Monday, December 31, 2012

Lesson 206 (Part 1): The Year in Review

It's New Year's Eve, Readers!

It's time to reflect upon the year that has passed and look ahead to 2013.  Eloise loves those Year In Review news spots you see on the nightly news or the Today Show.  I always find myself saying aloud, "That happened THIS year?" and unfortunately,  "He DIED?"  (Sometimes I miss things....).  The passage of time never ceases to amaze me.  For me, today marks the yearly dilemma of deciding whether time flies by (as measured in kids' birthdays) or crawls at a snails pace (like in school waiting for the 3:30 bell).  It's fitting that Eloise makes note of this, as the real Eloise from the TV series LOST is the keeper of time.  

This former yearbook editor had some fun putting together the photos and events that have happened in and around the Lamp Post over the last 12 months.  Hold my hand as we take a walk down memory lane.  If you are joining the Lamp Post late in the game, here is what you missed:


We found this:

It's become my new favorite pass time addiction.  I've made so many good new recipes, learned how to make crocheted daisies, concocted homemade floor cleaner and completed a new workout challenge almost every week.  If you haven't discovered it yet for yourself, check blog post Lesson 117:  A Pinteresting Weekend  for more details.


Natalie got her chances to sparkle and shine.  She participated in the Sparkles Cheerleading program at Harbor Creek High School which includes students with special needs.  Natalie also wowed us with her singing at the second annual Ever So Lovely Pageant.  If you were a participant in either, check blog post Lesson 121:  Catch Some Fireflies.

Eloise is a music fan and I was diggin' some new tunes last winter.

I went to see Blake Shelton when he came to Erie.

I became a huge Adele fan.

That big, burly linebacker-lookin' guy Zac Brown and his band became new favorites.

For my girls, it was all One Direction,

Phillip Phillips,

and Hunter Hayes.


At the Lamp Post, the odds were in our favor as we immersed ourselves in the Hunger Games series.


New autism statistics were released.  I couldn't sleep for nearly a week.

For Eloise's thoughts on this, read these blog posts-- Lesson 144:  Gross 
and Lesson 145:  U Find Out Who UR Friends R

While I was roaming the house sleepless, I would re-watch episodes of my new favorite show TOUCH to pass the time.  TOUCH stars Kiefer Sutherland and centers around a boy with autism.  It starts up again in January.  Don't miss it!


Eloise's butt is always planted on bleachers for most of May and June as Ellen is a softball player.

That equates to a 5:30-9:00 pm commitment many days a week.  So glad the home games are in walking distance of the Lamp Post.


Eloise and ten million other people read this book.  To see what I thought of the book and its author E.L. Janes, unleash your inner goddess and check out blog post Lesson 154:  Shades of Grey--EY.

We also visited the Columbus Ohio Zoo and Science Center.  This teacher awarded A plus marks to both.


July was an epic month.  My good friends Tracy Southern and Keri got me on an airplane to New York City, despite my dislike of air travel. 

I got to see Handsome perform in the Brothers of the Sun tour,

and I ran the Erie Half Marathon on Presque Isle.

Speaking of running---Kenyan, my sister whom I nicknamed for her speed, tore up the trails this year.  She ran 3 half marathons and ran in tons of 5K's and 10K's leaving her competitors in the dust.


I survived a near fatal poisoning attempt by a hater and puked my guts up one night
 (OK, OK--creative writers do have big imaginations...)

75 toilet flushes on a nearly dry well backed up the septic system into the house.

Come see the Lamp Post basement.  It's all new and depooped.

I also passed on the opportunity of a lifetime.  By a chance encounter in the Wal-Mart parking lot, I was given a backstage VIP pass to meet Tim McGraw.  Check out the heart wrenching story on blog posts Lesson 180:  Truck Yeah, and Lesson 181:  Together.


Ellen opened her own blog, Life Inside the Lamp Post for earning an advanced score on the PSSA Writing test.  Feel free to check out her sweet and heartfelt blog at  It's a peek inside the Lamp Post from a twelve year old's perspective.  Paybacks are hell!

 She also had a fun birthday celebration at the camp.

 Sam started Kindergarten and is doing GREAT!!!!!


Tracy Northern, my running partner, ran the Chicago marathon.  Wow!

I finished the Twilight saga so I could have some fun with all the red-eyed hype, too.  Plus Tracy Southern wouldn't be my friend anymore if I didn't read them.  Eloise hated to blow a 36 year friendship on a vampire.

 Speaking of vampires, Sam resembled one as he began to lose his teeth,

and quickly realized it was a lucrative endeavor.

After being sidelined for 18 days with the shingles, I wrote my second novel in less than two weeks.


I completed my Team Adrenaline Resolution Challenge and met some fabulous new friends.

Santa was good to all of us and we are closing this holiday happy and healthy.

For more favorite shots of my family, click on the video below.  The song is Auld Lang Syne by the awesome group Straight No Chaser.  For more on the history of this song as well as a look at Straight No Chaser performing live (they are CUTIES!!!), scroll down to the next blog post, Lesson 206:  Part 2--Auld Lang Syne.


Lesson 206 (Part 2): Auld Lang Syne

Here is the a cappella group Straight No Chaser performing the song from my video.

The group began at Indiana University in 1996.  They rose to fame with their version of the 12 Days of Christmas.  The youtube video at the following link has been viewed over 15 million times.  Check it out here:

For 12 Days of Christmas click here

For your lessons today---vocabulary and terminology:

  1. auld lang syne:  literal translation from a 1788 Scots poem--"old long since", now commonly thought of as "days gone by."
  2. 12 Days of Christmas:  They BEGIN on Christmas Day and continue through January 5th.  Many people think they are the dates prior to Christmas.
  3. a cappella:  Many recognize this as "singing without accompaniment" which is correct.  Cappella means chapel in Italian.  Therefore the phrase a cappella is translated to "in the manner of the chapel."
  4. straight no chaser:  you will probably find out the real meaning of this phrase tonight--just study it too hard---you don't want to enter the new year with a headache.
Take a cup of kindness tonight, My Friends.
See you in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lesson 205: Test Your Resolve

T-Minus 4 days until the new year, Readers.
Do you have any resolutions for 2013?

Here's one for you:
Test Your Resolve

For today's lesson, Eloise will tell you about a program I participated in this fall.  It was called the Resolution Program as part of Erie's Team Adrenaline created by Erie Chiropractor Dr. Steven Krauza.  Dr. Steve, whom I refer to as Doc, describes the workout portion of the program as "organic fitness."  Participants meet for outdoor workouts twice weekly using no gadgets or equipment, only the human body as it's own perfect machine.  All you need to participate is some determination and a good pair of these:

or these and you are good to go.

The type of toed-shoe shown above is a Vibram.  I've had a pair for about a year and a half.  Everyone makes fun of me when I wear them. I was shamed by my two friends into not wearing them around New York City while on a trip there this summer.  My friends who shall remain nameless called them ugly.  I am protecting their identities because there are 20 strong people who I just spent 12 weeks with that like them very much.  I'm sure they'd like to have a conversation with my friends.

It's funny how like minded people find each other.  For years I was like the red haired step child of my family, preaching clean eating, strong work outs, and relying less on traditional health care (drugs and surgery) and gravitating toward more natural approaches to health and healing like Chiropractic care.  

Eloise has been a life long devotee of Chiropractic philosophy.  


My doctors, the father-son team of Loren and Scott Prichard, have been monitoring my body all of my life.  I didn't write "taking care of my body" as many would expect as it is common thinking today to push that responsibility of your health onto a doctor.  Caring for me is my responsibility, not the duty of someone else.  I have never had a strong desire to be a lab rat and be monitored by doctors determining the amounts of medication I need.  I'd rather skip the cigarettes, pass on the sugar, run three miles, and drink a beer on a Friday night with a friend.

Still, as healthy as I try to be, illness can strike as I found out this November when I slapped by a case of shingles along my trigeminal nerve.  Still, Dr. Scott was my first stop when I knew I needed medical attention, and was the only one I went back to for care during my six week healing period.

Here are some interesting statistics:

The Gateway to Preventative Medicine - ReThink Chiropractic

Dr. Krauza's Resolution Package was named as such for those resolving to stay fit and healthy during the hectic time period known as "the holidays."  The twenty people in my group resolved to try to keep ourselves in balance and not tax our bodies from overeating and holiday stress.  We participated in a cooking class that touted the deliciousness of whole foods.  Early in the program we were introduced to Kundalini yoga as a means of helping reduce stress.  Dr. Mark Flippi taught us about the eye's relationship to the nervous system through his website Moodbender Live.  Conference calls with Wellness Coach Jennifer Greenwood Taylor informed us about the dangers of sugar and artificial sweeteners.  I took her suggestions to heart and Natalie and I rearranged our refrigerator to put more vegetables at eye level.

I haven't had to toss a single rotten vegetable in a month as they all get eaten or made into smoothies.  Thanks to Jennifer and my health conscious friend Tracy Southern, my family now drinks green smoothies on a regular basis.

Natalie likes to make them so much, one of these even showed up under the Christmas tree for her.

Eloise is a Christian and loves the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I have much to thank the Lord for, and for me and my family, that means indulging a little bit more than usual, even with all my healthy veggies strategically placed at eye level.  As I began to perspire during last evening's workout, I told my teammates they could lick me if they were hungry because my sweat would taste like salt, fat, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.  Eloise probably smelled like a bacon wrapped peanut butter blossom, soaked in beer as I was sweating out all my junk. They all laughed because everyone in the group is good natured (you'd have to be--we worked out in five inches of snow last night).

The people I've met as a result of the Resolution program are the best part of the package deal. Applause to Stacy, Lauren, and Jacqui who are all getting is shape after having babies.  I looked forward to talking with Matt and Sean to see what challenges they had set for themselves--like Sean's recent trail run in the middle of the night.  People are neat and listening to their stories are my favorite part of every session.

I feel like I was lead to all of them in some way as I hadn't heard of Team Adrenaline prior to this fall.  On Labor Day weekend I went for a walk with my dog down to the pond near my house, my favorite thinking spot.

 I sat on the ground beneath the  lone leaning tree on the water's edge and repeatedly threw a stick for my Labrador Retriever, Josie.  I felt restless and unsettled.  I had just completed a half marathon the month prior and knew I needed another challenge.  However, as the calendar pages turn from fall to winter, I knew training for "the next new thing" would be difficult knowing Erie weather.  Eloise does not like gyms. They are good things to like when your city gets buried under feet of snow during the winter.  I just don't like the crowds, shared machines, or the smell (Eloise has a ridiculously keen sense of smell).  I prefer to work out outside which mainly translates to running.

God knows my heart better than anyone and He felt me along side of the pond that day.  After my middle-of-nature-heart-to-heart with the Lord, I righted myself and Josie and I walked home.  Upon my return the phone was ringing as I crossed the threshold from the garage into my kitchen.  The call was from my sister in law Jean, asking me to be her teammate in the Resolution Program (you can sign up individually or in teams for a discounted rate).

"I'll do it," I said, interrupting her in the middle of her sales pitch.

"What?" she asked in amazement.  Jean knows how naturally pokey I am.  I take forever to make a decision. 

"I'm in," I said with complete clarity.  I just had a feeling that this program was an answer to a prayer.

I mentioned to my family that I was "doing some thing with Aunt Jean a few nights a week" as well as relayed the information to a friend and a couple of coworkers.  "Team Adrenaline...." said one friend.   "They are hard core.  Are you sure you know what you're getting into?"

"No," I replied.  "...but I can be hard core too."  My friend snorted and a feeling up unease crept into my belly.

About three weeks later that same friend called me one morning as I downed two Advil with  my sixth cup of coffee.  I was slurping the end of Sam's Sugar Corn Pops out of his bowl when I answered the phone. "Hey, Your Guy (Doc Krauza) is in the newspaper today," she said with a hint of sarcasm in her tone.  "He's gonna try and ride his bike around Presque Isle for 24 hours straight."

Eloise said a potty word.

A looming sense of dread began to cloud my spirit.  I decided it would be best if I made good on Doc's offer to check out one of his workout sessions prior to beginning the Resolution Program.  They were mainly held on the Iroquois High School  football field (I always picked to stand on the E),

and Liberty Park.

As I drove to the field one evening fueled by pure adrenaline and a growing sense of angst, I found Doc there with six  women, two men, and a whistle.  Everyone was ten years on either side of my age.  I noticed right away the happy atmosphere despite the fact they were doing push ups, sit ups, and running devil's drills on command.  They were smiling and laughing and there was a general camaraderie within the group.  Maybe I can do this.......I thought.

I found out I could do it, and I DID do it.  Our last official session was last night and there is one more "bonus workout" on Saturday at 7:30 am at Frontier Park.  Doc said to bring a sled.  I can't wait.

I hope Leslie is there.  She's my favorite person to chase.  Leslie practices hills all the time and runs up and down them with apparent ease.  But I know better now.  It's as hard for her as it is for me.  When you attend a workout, you always push yourself to your max.  Your maximum is just that--YOURS.  Your teammates just encourage you to get there.  This is my favorite quote I learned as part of the Team Adrenaline workouts:

it never gets easier. you just get better

And better I did get.  I can do 17 boys push ups now and held a plank hold for 3 minutes, things I'd never be able to do working out solo.  When the workouts called for partner exercises, I always sought out Lauren who is my height.  Doc would call for us to do these ridiculous lying down leg things that are hard to describe.  Alone, I could do maybe 10.  Doc called for 50. 

 "What?" we all screamed at him.  

"You can do anything for a minute," he'd yell back, and Lauren and I would begin our challenge.  

I'd count the first ten, then she'd count the next ten.  We hugged and high-fived when we reached 51 (I always try to do one extra than what is called for).  Together we laughed at our sweat marks we left behind on the pavement, evidence of our hard work.

Sometimes when you lose, you gain.  For what I lost in bodily fluids in the form of perspiration, I gained in confidence.  For hours I "lost" puttering around my house accomplishing nothing on a Saturday morning, I gained in energy upon my return home from a 7:30 am hilly workout.  

These two shots are from a sunrise workout at Shades Beach.

My inward attitude had changed more than my outward appearance as a result of participating in Team Adrenaline's Resolution Program.  I look at fitness differently.

When I see a parking lot white line I have the urge to jump over it mogul style.

A curb has new appeal--for step ups,

as do picnic tables.

I've learned that playgrounds are for big kids, too.

I've changed my thinking so much that I even added a few extras to my normal workout route.  Prior to Resolution, I used to run myself in circles around the Harborcreek Community Park which borders the Lamp Post.

The shot above was taken from atop the hill in the northwest corner of the park.  I used to run past it all the time.  Now I run UP it after every loop I make.  I even get muddy.  I'm so strong now that running up it wasn't enough.  I added these to my routine, too.

Those are firewood logs from my wood stove.  Josie and I hauled four of them back there and wedged them into the base of a three-trunked tree at the bottom of the hill.  They are there for anyone to use (don't touch my logs, Harborcreek Supervisor Tim May or there will be hell to pay).  Try it and you'll feel like this person:

That's my favorite movie character, boxer Rocky Balboa.  He was training in Russia for his fight against Drago in Rocky IV.  I love the Rocky movies.  I've been bound and determined to name a pet after him one of these days, but I don't like male pets.  I'll have to opt for a dog named Adrian, just so I can yell "Yo, Adrian!" when I call it to come inside.

I guess I am kind of like Rocky.  He trained with logs, too,

as well has his dog.  
Rocky ran steps in the wintertime and wasn't afraid to fall.
Doc taught me how to do that properly, too, by the way.

After seeing the next image, I have a bit of apprehension about attending tomorrow's snow workout at Frontier park.  Maybe sled riding wasn't exactly what Doc had in mind.

Tomorrow's session is the last official one of the Resolution Package.  After completing the program Doc offers a continuation package deal, which I will be taking advantage of.  It's kind of like an AA for fitness junkies. He keeps you coming back to get another dose of healthy in the form of strength and team unity.  How awesome is that?

The simple minded would scream "It's over!" and dance around with joy at the closure.  However my teammates and I have been enlightened.  We know that crossing the finish line is just the beginning of another new race.  Eloise has some ideas in mind for the new year.  Check back on my New Year's Day blog post and you'll see my first challenge I'll offer to anyone who is interested.


Enjoy the snapshots of Doc and Sean and a few of my teammates at some of the workouts this fall and winter.  You can also google Team Adrenaline Winter Edition to see the heavenly host of brave souls who showed up last night to exercise in the snow.  I'm the skinny one by the goal post.

Stay strong,