Sunday, October 30, 2011

barnyard adventure

I was on a mission yesterday to get some good fall photos.  I had a certain place in mind, a spot we had run across when we missed our turn going to the twins' flag football game a week or two ago.  I told Stevie Wonder to remember the spot, because I wanted to return when I had time to get some shots.

This spot looked idyllic.  A barn and some asses.  Well, to be exact, it had some asses, horses and a cow.  It was the reddest barn I had ever seen in my life, a real beauty.  I mean, I've traveled by car all over the United States since I was a small child, and I've seen many barns.  Square barns, round barns, red barns, green barns, barns that were rotten and falling down.  I love barns, and wanted to photograph this one.  I planned it for a week.

So after the game, we told the kids we were going to go by this place to take some photos and would meet them at a favorite Mexican restaurant in a local town when we finished.  I've learned to be fast when I photograph for the same reason I am fast when I shop with Stevie Wonder.  He has no patience.  We also had Maddie with us, so I was just going to take a few shots.

We found the spot, I got out and marched back up the road to the end of the pasture I had wanted to shoot from.  The animals looked at me.  I looked at them.  It was perfect.  They were scattered all over the pasture, but close enough together that it would make the perfect shot.  I got these:
Pretty idyllic and almost perfect...makes me wish I owned a farm just looking at them.  I decided I could probably move around and get some more shots.  The animals didn't seem to be shy.  So I moved a bit farther down the road.  Then I saw a couple vehicles pull up beside our truck.  We were parked in the owners' driveway.  I wondered what was going on, then realized Jen and Wretch had followed us.  They decided they wanted to see the spot, or maybe they wanted to make sure I didn't spend too much time taking photos.

The only problem was that the animals noticed Wretch when she climbed out of her car and walked over to the corner of the pasture near the fence.  I could hear them talking but I didn't know what they were saying.  The only problem was the animals heard them too.  It turns out these animals not only weren't shy, they were friendly, and nosy.  And so the asses drifted away.  Then the horses took off running.  And this is what happened to my perfect pasture scene:

Pretty soon I was left with this:

And this is what Wretch captured with her iPhone camera:

That little blue speck in the distance is me.  They got tired of staring at Wretch staring at them, and began to notice where I was.  So this is what happened next...

And I ended up with this:
That's the cow in the distance watching.  She was the smartest one, and barely moved, just turned her head from side to side watching the comedy.  She resembled a spectator at a tennis match.

It was funny to watch.  And a weird kind of experience.  We added some excitement to the barnyard's day.  The owners were up on a hill in the distance watching us and probably laughing.

Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men.  And asses.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Saturday, October 29, 2011

confession: 3rd time's not a charm

I'm sitting here laughing as I type this post out.  It's October 29.  I woke up out of a dead sleep at 3AM, and realized that I hadn't posted to my blog yesterday.  I had taken a lovely photo of some variegated fall leaves on my way into a meeting yesterday morning and thought it would make a perfect Friday post.

Only this is Saturday.  Four hours now into Saturday.  And I failed at my goal for the month of October.  To blog every day.  Not just on one website's blogging challenge, but on two sites.  How crazy is that?

EPIC FAIL.  I love those words.  They are so dramatic, to fail in a way that is similar to the way the Titanic failed to live up to its claim to be unsinkable.  Is it worse than plain failing?  No.  Because failing is failing when you get down to it. But it's the bling version of fail, and if I am gonna fail, then let me go down in bling.

Am I upset I failed?  No.  Because I learned some things about me.  If you learn from an endeavor, even if you fail at that endeavor, then in my eyes you have gained.  Not only gained, but hopefully grown.  When I awakened and realized I'd missed a post last night, I did what I often do when I need to think about something.  I washed my dishes.  (Yes, I do leave dishes in the sink overnight, because I am usually zonked when I get in from work and want to use the bit of energy I have left to spend with Stevie Wonder.)  As I washed I thought about what I had learned with this failure.  (I still can't believe it though....I failed...I failed...)

So here are the lessons I have learned this month (idioms from a blogging idiot):
1 Never bite off more than you can chew.  When you think you have as much on your plate as you can handle and accomplish, then don't add something else.
2 Don't cry over spilt milk.  Once it's out of the carton, there ain't no puttin' it back.  So just mop up the mess and move on to the next life challenge.
3 Every dog has its day.  Even though this wasn't my day, or month, I still believe that day will come.
4 Life is a juggling act.  If you are a working woman, wife, mother, etc., then I don't have to explain this one. I may have dropped the ball, but I can always pick it back up and carry on.  Eventually the juggling will become easier, especially if I don't bite off more than I can chew.
5 If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again.  I tend to think of failing as just a rock on the path to success.  This time I fell over the rock, but next time I will step over it.  I rarely fall across the same rock twice.

As I washed my dishes ..swish, swipe.. I realized that I needed to structure time into my schedule to write.  Even though I don't have any ambition to be published (well there is that children's book I want to write for the grandkids...), I still need to be structured with my writing.  ..swish, swipe..  I seem to write best in the mornings when I first get up.  ..swish, swipe..  Don't even try to get anything that makes sense out of me at night when I am brain dead from a day of work...all I want is my jammies, a cup of tea or wine, and something to read or a movie to watch while I chat with Stevie Wonder.  ..swish, swipe..

Now, having said that, will I try it again?  You betcha!  What is life without plans, something to strive for?  If I didn't have something to work toward, or something on my plate I was trying to accomplish, then I'd probably be dead.  So...thanks to all of you who have cheered me on, and taken the time to read my posts.  I appreciate the feedback I get, and try to make my posts worth your time.  And for those of you who read and write blogs, I admire you all.  To write daily, or regularly, and to keep up with life is not an easy task. is a task worth doing.  And satisfaction to be gained in the accomplishment.  So bravo to you all, readers and writers.  You make me want to keep trying to be a better writer.  You.  Thank you all.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, October 27, 2011

autumn haiku, too

Just my thoughts this morning, 
as I gazed up at the morning sun through the limbs of an ancient oak....

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my brother's keeper

There was an old woman who lived in a small neighborhood.  She was different than other people.  Her neighbors looked at her and avoided her because she was different.  She wasn't always clean, and she walked with a limp, leaning heavily on a walking stick for balance.

Her neighbors watched from behind their curtains, and talked to each other about the old woman, and wondered about her and how she lived.  They never talked to the old woman, or asked how she was doing.  She was different from them, and no one ever came to visit her.  She had an old dog who lived with her, and she would talk to the dog.  Her neighbors thought she was crazy.

As time went on, the old woman became frailer, and thinner.  The dog and woman rarely ventured beyond their yard.  No lights shone in the house at night.  And eventually the dog and woman did not go outside into the yard.  A neighbor noticed the dog in the yard one day, not moving, and called another neighbor and told him "I think that old woman has killed her dog."

The neighbor called the police.  The police called the ASPCA.  They came to the house and knocked on the old woman's door.  She opened the door slowly, and let them inside.  The neighbors watched from behind their curtains, and called each other on the phone, wondering what horrors the police were discovering about the crazy old woman.

After a while, the police came out.  They took the dead dog away to be buried.  One neighbor, the one who called the police, wanted to know what the police were going to do.  He expected them to handcuff the old lady and take her to jail, and was angry because they hadn't.  He rushed up to the police, demanding to know what they were going to do.

"We aren't going to do anything" the officer told the neighbor.  "A while back, some people were hired to do some work for the old woman, and they tricked her into giving them all her money.  Your neighbor's dog was not killed.  He starved to death, because the old woman did not have the money to buy any food.  She is sick and has not had any food in her house for a long time.  We are calling for an ambulance to take her to the hospital now, so she can be cared for."

I rarely use this blog as a forum.  First, because I think there are many people out there who speak to important issues with much more eloquence than I can.  And secondly, because that is not the focus of what I write about.  

Occasionally I get riled up and feel the need to climb up on my soapbox and share my thoughts.  Even though most of what I write is meant to be funny or touch on softer emotions, I do feel strongly about many things.  I learned of something last week that touched me so forcefully, I feel compelled to share my thoughts and feelings. 

Details have been changed to protect the innocent.  But the end result is the same.  We can do great things and contribute to many causes.  But if we live in ignorance and fear of what goes on in our own community, how can we truly be giving, and charitable?  Understanding begins at HOME.  Charity begins at HOME.  I believe that.  And try to live that belief every day.  I see poverty and illness every day.  EVERY DAY.  And try to make a small difference in the lives of those I serve every day. 

I am my brother's keeper.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Monday, October 24, 2011

addicted to accessories

Stevie Wonder has a new truck. He bought it a week or so ago. I thought he'd settle into having all the bells and whistles you can stuff into a truck. And just enjoy having a nice, dependable ride.

I was wrong. It started a fever that I fear is incurable. The accessory disease. So far in two weeks we have acquired the following indispensable accessories for the new truck:

1. A tool box- one of those huge things that sit behind the back window and lay across the truck bed. Most you see are silver. It was an agonizing decision for him. He finally decided on a black tool box, because he thought the truck would look its best with it.
2. A new car vacuum- and not just any car vacuum. A Black and Decker. Any of you Black and Decker fans know that is the best. And of course it was what the truck needed.
3. A video camera- yep, you got it, a video camera. So when he backs up, he can make sure he doesn't run over the dogs.

I didn't bother to tell him that the dogs wouldn't get within fifteen feet of him when he is backing up.

He made sure I didn't feel left out though. I got a new iPhone the same weekend he got his new truck. And a cast iron griddle for the stove.

I love the phone. But I still won't cook.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

the deeper meaning

Last night as I arrived home from my seventh day in a row at work, I stepped from my car into the house and into bedlam.

Every family has its own rhythm and synchronicity. It is a blend of personalities, and the coming together under one roof of those personalities creates the family culture. No two families are alike.

Our particular rhythm and culture is noise and laughter. When we are all together, the joking abounds, and no one escapes.

I am proud of my family. But more than pride, I feel blessed. And here's why...

My oldest daughter, the mother of the twins, is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. She is a bit nervous and preoccupied, which is to be expected. She was getting ready to go home tonight, as was my youngest daughter. My son had already departed with my oldest grandson.

One of the twins is having some difficulty in school. What his sister absorbs like a sponge, he has more trouble learning, and he has fallen a bit behind in school, first grade to be exact.

Maddie had finished the eight books she had to read on her own to get a certificate of some kind at school. Duncan was three books behind.

We wanted him to read a book before his mom left. He didn't want to. My youngest daughter convinced him to read to her. And he did. Not just one book, but two.

Now here's the part where I get misty eyed in the telling. Because Dunc wasn't alone while he read. Wretch held the book and pointed out the sentences. Jen watched and encouraged him. Stevie Wonder turned the sound off on the TV so that Dunc could concentrate more easily.

And we all listened and cheered Duncan on. All of us. He beamed with smiles as he read, and when he finished the second book said "see, that wasn't hard at all!"

We all postponed what we were doing to give Dunc the encouragement to succeed. And when he finished, we gave equal time to Maddie. Because in our family, no child gets left behind.

And that is what makes our family strong. We celebrate each other's victories, and support each other during times of stress or sadness. Because that is the flip side of the laughter and mayhem. The deeper meaning of love.

The meaning of family.

~cath xo

Saturday, October 22, 2011

my haven

I'm sitting on the couch again tonight. I worked today, trying to catch up with a mountain of paperwork. What a week... What a week...

The difference tonight is that all my kids and grandkids were here when I got here. The house was rollicking when I got here. I swear I could see it shimmying and shaking from the laughter.

What a nice way to arrive home. To a houseful of laughter and love. Lights beaming through the front window, like a beacon. Beckoning me to my haven. My place. Where I am safe from the world.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could all feel such safety and peace, such welcoming?

Tomorrow I'll share the flip side of the coin. For tonight I'll relax and enjoy the kids. And sweet peace.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, October 21, 2011

an artistic moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

And have a GREAT weekend!

Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, October 20, 2011

oh say can you see?

Stevie Wonder and I are sitting on the couch. I am wondering what the heck I am going to post about tonight. I'm drowsy and drifting into lala land as we are watching television. Tonight is the first night of the World Series and even though we are watching CSI, I know Stevie Wonder has the game on his mind.

He begins to hum softly to himself. Then he breaks out into song, sotto voce. But I hear the words.

Me: What are you singing?
Him: (to the tune of the American National Anthem)...ohhhh say, can you see, any red bugs on me? If you dooo, pick a few, and we'll have red bug stew...
Me: When did you hear that?
Him: When I was about 7 years old.

I look at him like he's grown two heads. He smirks at me in his knowing, smart ass way and says:

"Hmmmph, you thought after all these years you'd heard everything I knew. Surprised you, didn't I?"

I won't tell him the only thing that surprised me was that he can remember that and sing it, but he can't pronounce Milla Jovovich ("Milla Jobobich, Milla Jovobich" was his personal best effort).

Sure I was surprised. So much, I laughed until I peed my pants.

~cath xo

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the be(thoughts)tween

I'm over halfway through this month of nonstop blogging. That's what posting everyday feels like to me. Nonstop. When I began the month, I had ideas teeming in my brain. Like a spring overflowing. About 2 weeks through the challenge of daily blogging, the spring started drying up.

Oh no! I began to feel anxious. Then I realized the title of my blog was what it was all about. Just my thoughts.

But would my thoughts be enough? Then the second realization hit. My thoughts are as valid as anyone else's. When that thought hit my mind, it had a strangely calming affect.

Ok, I thought to myself. I can do this. Because I had seriously considered giving up. Twice before I have attempted a daily blogging challenge. And twice before I had stopped when life got busy.

Well, guess what? Life will always be busy for me. So if I am going to complete this month's challenge, I have to just move on through it.

That is what I intend to do. Move right on through it. My parents didn't raise a quitter. They taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and I believe the truth of those words.

I hope you will hang in there with me. Allow me to share my thoughts with you. And share yours with me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

fall arrives to my corner of the world

Fall has quietly arrived, one leaf and one degree of coolness at a time. Tonight, the temperatures took a drastic dip. I shot a few photos of what I saw in my yard this evening and wanted to share them. The air is crisp, the leaves crunchy underfoot. I think of shortened days, apples, cinnamon, sun filtering through baring branches onto my face.

And Halloween! is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Monday, October 17, 2011

confession: climbing in trucks with boys

This past weekend we became the proud new owners of a 4 wheel drive truck. Or I should say, Stevie Wonder became the proud new owner. I just went along for the ride. Literally. I learned a few things along the way about climbing into a 4WD truck.

1. They sit high.  Like a skyscraper.  This is so you can drive through mud, and small rivers. The distance between the ground and the inside of the truck is exactly 6 inches higher than the length of your leg from your foot to your hip.
2. They have running boards to add back those six inches you lost from your leg so you can get inside.
3. The running board is useless without the handle on the inside of the ceiling near the door. The handle enables you to have something to hold onto so you don't pitch backward climbing on the running board (that added 6 inches to your leg) so you can get into the truck.
4. If you don't grab the handle before you step onto the running board, you end up back at #1.
5. When all else fails, throw yourself in face first, belly down, and crawl inside.

I'll let you know when I figure out what to do once I'm in the truck. I'm still working on making a graceful entry.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Sunday, October 16, 2011

high on my iPhone ...4S

Miller Steam Plant from the Blazer window

Yesterday was my first outting with the iPhone 4S.  It was a day of emotional highs for me...the phone (of course) and the excitement of a new piece of technology lying in my hot little hand, rarin' to go.  But there were a lot of other things goin' on too.

There was the fun of seeing Dunc playing flag football (Maddie's team didn't play so she didn't get to cheer, but sat on the sidelines with the family snackin' and watchin' the action).  You may be getting tired of hearing me talk about football and six year olds...the football ends in three weeks...and I won't be slamming you with any more football photos...but the six year olds are here to stay, so don't get your drawers in too big a wad about it.  


 Then after the game was over, Steve and I went to the place.  He had scoped out a truck early last week, and thought about it for a few days (actually he's been looking and thinking for a year), all the pros and cons.  And then decided yes he would.  Buy a truck that off we went to do the deed.  After the deed, we did dinner.  With Wretch.  She was the first person to ride in the back seat.  It was nice.  More than nice.  That thing rides like a Cadillac.  American made, supporting American jobs, which made me happy.

breakin' in the dash

On the way home I did what I always do when Steve is driving.  I kicked back, threw my feet on the dash, and watched the sky through that big-ass windshield and side window.  It was awesome.  Normally I would have slept.  But I was too wound up to do that.

And my trusty little iPhone captured it all.

This is a hedonistic post.  But oh well, life is good right now, if somewhat hectic, and all is right in my world.  So just share my joy.  And my first photos with the iPhone 4S (I know, I have to relearn how to use a camera all over again...)  If you feel like judgin', then honey, you aren't gettin' the point.  :D
stairwell at the restaurant from my seat

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, October 14, 2011

my iPhone 4S experience

Please note, this is NOT a review.  Just my thoughts.  Take it for what it's worth.

I did something I thought I would never do a week ago.  I preordered an iPhone 4S.  I never preorder or am the first person to acquire a new piece of technology.  I have two reasons for this:
1. There will be a waiting line from hell to stand in.
2. There are always bugs and glitches in anything new.

I hate to have something that is new and doesn't work the way it is hyped to work.  So I wait.  Patiently.  Until I hear positive reports in the user trenches.  That usually takes a while.  I got my first iPhone, a 3GS, about a year after it came out.  And loved the way it performed.

I also fell in love with all stuff "i".  I had purchased an iPod the size of a postage stamp several years ago, and enjoyed it, but the love affair with "i" products really started with that iPhone.  It was a remarkable little piece of equipment.  It did everything I wanted it to do, and never gave me any problems.  Excellent design, excellent performance.  No problems.

So when I heard of the release of the new iPhone 4S (I don't know why everyone was surprised.  There was a 3G and 3GS after all.), I thought about it and decided two things.
1. I wanted the new camera that was on it.
2. I wanted to experience the madness of standing in line.

I chickened out on standing in line cold, and opted for the preorder, which assured me instant service at an appointed time.

It didn't happen.  It took over 30 minutes to get served by a sales associate.  But that wasn't her fault.  For 2 reasons:
1. I was over thirty minutes late for my appointment.
2. And that was because I had forgotten that rush hour traffic in Birmingham starts at 3PM.

So as I patiently waited, my eyes drifted around and I thought to myself about Steve Jobs.  About the legacy he had created in technology.  About the standard he set for excellence in service and products.  About how he was probably watching from the great beyond and having a good laugh about the Apple madness going on once again for the launch of a new product.

Of course, being me, nothing goes quite the same as it does for other people.  I learned two more valuable lessons today while I was getting my new iPhone:
1. Don't set your appointment for the time when half the United States has gotten off work and is also in line buying new iPhones.  The AT&T system shut down three times before they finally got my order in.
2. Don't upgrade your phone using your spouse's upgrade.

Now let me explain #2 a bit more.  Stevie Wonder hated the last phone I got for him.  Actually, Wretch was with me on that buy, so she takes half the blame.  Come to think of it, the only couch he ever hated was the couch Wretch and I picked out.  (That was two couches ago.)  So maybe I should blame her for half of the problem.

Because Stevie hated his phone, I took him to Best Buy and told him "PICK YOUR OWN PHONE OUT I AM NOT HAVING A WORD TO SAY ABOUT IT."  And he did.  And used my upgrade.  Then found out they had shut his phone off.  And he had to make another trip back to the store to get it fixed.  Which meant another SIM card for his phone.  And an ear blistering lecture to me about how he would never do that again.

Until tonight.  It happened again.  Only the young lady who waited on me was a smart cookie, and replaced his SIM card while he was there.  I had to chase around the store looking for him and the kids, because I had sent them away from me, because they were driving me nuts and breathing down my neck.  And of course I couldn't call Steve on his cell phone.  BECAUSE HE LEFT IT IN THE CAR.  Like he always does.  Because he says he never needs it.  (Then why in hell did he want a new one? *sigh*)

After I chased, and captured, and presented the kill back at the counter, with his phone in hand, everything finally got finished.

Then I asked her to put my screen film on, because I knew I would botch it.  And so she did.

Then finally we were on our way.  To get something to eat.  And head home.

We were all settled in and I was gazing at the iPhone when I noticed it.  A small black speck.  Infinitesimal.  Underneath that new film I had paid $26 for and another $8 to get put on by a professional.

Am I freaking out?  A small part of me.  The obsessive compulsive part of me hates that speck.  But I think of the alternative.  A trip back to the store to get it replaced.  It wouldn't cost me anything except the gasoline to get there, and a drive.  Through traffic.  And standing in line among the iPhone 4S wannabes, for an untold amount of time, waiting for service.

I'm thinking Steve Jobs is laughing his head off over this.  And I'm thinking that speck isn't so big after all.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

hope warrior

I wrote this post on January 9, 2011.  It has a very special meaning to me, and because this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I think we should be more aware of the fight to cure ALL cancer. It took my father from me 11 years ago, and I still miss him every day.  I would appreciate it if you would please read this and share. ~cath xo   

It's been one of those weeks.  The kind that make me feel like everything I touch is going to dung.  And that is putting it nicely.  Work has been tough.  People seem to be touchy and weirdly out of sorts after the holidays, and tempers are short.  Reports of acts of violence abound in the news, and it just accumulates on my shoulders, weighing me down.

This has all lead to a general sadness and irritability of my own because I have had to deal with so much STUFF this week.  When I am in this kind of mood I usually don't sleep well, and sure enough I was awake all night last night, and tired today when I had things I had to get done before *gasp* snow hits Alabama tomorrow night. 

And here I was again tonight, white-eyed.  Feeling pretty heavy in the spirit.  I decided to come in and work on my website and revamp it.  I sat down at the computer to start, and looked to the side where Steve laid the mail he picked up today. 

And I saw it.  And suddenly my spirit started to lift.  I was amazed.  This is why:

A few months ago by a strange twist of fate I made a new friend on Facebook.  We kind of got slung together in an odd way, but struck up a friendship pretty fast.  She is a great person, and we have a lot in common, including our name, and some differences that make our friendship interesting. 

She told me about a friend of hers battling cancer, and said that on days the friend had chemo, there was a group of people supporting her with positive thoughts and everyone was thinking "shrink, erase, eradicate" during her treatment.  Sending positive thoughts to her.  So I added Jackie to my running chat with the almighty and began to think "SEE" on the Wednesdays she had treatment.  Even though I don't personally know Jackie, I do believe that positive thoughts can effect outcomes.  My friend Kathy said that Jackie's supporters are called the Hope Warriors, and asked me if I would like a bracelet to wear to remind me (not that I needed reminding but I liked the idea of a visible link to something that is spiritual) so I said YES!  Kathy took my address and passed it on to Jackie's husband, and told me they had dropped it in the mail.  This happened at the end of September.

It never came.  And the strange thing was, it was the last one they had.  At first I was disappointed but I told Kathy it probably got lost in the mail, and I still felt just as connected to the rest of the group SEEing on those chemo Wednesdays.  I thought about it from time to time, but really didn't have any hope that it would arrive.  Too much time had gone by.

WRONG!!!  I was sifting through that pile of mail tonight, when I saw a small brown manila envelope with my name on it.  It was dated September 30 on the postage.  I wondered what it was, and noticed it was pretty dog earred looking, then I saw the return address on it, and ripped it open in excitement! 

And as I looked at that small white bracelet, I felt my spirit turn, my mood lift, and hope reignite inside me.  That was when I realized how lucky I am.  Whenever I start to feel that life is negative energy, and sadness starts to fill me up inside, something happens, and my karma turns.  I am a hope warrior, and always have been.  Being human, I slip, and slide downward at times to low points, but something always happens to remind me there is always hope, and negativity is self fulfilling if you let it grab your spirit.

I will cherish this small reminder of hope on my wrist, and think of Jackie as she continues her fight against cancer.  And I will always be reminded of the hope I felt when I received this gift. 

I follow her husband's blog, Adventures of the Hope Warriors, and hope you will all visit this blog too and see what positive, uplifting reading it is.  And join us as we SEE! for Jackie (Shrink, Erase, Eradicate!). 
HOPE.  Invisible but powerful, and always there. 
                                       I am a hope warrior.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

confession: my keith urban moment

I got stumbled because of Keith Urban.  Sounds strange to you non-bloggers?  Let me explain a little further.

This blog's been cruising along for a little over a year now (14 months to be exact) and has a small following.  It has grown steadily, and been lots of fun for me.  I've read lots of blogs along the way about a myriad of subjects.  Personal blogs, business blogs, do-it-yourself blogs, art blogs, photography blogs, poetry blogs, sex blogs, family blogs, cartoon blogs, news blogs, author's blogs, and blogs about how to blog.

So here I am, blogging about just about anything that hits my brain and becomes a coherent thought.  I'll be the first to admit that not everything I write is interesting.  I never promised to be interesting though.  I just wanted this blog to reflect the way I think, make people laugh, and maybe make them think a bit about things too.  Brighten your day a bit kind of stuff.

I read somewhere that what you put in your title can improve your SEO.  Now I'm a nurse, and we live with acronyms every day of our lives, thousands of them.  But I had no idea what SEO was.  So being the resourceful person I am, I Googled it.

Search Engine Optimization.  Say what?  Evidently it means that the words you put in your title, and those little labels you add to the end of your blog, are words that people are typing into search engines every second of every day, and increase the chance they might find your blog.  My blog, to be specific.  I read that, kind of snorked, and started adding labels to the end of my blogs.  I rarely cruise to read blogs that way.  I find the best way to find good blogs is to click on the blogrolls of the blogs I love to read, and have found some stupendous blogs that way.

So here I was, blogging and labeling along.  Then I wrote this little blog about my sisters and husband and the night they went to see a Keith Urban concert.  You can read that here if you like.  My sisters are no spring chickens.  I say that knowing I am the oldest chicken of the three of us.  We all possess a joie de vivre that we inherited straight from my dad, the perennial kid who enjoyed every moment he had til the ride was over.  My sisters' exuberance is contagious, and I wanted to share that with you, my readers.

I made this catchy little title, because I can't seem to get past writing smart ass, catchy titles.  It's just me.  If it costs me readers because they don't Google smart ass titles, then so be it.  After I titled the post (I usually do the title last), I hit the publish button and went to bed.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to head out the door to work, I checked the blog on my iPad.  (I love that iPad...thank you Steve Jobs.)  I am only human, and any blog writer who says they don't care what their stats are is just plain lying.  We all watch to see if anyone is out there reading our stuff.

The stats threw a number at me I had never seen.  And I screamed.  And Stevie Wonder, who was just starting to sip his first cup of coffee, jumped and almost spilled hot coffee all over himself.  He screamed back at me: "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?"

I screamed back: "I've had a gozillion hits on the blog!"  At that point, he lost interest and went back to his coffee.  He's such a nonblogger.

I dug a little deeper.  And found out someone had StumbleUpon and had liked my article.  I don't know who, but it started a chain of all chain reactions.  I wondered why, of all the 240+ blogs I've posted, did that one get the hits?

Then it came to me in a flash.  Keith Urban.  I'd been stumbled because of Keith Urban.  And my ego deflated back to its' normal size.  It was all about Keith Urban.

And I am not even a fan.

Oh well, another lesson learned.  But guess what?  It was FUN!  Almost as much fun as the day I met the Fonz (you can read about that here.)  I'm still blogging.  My thoughts.  And wondering if there will ever be another Keith Urban moment.

Have a great day y'all.  I do appreciate every one of you who take time out of your busy days to read my words.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

no words

Tonight, there are no words. My mind craves solitude. Rest. A refill of energy and inspiration. Do you ever find this happening to your creative energy, that it is sucked dry by life's daily routine? So tonight, I rest.

And offer a simple sketch.

Tomorrow, I hope there will be renewed energy. A return of exuberant sharing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

staying in the pink

Speaking as a nurse to all my readers who are women...take care of your only get one set.  There is a multitude of information out there.  If you haven't done a breast self exam or had a mammogram, take the minutes it would take out of your day to learn how to self exam.  Or to schedule that mammogram. 

I'll never forget the night I cared for someone with breast cancer.  The night I was assigned to her, I put my stethoscope to her chest to listen to her heart and lungs.  Part of the nightly assessment I performed on all my patients on first rounds.  I had been told in report that there was a lump in her breast.  Late stage cancer the doctors thought.  They hadn't biopsied because she was admitted for something else.  That would be done in a few days.  So she was unaware of what was going on with her breast.

I laid my stethoscope on her chest to listen to her lungs as she lay in bed.  And as I moved it across her chest I felt it.  She was emaciated, so there was no mistaking what it was.

I had two reactions that night.  The woman in me was horrified.  I was fearful of what I felt.  And I shuddered slightly as I bumped across that lump with the bell of my stethoscope.

The nurse in me was saying to myself " that is what it feels like."  And wondering how far advanced the disease was.  If it was treatable or if this poor woman was fated to die.  And remembering the breast biopsy I had watched in nursing school when I did my surgery rotation.

I hope never to have to see anyone I love have breast cancer.  And the best way I know to help prevent it, or to catch it in an early treatable stage are two simple things.

Self examination.


Do it.  Now.  Your life might depend on it.

And please take the time to click the For Jen's Sake Pinktober badge at the bottom left of this page and click on the link in her site to donate to breast cancer prevention.  A click.  That is all it takes.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Saturday, October 8, 2011

keith urban and the jones girls

One night near the end of our vacation in California, my sisters went to a Keith Urban concert.  I was invited but declined, even though it was Vix's birthday and they were riding in a limousine to the concert.  So Stevie Wonder got dragged along, and I stayed home and relaxed with my nephew Chris.  They also picked up Vix's son Dan and his wife Amanda.  It was a real party.  Amanda kept me updated on Facebook.

I woke up sometime after midnight with Vix telling me that she and Dooj had TOUCHED Keith Urban.  She wasn't just standing there calmly telling me.  She was leaning over me and bouncing the bed on both sides of my head and screaming it at me.  And then Dooj slid sideways into the room and screamed "I touched his face!!!" while Vix screamed immediately afterward "and I touched his love handles!!!"  (For those of you who read this stuff I post, and don't know what a love handle is, it is the area on both sides of your waist right above your belt.  Don't ask me why they call it has nothing to do with love, or being a handle.)

Vix and Dooj were wired and I told them yay I was glad they got to maul Keith Urban for a few seconds, and I'd see them in the morning.  They were on cloud 9 1/2 and I think they lasted a while longer before they finally crashed into bed.

I think this is 6 Keith Urban concerts Vix has been to.  More power to her.  After the second one she took me to, I told her I was done.  That was the concert that had Carrie Underwood performing first, and she was so shrill and loud my ears felt like they were bleeding.  That was the first, and only, concert I have ever attended that I had to wear Kleenex stuffed into my ears because the music was painful.  That was it, I was cooked.
I took several photos of the trio as they left, and it was like nailing jello to the wall to get them to be still and all look in the same direction.  Never mind focusing or anything like that, I was just pointing and trying to get something I could save.   I was only partially successful, since several of these are blurred, and composition is whatever I can crop and save into a photo.

What did Stevie Wonder have to say about the concert?  Not much.  About all I could get out of him was a grin.  Which meant he had a good time.  And why wouldn't he?  He had a date with two beautiful women in a stretch limo.

What's not to grin about?  Keith Urban, consider yourself lucky.  You have been squeezed by the Jones girls.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie