1 Down; 12 to Go

stumpknockersWe accomplished the first mission of the 13 for 13. Admittedly, it was the easiest to accomplish, but I can’t remember how many years we’ve said we were going to go to Stumpknockers for dinner. And then when John added “eat stone crabs” to the list, Stumpknockers seemed like the logical place to make this happen.

Of course, we wanted to arrive before dark so we could enjoy eating overlooking the river so we left shortly after 5:00. We arrived well before dark so we could see the river while eating; however, it was so windy we decided not to eat on the deck overlooking the river. Instead we settled for the porch which provided some shelter.gatorstumpbar

Since I’m not a fan of stone crabs, I ordered the catfish dinner and John ordered his stone crabs which he thoroughly enjoyed.  The portion was generous and with soup, a baked potato, and corn-on-the-cob it was quite a meal. We decided to really splurge and ordered a piece of key lime pie for dessert – quite a meal! I don’t think it will take years for a return visit making it unnecessary for stone crabs to appear on another must do list in the future.stonecrabsj

Weigh In Wednesday – Week 5

Exercise Buff Badge
Exercise Buff Badge

Logging accomplished. The logging of food, water, and exercise has become a regular habit. I’ve done much better with drinking cold water, even on the weekend and this week I made my exercise goal of more than 180 minutes…but one week of success doesn’t make it a habit. It is a great feeling to wipe out all the calories consumed at breakfast through exercise. It’s like getting a free meal!

While I’m working on making exercise a regular part of my routine, I’m going to add a simple change this week…one that sounds more than a little bit crazy. I’m back to The 4-Hour Body and Ferriss’ claim that ice baths or cold showers significantly increase weight loss. This type of ice therapy is not an option. I could never tolerated this type of torture. However, the good news according to Ferriss…placing an ice pack on the back of your neck for 30 minutes each evening is an easier way to obtain results. In fact, he claims the ice pack method provides 80% of the results obtained by the more extreme method of sitting in a tub of ice water. I’m going to give the ice pack method a try. After all, it’s another cheap, easy change I can make.

I’ve earned The Exercise Buff Badge on Lose It – exercised at least 3 times a week for at least 2 weeks and lost another pound…staying motivated!LoseItlogo


Pickin’ for Kaedyn

orangeSaturday we were able to join dozens of other families in support of Kaedyn, a three year old from Ocala who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. While he and his mom (a former student at Ocala Springs where I taught for years) were confined to life at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, friends organized a fundraising event at Pat and Marion’s orange grove. The fruit picking event made it possible for friends, family, and community members to support Kaedyn and his family, who according to his mother, was recently diagnosed with “full blown leukemia” after a few months of remission.

Scott Conley organized this event at the grove he inherited from his grandparents. The warm, beautiful weather was perfect for picking oranges and grapefruit with all proceeds going to Kaedyn’s family. In the short time we stopped and picked fruit, more than a dozen people stopped in to participate. Guests were asked to sign a guest book and a T-shirt for Kaedyn to let the family know how many people care.

According to his mom Shelsie’s blog, Kaedyn Love, they’ve identified a bone marrow donor. And while that’s a positive development, Kaedyn is looking at more tests and medical procedures before a transplant can be scheduled. Keep Kaedyn and his family in your prayers.oranges

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Working with Emily on a wedding last summer reminded me of the book by Richard Carlson, Don’t Swear the Small Stuff-and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep Little Things from Taking Over Your Life. In the book, Carlson says,

“Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren’t really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and blow them out of proportion…Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion’s share of the work, it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things. So many people spend so much of their life energy ‘sweating the small stuff’ that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life.”

dontsweatI overheard Emily’s client talking to her on the phone the day before the wedding discussing every imaginable detail of the wedding, with Emily constantly assuring her not to worry, everything is fine, try to relax. In the meantime, I watched Emily deal with one “crisis” after another-not enough material for curtains for the church, spots on the monogram backdrop she’d been working on for hours, dealing with an angry hairdresser worried about the late arriving bridal party, watching weather to determine if changes needed to made, and learning members of the wedding party stayed out too late after the rehearsal dinner. Then around 2:00 on the day of the wedding, I saw her let go of everything that could go wrong and switch to the “let’s take care of business” mode. I don’t know if she realized it, but there was a calm, relaxed change in her demeanor as she approached the finishing touches of a summer’s worth of work. She suddenly quit “sweating the small stuff” and got to the business of coordinating the wedding. She could see the big picture.

The same weekend Meghan shared a story about a letter she received from the state suggesting that she increase her contribution to her retirement account managed by the state. This angered her immensely since the state cut their contribution to her retirement the month before, required her to contribute more, and now they were asking that she increase her contribution again. She told me she grabbed a Sharpie and wrote on the letter that she had already increased her contribution thanks to the moves of the legislature and the governor. She also suggested the state increase their contribution to match hers. Then she mailed the letter back to the state.

Sarah regularly shares stories about frustrating experiences at work: constant schedule changes, lack of staff, unusual clients, a van that won’t start. In fact, the same weekend she grumbled that the office manager complained she was spending too much money at the grocery and  wasting food. As Sarah explained, of course some of the hamburger buns are going to be wasted since they don’t sell buns in packages of two; and yes, she did throw away a zucchini-it was limp! These constant complaints and problems take the joy out of working with the clients  – the important part of the job.

I think Richard Carlson is right. We shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Listen to the criticism and make changes if warranted, do your best on projects but don’t stress out over small mistakes (being a perfectionist is not a positive trait), care about your community, state, and national problems but not to the point that you become one of those crazy, angry people constantly miserable and complaining about the government. And don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to those you care about. So what if the toilet paper isn’t put on the dispenser? Who cares if there are towels on the floor? Does it really matter if the dishes aren’t loaded properly? Don’t let little things eat at you and interfere with your relationships with others; it’s just not worth it.

Now, I disagree with the second part of the title of Carlsons’s book – and It’s All Small Stuff? I don’t think so. During that storm Emily was watching during the wedding, a neighbor had a large tree fall in his yard that he has to remove, his pipes were struck by lightning which caused major flooding in his house, his $5000 generator was fried by the lightning strike so he had no power. That’s more than small stuff. That may be something to sweat. However, when we stopped by his house, after he told the story of the storm damage to his house, he asked if we’d like to go in his backyard to see the work he’d completed over the summer – how can you say no to someone who’s just as excited to show off his hard work as he is to tell about his problem. He certainly was sweating the damage to his house but he was also focused on the big picture – his house, family, and getting back to work.

Finally, the mother of the bride stopped by Sunday to pick up some items left behind at the wedding. It was great to see her quoterelaxed, excited to talk about the day, and laugh about the little things that didn’t go according to her plan. Only a few hours removed from the stress of planning, preparing, and producing a wedding extravaganza, she recognized that none of the small things could spoil the day. Too bad she had to sweat unnecessarily!

If you have time to read the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, I highly recommend it. Best of all, it’s short with good tips packed in few pages. And in case you think the book may encourage a slacker attitude – not true – just look at the title of Lesson 3: Let Go of the Idea that Gentle, Relaxed People Can’t Be Superachievers; but also take note of the title of Lesson 4: Be Aware of the Snowball Effect of Your Thinking.

It’s not easy, but don’t sweat the small stuff!



Big Bass – 1st attempt

One of my 13 for 13 goals is to catch a big bass – at least 6 pounds…hopefully closer to 8 pounds. Since this is “the perfect time”, we decided to go to the Withlacoochee for my first attempt to catch this bass. Viola! In less than an hour…

Danielle with 6lb. bass
Danielle with 6lb. bass

Sarah’s friend, Danielle, caught a six pound bass. In fact, she caught two six pounders. I did not catch a big bass.

My not-so-big bass!
My not-so-big bass!

I caught a two pound bass. Not bad, but I’ll be doing some more fishing this year.

It was still a pretty good day…beautiful, warm, Florida weather.

Had to commandeer the boat from the heron.
Had to commandeer the boat from the heron.

We watched a heron feeding its young in a nest just a few hundred yards from the dock.


Heron feeding its young.
Heron feeding its young.

And before heading back in, we saw the moonrise. No big bass…but a wonderful day. Looking forward to the 2nd attempt!

Moonrise over the Withlacoochee
Moonrise over the Withlacoochee

Next Issue

The Next Image icon
The Next Image icon

Last weekend I downloaded a magazine app called Next Issue. They offer a one month free trial, and even though I had to enter my credit card information so it could be charged next month if I fail to cancel (something I usually refuse to do), I felt it looked like something I would enjoy. So, I downloaded, registered, and set an alert on my calendar to remind me in three weeks to cancel if I decide this isn’t a service I’ll use.

Next Issue offers unlimited access to digital editions of popular print magazines. Entertainment, craft and hobby, family and parenting, health and fitness, food and cooking, business and finance, and automotive are a few of the categories included in their collection. Money, Southern Living, Fitness, and Real Simple are among more than seventy-five titles available. And not only do you have access to the current issue, but to all back issues for the past twelve months.

I’ve read Southern Living, Fitness, Eating Well, Rachel Ray Every Day, Bride, and Real Simple since downloading. I know for sure I’ll never go back to print editions. I’ve always hated the way magazines stack up, but I have a difficult time throwing them out… which is no longer a problem. (I never would have purchased six magazines in one month!) But the best thing about the tablet editions it the extra content. Videos and interactive features make the digital format much better than the print.

A few of the titles available on Next Issue
A few of the titles available on Next Issue

Now for the bad news. The cost of monthly access is $9.99 for the basic plan – all of the magazines I’ve mentioned and a total of about fifty or $14.99 for the premium plan which includes additional weekly magazines like Sports Illustrated, Time, People, and The New Yorker. But despite the price, I think I’m going to continue the subscription. I’m currently paying for three magazine subscriptions at about $60 per year so if I use that toward Next Issue that pays for six months. As a bonus I won’t have magazines spread all over the house. And finally, the app can be downloaded to five mobile devices which means all members of my family will have access to all of the basic content. Now that makes the monthly price a bargain for me…especially because there’s no continuing commitment. I can cancel at any time. I’m looking forward to adding magazines to my reading list.

13 in 13

Sunrise on Flagler Beach - a good way to start the day.
Sunrise on Flagler Beach – a good way to start the day.

Instead of taking off  a couple of weeks this summer to go on a vacation, we’ve decided to enjoy short adventures throughout the year. To insure we don’t let the year slip away without actually getting away and making time for fun, we made a list we’re calling “13 in 13”. We’ve identified 13 things we want to do to make 2013 special.

Our list includes attending a Rays baseball game, and drinking milkshakes at Mark Light Stadium during the FSU v Miami baseball series. But baseball isn’t the only thing on the list. I want to catch a “big bass” this year so my picture can be added to the fishing file, and I want to see sea turtles hatch. We checked off watching a sea turtle lay its eggs a few years ago so now it’s time to observe the hatchlings.

For years we’ve said we’ll catch the sunrise over the Atlantic followed by the sunset over the Gulf on the same day. That’s on the list for 2013 as well. We’re also planning a couple of camping weekends in Florida parks and one in Bryson City, NC. It’s been two years since we’ve visited western North Carolina where we first met so it’s time for a long weekend.

Biking, kayaking, and boating trips at new destinations in the state made the list. And we’re planning special celebrations for the Fourth of July and Christmas.

It wasn’t easy squeezing 13 adventures in to a calendar already packed with responsibilities for work, an August family weekend, a wedding, and holidays; but we did it. I’m looking forward to “13 in 13”!

Sunset at Cedar Key - the perfect finale.
Sunset at Cedar Key – the perfect finale.

Remembering Dear Abby

dearabbyA week ago today it was reported that Pauline Phillips, better known as Dear Abby died at age 94 after suffering for years with Alzhiemer’s. The Dear Abby column sparked my first interest in reading the newspaper. While eating breakfast I’d grab the morning paper and quickly read her advice before heading off to school. Of course, she’d already been dishing out advice for nearly fifteen years before my addiction to her column began.

Her advice about how to handle problems with friends and family and love seemed to speak to me. Even though I rarely experienced the problems she addressed, I felt reading her advice prepared me for entering the adult world. She taught her readers, me included, to stand up for themselves, mind your own business, and that asking for help was acceptable.

This week the New York Times asked readers to share their favorite advice from Dear Abby. I found it interesting that I remembered reading these words of wisdom.

Is your life better with him or without him?

If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out.

If blinded by the lights of an oncoming car, keep your eyes on the white center line.

From her book, The Best of Dear Abby, the following letters and her responses are so typical of her advice:

Dear Abby: I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Have you any suggestions?” — M.J.B.

Dear M.J.B.: Yes. Run for a public office.”
“Dear Abby: What has happened to you? You used to encourage married couples to do everything in their power to save their marriages. Lately you give the impression that divorce could be the answer for some couples. Why?” –Faithful Reader

“Dear Reader: Because I think it’s more important to save people than marriages…”

Dear Abby: A woman who was married for 46 years wrote a long story about how hard her husband was to live with. She asked you whether she should choose divorce or suicide. You told her divorce was preferable. Are you married to a divorce lawyer, Abby?” — Nosy

Dear Nosy: No. Are you married to an undertaker?”

Dear Abby: Please tell me what to do when a friend has an abnormal child. I certainly can’t send a card or a gift of congratulations to someone who has had such a tragedy… Should something like this be acknowledged at all?” — Oklahoman

Dear Reader: A child, normal or otherwise, is a child to his mother. Don’t differentiate. Send a little gift with your love and best wishes.”

Dear Abby: My problem is my sorority sister. I’ve fixed her up with with several real sharp guys, but they never ask her out again because she’s so quiet. They all say it’s like pulling teeth to get a word out of her. Any suggestions?” — A.E. Phi

Dear Reader: Yes. Get her a date with a dentist.”

Dear Abby provided great advice to millions. We miss her voice of reason.

Weigh-In Wednesday – Week 4

LoseItlogoAdding cold water went well on the weekdays, but I didn’t follow through on Saturday or Sunday. I know I can make this change. I just need to work on making it a seven day a week change. The biggest problem on the weekend was forgetting to start the day drinking water. I met the goal of drinking 8 or more cups of water each day. It’s just starting the weekend morning that needs some work.

Logging success continues. Lose It makes this such a simple process that I haven’t forgotten to log food for two weeks! Now it’s time for a new goal, and this week I’m going to concentrate on exercise. I’ve been walking and even logging exercise, but I want to set a goal of at least three and a half hours of exercise each week. Not 30 minutes a day because I know that will be more difficult to accomplish. I’m not likely to exercise daily, but if I spread the goal over the course of a week, I think I can be successful.

It feels great to still be enthusiastic about a weight loss resolution! Looking forward to losing that first 10 pounds.

Be a Good Sport

This weekend I witnessed an example of poor sportsmanship after the AFC Championship game when the coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Bilichick refused to be interviewed after the game. Having lost many games, I know defeat doesn’t come easy, but how hard is it to speak to a reporter about the game. He didn’t even need to come up with anything new. This interview takes place after every game in the playoffs. The script goes something like this:

We’re very disappointed. This is a great team with terrific players who were well prepared. Unfortunately, we weren’t the best team on the field today. Of course, turnovers hurt us, but you can’t take anything away from our opponents. Hats off to this year’s AFC champs. We wish them well in the Super Bowl.

How hard was that? I’ve heard enough of these interviews that I could write the script in about a minute. Sure, he may have been asked about the why the offense didn’t play up to expectations or what was the key to the Ravens’ win; but those aren’t tough questions either. All the reporter and fans want is to see the coach of the losing team say their opponent played great and they deserved the win – a display of good sportsmanship.

You’d think as the highest paid coach in professional sports, earning an annual salary of $7.5 million per year, he could face the media and congratulate his opponents publicly.

On the other hand, a YouTube video I watched earlier Sunday exemplified good sportsmanship. According to an article posted on Runner’s World Running Times, Abel Mutai had a comfortable lead heading for the finish line in a recent race when he misjudged the finish line and started walking 10 meters early. Ivan Fernandez Anaya recognized the leader’s mistake and stayed behind Mutai gesturing for him to continue and cross the finish line allowing Matui to claim the victory.

In the article, Anaya was quoted:

“I didn’t deserve to win it. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”

I bet Anaya would have known what to say if he was coaching the losing team in a big game, even without a big salary.

I hope you’ll be a good sport in both winning and losing. Be modest. Praise your opponent. Winning is wonderful, but not if you brag and rub your accomplishments in the face of others. And while losing is not fun, being gracious can make the loser come out on top.

Did you know there is a National Sportsmanship Day? This year it will be recognized on March 5th. I bet Bill Belichick won’t be in attendance.

Be a good sport.