Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 120 - Z is for Zambrano

Zambrano: Kick a$$ Cubs pitcher - Lynn

Recently I went to the Cubs first night game of the season and caught this picture of Zambrano warming up. I thought it was a pretty cool pic, and would share it for my "Z" day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 119 - Y is for Youth

"Youth is wasted on the young." - George Bernard Shaw

I never understood this quote til now.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 118 - X is for Lazy

X: The 24th letter of the alphabet

Does it bother anyone but me, that people type, "thx" versus thank you in either an instant message chat, or a text? I figure if I've done something that garners a thank you, that you should at least put the effort into typing out the 6 letter word of "thanks", or better yet, "thank you". When I see "thx", I can't help but interpret it as you're too lazy to thank me properly. I'm sure no one actually thinx they are being insincere when they type those three little letters, but well, I do. It's impersonal.

To add insult to injury I can't stand the decapitation of the Christmas holiday to "X-mas". I don't call your day of birth an X-day, and we don't celebrate the X-ster bunny, and we don't eat turkey on X-giving, so why does Christmas get shortened to "X-mas"? Again, I feel you take any sincerity, personalization or real meaning out of the holiday by truncating it to a one letter name. But again, that's just my opinion.

Along with Christmas, I randomly see the name Christine and Christina shortened to X-stine, or X-stina. Really? I wonder if X-topher Columbus Day should be re-named, I'm sure he wouldn't mind? Also, I ponder if Winnie the Pooh will ever stop asking X-topher Robbins for honey - give it up already Pooh-Bear! (Sounds pretty silly, huh?)

Another x-ample of the depersonalization of X is sports. We have walking shoes, tennis shoes, running shoes, and basketball shoes, and then we have X-trainers. What sport is "X"? I've never played X. I wonder if it's anything like baseball? Have you ever had to X-reference something? (I can't stand that either.)

I'm not sure how one lonely little letter has managed to depersonalize our society, but as for me, I will continue to type out my "nks" ending words, as well as my "Christ" prefixed words, and I'm pretty sure I'll always use the word "cross" in the term cross-train, cross trainer, or cross reference. I mean, if you wouldn't say it out loud, "Hello my dear EX-Stina, I bought you a pair of EX-trainer shoes today" - then why type it? Is it really that hard to type out a few accompanying letters in a word, instead of just the letter X?

Any defenders of the letter X out there? Go ahead, opinions welcome. (Be gentle!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 117 - W is for Wrigley

Wrigley Field is one of my all time favorite places on Earth, and host to the Chicago north side team, the Cubs. I don't get wrapped up in statistics of games won or lost (although I prefer to see the white "W" flag flown) but rather, I relish in the nostalgia of a place nearing the age of one hundred years old.

I think of how the spectators have changed, from men in suits to the fans of today, and I often think of how the field itself has changed and grown. (I won't bore you with those details, but if you want more information check out: History of Wrigley Field). I think of all the greats who have graced the field and marvel at the talent that once this way came. I relish knowing that the Great Bambino called his famous shot here, at Wrigley (yep that's right New York fans!) and I think I can still hear Harry Carey leaning out of the announcers booth to sing the 7th inning stretch. Occassionally Harry's infamous, "Holy Cow!" calls still echo the friendly confines. I appreciate the red bricks and green ivy that adorn the building and I love being able to hear the crowds cheer from my apartment. I love knowing that even if I attend a game alone, I end up amongst friends.

Wrigley has stood the test of time for decades and offered millions a place to go and share a weekend game perhaps between father and son, or a week night date between loved ones. Wrigley has housed more talent then most stages, and I hope will continue to evolve and remain a Chicago mainstay for another hundred years to come. I love Wrigley, and am thankful I get to be a part of it's history.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 116 - V is for Vacation

Vacation: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation - Merriam Webster

I was once told my life energy is like a pitcher of Kool-Aid. Like a childhood Kool-Aid or Lemonade stand, I dole out my Kool-Aid (advice, time, emotional and physical energy and efforts, etc) to others and watch my pitcher grow more and more empty each day. At one point, a girlfriend and I had an on-going catch phrase that it was "time to replenish the Kool-Aid". This meant that we needed to take a step back from our lives (or the people, problems or things in it), and take time for ourselves to refill our proverbial pitcher of self energy, or Kool-Aid. One of my favorite, and usually most expensive ways to replenish the Kool-Aid is to take a vacation! Some of my best Kool-Aid seeking trips have been...

London - the most educational trip and due to all the walking and touring, I lost one pant size!

Paris - The shortest trip, less than 8 hours

Disney Cruise/Bahamas - The most peaceful and relaxing trip...also the most scariest thing (swimming with stingrays!)

Ireland: The friendliest and funnest place, partly due to large consumption levels of Bulmer's Cider (me at Blarney Castle kissing the Blarney Stone)

Antigua: The most beautiful paradise I've seen to date

Graceland, Memphis Tennessee: The best road trip, was to the home of the King, Elvis Presley - picture of "The Jungle Room" inside Graceland

How do you refill your Kool-Aid?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 115 - U is for Umbrella

Umbrella: a collapsible shade for protection against weather consisting of fabric stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole; especially : a small one for carrying in the hand - Merriam Webster

Ok, I have to brag. I have the coolest umbrella ever. Granted, I can't stand the reason as to why I actually have to use it (because that means it's raining) but the Mary Poppin's parrot head umbrella makes a rainy day a bit more tolerable. Also, as the parrot head handle is quite heavy, I feel protected from any evil doers as it can serve as a nice piece of hardware to knock someone out with! I think every one should have one.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 114 - Leapin' Lizards

Today I put my fears aside and put my hand in this "thing's" aquarium in order to give it fresh water. Of course, said "thing" did not want to move out of it's water dish so I could actually give it fresh water. Because I was afraid of it, I actually inserted a whole roll of paper towels into said aquarium to try to push the lizard out of it's water dish. He wasn't impressed and moved slowly.

Of course, said lizard didn't feel the need to let me work alone, instead he sat next to the water dish as I put my hand inside his home to remove it. He looked on with careful supervision. Once removed, I rinsed the bowl and filled it with water. Of course, said lizard still had not moved from his inspection point when it came time for me to replace my hand and the water dish back into the aquarium. I quickly settled the water filled bowl back amongst the wood chips in the lizard's dwelling place and he looked on with approval. That's when I became bold enough to actually pet him. Scaly little thing. Reptile fear conquered, until the next time!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 113 - T is for Tapazole

Tapazole: drug used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats

My cat Tird was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. The remedy proposed is to give my cat 1/2 a tablet of Tapazole twice a day. Let me prepare you for this post by saying that my cat is somewhere between the age of 14 and 15 years old and has never had to take a pill. Needless to say, he's a bit reluctant to start now.

Step 1) Cut minuscule tablet in half.

Step 2) Start with new tablet as knife has crushed half the minuscule tablet into powder, and sent the other half flying somewhere across the kitchen to never be found again.

Step 3) Fetch unsuspecting Tird from bed, or current household location.

Step 4) Sit on couch with Tird. Cuddle and pet as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Note how happy Tird is.

Step 5) Grab Tird's head, open mouth with finger.

Step 6) Re-open Tird's mouth.

Step 7) Go fetch Tird from other side of room.

Step 8) Repeat steps 4 and 5 and hope for success.

Step 9) Drop pill into open mouth.

Step 10) Pick pill up from lap, repeat steps 5, 6 and 9 until completed.

Step 11) Close hand around mouth, and stroke throat to aid in swallowing of soggy pill.

Step 12) Fetch Tird from back of sofa. Search for spit out pill. Repeat steps 5, 6, 9 and 11.

Step 13) Continue holding and stroking throat for 5 minutes, guaranteeing that either the pill has dissolved or been swallowed by now.

Step 14) Release an angry Tird. Search lap and couch for any signs of spit out pill.

Step 15) Clean clothes with lint roller.

Step 16) Clean clothes with lint roller.

Step 17) Forget lint roller and change pants.

Step 18) Apologize to Tird.

Step 19) Repeat in 12 hours.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 112 - S is for Sunday

Sunday: the first day of the week : the Christian analogue of the Jewish Sabbath - Merriam Webster

This Sunday is Easter and while I acknowledge and am quite familiar with the religious aspect of the holiday, I know little about the origin of the Easter Bunny so I started researching and here's something to reflect on as you bite off your chocolate bunny's ears!

"Easter itself is an adapted holiday that was based on the themes and timing of two pre-Christian Pagan traditions. The Anglo-Saxon goddess Ostara was the goddess of fertility. Each spring Pagans would place seeds and colored eggs on their altars in her honor. These symbols represented the new life and beginnings associated with the vernal equinox.

According to Anglo-Saxon legend, the Goddess Ostara turned her pet bird into a rabbit for the vernal equinox. The rabbit would lay colorful eggs to entertain the children. The word "Eostre" was modified to "Easter."

In Northern Europe, the goddess Eostre ruled over fertility. Her consort was a rabbit, whom she cast into the heavens to create the constellation of Lepus the Hare. Once a year, Eostre allowed Lepus to come back to earth and have the ability to lay eggs."

"When the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, sometime around the 1700s, many pagan traditions and customs were combined with Christian beliefs. This was also true for pagan holidays; the celebration for Eostre was combined with the Christian celebration of Jesus’ resurrection because they occurred around the same time. Once combined, Easter was created. For many years Easter was still celebrated with many pagan practices; however, today it's a mix of equal parts, pagan, or non-religious, and Christian with a small commercial element mixed in.

German immigrants brought the traditions surrounding Easter to America in the 1700s. German children looked forward to the Easter because the goddess Eostre, incarnated as a bunny, would bring them goodies. The original Easter Bunny character was called “O_ster Haws_e”, which was pronounced Osterhase. If the children created brightly colored nests and placed them in a secluded area of their home, then the “O_ster Haws_e” would lay brightly colored eggs for them. However, not unlike with Christmas, the children had to be good to receive eggs.

According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. As the tradition spread, the nest has become the manufactured, modern Easter basket, and the placing of the nest in a secluded area has become the tradition of hiding baskets."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 111 - R is for Rebecca

Rebecca Black: Thirteen year old YouTube sensation - Lynn

I've heard and read quite a bit of commentary and criticism about a new YouTube video entitled , "Friday" by Rebecca Black. While the general consensus is that her performance is horrible, I actually like the song. It's a catchy teen, hip-hop/pop song and what can be better then lyrics about getting the weekend started? Now do I think Rebecca is the next singing diva equivalent to Aretha Franklin and the lot, probably not, but I do believe at the age of 13 she holds a lot of promise.

Watching the news this morning and seeing that the general dislike of Rebecca's song has now escalated to death threats, I felt compelled to let our "R" day stand for Rebecca. I understand not everyone has to like the song, or like Rebecca for that matter, and of course everyone has the freedom of speech to express their opinions, but death threats? Over a song? How about, if you don't like it, just don't listen to it? I don't understand what this planet is coming to, but in the simplest request, "can't we all just get along?".

Go ahead and take a listen to what all the talk is about:
Rebecca Black - Friday (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 110 - Q is for Queen

Queen: a woman eminent in rank, power, or attractions. - Merriam Webster

That's right, I'm a queen. I even have a tattoo of the letter "Q" on my ankle to prove it. Why you might ask? It all started a long time ago in a castle far, far away. Well, okay not really. It started off as a childhood nickname, more likely a teenage nickname, that my sister gave me. Yep, what started off as a derogatory statement, has stuck as a permanent nickname and state of mind (some days).

In frustration, she (my sister) made a comment to the effect that I just thought I was a queen, whilst I treated her like a lowly commoner. Thereafter I was referred to on occasion as Queen, or "Q" while The Commoner got shortened to "TC". My sister found it quite funny to yell, "Queen!" in random shopping stores knowing that I would answer, and also knowing that those around us would turn to gawk and think, "Who the hell would name their kid Queen?".

To further cement the title of Queen to my name was a trending artist at the time, Mary Engelbreit. Englebreit's work became popular with her cartoon renderings of a curious little girl in various situations. One of her works, "The Queen of Everything" is posted above which helped excel me to "queen-dom". So, in short, there ya have it. The story of how a regular girl becomes a queen!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 109 - P is for Precipitation

Precipitation: any form of liquid falling from the sky that will ultimately find a way to annoy Lynn. - Lynn

While "hate" is a strong word that I rarely use in any form of seriousness, I can honestly say I think I hate rain. And snow. And hail. And fog. Did I miss any form of precipitation? Any form of said precipitation combined with cold (any temperature under 70 degrees) should not be allowed. With that said, here is my letter of complaint.

Dear Rain -

I find it totally inappropriate for you to accompany any weather and wind combination wherein the temperature is under 70 degrees, and the wind is blowing at a rate of more then 5 miles per hour. With that said, I want to inform you of my disdain that you felt the need to accompany me on my 30+ mile drive home. From work. In the dark. Take note, you are not allowed to rain in low visibility conditions either, so please adhere to my sleep schedule, despite it's night to night variance, and rain only during my hours of dormancy. Please feel free to deduce on your own that with these guidelines in place, snow and blizzard conditions are out of the question as well as any notion to turn my umbrella inside out and render it useless.

In addition, I will curse you should you decide to pound and pelt my car so loudly that I am forced to turn the volume of the radio up from it's normal level of 10, to 20. If you decide to rain during allowed hours of dormancy as outlined above, please be sure to keep your noise to a lullaby level that will benefit my sleep and/or radio listening efforts. During sleep, random crashes of thunder are not appreciated and frowned upon when said crashing noises send scared felines scampering into my bed for protection.

Please take heed as well, that less is more. There is no need to flood all roads that lead to my place of work making it near impossible to arrive on time. There is also no need to pool on the sidewalks causing the hems of pants to be soaked, as well as shoes to become soggy.

Finally, I do not find it funny to rain on my car after it's been washed. I do not go out and blow-dry the Earth after you have worked hard to water it (during stated nightly hours, minus wind as outlined in initial paragraph) so I appreciate the common courtesy to not un-do my work efforts.

Thank you for your understanding. I look forward to working with you in the future.


PS) No more rain during outside sporting events either. Ponchos are not a good look for me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 108 - O is for Oprah

Oprah Winfrey: an American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history. - Wikipedia

I know not every one is a big Oprah fan, and while I don't live my live according to Oprah, I do think she has done some great things, provides awesome knowledge and inspires others to "live their best life". I was lucky enough at one point to score reservations to the Oprah show for myself, and 3 other friends and I have to say, it was a pretty cool experience. We were treated to a sneak-preview of the movie, "Hairspray" along with free popcorn the night before the show. The day of the Oprah show, we were seated in the studio and treated to dance and song performances from the crew of the movie, as well as interviews with Hairspray stars, Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, and Michelle Pfieffer. We were sent home with a partial soundtrack from the movie, and lasting memories.

Some of my favorite Oprah moments are not so much the moments, but quotes. (Have you read my "About Me" section?). So instead of trying to convince any non-Oprah fans to like her, maybe some of her words of wisdom will strike a chord with you instead.

"Listen. Pay Attention. Treasure every moment."

"Live your own dreams."

"Use what you have to run towards your best."

"I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly." (Sound familiar? Like the subject of my initial blogging effort?)

"The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free."

And my all time favorite, but hardest piece of advice to follow is:
"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

- Oprah -

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 107 - Taxes

I did my own taxes! OK, for some of you this may not be a big deal but the idea of filling out a form incorrectly and hearing, "IRS AUDIT" has been a fear of mine that has kept me over paying for professional tax services for years. This year, due to proscratinating mainly, I filed my own taxes via Turbo Tax and saved about $90 in preparation fees. Yay me!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 106 - N is for No

No: used as a function word to express the negative of an alternative choice or possibility - Merriam Webster

How many times a day do you say no? How many times do you actually mean it? I'm guessing if you have a puppy or small children, your household probably hears the word "no" more often then not. Some examples of my day to day "nos" are:

- Do you want cheese on your burger? NO - If I had, I would have ordered a cheeseburger.

- Would you like to donate a dollar to some random charity you know nothing about while checking out at the cash register? NO - I have just spent $100 more then expected due to your excellent marketing gimmicks in your store and feel $1 extra is just too much over my budget at this time.

- Someone barges in on you in the public bathroom as the lock on the stall is faulty and doesn't latch, you hear an, "Oh, I'm so sorry" and my reply is usually, "NO problem!". Umm, yes there is!!! You just saw me half naked squatting over a disgusting public toilet, but I'll act as if it were no big deal. Uggh.

- The kiosks in the shopping mall that offer you a sample of free lotion, a squirt of perfume, or even a food item such as chicken terriyaki. Despite being asked nicely to try their product, I reply, "NO". The sad thing is, typically a simple no isn't good enough for these people who are under pressure to sell, sell, sell so they insist it will just take a moment to try their product. That's when I reply, "Oh, it gives me a rash". It doesn't matter if it's food, perfume or lotion, usually I get an odd look and they decide I'm not worth the hassle and move on to their next target. (Try it some time, the rash route works!)

- You order your meal at a restaurant (similar to the cheeseburger issue above) and you're asked if you want all the add-ons as if you can't remember what you just read on the menu. "I'll have the Cesar salad please". And in response you hear a barrage of questions like, "Would you like to upgrade that with chicken?" No. "For $2.99 you can add a cup of soup?" No. "How about adding a large drink, it's only 10 cents more then the medium you ordered?" No. "If you combine your salad with half a sandwich, you can get a free bag of chips". No - and at this moment you just want to add on, "just give me the friggin' salad already!".

- My all time favorite and incorrect use of the word no? How many times does someone come to you in your place of work and you're swamped? You're about to cry due to the stress of your work load, but you know that doing so would just take up too much of your precious time and set you farther behind and then you hear it, "Are you busy?". Umm, hello? Do you see me working my fingers to the bone, the stress written all over my face, but don't worry, I'll stop what I'm doing so I can make YOUR day go better and reply, "No, not at all - what can I help you with?".

Have you said "no" today? I'm sure there's a child just waiting to be scolded, or a new puppy potty accident looming over your favorite rug that you can scream, "NO!" to. Come on, give it a try! Speak up world, and say no...and try to mean it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 105 - M is for Money

Money: something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment. - Merriam Webster

I never seem to have enough of it, but I do have enough of what it is I need to survive happily.

PS) I finally met my cheetah fund-raising goal of $1,000 which will benefit the Cheetah Conservation Fund!

PS2) This means I get to meet a cheetah, face to face, and pet it in October! Purr-fect!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 104 - L is for Liver Treats

Liver Treats: Stinky, cubed dehydrated cow liver used to destroy Lynn's pants - Lynn

So, today's obvious post would have been "L" is for Lynn, after all that's ME! But if you've been reading my blog, you should know at least a little something about me by now, so I offer you liver treats instead. Delicious, huh?

I train dogs part time. Dogs respond to super smelly things. And food. So super smelly food is a the perfect combination and a great motivator when expecting your dog to pay attention to you and ignore all the butts (and crotches) that they could be sniffing instead. Armed with this knowledge, every training day starts off with me loading my pockets with crumbled, freeze-dried liver treats and a clicker. If you've never smelled freeze dried liver, I can only describe it as...well, I can't. But take my word for it, it smells pretty damn bad. So with pockets loaded full of "the smelly stuff", every dog I greet immediately sniffs one pocket, my crotch as they transition to the other pocket, and then the other pocket in search of what smells. A lesser woman might think it's something personal, but I know it's all about the liver and nothing more (I hope!). This behavior usually proves more embarrassing for the pet owner then me, as they shoo their dog away from my crotch and pockets.

As my day wears on, the treats diminish and I'm left with mere crumbs in my pockets. Of course, these crumbs are ground down so fine by this point, that I have to turn my pockets inside out, shake, and try to scrape the liver dust remains out of the crease of the pocket linings. This usually wedges said liver dust remains under my fingers nails, which is not removable with simple hand washing. In addition, this also grinds the liver dust and stench deeper into the fabric of my pockets. Despite having washed my hands another 3 or 4 times, I pray I don't forget and grab something very manual to eat, like chips or fries, as liver flavored french fries are not on the McDonald's menu for a reason!

Heaven forbid the night come where I forget to empty my pockets and I arrive at home to veg out in front of the TV and wonder, "What the hell stinks in here?". I then immediately search the cats' litter box, the trash and the toilet only to find, that the smell is me, or rather my pockets, which are still full of liver snacks! At this point, I must go outside and follow the steps above before attempting to undress and throw said pants and smelly pockets into the laundry. I have found that should "Operation De-Liver Pants Pockets" not be followed, I end up with soggy liver lumps in the bottom of the washer. It's not pretty.

Training tip of the day? Liver treats, great for dogs, bad for pockets!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 103 - K is for Kilometer

Kilometer: a metric unit or length equal to 1000 meters - Merriam Webster

As part of my initial blog subject, I set out to conquer my fear of stairs. In January, I participated in the Kohl's Step Up for Kids and climbed 40 flights of stairs housed in Chicago's AON building. Of course, as one thing tends to lead to another, mastering my self imposed stair challenge got me to thinking about participating in other events. So then, I took on the self challenge to participate in 1 event per month, I figured what's 12 events? While most of the events I am hoping to participate in are 5K walk/runs, some are bicycle rides that will add extra mileage to my sneakers. And then of course, the more I got involved in finding my 11 extra events, the more I found beyond the initial 11 that I wanted to participate in! All that said, I started wondering just how far will I go? So here's the math...

One mile equals 1.609344 kilometers.
A 5K event is exactly 3.10685596 miles.
20 flights of stairs is (about) equal to 1 mile (or 1.609344 kilometers).

January: Kohl's Step Up for Kids = 40 flights of stairs = 2 miles

February: Cupids Love Dash = 4 miles

March: St. Paddy's Day 5K = 3.10685596 miles

April: Run for the Cheetah 5K = 3.10685596 miles

April: Chicago Gateway Green Tree K = 3.10685596 miles

May: Y-Me Race 5K = 3.10685596 miles

May: Bike the Drive = 15 miles

June: United Run for the Zoo 5K = 3.10685596 miles

July: L.A.T.E. Ride = 25 miles

August: Lymphomathon 5K Walk = 3.10685596 miles

September: Lung Run/Walk 5K= 3.10685596 miles

October:Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes = 3.10685596 miles

October: AIDS 5K = 3.10685596 miles

November: Hot Chocolate 5K= 3.10685596 miles

December: Santa Hustle 5K= 3.10685596 miles

With all these numbers, by the end of the year, if I participate (God willing) in all my proposed events, I will have gone roughly 80.1 miles or 50 kilometers for charity! I won't attempt to calculate the money spent on registration fees for these events, but I can already see next year's challenge for myself will be to go farther then 80 miles and aim for 100! I created links to all the events above, so hopefully if you're in the Chicago area you'll join me! All this talk about distance made me think of the places I will go, so I leave you with this:

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go. You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest..."
- The Places You Will Go: Dr. Seuss -

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 102 - J is for Joy

Joy: a state of happiness or felicity: BLISS - Merriam Webster

The 2007 movie, "The Bucket List" has what I consider one of the all-time, most thought provoking lines of conversation in it. If you haven't seen the movie yet, I highly recommend that you do, but offer the excerpt below. If you have already seen it and am not quite sure what it is I'm talking about, then read on please.

As the movie unfolds, a conversation is shared between two unlikely friends, Edward (Jack Nicholson) and Carter (Morgan Freeman) while over looking the pyramids of Egypt at sunset. Always the philosopher, Carter asks his friend Edward the two questions asked of the dead by the gods at the entrance to heaven:

"Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?"

How would you answer these questions? I'd like to say I have found joy in my life, in simple living and taking advantage of what the world has to offer me. That may be a day of sunshine (go out and enjoy it!), the birds chirping (take a moment to listen to their song!), saying yes to what seems like an "odd" invitation at the time, or just simply sharing my passion with others (whether it's a fundraiser for a charity, or teaching others how to work with their pets). Most of all, I think my joy is appreciating the people and Earth around me.

Now comes the tough question, have I brought joy to others? Again, I would love to think so (wouldn't we all?) but how can you really tell if you've changed someones life for the better, or given them a happier day? I know I impact people's lives in small ways, but does that count as joy, as bliss? Example: I train dogs (people really) and have moved some pet owners to tears with their dog's positive behavior changes. Is this joy, or just a relief that they no longer have the worst pet in class? I do my best to encourage others by example (and with occasional arm twisting and brute force) to break out of their shell and explore the world around them, but does learning a new craft or participating in a 5K give them joy? (or does it just get me to stop pestering them to do things?) Does spewing off random memorized quotes (that I'm full of) help bring comfort or joy to someone in pain or strife?

I may never know the impact (good or bad) that I have on others. I may never know whether knowing me or if the actions I choose to pursue are received in a positive manner by others, but I'd like to think so. So I guess with that said, my point is that I'll never stop trying to share a smile with the world and the people in it. I will continue to search out the joy in my life every day. Have you done something today to bring joy to someone else life? If not, the day isn't over yet, there's still time! Find the joy in your life!

The Bucket List: Trailer

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 101 - I is for Inclusive

Inclusive: broad in orientation or scope - Merriam Webster

My "i" word for today is inclusive as I've a few different "i" words I'd like to share with you. They range a broad scope of emotions and feelings for today and include, but are not limited to:

Ice - as in, Lynn is icing her shoulder today as she has no idea (another "i" word!) what she did to cause it pain. I'm not sure how returning to the gym and only using the elliptical and treadmill traumatize a shoulder. Go figure.

Icky - things I find icky? Laundry. Soggy spinach. Bugs. Gloomy days. The forty hour work week - who invented it anyways?

Idiot - I encounter quite a few idiots per day in traffic. I don't understand why I get honked at in rush hour traffic to go faster when there is a car less then 5 feet in front of me. I have no where to go people. Honking your horn at me, then aggressively pulling into the other lane along side of me to yell at me and make ridiculous gestures leads me to believe you are impaired (another "i"!) in some manner. Believing I will drive my car directly over the car in front of me qualifies you for an idiot award. (Maybe the inventor of the 40 hour work week should be in this category.)

But my favorite "i" word of the day is...

Inspired - Today I read a post from the blog "Pick Which Light" and was fascinated and inspired to keep doing what it is I do. Bethany's post included the words, "I think that if your job doesn't move you deep in your heart, you should at least get a hobby that does. Please. The world needs you at your most passionate." I've never heard anyone say anything like this. Rather, what I hear around the office is that my talents could be better used somewhere else and that someone with my energy and passion doesn't belong trapped in a cubicle. While I take these comments as a great compliment, the thing is, I don't know what it is I really want to do. So until I can figure out how to blend my passions and talents into one job and better yet, go out and find that job, I will continue working on my "hobbies". I will continue to be inspired, and hopefully inspire others by raising money for charities, drawing, creating, blogging, training dogs, volunteering, taking classes, and finding events to participate in with boundless, and contagious passion. Thank you Bethany!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 100 - 100 Posts!

Today is my 100th post and that means my 100th day of blogging! Since a quote inspired the existence of this blog, I will leave you with some quotes that hopefully inspire you!








Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 99 - H is for Hotdog

Hotdog: frankfurter; especially: a frankfurter heated and served in a long split roll. - Merriam Webster

I'm a hotdog fanatic and have been for as far back as I can remember. Growing up my parents would celebrate my birthday by allowing me to pick any restaurant in town to go out and have my special birthday dinner at. You would think I might pick Chuck E. Cheese or some uber kid-friendly place, but I never did. I would pick one of many local family owned restaurants that served a "Francheezie Deluxe". My father was habitually disappointed at my dinner choice of a hotdog, split and stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. He always said, "You could have gotten that at home!" in frustration.

As a pre-teen, I became the "bat boy" for my mother's softball team. This meant spending countless hours at softball games and being quite bored. My grandma would often come out to support her daughter, and sneak me a hotdog she had made from home. She would boil hotdogs at home, slap them in a bun, add ketchup then wrap them in foil and put them in her purse. By the time she arrived to the game, they were steamed perfectly and the most delicious thing I can ever remember eating (at that age anyway). I can only imagine now, what others must have thought at seeing a red haired grandma taking hotdog after hotdog out of her big black satchel of a purse, but I didn't care.

I don't quite recall when I had my first Chicago style hotdog, but I do remember heading to the city a few times with my father to visit museums and having a hotdog from a street vendor on the steps before going in. It was quick and easy food, and for me the most fun was to be able to order and eat food outside of any restaurant. It was like a picnic that had standing room only, but I didn't mind.

I can't begin to count how many Cubs games I've been to and been able to enjoy a dog at the park, and I don't know how many miles I've driven out of my way to search out local hotdog stands. I can tell you though, having met a man that is just as crazy about hotdogs as I am doesn't help tame the dog-seeker in me. We've driven 60 miles round trip just to get a Superdawg, and continue to frequent local Chicago favorites like Wolfy's, The Wiener Circle, and Hot Dougs. Last night I was watching a show called, "Chicago's Best" and it was all about hotdogs! Now, I have two more stands to frequent, Frank and Dogs, and Jimmy's. Anyone ever been to either of these?

It may seem crazy that I'm such a hotdog fanatic as it's such a basic food, but as you can see I have a lot of memories tied up in this "food". The hotdog for me is more about the experience then just eating a simple encased meat sandwich. I have fun seeking out new stands and venturing throughout the state in search of the perfect dog. I've had the hotdog served in many a way, from ketchup only (this is only acceptable if you're under 12 years old), Francheezie, Chicago style, Coney Island style, and even American. I have yet to try a New York dog with mustard and sauerkraut but Hot Dougs has served up rattlesnake and even antelope dogs! No matter what you order, just remember that if you're in Chicago, the hotdog is a way of life and whatever you do, don't ever, ever order it with ketchup!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 98 - G is for Garland

Garland, Judy: (June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) an American actress and singer - Wikipedia

Judy Garland is one of, if not my all time favorite actress. Although she died long before I was born (well, okay not that long before) I've been captivated by Judy Garland's performances and life ever since I saw the Wizard of Oz for the first time. I remember as a child being afraid of the flying monkeys and feeling just like Dorothy, wishing for a place I where I fit in. Aside from the story of the Wizard of Oz, I was fascinated by the colors, special effects, costumes and most of all the music in the movie. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is, to this day, one of my favorite songs.

The way Judy delivered that song time and time again throughout her life and career still moves me. As time went on, she went from hopeful Kansas farm girl, to a broken career woman. The delivery of the song changes as her career spans over her life challenges and you can hear those challenged reflected in her voice. In one of her final performances from Carnegie Hall you can hear the raw pain, the struggle and just how much she really wishes that she could get over the rainbow and find a place where she, Judy Garland not Dorothy, can really fit in. She ends the song tearful. Judy Garland poured herself into that song time and time again as well as the life long mission of finding a place of belonging which always seemed to be just over the rainbow for her.

With that said, what's the rainbow you're hoping to get over and what is it you expect to find on the other side? What's stopping you from getting over your rainbow? I have plenty of rainbows to get over both professionally and personally and hope to see you on the other side!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 97 - F is for Favorite

Favorite: one that is treated or regarded with special favor or liking; especially : a person who is specially loved, trusted, or provided with favors by someone of high rank or authority

- Merriam Webster

I wasn't feeling very creative today, or maybe I was? But here's a quiz about my favorite things that will allow my fellow bloggers to learn something new about me!

Favorite band: KISS

Favorite song: Jealousy: Gin Blossoms

Favorite book: A few... Revelations of a Strong Woman, I Love You - Ronnie, 90 Minutes in Heaven and anything written by Mitch Albom.

Favorite concert: KISS: Hottest Band In the World 2010

Favorite CD: Barenaked Ladies: All Their Greatest Hits

Favorite TV show: House, Bethanny Ever After, Golden Girls

Favorite hobby: Finding more hobbies and taking new classes

Favorite place to shop: Target

Favorite place: Ireland, my bed, and anywhere with the right person!

Favorite team: Chicago Cubs

Favorite place to eat: Anywhere but my kitchen!

Favorite food: Mexican and Italian fare

Favorite color:Purple and silver

Favorite animal: I like a lot of them... Horses, the big cats, birds of prey, killer whales...

Favorite actor: Hugh Laurie, Jeff Bridges

Favorite movie: Wizard of Oz

Favorite flower: Stargazer Lillies, Gerbera daisies, anything bright!

Favorite drink: Margarita

Favorite soda: Pepsi Throwback

Favorite feature: My smile

Favorite holiday: My birthday!!!

Favorite scent: Lavendar, rain, and fresh cut grass

Favorite Disney character: Stitch

Favorite word: FANtastic (emphasis on the FAN)

Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni

Favorite season: Spring

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 96 - E is for Elective

Elective: permitting a choice : optional - Merriam Webster

Despite thousands of "E" words, today's post was challenging for me. All I could think of was "E is for elephant, and some days I feel like one" but I figured that wouldn't be much of a post. Finally, with just hours left in my day, I thought of the word "elective". My fondest memory of the word pertains to the elective classes that were offered in school. Of course, these classes were primarily for fun and didn't necessarily count towards my degree, but some of my favorites were printmaking and pottery class.

As an adult, I've continued to pursue elective education (look at me with two "E" words!) throughout my life and believe that we as humans are never done learning. Looking back, I've taken some odd classes but they've all been a source of fun, or at least make for fun conversation. Classes or events I have participated in include, but are not limited to:

Djembe Drum Lessons (hand drumming)
Bellydance (I can shimmy with the best of them!)
Latin Dance, Tango & Salsa (I still have no sense of rhythm)
Boot Camp Fitness (Boot Camp failure AND I got pooped on by a bird!)
Zumba (yep, still rhythmically challenged)
CPR (be nice to me, I could save your life!)
Puppy Obedience
Advanced Obedience
Basic Agility
Advanced Agility (my dog kicked butt!)
Therapy Dog Training
Tae Kwon Do (never got past a white belt)
Self Defense (I know how to flip a full grown man!)
Sewing 101 (one lop-sided pillow case was the final result)
Scrap Booking (2 completed, shamefully 3 left unfinished)
Kickball League (I love the big red ball!)
Horseback Riding Lessons (I still fell off a horse on a Dude Ranch weekend getaway)
Wildlife Sketching
Dragon Boating (I got very wet from a very dirty river, despite being in the boat the whole time!)
Yoga (I love downward dog pose!)

Of course, I still have a laundry list of classes I want to take, some of which I will be taking on as part of my "Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You" self challenge. Those classes include: Sign Language, Motorcycle Riding, Flying, Bar Tending, Jewelry Making, Stained Glass, and Cooking.

What classes or seminars have you taken? What new thing do you want to learn? And most of all, what are you waiting for? Get in there, be brave and dare to sign up for whatever it is you want to do! I want to hear about it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 95 - D is for Dog

Dog: canid; especially : a highly variable domestic mammal (Canis familiaris) closely related to the gray wolf - Merriam Webster

I train dogs. I like dogs. I call people dogs (both the male and female versions). I listen to Snoop Dog (on occassion). I own a book of poetry called, "Love is a Dog From Hell". I have a dog shaped piggy-bank. I love the book/movie "Marley and Me", but even better is the book, "The Art of Racing in the Rain", told from a dog's perspective. I own the dog movies, "Lady and the Tramp" and "Lilo and Stitch" - which isn't about a dog, but Stitch is at one point referred to as dog. There are days I surely end up smelling like a dog, and maybe even look like a dog. I've been sick as a dog. I believe that every dog will have it's day. I really don't enjoy the dog days of summer. I love hot dogs, but dislike most designer dogs. I'm sure I've barked up the wrong tree a time or two. I let sleeping dogs lie. I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks. At times, I work like a dog. And since I'm dog tired, I think I'll leave my readers with this giggle from "The Farside"...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 94 - C is for Cheetah

Cheetah: a long-legged spotted swift-moving African and formerly Asian cat (Acinonyx jubatus) about the size of a small leopard that has blunt nonretractile claws - Merriam Webster

Did you expect me to blog about anything other then a cheetah for my "C" day? If you've been following (John - I feel sorry for you!), you know by now I am participating in the "Run for the Cheetah" 5K event on April 23rd. I've taken on the goal of raising $1,000.00 for the event, all of which benefit the Cheetah Conservation Fund. To date, I have raised $668 and am just $332 shy of my goal!

The cheetah is one of my favorite cats, and is losing it's race for survival. How ironic that the fastest land animal cannot out run the guns and traps of African ranchers who are now the cheetah's biggest threat on the planet. One of the services the Cheetah Conservation Fund offers to local African ranchers, and as a dog trainer I love this, is that they provide ranchers trained Anatolian Shepherd Dogs to protect their cattle. A barking dog is all it takes to scare off a cheetah as they prefer flight over fight!

While I have reached 60% of my goal to date, fund raising has not been the easiest of roads for me! I've sent e-mails, created and passed out flyers, designed Facebook events, talked about (lectured) and even called into radio stations to plug my event and goal! I have only 19 days left to raise the rest of my funds and am working hard to maintain a positive focus. If you're reading this, maybe you'll consider making a donation to help the cheetah? Any amount is welcome and can be made easily on line at my fund-raising website shown above, and again here:

All donations benefit the Cheetah Conservation Fund and are tax deductible!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 93 - Flyers

I started my blog January 1, 2011 challenging myself to blog every day about things that scare me, and yet the April A-Z Challenge rules advise me to take Sundays off. I can't bring myself to do it! So, if you're a new A-Z follower, today's post doesn't pertain to the challenge, rather the original intent of my blog. Hopefully this doesn't throw any new followers off!

Today's fear, hand out flyers I created for my fund-raiser. Sounds simple, but I had a really hard time talking about the subject and then passing out my artistic creations. The only reason I even got the nerve to hand out my information was I grew tired of the conflicting dialouge in my head. Good Lynn said, "Hand them out Lynn - you took the darn time to make them, now do it!" while Evil Lynn suggested, "Oh Lynn, who cares, they won't donate anyway". Let me tell you, it gets exhausting over thinking things and listening to the voices in my head. This is one of the reasons I challenged myself to blog and, "Do one thing every day that scares me". It might not always be something huge, but sometimes just quieting the self doubt in my own head is enough of a battle of bravery.

After 45 minutes of talking to myself (internally of course, hey - I'm not that crazy!) I got the nerve to say, "Hi Ladies, can I give you some information about an event I'm doing?" and handed out my first flyer. They were well received and by the end of the day, I received two more donations. I considered this an overall success that helps bring me one step closer to my goal. Of course, I had no problem sneaking flyers into my boyfriend's laptop bag so he could take them to HIS place of work and ask for donations. Go figure!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 92 - B is for Blessings

Blessing: a thing conducive to happiness or welfare - Merriam Webster

What are you blessed with? So often we look at what's wrong, or going wrong, that we don't take the time to thank God, the Universe, Karma, or whatever entity it is you believe in for the good things that we do have. Challenge yourself to think of three things per day that you're thankful for, and I guarantee you'll have a much better outlook on, and feeling about your life. Three things I'm blessed with and thankful for? Read on...

- Bad relationships so I can appreciate the true love, and true friends that I have in my life today

- Living in Chicago. Sure, rent isn't cheap and the national bird is the pigeon but I love where I live and am thankful for the opportunity to be here. I'm thankful to have any roof over my head, as many people don't.

- Charity events. I'm thankful I can help raise money for and participate in the different events Ive proposed to do this year. It's a reminder that I'm healthy enough to climb, walk, jog or bike these events and hopefully, I never have to be on the receiving end of the benefits they provide. But, if I ever am, may there be volunteers as passionate as I am to help me along the way.

What are your blessings? A roof over your head? Your children? What brings you happiness, leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 91 - A is for Anatomy

Anatomy: physical structure of organism: the physical structure, especially the internal structure, of an animal, plant, or other organism, or of any of its parts - Merriam Webster

I can pinpoint almost the exact time I became fascinated with human anatomy. It was high-school, my senior year in Mr. O'shea's Human Biology class. I believe I was one of the few girls that didn't squirm at the idea of dissecting things. As we dissected goat eyeballs, cats, frogs and other various things, we were instructed to look at different parts of our work under a microscope and draw what we saw. I enjoyed the drawing aspect of our assignments very much, especially the drawing and shading of the intricate details such as veins and arteries, making them come to life again, even if only on paper.

My love for artistic details, muscle structure, and gross human anatomy live on with me to this day. My at home library reflects this passion as it is made up of many an anatomy book. One of my favorite possessions is a documentation/program style book I purchased at the museum exhibit, "Body Worlds". Body Worlds is a touring exhibit that presents works of plastination by Gunther von Hagens. While not for the young or squeamish, I find it utterly fascinating and think you should take a peak. I'll be re-visting this exhibit as it's in Chicago through September.