky mud rather than focusing on the need to just get the hell out of the muck. This is an analogy of something that really happened to me.  Thankfully, with the help of an auger tossed by a coworker I got myself out of the muck.  Is my medicine ball my auger? My weights? Hopefully I can keep these 15 minute workouts going to nudge myself closer to the trail so I can take off running — boots and all with mud flinging off of me the farther away I get.

I focus on the minutiae way too often and forget to see the big picture. Then I just stop and stare at the big picture and things don’t get done. 

Fitness isn’t easy when you feel mired down by everything else.  It’s hard when it isn’t your top-ish priority. I need to move it up the list. Violin practice also needs to move up the list.  You’d think for something I love so much I’d put in the dang hours, but no. . . I get sucked into cleaning off bits of tables here and there and washing dishes and cleaning counters and feeling despondent about our lack of a clean house. 

Depressed? No. Overwhelmed? Hell yes. 

Like a coworker almost says, “Time to grow a pair and pull up the Big Girl Panties.”  

Here’s hoping all this rainy weather gets me geared up to DO something.  I know rain usually makes people want to hunker down in bed, but I’m taking it as an opportunity to get ish done while my hands go numb and then come sit at the computer to warm them up again (this laptop is TOASTY) and rinse repeat.  I miss our dog, he was awesome for warming up hands. . . or feet. .  you just wedged them under him while he sat on the couch and he’d give you a, “REALLY?!” look and then give a resigned sigh.

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Back in May we had a lot of water damage due to an overflowing toilet tank. It ran for 36 hours while we were out of town. Came home to a very nasty surprise. Thankfully it was ONLY for 36 hours and we own a Shopvac. 

BUT the bad news is that we still have people coming over and doing repairs to the walls and floors and carpet. It’s just irritating to play babysitter to workmen. I can’t work from home as our Windows computer has kicked the bucket and the one I am writing this on would probably cry if it had to remotely run ArcGIS and various Office Programs.  

I’m really fed up with shoddy workmanship. Paint the moulding first, then install it. . . when you paint the walls, TAPE THE MOULDING AND BASEBOARDS so you get clean lines. This sloppy work is just embarrassing. . .  You claim to be ‘professionals’ and my friend’s 4 year old paints better than you.  Seriously. 

I’m a bit miffed. I’m also really sick of housework. I like our house, I really really do, but people aren’t kidding when they say you take on a lot of work when you buy a home. Suddenly you have to budget and schedule your repairs. So the roof needs to be replaced in x-years, but the deck should be fixed in 2-3 and the screen door no longer works right so we should fix that and then there’s the weird tree species growing over there and the weeds that have taken over that spot so we need to fix that window screen and those drawers …. the list NEVER.FLIPPING.ENDS.  And that’s just if nothing actually goes wrong. . . 

I want my mommy. 

Toys R Us had the right idea — “I don’t wanna grow up, ’cause if I did, I couldn’t be a Toys R Us Kid”  I do not want to face the adult world some days. I’d be very happy having a carefree summer of camps and friends and staying up late and sleepovers. 

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