Friday, November 21, 2014

Lesson 332: I Lived

Greetings, Readers from the snowy north!
We got hit with an early season snowstorm,
but I Lived!

If you stop by the Lamp Post this weekend though, duck.
If one of these puppies lets go, you are toast.

Erie is used to long winters, but even for the snow-seasoned
this was an extra-early start.

The week's weather even brought the Today Show's Dylan Dreyer back to Erie.

Dylan broadcast the weather from my own city this week.
Erie anticipated the dump that the Buffalo area received ,
and the NBC weather team sent Dylan back to us.

Albeit a bust, Dylan returned home.
She got her start in Erie on WSEE!
If Dylan looked familiar to you Erieites, see the link below.

So what do we do when we get a foot and a half of snow in a two day period?

We make snowballs in the playground instead of playing soccer at recess.

And when we need to warm up,
we head to Movie Night at the local elementary school.

It's not every night of the week you get to hang out with an evil bitch.
(Let's be clear Teacher Peeps--the villain, NOT my boss).
Maleficent is definitely worth of a selfie.
Her crow nearly pecked me to death,
but I Lived.

During the winter, some of us take photos.
Stormy winter skies make for some interesting color combinations.

And as for me and my friends--
we like to play outside.

I'm trying to build a strong foundation



Eloise is finishing up the 58 Day Challenge provided by
Erie Chiropractor, Dr. Steven Krauza.

Participants followed diet and fitness recommendations for 58 days this fall.
Along with overall wellness, 
we attempted to increase arm strength

and reduce waist circumference.

For fun we all tossed in some cash,
and the winners take it all!


174 meals equals this many paper plates.

This is how many I have left until this challenge is over.

My goal was to put healthy choices on those plates,
3 times a day,
for 58 straight days.

Eloise is always a healthy eater.  
During challenges though, I am more conscious of putting greens into my diet.
The Lamp Post has been averaging per week:
3 bags of spinach
3 heads of broccoli!

At non-challenge times, I know we don't eat that much.

I like challenges a lot because they are known for 
bringing bad habits to light.

I've discovered my biggest diet obstacle is not sitting down to eat.

Eloise is a multi-tasker when it comes to eating:
I can hold a straightener to my hair and eat a hard boiled egg in the morning.
I much an apple at red lights while in transit during the work week.
Yes, I eat out of pots with a fork and take a swig out of the drink container for dinner.

Poor manners or merely a measure of survival?
You decide, 
but don't judge me unless you are a working mother, too.

The problem with habits is that they set an example for others.
They set the tone of what is acceptable in a home.

I have some work to do to make mealtime special as it is meant to be.

Over the last 58 days I found myself walking around my kitchen after school, 
with a baked chicken tenderloin between my fingers, 
packing lunches,
going over homework.

After I'd take the last swallow, I'd remember my promise to eat off a plate.
Whoops, too late!  I forgot!
I'd rehearse my usual mental mantra.
But as a penalty, on meals I'd slip,
or simply run out of time to dine by candelabra,
I'd toss the plate aside, and save it for a tally in the end.

Here are the meals I missed eating sitting down:

It's quite a stack.
When I counted them tonight,
there were 59 altogether.

I've been chipping away at mathematics on the Khan Academy.

I figured out with the help of a youtube tutorial 
that 59 meals was a third of my meals eaten on the fly!


Eloise knows that I have some more work to do.
My bad habits are like Whack a Mole.

The second I beat one down,
another pops up.

Get rid of the sugar,
turn to the coffee.

Get rid of the coffee,
crawl onto the couch under a blanket and hide.

I got a hold of WHAT I should be eating,
but I don't have control of WHEN and HOW.

Because Eloise considers life an on-going improvement project,
I'll keep at it.

By the spring I hope to gain victory over my haphazard eating,

and revisit the mealtimes of June Cleaver more often than just Sundays after church.

My final measurements are scheduled for Monday.
I've given it my all and I am in for the win.
But even if Eloise falls short of the cash prize this time,
I've learned many valuable lessons.
For just 43 cents a day, 
I was careful to stay mindful of health at a time of year 
chock filled with temptations:

For 58 days I lived my life as healthy as I could.
For 58 days,
I Lived.

It is only fitting that I chose One Republic's new release, I Lived for my photo story this week.  The song is so powerful that it's jumped ahead of Handsome's Keep On Tuckin' and Taylor Swift's Blank Space on Eloise's Current Favorite Songs List.

The song, just out this past September, was written as a tribute to a teenaged fan living with Cystic Fibrosis.

Meet Bryan Warnecke from Colorado.


He is an all state goalie and avid cyclist.
Bryan also has cystic fibrosis.

Eloise is asking you to take 5 minutes out of your day and watch the One Republic video.  
If you don't, I will eventually find out,
and will have to call you a LOSER.
Don't make me do that.

For One Republic's Video CLICK HERE and PLEASE WATCH

After you are touched by the music and the photos, 
click this link to find out more about Cystic Fibrosis.
Consider donating to this cause.
You all help Natalie and Autism.
Natalie asks you to give some attention,
even just one dollar,
to Cystic Fibrosis.

Be thankful you have lungs.

To find out more about Cystic Fibrosis, click here

Enjoy the photos from the 58 Day Challenge. Participants, find yourselves!  It sure was fun participating in this Wellness Challenge with you.  I can't wait for the next one.  Rumors are there will be one in January to start 2015 off right.  Thanks again, Doc, for helping us live a healthy fall season.

With Thanks and Gratitude,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lesson 331: Expect the Unexpected

Happy weekend, Readers.
Eloise has two words for you.
Holy snow!

Erie, Pennsylvania,
the Snow Globe Reigning Champion of last season,
got it's first kiss of winter weather.
Man was it a smooch.

Ellen played photographer,

and captured this pile up over a seven hour period.

7 am


and 3 pm.

Mother Nature left my city with a record breaking 
Early Snow Total of 12.5 inches!
When you live in Erie, you learn to expect the unexpected.

As much as I dreaded digging out the 
this early,
the landscapes have made for some beautiful photo opportunities.

This scene outside of Klein Elementary reminded me of
Narnia and the Lamp Post.

It's neat to see the yellow leaves against the bright white.

The leaves are usually gone by the time the snow comes.

I should have seen it coming.
You can learn a lot from observing wildlife.
I've learned that if you are ever vacationing in a tsunami region,
and you see monkeys and elephants moving to higher ground,
haul your @$$ out of there!

Here is this lone goose on the pond.
She's all by herself.
Her buddies headed south.
She missed the memo.

I named her Eloise.

I was curious to see if the heavy snowfall had an impact on my newest curiosity.
Harborcreekers--have you spotted unexpected sight?

Somehow, this chunk of branch was cut and caught between two wires.

It's been hanging there on Clark Road for nearly two weeks.

As you can see in this photo, 
it survived the foot of heavy, wet snow.

When it falls, I want it!
I have plans for making either an end table or a campfire seat out of it.
Locals, let me know if you spot it on the ground 
and call me right away.
Talk about a thick skin!

Speaking of thick skinned,
I spent this evening with the most thick skinned who walk among us.
Tonight was my daughter Natalie's Miss Shining Star pageant,
a special night for special needs girls.

The dictionary definition of "thick skinned" is this:
1.  insensitive to criticism
2.  not easily offended

The girls who get their turn in the spotlight are often the subjects of ridicule.

Told they can't do something because of a physical disability,


or a mental limitation,

makes it seem like they would suffer from self-esteem issues.

But they don't!

These girls are happy.

They love attention.

They value friendships as much as any person would.

They are sweet, kind, and excited about what's to come next.

Most importantly,
they have the love and support from their
and communities.

Thank you to all who take a moment to look beyond the disability.

Ask yourself, 
What are they here to teach me?
What can I learn from knowing them?

Natalie and her friends have taught me this:
Fruit of the Spirit Digital DIY wall art graphics of Galatians 5:22 scripture quote for home decoration. $10.00, via Etsy.

If you expect an event like this to be dull and boring,
think again.
Expect the unexpected.

Take a minute out of your life and get to know someone with lesser ability than you.
You never know what you may be missing.

Jordan, a young man with severe autism rendering him speechless,
has found a way to express himself--
through his fabulous artwork.

Think how blank our walls would be without Jordan and those like him.


In between beauty pageants and snow shoveling,
I've been working on my Family History/Cookbook/Photo Album

The Cookwizardry of a Peculiar People.

I've been tapping into my mother's compilation of family history,
all neatly organized into three ring binders.

Through the reading of these books, 
I've learned where I came from.

Yet, at the same time,
I can't believe a genetic link exists.

Here is an example of one of my scrapbooks:

Nothing is neat,

or even.

I hate straight lines,

or using scissors.

Everyone documents their history in their own way.

There is no right or wrong way to do it.
This way is just Eloise Style.

While searching through my mother's books,
I found some things that have prompted further research.
If I was more organized, 
I'd purchase a small notebook like a news reporter 
and start asking Dad questions about his Coast Guard information.

Dad--with scars on the head?

It's hard to believe this precious little boy
would ever get a scar on his head.

No scars for this Boy Scout.
My dad looks so much like my nephew Jack in this photo.

Here is my dad, making the face he does at me
when I have to walk across the yard to tell him that I
backed into the broad side of his barn...

Photos prompt stories.
Stories are good things.
Eloise says to remember that.

When I asked my father what the deal was with the leash,

he told me his mother used to tie him to the cherry tree out back
because he liked to be outside,
but had a tendency to wander,
hence the harness.

We should have known then, that Dad would end up working 42 years as a welder--
he sported beanies in the 1940's, too!

I discovered my mom was a cutie.
She's the one one the far left of this photo.

Many say I resemble her.
I never saw the similarity myself until I found this photo.

I could have WON that safety slogan contest!

I've looked through lots and lots of photos of me and Kenyan.

This one is is my favorite.
Me digging for buried treasure,
while Kenyan sat watching me, eating Pringles.

Some things never change.

Kenyan is not as sedentary as she used to be though.

Here she is last week on a taper run.

Little Pop of Blue is going to run the Rock N Roll Marathon out in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Good luck, Little Blue, with you next 26.2!

I've continued on with my quest for strong, digging arms.
Eloise is nearly done with the 58 Day Wellness Challenge.

I'll report more on the challenge and the changes I've made next week.
I can tell you one hint--
I've added lots of color to my life as a result.
Color from plenty of vegetables,
and color from THEM:

My crazy and congenial teammates.

I could win this one!
Expect the unexpected!

I have lots of things to do this weekend, so it is time for Eloise to get some shut-eye.

Enjoy the photos from the week set to one of my favorite versions of Amazing Grace,
by guitarist Josh Wilson.

It's bound to be one of your favorites, too.
Even if you are not a fan of Christian Music,
you just may like this one.
Expect the unexpected!

Peace be with you, Readers.