Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lesson 216: The Noticer Overview

Did you notice my post was a day late?
That is because a bulb was burned out at the Lamp Post. 

A busy weekend was followed by a busier week, leaving the wires in Eloise's brain spitting and crackling.  I moved an entire classroom of materials from one school to another on Friday during our in service day.  We had weekend company, did two workouts on Saturday, and took my family to Peak-n-Peak Ski Resort overnight.  Here we are in front of the big mirror in the lobby.  Look who pushed his way into the front.

The week continued at breakneck speed, navigating bad weather, icy roads, and children with heavy doses of Cabin Fever.  I swore that if  this creature ran out in front of me, I was running his furry @$$ over.  Phil's radar is a bit off.  Last year, during one of the warmest winters on record, my pal from Punxatawney predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  Dead wrong.  This year, he calls for an early spring.  Two years in a row wrong.  That makes him just plain dead should he scurry into Eloise's path.

Right on time, along came Friday, my favorite day of the week, and finally a little down time.  I should have taken the burned out bulbs in my real lamp post along my driveway as a sign from above that my own wires were fried.

 I couldn't wait to comment on one of my favorite books, The Noticer by Andy Andrews.  He would have told me to take notice of those bulbs and pay attention to my stress level.  My curved hands were poised above the keyboard to relay that message to all of you, and there I sat staring at my computer screen.  The words were there, but they wouldn't organize.

A few years ago I would have pushed through it with three Advil chased by four cups of coffee.  With age comes wisdom, however.  Instead I recognized my mental fatigue and changed up my game for the evening.  I opted to chill in the living room with my family and watched a couple of TV shows I had saved on the Hopper.  I even deviated from my familiar Rolling Rock and uncorked my Valentine's Day Blue Eyed Husky ice wine.

The sweet, white wine was tasty, but it made this blue eyed Husky sneeze as usual.  I really only wanted the bottle to use as a vase anyway.

American Idol was one of the shows I watched last evening.  I'm calling the winner right now:  Angela Miller.    Get a good look.  She's going to be famous.

Angela's Idol Solo performance video appears at the bottom of today's blog.  The song she is singing is an original piece that she wrote titled Set Me Free.  I, like Jones from the book, am a self-proclaimed Noticer.  You'd have to be blind (and deaf) not to recognize this true talent, though.  Check it out and see if you agree with me.

I am a Noticer and am very in tune with people.  People often open up to me.  They like to talk to me about events and ideas and ask me what I think about them.  That makes Eloise's heart happy.   It makes me feel valued and needed.  I guess there  is a little Lucy in me.

Part of me wants to save the world, 

.....and the other part wants to punch it.

I love my dog,

...and would sit and listen to music all day.

Problems can be told to Lucy, and for a mere five cents she offers you her best advice.  Eloise does something better.  I listen, then point you toward Jones.  All for free.  

The Noticer is the biggest little book you'll ever read.  The ten dollar, soft cover copy I purchased on Amazon has a mere 158 pages.  It centers around the wisdom of an old drifter named Jones who has a gift for seeing what others miss.  I'm still too mentally fatigued to try to explain the main character in my own words, so I will borrow a good description from  In their review of The Noticer they describe Jones as  "a man of indiscriminate age and race with white hair and wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and carrying a battered old suitcase.  Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things about life that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it."

As I reread through my heavily marked up copy, I made notes of topics to discuss on this blog.  When I finished I had five pages worth.  Eloise is a teacher and knows through practical experience that too much information at once is wasteful.  Giving too much information at one time, no matter how well worded, is like dumping a bucket of water over a rock (or in Sam's case, a human head).  It gets the rock all wet, but the water quickly vanishes (but thankfully, the friendship held strong). 

If you take that same bucket of water and drip it on that same rock, one droplet at a time, the water can bore a hole right through all that hardness.  

Eloise has decided that rather than review this entire book at once, I'd model the story and give you my perspective, just as Jones did, in small doses over the next few blog posts.  This is better for your learning, and it works for those of you who told me this week that you still need to get the book.  

I worried for a moment that this would frustrate you, and you'd flip the switch to OFF on your Lamp Post light.  But then I remembered this:

Andy Andrews weaves this golden nugget into the story at the bottom of page 51.  I realized after some stretching during a hot yoga class this weekend that it was, in fact, worry that was causing my Writer's Block and delayed the posting of this blog.  Eloise was worrying about some things going on in her life, and that worry was tripping up my creativity.  I was reminded of this again as I fanned through the pages of my bent up copy of The Noticer.

I've melted this story into several important themes.  Next week I will comment specifically on Chapter 3.  It is about how love is expressed and received.  Guy Readers, don't take a vacation from me---I'll put love in simple terms you can understand.  After next week, you will rethink your relationships and determine if you are:

a canary,

a cat

a puppy,


or a goldfish.

Heck, maybe you'll even have a clever new pick up line to use at a bar:  "Hello Beautiful.  I'm a goldfish.  What are you?"

Eloise believes that if you do give The Noticer a chance, you can be set free from some of the backwards thinking that is holding you up from reaching your fullest potential.

And on that note, literally and figuratively, check out Idol Hopeful, Angela Miller's original song Set Me Free.  God blessed this girl with a gift.  Thank goodness she has the confidence to share it with the world.  Check her out.

An Electrician was called to the Lamp Post and he came early Saturday morning  in the form of a yoga mat.  Eloise's power has been restored.  Thank you for your patience.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lesson 215: Forever Mine

Happy weekend, Readers!
 I hope your heart is still warm from Valentine's Day, because it is still cold at the Lamp Post.

Last weekend brought some snow, but most of it melted away.  I'd like to pretend that we're done with it for the season, but I know better.  I've lived in Erie my whole life.  More will come.

Winter is winding down in other ways.  Sam wrestled for the last time on Saturday.

It was a novice tournament hosted by a neighboring high school.  

If you recall, Sam was on the rebound from an intestinal bug.  You can see by his age/weight on his arm that he lost 3 pounds.  In a full week's time, my boy had only goldfish crackers and Gatorade.  

Sam's lack of nourishment didn't hurt his pre-match attitude.

Coach Mark is always amused by Sam's pre-match rituals.

Here's the mat.

And here's my boy kissing it.  He spent the morning on the bottom.
He didn't have the strength to get out of any hold.

Sam lost both of his matches.

Coach Mark told him it was okay.  Sometimes you lose.

That didn't sit too well with Sam. He has the heart of a lion.

He had to settle for a third place trophy to end the season.  

In the end, it was a good lesson to learn.  You win some, you lose some is the most basic teaching of all sports.  Learning how to lose gracefully is almost more important than learning how to win.  Sam will be back for more next season for the Grudge Match.  

We went to a family party later that afternoon and soon the sting of the losses were forgotten.  
Sam showed his cousin Eli his trophies, 

via Skype.  
The computer was set up at the party so we could each take a turn saying hi to our relatives in Germany.

Another member joined the family on Valentine's Day.

We'll be seeing Owen via skype, too.   Amazing.

What's even more amazing is we worked out in 30 degree temperatures last weekend,

And it felt warm!  Just like losing once in awhile makes you tougher, 
so do cold weather, outdoor workouts.  See Sam, Mom survived, too.

Thursday was full of love and surprises.

Even Rey Mysterio paid us a visit.

The biggest surprise came from this special Valentine card.

It was for NATALIE from her classmate Kaleb.  They even sent us a video of the two sharing an unprompted embrace.  Normally this would send shivers up the spine of any Daddy of a high schooler, but for us, we welcomed the normal.  Thank you for allowing us to share in the moment, A-Team.  

I got surprised with some Blue-Eyed Husky ice wine from Burch Farms,

and my favorite guilty pleasure, chocolate covered strawberries.

It didn't take long,

for them to be going........going.........


Eloise doesn't indulge too often, but Valentine's Day was worth the caloric splurge.  Mom's advice is starting to make sense.  She is right--too skinny isn't pretty.  According to her everyone looks a little healthier with some "weight on their face." When you are too thin, you look old and wrinkly, so she claims. I do believe she's right.   I just wish that the weight from six strawberries only went to my face.  Hence, I have TWO work outs planned for today.

If I'm working out twice from half a dozen chocolate covered strawberries, what must the kids do?
This is the collected loot from their school parties.

My girls are getting older and my lifestyle modeling is starting to sink in.
Ellen said, "Mom, what is this stuff?  Green toxin?"  (That's Muh-Girl!).

"Just about," replied Mother Eloise.

Even Natalie looked disgusted and gave her sister no sympathy after she was complaining of a headache thirty minutes later.

Sam, on the other hand, does not heed his Momma's advice (ever).  We keep our boy on the cleanest diet  a 73 pound, five year old, highly picky eater will allow. Sam eats only a handful of things, but broccoli is one of    them (whew).  

The one thing we try to watch with Sam is the dye (particularly red dye).  Scroll back up and look at my kitchen table--it was chock full of it.  We've found it really changes Sam's behavior.   

He becomes a little demon.  

Homework assignment:  If you are a parent, really pay attention to your child's behavior after too much junk.    Don't do it for me.  Do it for your child. 

There's still time to read The Noticer.  I will be commenting about my thoughts on the book next week.  With some weddings coming this spring, you'll be wanting to know about what advice Jones gives about choosing who to marry.  It is quite interesting.  Intrigued?  I hope so.  Read it for yourself and find out.

If you think Andy Andrews touches your heart with The Noticer, check out the video below.  It is a great love song from one of my favorite bands Third Day.  My friend Becky just informed me that they are coming to Erie in February.  That's a strong maybe from Eloise.  

This is the song I had in mind to use for my Valentine's Day song, but then I found The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel.  In case you were too busy smooching with your Valentine and missed it, scroll down for that video, too.

This song is called Forever Yours.  And that is exactly what Eloise is for you, My Readers.  I'm Forever Yours.