Growing Up With A Puck

A few years back

Crazy photo op!

Tomorrow night I will be taking my family to the last home game of the season for the Manchester Monarchs.  My boys love going and of course I do too.  I grew up going to hockey games.  Both my father and brother are avid hockey fans, and I was the tag-a-long growing up, but I enjoyed it too.  When we were kids, Dad would take us to plenty of Springfield Indian hockey games. That was back when they were known as the Springfield Indians. Of course, it’s not PC to use the term Indians anymore for a sports team.  They are now known as the Springfield Falcons.  They are in the same league as the Manchester Monarchs and I am torn between the two when they play.  Nostalgia.  It plays a funny role in our lives.

I enjoy the Manchester Monarchs games because they make it very family friendly and the facility and its staff enforces rules of conduct for all to keep it family friendly.  I do not worry about bringing my family to one of the hockey games.  It seems everyone is a good sport and there’s no bad sportsmanship in the stands at least; however, what’s a hockey game without a few good fights? 

I’d have to go on a search to find it, but I typically like to wear my Monarchs jersey to the game and I coach from the upper deck (not necessarily the nosebleed section).  My husband can tell you all about my coaching style, but I hope he doesn’t. 🙂  I’m an avid fan, but not necessarily a regular attendee of the games anymore because of finances.  Lots of things have fallen by the wayside since the economy tanked in 2008.  My family is still trying to recover.

My father, an originator and member of the Monarchs booster club is a season ticket holder and has been since the creation of the team and its first game.  He buys us tickets so we can go to a few games.  It’s nice and the boys really love it because typically they can bring a friend too and get embarrassed by their mother hollerin’ at the team to get the puck “down ice.”

My brother no longer lives in New England and he’s two years older than me which makes him 40-something and he still enjoys hockey in real time by being a goalie for a local team in his area.  There are leagues where he plays and he just enjoys playing.  I hope he continues to play for as long as he has passion to.  As kids, we not only attended the hockey games with our father, but we would find time to play our own makeshift brand of hockey in the garage with whatever resembled a hockey stick and a puck.  Later on, we would play floor hockey at the church we attended as adolescents; where I accidentally knocked big Gary on his tushy and scored all in one fell swoop!  I’d like to be able to say it was on purpose, but that’s not true.  I did it by accident but the goal counted anyway! As adults we often deny ourselves these types of pleasures for one reason or another and it’s a shame because we only live this life once.  There are no do-overs.

I’m looking forward to losing my voice tomorrow night as I coach our Monarchs to a final home game win from the seats in section 215 or thereabouts.  Incidentally, my Reliv mentor will also be in attendance tomorrow night, but not for the hockey so much as she will be there to see her daughter sing.  Her daughter is part of the viral singing sensation known for the internet YouTube hit, “Granite State of Mind.”  They will be performing that song as well as their latest song about plowing.  I haven’t heard that one yet, but I understand it’s very funny.

So all in all, it should be a good Friday night.  We haven’t had a night out in a while, so it’ll be a treat.  I hope that if you haven’t had a decent family night out, that you do soon.  It’s worth it and the memories generated from it will be long lasting and most favorable.  Invest in yourself, your family and have a wonderful evening and weekend!

Go Monarchs!!!!!

Steph

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Ready for a BBQ yet?

Not funny!

Mother Nature says, "April fools!"

No doubt that some of you either played pranks or was a gullible victim of one today.  I, unfortunately, fall into the latter category on two counts!  One, Mother Nature played a dirty trick on all of us in New England by dumping 6-12 inches of the white heavy wet stuff we’re all sick of by now!  And secondly, a good friend decided to change his relationship status on his facebook to “engaged” instead of single and I fell for it:  hook, line and sinker!  I was just so happy for him that he “found” someone to walk beside him in life and it was egg on my face instead!  It’s okay.  Most of the time its all in good fun.  No harm done.

As you can see in the picture, that’s my picnic table and grill outside as of 8am this morning!  It snowed pretty much all day, so you can imagine how much snow we received by the end of the day today!  The good news is that tomorrow, it’s going to be in the 50’s and the horrible white stuff which has overstayed its welcome will be melting away fast.  Thank goodness!

All kidding and fun stuff aside, there are times when people don’t particularly care to be made a fool of.  It happens so many times in life and it doesn’t take a special day, like April 1, to have it happen.  There are con artists out there peddling all sort of junk, and not just stuff, but ideas too.   Its no wonder we’re a weary population; extremely skeptical and often negative.  It’s sad really because when you think about it, there is so much good out there too.  There are good people sharing good things, good ideas and they are often lumped in with the riff raff of life- never given a chance.

There is no doubt that it’s important to be careful.  The elderly and oftentimes our own military families tend to be highly targeted audiences for those of ill will.  But we all can fall victim to scams, especially when our hopes are high and the promise seems to meet the need of that hope, especially easily.

Don’t stop hoping for those things you need and or desire; but keep those hopes in perspective and do your homework.  Falling victim to a scam frequently happens to those who do not take the time to evaluate, review, and educate themselves.  In fact, it’s almost always the result of a compulsive/impulsive decision.  I myself have fallen victim to a scam or two in and I’d like to think of myself and reasonably intelligent; so it’s not easy to admit! Yet, no one is infallible.   The only compulsive decision I ever made that didn’t cause trouble or harm was when I found myself saying out loud, “I’ll take him,” to my friend who needed to find a good home for her dog, Starbuck.  He’s been a happy (spoiled) member of our family ever since:

A V.I.D. of our family

As a local working Mom that needed an additional source of income, I started a distributorship of Reliv Nutrition and Relivables products.  I can assure you that this part of my life is not a scam.  I am proud to be affiliated with Reliv International: a 23-year old (and running strong) US company of top-notch nutritional supplements made in the USA.  I am a product of the products and can testify personally to the benefits of the supplements.  I do so proudly.  I took a step outside of my comfort zone a year ago this month when I decided to become a distributor with Reliv because I have no business ownership background, but I do have a passion for the products I take and the benefits of taking them are worth sharing to those I care for and to strangers as well.  In this skeptical world, its risky to step out and share, but I’ve met too many people who I deem as “walking miracles” resulting from the consistent use of Reliv nutrition NOT to share it with people.  Simply put,  I am one of the “good people” sharing something “good.”  I only ask for a chance to show and share it.  No foolin’.

Have a great evening everyone and a wonderful weekend ahead. 

Steph

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Is that a tin foil hat you’re wearing?

Is this catchy?

Catch a smile, pass it on!

I was telling my manager this afternoon that a few years ago, we had a blizzard-like snow storm on April 1st and none of us were laughing.  My manager chuckled at this because he’s a resident of Texas even though he works in the New Hampshire facility of the parent company.  I made this remark to him after begrudgingly acknowledging that it was, in fact, snowing yet again today.  My manager, just returning this week from Texas is tan and jokingly enjoyed “rubbing it in” about his 80 degree temperatures he was enjoying while working from home the previous two weeks.  Luckily I have a cordial relationship with my manager and was able to frown at him and say “shut up” without penalty.  He walked away laughing.  Figures.

Since spring finally spung last weekend, anything but spring like weather has been descending upon us and temperatures are below “normal.”  I don’t know about you, but after three long months of winter and slowly succumbing to “cabin fever,” I’m done with Mother Nature’s joke of snow and more snow.  Bring on spring in earnest please!

I often joke that “I need sunlight to grow!” when it comes to appreciating warmer temperatures and sunny skies, which lately has been scarce and in high demand;  not only for me, but for many others as well.  Some even succumb to seasonal depression as a result of a lengthy winter.  Fortunately, I am not among the depressed, but I am among the impatient!  I *do* need sunlight to grow.  I love the feeling of warm sunshine on my face, a warm breeze dancing through my hair and suddenly I’m developing a skip in my step and a smile spreads across my face.  It’s all good and I’m just waiting….

Health encompasses much more than just the physical needs of the body to not only grow and defend against disease; we also need to have a healthy outlook on life through an uplifted spirit and a mind that is at peace.  Without these factors, other parts of our quality of life can suffer dramatically. 

 Think about what brings you down.  Under what conditions is your proverbial “button” pushed and you are set off in a negative direction?  How do you mitigate those conditions so they are minimized and less frequent?  These are things a person should consider when trying to reduce the emotional and spiritual stress they encounter in life.  This would include stress in the workplace and with coworkers, stress from what has been coined as “toxic relationships” and financial stressors as well.  All of these play a part in our ability to cope emotionally and spiritually in life. 

There is a proverb that states, “The power of life and death is in the tongue.”  I believe that this is very true on many levels.  How often does a negative word, statement or emotion spread?  How far reaching are the consequences?  Not only that, but if said frequently enough, what kind of lasting impact does that entail?  Many of our youth in society struggle with the negative in life (bullying to name a biggie) and some don’t make it. 

On the flip side of this is how often does something positive spread?  You can often look at a person and see in an instant’s perception on whether they are regularly positive or regularly negative and its usually confirmed at the first instance of their opening their mouth.  People tend to flock to positive people, people who resonate an uplifting spirit.  I have been known to seek out people I know who are gifted in encouragement, especially when I need encouragement.  And that’s okay.  It’s even better to spread that encouragement yourself.  Sometimes it takes practice to be positive, and as many of you know, “practice makes perfect.” 

I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life that is known for being positive, encouraging and helpful.  It is so much more rewarding than the old adage of “misery loves company.”  I heard a song today on the way home whose chorus lyrics went:  “it’s not who you know, it’s not what you do, it’s how you live your life.”  If you were to pass away tomorrow; how would people left behind remember you?  Are you satisfied with that legacy?  If not, practice, practice, practice….

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Bits-N-Pieces on a Friday night

Flutterby

A butterfly in a conservatory

Happy St. Patty’s Day to all who are Irish, even for the day!  I didn’t have green to wear this year (or last even) as for some reason I’ve phased out green from my wardrobe over the years.  Funny, it used to be my favorite color-  now red is.  Go figure!  I have Irish, Scandinavian and German roots in my family tree.  My Grandmother has been working for years on tracing back my paternal family tree and what an interesting tree it is.  She’s got a collection of old black and white photos, aged documents, and interesting facts about some of our ancestors.  It’s quite fascinating and I am glad that she is doing it.  There is no shame in being proud of one’s history and culture, especially within one’s family.  Of course there’s the proverbial crazy family member no one wants to talk about (and we won’t go there here either! 🙂   )

Anyway… I didn’t intend to post on that, but it’s not a bad thing to reflect on one’s heritage.  I’m grateful it’s Friday night and that me and my loved ones are safe, warm, and fed.  We’re a week out from Japan’s earthquake/tsunami event and it’s still on-going with the nuclear meltdown scare as we all watch daily.  We also hear of the recovery efforts being slow.  I can only imagine!  Thankfully, since my last post, there have been several stories of hope and the miraculous.  If you haven’t seen them, check out a few here: http://brandonsuyeoka.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/a-collection-of-hope-stories-of-survival-warmth-from-japan/

Last evening, while I was working from home for an additional two hours for my “day job”, the President of the company I work for sent out an email to the global workforce saying the company was donating $10,000 to the American Red Cross fund for this particular disaster and that the company would match up to an additional $10K for employee contributions to the same fund.  So there’s a potential that the company I work for combined with its employees could donate up to $30,000 to help those in need in Japan.  I hope other companies in the US and around the world are stepping up to the plate to help financially.  I think it’s a wonderful thing.

On a few notes closer to home, I am finalizing my paperwork to give to an accountant to do my personal and business taxes for 2010.  I was referred by networking to this person.  I hope he’s able to complete the taxes quickly as getting the refund I’m expecting would be nice…  (*giggle*  My husband’s singing to me just now as I am typing, he’s so awesome! Sorry for the interruption in my train of thought!).  After I began to pull together my paperwork, I realized I didn’t do the best job of keeping good documents.  So I have resolved to do better this year.  Part of the problem is keeping those small, thin receipts while out on the road.  Normally I stuff them in my purse or in a pocket in the hopes of sorting them out “later.”  Now I have a portable scanner to use with my business netbook that is easy to transport and easy to scan with.  So when I am on a business luncheon, I can just scan the receipt right then and there and not worry about the physical receipt.  I had heard about a product called “NeatReceipts” and looked it up.  I was going to go ahead and buy it right away, but then I decided to check out the reviews on it thru Amazon.

I’m glad I did.  The reviews on it were very mixed and I read several.  Of course, Amazon being as thorough as it is, had alternatives to the NeatReceipts product and I reviewed those as well.  Between the NeatReceipts, a Brother scanner, and a Fujitsu portable scanner; I chose the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 product.  So far, it’s living up to its good reviews and I’m playing with it tonight, scanning receipts in for 2011 and developing my own electronic filing system that makes sense to me. 

In addition, the temperatures have finally begun to warm up!  Today was just about 60 degrees and sunny!   Oh what a pleasant day it was!  I am grateful that Spring is just around the corner.  Its right about this time of year I begin to watch for the trees to bud which means GREEN leaves are soon to come!  Just like flowers, I need sunlight and warmth to grow! 🙂  I’m feeling better all around and I’m looking forward to my two projects I’m working on simultaneously:  getting my treadmill and training under way for my half marathon in November; and researching for a presentation I will do on health, degenerative disease and treatments thereof.   I’m learning so much and I feel a need to share with others the vital information I am reading about today.  I hope to get both projects off the ground real soon!

Currently I am reading the book, Death By Prescription by Dr. Ray Strand, M.D.  His is an easy-to-follow read and is very informative and from a doctor’s point of view.  He’s well rounded and honest.  I recommend this book and his other: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You. 

Tomorrow I retrieve my treadmill out of storage and I begin in earnest to train for the half marathon in November.  I will begin with a modest program put out by “Couch to 5K” from Facebook.  They have a beginner’s program to get couch potato-ers up and running for a 5k race.  Fortunately I have experience with 5Ks, but I’ve been out of the running scene for too long and need to start back in slowly.  This would appear to be a good way to do so.  I hope to keep all informed on my progress; which means I need to get new batteries in my GPS runner’s watch so I can keep track of my time and “speed” (or lack thereof! LOL)!

Happy Friday everyone and have a most awesome weekend!

Steph signing out!

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A reflection on Japan’s crisis

Survivors out of Sendai

Sendai, a city near the epicenter of the earthquake

What can be said as citizens of the world watch the disaster happening in Japan unfold?   Imagine what it was like being a helicopter pilot over the wave of destruction passing over the farmlands of rural northern Japan knowing that people were likely swept up in that wave losing their very lives?  We’re all viewing images, watching video and hearing stories of the missing, the unaccounted and of course the furious efforts to contain nuclear leaks at Japan’s hardest hit nuclear reactors.

Here we are, half a world away, feeling helpless to do anything of any real consequence; skeptical of sending cash donations for fear they would be squandered away in bureaucracies like those millions of dollars flushed away following Haiti’s disaster (how are those poor people fairing a year after their earthquake?).  Even if I had the cash to send, where does it ultimately go and does it really help anyone in need?  

I have to admit, as I watched the initial images coming in after this story broke out on worldwide media outlets, I felt a strong urge to evaluate the meaning of my life as it is.  Why was I not part of a something bigger than myself?  Why was I not part of a search and rescue team getting my hands and feet involved in helping save lives?  But yet, what can one person do in the face of such massive heartache and tragedy?

I’m sure I am not alone in some of these thoughts and I have very little to offer the people of Japan at this critical time in their history other than my heartfelt sympathy and prayers for recovery.  I also pray against the potential nuclear “meltdown” feared in the affected areas.  The media is calling this a three-fold disaster:  earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear fallout.  I pray that this disaster is not further complicated by anything else and that search and rescue efforts can truly take shape and be effective to help the survivors of this disaster recover, not only physically, but emotionally as well for there will be much sorrow to go around for a long while after the uncontrolled fires are extinguished; the tsunami debris is cleaned up and homes are rebuilt. 

My heart aches for Japan today, as it did for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand a few weeks ago, the Haitians last year and for the Indonesians in 2004.  Such extreme natural disasters are beyond anyone’s control and our efforts are only in containment, rescue, and cleanup and rebuilding.  It is at a time like this that I am heartened by member nations of the world seeking to come together in a spirit of unity to help their fellow human beings in a time of extreme crisis.  Beyond the evil seen daily in this world, there is much good to see and remember. 

It’s in times such as these where we all ought to take account of our lives, our blessings and be ever-so-thankful for what we have.  Life is too short to take ANYTHING for granted.

May God comfort the people of Japan through this crisis, and may He bless the efforts of those who are able to help in all stages of rescue and rebuilding efforts.  May small miracles abound out of this tragedy and give hope to all mankind.

Most sincerely,

Steph

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Stress.. a leading cause….

….of illness…  Very few death certificates cite cause of death as “stress” but stress can land someone in the hospital with illness because of a weakened immune system.  Stress should be taken very seriously.

There's only 24 hours in a day?

Well this past week hit me hard.  I am a staunch advocate of nutrition (in diet and supplements), exercise and eating right.  Do I follow all of these to the “T” 100% of the time in my own life?  No, but I’m really good at making sure I have my nutritional supplement daily; I try to get some exercise in every week and I make a conscientious effort to eat right (most of the time).  I have to say it’s hard to control a sweet tooth, but I try!

Even when I do all these things “right”, but if I ignore the rigors of long term stress, all these efforts will not give maximum efficiency in my body.  According to WebMD:

High stress levels over a long period of time (chronic stress) can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure. And high stress can weaken your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight disease. Stress is linked to health conditions such as depression, heart disease, and asthma.

I have learned, the hard way, that this statement is true.  The last four weeks have been extraordinarily and unrelentingly stressful and I have been unable to manage as well as I’d have liked.  As a result, for the first time ever, my blood pressure was slightly higher than what is normally very healthy for me (I’ve never had high blood pressure in my medical history).  In addition, my immune system was dreadfully compromised despite all my other efforts of “staying healthy” and I became susceptible to illnesses all around me.   And some of the event stressors of the last four weeks have brought me nearly to tears.  So stress is VERY REAL… and its toll on one’s body is also very real. 

I haven’t been sick for almost a year, until this past week/weekend.  And again, I point out that it’s not for lack of nutrition, eating right or exercise – but rather to long term unchecked chronic stress.  You don’t have to learn this lesson the hard way.  You can learn from my oversight on the power of stress on one’s overall health by learning from my mistake.

WebMD is merely one resource to touch upon stress, stress measurements, and stress management.  Don’t let stress take you down and out.  Learn to identify it in your life, follow guidelines for stress management and then act.   Test your stress here:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/interactive-tool-what-is-your-stress-level-what-does-this-tool-measure

In conclusion, I sit here typing this blog entry struggling to get over the bronchitis that threatens to steal my very breath away with the haunts of “don’t get pneumonia” from those around me who are concerned.   I don’t intend to get pneumonia, nor any other debilitating illness if I have any choice about it.  And I do.  Right now, it starts with stress management techniques that I need to get serious about and act on.  I will keep on keeping on, but in a less stressful way.

Life is but a once-go-around… make it the best you can because there are no do-overs.

Most sincerely,

Steph

P.S.  Bring on Spring, that will help!

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Time Study… then Nutrition Study

With all that’s going on in my life, I’m attempting to do a study on nutrition at a deeper

Contemplating....or scheming? LOL!

level.  There are many professionals out there that touch upon nutrition but I’m beginning to wonder if any of these professionals really see the big picture?  It’s all very compartmentalized and if some of these professionals would just connect what they know about nutrition, the big picture would be realized.  What impact would that have?

I think it would be profound, but before I go postulating on this, I should do my homework.  There are far too many people out there, especially online, putting out opinions and thoughts on any given topic, but some are not based in fact.  We have to be careful what we read these days.  Look for source material and investigate.  It’s far too easy to read and believe inaccuracies out there!

So, as I evaluate my time management studies, I will seek to adjust things so I can put some time into this study as I’m reading and hearing things that sound like they’re worth sharing, but before I do, I will validate the information first.  That will take time.

Do you have a passion?  Is it something you want to share with others?  Then what’s holding you back?  Do so, but responsibly! 

It’s Sunday morning and snow is falling yet again… oh boy.  Have a good week everybody.

Steph

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