Wednesday, April 30, 2014


There was an interesting meeting in the East Bluff last night.  It was a follow-up to meetings/communication with business owners/managers along or near the Wisconsin Corridor.  The area under consideration follows Wisconsin Ave. from Forrest Hill, south to Glen Oak.  About 30 +/- residents of the area met at the East Bluff Community Center at 6:00 PM.

We took a short walk.  We looked at buildings and houses.  We noticed some fantastic land use and vacant buildings in need of new facades, but full of possibilities.  We saw homes that showed pride of ownership and houses in dire need of repair or re-purpose.  Following the walk, we returned to the Center to begin our table discussions.

Each table had maps of the area and the assignment to figure out realistic goals and time lines for those goals.  There was a surprising amount of agreement on the type of improvements the neighborhood would like to see.  We envisioned improved street lighting, public art, neighborhood gathering spots in the form of a restaurant, coffee shop, diner, etc.  Small businesses such as a bike repair shop, beauty parlor/barber or thrift/antique shop would be welcome.  We want to see kids playing soccer on the grounds of Glen Oak Learning Center.  We want to see a Farmer's Market located on a parking lot on a Saturday afternoon.  We want to see the parking lot at Wisconsin Plaza reconfigured.  Public art could include decorative shop windows, sculptured bike racks, carved wood decoration and murals like the one at Wisconsin and Frye Avenues.  We are pleased that that one has been there for over a year and has not been vandalized.  The neighborhood is proud of it!

We were realistic enough to know that safety is goal #1!  It doesn't matter how good it looks or what it offers if people do not feel safe enough to visit the area all times of the day.  We also know that an active, welcoming street scene providing many eyes on the street increases safety.  We can't have one, without the other!

One item on the list from our table raised some eyebrows.  I was even quoted in the Peoria Journal Star!  I thought we needed a Starbucks among the businesses.  Well, maybe not Starbucks, but something like it.  We want Mom & Pop places to succeed, but it may take  a chain like Starbucks to pull people traveling to and from work into the area to see what else is there.  A business that could provide employment to people living in the neighborhood.  Mom & Pop places usually are run by the family and do not hire many "outsiders".  Whether Starbucks or another well known entity with a philanthropic mission to empower young people, a business of this type could serve the neighborhood in more than one way.  Heck, I would even get a $4 cup of coffee occasionally!

I am hopeful!  It was a good meeting that went until almost 9 PM.  I am anticipating the report that will be presented to the City and look forward to private development $$$$$, East Village Growth Cell $$$$$ and mostly, I look forward to the renaissance of the East Bluff. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Past 12 Months

This past year has been a difficult one.  March 17, 2013 saw the passing of my niece, Kim.  Kim had a difficult time with diabetes and its many complications.  July 9, 2013, Kim's mother, my sister Wini, passed away at her home.  She had an unsuccessful back surgery many years ago and lived in pain for a long time.  She also had diabetes. 

The final straw was the death of my nephew, Bruce on February 23, 2014.  Bruce died in the line of duty as a firefighter in Columbia, Mo.  He had been with the department for 23 years.  I was not able to attend his memorial service in Columbia, but a local TV station did live streaming of procession of "first responder" vehicles from throughout Missouri and beyond.  The memorial service was also shown.  I watched it all.  I have shed more tears in the last 2 weeks than I had done in my life time, thus far.  Just when I thought I was though, someone would post a new memory or photo on his memorial page. 

Today, there was a second memorial service held.  This one in a little town north of Springfield where Bruce grew up and started his life as a fire fighter on the local volunteer fire department.  Local fire departments were represented, as well as a group from Columbia.  It was a beautiful service.  There were many tributes to the man he had grown to be.  His wife and three year old daughter were there.  My heart breaks for them.

I learned today, that as an organ donor, Bruce saved or enhanced the life of twenty more people. 

It is said that things happen in threes.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Little Word

January 1, 2014, New Year's Day.  I was watching The Today Show after CBS This Morning was over.  They interviewed a man who suggested that rather than make resolutions, identify a word, just one word, that would sum up what you hoped to accomplish in the year.  It should encompass everything that would be on a list of resolutions if you were to make one.  He suggested posting it around the house, maybe frame it or make a screensaver out of it.  I thought about his suggestion for a bit and a word came to mind.  I thought about the suggestion off and on throughout the day.  The word has not changed, so I guess I was meant to go with it.  I am going to make copies of my word and hang it on the wall, attach it to the refrigerator, tape a copy on the scale, write it on duct tape to put on my gym bag, affix it to the computer monitor and  the clock I look at most often.  I will figure out where else I need reminders.  Will have to put it in the car and probably several other places.  My word covers most aspects of my life.  My word is BALANCE. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Off To A Good Start

So far, so good!  I have not missed a day at the gym since I recommitted.  Wish I could make it the same time everyday, but that won't work.  At least I get there and do a minimum of forty minutes of water exercise.  It is so easy to pack on weight and so hard to get it off.  I've taken "road food" with me when I had to go to Bloomington.  Grazing on small mini-meals is working.  Made a fruit salad today.  A pear, an apple, an orange, a tangerine, a banana, some raisins and some almond bits with vanilla Greek yogurt for the dressing.  There is enough to last for a few days.

Sweets are still very tempting!  I really wish I did not like them so much.  Doing fairly well, but not as well as I wish.  Darn those samples at Hy Vee today!

And the journey continues.

Monday, December 2, 2013

No More Excuses

Life has not been the same since June 9th.  The day my sister passed away.  She had been ill and in pain for many years.  In some ways it was a blessing since she is at peace now, and if Heaven exists, she has rejoined the love of her life and her daughter.

I am serving in the capacity of Executor of the Estate and there lies my excuses.  Trying to get the house cleaned out, numerous sales, a large storage unit and lots of "stuff" so we can get the house sold.  She would have qualified as a hoarder.  I have been away from home a lot since the house is in Bloomington.  Having my routine broken up by unpredictability, has given me the excuse to stop going to the gym on a regular basis.  It has given me the excuse to "grab a quick bite".  It has given me the excuse to eat out more often.  These excuses have allowed me to give in to the evil sugar addiction that has plagued me for most of my life.

I have tried to put this on paper several times; only to delete every word.  I don't make New Year's resolutions, so I made a Thanksgiving resolution instead. I resolve to "knock that shit off"!  There is no excuse for me not to take care of myself.  There is no excuse for me regain any of my hard-earned weight loss like I have.  There is no excuse for me to turn to sweets instead of healthy foods.

Am off to a pretty good start and need to keep reminding myself that my continued health is worth the effort.  Have been to the gym for the last four days, even missed the first hour and fifteen minutes of The Voice tonight.  Have given in to sugar once.  I was going to throw the last piece of pumpkin pie away, but ate it instead.  At least I hadn't gotten whipped topping.  I have gone back to "grazing" on several small meals rather than 3 meals a day.  Grazing has always worked for me, I just need to take "road food" with me if I am not going to be at home for an extended period of time.

I am so thankful for so many things in my life, so Thanksgiving was the perfect time to resolve to regain control.  The stresses will continue for some time, but it is up to me how to handle that stress.  I resolve to handle it more effectively through exercise and better food choices.  I resolve to do everything, well almost everything, I can to remain in good health and feeling good about life.  I had hoped to add "stop smoking" to the list, but I am not there yet!  Maybe a Valentine's Day resolution?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Over Five Months

It has been over five months since I have posted a new blog post.  I am not very consistent, but this has been an extended period of silence.  Nothing is wrong.  Just have not been motivated to write.  It has been a long winter, not a bad one, just long.

Have to say that Fridays this winter have not been bad.  Friday is the day I walk dogs and it seems like rain and snow missed on Friday.  Had a few cold mornings, but over-all, dog walking has been good.

On March 24th, the day of the big snowfall, we had the celebration of life service for my niece who had passed away on March 16th at the age of 51.  Damn diabetes!  Rest in peace, Kim.

Had a serious scare with my son who spent almost a week in the ICU with a severe case of cellulitis. The antibiotics  finally kicked in and surgery with tissue removal and possible bone scraping was avoided.

Still going to the gym pretty much every day and maintaining the 20 pound (average) weight loss and so happy to be back in the skinny jeans.  I have given myself a five pound range so I don't get crazy with the numbers.  Have gone over it a couple of times, but have gotten right back on track instead of going "full steam ahead" as I have done in the past.  More determined than I have ever been.  Eating more healthy than I have ever done.  Even have Chia seeds and Quinoa in the cabinet and pomegranate juice in the fridge.  I have eaten kale for the first time in my life and snack on pistachios.

The little red truck has gone to the scrap yard.  I loved that little red truck, but decided I did not want to put any more money into its' repairs.

Grandkids are growing up.  Softball practice has started and there is a violin recital coming up this month.

I am looking forward to hiking now that the weather is beginning to break.  I have gone on a couple of short walks, but I want to hit the trails.  Been fighting off a bout of anger, and nothing soothes this restless soul like being in the Temple of the Tall Trees.

Life goes on.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Another Year

Another year has passed.  No it's not New Year's Day, it has been the anniversary of my birth.  I was born one year too early to be counted among the "baby boomers" since it was 1944.  Yep, that makes me sixty-eight!  Not ashamed to admit it, in fact, I'm kinda proud to have made it this far. 

This has been the year that I developed a deep spirituality while hiking in the woods.  I call hiking the act of entering the Temple of the Tall Trees.  I am grounded and centered while in the woods.  It doesn't matter if it is the flat terrain of Cooper North or the challenge of the Pimiteoui.  I get some of that same feeling when practicing Tai Chi.  I need to practice more often!

This year brought the birth of my fourth grandchild.  A beautiful little girl named Brianna.  She joins Angie, Evren and Milo as the lights of my life. 

This was the year that my oncologist said I didn't need to see him anymore.  Fifteen years cancer free!  I went into a state of panic.  I reminded him that he is the one that orders my other annual tests, biannual bone scan and my two prescriptions.  I was relieved to be scheduled for next year.  I don't care if I am seen by the Nurse Practitioner, it is reassuring to be in the office.

This was the year that I attended my 50th class reunion.  Fifty years since I graduated high school.  It does not seem possible!  I have made contact with some classmates through Facebook, but others I had not see for fifty years!  It was good to see people again.

This was the year that I joined the Riverplex.  Had I known how much I enjoy going to the gym, I might have joined long ago.  I do believe that things happen when they are meant to happen.  This was my time.  Since August 1st, I have missed three days.  Once I was out of town and twice, I was "under the weather",  Many days, I go more than once.  I'm back in my "skinny jeans" and feel great!

This was the year that I kept my commitment to volunteer at PAWS if I found that I did not have to go back to work.  I look forward to Friday mornings walking the dogs. 

I have so much to be grateful for, and I am!