Friday, December 27, 2013

Lesson 278: From Little Things, Come Big Things

Happy Holidays, Readers!
I hope your week was filled with love.

We had a great Christmas here at the Lamp Post.

Christmas Eve, 

bled into a beautiful Christmas morning sunrise.

These shots are unedited.

The sky looked just like this over the vineyards.


The family was excited with Santa's bag contents.
Note, Hubby is still on the floor,
 but he was able to shuffle to the living room for the festivities.
Presents are a good motivator.

Here's the aftermath.

Amid the rubble and rumble of the excitement,
Eloise got a few surprises herself!

Thank you to the elves who helped out Hubby!

Speaking of surprises,
who would have thought that my rough and tumble boy,

would be most excited about this teddy bear from his grandparents.

Sam has a soft side that not everyone sees, 
so I'm posting it for the world to see!
 My boy is sweet!

We spent Christmas day with family.

And I got a new place to record my:

I've got lots of brilliant ideas swirling around in this big, blond head of mine.  Eloise has lots of little projects and plans for 2014.  Little things that will turn into big things, for sure.  I'll divide some of my ideas through the next few blog posts.  Here is your sneak peek for some upcoming topics over the next several weeks:
  • New Year's Eve:  The Lamp Post Year in Review
  • January 3rd:  Eloise's Resolutions
  • January 10th:  What's on my Bookshelf  as well as What is Coming to Yours
You'll also find out about the reappearance of Fionnula Flanagan, and two envelopes I've received in the mail.  One was mailed directly from England!  How does she do it?  We'll have to ask Fionnula in a few weeks.  This time, Fionnula, the Readers will demand answers.  Until then, you can admire my new ring!  

Strangely, I had to take off the ring I usually wore on that right hand, pointer finger as I lost the stone.  I'm hard on my jewelry and never take it off.  It gets dinged and nicked and wet on a daily basis.  

NOTE:  If you are from Erie and you see something glimmer on the Iroquois High School football field, you may want to stoop down and pick it up.  It's my emerald.  Finder's keepers.  I already melted down the gold from the band. 

Thanks, Fionnula!  This ring replaces my missing emerald and feels perfect on my finger.  Enjoy the rare photograph.  It was very hard for me to work my camera with my left hand!

Eloise is keeping her own words short tonight.  I found a much better lesson in the story of someone else.

This is Gail "Hal" Halvorsen.  


This 92 year old, spry gentleman was a pilot during World War 2.  
He is known as the Candy Bomber.

Eloise could not reiterate the story better than my journalistic hero, Tom Brokaw.  Broadcaster extraordinaire, Mr. Brokaw, narrated a historical piece featuring Mr. Halvorsen on Christmas Eve, during a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  The story is moving and beautiful and 100% true.  Grandma and Grandpa insisted we watch it on Christmas Day, prior to opening the gifts.  I am so glad they did.  We all sat silently with tear filled eyes, and listened to the story of a member of The Greatest Generation.  

Thankfully, I was able to find on youtube, the complete, thirteen minute segment, aired as a PBS special.  Please click on the link below to hear the story of this remarkable man and how one small act of kindness became something very big.  To quote the father of Pilot Halvorsen, "from little things, come big things."

Please watch.  No, I take that back.  Please sounds too nice.  I INSIST that you watch this.  If I see you, I will ask you if you watched it and quiz you afterwards.  Don't worry about remembering the details, because the story is so touching to your own humanity, you won't forget it.  To my Questies, this will be your first lesson upon our return to school in the New Year.  Mrs. Eloise will be giving you all a gift related to this segment.  After you watch it, can you guess what it is going to be?

I hate to get pushy with you over the holidays, but for the video link to this remarkable story:

CLICK HERE OR ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From little things, come big things.  That is my mantra for the coming year.  The video I have put together illustrates this very idea.  The slides are all photos from my workout group, lead by Erie Chiropractor Dr. Steven Krauza.  He is a man on a mission to change the health of my city for the better.

Who would have thought that by little things, like reading food labels, reducing caffeine, and becoming regularly active outdoors, could lead to such big changes?   The big changes aren't measured in smaller pant sizes and bigger biceps, though.  They are measured in the individual outlooks on health and wellness, observable in smiles and twinkling eyes.

I named my video Test Your Resolve, Too.  It is a play on words stemming from my blog last year, one year ago to date.  It marked the end of Resolution, Dr. Krauza's wellness program in the fall of 2012, and it was my summary of the experience.  I gave the program glowing reviews then, and have continued to stick with this group for sixteen months.


The wellness/fitness related blogs circulate more than Handsome Mr. Tim McGraw's do (must be the pants).  People are interested in joining the movement.  If you live in Erie, Pennsylvania, or even elsewhere, and are interested in making small changes that lead to big gains, contact Eloise and I'll connect you to the right people to get you started.  From little things, come big things.

Eloise extends a special thank you to Erie photographer, Matt Kleck, whom I've nicknamed Clicky.  The good guy that he is, allowed me to borrow some of his shots to use for the video.  His are the crystal clear ones taken from amazing angles.

I hope I inspired you today, Readers.  There are four days left in this year to think about the changes you want to make in the upcoming dozen months.  Spread kindness.  Share.  Think well.  Eat well.  Be well.

Check back on New Year's Eve for Eloise's Year in Review.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lesson 277: The Week Before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through my house,
Things went awry, so Eloise got soused.

Instead of hanging the stockings by the chimney with care,
She lounged with some moonshine in her big, brown, round chair.

The children were nestled all snug in MY bed,
I was booted to the couch, in my pajamas of red.

Hubby's back strain gave him a nine day long nap,
Leaving all the Christmas prep to me in my PSU cap.

How could I do it?  Would my Christmas dreams shatter?
Shopping and wrapping and baking and all of that matter.

Motivation I needed, so I flew like a flash,
Tossed on my sneakers for a midnight moon dash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Enchanted my spirit, and extinguished my woe.

When what to my scattered old brain did appear?
But the memories of kindness from those I hold dear.

The love that you showed us sure did the trick,
Healing broken-backed hubby and Sam who was sick.

More rapid than eagles the kindnesses they came,
I will thank you and love you and call you by name.

Thanks Bill and Kelly for the Kentucky Fried Chicken!
And CJ and Jen and the ham in my kitchen.

To Patty for cookies, and the Meyers and Carol for dinner,
Susan for towels and a frying pan, this one's a winner!

Grandma ran errands and Kenyan helped shop,
Grandpa changed light bulbs from bottom to top.

The girls pitched in and cleaned, cooked, and baked,
Natalie and Ellen, oh the beds they did make.

Your texts, messages, and calls were all that we needed,
Telling us to relax, the advice-- it was heeded.

But the best gift of all came from a chiropractic table,
And a man who could heal and was willing and able.

The doctor was fit as a fiddle, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

A bike on wet pavement?  Vibrams in snow?
Nothing would stop him on his mission, oh no!

He'd speak some kind words, then go straight to his work,
On hubby's spine he'd press, and turn his head with a jerk.

Thank you Dr. Krauza for your visits every day,
Hubby is back on his feet and well on his way,

The cards they got sent, albeit a bit late,
The gifts are all wrapped, awaiting their fate.

Like the Whos down in Whoville, my Christmas it came,
In spite of the headaches and crippling back pain.

I finished my jaunt with a much clearer head,
A heart filled with love, I had nothing to dread.

Friendship and love make a person much well-er,
As does living across from 6 Mile Cellars.

Eloise exclaimed as the barn came into sight,
Bart, open your doors!  You'll be closed tomorrow night!

Cheers!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lesson 276: Make Room at the Inn

This was the blog that almost didn't happen, Folks.

If the undone hair, 
dark circles, 
and the fact that tonight I had to run my one miler for The Holiday Running Streak
in the rain
at 11:00 at night,
don't give you some clue; 
I'm sorry to say--

It's been one of the roughest weeks of the year at the Lamp Post.
Here's a recap:

Erie is leading the country in December snow totals:

But the snow that wouldn't stop

 returned to its liquid form today after a 20 degree warm-up.
Snowy fresh and white has quickly turned to a sloppy brown mess.

This snow earlier in the week, fell AFTER I cleared the driveway.

Clearing the Lamp Post driveway is not a usual task for Eloise.  
I had to help this week because hubby is laid up.

He's spent the last seven days flat on his back with a back problem.
The orange juice container near his head does not contain orange juice.
He can't roll, bend, crawl, slither, sit, nor stand.
That means he cannot get to the potty either.

If you have not figured out what is in the orange juice container from the context clues above,

So, Eloise.  How did you survive the week minus a set of hands, 
the week prior to Christmas, nonetheless?

With teamwork, of course!

I had to allow some people to lend me a hand this week.

The biggest hands lent were actually the two trusted hands of Dr. Steven Krauza.
He is our lovable local chiropractor who makes house calls in extreme cases.
Doc has adjusted Louie every single day right in our home, and monitored his healing.
He even left his portable chiropractic table in my bedroom all week!

In order to receive help for hubby, et al,  I needed to make room for them in the inn.
Desperately needing Doc for advice and treatment meant that he had to enter the inner sanctum--
Eloise's bedroom.

It is there I keep my most personal of items--
framed photographs,

and all of my books.

A quick survey of the space allows one to see that I love maps,

 and my giant, roll top desk.

It's large enough to hold all of my treasured belongings,
and display some very special photographs,
like my wedding photo.
(Wait.....Hubby wears a black hat???)

Well..........not exactly.

Allow Eloise to explain:

Missing a full week of work unexpectedly is hard for anyone.  I found a couple of babysitters for hubby around lunchtime today so that I could run to the schools to check my mailboxes and sign needed paper work before our holiday break.  

When I got to my desk at the high school, I found this hanging on the wall near my desk:

It was a gift from the legendary art teacher, George Humes.
It's a long story, and I'm low on sleep, so I'll save it for another time.
In short, I told him for my second marriage, he could be my bridesmaid, 
and that he should start growing his hair again for an up-do.

It seems that George was experimenting with several styles.
I also think I need to grow my own hair longer.  It looks pretty nice!

Current hubby is a bit jealous, I think, so I did what only Eloise would do:
I put these photos in his line of sight and told him that I am leaving them there until he walks across the room and takes them down himself.  Annoyance is a very good motivator for healing, right Doc?

Meanwhile Hubby's been watching a bunch of movies, loaned by some more friends I allowed into the Inn.

So.... who watches both Shreks AND the X-Men?

Some sent an easy clean-up dinner,

another a surprise, one of a kind, tree ornament.

You are right Jimmi C--life is better with friends.

Mom's been running my errands 
and Dad has been changing every light bulb that decided to burn out this week 
(like every single one in my house)!

To all of you who have entered the Inn or offered your assistance, THANK YOU!
Without you I wouldn't have had a chance to wish my sister Kenyan, Happy Birthday.

She turned the big 4-0 on December 18th.

 I got to see Ellen off to her first high school formal dance.

Her daddy was able to stand for a few precious seconds for a photo op.
Thank you, Dr. Krauza!

I was able to have some fun with Elf #1

and Elf #3.

I also had time for a quick Wal-Mart run to find that Ugly Sweater.

Eloise never passed up a moment to photograph nature's beauty.

Make room for people in your inn, Readers.  Allow friends and family to help you when you are in need, say thank you, and someday you will get a chance to repay the favor.  In case you missed that earlier in this post, I am sorry to say once again that YOU HAVE READING COMPREHENSION PROBLEMS.

I set this week's photos to a very special song.  It is one of my favorite Christmas carols, Away in a Manger.  This version is sung by the Robertsons, otherwise known as the Duck Dynasty clan.  They too, have had a rough week.  In case you missed it YOU DON'T JUST HAVE READING COMPREHENSION PROBLEMS, YOU ARE LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE!

Phil Roberston made a comment about gays in a recent interview.  As a result, A&E, the network that airs the show, has suspended Phil indefinitely.

Last time Eloise checked, we were allowed to speak freely in this country.  With 315 million of us, different viewpoints are not only encouraged, but are protected.  That is part of what makes our country so great.

Eloise still supports the show my family loves, and hopes that Phil and his clan will walk away from A&E and find another network.  I support the Robertsons in the same way I supported Ellen Degeneres when a major networked pulled the plug on her sitcom fifteen years ago, after she openly admitted that she was a lesbian.  I went to a book store and bought her book the very next day.

To those on either side of this issue:  the Bible is not meant for cherry picking.  It must be read and studied and looked in all its glory at as a whole. If you don't understand this, I am sorry to inform you that YOU HAVE A READING COMPREHENSION PROBLEM!

 Extracting a line of text and wrapping yourself in that blanket and calling it faith is just as wrong as suspending a person for speaking freely in accordance with his beliefs.  If you want to play the game of boiling the entire Bible down to one verse, Eloise will throw on a jersey.  Here's my pick:

Matthew, Chapter 7

Do Not Judge
1"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?…

Enjoy the pictures as well as the Robertson's version of Away in a Manager.

Speak freely, but kindly this weekend, My Readers.  Make room for everyone at the Inn.