Saturday, October 27, 2007

Laurie, You Are AWESOME!!!

I made the trip to Peoria today to attend the Women's Lifestyle Conference. There were literally hundreds of vendors there, and the place was PACKED! Looking at all the goodies, collecting free samples and other 'swag' was fun, but I was there with one particular purpose - - I was finally going to meet one of the best bloggers and authors around today - - Laurie Perry, aka "Crazy Aunt Purl". She was scheduled to briefly speak on the Empowerment Stage at 1:40 PM, and in Seminar Room 135 at 2:00 PM. Peoria was one of the stops on her whirlwind book tour, promoting her book, "Drunk, Divorced, and Covered In Cat Hair." (It's a GREAT read. You need to go buy it. You really do. Go buy it now! Go ahead - - I'll wait right here . . . )

Laurie's writing has really resonated with me. She writes candidly about her life and what she is going through, and it's so good to know that there are other women out there who feel what I feel, who have gone through (or are going through) some of the same things I have (or presently am) - - her "Year of Undieting" and how it worked for her, and that it has worked for me; 2) her budget battles, and what she has done to make her life more fiscally sound, and some of the ways she has done this has worked for me as well.

So yeah - - I was pretty pumped about getting to meet her and hear her speak!

I was just killing time looking through all the displays, scarfing up all the free food samples (great stuff!) - - I was just about ready to make my way towards the Seminar area when I walked past this caterer's booth. They were putting out samples of 'goodies', so I snagged one. Just as I was putting it in my mouth, I heard the lady next to me ask what it was. I heard the caterer reply, "Garlic Toast with Garlic Cheddar Spread", just as I crunched down on it.

Oh, great. It tastes wonderful, but now I will be knocking over Crazy Aunt Purl with garlic breath. (my timing is wonderful, isn't it?) Fortunately, I was able to snag some Trident gum, and (hopefully) it took care of the problem!

About 1:00 PM or thereabouts, I started hanging around the Empowerment Stage, looking to see if I could recognize her. We have posted on each other's blogs, and have e-mailed back and forth a couple of times, and I was really excited about meeting her. About 1:15, I saw someone that I thought might be her. As I walked toward her, I heard her talking to someone, and her sweet southern drawl gave her away. I introduced myself, and to my surprise, she immediately recognized my blog name and gave me a great big hug! She asked me to accompany her over to the stage, and we got a chance to visit for a few minutes before she went on. I can honestly say that Laurie is as nice and genuine in person as she seems on her blog. From the very first time you meet her, you feel as if you have known her for a long time. Kind of like "meeting an old friend for the first time" sort of thing . . . if that makes any sense.

Laurie told us that speaking in public was something that was extremely difficult for her to do. However, once she got over some initial 'jitters' during her brief stint on stage, she may have been nervous, but it really did not show.

Laurie did a wonderful job of speaking, both on the stage and in the seminar room. She answered all the questions thrown at her, and kept us all laughing with her wonderful sense of humor. She is just delightful to be around!

Me with Laurie at Peoria. Guess the Trident gum worked . . .

She's such a sweetie - - makes me wish Los Angeles wasn't so far away. I would love to be able to spend more time getting to know her . . . I get the feeling we could be friends.

You did a GREAT job at Peoria, Laurie! And, I am sure you will do great in Nashville, and all your other stops on your book tour - - I am so proud of you!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good Health

Well, I had my quarterly visit with my family doctor today to check on my cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. Pretty good news all the way around!

The cholesterol is down to 189, with the good and bad cholesterol numbers right where the doctor is wanting them.

My blood pressure is 126/72. It's amazing what can happen when the work pressures diminish a bit, isn't it? Guess I really was ready for a change . . .

But - - the best news of all - - is my weight loss. There is a story behind this . . . about 3 years ago, I started having anxiety attacks. The passing of my mother the year before, combined with the stresses at work, started giving me real problems. I couldn't sleep, and if I did, there were all these horrible nightmares. The doctor put me on a medicine to help curb my anxiety, and it worked wonderfully! However, there was a possible side effect - - this medicine could make me gain weight.

Unfortunately, that is what it did . . . *sigh* . . . over 2 years, I gained almost 25 pounds. My anxiety attacks were diminished, but my weight was making me miserable.

After 2 years, the doctor and I decided it was time to try weaning me off the medicine. That was right at a year ago. I immediately rejoined Weight Watchers (I'm a lifetime member) to try to lose the weight, but for some reason, my heart just wasn't in it. It just seemed like Weight Watchers wasn't right for me anymore - - but what to do?

Well, that is when I read something in Crazy Aunt Purl's blog that really hit home - - she calls it "the year of undieting." Like me, she has tried every diet under the sun, with varying degrees of success (or failure). She finally decided that she would NEVER go on a diet again, but use common sense and exercise to achieve her weight loss goal.

Reading about this in her blog really inspired me - - it just seemed to make so much sense! So I started "undieting" also - - making good food choices, walking or working out at the College's Fitness Center, watching my food portions . . . just using plain common sense. But I refused to deprive myself. If I was craving McDonald's french fries (ambrosia from the gods, I swear they are!), sometimes I would allow myself a small order, along with a Diet Coke. And, every now and then, in every life a little chocolate must fall.

Well, guess what? "Undieting" really works! In the last year, I have now lost 16 pounds! I am only 8 pounds away from my goal weight, which is where I was before I started taking the anxiety med.

I feel great - - my blood pressure is down - - my cholesterol is where it should be.

Here's to good health! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Booth 'Stuff'

There has been lots going on at my antique booth lately. We finally found a display case we could AFFORD (those things are expensive!) so we finally got it moved in.

THAT was a challenge! Our booth is on the second floor of the shop, and of course there are no such things as 'elevators' or such . . . so it's quite a chore to get things up there sometimes - - but with the help of a couple of good stout friends, we managed to get it moved up there.

Saturday morning I went over there early to get the case all cleaned up (it's glass on all sides, and had not been cleaned in ages, you could tell!) and got all my glassware in it. I then had to rearrange my booth space so that everything would fit in my allotted 7x7 ft. space.

2-1/2 hours later, it looks really good!

I know some people think I'm crazy for spending so much time up there, especially when my schedule is so hectic, but they have no idea how relaxing it is for me to just 'putter' around up there, and how much I enjoy it!

Next time I get up there, possibly this weekend, I will make sure to have my camera and take a picture to post here. I want to share my special place with all of you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"8 Random Things" Challenge!

Well, then challenge has been thrown down.

One of my favoritest bloggers in the whole entire world, Kristy of "She Just Walks Around With It", posted an entry recently with "8 Random Things" about herself. She then said she had to tag 8 other people to do the same on their blogs.

Well, yours truly here never knows when to keep her mouth shut . . . so of course I left a comment on her blog and said I would be willing to do it if she decided to tag me.

Well, she did.

And so here I am - - racking my brain for 8 random things that most people don't already know about me, that will be funny, or unusual, or include livestock in some way (LONG story - - see Kristy's entry here)(You need to go read it.)(Go on - - go now!)(I'll wait right here . . . ). It's really kinda stressful, because she is such a great writer, and her posts are always so darned entertaining . . . I have big shoes to fill here . . .

But here goes:

Random Thing #1: I am absolutely terrified of moths.

Yes, believe it or not, if there is a moth anywhere near me, I am totally paralyzed with fear. I think it began when I was a little kid. I would be in bed, the room totally dark, and would be able to hear them flying around the room - - you know how you can hear them hitting the ceiling? I would be so scared! One night, when I was about 5 years old, I was so scared I had my head completely covered up with the blankets. Dad came into the room and turned on the light so he could find the moth and get rid of it. I got curious and peeked out from under the covers . . . and there was that damn moth, standing right there on the blankets, about an inch from my eyes. He looked HUGE!! I screamed bloody murder, scaring the heck out of my Dad, and covered my head back up. Dad got rid of the moth, and I was finally able to calm down and get to sleep.

Hey - - with some kids it's monsters in the closet (or under the bed) . . . moths are my monsters.

Stop laughing!

Random Thing #2: I was Miss Soybean Queen Runner-up when I was 18

Yeah, that's right - -Soybean Queen RUNNER-UP. Not exactly something I put on my resume!

Seemed like a good thing to do at the time . . . *sigh*

Random Thing #3: I share a birthday with Mae West

No, NOT the YEAR - - the DAY! (I can hear you smartasses out there!)

I always liked Mae West. She was beautiful, sexy, and entertaining. She was also very much ahead of her time. I like knowing that we share the same birthday.

Random Thing #4 (Okay, Kristy, here's the 'livestock' one!**): I used to help clean out a cow barn

Yup, I did. When I was married to Hubby #1, we lived on a farm in the middle of NOWHERE. I was mostly a stay-at-home mom for a couple of years, and had a big garden in the back yard. Ex-hubby was a tenant farmer, and we would shovel out the cow barn and put the manure on the garden to help the veggies grow.

All I could remember thinking was, "If my former party friends could see me now, they would never believe this." Hell, I couldn't believe I was doing it! I am SO glad that is in the PAST, and it's going to stay there!

Random Thing #5: I dated a man who lived in Brighton, England

He lived in Brighton, but came to the US a lot on business. We kept up a running correspondence for over 2 years, and saw each other whenever he could get to my part of the country. He came into my life shortly after my divorce in the early 80's, and nobody did more for my poor shattered ego and self-esteem than he did. I will always love him for that. We got out of touch about a year before I met Dear Hubby. Wonder whatever happened to him . . . he was a sweet man, and I hope he's happy.

Random Thing #6: I have been backstage with Ted Nugent. TWICE.

Oh yeah, backstage with the "Motor City Madman" himself! Dear Hubby, who is an avid deer hunter, was a member of "Ted Nugent World Bowhunters Association" for many years. One of the perks of membership was the chance to get backstage passes at concerts. Well, Christmas 1992, he got us passes at the Damn Yankees concert in Danville, Illinois. Then in August 1993, for my 40th birthday, he got me backstage for the Damn Yankees concert at the State Fair in Springfield, Illinois:Yeah, I'm happy (as if you couldn't tell!)

Random Thing #7: Don McLean (American Pie) came to my defense at Decatur Celebration

Yes, THE Don McLean of "American Pie" fame. I used to work Hospitality for Decatur Celebration (what? You never heard of it? It's only the largest street fair in the country!) One of my duties was driving a hospitality van and shuttling entertainers to and from the stage areas.

One year Don McLean was there, and I was driving him around. It was Saturday night, and the festival grounds were packed. I was trying to get this big 15-passenger van turned around (mind you, I used to drive a small car at that time, so this van felt like an 18-wheeler to me!). There was this guy standing right in front of the van, holding a full beer cup and quite a few empty ones, and he refused to move for me. I said excuse me several times, and asked him to please move, but he refused to budge; in fact, he turned around, faced the van, and basically dared me to hit him.

WELLLLL - - Don McLean was sitting in the seat behind me, and he got totally disgusted with the guy. Next thing I knew, Don leaned over me, stuck his head out the window, and said, "Hey! You heard the lady! MOVE YOUR ASS!!!"

Man, that guy booked out of there fast after that. I thanked him for his help, and he said, "I didn't like the way he was treating you. You didn't deserve that!" Don and I laughed about it for quite a while after that.

THEN - - while we were stuck in traffic, he got out his acoustic guitar, and started playing and singing to me! He played and sang all the way back to his hotel, where I dropped him off.

I heard later that Don had been a real jerk to quite a few people working in the green room area, but he was really sweet and kind to me. I'll always remember that.

Random Thing #8: I was pulled through Lambert Airport in St. Louis by a 'mad' Hispanic man

Yeah. Really. Here's the scoop:

I had never flown before, but was getting ready to go on my first flight ever out to New York City to visit family. I was sitting in the airport in Decatur, Illinois, waiting on my flight. The travel agency had booked my connecting flight in St. Louis about an hour and 10 minutes after my Decatur flight. Since it only took 25 minutes to fly from Decatur to St. Louis, that would be no problem, right?


My flight from Decatur to St. Louis was 30 minutes late in leaving.

THAT was a problem.

One of the passengers on my flight from Decatur was David, a short, stocky Hispanic man I used to work with in Springfield when I was with the Dept. of Education. While we were waiting on our flight, I told David I had never flown before, and was pretty nervous. Well, David took it upon himself to look after me. I appreciated his concern, and he really helped me throught the flight in that little 2-engine 'puddle-jumper' plane we were in.

When we landed at Lambert Airport, I had 15 minutes to make it to my connecting flight.

Lambert Airport is pretty big. I had never been to Lambert before. (Since I never flew, there was no reason to. I didn't exactly hang around airports trying to pick up pilots.)(Or skycaps)(Shut up!)

ANYWAY - - David took it as a personal challenge that I would NOT miss my flight. The next thing I knew, he grabbed ahold of my wrist, said "Come on!", and I am being literally dragged at top speed throught the terminal, my wheeled carry-on suitcase flying behind me. I'm not sure the wheels ever touched the floor.

Suddenly, David stopped, with me running into him, and the suitcase running into me. We stopped just long enough for him to check the board, see that my flight had not left yet, and then we were off again.

I can imagine the picture we made flying through that terminal!

We were still quite a ways from my gate, when David started yelling, "DON'T LET THE PLANE LEAVE! SHE HAS TO BE ON THAT PLANE!!!!!"

Well, EVERYBODY was looking at us then!

David kept yelling, "Hold that plane! HOLD THAT PLANE!" all the way up to the gate. He then gave me a hug, told me everything would be okay, and handed me off to the care of the 'gate-keepers'.

I was the last person to board that plane, and I swear everyone was laughing about David's persistence that the plane not leave without me safely tucked on board.

And you know? He was right - - everything was fine. And every time I think of the picture we must have made, him racing madly through the airport with this woman and suitcase flying along frantically behind me, I have to smile.

Well, there are my 8 Random Things. Not as entertaining as some, but I hope you got a smile or a chuckle out of some of them!

** This was the only livestock one I could think of directly related to ME. The only other one I could think of happened before I was born, or even thought of. Mom came out from New York City to visit Dad's family in Central Illinois, and they took her to a relative's dairy farm. A cow peed on her and made her cry. And she married my Dad in spite of it - - it must have been love!

Awwww - - TOO cute

Carmichael definitely knows how to relax!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Some Progress

Check out my other blog, "Escape From the Money Pit" - -

We FINALLY have some progress to report!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Oh. My. God.

I can't believe it!

(trying to catch my breath)

October 27th - - just a few days away - - I get to go to Peoria to the Women's Lifestyle Show at the Peoria Convention Center.

One of the featured speakers - -

Laurie Perry, of "Crazy Aunt Purl" fame.

I am so excited! (Oh wait, I think I said that already . . . )


Laurie has written a book:

"Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split "

The book chronicles what Laurie goes through when her husband decides he needs to leave her in order to 'get his creativity back' . . . whatever that means. She takes up knitting mainly as a way to keep sane, and in the process, finds new friends and a new meaning to her life. Her story takes her readers into her life - - a 30-something divorced woman with 4 cats who knits - - but who manages to keep her sense of humor about her.

Her book, like her blog, is a wonderful read!

When she writes about her experiences, they really ring true with me . . . like her, I have been divorced, and just 'this side of crazy' from all the pain and hurt. She writes from the heart, and all her readers (including yours truly) adore her.

And now I get to actually MEET HER in Peoria!

I can't wait . . . :-)

P.S. You know . . . if that blasted house of mine had sold by this summer, I would have had the chance to meet BOTH of my favorite bloggers this year . . . . Kristy Sammis, whose blog "She Just Walks Around With It", was in Chicago this summer at the BlogHer Conference.

I wanted to go.

I wanted to go SO DAMN BAD.

BUT - - *sigh* - - the house did not sell this summer. So, I could not afford to go.

What a treat it would have been to meet BOTH of my favorite bloggers IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD in the span of a few short months.

Rats. Life is just SO NOT FAIR. *sigh*