Posted by: beckyledlow | June 20, 2010

Stay in Touch!

My brother just moved to Virginia, my sister (and family) and mom/stepdad still live in St. Louis, and we are very far from both of those in Dallas.  We talk every few weeks, as has been our habit for the last several years.

I am reminded of how distance relationships must be so deliberate.  I’ve had a couple of long-distance romances that eventually fizzled because of how important physical presence is for attraction, but friendships and family take on a different challenge.  With romance is the constant desire to be in contact, and without the conversations overall interest fades.  For friends and family, we know they will still care for us if we aren’t as regular with communication, and yet frequency does make a difference in the depth of the relationship.

While talking to my brother this evening, he mentioned his intention to talk to each person in the family at least once a week.  I mentioned this to Hubby, who said we should probably adopt the same practice, even with his family members that live closer by.  I am not always good about taking the time to call others, but I’m hoping that being deliberate turns into habits that I’ll never want to break.

Posted by: beckyledlow | May 30, 2010

Smart Wining

For most of the time we’ve lived in Dallas I’ve backed off the wine consumption.  For several months at a time I didn’t buy or consume any wine when previously I enjoyed a glass or two a week.  In the beginning I held off because I wasn’t sure of the budget quite yet.  Later it was because I chose to spend it on ice cream or other snacks.  Some meals, though, just savor better with a good glass of pinot noir, and I was trying to figure out how to make this happen without spending a fortune.

A few weeks ago I made a great discovery at the grocery store: closeout wines.  I don’t know if these bottles have just been there for a long time or if they don’t push fast enough to keep on the shelves, but most of these are 50% off normal cost!  For example, I picked up a $25 bottle of Napa Valley merlot for $11.99.  A $15 bottle of pinot grigio sold for $7.49.  However, my best find was a delicious Spanish Temperanillo for $5!

I’ve tried a few bottles that were so-so and found a few mixes of grapes I’d never heard of before (and for which the sellers may have quite possibly made up names), but in many ways I have been able to branch past a few normal favorites.  If you are skeptical, look for a closeout bottle in your favorite flavor.  If adventurous, grab whatever is closest, call a few friends, and enjoy your good fortune!

Posted by: beckyledlow | May 27, 2010

Change of Stomach

Lately, Hubby has been helped by a trainer on how to eat better.  It has blown my mind to see how much his diet really does need to differ from mine (he needs to eat way more than me!  I knew that, but still didn’t realize the extent).

What really needs to change, though is our focus at the grocery store.  Tonight I purchased cottage cheese – for him, I have a hard time with the taste and texture – protein bars, nuts, and Greek yogurt.  I was unsuccessful at finding soybeans but will be on the lookout at other stores.  We will soon be eating a lot more chicken and rice.  We love those two, but had them every once in awhile between other meats and carbs.  Looks like it will become a lot more often.

Understand that I’m not upset with any of this.  Overall, I think we will both be healthier!  What will take time is going through and eating or getting rid of foods that aren’t as good for us.  It was REALLY hard for me to type that sentence, because I had tried to make sure we had balanced meals and a good mixture of fresh and prepared foods.  I wasn’t failing before now to give us good food, but I feel like I am in a Snapple commercial: “We found better stuff!”

Two things make this easier:
1.  Hubby is enthusiastic. If he wasn’t it wouldn’t be worth my time.  I’m not interested in buying foods that will stay on our shelves and not be eaten even though they are good for us, and I can only go through so much by myself.  Having someone knowledgeable to assist him in looking at calories, someone who has promised to help him find a plan that works, has made a huge difference in his efforts as well.  Thanks, J, for your time and patience!
2.  I am excited to support him – and myself! I wasn’t planning to go to the grocery store, but if he is going to ask me to help him be healthy,  I’ll bend over backwards.  We are going a little at a time, so as he is learning I have time to adjust.  Step one has been counting calories.  Step two is upping the protein.  Step three will involve specific targets for both of those.  I know I will benefit out of this, too, even though the plan is specifically tailored to him.

I know some people have been curious, even skeptical about the process Hubby is taking, so from time to time I’ll update this and let you know!  For now, please pray that we learn effectively how to be healthier.  Thanks 🙂

Posted by: beckyledlow | May 6, 2010

The Dork in Me

… is super excited about figuring out AutoCAD a little more every day.  I have now spent about two months in the program, and I am constantly amazed at how much better it is than its predecessor (I should say, the program I was satisfied with until I learned CAD, not previous versions of the same program).

Find of the week:  Layers are retained when a document is exported to a PDF.  This means my boss has the ability to turn parts of drawing on and off without having to install extra programs on his computer.  This potentially cuts down on the number of e-mails I have to send with attachments of different layouts, which in turn means fewer chances to forget, as I am often known to do, that all-important attachment before hitting “send”.  Plus having PDFs you can actually manipulate is pretty cool (my boss thinks so, too, and suddenly I look a little more like a genius…).

Not many of you who read this blog will actually care about the find itself, but if that is what’s getting me motivated these days, I’m willing to share it.

P.S.  Rock on computer aided drafters, rock on!

Posted by: beckyledlow | April 10, 2010

Spring Sprucing

We’ve been taking walks lately, and part of this is making observations on people’s houses.  Nothing is spared: color and design of door are determined good or bad, bricks around the flower beds are fitting or frightening, number of bushes vs. flowers are contemplated with zeal.  Naturally, we found ourselves assessing our own place, with this result:

Messy.

A few hours early in the week and a ton of work done by hubby yesterday helped immensely.

I hated yard work when I was growing up, and even during apartment living I was glad someone else was paid to do it.  Now, I’m gaining appreciation for a task where results can be seen and appreciated in a reasonably short period of time.  Do I feel like this because it is only Spring?  Will I still be so excited in late Fall?  Don’t know.  Don’t care.

I trimmed down two bushes in the back yard today.  They don’t look as nice as the ones in the front, but since it was my first time with the electric edger – and since random people won’t be walking by and noticing the almost-but-not-quite-straight lines – I feel proud of the accomplishment.

Posted by: beckyledlow | March 21, 2010

On the Docket

After a visit to the half-price bookstore:

1.  Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri – “Lahiri is likely my favorite living authors.  (Chiam Potok is a favorite dead one, in case you were wondering.)  This is her third book, second set of short stories.  I’ve had this one on my list for a long time and have already finished the first story.  Happy to have made the purchase.”

2.  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – “I think a lot of people had to read this book in high school.  Or they were banned from reading it in high school.  Or something – my point is I feel like one of the few people who haven’t read it.  I don’t even know whether or not it is good.  So, I’m going to knock it off my want-to-read list.”

3.  In the Beginning by Chiam Potok – “As I said, this guy is one of my favorites.  The book was also $2, so I couldn’t pass it up.  Don’t even know what it is about.  Perhaps a follow up will be necessary.”

Hurray for returning to the literary world!

Posted by: beckyledlow | March 8, 2010

Forgive Me, It’s Late

I wish it were 12:30am on a Friday or Saturday late night out, but it is Sunday and I have work in the morning.  I fully intended to roll onto my back and, snuggled deep in my covers, drift gently to sleep.  Instead, I’m here wishing I were tired enough to lay still in bed.  If my mind were preoccupied with concerns or wild imaginations, I would understand, but I am content.  If worry isn’t keeping me up, what is?

Switching topics:

The picture next to the computer is an old one of me doing hurdles in high school.  From what I can tell, I am in 2nd place out of 4 in my heat (not shabby, lane position is 5 so it should be like that). In my first race at the “high” height – 33 inches – I fell twice.  I finished the race with several scrapes and a broken trust in the people who told me it was only 30 inches.  It would eventually become my favorite race. Even though it wasn’t my best event, I was able to compete well and enjoyed the rush of the gun blast and the first eight steps that set up the rest of the race.

The picture belongs in an old album, and I’m not sure if it fell out or if I had it in a separate group.  I look at that picture and see the many ways my high school youth defined itself.  I should put it away, but I like remembering that time (perhaps I like remembering being in that kind of shape…).  I like remembering what determination and fearlessness can accomplish.

P.S.  I am glad I no longer need to wear electric pink and blue spikes in order to reach my goals.

Posted by: beckyledlow | February 28, 2010

Still Beating

I shouldn’t have to explain myself.  I know it has been awhile.

I haven’t felt like writing, and that doesn’t mean life hasn’t been eventful or happy.  In fact, for me, those impulses are usually inversely related.

I don’t miss blogging.  If I miss anything, it is personal writing that I wouldn’t do on a blog.

I’ll keep trying this, though, if for nothing else than to keep my once-vibrant writing spirit on life support.

Posted by: beckyledlow | December 11, 2009

Right Now

My husband is now sleeping on the couch.  The lights are dimmed, and he’s finally succumbed to the exhaustion he’s been fighting.

I offered to sit on the floor so he could spread his sick, aching body across the pillows.  He so violently objected that I stayed here, far at the edge, but where he could tuck his feet beneath my leg and the blankets on my lap.

Sometimes presence, touch, is what we need more than gestures of consideration.

Posted by: beckyledlow | November 24, 2009

Oh, How HE Loves Us

One of the reasons we wanted to buy a house was for the tax credit – not JUST because $8,000 comes in pretty handy any day, but MOSTLY because we knew that we could pay off the lingering debt on the truck my husband bought before we met.  The payments were not unmanageable, but if we don’t have to pay them anymore, we’ll take it!

Here’s the cool part: the truck needs new tires.  I need new glasses (for the first time in about seven years… stay tuned for more on that one).  The amount remaining in our hands after we pay off the truck is just about equal to what the tires and glasses will cost.

One more example of how God blesses us many times over!

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