Long Lost Poem

When I was younger, I enjoyed reading and writing poetry. I found a book of poetry at a yard sale and fell in love with one poem in particular. I have long since lost that poetry book, but parts of this poem have been stuck in my head ever since. I have attempted numerous times, to no avail, to find this poem online…until today. I’m not sure what made me decide to try again, but I’m very glad I did!

A poem by Mamie Ozburn Odum

Memories are treasured things
That keep the heart aglow,
Linking years with yesteryears
And loves we used to know.

Memories are links of gold
Connecting old and new,
The dearest recollections
Of things we used to do.

Memories are treasured bits
With dream-thoughts most sublime
Reweaving life's true journey
To join the hand of time.

I did a little further research and found another Mamie Ozburn Odum poem and although it’s not New Years, I think every day can be a new beginning with a ‘bright new dawn’.

A bright New Year, a promised dawn,
Ring New Year bells, ring on, ring on!

A bright New Year, a bright new dawn,
The old year fades, the old year gone.

A new beginning, another chance
Of nobler living to enhance.

A bright New Year, a bright new day,
A gladsome promise of work and play.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring out the wrong, ring in the true.

Another year, a bright New Year,
Ring silver-noted chimes of cheer.

The singing, ringing sweet refrain
Gives hopes to hearts to try again.

A bright New Year, a coming dawn…
Ring New Year bells, ring on, ring on!

9 "Harmless" Habits That Age You

Warning...this is a long article


By the Editors of Prevention
Thu, Jul 15, 2010

Look Your Age—Or Younger!
It pretty much goes without saying that smoking cigarettes and frying your skin in the sun make you older, so kudos for quitting and slathering on the sunscreen religiously. But if you're trying to turn back the clock—or at least slow it down a little—don't overlook these other habits that may be sabotaging your efforts.

1. You keep your college bedtime
It's not uncommon for superbusy women to cram a day's worth of around-the-house to-dos into the late evening hours, a practice that pushes back bedtime into—eep!—Late Night with Jimmy Fallon territory. The problem with this is that too-little sleep is proving to be really, really bad for your health: Research links it to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and even just looking tired and older.

Act your age: We're not saying you need a perfect 8 hours every single night, but make sleep a priority more often and your body will thank you. Everyone's sleep needs are different; to find out what yours are, sleep experts recommend you turn off the alarm clock when you're well rested, and see how long you naturally sleep. (Most people need 7 to 8 hours.)

2. You have a soft spot for sweets
A sugar-packed diet can take its toll on your waistline, but now experts also believe it can make your skin dull and wrinkled too. To blame is a natural process known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs, for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop; these damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Act your age: It's not easy to eliminate sugar completely, but limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories can help. If you're a 45-year-old woman of average height (5-foot-4), that's 160 calories (or 10 teaspoons) from added sugar—about the number in one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola or six Hershey's Kisses. By comparison, the average American consumes 31 teaspoons per day of added sugar, or the equivalent of 465 calories. Watch for stealthy sugar in unexpected foods, like salad dressing. Many prepared foods contain hefty amounts of sugar, but it's hidden under aliases—including barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado—on ingredient panels.

3. You're stressed more often than not
You don't feel good when you're stressed-out—be it from work projects piling up, a miserable commute, issues with the kids, etc.—and there's good biological proof why you shouldn't. Stress increases the concentration of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in the bloodstream, kicking up blood pressure and suppressing immunity. Over time, stress that doesn't go away can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood—talk about feeling older!

Act your age: Stress will never go away completely, but how you manage everyday blips can keep hormones on a more even—and healthy—keel. Deep breathing is the top antistress pick of Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD: He makes time for it at least twice a day. "It only takes 2 minutes," he says. "I do it in the morning, when I'm falling asleep in the evening, and anytime I feel upset." Try it: Exhale strongly through the mouth, making a whoosh sound. Breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale with the whoosh for a count of 8. Repeat the cycle 3 more times.

4. You only exercise to lose weight
Exercise is one of the best turn-back-the-clock agents around, but too many of us don't reap its full benefits because we only associate physical activity with weight loss. If you tend to hit the gym in 2-week stints to shed a few pounds, but then take a few months off from physical activity, you're missing out on some major health perks. Research shows that vigorous exercisers have longer telomeres—cellular biomarkers that shorten as we age—compared with healthy adults who rarely work out. Being active consistently can help fight brain fog, reduce inflammation, and prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions that crop up over time.

Act your age: Don't let your sneakers get dusty. Choose any activity you enjoy—be it walking, cycling, or dancing—and aim for a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes a day. Break it down, if you have to, into two 10-minute sessions. Slowly increase the frequency, duration, and intensity in small increments. If you miss a day, don't let it become a habit; just pick up again the next day.

5. You blast your iPod
Nothing makes you feel 80 years old like having to cup your ear and say "Excuse me?" to get your friend to repeat herself... again. Hearing loss typically develops slowly, the result of prolonged exposure to thousands of high-decibel insults to the ear, many of which come from exposure to everyday gadgets, like iPods or hair dryers. MP3 players set at 50% volume can pump out sounds up to 101 decibels, well over the recommended safety threshold.

Act your age: To ageproof your iPod, keep the volume as low as possible. Use noise-canceling earbuds to block out ambient sounds, reducing your need to jack up the volume. Wear earplugs when you're around other loud noises too, like the garbage disposal, coffee grinder, lawn mower, etc.

6. You never see your girlfriends
Your friends were probably the meat and potatoes of your social calendar back in your 20s; now you spend most of your spare time shuttling your tweens around to their various get-togethers. But here's why making time to cultivate your friendships is so key: One study found that satisfying friendships predict longevity better than even close family ties, and they can protect against obesity, depression, and heart disease, among other health problems. No wonder you always feel reenergized after a marathon catch-up call with your best college friend or a girls' night out with your high school crew.

Act your age: Your friends keep you young—simple as that. So if hectic schedules keep you apart, consider carving a more permanent place in your schedule for friend time. Take advantage of Facebook or e-mail groups to stay in touch on a more frequent basis—even clicking through and commenting on a pal's recently uploaded vacation photos can help you feel closer.

7. You eat veggies—but not daily
You've likely heard that antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies can help you stay young. These powerful compounds fight free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on your body and skin, damaging cells that can lead to cancer and make you look older. But here's the rub: Antioxidants remain active for only a few hours and need to be continually replenished, so don't think you're set for the week after eating a big salad for lunch on Monday.

Act your age: ODing on veggies a couple of days a week or month—and skipping them the rest of the time—doesn't do your body any favors. To truly maximize their age-defying benefits, aim to eat antioxidants every 4 hours or so or with every meal.

8. You've shunned all fat from your diet
Cutting out artery-clogging saturated and trans fats is a heart-healthy move, but when it comes to your health and vitality, equally slashing unsaturated fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, is like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. One kind, omega-3 fatty acids, is the ultimate anti-aging fat, essential for protecting your brain, heart, bones, joints, skin, and more. Another kind, monounsaturated, can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis. Plus, studies suggest that a higher intake of these fats may contribute to longer life expectancy.

Act your age: Remember that fat isn't inherently evil, and it won't make you fat per se. About 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat (mainly healthy, unsaturated fat) like those from the above sources.

9. You can't recall when you last had sex
Yep, sex feels good and does wonders for your mood, but it's also fantastically great for your health. Research shows that people with active sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, a lower cancer risk, healthier hearts, and less stress. The best news: It can even make you look younger—up to 12 years, a study shows.

Act your age: Rekindle the romance between you and your partner. To shake things up, try making the first move next time. "Some women are not active participants in their sex lives," says Pat Covalt, PhD, author of What Smart Couples Know. "A lot of men would like to be touched more, seduced more. Everyone wants to feel wanted."

House of Night Series…

More specifically, Tempted (House of Night, #6) by P.C. Cast

Finished today

I am completely hooked on this series and and almost sad that I only have one more to read. With that being said, the ending of this book shocked me. It also leaves a lot on unanswered questions. I cannot wait to read Burned!

Las Vegas Photographs

I had a hard time narrowing it down to a only 2 or 3 pictures, so I finally gave up and decided to post all of my favorites.

Below are the Luxor, Bellagio, Venetian and Excalibur Hotels.








The Stratosphere Tower...blogger isn't liking my favorite picture of the stratosphere but here's a second best and a picture of one of the rides at the top of the tower.




Red Rock Canyon






Viva Las Vegas!

We were in Vegas a little over a month ago and it was such a whirlwind!

We flew out VERY early and thankfully the flight went smooth. I love flying so my eyes were glued to the window most of the time. This was hubby's first time flying and even though he was nervous, he did great and I am happy to say he is willing to fly again which definitely opens up the list of vacation possibilities!! So exciting!! I love traveling!

Looking back, our time in Vegas was such a blur. 4 days, 3 nights of exhausting fun! We tried to fit in as much as we could in such a short amount of time. It's a large city with so much to offer but the sheer beauty of it doesn't hit you until the sun goes down. The city is breathtaking after dark. Two of the best things we did after dark were going up the stratosphere tower and seeing the fountain show at the Bellagio. Both will stick in my mind for a long time.

We went to the wedding (which was the reason for the trip. It was exactly what our friends wanted, a simple (and slightly cheesy)) Vegas wedding.

We also took half a day and separated from the group to go on a the Red Rock Canyon tour. The canyon is beautiful even if the tour itself was a little slow moving.

Our last morning came so fast, but we were all exhausted and were looking forward to getting home and it only took a 4.5 hour flight, an hour dinner, then a 1.5-2 hour drive home from Baltimore to get there! It's crazy to think that, due to the time difference, it took a full day to get home.

We all had such a good time that our group is already talking about a second trip out west to see everything we couldn't fit in the first time around.


I will post a few pictures tomorrow!

Poems

Here are a couple poems I stumbled across in my 'surfing' today...

Memories
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Oft I remember those I have known
In other days, to whom my heart was lead
As by a magnet, and who are not dead,
But absent, and their memories overgrown
With other thoughts and troubles of my own,
As graves with grasses are, and at their head
The stone with moss and lichens so o'er spread,
Nothing is legible but the name alone.
And is it so with them? After long years.
Do they remember me in the same way,
And is the memory pleasant as to me?
I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears?
Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay,
And yet the root perennial may be.


I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Life Quotes

Carpe Diem - Seize the Day

There are no facts, only interpretations. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Life's not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. ~Terri Guillemets

Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night. ~Marion Howard

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. ~Danny Kaye

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. ~Abraham Lincoln

You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted. ~Ruth E. Renkl

May you live all the days of your life. ~Jonathan Swift

Keurig Coffee Maker – My New Love

I have been eyeing up different models and researching for at least a year and I finally took the plunge and shelled out the dinero for a single cup coffee maker. I’m not a huge coffee drinker so I love being able to make a cup of coffee one minute than turn around and make a cup of hot chocolate the next! Even with discounts, it was a little pricey but I would like to think I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it!


Addicted?

Everyone is addicted to something, and no I'm no talking about drugs or anything like that but everyone has something (or more than one thing) that you just can't get enough of or that one thing that you really look forward to on a regular basis?

One of my addictions is TV...that sounds so sad, but it's true.

I love movies and every season I have certain TV shows that I can't get enough of. I honestly look forward to them every week and I have them set to DVR, just in case I'm not home...

Reading is also an addiction of mine, I love escaping into a book or series of books!

And of course my smartphone is a big addiction, it drives me nuts when I forget my phone at home!What are your addiction(s)??

Meditation (cont.)

Looking for peace and tranquility? Here's where to start
By Margot Dougherty

1. Do Your Research There are as many approaches to meditation as there are lotus blossoms in haiku. To find one that resonates with you, poke around the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood, leaf through the flyers at your local yoga studio, or check out the new Ananda LA in Santa Monica (anandala.com). Next-generation guru Max Simon (getselfcentered.com) was born to the cause—Dad cofounded Deepak Chopra's center and Mom is a transcendental meditation teacher. Simon hosts periodic "Public Displays of Meditation" as well as other events and parties for his "soul tribe."

2. Let Go of Distractions Chances are you may be meditating already. Ever stare slack jawed at your computer screen? The trick is to know when you're tuning out—to be simultaneously mindful and detached. There's a lot to be said for meditating in perfect quiet, but if a trash truck rounds the bend or a cat goes into heat just as you’ve settled in, roll with it. The idea is to let uninvited distractions—including your inner dialogue—pass through your consciousness without grabbing on to or resenting them. Acknowledge them, then let them go. Whoosh.

3. Assume The Position For most folks, sitting—in a chair or cross-legged on the floor—and kneeling are the easiest postures for meditating. Lengthen your spine, or shushumna (it's fine to sit against a wall). That’ll give your energy a straight shot from your tailbone, or root chakra, to your head, or crown chakra. Or lie flat on your back (no snoozing!), walk contemplatively—maybe in the Peace Awareness Labyrinth in West Adams (peacelabyrinth.org)—or whirl like a dervish at one of Shiva Rea's or Micheline Berry's trance dances at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice (exhalespa.com).

4. Take a Breath Breathing technique, or pranayama, is integral to setting the stage for meditation. Different styles, like alternate nostril, or nadi sodhana, will be handy down the line, but perfect the basic inhale-exhale first. On the inhale, let your shoulders relax and your ribs expand (outward, not up) and feel your breath in the back of your throat. Count slowly—one-two-three-four—pause, and exhale for the same count. Steady breathing serves as a metronome to keep you focused and acts like a quaalude for your central nervous system.

5. Stick to a Schedule Start your practice by sitting five minutes once or twice a day and gradually aim for about 20 minutes at a stretch. The results are subtle but cumulative; the more you practice, the more you'll be able to bring the calm you feel during meditation to daily activities and relationships. Stress will dissipate. Now it’s time to shine your new inner light around. Kirtans (call-and-response chanting), led by folks like Dave Stringer (davestringer.com), and other group meditations are often geared to the common good. Someone’s got to get the world peace train rolling, so it may as well be you.

Meditation

One of my Bucket list items is learn to meditate, so these articles seem to be a good starting point.

Meditate: Zen Meditation

1. Sit on the forward third of a chair or a cushion on the floor.

2. Straighten and extend your spine, keeping it naturally upright, centering your balance in the lower abdomen. Push your lower back a little forward, open your chest, and tuck your chin in slightly, keeping the head upright, not leaning forward, or backwards, or to the side. Sway your body gently from left to right in decreasing arcs, until you naturally come to a point of stillness on your cushion.

3. Keep your eyes on the floor at a 45-degree angle, neither fully opened nor closed, and gaze naturally about 3 to 4 feet in front of your body. If the eyes are closed, you may want to start to daydream or visualize things. If your eyes are open wide open, your mind will scatter.

4. Keep your lips and teeth together with your tongue resting against the roof of your mouth.

5. Place your hands on your lap with the right palm up and your left hand (palm up) resting on your right hand, thumb tips lightly touching, forming a vertical oval. This is the mudra of zazen, in which all phenomena are unified. Rest this mudra with the blade of your hands against your abdomen, a few inches below the navel, harmonizing your own center of gravity with the mudra.

6. Take a deep breath, exhale fully, and then take another deep breath, exhaling fully. Let your breathe settle into its natural rhythm.

7. Keep your attention on your breath. When your attention wanders, bring it back to the breath again and again -- as many times as necessary!

8.. Practice this Zen Meditation every day for at least ten to fifteen minutes (or longer).

Relax meditate reduce stress start now


Because I Said So; Nights in Rodanthe Movie Reviews


I just watched 'Because I Said So'. I will definitely be adding this movie to my DVD collection. The whole movie revolves around a meddling mother and her three daughters. It's a great laugh out loud movie and it's sweet and romantic at the same time. I look forward to seeing it again.

Hhmmm, how to say this without spoiling this movie...

This is a touching and emotional romance rather than the comedic romance that I was expecting. Don't get me wrong this is a great movie and one that I will definitely watch again, but I will be watching it with tissues close at hand the next time around!

Lady & the Vamp (Immortality Bites, #3) by Michelle Rowan

Finished today

This book takes two characters, from the first two books, through their own story line which is an interesting twist in the series. I'm curious to see what direction the next book will take.

Trash The Dress (TTD)

I’ve recently heard about this and it immediately had my interest. It’s a kind of ‘after the wedding’ type of photography. Some brides (myself included) don’t know what to do with their dress after wearing it that one special day and it just ends up in the back of a closet or packed away in the basement…well why not make a few extra memories with that white dress?!? TTD photography is when brides put the dress back on and get some fun pictures without worrying about it being a little dirty for the ceremony. I’ve seen some pictures where TTD photography is beautiful brides in not so beautiful settings which creates a very vivid contrast. I’ve also seen pictures where the brides jump in pools or take waterside pictures or even brides that decide to go all out and become a canvas…either in the form of finger-paints or even paintballs. I think it sounds like a ton of fun and it will definitely be in the back of my mind as something I’d like to experiment with!

Bitten & Smitten (Immortality Bites, #1) by Michelle Rowan

Goodreads Summary:

Sarah Dearly has had a bad date. What else would you call being buried alive before dessert? Not to mention that bite mark on her neck, and the creepy way her date keeps saying that he’s sired her. Then those guys with the stakes show up and turn her date into so much dust! Sarah runs for her life, only to be rescued by a tall, dark, and handsome stranger. Sure, she interrupts him as he’s about to throw himself off a bridge – but as far as rescuers go, Thierry de Bennicoeur will have to do. Only problem is their age difference. He’s a six-hundred-year-old vamp with a death wish. She’s a new kid on the block with a need for someone with experience to show her the ropes. And to keep her one step ahead from the vampire hunters that are in town to rid Toronto of the ‘monsters’. Sarah doesn’t know what to make of all this. Sure, she’s got a healthy hankering for blood lately, but she doesn’t feel like a monster. Just an unemployed girl looking for love. Even if the object of her affection—Thierry—can’t go out in the sun for very long.

My Oneliner Review:

Finished today

Yet another captivating vampire book, I can't wait to continue the series!!

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris

Goodreads Summary:

For years, Charlaine Harris has delighted fans with her mystery series featuring small-town waitress-turned-paranormal sleuth Sookie Stackhouse. Now, we are pleased to offer her first novel in the series in a special hardcover edition.

And with HBO launching an all-new show, True Blood, based on the Southern Vampire novels, the demand for Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse will be bigger than ever.

My Review:

This is more like a quick series review...

I read books 1-10 in two weeks, that's how much I loved them! Much to my husband's disappointment, ;-) I just couldn't bring myself put them down! I finished reading the series a week ago and the stories are still with me as if I had just finished today! Fantastic Books!

Don't Forget to Remember

It's almost surreal to think of the number of people who lost their lives 9 years ago.

Take time to remember those who lost their lives
Take time to remember all of those who were hero's that day and the days after

Take time to be thankful for what you have and who you have
Take time to enjoy every day, because tomorrow could bring anything

Quotes

"To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place...I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them."
Elliott Erwitt

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."
Albert Einstein

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Goodreads Summary:

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

My Review:

Finished yesterday

This is a little outside of my normal reading genres but I definitely enjoyed Eat Pray Love! I admittedly skimmed over a paragraph here and there, but overall it's an easy yet thought provoking reading!

Something More

"I think of all the days in my life where I should have done something more..."

I always listen to the radio on my way to work and I've heard this song before, but this morning the lyrics just caught my attention.

What Makes You Happy, continued

Making a list like this makes you realize that it’s not always the big things that make you smile or make you feel ‘at peace’, so it’s with that in mind that I start the second half of my list.

51. Walking through the woods
52. Sound of rustling leaves
53. Sound of crackling leaves under your feet
54. Sound of stones grinding together under your feet or car tires
55. Being able to capture a peaceful feeling either through poetry, photography or other art form
56. Sitting along a creek or stream, not doing anything else…just sitting
57. Taking a drive with no specific destination in mind, just driving
58. Feeling inspired
59. Laughing
60. Curling up with a good book and forgetting the world around you
61. Cuddling with someone you love
62. Looking at old photographs
63. Getting mail (other than bills of course)
64. Getting email (other than junk email)
65. Art
66. Reconnecting with old friends on FB
67. Having contacts & being able to actually see clearly
68. Photography, this is on my list twice because I get a lot of joy from it
69. Word Games (boggle, crosswords, etc.)
70. Technology (smartphone, etc.)
71. Surprising people
72. Gift giving
73. Receiving is fun too, haha
74. Making my mark aka blogging
75. Enjoying a beautiful sunset or sunrise
76. Swinging and feeling a cool breeze
77. People pronouncing Strasburg, Ephrata and Lancaster correctly – I know that’s a strange one, but there are so many people that pronounce them incorrectly
78. Eye contact and feeling connected to people
79. Sitting down and resting after a long, hard day
80. I’m a late bloomer and didn’t get my license until I was around 18 so the freedom of driving and being able to get up and go do something when I want
81. Donating to charity
82. The feeling I get when walking out of work at 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon…or before a vacation
83. Getting a figurative pat on the back after doing something good
84. Enjoying a nice quiet evening on our new patio furniture
85. The fun of being someone else for an evening (i.e. Halloween)…too bad I’m too old for trick or treating, haha
86. Finishing a large copying project without any paper jams, interruptions or having to refill any paper!!
87. Learning about things I enjoy
88. Knowing people care about me
89. Beautiful scenery
90. Heights
91. Trying on clothes and having them fit perfectly
92. When I can strike up a conversation (not always the easiest thing for a ‘reserved’ person)
93. My tattoos and thinking of what I want next
94. Finishing a challenging project
95. Having beautiful planted flowers to welcome me every time I come home
96. The feeling of Christmas time
97. Christmas decorations
98. Looking through keepsakes collected through the years
99. When work days going fast and weekends lasting forever
100. There's just certain redlights that I always get stuck at...my 100th thing that makes me happy is when those certain lights are green!
101. Checking things off my bucketlist
102.Being able to come up with 100 things that make me happy! And knowing I could come up with more!

Paranormal Activity - Movie Review

Have you seen Paranormal Activity?

I think the question is, do you believe in ghosts? I don't think we can know for sure whether or not ghosts exist, but things happen...unexplainable things...does that prove the existence of ghosts or spirits? I know a lot of people who strongly believe and I've heard stories on why they believe. I have also watched a few of the 'ghost shows' on tv but overall I try not to think about ghosts too much. Well that was until I saw Paranormal Activity, the movie has two main characters who are filming 'occurrences' in their house. These occurrences get more frequent and more violent as the movie goes on. And the thing going through my mind as I watched it and ever since I watched it is 'this could possibly happen'. I mean if we can't disprove the existence of ghosts how can we say without a doubt that these things are an impossibility?

It is a good movie in the sense that it's jolting and interesting so I recommend you see it...I would also recommend leaving a light in your house if you watch it after dark ;-)

What Makes You Happy?


A while ago a friend of mine blogged a list of the 100 things that make her happy, so I figured, hey why not see what I could come up with. So here goes…

1. Spending time with my hubby
2. Spending time with friends
3. Kayaking
4. Traveling
5. Sound of wood crackling
6. Staring into a fire
7. Cappuccino
8. Sweet coffee
9. Playing with Kirby
10. Walking with Patty
11. Photography
12. Office Supplies
13. Writing
14. Music, Music and More Music
15. Reading
16. Having signed books
17. Having a signed book with my name in it
18. Weekends & Vacations (pretty much any time not working)
19. Knowing I graduated college
20. Knowing I successfully planned my wedding
21. Owning a nice house
22. A clean house!!!
23. Not having to mow the yard!
24. Not being sick
25. Sound of water trickling
26. White Water Rafting
27. Snow Tubing
28. SNOW!
29. Being snowed in…at home!
30. Fall Colors
31. Spring flowers
32. Flowering Trees
33. Pretty much anything to do with water
34. Good hair days
35. Feeling confident
36. Sledding
37. Scrapbooking
38. The feeling of accomplishment after finishing a project
39. Experiencing new things
40. Smell of food grilling, yum
41. Baking
42. Having people enjoy what I make
43. Sleeping in
44. Midday naps
45. Movies
46. Having nice teeth (I went through having braces two years ago, so I’m thrilled to have nice teeth)
47. Feeling appreciated
48. Nature
49. Lines & Patterns
50. Color

I decided to do this list in two posts. So this is of course the first half…the second half is a work in progress.

Niagara, Wind Turbines

The latest checkmark is thanks to a mostly spur of the moment decision to visit our friend who just moved close to Buffalo, NY. This weekend I was able to check ‘See Niagara Falls’ off my list!!

The falls are gorgeous and it’s amazing to think of the amount of water falling over the edge every second! We checked out the Observation Tower, Maid of the Mist, Goat Island, and Three Sisters Islands, all of which were amazing. We were not able to go to the Canada side but plan on going back once we all have our passports!! I would also like to check out Hurricane Cave and walk behind the falls when we go back!


And although it wasn’t specifically on the list, I can check off that I’ve seen one of the great lakes. Lake Erie is, well, HUGE!


We also had the chance to see some wind turbines on the way to Buffalo. It’s amazing how something so simply designed can be so beautiful! I’ve seen some before but it was at a distance and this time I got a much closer view! Someday I’d like to get even closer to get a true idea as to their massive size.


Tattoos - Would you get inked?

I did...and I probably will again. Society holds a very wide range of opinions on tattoos Opinions range from 'you're going to rot in hell for destroying the temple that God gave you' to 'I wouldn't be me without my tattoos'. I am obviously 'pro' tattoo but you just never know how people will react.

Strangers will sometimes ask me about my tattoo(s) and sometimes they will just look with disgust. A lot of the time when I meet people, they don't realize I have tattoos. I don't plan it that way, it just tends to happen. Then once they see one of my tattoos for the first time they're always shocked and say things like "YOU have tattoos?!?" "Why on earth would you get that" "You don't strike me as the tattoo type"...well you know what, I don't think there is a 'tattoo type' anymore. Sure once upon a time, it was for bikers or people in the navy, or even people in prison but you know what, society changes, people change.

It’s the same with technology, some generations are disgusted at what cell phones can do and refuse to own or use one. My cell phone is my life line; I keep up with the news, blog, and keep in touch with friends through email, text messaging, instant messaging, and Facebook, etc. etc. In my opinion you can't judge someone based on whether or not they have tattoos or whether they prefer to text rather than make a phone call.
It all comes down to how people accept our changing society.

How do you handle change?

Headache Relief

I just stumbled on an article about headache relief, here are a few chunks of the article.

Press Valley of Harmony for headache relief

Recently, a patient's eight-year-old child was suffering from a headache. I was able to bring her the benefits of acupuncture without the needles. I simply used my own fingers to administer acupressure on an acupoint in the web between her thumb and index finger called Valley of Harmony. Within five minutes, her headache was gone.

Find the acupoint Valley of Harmony (Li 4) on yourself. It's in the web between the thumb and index finger on both hands. Apply steady pressure with your thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the other hand.

Find the acupoint Great Yang (taiyang), which is in the indentation of the temples. Stimulate the point with the knuckles of your thumbs or the tips of your index fingers. Massage in circular motion for 5 minutes.

Give yourself a simple spa experience to help relieve a headache. Put 5 drops of lavender essential oil in 1 cup of warm water. Soak a small towel in the water, wring it dry, and then place it on your forehead as a compress during a headache.

How often have you uttered these words in a stressful situation, "This is giving me a headache!" It turns out that the human brain is genetically programmed to translate physical and emotional stress into headaches. Headaches can typically be prevented by relaxation or stress releasing techniques like meditation and tai chi. Here is a simple visualization meditation called White Light Meditation that I have taught to my patients to reduce stress and headaches:

1. Sit or lie down comfortably. Clear your mind, relax your body, and breathe deeply and slowly.
2. Inhale and visualize a white light or clear mountain spring water entering your body at the top of your head and flowing down to your abdomen.
3. Exhale and visualize the white light or water continuing its downward course from your abdomen to the bottom of your feet, where it drains out.
Repeat for 10 minutes. Usually you will experience a quick reduction in symptoms right after this exercise.

B-complex vitamins are one of my recommendations for headaches -- not only for their pain-relieving properties, but because they are crucial for energy production and help the nervous system. Vitamin B6, in particular, can be very effective for alleviating pressure headaches. Use supplements of B-complex vitamins to relieve pain when a headache strikes and take them daily to prevent headaches.

Grown Ups - Movie Review

At what point do you truly become a grown up?

Is it when you take responsibility for yourself and your life? Is it when you lose the kid inside you?

Ah, who knows! I think everyone should have a little kid inside them, otherwise life would be dull.

But I don't really want to wax philosophical, I actually just watched 'Grown Ups'. It was definitely a fun movie with a lot of big names which made for a great movie.

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Selma Hayak were a fantastic and funny combination!!

Two Thumbs Up!!

Abandoned Tunnel





What a neat thing to be able to walk through an abandoned tunnel! It would have taken too long to walk through the whole thing but we walked in far enough that we couldn't see either end. If we turned off our flashlights it was pitch black! And it started to get foggy, which made it that much more spooky!

White Water Rafting – WV

Hubby and I decided to go white water rafting for our first anniversary, in 2006. Since then we have gotten a group of our friends together each year for a rafting trip. Our normal trip is to the Poconos in PA which has Class I, II, and III rapids. This year we stepped it up a couple notches and went to West Virginia for Class III, IV and V rapids. Our West Virginia Trip was an awesome great weekend! In some of our down time, our one friend was climbing the walls out of boredom…literally…climbing the walls, haha. Anyway even he had fun through the sporadic boredom.

Rafting itself was a lot of fun! Our group ended up splitting into two rafts and the one raft had a crazier guide so they obviously had a lot more ‘swimming’ time. Two friends went through the first two rapids then had to be walked back to our starting point. One was blacking out from the stress of falling into the rapid and the overexertion of trying to get out of the dangerous part. The other I think was also a little scared (although he would never admit it) and he’s more of a father figure so he wanted to take care of the first guy.

I went in once but I’m pretty sure it’s because my hubby unintentionally landed on me and knocked me over. I actually came up under the raft which was strange yet comforting because I at least knew where it was and knew I wouldn’t have to swim to be rescued. I made sure to brace myself better the next time so when he landed on me I stayed in the raft!

Another friend had a bad experience closer to the end of the trip; he fell out of the raft and was caught in the rapid. He was so disorientated that he was trying to swim upstream into the rapid which obviously is not what you want to do in that situation. It’s a scary situation to be in. We happen to have all of this caught on tape which is kind of awesome!!

The only person that didn’t fall in during our trip was a newbie to our group who had never been rafting and ironically can’t swim. I’m not sure how he lucked out but it’s probably for the best that he didn’t experience that.

Something else that was new to all of us, including our regular rafters, was when the guide had us go through a small rapid outside of the raft. It was definitely a new perspective and I have to say I, being one of the more daring people of the group, really enjoyed it.

We also had the opportunity to jump off of a 25 ft rock which is appropriately named ‘jump rock’. About half of the group jumped. It was a little intimidating, yet fun!

Another fun experience was what our guides call ‘riding the bull’. On the last rapid (I think it was a Class IV). Our guide asked us if anyone wanted to ‘ride the bull’ and, being a little crazy, I agreed to it before knowing what it was. Well I ended up sitting on the nose of the boat holding onto a strap while we went through that Class IV rapid! It was awesome even if I did get knocked back into the boat half way through. I’m still the only one in our group that rode the bull!

War of the Roses

One of white; one of red
Entwined in a lifetime of battles
Hearts forever tangled between

Stems twisting tighter
Thorns perforating
Wisps of life lost with each puncture
Wounds deepen; petals fall

No solutions; no victors
Only aggression and resentment
Engraved in past, present and future.

My original ‘War of the Roses’ poem is still among the missing, but I flexed my poetic muscles today and wrote this new one! Who would have thought I still had it in me!!

Earthquake

I felt my first earthquake today. I didn't completely realize that's what it was since I'd never felt one, but I was sitting at my desk and it sounded like the building's hvac system was going haywire or something. Then I heard someone down the hall say it was a tremor.

---

Earthquake sends tremors throughout central Pennsylvania
By The Patriot-News
June 03, 2010, 9:40AM
Another earthquake in central Pennsylvania?

At about 8:25 this morning, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 2.9 magnitude earthquake centered in the Dillsburg area that was reverberated across the West Shore.

The quake was also felt in New Cumberland, Camp Hill, Shiremanstown, Mechanicsburg, Boiling Springs and surrounding areas. There were even reports that the tremor was felt across the river as far away as Harrisburg and Middletown.

The duration of the tremor was about two seconds, according to one Franklin Twp. resident. There have been no reports of damage from residents.

In fact, minor earthquakes are not uncommon in the region. According to a Millersville University study, there were a whopping 49 tremors centered in the Dillsburg area between October and December of 2008. though all under 3.0 on the Richter scale.

One of the most powerful Pennsylvania quakes in recent history was an earthquake of magnitude 4.6 struck that Berks County in 1994, rattling homes as far away as the Philadelphia suburbs.

How did the West Shore tremor rate compared to a catastrophic earthquake?

Each jump on the Richter scale of one point equals an order of magnitude of 10. So, for example, a 4.0 quake would be 10 times more powerful than a 3.0, while a 5.0 quake would be 100 times more powerful.

The recent earthquake in Haiti was magnitude 7.0. That means it was roughly 10,000 times more powerful than the tremors centered in northern York County on Thursday morning.

Skydiving

I FINALLY went skydiving this month! I've been wanting to do it since I watched a friend jump ten years ago (I wasn’t old enough to jump at the time) and I finally decided that this was the year. And I figured why not do it as a birthday gift to myself. And what a birthday gift it was…

Quite a few people showed up to watch me fall from the sky. My hubby was of course there along with my mom and about 5 people who are like family to me. Some were much more nervous than others!!

First things first, the flight to get up to altitude was absolutely amazing!! My love of flying has been cemented in my brain!! The views are breathtaking!  You could see forever.

Now for the fun part (throwing a little sarcasm in my ‘voice’) the free fall. It went so fast but it was nothing but insane!! The instructor said it best “Your first jump is sensory overload”. When you jump out of the plane, you’re told to expect 70-80 mph winds…then you free fall at terminal velocity. It’s so hard to breathe…or it could be because I was somewhat in shock about the free fall, haha.

Then the chute is pulled and you’re yanked upward…and all is peaceful. You don’t hear a thing, you just float through the sky and look around. My tandem guy (John) pointed out our shadow on the ground, it was so tiny! He also pointed out some of the towns below us which was neat.

Then for the landing. which I have to say was a complete blur! We touched down nicely but then the chute caught a small gust of wind so we were kind of running backwards with it until someone grabbed the chute to stop it.

I am VERY glad I finally jumped! Will I do it again? As of now I’m undecided. I was trying to fight back motion sickness so I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as I could have. I think if I could guarantee I wouldn’t feel sick, I think I would definitely try it again. But I’m super cautious since I definitely didn’t feel good. So we’ll see what happens, if nothing else, I’d L-O-V-E to go take a ride in the plane and take pics!

Cake Decorating




Cake Decorating Class is officially over; I have been given my certificate of completion! And my nicest cake came out of my last class.

Overall it was a very good experience. I am far from being professional but I definitely learned a lot of new and useful techniques.

Here are a few miscellaneous handy tips I learned:

Cake

Cake release is best used with delicate white cakes since Bakers Spray tends to make darker

Lowering the oven temperature keeps domes from forming on the top of the cake - bake for the same amount of time

Can also bake with flower nails to keep dome from forming

Icing

Whip store bought icing to make it twice the volume and easier to decorate with.

To apply icing to sides of cake, use a side to side motion.

For a smooth icing crumb coat, dip spatula in near boiling water and wipe off. Pull extra icing on the edges towards the center of the top. Both techniques smoothes the icing. Can also icing then after 20 minutes (time to crust) gently rub Viva paper towels (or copy paper) over surface.

Movie Quote

Our finger prints never fade from the lives we touch.

This was a quote on a movie trailer...

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp - Womans Day

Everyone is forgetful, but as we age, we start to feel like our brains are slowing down a bit—and that can be the most frustrating thing in the world. Luckily, research shows there is a lot you can do to avoid those “senior moments." Whether it's relaxation or adding certain foods to your diet, read on for some techniques worth trying.

1. Chill Out

The brain remembers better when it’s relaxed, say researchers at the California Institute of Technology, so take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply or meditate. "The positive of meditation is you have focused concentration and relaxation taking place at the same time," says Elizabeth Edgerly, PhD, spokesperson for the Alzheimer's Association. "Researchers believe those things are good because they're developing new connections for your brain cells."

2. Focus on the Future

People who regularly made plans and looked forward to upcoming events had a 50 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study. But don’t worry if your calendar isn’t overflowing with life-changing events. Something as simple as setting a goal to have a weekly coffee date with a friend (and keeping it) will do. "Psychologically it keeps us motivated," Dr. Edgerly says. "There's evidence that people who have a purpose in life or who are working on long-or short-term goals appear to do better." In other words, keep your brain looking forward.

3. Go for a Walk

Mildly elevated glucose levels (even if you don’t have diabetes) can harm the area of the brain that helps you form memories, say Columbia University researchers. Experts agree that physical activity can help get blood glucose down to normal levels. In fact, the strongest evidence is regarding the effect of physical activity on the brain. Dr. Edgerly says, "When you exercise, you release chemicals that are good for your brain. It's like a mini fountain of youth in your brain, and the only way you can get it is exercise." In other words, when you take care of your heart, you take care of your brain.

4. Snack on Berries

Blueberries have compounds called anthocyanins that help communication between brain cells and appear to improve memory, says Robert Krikorian, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati. In general, Dr. Edgerly says the darker the fruit or vegetable, the better. She adds, "It's a healthy, well-rounded diet, especially one that mimics a Mediterranean diet, and that's fish, lots of fruits and vegetables, and red wine, everyone likes the red wine part."

5. Learn Something New

Take a Spanish class online, join a knitting club, or learn to play poker. A UC Irvine study found that mental stimulation limits the debilitating effects of aging on memory and the mind. But the best thing for your brain, Dr. Edgerly insists, is when you combine learning something new with physical activity. "It should be something like dancing, or coaching a sport. Or go learn golf with your girlfriends. That sort of thing is even better for your brain than, say, a crossword puzzle.”

Mr. & Mrs. Smith - Movie Review

I always figured this would be a good action movie but just never watched it for some reason. I finally took time to sit down and watch it this weekend and like I suspected, it is a great movie! The beginning seemed a little slow but once the action started, it kept going and going!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Goodreads Summary:

Charlotte BrontĂ«’s most beloved novel describes the passionate love between the courageous orphan Jane Eyre and the brilliant, brooding, and domineering Rochester. 

The loneliness and cruelty of Jane’s childhood strengthens her natural independence and spirit, which prove invaluable when she takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall. But after she falls in love with her sardonic employer, her discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a heart-wrenching choice. Ever since its publication in 1847, Jane Eyre has enthralled every kind of reader, from the most critical and cultivated to the youngest and most unabashedly romantic. It lives as one of the great triumphs of storytelling and as a moving and unforgettable portrayal of a woman's quest for self-respect.

My Review:
I heard someone say that you either like Charlotte Bronte's writing or Emily Bronte's but not both...well I like both. I like Jane Eyre a little more but I also enjoyed reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Jane Eyre definitely isn't a happy-go-lucky type of read, but I enjoyed it....every one of the 4 times that I've read it! One of the many parts that sticks with me is how the author describes Jane's paintings…

These pictures were in water-colours. The first represented clouds low and livid, rolling over a swollen sea: all the distance was in eclipse; so, too, was the foreground; or rather, the nearest billows, for there was no land. One gleam of light lifted into relief a half-submerged mast, on which sat a cormorant, dark and large, with wings flecked with foam; its beak held a gold bracelet set with gems, that I had touched with as brilliant tints as my palette could yield, and as glittering distinctness as my pencil could impart. Sinking below the bird and mast, a drowned corpse glanced through the green water; a fair arm was the only limb clearly visible, whence the bracelet had been washed or torn.
The second picture contained for foreground only the dim peak of a hill, with grass and some leaves slanting as if by a breeze. Beyond and above spread an expanse of sky, dark blue as at twilight: rising into the sky was a woman's shape to the bust, portrayed in tints as dusk and soft as I could combine. The dim forehead was crowned with a star; the lineaments below were seen as through the suffusion of vapour; the eyes shone dark and wild; the hair streamed shadowy, like a beamless cloud torn by storm or by electric travail. On the neck lay a pale reflection like moonlight; the same faint lustre touched the train of thin clouds from which rose and bowed this vision of the Evening Star.
The third showed the pinnacle of an iceberg piercing a polar winter sky: a muster of northern lights reared their dim lances, close serried, along the horizon. Throwing these into distance, rose, in the foreground, a head, -- a colossal head, inclined towards the iceberg, and resting against it. Two thin hands, joined under the forehead, and supporting it, drew up before the lower features a sable veil, a brow quite bloodless, white as bone, and an eye hollow and fixed, blank of meaning but for the glassiness of despair, alone were visible. Above the temples, amidst wreathed turban folds of black drapery, vague in its character and consistency as cloud, gleamed a ring of white flame, gemmed with sparkles of a more lurid tinge. This pale crescent was "the likeness of a kingly crown;" what it diademed was "the shape which shape had none."

Quotes - Life

Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take our breath away

Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do

Never waste a minute of your precious life by squandering it thinking about people you don’t like.

My Bucket Lists

I will start by pointing out that I have two lists. One list is ‘Things I Want to do and Places I Want to go’ and the other is ‘Things I’ve Done and Places I’ve Been’. It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the thing, if you want to do it, add it! My lists are constantly changing as I think of new things to add and as I move things from one list to another. I will be keeping an updated list here.

Live life with no regrets!

Things I’ve Done/Places I’ve Been


Bermuda
Blog - This one ;-)
Build snowman & snow fort
Bushkill Falls - Beautiful waterfalls and wood trails…the scenery is amazing!
Buy a DSLR Camera
Buy my own computer
Camping
Cancun Mexico
Canoe
Chichen Itza
Concerts - I've seen a few concerts, here are some of the bands I've seen once or multiple times (Papa Roach, Buckcherry, Hinder, Nickelback, Black Sabbath, Godsmack, Blueman Group, Motley Crue, and more that are slipping my mind at the moment)
Cook Thanksgiving Dinner - Multiple times
Crochet two nice scarves - I never expanded my skills, but it's neat having something to show for the time spent
Cruise - to Bermuda
Donate Blood
Drive convertible - a BMW Z3
Drive in movie - Multiple times
Eat green eggs - All you need is a little food coloring ;-). Hubby isn't too keen on the idea of eating snot colored food but hey to each his own right
Empire State Building
Enter a graveyard after dark - Sad and creepy at the same time
Get Married
Go to a standup comedy show - Multiple times; saw Rob Schneider
Have a blog more than 1 person follows ;-)
Have a marshmallow fight
Horseback Ride -  I have to say, it's a little intimidating being on such a big animal.  And of course my horse wasn't the most cooperative. I think this might be one of those once and done experiences.
Jump off 25-30' high rock into deep water - WV and Cancun
Kayak - Multiple times and places
Leonard Harris State Park - Awesome lookout points and great hiking
Lived in haunted house - It was a very old house with a dirt floor basement and it was supposedly part of the underground railroad. Very neat house but sometimes a little creepy at night
Niagara, US Side
Off Roading
Own a house
Own a new car
Parasailing - Ocean City, MD
Passport
Plan my wedding
Play in the rain as an adult - A lot of fun especially on a hot day…and what's the worst that will happen? You get wet…
Rickets Glenn - Great hiking and many, many waterfall photo opps!
Ride the Bull
Rollerblade - Multiple times
Scrapbook - It took me 3.5 years to start it but my wedding scrapbooks are finally complete and I had a lot of fun doing it!
Shoot a gun - I learned about guns as a kid and have since shot multiple types
Six Flags
Skydive
Snorkeling over ship wreck - This was while in Bermuda and was definitely an experience getting acclimated to breathing underwater
Snow Tubing
Take a cake decorating class
Take photography classes
Tattoo
Tennis
Throw someone a surprise party
Visit NYC (2004) - Empire State Building, St Patricks Cathedral, Times Square, Hard Rock Café, Little bit of Rockefeller Center, WTC Site
Walk in an abandoned tunnel
White water raft in Class IV & V Rapids - WV
Try Sushi - I can't say that I greatly enjoyed the experience, but I now can say that I've tried sushi! I tried egg sushi which was ok, eel sushi which was gross, cooked shrimp sushi and California sushi which is avacado and crab and gross
Try a Fried Oreo - It was good but not as good as I expected. I expected the Oreo flavor to be bolder, but the fried donut overpowered it.
Gondola Ride - In Las Vegas, they even sing to you
Las Vegas
See a monster truck show
Buy an ereader