Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lesson 207: Rock in the New Year

  Happy New Year, Readers!

We stayed up to watch the ball drop.  For some reason, Sam ran away from the TV and hid with a few seconds left on the countdown clock.  When I questioned my son about his odd reaction, he screamed, "I don't want the big ball to hit our planet!"  Somehow he caught wind of the prophecy of the ancient Maya and confused new years with the end of the world.  This morning as I write this, Sam has calmed down and is sleeping soundly, awaiting the tooth fairy.  He lost yet another tooth yesterday.

We got some snow yesterday, making for some slick travel last night.  We had three events to attend and made it to all of them.

This one is for Lisa M.  Thanks for inviting us to your party.  One of my resolutions for 2013 is never to buy this beer again.  Maybe for fun today you and John can dare each other to try a sip out of the five bottles I left behind as a "gift".  You like Pinterest and are a crafty, clever woman.  Maybe you'll recycle them into something spectacular.  I'll admit I got had by the pretty packaging when I purchased the six pack.  Mikey, you are about to get a cap for your collection from the world's worst beer.  I resolve to stick with Rolling Rock for 2013.

In 2013 Eloise also resolves to pay closer attention to details.  I'm a "big picture" kind of gal.  I don't sweat the small stuff.  I never have the right ingredients for recipes, my bed sheets do not have tight, military corners, and I don't care if you are late.  The food always tastes fine, I sleep just fine in rumpled sheets, and if I'm still waiting for you, that's okay because I don't wear a watch.  You get to me when you get to me.

However, there are some benefits that behoove a person if they do pay attention to what is in front of them.  For example, my Christmas present.  This was my new bird feeder from my parents.  I already ran it over with the truck.  Grandpa promised he could fix it.

In 2013 I am going to work on getting my book The Key published. 

I thought I stood a pretty chance of doing so in 2012, as I entered a contest that I had a good vibe about.  It was through Random House, my favorite children's book publisher.  I met all of the requirements (first novel, no agent, middle grades level, inspirational and humorous content).  Eloise wrote a kick @$$ synopsis and sent it off with a kiss and a prayer.  Months went by and I never heard anything.  I was disappointed, but not defeated.  I knew that if I didn't get my chance this time, I eventually would---I'd just have to find another avenue and wait a bit.  Eloise kept the faith.  

Still something was nagging at me. One day months after the submission, I pulled out a copy of the packet of information I sent to New York City.  When I looked through it, I realized I never put my name on it!   A teacher's biggest pet peeve:  THE NO NAME PAPER!!!  I did put Eloise Hawking on the byline, but that is only my pen name, not my birth name.   There was no address to link Eloise to this story either.  Perhaps someone in New York City is searching for Eloise now, with a copy worn from repeated rereads sitting on the corner of his desk.  That, My Friends, is a story in the making, don't you think?

No worries, though Readers.  My two friends Tracy, TNorthern who lives in Pennsylvania with me, and TSouthern from South Carolina, promised to help me with the process.  Friends help you along in life and fill in the gaps where you are weak.

I wanted to make sure everyone knew they were often thought of and appreciated this year.  I changed my grinchy attitude and re-added everyone I X'ed off my Christmas card list.  Eloise had determined it was simply too much work to send so many cards hardly receive any back, but I changed my thinking.  

I stayed up extra late one night and got them done. Everyone was getting a card again.   I was in a good mood, knowing that I would wish my friends and family a happy holiday season through the way I know best---words and pictures.  Eloise reminded herself that the true joy is in the giving.  Whether I received a card in return didn't matter as much anymore.  The next morning I skipped to the mailbox and inserted a big, rubber-banded stack.  Eloise felt happy.

And then I received a large part of the stack back on December 27th.......

Whoops.  Forgot the stamps.

Running over bird feeders, not putting my name on papers, and failing to add postage to holiday cards makes me appear a bit dingy.  I suppose I am. 20 years ago somebody called me "dumber than a box of rocks" and I'm still pissed about it.  Dingy does not equal unintelligent.  The guy didn't know me that well, so I suppose I should forgive him; maybe send him a letter (with the stamp) about how he wronged me.  Yet, a family member once said that if you typed the word "airhead" into the google search box, my picture would come up.  Ha, ha.  Funny joke. .........and then I got to thinking........................so I checked......................but Eloise is good.  This is what came up instead.

Part of making resolutions for change in the upcoming year is owning up to your weaknesses.  You need to recognize them first, before you can make improvements in your life.  Eloise is a bit dingy, absent minded, twitchy distracted.  What I need is focus.  And I have a plan.  Maybe you can help me with it.

One of the best remedies for my busy brain is outdoor exercise.  Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine (well, I do live in Erie, so cloud cover) clears my mind.  

clear your mind, go for a run

I would like to continue to do that this winter, even with all the snow my city gets.  After participating in the Team Adrenaline Resolution Challenge, I view exercise in new ways.  There is hardly a white parking lot line that I don't have the urge to jump over,

or curb that I want to do step ups on.

So when I saw this sign, 

I thought of a great fitness challenge for the cold winter and wet spring.  The mileage is already figured out!

This sign is in the parking lot  for 6 Mile Cellars, the new winery across the street from The Lamp Post. That's my house in the background of this snapshot.

I am going to make some of these longer runs in less than perfect conditions.  I'll start with the five milers and work up to the tens.  When I do them over the course of the next few months, assuredly the weather will not be idyllic.  If we waited for perfect conditions for everything we attempted, we'd never get anything accomplished in Erie.

Starting at the Six Mile Cellars, we can run to each of those wineries.  If we go on Saturdays, you can stop in for a sampling of wine or buy bottle as a souvenir for making the trek.  If you are entertaining the thought of running some longer miles, come with me.  I'm the perfect person to go with.  I'll chatter at you like the squirrel that I am, and you won't even have time to think about your tired legs.  Friends help each other along, remember?  They fill in the gaps where you are weak.  You don't care for distances and I don't like to be cold, wet, and muddy.  We can help each other along.  So let's do this:

sometimes the best advice is simple: focus and go! #running

Focus is a good word, especially for a distracted person like myself.  I learned that important lesson during my Team Adrenaline Resolution Challenge as well.  Clearing your mind of all the crap, and focusing on something important is good for your brain.  Focusing your eyes, even on something as simple as a moving red dot across a computer screen is good for the nervous system.  So while we are out running through the countryside, we could look for this little guy.  He'd be a moving purple dot.

This is the purple squirrel someone found in the Pennsylvania wild  this year.


Eloise was intrigued with the story.  Because of my love of squirrels, I tried to figure out if it was a hoax or not.  However, Percy and Connie Emert who found the squirrel in their yard seemed believable in any interview I read or watched.  They know squirrels like Eloise does and trapped it with shelled peanuts.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission verified the existence of the purple squirrel and speculated reasons for its unique color.  Poke berries, fracking fluid, and port a potties were all theories, but none was concluded before releasing it back into the wild.  

Did you pay close attention to the end of that last sentence, Readers?  Eloise did.  ......releasing it back into the wild.  It's out there.  And I am going to find it.

First I had to see where in Pennsylvania this squirrel was found.  After a quick search for Mr. and Mrs. Emert, I found they lived here:

I then concluded it was a dumb squirrel if it was living in a town called Jersey Shore.  The name of the town alone was polluting my state.  For those of you just tuning in, Eloise is not a fan of the TV show The Jersey Shore.  Perhaps the Mayans did get it right---the world ended for the simple minded on December 21st, as the last episode of that gross show aired.  Yahoo!

Maybe the poor, purple-hued creature has some smarts and is migrating north to the Lake Erie region.  Squirrels talk and the word is out about Eloise.  I feed my squirrels the best shelled peanuts money can buy.  The food is out all winter long, My Furry Friends.  Come to the Lamp Post if you miscalculated your winter stash and I'll keep you fed.  

Long runs looking for purple squirrels are good for endurance, but don't forget about your strength.  Team Adrenaline taught me that a combination approach to fitness is best.  You need stamina, strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility in order to maintain good health for 2013.  So Eloise offers you up this little fun challenge.

Come to the Harborcreek Community Park and use my logs as mentioned in blog post Lesson 205:  Test Your Resolve.

Run up and down the hill on the northwest corner of the park.

You'll feel just like Rocky Balboa if you do, and your confidence will soar.

After you run up and down that hill carrying those logs a bunch of times, look for this:

It's a tin that once contained my favorite mints.  I hid it near the logs somewhere.

Now it's up to you to find it.

If you find it, you can keep one of these as a souvenir for all of your hard work, focus, and determination.  Pick your favorite out of Eloise's Box of Rocks and set it somewhere you see it often.  It will remind you of your commitment to health and fitness for the coming year.

You may want to make your own box, because I'll hide some others, and you'll have yourself a nice Lake Erie Shore Rock Collection by the end of the year.  How cool is that?

While you are out there running to a winery or carrying logs up and down a muddy hill, stop a moment and admire the miracles in nature.  They surround us. 

For your viewing enjoyment, I compiled the Best of Eloise's Nature Shots in the video below.  I set the song to Miracle by the Christian Rock Band, Third Day.  This album is great and you'll be hearing this song, as well as a few others from their new album in the upcoming months.  

Get outside, go for a run, and talk to God in 2013.  Together you can make a miracle happen in your life.  He answers in the most beautiful ways. Sometimes He shows you a flower or a bird.  He may connect you to a new person or hobby.  The perfect song can come along at just the right time.  God whispers sometimes.  Make a resolution this year to listen.

Make a miracle happen today, Readers.

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